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Summary

Reformed epistemology is a thesis about the rationality of religious belief. A central claim made by the reformed epistemologist is that religious belief can be rational without any appeal to evidence or argument. One way reformed epistemologists have defended this claim is by comparing belief in God with other beliefs we take to be rational—if the latter set of beliefs can be rational without appeal to evidence or argument, then belief in God can also be rational without appeal to evidence or argument. A more detailed version of this parity argument, offered by Alvin Plantinga, argues that belief in God (like perceptual beliefs) is properly basic. Plantinga argues that humans are endowed with a special cognitive faculty, the sensus divinitatis, which gives rise to belief in God in an immediate and non-inferential fashion when occasioned by some event or experience. In this way, then, belief in God is said to be properly basic and can be warranted without inference from any evidence or argument.

Key works Two of the most important works in reformed epistemology are Plantinga & Wolterstorff 1983 and Plantinga 2000. For a number of essays critical of reformed epistemology see Zagzebski 1993.
Introductions Good introductory articles include Bolos & Scott 2015Bergmann 2012, and van Woudenberg 2008. Beilby 2006 provides a thorough overview of Plantinga's reformed epistemology. For an overview of recent work in reformed epistemology see Moon 2016.
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397 found
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1 — 50 / 397
  1. added 2020-05-29
    Problems of Religious Luck, Chapter 2: The New Problem of Religious Luck.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    One main kind of etiological challenge to the well-foundedness of someone’s belief is the consideration that if you had a different education/upbringing, you would very likely accept different beliefs than you actually do. Although a person’s religious identity and attendant religious beliefs are usually the ones singled out as targets of such “contingency” or “epistemic location” arguments, it is clear that a person’s place and time has a conditioning effect in all domains of controversial views, and over all of what (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-09
    Circular and Question-Begging Responses to Religious Disagreement and Debunking Arguments.Andrew Moon - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    Disagreement and debunking arguments threaten religious belief. In this paper, I draw attention to two types of propositions and show how they reveal new ways to respond to debunking arguments and disagreement. The first type of proposition is the epistemically self-promoting proposition, which, when justifiedly believed, gives one a reason to think that one reliably believes it. Such a proposition plays a key role in my argument that some religious believers can permissibly wield an epistemically circular argument in response to (...)
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  3. added 2020-02-26
    Reply.Alvin Plantinga - 2002 - Analytic Philosophy 43 (2):124-135.
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  4. added 2020-02-08
    Towards a Sensible Evidentialism.Stephen Wykstra - 1989 - In William Rowe & William J. Wainwright (eds.), Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Harcourt College Publishers. pp. 426-437.
  5. added 2020-02-01
    O cenności racjonalności w wierze religijnej.Marek Pepliński - 2003 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 51 (1):219-244.
    Paper reconstructs three different accounts of the rationality of religious belief that we found in Plantinga's epistemology of theistic and religious belief. Taken into account are works (papers and books) from GAOM to first two books about a warrant. In the end, the article formulates some questions about rationality and evaluation of the importance of property of rationality of religious belief concerning other positive epistemic statuses.
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  6. added 2020-01-21
    The Other Wolterstorff. [REVIEW]Todd Buras - 2011 - Christian Scholar's Review 41:77-85.
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  7. added 2019-09-19
    The Theological Origins of Liberalism.Ismail Kurun - 2016 - Lanham, USA: Lexington Books.
    This book offers a critical survey of the true origins of liberalism. It challenges the widely held belief among social scientists that liberalism developed as opposed to Christianity. Beginning with the Protestant Reformation, it illustrates how Christian thinkers reinterpreted Christianity and used a set of indemonstrable biblical presuppositions from their reinterpretations to develop the first liberal ideas, starting a process that culminates in the birth of the first liberal political theory in the writings of a devout Christian philosopher, John Locke. (...)
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  8. added 2019-08-19
    Cognitive Science of Religion and the Cognitive Consequences of Sin.Rik Peels, Hans Van Eyghen & Gijsbert Van den Brink - 2018 - In Hans Van Eyghen, Rik Peels & Gijsbert Van den Brink (eds.), NewDevelopments in the Cognitive Science of Religion: The Rationality of Religious Belief. Dordrecht: Springer.
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  9. added 2019-08-08
    Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology, Edited by Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Dani Rabinowitz. [REVIEW]Andrew Moon - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (1):129-134.
  10. added 2019-08-01
    Evidence is Required for Religious Belief.Blake McAllister - 2019 - In Michael Peterson & Ray VanArragon (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion, 2nd edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 269-278.
