Plantinga’s Probability Arguments Against Evolutionary Naturalism

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2):115–129 (1998)
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Abstract

In Chapter 12 of Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Plantinga constructs two arguments against evolutionary naturalism, which he construes as a conjunction E&N .The hypothesis E says that “human cognitive faculties arose by way of the mechanisms to which contemporary evolutionary thought directs our attention (p.220).”1 With respect to proposition N , Plantinga (p. 270) says “it isn’t easy to say precisely what naturalism is,” but then adds that “crucial to metaphysical naturalism, of course, is the view that there is no such person as the God of traditional theism.” Plantinga tries to cast doubt on the conjunction E&N in two ways.His “preliminary argument” aims to show that the conjunction is probably false, given the fact (R) that our psychological mechanisms for forming beliefs about the world are generally reliable.His “main argument” aims to show that the conjunction E&N is self-defeating — if you believe E&N , then you should stop believing that conjunction.Plantinga further develops the main argument in his unpublished paper “Naturalism Defeated” (Plantinga 1994).We will try to show that both arguments contain serious errors

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Author Profiles

Branden Fitelson
Northeastern University
Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Citations of this work

Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (12).
Debunking Morality: Lessons From the EAAN Literature.Andrew Moon - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):208-226.
Reconstructing Probabilistic Realism: Re-enacting Syntactical Structures.Majid Davoody Beni - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (2):293-313.

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References found in this work

Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Probability and the Logic of Rational Belief.Henry E. Kyburg Jr - 1961 - Middletown, CT, USA: Wesleyan University Press.
Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 1993 - Westview Press.
Probability and the Logic of Rational Belief.Henry Ely Kyburg - 1961 - Middletown, CT, USA: Middletown, Conn., Wesleyan University Press.
Betting on Theories.Patrick Maher - 1993 - Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

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