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Probability in the Philosophy of Religion

Jake Chandler and Victoria S. Harrison, eds. (Oxford University Press: June 18, 2012), 272 pages.

Probability theory promises to deliver an exact and unified foundation for inquiry in epistemology and philosophy of science. But philosophy of religion is also fertile ground for the application of probabilistic thinking. This volume presents original contributions from twelve contemporary researchers, both established and emerging, to offer a representative sample of the work currently being carried out in this potentially rich field of inquiry. Grouped into five parts, the chapters span a broad range of traditional issues in religious epistemology. The first three parts discuss the evidential impact of various considerations that have been brought to bear on the question of the existence of God. These include witness reports of the occurrence of miraculous events, the existence of complex biological adaptations, the apparent ‘fine-tuning’ for life of various physical constants and the existence of seemingly unnecessary evil. The fourth part addresses a number of issues raised by Pascal’s famous pragmatic argument for theistic belief. A final part offers probabilistic perspectives on the rationality of faith and the epistemic significance of religious disagreement.

Table of Contents

    • Acknowledgements
    • List of Contributors
    • 1. Probability in the Philosophy of Religion, Jake Chandler and Victoria S. Harrison
  • Part I: Testimony and Miracles
    • 2. Peirce on Miracles: The Failure of Bayesian Analysis, Benjamin C. Jantzen
    • 3. The Reliability of Witnesses and Testimony to the Miraculous’, Tim McGrew and Lydia McGrew
    • 4. Does it Matter whether a Miracle-Like Event Happens to Oneself rather than to Someone Else?, Luc Bovens
  • Part II: Design
    • 5. Can Evidence for Design be Explained Away?, David H. Glass
    • 6. Bayes, God, and the Multiverse, Richard Swinburne
  • Part III: Evil
    • 7. Comparative Confirmation and the Problem of Evil’, Richard Otte
    • 8. Inductive Logic and the Probability that God Exists: Farewell to Sceptical Theism, Michael Tooley
  • Part IV: Pascal’s Wager
    • 9. Blaise and Bayes, Alan Hajek
    • 10. Many Gods, Many Wagers: Pascal’s Wager Meets the Replicator Dynamics, Paul Bartha
  • Part V: Faith and Disagreement
    • 11. Does Religious Disagreement Actually Aid the Case for Theism?, Joshua C. Thurow
    • 12. Can it be it Rational to Have Faith?, Lara Buchak
    • Index