Many religious traditions speak of "knowing God." Within certain strands of Christianity there is talk of knowing God in something like the way we know other people. But philosophers and theologians rarely make explicit exactly what this knowing amounts to, or how it might be achieved.
Recent work in philosophy has begun to look more carefully at what constitutes knowing other persons, including work by philosophers of mind on second-personal thought (how our concepts and language enable us to think about another subject as a particular "you"), and by epistemologists on what sort of knowledge this might be and whether it is properly called "knowledge." This research has close connections to empirical work in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience on what it is to perceive and recognize persons and personality. My own work develops the epistemology of "interpersonal knowledge," and clarifies its relations to knowledge of facts about someone. For we can, on the one hand, come to know a lot of facts about someone without ever thereby coming to know them personally; and on the other hand, we can know someone personally while nevertheless believing a great many falsehoods about them. This account yields important results for how to think about knowing God. Such results advance several debates in philosophy of religion and analytic theology, including on the problems of divine hiddenness and the problem of evil, the epistemology of religious liturgy, the nature of divine love, and epistemic injustice in our responses to religious testimony. Such applications also offer a unique perspective on problems of religious disagreement, and on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
I aim to write four to six more scholarly articles on these topics over the next three years, intended for publication in reputable philosophy journals or peer-reviewed edited volumes. Once published, these will lay the groundwork for an eventual scholarly book.