Remembering religious experience: Reconstruction, reflection, and reliability


Episodic memory
Religious belief
Religious experience

How to Cite

Munro, D. (2024). Remembering religious experience: Reconstruction, reflection, and reliability. Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 5.


This paper explores the relationship between religious belief and religious experience, bringing out a role for episodic memory that has been overlooked in the epistemology of religion. I do so by considering two questions. The first, the “Psychological Question,” asks what psychological role religious experiences play in causally bringing about religious beliefs. The second, the “Reliability Question,” asks: for a given answer to the Psychological Question about how religious beliefs are formed, are those beliefs formed using generally truth-conducive cognitive mechanisms or patterns of reasoning? I argue that the standard way of answering the Psychological Question overlooks the fact that religious beliefs are often formed via reflection on episodic memories of past religious experiences. Furthermore, recognizing this opens up room to make more meaningful progress on answering the Reliability Question.


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