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Pragmatic and Transcendental Arguments for Theism: a Critical Examination

Authors
  • Pihlström, Sami1
  • 1 University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, Finland
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2002
Volume
51
Issue
3
Pages
195–214
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1023/A:1015503614393
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Commenting upon some recent literature on the topic, this paper examinestwo strategies by means of which one might try to defend theism: (1) a pragmatic (Jamesian) strategy, which focuses on the idea that religiousbelief has beneficial consequences in the believer's life, and (2) a transcendental (Kantian) strategy, according to which theism is requiredas a condition of our self-understanding as ethically oriented creatures.Both strategies are found unsatisfactory, unless synthesized and thussupported by each other. While no argument, either pragmatic ortranscendental, can demonstrate the existence of God, a pragmatictranscendental argument might have a legitimate role to play in thephilosophy of religion. The problem of relativism arises, however. It isconcluded that it remains unclear whether a religious believer could justifyher or his beliefs to anyone who does not already share those beliefs.

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