Abstract:Today, historians of philosophy are divided into those who think that the French thinker Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) is a coded atheist, someone whose reasoning ineluctably leads to atheist conclusions, and those who construe Bayle as a fideist, someone who embraces religious beliefs on the basis of faith alone and not reason. Some scholars believe that Bayle remains an enigma largely because of his Academic Scepticism.
Most religions advocate dietary regulations of some sort: Muslims fast during Ramadan, Jews follow kashrut laws, Catholics avoid meat on Fridays, many Hindus don’t eat beef, and some Buddhists and Jains avoid meat altogether. Such practices foster a sense of communal identity, but traditionally they are also regarded as pleasing to God (the gods, the ancestors, etc.) and spiritually beneficial. In other words, for many religious people, the effects of fasting go well beyond what is immediately observed or empirically measurable. That is often a large part of what motivates participation
Professor of Philosophy
New York University