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The Wisdom to Doubt A Justification of Religious Skepticism

by J. L. Schellenberg

The Wisdom to Doubt A Justification of Religious Skepticism Synopsis

The Wisdom to Doubt is a major contribution to the contemporary literature on the epistemology of religious belief. Continuing the inquiry begun in his previous book, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, J. L. Schellenberg here argues that given our limitations and especially our immaturity as a species, there is no reasonable choice but to withhold judgment about the existence of an ultimate salvific reality. Schellenberg defends this conclusion against arguments from religious experience and naturalistic arguments that might seem to make either religious belief or religious disbelief preferable to his skeptical stance. In so doing, he canvasses virtually all of the important recent work on the epistemology of religion. Of particular interest is his call for at least skepticism about theism, the most common religious claim among philosophers. The Wisdom to Doubt expands the author's well-known hiddenness argument against theism and situates it within a larger atheistic argument, itself made to serve the purposes of his broader skeptical case. That case need not, on Schellenberg's view, lead to a dead end but rather functions as a gateway to important new insights about intellectual tasks and religious possibilities.

The Wisdom to Doubt A Justification of Religious Skepticism Press Reviews

The Wisdom to Doubt is a major contribution to the philosophical discussion of religion and carries profound import for anyone interested in the study of religious phenomena. Schellenberg's construction of 'an edifice of doubt' here embraces a generalized religious skepticism that includes the claims of a naturalism prone to overestimating the accomplishments of science and underestimating the potential of religion. The book provides a sophisticated and systematic treatment of the arguments for and against the existence of an ultimate salvific reality, and in the process reveals a wisdom in rising above religious and irreligious belief which are both just 'too neat and tidy, too smooth and definite for our world.' In showing that it is 'abundantly clear that the truth about religion is unclear' Schellenberg provides a basis for different kinds of study of religion and religions that will appeal to many scholars within and beyond the walls of philosophy. -Donald Wiebe, Trinity College, University of Toronto The Wisdom to Doubt is extraordinarily well structured; moreover, it is stuffed with powerful arguments that are passionately expressed and enlightening. Those who are serious about the philosophy of religion will have to come to terms with it. -Daniel Howard-Snyder, Western Washington University This is a brilliant work, full of original thinking and unhurriedly persuasive argument. The project it carries forward is a major new departure in the philosophy of religion, and should break much of the deadlock in contemporary debate. -Terence Penelhum, University of Calgary Schellenberg's book provides an interesting and thought provoking case for Categorical Religious Skepticism. . . . Like his other books, The Wisdom to Doubt is well written and clear. Helpful charts and figures facilitate a better understanding of the text. His arguments become clearer and easier to grasp, and more challenging, the more time one spends thinking through them. I encourage readers to carefully attend to his arguments or risk missing a good opportunity to be challenged. -Erik Baldwin, Kinesis

Book Information

ISBN: 9780801478512
Publication date: 30th October 2012
Author: J. L. Schellenberg
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 344 pages

About J. L. Schellenberg

J. L. Schellenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. He is the author of Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism, and The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion, all from Cornell.

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