Science: Augustinian or Duhemian

Faith and Philosophy 13 (3):368-394 (1996)

Alvin Plantinga
University of Notre Dame
This paper is a continuation of a discussion with Ernan McMullin; its topic is the question how theists (in particular, Christian theists) should think about modern science---the whole range of modern science, including economics, psychology, sociobiology and so on. Should they follow Augustine in thinking that many large scale scientific projects as well as intellectual projects generally are in the service of one or the other of the civitates? Or should they follow Duhem, who (at least in the case of physics) held that proper science is independent of metaphysical, theological or (broadly) religious concerns? The focus of the discussion is biology; I support the Augustinian line of thought, while McMullin is more inclined to the Duhemian. I conclude by defending the idea that the epistemic probability of the Grand Evolutionary Scenario on Christian theism together with the empirical evidence is somewhat less than 1/2
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0739-7046
DOI 10.5840/faithphil19961335
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