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Logos & Episteme

Volume 9, Issue 2, 2018

Kirk Lougheed
Pages 173-197
DOI: 10.5840/logos-episteme20189214

Is Religious Experience a Solution to the Problem of Religious Disagreement?

Many religious believers do not appear to take the existence of epistemic peer disagreement as a serious challenge to the rationality of their religious beliefs. They seem to think they have different evidence for their religious beliefs and hence aren’t really epistemic peers with their opponents. One underexplored potential evidential asymmetry in religious disagreements is based on investigations of religious experience attempting to offer relevant evidence for religious claims in objective and public terms. I conclude that private religious experience can provide a relevant evidential asymmetry between opponents in cases of religious disagreement. I further conclude that if a religious believer reports a private experience to a religious sceptic, the latter is pressured to conciliate in the direction of the believer, at least if they were epistemic peers prior to the experience.