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Mesfer Alhayyani

PhD thesis

Nature of Faith


Research interests

Philosophy of religion, metaphysics and epistemology. 

Current research

The doxastic view of faith has been the common view for a long time, since it seemed intuitive to many people that belief is a necessary requirement for faith. However, a new theory of faith has been emerged. The non-doxastic theory challenges the common view by proposing that, instead of belief, faith requires only a positive cognitive attitude, such as trust, acceptance or assent.

Many of the arguments that have been put forward to defend the non-doxastic theory of faith rely on linguistic evidence and intuitions about the judgments and attitudes of people with faith. For instance, John Schellenberg and Daniel Howard-Snyder both present linguistic evidence to defend the claim that propositional faith is possible without belief; many authors use evidence from what faithful say, including religious sources, to defend views about the compatibility of faith and doubt. My research presents a response to the challenges that the non-doxastic theory of faith might face.

This discussion is almost entirely informed by a consideration of faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Part of the research will aim to broaden this discussion, as well as the evidence and intuitions that inform the current debate, by considering views about faithful attitudes in the Islamic tradition. This will make it easier for future researchers to understand the nature of faith from a broader range of perspectives.

Other information

I am sponsored by Kuwait University, Kuwait. I completed my B.A. in philosophy at Kuwait University (Kuwait, 2011), and my M.A in philosophy at the University of Oklahoma (USA, 2015). 

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