  11. added 2019-06-06
    Religious Exclusivism Unlimited: JEROEN DE RIDDER.Jeroen de Ridder - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (4):449-463.
    Like David Silver before them, Erik Baldwin and Michael Thune argue that the facts of religious pluralism present an insurmountable challenge to the rationality of basic exclusive religious belief as construed by Reformed Epistemology. I will show that their argument is unsuccessful. First, their claim that the facts of religious pluralism make it necessary for the religious exclusivist to support her exclusive beliefs with significant reasons is one that the reformed epistemologist has the resources to reject. Secondly, they fail to (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley, Knowledge of God. Malden, MA / Oxford 2008: Blackwell. X + 270 Pages. ISBN 9780631193647. [REVIEW]Jeroen de Ridder - 2010 - Philosophia Reformata 75 (1):88-90.
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  13. added 2019-06-06
    A Proper de Jure Objection to the Epistemic Rationality of Religious Belief: TODD R. LONG.Todd R. Long - 2010 - Religious Studies 46 (3):375-394.
    I answer Alvin Plantinga's challenge to provide a ‘proper’ de jure objection to religious belief. What I call the ‘sophisticates’ evidential objection' concludes that sophisticated Christians lack epistemic justification for believing central Christian propositions. The SEO utilizes a theory of epistemic justification in the spirit of the evidentialism of Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. I defend philosophical interest in the SEO against objections from Reformed epistemology, by addressing Plantinga's criteria for a proper de jure objection, his anti-evidentialist arguments, and the (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    A Critique of Marx’s Epistemology of Religion From Reformed Epistemology.Corey Miller - 2009 - International Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):351-359.
    Despite Marx’s claim that criticism against his views from a religious standpoint are not deserving of serious examination, I try to offer a critical examination of Marx’s epistemology of religion from the viewpoint of Reformed epistemology. Although Marx himself never set forth a systematic epistemology, let alone an epistemology of religion, his writings nonetheless provide an adequate resource to reconstruct his views on the matter. Given this, I set out what I take to be characteristic of Marx’s epistemology of religion (...)
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Critical Study of James K. Beilby, Epistemology as Theology: An Evaluation of Alvin Plantinga’s Religious Epistemology. [REVIEW]Tyler Wunder - 2007 - Philo 10 (2):168-186.
    James Beilby’s Epistemology as Theology is the first monograph to address Alvin Plantinga’s completed Warrant Trilogy. The book provides a thorough introduction to Plantinga’s current religious epistemology, but readers hoping for a critical treatment of Plantinga will be largely disappointed: while Beilby does level criticisms against Plantinga, he often underestimates their significance. One of Beilby’s main goals is to sketch out how a version of Reformed epistemology, even if not exactly Plantinga’s version, can withstand its critics. I provide a chapter-by-chapter (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Moral Difficulties in Plantinga’s Model of Warranted Christian Belief.Michael W. Austin - 2005 - Philosophy and Theology 17 (1/2):121-132.
    Alvin Plantinga, in Warranted Christian Belief, offers a model for the rationality of a particular version of Christian theistic belief. After briefly summarizing Plantinga’s model, I argue that there are significant moral difficulties present within it. The Christian believer who gives assent to Plantinga’s model is vulnerable tocharges of irrationality and/or immorality when one considers the role and effects of original sin in the model. Similar difficulties arise when one considers a problem posed by religious pluralism for the model. I (...)
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  17. added 2019-06-06
    A Critical Review of Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief. [REVIEW]Thomas D. Senor - 2002 - International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):389-396.
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief.Richard M. Gale - 2001 - Philo 4 (2):138-147.
    In Warranted Christian Belief, Alvin Plantinga makes use of his earlier two books, Warrant: the Current Debate and Warrant and Proper Function, to show how it is possible for someone to have a warranted belief that God exists and that all of the great things of the Christian Gospel are true even if the believer is unable to give any argument to support these beliefs. Three objections are lodged against Plantinga’s position. First, the alleged sensus divinitatis and the internal instigation (...)
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  19. added 2019-06-06
    Taking Plantinga Seriously: Advice to Christian Philosophers.Merold Westphal - 1999 - Faith and Philosophy 16 (2):173-181.
    Part of a symposium on the fifteenth anniversary of Al Plantinga’s “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” this essay reflects briefly on the current status of Christian philosophy. Then, in the light of three reminders from Plantinga, it suggests that Christian philosophers pay more attention to their other audience, the church, that they reflect on the ways in which their situation is similar to that of feminist philosophers, and that they seek to transcend not only the foundationalism and evidentialism of modernity, but (...)
