Perceiving God

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Perceiving God
Perceiving God.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author William Alston
Country United States
Language English
Subject Philosophy of religion
Published 1991
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 336
ISBN 978-0801481550

Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a 1991 book by the philosopher William Alston, one of Alston's chief works in the philosophy of religion.[1]


Alston, combining his interests in epistemic justification and religious language, gives a detailed account of the epistemology of religious experience,[2] and argues that experiential awareness of God makes an important contribution to the grounds of religious belief.[1] He argues that religious experiences which are taken by their subjects to be direct non-sensory experiences of God are perceptual in character because they involve a presentation or appearance to the subject of something that the subject identifies as God.[2]

He defends the view that such mystical perception is a source of prima facie justified beliefs about divine manifestations by arguing for the practical rationality of engaging in a belief-forming practice that involves reliance on mystical perception.[2]

Scholarly reception[edit]

Perceiving God was praised by the philosopher Alvin Plantinga.[1]



  1. ^ a b c Plantinga 1999. p. 23.
  2. ^ a b c Quinn 2005. p. 21.


  • Plantinga, Alvin (1999). Audi, Robert, ed. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63722-8. 
  • Quinn, Philip L. (2005). Honderich, Ted, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-926479-1.