De scheepseigenaar en de gelovige: William Clifford over God, bewijs en doxastische verantwoordelijkheid | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 61, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268


At the end of the nineteenth century, in his famous essay ‘The Ethics of Belief’ the well-known mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford offered a powerful argument against religious beliefs. This article first gives an extensive analysis of Clifford’s evidentialist argument by placing it against the background of his evidentialist epistemology. Second, some arguments of William James, Clifford’s most famous critic, are expounded and criticised. Although there is some plausibility to these arguments, they are insufficient to refute Clifford’s evidentialism. Third, the author presents some problems for Clifford’s evidentialism, having to do with evidentialism as a moral thesis and with doxastic involuntarism, and offers some new arguments against Clifford’s evidentialist argument. Clifford’s argument against belief in God, as it stands, turns out to be untenable.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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