In this Book

The Wisdom to Doubt
summary

The Wisdom to Doubt is a major contribution to the contemporary literature on the epistemology of religious belief. Continuing the inquiry begun in his previous book, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, J. L. Schellenberg here argues that given our limitations and especially our immaturity as a species, there is no reasonable choice but to withhold judgment about the existence of an ultimate salvific reality. Schellenberg defends this conclusion against arguments from religious experience and naturalistic arguments that might seem to make either religious belief or religious disbelief preferable to his skeptical stance. In so doing, he canvasses virtually all of the important recent work on the epistemology of religion. Of particular interest is his call for at least skepticism about theism, the most common religious claim among philosophers.

The Wisdom to Doubt expands the author's well-known hiddenness argument against theism and situates it within a larger atheistic argument, itself made to serve the purposes of his broader skeptical case. That case need not, on Schellenberg's view, lead to a dead end but rather functions as a gateway to important new insights about intellectual tasks and religious possibilities.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Preface: An Uncertain Heritage
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. Part I. Finitude and the Future: Seven Modes of Religious Skepticism
  2. pp. 11-14
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  1. 1. The Subject Mode
  2. pp. 15-49
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  1. 2. The Object Mode
  2. pp. 50-68
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  1. 3. The Retrospective Mode
  2. pp. 69-90
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  1. 4. The Prospective Mode
  2. pp. 91-107
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  1. 5. The Modes Combined: Limitation, Immaturity, Presumption
  2. pp. 108-117
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  1. 6.The Bearing of Pragmatic Considerations
  2. pp. 118-130
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  1. Part II. Cradles of Conviction: The Modes Applied and Fortified
  2. pp. 131-132
  1. 7. An Answer to Naturalism
  2. pp. 133-159
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  1. 8. The Questionableness of Religious Experience
  2. pp. 160-190
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  1. Part III. God and the Gaps: The Modes Illustrated and Vindicated
  2. pp. 191-194
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  1. 9. Hiddenness Arguments I
  2. pp. 195-226
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  1. 10. Hiddenness Arguments II
  2. pp. 227-242
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  1. 11. The Argument from Horrors
  2. pp. 243-269
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  1. 12. The Free-Will Offense
  2. pp. 270-290
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  1. 13. Consolidating Forces The Arguments Combined
  2. pp. 291-296
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  1. 14. Closing the Case: Seven Proofs and a Skeptical Conclusion
  2. pp. 297-309
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 310-312
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  1. Appendix A. Definitions
  2. pp. 313-316
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  1. Appendix B. Principles
  2. pp. 317-320
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 321-326
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