- Peircean Faith: Perception, Trust, and Religious Belief in the Conduct of Life
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 54, Number 4, Fall 2018
- pp. 457-479
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Recent work on Peirce's religious writings has examined his defense of the rational acceptability of religious belief. This essay supplements that discussion with an examination of Peirce's account of faith. Within Peirce's defense of "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God" (1908) in a letter to Lady Welby, he offers a distinctive account of faith as trust. Peirce argues that faith arises from perception and leads to religious belief. What is distinctive about Peirce's view is that it includes the idea that faith arises prior to any properly 'conscious' belief that approaches knowledge. I contend that Peirce offers a non-doxastic account of faith according to which faith precedes and is separable from particular religious beliefs. Following an examination of Peirce's conception of perception, faith, and belief, I discuss a pressing objection to non-doxastic accounts, viz. the fictionalist objection. I conclude by arguing that a Peircean conception of faith copes with the objection and, in turn, provides a promising position from which to defend non-doxastic accounts generally.