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p. 775. Does agnosticism rest on a mistake?locked

  • Robin Le Poidevin

Abstract

‘Does agnosticism rest on a mistake?’ examines knowledge and belief and asks whether assumptions made by agnostics are defensible. The work of A. J. Ayer and the influence of logical positivism is discussed. Since Ayer's criterion of verifiability only applies to sentences that are assertions, and not to expressions of emotion or statements in fiction, the possibility remains that theological sentences belong to the category of sentences which are expressive of emotions, or wishes, or else are fictional: they are about our ideals and aspirations. The impact of psychology on belief is explored in a discussion of the work of William James and the picture of knowledge Descartes offers is examined.

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