Antirealism, theism and the conditional fallacy

Noûs 39 (1):123–139 (2005)
Abstract
In his presidential address to the APA, ‘‘How to be an Anti-realist’’ (1982, 64–66), Alvin Plantinga argues that the only sensible way to be an antirealist is to be a theist.1 Anti-realism (AR) in this context is the epistemic analysis of truth that says, (AR) necessarily, a statement is true if and only if it would be believed by an ideally [or sufficiently] rational agent/community in ideal [or sufficiently good] epistemic circumstances. Plantinga demonstrates, with modest modal resources, that AR entails that necessarily, ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. It is a contingent matter whether ideal epistemic circumstances obtain for worldly agents and communities. Hence, the lesson, according to Plantinga, is that an anti-realist should be a theist. In the present paper we evaluate whether anti-realism entails that necessarily ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. A more careful analysis of Plantinga’s argument appears in section 1. We notice that Plantinga’s interpretation of anti-realism harbors an ambiguity of quantifier scope and that only on the less plausible placement of the quantifiers does AR obviously entail that necessarily ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. In section 2 we evaluate an alternative version of Plantinga’s argument developed by Michael Rea. Rea’s argument gets the quantifiers straight, but depends on logical resources that the anti-realist has independent reason to reject. After evaluating Rea’s argument we conclude that an anti-realist need not be a theist and is not committed to the necessary existence of..
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References found in this work BETA
JC Beall (2000). Fitch's Proof, Verificationism, and the Knower Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):241 – 247.
Alvin Plantinga (1982). How to Be an Anti-Realist. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 56 (1):47 - 70.

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