Item description for Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience by William P. Alston...
In Perceiving God, William P. Alston offers a clear and provocative account of the epistemology of religious experience. He argues that the "perception of God" his term for direct experiential awareness of God makes a major contribution to the grounds of religious belief. Surveying the variety of reported direct experiences of God among laypersons and famous mystics, Alston demonstrates that a person can be justified in holding certain beliefs about God on the basis of mystical experience. Through the perception that God is sustaining one in being, for example, one can justifiably believe that God is indeed sustaining one in being.
Alston offers a detailed discussion of our grounds for taking sense perception and other sources of belief including introspection, memory, and mystical experience to be reliable and to confer justification. He then uses this epistemic framework to explain how our perceptual beliefs about God can be justified. Alston carefully addresses objections to his chief claims, including problems posed by non-Christian religious traditions. He also examines the way in which mystical perception fits into the larger picture of grounds for religious belief.
Suggesting that religious experience, rather than being a purely subjective phenomenon, has real cognitive value, Perceiving God will spark intense debate and will be indispensable reading for those interested in philosophy of religion, epistemology, and philosophy of mind, as well as for theologians."
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Studio: Cornell University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.46" Width: 6.04" Height: 0.77" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Sep 29, 1993
Publisher Cornell University Press
ISBN 0801481554 ISBN13 9780801481550
Reviews - What do customers think about Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience?
A very subtle work Aug 14, 2001
A subtle work for advanced students. It seems destined to become a classic in the field, in my humble (non-expert) judgement.
Alston's great book Jun 17, 2000
William Alston is professor emeritus in philosophy at Syracuse University in USA. In this book he combines his knowledge of general epistemology with his interest in philosophy of religion. Alston focuses on experience as a provoding a strong basis for theist belief. He tries to show that in so far general perceptive practices are reliable, and Christian mystical practices may be shown to be very similar to general or "ordinary" perception, there is no reason to be a skeptic towards religious experiences. Like general doxastic practices, mystical perceptual practices may be shown to be socially established.
Alston projects his moderate foundationalism into philosophy of religion, in his model experience may be intimately conncted to experience of God, although it is never thought to be infallible. According to Alston theist belief is based on two pillars, natural theology and religious experience, where experience is the most important part.
The book may be read as a modern analytic philosopher's attempt to identify with the Christian mystical tradition, with its empahsis on direct awareness of God.