Epistemology of religious belief as an essential part of philosophy of religion

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Epistemologiya religioznoi very kak distsiplinoobrazuyushchaya chast' filosofii religii
Kirill Karpov
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
no.3 (vol.53)

The article presents the main trends in the analytical epistemology of religious belief. Their interrelations and mutual influences are shown. The author argues that epistemology of religious belief has risen as one of the possible answers to the Gettier-problems. Therefore different trends in religious epistemology are bounded not only with each other, but also with trends in general epistemology. As a result of the analysis of all major trends in epistemology of religious belief (reformed epistemology, social epistemology, virtue epistemology, problem of the epistemic authority)  the author concludes that the core of each trend is an attempt of defining the phenomenon of religion itself. Hence it is possible to consider epistemology of religious belief as the next step in the history of such attempts. Since finding appropriate definition of the phenomenon of religion is a special task of philosophy of religion (both in analytic and continental traditions), the author argues that epistemology of religious belief is the essential part of philosophy of religion as a scholar discipline.

epistemology of religious belief, epistemic foundationalism, social epistemology, virtue epistemology, doxastic practices, philosophy of religion, epistemic constants of religion

Kasavin, I.T. (ed). Sotsial'naya epistemologiya: idei, metody, programmy [Social epistemology: ideas, methods, programs]. Moscow: Kanon+, 2010. 712 p. (In Russian)

Motroshilova, N.V. “’Sotsial'naya epistemologiya’: novye problemy, diskussii i dikhotomi” [Social epistemology: new problems, discussions and dichotomies], Tsennosti i smysly, 2011, no. 5, pp. 5–31. (In Russian)

Alston, W. Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. 336 p.

Coady, C.A.J. Testimony. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. 326 p.

Gettier, E. “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”,  Analysis, 1963, vol. 23, pp. 121–123.

Greco J. “Religious Knowledge in the Context of Conflicting Testimony”, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2009, vol. 82, pp. 61–76.

            Greco, E. “Religious Belief and Evidence from Testimony”, in: D. Lukasiewics. R. Pouivet (eds.). The Right to Believe: Perspectives in the Religious Epistemology. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2012, pp.27-46.

Kelly, T. “Peer Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence”, in: R. Feldman, T.A. Warfield. (eds.). Disagreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 111–174.

Plantinga, A. “Reason and Belief in God”, in: A. Plantinga, N. Wolterstorff (eds.). Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991, pp. 17–93.

Roberts, R.C., Wood, W.J. Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. 356 p.

Salamon, J. “Atheism and Agatheism in the Global Ethical Discourse: Reply to Millican and Thornhill-Miller”, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 2015, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 197–245.

 Wood, W.J. Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 1998. 216 p.

Zagzebski, L. Virtues of the Mind: An Inquiry into the Nature of Virtue and the Ethical Foundations of Knowledge. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 384 p.

Zagzebski, L. Epistemic Authority: A Theory of Trust, Authority and Autonomy in Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 296 p.

Full Text: