DETERMINISM & EPISTEMOLOGY


At 89:50 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFKg0veH7fo&t=5443s it is mentioned that Guillaume Bignon dislikes the mad scientist analogy Tim Stratton makes for determinism, because it ‘may cut the link between evidence and belief’.

Reformed Epistemology is the philosophical view that ‘religious belief can be rational without any appeal to evidence or argument’. It stems from the theology of John Calvin, particularly the idea of Sensus Divinitatis.

May I observe that OF COURSE such an epistemology is required under exhaustive divine determinism such as Calvin’s! Determinism makes it impossible to rationally believe anything, because you aren’t weighing the evidence and coming to a reasoned conclusion – it is an outside factor causally determining you to hold that belief.

The syllogism being:
1) Rational beliefs are concluded based on consideration of evidence.
2) Determinism precludes any consideration of evidence.
3) Hence, determinism entails that we cannot hold rational beliefs.

What Reformed Epistemology does is allow the determinist to reject Premise 3, without denying the preceding premises. They can continue to affirm determinism, but also make the flat assertion that their causally determined beliefs are somehow rational!

NB: This is not to say that Reformed Epistemology is incorrect, or that we cannot know that God is real outside of evidence.

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