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  20. added 2019-06-06
    Some Remarks on Plantinga’s Advice.Peter an Inwagon - 1999 - Faith and Philosophy 16 (2):164-172.
    Plantinga says, “... the Christian philosophical community need not devote all of its efforts to attempting to refute opposing claims and/or to arguing for its own claims.... It ought to do this, indeed, but... if it does only this, it will neglect a pressing philosophical task: systematizing, deepening, clarifying Christian thought [about the problems of philosophy].” I express agreement with Plantinga about what the Christian community need not do; I go on to raise some questions about what “systematizing, deepening, clarifying (...)
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  21. added 2019-06-06
    Calvin’s “Sense of Divinity” and Externalist Knowledge of God.David Reiter - 1998 - Faith and Philosophy 15 (3):253-270.
    In this paper I explore and defend an interpretation of Calvin’s doctrine of the sense of divinity which implies the following claim: All sane cognizers know that God exists. I argue that externalism about knowledge comports well with claim CSD, and I explore various questions about the character of the theistic belief implied by CSD. For example, I argue that CSD implies that all sane cognizers possess functionally rational theistic belief. In the final sections of the paper, I respond to (...)
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  22. added 2019-06-06
    The Foundations of Theism: Scoring the Quinn-Plantinga Debate.William Hasker - 1998 - Faith and Philosophy 15 (1):52-67.
    In the extensive literature that has accumulated around Reformed epistemology, some of the most interesting material is found in the debate on the foundations of theism between Philip Quinn and Alvin Plantinga. This essay assesses that debate and draws some tentative conclusions.
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  23. added 2019-06-06
    Calvin, Plantinga, and the Natural Knowledge of God: A Response to Beversluis.Michael Czapkay Sudduth - 1998 - Faith and Philosophy 15 (1):92-103.
    In this paper I present a critical response to several claims made by John Beversluis on the closely allied topics of natural knowledge of God and the noetic effects of sin in relation to the work of John Calvin and Alvin Plantinga. I challenge Beversluis’ claim that Plantinga has misconstrued Calvin’s position on the sensus divinitatis and that he has weakened Calvin’s doctrine of the noetic effects of sin. Moreover, I develop a coherent case for the sense in which Calvin (...)
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  24. added 2019-06-06
    God’s Nature and the Rationality of Religious Belief.Chris Eberle - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (2):152-169.
    If something like Reformed Epistemology is correct, an agent is innocent in regarding certain ways of forming beliefs to be reliable until those ways have been proven guilty. An important species of argument purporting to show guilt identifies the ways of forming beliefs at the core of our cognitive activity, isolates the features of our core practices which account for their reliability, and determines whether or not peripheral practices which ought to have those features enjoy at least their functional equivalents. (...)
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  25. added 2019-06-06
    Kierkegaard and Plantinga on Belief in God: Subjectivity as the Ground of Properly Basic Religious Beliefs.C. Stephen Evans - 1988 - Faith and Philosophy 5 (1):25-39.
    This paper compares the views and arguments of Alvin Plantinga and Søren Kierkegaard on the question of belief in God. Kierkegaard’s view of belief in God is shown to be surprisinglysimilar to Plantinga’s claim that belief in God can be properly basic. Two of Plantinga’s arguments for taking belief in God as properly basic are shown to have analogues in Kierkegaard.Plantinga claims that though properly basic beliefs are not based on evidence they are nevertheless grounded. In the latter part of (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-06
    Reformed Thought and Scholasticism: The Arguments for the Existence of God in Dutch Theology, 1575–1650. [REVIEW]Alan P. F. Sell - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 31:429-432.
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  27. added 2019-06-06
    Plantinga and Reformed Epistemology: A Critique.Donald Hatcher - 1986 - Philosophy and Theology 1 (1):84-95.
    After summarizing Plantinga’s critique of “classical foundationalism” and his substitute, Reformed epistemology, the paper argues that Reformed epistemology has so many problems that it is not an adequate substitute for classical foundationalism. Given Plantinga’s reformed epistemology, believers of any religion could have “knowledge of their God.” This is because Plantinga has not set forth the justifying conditions necessary to distinguish between “properly basic beliefs” as opposed to improperly basic beliefs. Given such problems, it is more reasonable to stick with classical (...)
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  28. added 2019-06-05
    John Bishop Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief. . Pp. Xii+250. £35.00; $65.00 . ISBN 978 0 19 920554 7. [REVIEW]Jeff Jordan - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (2):238-242.
  29. added 2019-06-05
    Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Philosophia Christi 3 (2):327-328.
