As you may have guessed from the title, this website/blog is about philosophical and religious knowledge; what it is; how we get it; and how we hold on to it. Philosophical and religious beliefs are some of the most cherished things people have. So we want to know how to hold on to them and ensure that they are more likely true than false. Since the justification for a belief is what holds a person connected to the belief throughout the many challenges to it, a tremendous amount of time will be spent talking about justification and how it weathers those challenges, similar to how the boat tether in the picture above holds the boat to its mooring throughout many challenging weather conditions. The names of the scholarly fields in which this topic takes place are epistemology, religious epistemology (Don’t let the word “epistemology” intimidate you if you are not familiar with it; it simply refers to how we know what we know.), philosophy of religion, epistemology of disagreement, and religious epistemology. The site/blog also discusses religious disagreements from the perspectives of these fields.
This website/blog is intended to be a tool and community for people thinking about how justification holds people to their ordinary, philosophical, or religious beliefs. It presents some of the best thinking on the topic of philosophers and religious studies scholars from around the world. If you can think of anything that would make this tool better, email the webmaster or comment.
On the left you will see a list of topics that will help with understanding philosophical and religious knowledge better. The information will be developed within the next few months. On the left you will also see a link to the blog post entries on the topic. On the right you will eventually find information on upcoming events related to the topic. Events listings will be updated soon.
A book about the challenge of disagreements
One of the biggest challenges for holding on to a belief is disagreement. A good disagreement tests whether the justification of a belief is strong enough to hold one to the belief ensuring religious knowledge. In the top left corner you will see the front cover of a book by James Kraft published with Palgrave/Macmillan describing how people do or don’t hold on to philosophical and religious beliefs during the most challenging situations of disagreement with people equivalently informed about the details of an issue and equivalently capable of evaluating the details. More details about the book, and how to buy it at a discount, can be found at the link “Book Above, Info, Purchase.” The book incorporates, while thoroughly explaining, relevant sources in the studies of epistemology, the epistemology of disagree, philosophy of religion, and religious epistemology.
Inspiration from Plato’s description of tethering
Those who are familiar with the work of Plato are thinking about how he describes the tethering function of justification.
In the Meno, Socrates compares the fact that justification holds a true belief in one’s possession to the tether that holds a statue of Daedalus in one’s possession. The statues were so life-like that they would run away if one didn’t have a good tether securing them:
To possess one of his works which is let loose does not count for much in value; it will not stay with you any more than a runaway slave: but when fastened up it is worth a great deal, for his productions are very fine things. And to what am I referring in all this? To true opinion. For these, so long as they stay with us, are a fine possession, and effect all that is good; but they do not care to stay for long, and run away out of the human soul, and thus are of no great value until one makes them fast with causal reasoning. And this process, friend Meno, is recollection, as in our previous talk we have agreed. But when once they are fastened, in the first place they turn into knowledge, and in the second, are abiding. And this is why knowledge is more prized than right opinion. (Plato, “Meno,” in Platonis Opera, edited by John Burnet. Perseus Digital Library Project, Tufts University. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1903)