In this companion volume to Warrant: The Current Debate, Plantinga develops an original approach to the question of epistemic warrant; that is what turns true belief into knowledge. He argues that what is crucial to warrant is the proper functioning of one's cognitive faculties in the right kind of cognitive environment.
Plantinga examines the nature of epistemic warrant; whatever it is that when added to true belief yields knowledge. This volume surveys current contributions to the debate and paves the way for his owm positive proposal in Warrant and Proper Function.
This book, one of the first full-length studies of the modalities to emerge from the debate to which Saul Kripke, David Lewis, Ruth Marcus, and others are contributing, is an exploration and defense of the notion of modality de re, the idea that objects have both essential and accidental properties. Plantinga develops his argument by means of the notion of possible worlds and ranges over such key problems as the nature of essence, transworld identity, negative existential propositions, and the existence (...) of unactual objects in other possible worlds. He also applies his logical theories to the elucidation of two problems in the philosophy of religion: the problem of evil and the ontological argument. (shrink)
This is the third volume in Alvin Plantinga's trilogy on the notion of warrant, which he defines as that which distinguishes knowledge from true belief. In this volume, Plantinga examines warrant's role in theistic belief, tackling the questions of whether it is rational, reasonable, justifiable, and warranted to accept Christian belief and whether there is something epistemically unacceptable in doing so. He contends that Christian beliefs are warranted to the extent that they are formed by properly functioning cognitive faculties, thus, (...) insofar as they are warranted, Christian beliefs are knowledge if they are true. (shrink)
A long-awaited major statement by pre-eminent analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies illuminates one of our society's biggest debates---the conflict between science and religion.Plantinga examines where this conflict is said to exist---looking at areas such as evolution, divine action in the world, and the scientific study of religion---and he considers claims by Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. He makes a case that their arguments are not only inconclusive, but (...) that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science. On the other hand, science can actually offer support to theistic doctrines---for instance, some versions or intepretations of quantum mechanics provide useful model for divine action. He goes on to outline the deep and massive consonance between theism and the entire scientific enterprise. In the last chapter, Plantinga argues that one can't rationally or sensibly accept both current evolutionary theory and naturalism, the thought that there is no such person as God or anything like God.The book concludes that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, in particular theistic religion, and superficial concord but deep conflict between naturalism and religion. (shrink)
The contributions in this volume make an important effort to resurrect a rather old fashioned form of foundationalism. They defend the position that there are some beliefs that are justified, and are not themselves justified by any further beliefs. This epistemic foundationalism has been the subject of rigorous attack by a wide range of theorists in recent years, leading to the impression that foundationalism is a thing of the past. DePaul argues that it is precisely the volume and virulence of (...) the assaults which points directly to the strength and coherence of the position. (shrink)
In Part I, I present two traditional arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge with human freedom; the first of these is clearly fallacious; but the second, the argument from the necessity of the past, is much stronger. In the second section I explain and partly endorse Ockham’s response to the second argument: that only propositions strictly about the past are accidentally necessary, and past propositions about God’s knowledge of the future are not strictly about the past. In the third (...) part I point out some startling implications of Ockham’s way out; and finally in part IV I offer an account of accidental necessity according to which propositions about the past are accidentally necessary if and only if they are strictly about the past. (shrink)
Perhaps no one has done more in the last 30 years to advance thinking in the metaphysics of modality than has Alvin Plantinga. Collected here are some of his most important essays on this influential subject. Dating back from the late 1960's to the present, they chronicle the development of Plantinga's thoughts about some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics: what is the nature of abstract objects like possible worlds, properties, propositions, and such phenomena? Are there possible but non-actual (...) objects? Can objects that do not exist exemplify properties? Plantinga gives thorough and penetrating to all of these questions and many others. This volume contains some of the best work in metaphysics from the past 30 years, and will remain a source of critical contention and keen interest among philosophers of metaphysics and philosophical logic for years to come. (shrink)
An enlightening discussion that will motivate students to think critically, the book opens with Plantinga's assertion that Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory because Christians believe that God created the living world, and it is entirely possible that God did so by using a process of evolution.
