About this topic
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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  1. The Epistemological Significance of the Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit.William J. Abraham - 1990 - Faith and Philosophy 7 (4):434-450.
    This paper seeks to explore the significance of a specific kind of religious experience for the rationality of religious belief. The context for this is a gap between what is often allowed as rational and what is embraced as certain in the life of faith. The claim to certainty at issue is related to the work and experience of the Holy Spirit; this experience has a structure which is explored phenomenologically. Thereafter various ways of cashing in the epistemic value of (...)
  2. Christianity and Religious Diversity: Clarifying Christian Commitments in a Globalizing Age. [REVIEW]Paul D. Adams - 2015 - Philosophia Christi 17 (1):230-235.
    This is a sweeping treatment of navigating the difficulties of engaging a religiously pluralistic culture and offers sage and compassionate advice from one of the leading Christian thinkers today. His special treatment of Buddhism is engaging and should be carefully considered by all. Whether believer, nonbeliever, or none, this book engages all readership with careful research and deserves a wide audience.
  3. Mysticism and Perceptual Awareness of God.William P. Alston - 2004 - In William Mann (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell.
  4. The Distinctiveness of the Epistemology of Religious Belief.William P. Alston - 1999 - In G. Bruntrup & R. K. Tacelli (eds.), The Rationality of Theism. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 237--254.
  5. Does God Have Beliefs?William P. Alston - 1986 - Religious Studies 22 (3/4):287 - 306.
  6. Perceiving God.William P. Alston - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 83 (11):655-665.
  7. Religious Experience as a Ground of Religious Belief.William P. Alston - 1986 - In Joseph Runzo & Craig K. Ihara (eds.), Religious Experience and Religious Belief. University Press of America.
  8. Plantinga's Epistemology of Religious Belief.William P. Alston - 1985 - In James Tomberlin & Peter van Inwagen (eds.), Alvin Plantinga (Profiles, Vol. 5). D. Reidel Publishing Company. pp. 289-311.
  9. Religious Experience and Religious Belief.William P. Alston - 1982 - Noûs 16 (1):3-12.
    Can beliefs to the effect that god is manifesting himself in a certain way to the believer ("m-beliefs") be justified by its seeming to the believer that he experiences god doing that? the issue is discussed in the context of several concepts of justification. on a "normative" concept of justification the answer will depend on what one's intellectual obligations are vis-a-vis practices of belief formation. on a rigorous view of such obligations one is justified in forming a m-belief on the (...)
  10. The Rationality of Belief & the Plurality of Faith Essays in Honor of William P. Alston.William P. Alston & Thomas D. Senor - 1995
  11. Beyond Plantinga and Improper Function: The Inexcusability of Unbelief.Owen Anderson - 2005 - Quodlibet 7.
  12. Reformed Epistemology, Rationality and Belief in God.Peter C. Appleby - 1988 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 24 (3):129 - 141.
  13. Acquaintance and the Sublime: An Alternative Account of Theistic Sublime Experience.Thomas Atkinson - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 82 (2):175-193.
    In this paper I argue that when one has an epiphany of the form ‘God is F’ upon having a sublime experience one can be accurately described as being acquainted with the fact that God is F as opposed to inferring that God is F from the experience at hand. To argue for this, I will, first, outline what a sublime experience is, in general, before outlining what a theistic sublime experience is in particular. Second, I will outline two ways (...)
  14. Perceptual Experience, Doxastic Practice, and the Rationality of Religious Commitment.Robert Audi - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:1-18.
    This paper is a constructive critical study of William P. Alston’s Perceiving God. It explores his account of perception of God, his doxastic practice epistemology, and his overall integration of faith and reason. In dealing with the first, it distinguishes some possible cases of theistic perception that have not generally been sorted out in the literature. In examining doxastic practices, it explores both the sense in which it is rational to engage in them and the epistemic status of beliefs formed (...)
  15. 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 (...)
  16. In Defense of Secular Belief.Yuval Avnur - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 4.
  17. Blind Man's Bluff: Examining the Basic Belief Apologetic.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 (...)
  18. 'Foolishness to Greeks': Plantinga and the Epistemology of Christian Belief.Sarah Bachelard - 2009 - Sophia 48 (2):105-118.
