Fideism in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy of Religion
Fueled by an “externalist turn” in general epistemology, the later twentieth century saw a surge of interest among analytic philosophers of religion in a new version of fideism known as “moderate fideism”. It claims that religious beliefs might be warranted and thus rational even in the absence of supporting arguments or evidence. With its commitment to epistemic externalism, moderate fideism claims that insofar as it can successfully show that religious beliefs are properly basic, the very project of moderate fideism entails a wholesale rejection of theistic evidentialism. In this thesis, I challenge this widespread assumption, making a two-fold claim: first, that a close analysis of moderate fideism in analytic philosophy of religion, for example, of the works of Alvin Plantinga, Stephen Evans and Duncan Pritchard, can show that the fideistic conception of the proper basicality of theistic beliefs fails since its defense of non-inferentially justified theistic beliefs depends on reflective rationality and hence on some weak version of internalist epistemology and hence on a piece of natural theology that they find untenable in other contexts. Second, that it is possible, within religious epistemology, to develop a certain disjunctivism that combines moderate fideism and theistic evidentialism.