Responsibility for Fundamentalist Belief

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this chapter is to answer the question of how people can be responsible for holding fundamentalist beliefs, say, about the social position of minorities such as women, homosexuals, and people of other faiths or ideologies. It sets out by exploring what fundamentalist beliefs are. After providing a family resemblance account of fundamentalist beliefs, the chapter moves on to scrutinize how people can be responsible for such beliefs. Of course, there will be scenarios in which people are not to be blamed for fundamentalist beliefs, especially cases of trauma and indoctrination. However, in many cases, such as those of many leading figures in fundamentalist movements, we do want to hold people responsible for their fundamentalist convictions. How we can do so is especially challenging, because, as several philosophers, such as Michael Baurman and Cassim Qassam, have rightly argued, fundamentalist belief can be perfectly subjectively rational. Getting a firmer grip on the nature of and responsibility for fundamentalist beliefs will help us to understand an important disturbing phenomenon in contemporary society, but possibly also to take relevant steps to prevent people from forming or maintaining such fundamentalist beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEpistemic Duties
Subtitle of host publicationNew Arguments, New Angles
EditorsKevin McCain, Scott Stapleford
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429030215
ISBN (Print)9780367141103
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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