This morning I read for the first time Professor Jennifer Faust’s paper on doxastic question begging:
question beggingIt’s a very clear exposition of certain lines of thought which I have posted on in a lighter form. I find that I am in agreement with her if that isn’t too bumptious a claim.
As a slight data element I considered also the case of philosophers who might be considered in general more likely to be led by argument. I was chiefly considering the path from atheism to theism and based my reflections on sketchy biographical information. The indication seems to be that a surprising number of philosophers did not go the rational route of persuasive arguments.
The illative sense as developed by Newman plays a part in what Faust calls doxastic question begging. What rings true for me may be sheer folly for you. She explains all this in a very clear and cogent manner and does not flinch from stating that the atheist is playing the same game. However and this is a well observed phenomenon, faith is more easily lost as a result of hearkening to arguments that undercut its rational pretensions. She stresses also that theological arguments are as much a meditation as persuasion for the faithful.
She note: Faust uses ‘he’ as the unmarked pronoun at first, then switches to ‘she’ and then back again to ‘he’ later. There might be a method or many editors making ‘she’ work.
gives his views on Professor Faust’s paper. His is a more general classical discussion of the role of argument whereas Faust’s is a more focused one on the very contentious metaphysical debates e.g. the existence of God, the external world. She is looking at argument from a forensic point of view, pro and con the motion, that sort of dialogue. Arguments with the intent of persuasion do not work in the very contentious debates. It is only one’s prior commitment that makes them seem to be ‘persuasive’. Siris identifies this prior commitment according to the classic account of rhetoric as the force of pathos and ethos. It is not just logos that is operative.
That is a sketch of Siris’s explication which I found informative and lucid.