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By Richard Swinburne

Richard Swinburne provides a brand new version of 1 of his vintage works on philosophical theology. religion and cause is a self-standing exam of the results for non secular religion of Swinburne's well-known arguments concerning the coherence of theism and the lifestyles of God. Swinburne analyzes the needs of training a faith, and argues that non secular religion calls for trust specific creed presents the explanation for supposing that those reasons may be accomplished. whereas protecting a similar constitution and conclusions because the unique, this moment variation has been considerably rewritten, either so that it will relate its principles extra heavily to these of classical theologians and philosophers and to reply to more moderen perspectives.

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We assume (by the principle of simplicity) that purposes do not come and go completely randomly, and so, if failing to hit T with his shot, S then tries to strangle him, we infer that S believes that strangling kills (because S ’s purpose of killing T has remained). Another principle that we use (which may be derivable from the principle of simplicity) is the principle of testimony—that normally people tell the truth. And so on. Hence, in the absence of grounds for supposing otherwise, we believe what others say about their beliefs and purposes.

If we show to a person S other people being killed by being shot in the heart, we reasonably suppose that S will come to believe that shooting in the heart kills (since we ourselves would come to hold that belief when shown what S was shown), and so if we then see S intentionally shooting someone else T in the heart, we infer that he believes that he will kill T, and so has the purpose of killing T. We assume (by the principle of simplicity) that purposes do not come and go completely randomly, and so, if failing to hit T with his shot, S then tries to strangle him, we infer that S believes that strangling kills (because S ’s purpose of killing T has remained).

Pascal recognized the diVerence between believing that there is a God and acting on the assumption that there is a God. He replies to someone who says ‘But I can’t believe’ with the following recipe for how to acquire belief that there is a God: ‘You want to be cured of unbelief and you ask for the remedy; learn from those who were once bound like you and who now wager all they have. They behaved just as if they did believe, taking holy water, having masses said, and so on. e. on the assumption that p, is thus distinguished from belief as a state causally eYcacious in producing belief that p.

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