Open Access Repository

Do religious beliefs have a place within an 'epistemically naturalized' cognitive system?

Wood, G ORCID: 0000-0002-0307-9012 2017 , 'Do religious beliefs have a place within an 'epistemically naturalized' cognitive system?' , Sophia , pp. 1-18 , doi: 10.1007/s11841-016-0567-4.

Full text not available from this repository.


This paper offers an account of religious belief using the resources available within naturalized epistemology. The account accepts the basic architecture of an individual’s ‘web of belief’ as articulated by Quine and Ullian, and explores some of the further details of the Quinean account of naturalised epistemology. The paper then updates that account drawing on recent work in psychology and cognitive science. The paper also considers the purpose of an individual’s web of belief. Quine’s web of belief has a very tightly constrained purpose, namely, the prediction of future experience in the light of past experience. But, drawing lessons from the feminist critique of analytic epistemology and the philosophy of science, this paper considers the consequences if the purposes of a web of belief are wider than simply predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Drawing on work from the cognitive science of religion the paper suggests a wider set of purposes could result in religious beliefs existing in a web of belief, even when that web of belief is understood purely from the perspective of naturalised epistemology.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wood, G
Keywords: naturalised epistemology, religious epistemology, web of belief, Quine, core knowledge systems, feminist critique of philosophy of science, cognitive science of religion
Journal or Publication Title: Sophia
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
ISSN: 0038-1527
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s11841-016-0567-4
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sophia. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Related URLs:
Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page