The Nature of Faith

UoM administered thesis: Phd

Abstract

Current theories of faith are concerned with the psychology of the attitude of faith. The debate over the cognitive requirement of faith has generated two diverging theories: doxastic and non-doxastic theories of faith. The former theory states that belief is a necessary condition for faith, while the latter states that belief is not a necessary condition for faith. Because this thesis is concerned with the psychology of the attitude of faith, I will focus on two kinds of faith: propositional faith and relational faith. In this thesis, I defend three main claims. First, the doxastic theory is defensible as a theory of propositional faith. Second, relational faith can be a non-cognitive attitude in which one with relational faith is not necessarily committed to believe (or accept) some faith-relevant proposition about the object of faith. Third, propositional faith and relational faith are distinct attitudes. Chapter 1 defends a doxastic account of propositional faith in which faith that p requires the belief that p, evaluating p positively and resisting contrary evidence regarding p. Chapter 2 considers and rejects some arguments in favour of the non-doxastic theory of propositional faith. Chapter 3 defends a non-cognitive account of relational faith in which faith in a non-propositional object does not necessarily require believing some faith-relevant proposition about the object of faith. Chapter 4 describes ways of understanding how propositional faith and relational faith might be related. The conclusion summarises the positions that this thesis defends and suggests how future studies might benefit from this thesis.

Details

Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Aug 2021