Is There a Dilemma for First-Order Supernaturalist Belief?
Talbot School of Theology
The importance of seventeenth-century religious epistemology is reflected in the enduring influence of David Hume’s essay “Of Miracles.”1 Brandon Thorn-hill-Miller and Peter Millican continue in the tradition of nuanced praise for this icon of religious skepticism.2 They vigorously object to Hume’s “Maxim on miracles” as it is usually and most plausibly interpreted; nevertheless, they see in Hume’s treatment of miracles the lineaments of an argument that deserves refinement. It is an argument against “first-order supernaturalism.”Janusz Salamon defends a version of first-order religious belief against the challenge set forth by Thornhill-Miller and Millican.3 This version of first-order religious belief identifies what is religiously ultimate with what is fundamentally good. This “axiologically grounded” religious outlook he calls “agatheism.” While his “agatheism” is a bona fide case of first-order religious belief, it complements the Thornhill-Miller and Millican thesis in somewhat unexpected ways.My plan is, first, to evaluate key elements of the Thornhill-Miller and Millican challenge, and then to comment more briefly on the shape of Salamon’s religious epistemology as it relates to the problem of religious diversity and the conflict between naturalism and supernaturalism.
Naturalism; Supernaturalism; Epistemology
European Journal for Philosophy of Religion
DOI of Published Version
Geivett, R. Douglas, "Is There a Dilemma for First-Order Supernaturalist Belief?" (2017). Faculty Articles & Research. 547.