This book assesses whether belief in spirits is epistemically justified. It presents two arguments in support of the existence of spirits and arguments that experiences of various sorts (perceptions, mediumship, possession and animistic experiences) can lend justification to spirit-beliefs.
Most work in philosophy of religion exclusively deals with the existence of God or the epistemic status of belief in God. Spirit beliefs are often regarded as aberrations, and the falsity of such beliefs is often assumed. This book argues that various beliefs concerning spirits can be regarded as justified when they are rooted in experiences that are not defeated. It argues that spirit-beliefs are not defeated by recent theories put forth by neuroscientists, cognitive scientists or evolutionary biologists. Additional arguments are made that traditional theistic belief is epistemically linked to spirit beliefs and that unusual events can be explained in terms of spirit-activity. The book draws on theistic arguments, phenomenal conservatism and defenses of religious experiences to argue for the justification of spirit-beliefs.
The arguments draw on examples from various religious traditions ranging from Christianity and Islam to Haitian Vodou and Tibetan Bon.
The Epistemology of Spirit Beliefs will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working in philosophy of religion, religious epistemology, ethnography and cognitive neuroscience.