David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Religious Studies 37 (3):357-358 (2001)
I took it that the definitions Swinburne quotes imply that all of a person's basic beliefs are (privately) rational; Swinburne demurs. It still seems to me that these definitions have this consequence. Let me briefly explain why. According to Swinburne, a person's evidence consists of his basic beliefs, weighted by his confidence in them. So presumably we are to think of S's evidence as the set of the beliefs he takes in the basic way, together with a sort of index indicating, for each of those beliefs, his degree of confidence in that belief. Now it is clear, first, that different basic beliefs can be held with different degrees of confidence. I believe 2+1 = 3 more firmly than there are presently some large trees in my backyard, and I believe that second proposition more firmly than I played bridge last night. Nevertheless, I believe all three propositions; I don't just believe them probably. So, the set of my basic beliefs contains propositions, all of which I believe. Further, a belief of mine is ‘rendered (evidentially) probable by [my] evidence’, I take it, just if it is probable with respect to the set of my basic beliefs. But of course probability of 1 with respect to that set; the degree of confidence with which I hold those beliefs does not seem to be relevant. Hence my conclusion that on these definitions all of my basic beliefs are rational. Swinburne points out that some of my basic beliefs may be improbable with respect to the rest of my basic beliefs; these beliefs, then, might be thought irrational, at least if they are not held as firmly as those with respect to which they are improbable. But this seems to me an uninteresting sense of ‘irrational’. Many of my basic beliefs are improbable with respect to my other basic beliefs; they are none the worse for that. I now remember, as it seems to me, that in the second bridge hand last night I was dealt three aces, three jacks, and three deuces. This is unlikely on the rest of my basic beliefs. It is, nonetheless, not irrational in any useful sense; memory is an important and independent source of rational belief, a source such that its deliverances do not necessarily depend, for warrant or rationality, on their probability with respect to other basic beliefs. I believe the same goes for some of my Christian beliefs. They may be improbable with respect to other beliefs, basic or otherwise, that I hold; but that need be nothing whatever against them. Footnotes1 Note: This brief discussion arises out of Richard Swinburne's critical notice of Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief (New York NY: Oxford University Press, 2000) and Plantinga's reply in Religious Studies, 37 (2001), 203–214, 215–222.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jack Lyons (2009). Perception and Basic Beliefs: Zombies, Modules, and the Problem of the External World. Oxford University Press.
Jeremy Randel Koons (2011). Plantinga on Properly Basic Belief in God: Lessons From the Epistemology of Perception. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (245):839-850.
Basil Smith (2000). Plantinga and Wittgenstein on Properly Basic Beliefs. Philo 3 (1):32-40.
Richard M. Gale (2001). Alvin Plantinga's Warranted Christian Belief. Philo 4 (2):138-147.
Ralph Wedgwood (2011). Primitively Rational Belief-Forming Processes. In Andrew Reisner & Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (eds.), Reasons for Belief. Cambridge University Press. 180--200.
Daniel Howard-Snyder (2005). Foundationalism and Arbitrariness. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (1):18–24.
Hamid Vahid (2009). The Epistemology of Belief. Palgrave Macmillan.
Matthew Davidson & Gordon Barnes (forthcoming). Internalism and Properly Basic Belief. In David Werther Mark Linville (ed.), Philosophy and the Christian Worldview : Analysis, Assessment and Development. Continuum.
Richard Swinburne (2001). Swinburne and Plantinga on Internal Rationality. Religious Studies 37 (3):357-358.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads54 ( #30,330 of 1,103,219 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #62,335 of 1,103,219 )
How can I increase my downloads?