Samuel Lebens

Sam Lebens was awarded his doctorate by the University of London in 2010 for his thesis on Bertrand Russell’s ill-fated Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement. His thesis research led Sam into various areas of study, including early analytic philosophy, realism and nominalism regarding universals, the metaphysics and epistemology of logic, and the philosophy of language. Since completing his PhD, Lebens has been living in Israel with his wife and children, and has been concentrating on classical Talmudic study in Rabbinical Seminaries. Having been a part time fellow at the Herzl Institute, and having just completed his Rabbinical Ordination, Sam is about to take up a fellowship at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. He is also the chairperson of the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism (www.theapj.com).

Paper:
The Epistemology of Religiosity: a Jewish Perspective

Abstract:
This paper focuses on the Rabbinic suggestion that the attitude of awe, rather than any particular belief, lies at the heart of religiosity. On the basis of these Rabbinic sources, and others, the paper puts forward three theses: (1) that belief is not a sufficiently absorbing epistemic attitude to bear towards the truths of religion; (2) that much of our religious knowledge isn't mediated via belief; and (3) that make-believe is sometimes more important, in the cultivation of religiosity than is mere belief.