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Evidentialism

From Academic Kids

Evidentialism is a theory of justified belief according to which belief in the truth of a proposition is justified only when the believer's entire body of evidence tends to support that belief. Evidentialism's approach to justified belief is marked by its appeal to evidence. In a sense, evidentialism holds that belief is only as sound as the evidence upon which it is founded.

Mortimer Adler argues that the very nature of full belief implies evidentialism. He concludes that belief is an attitude which is subject to the demands of evidence, so that it is not consistent to believe any proposition without evidence. Adler's argument is an example of evidentialism.

In contrast, non-evidentialism argues that beliefs can be justified without rational evidence. Fideism, as an example of non-evidentialism, holds that religious belief must be justified on belief alone. Another example of a contrasting approach to justified belief is Reliabilism, which holds that a belief is justified if and only if it is the result of a reliable belief forming process. Reliabilism in general does not tend to support faith based belief, however, it makes no appeal to "evidence" or other internal belief states of the person in question.

There is a lot of empirical evidence that, in many cases, the human mind is not naturally inclined to follow evidentialism. Cognitive dissonance is one example of this natural resistance. However, evidentialism merely seeks to define justified belief, acknowledging that there can also be prudent beliefs (e.g. believing beforehand that one will do well on an exam) while nevertheless maintaining that they are unjustified.

See also List of cognitive biasesTemplate:Philo-stub

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