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I. Some Assorted Versions of Rationality

Of course there are other questions lurking in the nearby bushes, other ways to construe the de jure question. In particular, we can ask whether the believer is rational in believing as she does. Many who put the de jure question or urge a de jure criticism put it in terms of rationality, not justification. (More often, they put it both ways, sometimes just using the one as a synonym for the other.) So suppose we 109look into this matter: could it be that the appropriate de jure question is whether Christian belief (with or without evidence) is rational?

But what is it for a belief to be rational? The first thing to note is that this term is multifarious, indeed, polyphonous, as our postmodern compatriots like to say. There are several importantly different ideas of rationality floating around, and the first thing we have to do is to specify the concept of rationality involved in our question. What are the main conceptions of rationality? In Warrant: The Current Debate (hereafter WCD), I specified some different but analogically related senses of the term. The basic sense is (1) Aristotelian rationality, the sense in which, as Aristotle said, “Man is a rational animal.” Related to it in various ways are (2) rationality as proper function; (3) rationality as within or conforming to the deliverances of reason; (4) means-ends rationality, where the question is whether a particular means someone chooses is, in fact, a good means to her ends; and (5) deontological rationality. We must look briefly at these; after that, we shall turn at slightly greater length to William Alston’s practical rationality. Our task will be lightened, however, by the fact that we have already dealt with (5) in the last chapter.123123   Deontological rationality is really justification; see above, chapter 3, p. 87. It is worth noting the analogical connection between justification and rationality.

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