    A central theme in the Christian contemplative tradition is that knowing God is much more like ‘unknowing’ than it is like possessing rationally acceptable beliefs. Knowledge of God is expressed, in this tradition, in metaphors of woundedness, darkness, silence, suffering, and desire. Philosophers of religion, on the other hand, tend to explore the possibilities of knowing God in terms of rational acceptability, epistemic rights, cognitive responsibility, and propositional belief. These languages seem to point to very different accounts of how it (...)
  19. Introduction: Alvin Plantinga, God's Philosopher.Deane-Peter Baker - 2007 - In Alvin Plantinga. Cambridge University Press.
  20. Plantinga's Reformed Epistemology: What's the Question? [REVIEW]Deane-Peter Baker - 2004 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 57 (2):77-103.
    Alvin Plantingas Warranted Christian Belief is without questionone of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantingas defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantingas project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, of (...)
  21. Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology: What’s the Question?Deane-Peter Baker - 2004 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 57 (2):77-103.
    Alvin Plantinga's "Warranted Christian Belief" is without question one of the central texts of the Reformed epistemology movement. Critiques of Plantinga's defence have been both multiple and varied. As varied as these responses are, however, it is my contention that many of them amount to the same thing. It is the purpose of this paper to offer an overview of the main lines of attack that have been directed as Plantinga's project, and thereafter to show how many, if not most, (...)
  22. Epistemic Externalism in the Philosophy of Religion.Max Baker-Hytch - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4).
    Epistemic externalism is a view about what it takes for a belief to be epistemically justified or to be an item of knowledge. Externalism has grown considerably in popularity over the past few decades and this development has spilled over into the philosophy of religion, where we find externalist theories of justification and knowledge being employed to make the case for the positive epistemic status of religious beliefs. In §1, I offer an overview of epistemic externalism and its rival, internalism. (...)
  23. Could the Extended Aquinas/Calvin Model Defeat Basic Christian Belief?Erik Baldwin - 2006 - Philosophia Christi 8 (2):383-399.
  24. An Epistemic Defeater for Islamic Belief?Erik Baldwin & Tyler McNabb - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (4):352-367.
    We aim to further develop and evaluate the prospects of a uniquely Islamic extension of the Standard Aquinas/Calvin model. One obstacle is that certain Qur’an passages such as Surah 8:43–44 apparently suggest that Muslims have reason to think that Allah might be deceiving them. Consistent with perfect/maximally good being theology, Allah would allow such deceptions only if doing so leads to a greater good, so such passages do not necessarily give Muslims reason to doubt Allah’s goodness. Yet the possibility of (...)
  25. The Explanatory Challenge: Moral Realism Is No Better Than Theism.Dan Baras - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    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 (...)
  26. Reformed Epistemology and the Cognitive Science of Religion.Justin L. Barrett - 2010 - Faith and Philosophy 27 (2):174-189.
    Reformed epistemology and cognitive science have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitive science of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will show some remarkable points of convergence, and (...)
  27. Plantinga, Pluralism and Justified Religious Belief.David Basinger - 1991 - Faith and Philosophy 8 (1):67-80.
  28. Alvin Plantinga. Edited by James D. Tomberlin and Peter van Inwagen.David Basinger - 1988 - Modern Schoolman 65 (4):265-267.
  29. Christian Theism and the Problems of Philosophy.M. Beaty (ed.) - 1990 - University of Notre Dame Press.
  30. Evil, the Human Cognitive Condition, and Natural Theology.John Beaudoin - 1998 - Religious Studies 34 (4):403-418.
    Recent responses to evidential formulations of the argument from evil have emphasized the possible limitations on human cognitive access to the goods and evils that might be connected with various wordly states of affairs. This emphasis, I argue, is a twin-edged sword, as it imperils a popular form of natural theology. I conclude by arguing that the popularity enjoyed by Reformed Epistemology does not detract from the significance of this result, since Reformed Epistemology is not inimical to natural theology, and (...)
  31. Tayloring Reformed Epistemology.James Beilby - 2010 - Faith and Philosophy 27 (4):470-474.
  32. Plantinga's Model of Warranted Christian Belief.James Beilby - 2007 - In Deane-Peter Baker (ed.), Alvin Plantinga. Cambridge University Press.
  33. Plantinga’s Pox on Naturalism Revisited: A Reply to Michael Thune.James Beilby - 2005 - Philosophia Christi 7 (1):169-176.
