Reforming Reformed Epistemology

ABSTRACT: Perhaps the most influential proposal in the recent literature on the epis- temology of religious belief has been Alvin Plantinga’s anti-evidentialist contention that we should treat certain religious beliefs as properly basic. In order to support this anti-skeptical maneuver, Plantinga (along with other “reformed” epistemologists such as William Alston) has looked to the kind of anti-evidentialist model that is standardly offered as regards the epistemology of perceptual belief and has claimed that there are sufficient analogies between perceptual experience and religious experience to moti- vate the use of such a model in religious epistemology. It is argued here, however, that while Plantinga et al. are right to draw our attention to these analogies, in doing so they have failed to pay due attention to important disanalogies that exist between religious and perceptual experience. Moreover, I contend that these disanalogies have epistemo- logical ramifications that require subtle modifications to the reformed epistemology thesis. In particular, following a suggestion made by Keith DeRose, I argue that re- formed epistemology would be better modelled along explicitly virtue-theoretic lines.
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DOI 10.5840/ipq200343156
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Rolfe King (2012). Divine Revelation. Philosophy Compass 7 (7):495-505.

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