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A problem with Alston's indirect analogy-argument from religious experience


In this paper, William Alston's argument from religious experience in Perceiving God is characterized and assessed as an indirect analogy-argument. Such arguments, I propose, should establish two similarities between sense perception (SP) and religious experience (CMP): a structural and a functional. I argue that Alston neglects functional similarity, and that SP and CMP actually perform different functions within the practices they belong to. Alston's argument is therefore significantly weaker than generally assumed. Finally, I argue that regardless of whether an increased emphasis on fruits could strengthen indirect analogy-arguments or not, this is not a strategy available to Alston as long as he retains his commitments to religious exclusivism and a religious metaphysical realism.

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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