The Life of Irony and the Ethics of Belief

By David Wisdo

Subjects: Epistemology
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791412220, 153 pages, December 1992
Hardcover : 9780791412213, 153 pages, December 1992

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Table of contents


1. Self-Trust and the Ethics of Belief

2. The Ethics of Belief and Personal Knowledge

3. The Ethics of Belief and the Meaning of Life

4. Religious Belief and Self-Understanding

5. Self-Deception and the Ethics of Belief

6. The Fragility of Faith

7. Reductionism and the Ethics of Belief

8. Between Objectivity and Subjectivity: The Life of Irony




Wisdo concludes that the fragility of religious belief is due to the unavoidable irony intrinsic to the religious life.

David Wisdo is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Susquehanna University.


"This is a very personal, deeply reflective essay, wrestling with Kierkegaardian themes, such as the justification of religious belief and the grounding of moral commitments. The style of exposition is clear, sincere, and hence deeply engaging. Yet, at once, the essay is surprisingly sophisticated: the author ranges knowledgeably over philosophers from Locke and Descartes to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and recent work by David Wiggins and Richard Rorty. Within the context of the dialectic established by these philosophers concerning philosophical rationalism and anti-rationalism, this essay is a substantial contribution to the philosophical problem of the limits of rationality. This author thus manages to combine the exploration of scholarly historical and intellectual questions with a remarkably engaging personal reflection on the significance of these same questions—addressing, in the process, concerns which range through the boundaries of philosophy, religion, and ethics. I believe this work to be original and insightful. " — George R. Lucas, Jr. , The National Endowment for the Humanities