Augustinian Science: Alvin Plantinga’s Idea on Philosophizing and Scientific Theorizing Based on Religious Belief

Dissertation, Mofid University (2011)
Abstract
Alvin Plantinga believes there are some kinds of conflicts between some deliverances of science and religious beliefs. To correct, on the one hand, misinterpretations of the Scripture and, on the other hand, wrong scientific claims, he proposes, we must use in science all of what we know: what we find through experience, as well as what we know by way of faith. Methodological naturalism, one of methodological assumptions of scientific practice, prevents us to achieve this goal. According to methodological naturalism, scientists can’t use supernatural explanation, evidence and concept in science. In addition to rejecting methodological naturalism, Plantinga maintains many theories in humanities apply normative concepts and definitions; and religion can be used as a source for this concepts and definitions. In summary, Plantinga’s idea, Augustinian Science, has been based on four principles: using hermeneutical finding along with empirical evidence in science; rejecting methodological naturalism; using normative concepts and definitions which comes from religious world view, in theories which need them; assuming properly basic beliefs of believers. First chapter of this thesis is a brief introduction to the subject of relation between science and religion in addition with some remarks on the old and the new creationist movements. In second chapter, Plantinga’s idea has been reported in details and, then, in the third chapter, an analysis and evaluation of it has been presented. I viewed Augustinian Science from three different aspect (epistemology, religion and science) in which I considered three distinctive features for every aspect (possibility, necessity and realization). I concluded Augustinian Science has some implications and weaknesses which cannot be removed even by assuming reformed epistemology.
Keywords Augustinian Science  methodological naturalism  Christian Philosophy  religion-based science
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