Does the following attitude have a name in philosophical jargon?

“Faith” means the will to avoid knowing what is true. —Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. —Richard Dawkins

I thought of "truism," but do not think that it fits.

  • The usual usage of Truism is different. Mar 14, 2018 at 7:56
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    It is a sort of Dogmatism (but maybe it is simply arrogance). Mar 14, 2018 at 7:57
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    But, frankly speaking, I'm not sure to understand the link with the quotation; do you mean that Nietzsche attitude is "dogmatic" ? (in general, N is the prototype of anti-dogmatism...) or do you mean that N charges of dogmatism people making appeal to Faith ? Mar 14, 2018 at 8:24
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    @Mauro To me, Nietzsche's remark is nothing more than stating his resentment against "faith" and presenting as that's the truth. One could just replace "faith" with any word he wishes.
    – blackened
    Mar 14, 2018 at 8:28
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    Faith is always poorly defined. Scientists have to have faith in the work of each other, in the peer-review process, not just in experiments themselves. Faith can just be the result of inference.
    – CriglCragl
    Mar 14, 2018 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


Not a major point but I doubt if 'truism' is much of a philosopher's term nowadays. It can have either of two senses : (1) a self-evident and undefeasible truth (e.g. 'everything is identical with itself'), (2) an analytic statement that says nothing beyond what is implied by the meaning of its terms ('all bachelors are unmarried men'). Analyticity has been in retreat since Quine's attack on the notion in 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism'.

Whatever one thinks of faith, neither Nietzsche's nor Dawkins' statements of faith fulfil the conditions for (1) or (2). What they doing is to predicate of faith that it is the will to avoid knowing what is true and/ or that it is the great cop-out, belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. They are offering neither self-evident, undefeasible truths nor analytical truths about faith, but only derogatory views about faith.

It is true that faith is not knowledge. To make a faith-claim is to disavow a knowledge-claim. If I know I don't need faith. Faith is belief; but there is no need for it to be dogmatic belief, belief which nothing is ever allowed to count as evidence against. There is no conceptual necessity for religious faith, which is in question here, to be held in this dogmatic way. Faith can be abandoned; it can be stronger at some times than at others; it may even be held tentatively.

Dawkins is unfair to generalise and to state as a fact about faith that it is held in spite of, or perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. I don't know of any religious person who does not believe that there are adequate evidential grounds for belief. What is the case is that what the religious accept as adequate evidence is not evidence that Dawkins would accept as evidence at all.


These assertions would be examples of informal fallacies associated with "proof by assertion".

See the Wikipedia link for other names that might be appropriate for something similar.

It requires repetition rather than argument to make its case.

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