  34. Alvin Plantinga’s Pox on Metaphysical Naturalism.James Beilby - 2003 - Philosophia Christi 5 (1):131-142.
  35. Epistemology As Theology: An Evaluation of Alvin Plantinga's Religious Epistemology.James K. Beilby - 2006 - Ashgate.
    Why does he eschew the necessity of natural theology, something that is from a historical perspective the most common approach to defending the epistemic status of Christianity? Answering this question is critical to understanding Plantinga's ...
  36. Rational Religious Belief Without Arguments.Michael Bergmann - 2012 - In Louis Pojman & Michael Rea (eds.), Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology. Wadsworth. pp. 534-549.
  37. Evidentialism and the Great Pumpkin Objection.Michael Bergmann - 2011 - In Trent Dougherty (ed.), Evidentialism and its Discontents. Oxford University Press. pp. 123.
  38. Reforming the “Reformed” Objection to Natural Theology.John Beversluis - 1995 - Faith and Philosophy 12 (2):189-206.
    In this paper I offer a critique of Alvin Plantinga’s well known and widely accepted contention that his “Reformed” objection to natural theology can plausibly be said to derive from the writings of John Calvin and traditional Reformed theologians generally. I argue that although there is indeed a traditional Reformed objection to natural theology, Plantinga’s own objection is very different from and, in fact, incompatible with, it. I conclude that whatever the merits of Plantinga’s own position, it should not be (...)
  39. Knowledge of God, by Alvin Plantinga and Michael Tooley.J. Bishop - 2009 - Mind 118 (472):1163-1168.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
  40. 'How to Answer the "de Jure" Question About Christian Belief.John Bishop & Imran Aijaz - 2004 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 56 (2/3):109 - 129.
  41. ?How to Answer the de Jure Question About Christian Belief?John Bishop & Imran Aijaz - 2004 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 56 (2-3):109-129.
  42. Is Knowledge of God a Cognitive Achievement?Anthony Bolos - 2016 - Ratio 29 (2):184-201.
    This essay considers whether reformed epistemology is compatible with the claim that knowledge is a cognitive achievement. It is argued that knowledge of God is not only compatible with a more general achievement claim, but is also compatible with a much stronger achievement claim – namely, the strong achievement thesis where achievements are characterized by the overcoming of some obstacle. With respect to reformed epistemology, then, it is argued that the obstacle that is overcome is an environment that is not (...)
  43. A Robust Reformed Epistemology.Anthony Bolos - 2014 - In Andrew Moore (ed.), God, Mind, and Knowledge. Routledge.
  44. Reformed Epistemology.Anthony Bolos & Kyle Scott - 2015 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An introduction to Reformed Epistemology.
  45. Proper Function and the Conditions for Warrant: What Plantinga’s Notion of Warrant Shows About Different Kinds of Knowledge.Mark Boone - 2012 - Philosophia Christi 14 (2):373-386.
  46. "On Plantinga's Way Out".Dale Eric Brant - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (3):378-387.
    The foreknowledge problem involves two assumptions. First, that “God once believed that an event would occur now” is about the past. Second that it is equivalent to “God once existed and the event is occurring now.” These, Plantinga argues, are incompatible. But he makes assumptions. First, that equivalent propositions are both about a given time, or neither are. Second, that if a proposition is about a given time, so is its negation. Third, that if two propositions are about a given (...)
  47. On Plantinga's Way Out.Dale Eric Brant - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (3):334-352.
    The foreknowledge problem involves two assumptions. First, that “God once believed that an event would occur now” is about the past. Second that it is equivalent to “God once existed and the event is occurring now.” These, Plantinga argues, are incompatible. But he (implicitly) makes assumptions. First, that equivalent propositions are both about a given time, or neither are. Second, that if a proposition is (is not) about a given time, so is (neither is) its negation. Third, that if two (...)
  48. Many Kinds of Rational Theistic Belief.G. Briintrup & R. Tacelli - 1999 - In G. Bruntrup & R. K. Tacelli (eds.), The Rationality of Theism. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 19--21.
  49. Bookreview: Alving Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, 508-508 (2001).G. Brink - 2001 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 93 (3):231-233.
  50. Alvin Plantinga and Natural Theology.Hunter Brown - 1991 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 30 (1):1 - 19.
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