Faculty Profile

Matthew Benton

Matthew Benton

Associate Professor of Philosophy

Email: bentonm@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2220
Office: Marston Hall 207

Education: BA, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999; MA, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2002; MA, Yale University, 2005; PhD, Rutgers University, 2012. At SPU since 2016.

Dr. Matthew Benton’s areas of expertise include Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Religion, and Logic; his teaching is focused on each of these areas.

Before coming to SPU, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy at the University of Oxford from 2012-2015 (as part of the New Insights and Directions in Religious Epistemology project), and from 2015-2016 at the University of Notre Dame (as part of the Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations project).

His main research interests are in Epistemology (recently, on knowledge, knowing persons, epistemic defeat, and fallibilism), as well as some allied areas in Philosophy of Language (on assertion and related speech acts, lying, factive predicates, and testimony) and in Philosophy of Religion (the epistemology of religion broadly construed, and the problem of evil). He was recently awarded research grants from the John Templeton Foundation on Knowledge and God, and on the Philosophy of Honesty. In 2020, he was given SPU’s Scholar of the Year Award.


Knowledge and God

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024

A main theme in religious epistemology is the possibility of knowledge of God. Philosophers often consider the rationality or justification of propositional belief about God. And they will assess the conditions under which such beliefs would be knowledge, particularly in light of counterevidence or religious disagreement. This book surveys such familiar areas, and then turns toward newer and less-developed terrain: interpersonal epistemology, namely what it is to know another person. It then explores the prospects for understanding what it might take to know God relationally, the contours of which are significant for many theistic traditions.

Religious Disagreement and Pluralism

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021

Edited with Jonathan L. Kvanvig. Epistemological questions about the significance of disagreement have advanced in concert with broader developments in social epistemology concerning testimony, the nature of expertise and epistemic authority, the role of institutions, group belief, and epistemic injustice (among others). During this period, related issues in the epistemology of religion have reemerged as worthy of new consideration, and available to be situated with new conceptual tools. This volume explores many of the issues at the intersection of the epistemology of disagreement and religious epistemology: in particular, how to think carefully about religious diversity and disagreement, balancing epistemic humility with personal conviction, the place of religious belief in our social lives, and how best to think about truths concerning religion.

Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018

Edited with John Hawthorne and Dani Rabinowitz.  Recent decades have seen fertile theorizing within mainstream epistemology which has had a dramatic impact on how epistemology is done. Religion is the place where such rethinking can potentially have its deepest impact and importance. Yet there has been surprisingly little infiltration of these new ideas into philosophy of religion and the epistemology of religious belief. Knowledge, Belief, and God incorporates these new developments in mainstream epistemology, and extends these developments to questions and arguments in religious epistemology. The investigations proposed in this volume offer substantial new life, breadth, and sophistication to issues in the philosophy of religion and analytic theology. (For more, see: Revitalizing the Epistemology of Religion from the OUP blog.)

Selected Publications

The Epistemology of Interpersonal Relations,” Noûs (early view): 1-20.

Assertion Remains Strong” (with Peter van Elswyk),  Philosophical Studies 180 (2023): 27-50.

Disagreement and Religion,” in Religious Disagreement and Pluralism, Matthew A. Benton and Jonathan L. Kvanvig, eds. Oxford University Press, 2021, 1-40.

Epistemological Aspects of Hope,” in The Moral Psychology of Hope, Claudia Blöser and Titus Stahl, eds. Rowman & Littlefield, 2019, 135-151.

Lying, Belief, and Knowledge,” in The Oxford Handbook of Lying, Jörg Meibauer, ed. Oxford University Press, 2019, 120-133. 

God and Interpersonal Knowledge,” Res Philosophica 95 (2018): 421-447.

Lying, Accuracy, and Credence,” Analysis 78 (2018): 195-198.

Epistemology Personalized,” The Philosophical Quarterly 67 (2017): 813-834.

Gricean Quality,” Noûs 50 (2016): 689-703.

Expert Opinion and Second-Hand Knowledge,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2016): 492-508.

Evil and Evidence” (with John Hawthorne and Yoaav Isaacs), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 7 (2016): 1-31.

Knowledge Norms,”Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2014).

Two More for the Knowledge Account of Assertion,” Analysis 71 (2011): 684-687.

Additional resources

Dr. Benton’s website

Please see Dr. Benton's CV (PDF) for a full list of his publications.