Reason, Conversion, and Plausibility

Reason, Conversion, and Plausibility April 15, 2011

That’s the title of my most recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here’s how it begins:

It is an odd thing to explain to other Christians why one moves from one theological tradition to another, since you know (or will eventually discover) that the reasons that seemed so compelling to you seem less than adequate to others. I believe that the reason for this is that each of us approaches these sorts of questions with a plausibility structure, about which we rarely reflect.

What do I mean by a “plausibility structure”? I mean by this those beliefs that we virtually never question but nevertheless help us to assess other beliefs that we are asked by others to entertain. That is, before we look at any controversial or contested issue – such as in politics, religion, ethics, etc. – we already have in our minds a bunch of other beliefs that we consider “obvious,” and it is those other beliefs that constitute our plausibility structure.

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