Rationality and Religious Commitment

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2011-11-10
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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Rationality and Religious Commitmentshows how religious commitment can be rational and describes the place of faith in the postmodern world. It portrays religious commitment as far more than accepting doctrines--it is viewed as a kind of life, not just as an embrace of tenets. Faith is conceived as a unique attitude. It is irreducible to belief but closely connected with both belief and conduct, and intimately related to life's moral, political, and aesthetic dimensions. Part One presents an account of rationality as a status attainable by mature religious people--even those with a strongly scientific habit of mind. Part Two describes what it means to have faith, how faith is connected with attitudes, emotions, and conduct, and how religious experience may support it. Part Three turns to religious commitment and moral obligation and to the relation between religion and politics. It shows how ethics and religion can be mutually supportive even though ethics provides standards of conduct independently of theology. It also depicts the integrated life possible for the religiously committed--a life with rewarding interactions between faith and reason, religion and science, and the aesthetic and the spiritual. The book concludes with two major accounts. One explains how moral wrongs and natural disasters are possible under God conceived as having the knowledge, power, and goodness that make such evils so difficult to understand. The other account explores the nature of persons, human and divine, and yields a conception that can sustain a rational theistic worldview even in the contemporary scientific age.

Author Biography

Robert Audi is John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of many books, including Moral Knowledge and Ethical Character (OUP, 1997), The Architecture of Reason: The Structure and Substance of Rationality (OUP, 2001), Moral Value and Human Diversity (OUP, 2007), Business Ethics and Ethical Business (OUP, 2009), and Democratic Authority and the Separation of Church and State (OUP, forthcoming in 2011).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xiv
Four Epistemological Standards: Rationality and Reasonableness, Justification and Knowledge
Rationality in Thought and Actionp. 3
The contours of rationalityp. 6
Rationality and reasons: theoretical and practicalp. 10
The practical authority of theoretical reasonp. 13
Rationality and its experiential groundsp. 16
Rationality, reasoning, and responsiveness to experiencep. 20
Justification, Knowledge, and Reasonablenessp. 24
Rationality and justificationp. 24
Rationality as normatively more permissive than justificationp. 29
Justification and knowledgep. 34
Reasonablenessp. 39
Rationality and reasonableness in the aesthetic domainp. 40
The normative appraisal of religious commitmentsp. 43
The Dimensions of Rational Religious Commitment
Belief, Faith, Acceptance, and Hopep. 51
The nature and varieties of faithp. 52
Conditions for rational faith: a preliminary sketchp. 66
Fiducial faithp. 68
Acceptancep. 80
Faith, belief, and hope: some normative contrastsp. 84
The Diversity of Religious Commitmentp. 89
Religious commitment in the context of existential narrativesp. 89
Attitudinal and volitional elements in religious commitmentsp. 92
Institutional aspects of religious conductp. 96
Degrees of religious commitmentp. 99
Experiential and Pragmatic Aspects of Religious Commitmentsp. 105
Religious experiences as possible support for theismp. 107
Perceptual religious experiencesp. 112
The normative authority of religious experiencep. 117
The pragmatic dimension of support for religious commitmentp. 125
The doxastic practice approach to defending the rationality of theismp. 129
Religious experience, fiducial attitudes, and religious conductp. 131
Religion, Theology, and Morality
Religious Commitment and Moral Obligationp. 137
Divine command ethicsp. 138
Divine commandedness versus divine commandabilityp. 142
Divine commandability, obligation, and the goodp. 151
The autonomy of ethics and the moral authority of Godp. 153
Religiously grounded conductp. 160
Religious Integration and Human Flourishingp. 165
The scope of religious integrationp. 166
Sociopolitical aspects of religious integrationp. 171
Natural theology and the obligations of citizenshipp. 174
Theism and the scientific habit of mindp. 181
The aesthetic dimension of religious commitmentp. 184
The Rationality of Religious Commitment in the Postmodern World
Internal Challenges to the Rationality of Religious Commitmentp. 191
The divine attributesp. 192
Pluralism, defeasibility, and rationalityp. 197
Rational religious disagreement, skepticism, and humilityp. 201
The Problem of Evilp. 205
A conception of the problem of evilp. 205
The axiology of good and evilp. 209
A theocentric versus a cosmocentric approach to the problemp. 214
Moral evil in a world under Godp. 219
Theological choiceworthinessp. 228
Natural evilp. 231
Dimensions of divine knowledgep. 240
The Challenge of Naturalismp. 247
Philosophical naturalismp. 247
Scientific explanation and cosmological perplexityp. 250
Personhood, mental substance, and embodimentp. 253
The possibility of divine embodimentp. 257
Mental causation and mentalistic explanationp. 264
Causation, causal explanation, and causal powerp. 270
The causal closure versus the causal sufficiency of the physical worldp. 276
Intellectual economy and the scientific approach to the worldp. 281
Conclusionp. 286
Referencesp. 297
Indexp. 307
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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