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Knowledge, Belief, and Faith*

  • Anthony Kenny (a1)


Is belief in God reasonable? Richard Dawkins is right to say that traditional arguments for the existence of God are flawed; but so is his own disproof of the existence of God, and there are gaps in neo-Darwinian explanations of the origin of language, of life, and of the universe. The rational response is neither theism nor atheism but agnosticism. Faith in a creed is no virtue, but mere belief in God may be reasonable even if false.



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1 Actuum enim ad intellectum pertinentium quidam habent firmam assensionem absque tali cogitatione [= weighing up of alternatives] sicut cum aliquis considerat ea quae scit vel intelligit: talis enim consideratio iam est formata. Quidam vero actus intellectus habent quidem cogitationem informem absque firma assensione: sive in neutram partem declinent, sicut accidit dubitanti; sive in unam partem magis declinent sed tenentur aliquo levi signo, sicut accidit suspicanti; sive uni parti adhaereant, tamen cum formidine alterius, quod accidit opinanti.

2 Sed actus iste qui est credere habet firmam adhaesionem ad unam partem, in quo convenit credens cum sciente et intelligente; et tamen eius cognitio non est perfecta per manifestam visionem, in quo convenit cum dubitante, suspicante, et opinante.

* The Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lecture 2007, given at the London School of Economics, January 24th, 2007

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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