Take naturalism to be the idea that there is no such person as God or anything like God. Many philosophers hold that naturalism can accommodate serious moral realism. Many philosophers (and many of the same philosophers) also believe that moral properties supervene on non-moral properties, and even on naturalistic properties (where a naturalistic property is one such that its exemplification is compatible with naturalism). I agree that they do thus supervene, and argue that this makes trouble for anyone hoping to (...) argue that naturalism can accommodate morality. (shrink)
The problem of evil has challenged religious minds and hearts throughout the ages. Just how can the presence of suffering, tragedy, and wrongdoing be squared with the all-powerful, all-loving God of faith? This book gathers some of the best, most meaningful recent reflections on the problem of evil, with contributions by shrewd thinkers in the areas of philosophy, theology, literature, linguistics, and sociology. In addition to bringing new insights to the old problem of evil, Christian Faith and the Problem of (...) Evil is set apart from similar volumes by the often-novel approaches its authors take to the subject. Many of the essays pursue classic lines in speculative philosophy, but others address the problem of evil through biblical criticism, the thought of Simone Weil, and the faith of battered women and African American slaves. As a result, this book will interest a wide range of readers. Contributors: Paul Draper Eduardo J. Echeverria Laura Waddell Ekstrom Stephen Griffith Del Kiernan-Lewis Richard T. McClelland Barbara Omolade Richard Otte Alvin Plantinga John R. Schneider Robert Stanley Peter van Inwagen Carol Winkelmann Keith D. Wyma. (shrink)
My question is simple: how shall we Christians deal with apparent conflicts between faith and reason, between what we know as Christians and what we know in other ways, between teaching of the Bible and the teachings of science? As a special case, how shall we deal with apparent conflicts between what the Bible initially seems to tell us about the origin and development of life, and what contemporary science seems to tell us about it? Taken at face value, the (...) Bible seems to teach that God created the world relatively recently, that he created life by way of several separate acts of creation, that in another separate act of creation, he created an original human pair, Adam and Eve, and that these our original parents disobeyed God, thereby bringing ruinous calamity on themselves, their posterity and the rest of creation. (shrink)
Suppose there were a set T of all truths, and consider all subsets of T --all members of the power set T. To each element of this power set will correspond a truth. To each set of the power set, for example, a particular truth T1 either will or will not belong as a member. In either case we will have a..
Only in rational creatures is there found a likeness of God which counts as an image . . . . As far as a likeness of the divine nature is concerned, rational creatures seem somehow to attain a representation of [that] type in virtue of imitating God not only in this, that he is and lives, but especially in this, that he understands (ST Ia Q.93 a.6).
First, my thanks to Richard Swinburne for his probing and thoughtful review of my book Warranted Christian Belief (WCB). His account of the book's mainline of argument is accurate as far as it goes; it does contain an important lacuna, however. The focus of the book is twofold; it is aimed in two directions. First, just as Swinburne says, I argue that there are no plausible de iure objections to Christian belief that are independent of de facto objections; any plausible (...) objection to the rationality of Christian belief, or to its warrant (the property that distinguishes knowledge from mere true belief), or its justification, will either be obviously mistaken or will (as with Freud, and Marx and a thousand others) presuppose one or more de facto objections. This is intended as a contribution to apologetics; it is important, because many or most objections to Christian belief are of just the sort I attempt to discredit. (‘I don't know whether Christian belief is true or not – who could know a thing like that? – but I do know that it is irrational, or unwarranted, or not rationally justified, or…’.) Second (and this is the focus Swinburne fails to mention), I proposed the extended A/C (Aquinas/Calvin) model as, from the perspective of Christian belief, a plausible account of the way in which Christian belief is, in fact, justified, rational and warranted. So the book is aimed in two directions: first towards readers generally, whether Christian believers or not, and second towards Christian believers. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
First I state and develop a probabilistic argument for the conclusion that theistic belief is irrational or somehow noetically improper. Then I consider this argument from the point of view of the major contemporary accounts of probability, Concluding that none of them offers the atheologian aid and comfort.
The philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism holds that, for any study of the world to qualify as "scientific," it cannot refer to God's creative activity (or any sort of divine activity). The methods of science, it is claimed, "give us no purchase" on theological propositions--even if the latter are true--and theology therefore cannot influence scientific explanation or theory justification. Thus, science is said to be religiously neutral, if only because science and religion are, by their very natures, epistemically distinct. However, (...) the actual practice and content of science challenge this claim. In many areas, science is anything but religiously neutral; moreover, the standard arguments for methodological naturalism suffer from various grave shortcomings. [This is the first part of a two-part article.]. (shrink)