Reliability of Cognitive Faculties: A Critic on Plantinga’s View on Atheist Naturalism

JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS THOUGHT 20 (77):127-150 (2020)
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In the naturalism and evolutionism context, the ultimate objective and function of cognitive faculties is adaptation, survival and reproduction. Our cognitive faculties are not developed to generate true beliefs, therefore, but to have adapt behavior. Alvin Planatinga is not at ease with naturalism idea. To him, the problem with naturalism is the non-existence of proper understanding on the manner by which the belief and behavior are interrelated, thus, he concludes that the reliability of cognitive faculties are founded on low naturalistic evolutionism; because any alleged argument against these faculties, first, requires reliable perceptual faculties and next, if we realize lack of reliability in these faculties we developed self-defeating belief, consequently, in both the cases naturalism face criticism. Plantiga’s criticism on naturalism view as to reliability of cognitive faculties has made some philosophers encounter problems like: 1) high probability of interrelating casual belief and behavior, 2) argument based on personal incredulity, 3) lack of distinction between reflective and non-reflective knowledge, 4) finding independent evidence for reliability as to escape self-defeating, 5) the external status of mental states and 6) the problem of circle. To the authors here, except the problem of circle, Plantiga has been able to find proper answer for the rest of five problems. The objective here is to analyze, complete, expand and criticize Plantiga’s notion in rejecting the atheistic naturalism through the ability to secure cognitive faculties to unveil consistency of the new scientific findings with religious beliefs.



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Religious Thought
Shiraz University

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