Neil Van Leeuwen Argument Essay

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Neil Van Leeuwen postulates that the term “belief” has difference, not only in its referred contents, but also to the attitudes in which they are made or articulated. Van Leeuwen argues that two different attitudes towards “beliefs” emerge; namely, he differentiates between what he calls a factual belief and religious credence (Van Leeuwen 2014, p. 01). He states that factual beliefs adhere to certain properties that religious credence’s do not, and vice versa. I shall begin by defining a few terms, and then explaining Van Leeuwen’s argument. Then, I will consider various objections to his argument as well as counter objections that a defender of Van Leeuwen’s theory may hold. Afterward, I shall examine further areas that Van Leeuwen’s theory…show more content…
While Van Leeuwen does not offer a strict definition of religious credence or factual belief, it is still important to vaguely outline the differences. Factual beliefs (though not explicitly stated) have to do with beliefs that correspond directly to the physical world around us. Perceptual beliefs, such as ‘the sky is blue’, would count as a factual belief. Similarly, factual beliefs may be about people in the world, so long as those beliefs are verifiable via some other thing in the world. Religious credence’s are lumped with what Van Leeuwen calls secondary cognitive attitudes, which include fictional imagining, hypotheses and acceptance for the sake of the argument (p. 07). For the purposes of this essay, I shall focus solely on the dichotomy between factual beliefs and religious credence’s, while not making mention of other secondary cognitive attitudes. It should be noted here that Van Leeuwen allows that some religious beliefs may cross into the realm of factual beliefs and vice versa, though it is not clear which (p. 05). With these terms defined, I shall now turn to Van Leeuwen’s theory. Van Leeuwen states that there are two different

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