Synthese 67 (1):147 - 154 (1986)

Eleonore Stump
Saint Louis University
Professor Penelhum has argued that there is a common error about the history of skepticism and that the exposure of this error would significantly improve our understanding of a current confusion in the philosophy of religion with regard to the issue of the rationality of religious beliefs. Penelhum considers certain contemporary philosophers of religion such as Plantinga skeptics because he reads Plantinga (for example) as arguing that religious beliefs are properly groundless in virtue of the fact that none of our beliefs have any ultimate grounds, and Penelhum argues that this sort of defense of religious belief is both limited and dangerous for religion. I argue that on the interpretation of ancient skepticism which Penelhum gives ancient skepticism is just what it has often been claimed to be: either practically untenable or incoherent or both. I show that in any case the confusion in philosophy of religion which Penelhum wants to sort out with the help of ancient skepticism is not one of which its alleged proponents are guilty. The views of Plantinga and others who take his line are more complex and powerful than Penelhum's presentation makes them seem; these views do not constitute an acceptance of skepticism but a denial of a certain sort of foundationalism. Contrary to Penelhum, then, I argue that ancient skepticism does not serve as a significant corrective for certain trends in contemporary philosophy of religion.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485515
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References found in this work BETA

God and Skepticism.William P. Alston - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (4):599-602.
God and Skepticism.Terence Penelhum - 1985 - Religious Studies 21 (3):419-421.
The Skeptical Tradition. Burnyeat (ed.) - 1983 - University of California Press.

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