Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy

Agnaldo Cuoco Portugal

Universidade de Brasília

Disagreement on Belief in God
and Bayesian Conditions for Convergence

25 July 2017, 11:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: The Existence of God (1979, 2004) by Richard Swinburne is one of the most influential books in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. Among its many virtues, it proposes to frame the traditional arguments of natural theology (teleological, cosmological, the problem of evil, etc.) in an inductive probabilistic form. This way, each argument does not aim to lead to a necessary deductive conclusion about the existence of God, but only to increase or decrease its probability, following an epistemic interpretation of Bayes’s theorem as a formal reasoning tool. The proposal of the seminar is to discuss an alternative way to use the theorem as a structure for interpreting the disagreement involved in the discussion about the justification of theism. In this proposal, I will suggest both a theory of probability and an assessment of the priors assigned to theism by the main parties involved, which are different from the ones employed by Swinburne. As a result, another manner of conceiving the rationality of the belief in God will be put forward in this disagreement scenario.


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