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Title: Towards a Catholic epistemology
Author: Stacey, Gregory
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 0622
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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In this thesis, I develop a Catholic analysis of faith and reason, drawing on insights from a movement in contemporary analytic philosophy: Reformed Epistemology. In my first chapter, I explain that despite criticism from Catholic philosophers, Reformed Epistemology provides a broadly salutary model of faith. Inspired by Reformed Epistemology, I develop a further model ("Counter-Reformed Epistemology") which is philosophically defensible, and which accords well with a set of theological desiderata for such a model drawn from the Church's dogmatic teaching about faith. These desiderata include divine faith consisting of propositional assent to divine revelation which is (at least, in paradigm instances) perfectly certain, rationally tenacious and freely chosen. I argue that CRE accounts for these properties of faith better than competing analyses of faith advanced by Catholic philosophers. In the second chapter, I expand my sketch of CRE, to show how it can account for the possibility of "implicit" Catholic faith in those who non-culpably fail to believe in the gospel. In doing so, I also compare CRE to the insights of Rahner and von Balthasar, who are important representatives of modern approaches to "fundamental theology". In the remainder of my thesis, I aim to show that CRE has considerable precedent in Catholic theological tradition. In successive chapters, I argue that Augustine, Aquinas and Newman all advanced religious epistemologies which to different degrees bear considerable similarities to CRE, engaging with various modern interpretations of their work. The support of authors in the tradition should lend plausibility to my model from a Catholic perspective, meaning that Catholics with "basic" belief in divine revelation can be fairly confident that their belief is epistemically fitting. In all, I argue that Reformed Epistemology provides the resources to develop a model of faith that accords well with a traditional Catholic understanding of faith and reason.
Supervisor: Leftow, Brian ; Wood, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Religious Epistemology ; Theology, Doctrinal ; Reformed Epistemology ; Philosophy of Religion ; Catholic Theology