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Disagreement, Deference, and Religious Commitment$
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John Pittard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190051815

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190051815.001.0001

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Unpalatable Conclusions and Deliberative Vertigo

Unpalatable Conclusions and Deliberative Vertigo

(p.282) 7 Unpalatable Conclusions and Deliberative Vertigo
Disagreement, Deference, and Religious Commitment

John Pittard

Oxford University Press

Some claim that maintaining robust commitment to one’s favored religious outlook is likely to be compatible with following strong conciliationism even if strong conciliationism rules out having controversial religious beliefs. This is because there are nondoxastic forms of religious commitment that do not require confident belief in the religious outlook to which one is committed. This chapter challenges such optimism about the compatibility of religious skepticism and religious commitment. It is argued, first, that those who adopt impartial credences and follow a cost-benefit approach to religious decision-making are likely to find that their approach to decision-making requires adopting a highly unpalatable form of religious commitment. A second argument concludes that no religious commitment is rational if strong conciliationism is correct. According to this argument, the normative uncertainty required by epistemic impartiality brings about a “deliberative vertigo” that prevents rationally motivated engagement any religious or irreligious way of life.

Keywords:   Pascal’s wager, religious commitment, practical rationality, normative uncertainty, certainty, higher-order norms

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