Templeton project

Brief description of the project and research statement

At each moment we form beliefs that we further utilize in making decisions, creating plans, constructing theories, and other epistemic practices. This process of belief formation is seemingly straightforward and without our active engagement. Nonetheless, as part of this process, we are able to take account of a vast amount of background information and be actively responsive to reasons. Although highly relevant for understanding epistemic agency, virtues, and epistemic practices, this is often overlooked. The research project interlinks these foundational issues with the question of how we should place ourselves in relation to others in “epistemic space”, with particular emphasis on religious belief and interreligious dialogue.

The research will proceed from a two-fold question: (i) how we form and maintain beliefs in a manner that is responsive to reasons and sensitive to a vast amount of background information, and (ii) how this affects epistemic agency, virtuousness and practices.
In relation to (i), the project develops a distinctive version of experiential evidentialism, claiming that the degree of propositional justification for a proposition is wholly determined by the agent’s experience. However, in contrast with other similar views, the developed account will allow for a vital role of conscious experience of content that might not be occurrently represented in consciousness but nonetheless appreciated. Such appreciation of the background information and the abductive character of belief formation are mainly missed in current debates. The result is a restricted conception of epistemic virtuousness.

The guiding idea for (ii) is that to be an epistemic agent is to form beliefs by being gripped-into-believing by one’s appreciation of a belief being fitting given pertinent evidence (reasons). We experience ourselves as epistemic agents and as responsive to reasons instead of experiencing beliefs as passive outcomes of some causal nexus. This is particularly relevant for religious belief and faith. Next, I propose to understand epistemic virtues within a model of epistemic rationality that distinguishes between core virtuousness (doing our best synchronically) and ancillary epistemic virtues enabling us to become better diachronically. A particular emphasis concerning the latter is be on the role of epistemic virtues in interreligious dialogue in light of the specificities of religious belief. Epistemic justice and humility are at the centre of the research. One of the aims is to point out how religion harbours important resources for understanding and cultivating these two ancillary virtues.

Project results

Chromatic illumination: conscious intentionality without conscious representation. ProtoSociology: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research. 2021, Vol. 38, pp. 35-58



Templeton Visiting Fellow
under the Grant made by The John Templeton Foundation

This website was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed here and in the linked publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the John Templeton Foundation.