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  30. added 2018-12-18
    Passionate Reason: Kierkegaard and Plantinga on Radical Conversion.Richard Otte - 2014 - Faith and Philosophy 31 (2):160-180.
    It is reasonable to take Kierkegaard and Plantinga as presenting very different approaches to the rationality of adopting religious beliefs. Kierkegaard says Christian doctrines are absurd, and Plantinga argues that the existence of God is part of the deliverances of reason. I argue that in spite of these apparent differences, Kierkegaard and Plantinga agree on some foundational epistemological issues. I begin by exploring the topic of radical conversion, as discussed by van Fraassen. I use the notion of radical conversion as (...)
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  31. added 2018-12-10
    Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.Guy Axtell - 2018 - Lanham, MD, USA & London, UK: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.
    To speak of being religious lucky certainly sounds odd. But then, so does “My faith holds value in God’s plan, while yours does not.” This book argues that these two concerns — with the concept of religious luck and with asymmetric or sharply differential ascriptions of religious value — are inextricably connected. It argues that religious luck attributions can profitably be studied from a number of directions, not just theological, but also social scientific and philosophical. There is a strong tendency (...)
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  32. added 2018-11-10
    The Explanatory Challenge: Moral Realism Is No Better Than Theism.Dan Baras - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):368-389.
    Many of the arguments for and against robust moral realism parallel arguments for and against theism. In this article, I consider one of the shared challenges: the explanatory challenge. The article begins with a presentation of Harman's formulation of the explanatory challenge as applied to moral realism and theism. I then examine two responses offered by robust moral realists to the explanatory challenge, one by Russ Shafer-Landau and another by David Enoch. Shafer-Landau argues that the moral realist can plausibly respond (...)
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  33. added 2018-09-04
    The Rationality of Belief and the Plurality of Faith.Thomas D. Senor (ed.) - 1995 - Cornell University Press.
  34. added 2018-06-28
    Does One Need Evidence for Belief in God?Leyla Hunn - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Warwick
    It is commonly the case that sound, epistemological principles such as basic beliefs immediately become regarded as invalid when applied to theistic contexts. I will show that despite this, there is a strong sense of comparability between beliefs in God with beliefs in non-theistic beings and other commonly-held basic beliefs such as qualities of love and trust. To establish that both the belief in the existence of God and the existence of other beings and non-perceptual qualities are justified as evidence (...)
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  35. added 2018-06-20
    Blind Man’s Bluff: The Basic Belief Apologetic as Anti-Skeptical Stratagem.Guy Axtell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):131-152.
    Today we find philosophical naturalists and Christian theists both expressing an interest in virtue epistemology, while starting out from vastly different assumptions. What can be done to increase fruitful dialogue among these divergent groups of virtue-theoretic thinkers? The primary aim of this paper is to uncover more substantial common ground for dialogue by wielding a double-edged critique of certain assumptions shared by 'scientific' and 'theistic' externalisms, assumptions that undermine proper attention to epistemic agency and responsibility. I employ a responsibilist virtue (...)
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  36. added 2018-05-14
    Reforming Reformed Epistemology: A New Take on the Sensus Divinitatis.Blake Mcallister & Trent Dougherty - 2019 - Religious Studies 55 (4):537-557.
    Alvin Plantinga theorizes the existence of a sensus divinitatis – a special cognitive faulty or mechanism dedicated to the production and non-inferential justification of theistic belief. Following Chris Tucker, we offer an evidentialist-friendly model of the sensus divinitatis whereon it produces theistic seemings that non-inferentially justify theistic belief. We suggest that the sensus divinitatis produces these seemings by tacitly grasping support relations between the content of ordinary experiences (in conjunction with our background evidence) and propositions about God. Our model offers (...)
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  37. added 2018-05-11
    Tayloring Reformed Epistemology: Charles Taylor, Alvin Plantinga and the de Jure Challenge to Christian Belief. By Deane-Peter Baker: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Glenn Morrison - 2009 - Heythrop Journal 50 (3):512-512.
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  38. added 2018-05-11
    Knowledge of God . By Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]R. W. Fischer - 2009 - Heythrop Journal 50 (3):513-515.
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  39. added 2018-04-06
    Sceptical Theism and the Evil-God Challenge.Perry Hendricks - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (4):549-561.
    This article is a response to Stephen Law's article ‘The evil-god challenge’. In his article, Law argues that if belief in evil-god is unreasonable, then belief in good-god is unreasonable; that the antecedent is true; and hence so is the consequent. In this article, I show that Law's affirmation of the antecedent is predicated on the problem of good (i.e. the problem of whether an all-evil, all-powerful, and all-knowing God would allow there to be as much good in the world (...)
