Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience by William P. Alston

By William P. Alston

During this transparent and provocative account of the epistemology of non secular event, William P. Alston argues that the conception of God-his time period for direct experiential wisdom of God-makes a massive contribution to the grounds of spiritual trust. Surveying the diversity of pronounced direct reviews of God, Alston demonstrates individual could be justified in keeping sure ideals approximately God at the foundation of mystical event.

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I now find that I have nothing to say against this possibility, and hence no reason to discredit those who report their cognition of God in these terms rather than in terms of indirect perceptual recognition. Nevertheless, I will still be focusing on direct perception of God in this book. The main rationale for this is that it is the simpler phenomenon (involving only one object of perception) and hence it should be thoroughly investigated before we pass on to the more complex two-object version.

This can be accepted even by those who hold that this impression of object givenness is only superficial and that it masks much more complex structures that are necessary for genuine perception. Let me say a bit more about this relationship that from the side of the subject is called direct awareness and from the side of the object is called presentation, givenness, or appearance. It is a mode of cognition that is essentially independent of any conceptualization, belief, judgment, or any other application of general concepts to the object, though it typically exists in close connection with the latter.

39). "I have no right to ignore the claims made upon me by the presence of my neighbour. . But to say that I am not permitted is to talk the language, not of any merely prudential or humanist morality, but of religious faith. It is to acknowledge that through the need of my neighbour a claim is being made upon me by unconditioned being, which is to say by God . . it is in the world that I encounter my neighbour, and God through my neighbour, and my neighbour through God" (pp. ' 4 The concentration on indirect perception of God may stem from a sense that there is something suspicious or worse—incoherent or impossible—in the notion of a direct awareness of God.

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