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I. Religion & Virtue Theory > Montmarquet & the Jamesian virtuous believer (1)

Montmarquet's "Epistemic Virtue, Religious Experience, and Belief" is a James-inspired virtue responsibilism applied to religious commitment. He shows his differences from the virtue reliabilists by writing that rather than conceiving virtues as qualities or capacities apt to produce true belies, we should, at least in this field, focus "on a concept of praise and blame sensitive virtues," thereby "eschewing any particular regard for knowledge and knowledge-yielding justification."
I understand a defense of religious commitment that disconnects such commitments from knowledge and evidentially-justified belief, and indeed I agree with that generally Jamesian defense. But my question is whether its really possible, as seems Montmarquet's intention here, to undergird that difference by identifying a special kind of reflective virtue (praise and blame sensitive virtues where open-mindedness & intellectual humility are the examples discussed in the paper). On the one hand these virtues are said to raise "epistemic--as opposed to merely practical--concerns." On the other, they are said not to be knowledge or justification-yielding virtues. Can we really hold these two claims together, I wonder?
June 7, 2006 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell
I'm not sure we can. I want to send you, Guy, a version of a paper specifically on Varieties of RE, which I've been working most industriously on of late. Here I follow the tried and true technique of attributing to my hero all, or most, of my own views -- but I do see James as struggling here to find a kind of middle course between pragmatic dismissal of the real truth-claims of mystics and those who, at the other extreme, try to link religious and perceptual experience -- all the while protesting, as does Alston, that the link is not supposed to taken overly seriously. I would like to see the Faith and Philosophy paper as a beginning -- but no more than that. (I wish I had a middle and an end!)
July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjames montmarquet
Thanks for that, Jim. I'm glad you're productively writing and I'd surely like to see your paper on James and any connections to virtue theoretical approaches to religious belief, as I think its a fascinating area. (So please do send it along to me or I'd suggest posting it as a draft paper for comments at JanusBlog Library. Have you seen Gregory Pappas' two fine papers on James, (one of which I recall is "William James' Virtuous Religous Beleiver")?
August 8, 2006 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell