Monday, 1 April 2013

Professor Jennifer Faust on Religious Arguments


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.
rational conversion
epistemic duty

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.

Addendum/3/4/13
Siris at
question begging
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.


2 comments:

ktismatics said...

Regarding she-notes: Our daughter attends a small Midwestern college where GLBTQIA issues are prominent and gender identities are ambiguous. Student organizational meetings typically begin by each participant stating their name and preferred pronouns.

ombhurbhuva said...

Ktismatics:
I don't want to bang on about 'she' as long as it's consistent. I've gotten used to it. Your daughter's college has taken it to another level. I see a new line in bathroom towels emerging.

There are no French speakers as far as I know who want to change 'la maison' to 'le maison' to stress the duties of the male in the division of housework. It's an English (chiefly American) monoglot campaign. At some point someone will say 'why is woman condemned grammatically to generality and anonymity instead of specifity and presence'?. Faust's paper is from 2008 so perhaps the usage in philosophy was not quite universal as it is now.