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Evidentialism, scepticism and belief in God

Hemp, David Austin (2003) Evidentialism, scepticism and belief in God. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Many people think that it is possible to undermine belief in God by arguing that the evidence for this belief is insufficient. The aim of this thesis is to develop a new objection to this claim (which claim I call EBG). In chapter one, I describe an objection to EBG which I call the anti-sceptical objection, or the ASO. The ASO faces a number of serious problems; but, in later chapters, I show that it can be made invulnerable to these problems. The ASO can be divided into two stages. Its first stage argues that EBG is true only if there is a form of evidentialism that discredits belief in God, and its second stage argues that there is no form of evidentialism that discredits belief in God. In chapter two, I argue that the ASO faces a serious problem. This problem is generated by a non-standard form of evidentialism, which I call explanatory evidentialism. In chapter three, I rectify the problem described in chapter two. I do so by constructing a new version of the ASO, which I call the second ASO. Unlike the original ASO, the second ASO does not aim to show that EBG is false. Instead, it aims to undermine belief in EBG, by showing that, under ordinary standards for knowledge, EBG is not known to be true. The second ASO can be divided into four stages. Its second stage argues that explanatory evidentialism is the only form of evidentialism which stands a chance of discrediting belief in God. In chapter four, I argue that another form of evidentialism - which I call epistemic evidentialism - may discredit belief in God even if explanatory evidentialism fails to do so. Chapter five then constructs a third version of the ASO which is invulnerable to the problem described in chapter four.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Philosophy
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.251257
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 10:15
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 10:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21742

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