Pluralism and Probability
Schellenberg (J.L.)
Source: Religious Studies, 33, Issue 02, June 1997, pp 143-159
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    In this paper I discuss a neglected form of argument against religious belief-generically, 'the probabilistic argument from pluralism'. If the denial of a belief is equivalent to the disjunction1 of its alternatives and if we may gain some idea as to the probabilities of such disjunctions2 by adding the separate probabilities of their mutually exclusive disjuncts, and if, moreover, the denials of many religious beliefs are disjunctions3 known to have two or more mutually exclusive members each possessing a significant degree or probability, then at any rate in many such cases, the denial of a religious belief can be shown to be more probable than it is--which is to say that the belief can be shown to be improbable. I consider a large number of responses to arguments of this form, concluding that none suffices to overthrow it altogether. Indeed, the argument remains as a significant threat to any religious belief confronted by a plurality of alternatives.

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