Let's keep it simple, then.
Joe is a devout Mormon, and makes the following statement:
“I, Joe, have received a revelation from the Holy Spirit that the Gordon B. Hinckley is a true prophet of God. And that further more, all of the past presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been chosen of God as prophets, seers and revelators.”
That's not the Mormon Prayer. This would be a separate kind of revelation. Now, if this is Joe's claim, how does it get dismissed, according to your post? Specifically, how might you dismiss it in a way that doesn't leave Exapologist dismissing *your* testimony on the same grounds?
Is there a way?
1.Before answering his specific question, let’s step back a few paces. Touchstone and the interlocutor are acting as if no one is entitled to claim knowledge by acquaintance or mount an argument from experience unless everyone is entitled to do the same.
But this is absurd. Given, on the one hand, the fact that we all rely on experience as a major source of information, then knowledge by acquaintance, and existential arguments, are unavoidable.
On the other hand, every appeal to knowledge by acquaintance is not a legitimate appeal. Certain conditions must be met.
As I’ve said before, the argument from religious experience is a subdivision of the argument from experience generally, which is—in turn—a subdivision of knowledge by acquaintance.
There is nothing special about the argument from *religious* experience that isn’t applicable to experience in general.
Paradigm examples of knowledge by acquaintance would include perceptual beliefs as well as mnemonic beliefs.
2.Are we going to say that an appeal to sense knowledge is illicit unless an appeal to sense knowledge is inerrant?
Or take our memories. In many cases, it’s not possible to verify our memories.
And it’s also possible, as we all know, to misremember a personal experience.
Does this mean that no appeal to memory is licit unless every appeal to memory is licit?
Once again, that’s absurd. We all rely on memory, even if our memories sometimes fail us.
Now there are some philosophers who would take that position. But, if so, they wouldn’t limit their scepticism to religious experience. Rather, they would apply their scepticism to experience in general.
So the average critic of religious experience doesn’t have this option unless he intends to slit his own throat in the process.
3.Let’s go back to Touchstone’s hypothetical: “Now, if this is Joe's claim, how does it get dismissed, according to your post?”
This existential claim is subject to a variety of undercutters and defeaters. I’ve gone over all that ground before.
4.” Specifically, how might you dismiss it in a way that doesn't leave Exapologist dismissing *your* testimony on the same grounds?”
As I’ve said on several occasions now, I don’t regard the argument from experience as automatically binding on a second party.
Whether we accept or reject someone’s testimony is contingent on a variety of criteria, viz. the character of the witness, as well as his competence. Was he an eyewitness? Did he rely on firsthand information? Is his testimony corroborated? How does his testimony cohere with our worldview? With what’s possible or probable?
Is the critic going to say that we should never accept anyone’s testimony unless we accept everyone’s testimony?