The term provincialism refers to the unsophisticated individual who confuses their regional perspective (i.e. from the provinces) with a global or universal perspective. As a case in point, consider this passage from A.C. Grayling:
tell an average intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere, invisibly, there is a being somewhat like us, with desires, interests, purposes, memories, and emotions of anger, love, vengefulness, and jealousy, yet with the negation of such other of our failings as morality, weakness, corporeality, visibility, limited knowledge and insight…. Nobody would buy such a picture if they were not indoctrinated into it. (“Can an Atheist Be a Fundamentalist?” in Christopher Hitchens, ed. The Portable Atheist, 474-75.)
The funny thing is that such beliefs in a deity appear natural to the vast majority of the world’s population. And that in turn begs the question: if the apparent naturalness of these beliefs are the result of “indoctrination,” as Grayling supposes, then how did that indoctrination become so pervasive over the world’s population in the first place?
That’s a real problem for Grayling’s position. Fortunately, there is another interpretation of the data. According to this interpretation, Grayling has different intuitions and a different plausibility framework than the majority of the world’s population. And he has facilely assumed that his intuitions and plausibility framework represent the universal norm while any deviation from it must be the result of “indoctrination.”
It seems to me that the latter interpretation is the far more plausible one. And so from my perspective, it seems that Grayling, who appears to style himself here as an enlightened, urbane individual, in fact demonstrates a surprising degree of uncritical provincialism.