The cognitive science of religion/atheism and its impact on Plantinga's reformed epistemology


The cognitive science of religion is a relatively recent attempt to explain religious beliefs using the methods of cognitive science. There has been interest amongst an ever increasing number of scientists, philosophers and theologians as to the impact this research might have on the justification of the religious beliefs themselves. I will examine the impact the cognitive science of religion has upon Alvin Plantinga’s reformed epistemology, which claims that belief in God can be warranted even if it is not based on evidence. Throughout the course of discussion, I shall consider if the cognitive science of religion poses epistemological and ontological problems for Plantinga’s model of theistic belief. I shall claim that the cognitive science of atheism offers a more plausible challenge to Plantinga’s account than the cognitive science of religion.



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Richard Jonathan Sagar
University of Birmingham

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