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  40. added 2018-03-22
    Evidence and Religious Belief, Edited by Kelly James Clark and Raymond J. VanArragon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Ix + 214 Pp. ISBN 13: 978‐0‐19‐960371‐8 Hb £36; Also Available as eBook. [REVIEW]Amber L. Griffioen - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy (1):178-184.
  41. added 2018-03-14
    On the Socratic Injunction to Follow the Argument Where It Leads.Jason Marsh - 2017 - In Paul Draper & J. L. Schellenberg (eds.), Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 187-207.
    This chapter examines a common objection to the philosophy of religion, namely, that it has not sufficiently embraced the injunction of Socrates to follow the argument where it leads. Although a general version of this charge is unfair, one emerging view in the field, which I call religious Mooreanism, nonetheless risks running contrary to the Socratic injunction. According to this view, many people can quickly, easily, and reasonably deflect all known philosophical challenges to their core religious outlooks, including arguments from (...)
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  42. added 2018-02-18
    Rationality, Religious Belief, and Moral Commitment: New Essays in the Philosophy of Religion.Robert Audi & William J. Wainwright (eds.) - 1986 - Cornell University Press.
  43. added 2018-02-17
    Knowledge of God.Alvin Plantinga & Michael Tooley - 2008 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  44. added 2018-02-17
    Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach & David Basinger - 2008 - Oup Usa.
    What is the status of belief in God? Must a rational case be made or can such belief be properly basic? Is it possible to reconcile the concept of a good God with evil and suffering? In light of great differences among religions, can only one religion be true? The most comprehensive work of its kind, Reason and Religious Belief, now in its fourth edition, explores these and other perennial questions in the philosophy of religion. Drawing from the best in (...)
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  45. added 2018-02-17
    ``Is Belief in God Rational?&Quot.Alvin Plantinga - 1979 - In C. F. Delaney (ed.), Rationality and Religious Belief. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 7-27.
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  46. added 2018-02-09
    An Epistemological Turn in Contemporary Islamic Reform Discourse.Shadi Heydar - 2015 - Confluence 3 (1):215-239.
    Abdolkarim Soroush’s thought is regarded by some researchers as a turning point in contemporary Islamic reform discourse. This article concerns Soroush’s epistemology as a determining factor in this paradigm shift and interprets this shift as an epistemological turn in Islamic reform discourse, shifting from ›Islamic genealogy of modernity‹ to rationalization of Islamic methodology. After a short introduction to Soroush’s intellectual biography, this article will isolate neorationalism or neo-Mu’tazilism, religious post-positivism, historicism, hermeneutics, and dialogism as main features of Soroush’s epistemology. This (...)
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  47. added 2017-10-03
    Divine Methodology: A Lawful Deflection of Kantian and Kantian-Esque Defeaters.Tyler Dalton McNabb & Erik Baldwin - 2017 - Open Theology 3:293-304.
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  48. added 2017-08-23
    Faith as Extended Knowledge.Kegan J. Shaw - 2017 - Religious Studies:1-19.
    You don’t know that p unless it’s on account of your cognitive abilities that you believe truly that p. Virtue epistemologists think there’s some such ability constraint on knowledge. This looks to be in considerable tension, though, with putative faith- based knowledge. For it can easily seem that when you believe something truly on the basis of faith this isn't because of anything you're competent to do. Rather faith-based beliefs are a product of divine agency. Appearances notwithstanding, I argue in (...)
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  49. added 2017-08-22
    Obstacles to Divine Revelation: God and the Reorientation of Human Reason.Rolfe King - 2008 - London: Continuum.
    Obstacles to Divine Revelation examines the notion that there are obstacles to God giving revelation, if God exists. Rolfe King argues that exploring these significantly refines ideas of evidence for God, including the claim that God must operate within a logically necessary structure of revelation. Examining obstacles to divine revelation clarifies this structure and paves the way to evaluating its significance.
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  50. added 2017-07-26
    Plantinga’s Religious Epistemology, Skeptical Theism, and Debunking Arguments.Andrew Moon - 2017 - Faith and Philosophy 34 (4):449-470.
    Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology has been used to respond to many debunking arguments against theistic belief. However, critics have claimed that Plantinga’s religious epistemology conflicts with skeptical theism, a view often used in response to the problem of evil. If they are correct, then a common way of responding to debunking arguments conflicts with a common way of responding to the problem of evil. In this paper, I examine the critics’ claims and argue that they are right. I then present (...)
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1 — 50 / 397