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Res Philosophica

Volume 98, Issue 2, April 2021

Special Issue: Islamic Philosophy and Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

T. Ryan Byerly
Pages 161-179

Recovering a Role for Moral Character and Ascetic Practice in Religious Epistemology

Moral character and ascetic practice have not been major themes in contemporary analytic religious epistemology, but they have been major themes in the religious epistemologies of several influential historical figures, including the medieval Islamic philosopher al-Ghazalı. This article will be concerned with the place of moral character and ascetic practice in both al-Ghazalı’s religious epistemology and in contemporary analytic religious epistemology. By reading al-Ghazalı alongside contemporary work, I aim to highlight some fruitful ideas about how moral character and ascetic practice could play important roles in religious epistemology. I argue that the exploration of these ideas may be enriched via engagement with recent developments in mainstream epistemology and virtue theory, pointing toward future avenues for such work.

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