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Probability and Theistic Explanation
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Probability and Theistic Explanation


Clarendon Press 1990

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In the past 20 years, interest in the epistemic status of religious belief has greatly increased. Leading this revival are philosophers Basil Mitchell and Richard Swinburne, who believe that religious belief can be justified using inductive “best explanation” arguments. However, while Swinburne’s approach is formal, using the calculus of Bayes theorem, Mitchell’s is informal, based on his recognition of judgment as central to such an assessment. Probability and Theistic Explanation is the first full length comparison of these two men and their styles of justifying religious belief. The first half addresses the issues of rationality, endorsing Mitchell’s methodology; the second half explores the concept of theistic explanation and demonstrates that the ontological argument has a place in the comprehensive explanatory power of theism.

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Key Features

  • Examines Richard Swinburne’s treatment of the evidence of evil
  • Discusses the general applicability of Bayes’ theorem for the assessment of theism
  • Analyzes the use of evaluative criteria


  • Evil and Theistic Explanation
  • Evaluative Criteria and Bayes’ Theorem
  • Informal Reasoning and Religious Belief (1)
  • Informal Reasoning and Religious Belief (2)
  • Theism as an Explanatory Hypothesis
  • Causality, Meaning, and the Concept of God
  • Necessity and Explanation
  • The Concept of God and Natural Theology

Praise for the Print Edition

Well worth reading, and is recommended for advanced undergraduates.


Prevost’s efforts here are largely successful. . . . An important contribution.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Product Details

  • Title: Probability and Theistic Explanation
  • Author: Robert Prevost
  • Series: Oxford Theological Monographs
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date: 1990
  • Pages: 208

About Robert Prevost

Robert Prevost is an associate professor of religion and philosophy at Wingate University.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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