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God

(13,726 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Heintel, Erich | Reichenbach, Bruce R. | Preuss, Horst Dietrich | Roloff, Jürgen | Et al.
1. Ideas of God in the Religions Ideas are phenomena. We may interpret them in broader social and intellectual contexts, but they also speak for themselves in images, words, names, and texts. Even when deity is their content, they can display only themselves, not show whether revelation or merely human imagination underlies them, though this observation does not mean that we can rule out divine revelation. To speak of an idea of God tacitly presupposes horizontal comparison between societies and cultures. We set different ideas of God on different levels, thou…

God, Arguments for the Existence of

(2,391 words)

Author(s): Reichenbach, Bruce R.
1. General 1.1. Arguments, Proofs, and Basic Beliefs William Clifford (1845–79) wrote that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence” (“The Ethics of ¶ Belief”). This evidentialist position reflects the view, common in the modern era after R. Descartes (1596–1650; Cartesianism), that belief in God should be justified by arguments. This strong evidentialism contrasts somewhat with the prior Augustinian tradition (Augustine’s Theology), which viewed the arguments for God’s e…

Epistemology

(1,972 words)

Author(s): Brown, Robert F. | Schwartz, Werner | Reichenbach, Bruce R.
1. Philosophical 1.1. Knowledge and Belief Epistemology (Gk. epistēmē, “knowledge”) concerns what counts as knowledge and how we acquire it. Formal systems (logic and mathematics) are known a priori, apart from experience. Philosophers disagree as to whether knowledge about the world is a posteriori (derived from experience) or is in some sense also a priori. Most discussion involves knowledge of propositions (expressed in language), although other kinds include tacit knowledge (without explicit awareness of it) and “knowing how,” or skill in doing something. Plato (427–347 b…