The Epistemology of Spirit Beliefs
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This book assesses whether religious epistemology can be expanded to argue for the justification of belief in spirits. It focuses specifically on experiences of spirits, animistic beliefs and belief in possession.
Most work in philosophy of religion exclusively deals with the existence of God or the epistemic status of belief in God. Spirit beliefs are often regarded as aberrations, and the falsity of such beliefs is often assumed. This book argues that various beliefs concerning spirits can be regarded as justified when they are rooted in experiences that are not defeated. It argues that spirit-beliefs are not defeated by recent theories put forth by neuroscientists, cognitive scientists or evolutionary biologists. Additional arguments are made that traditional theistic belief is epistemically linked to spirit beliefs and that events can be explained in terms of spirit-activity. The book draws on theistic arguments, phenomenal conservatism, and defenses of religious experiences to argue for the justification of spirit-beliefs.
The Epistemology of Spirit Beliefs will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working in philosophy of religion, religious epistemology, ethnography and cognitive neuroscience.
Table of Contents
1. What are Spirit-beliefs? 2. From Theism to Spirit-beliefs 3. From Unusual Events to Spirit-beliefs 4. Justification from Experiences 5. Justification from Perception-like Experiences 6. Justification from Mediumship-experiences 7. Justification from Possession-experiences 8. Justification from Animistic Experiences
Hans Van Eyghen is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Tilburg University, Netherlands.