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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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).
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..
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)
In his widely influential two-volume work, Warrant: The Current Debate and Warrant and Proper Function, Alvin Plantinga argued that warrant is that which explains the difference between knowledge and true belief. Plantinga not only developed his own account of warrant but also mapped the terrain of epistemology. Motivated by Plantinga's work, fourteen prominent philosophers have written new essays investigating Plantingian warrant and its contribution to contemporary epistemology. The resulting collection, representing a broad array of views, not only gives readers a (...) critical perspective on Plantinga's landmark work, but also provides in one volume a clear statement of the variety of approaches to the nature of warrant within contemporary epistemology, and to the connections between epistemology and metaphysics. Positions covered include internalism and externalism, reliabilism, coherentism and foundationalism, virtue theories, and defensibility theories. Alvin Plantinga responds to the essays in his own contribution. (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.
In this paper I outline and discuss the central claims and arguments of J. L. Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism. Mackie argues, in essence, that none of the traditional theistic arguments is successful taken either one at a time or in tandem, that the theist does nothave a satisfactory response to the problem of evil, and that on balance the theistic hypothesis is much less probable than is its denial. He then concludes that theism is unsatisfactory and rationally unacceptable. I (...) argue that he is mistaken in nearly all of his major contentions. (shrink)
First, I'd like to thank Professors Van Till, Pun, and McMullin for their careful and thoughtful replies. There is a deep level of agreement among all four of us; as is customary with replies and replies to replies, however, I shall concentrate on our areas of disagreement. In the cases of Van Till and McMullin, this may give an impression of deeper disagreement than actually exists. In the case of Pun it leaves me with little to say except Yea and (...) Amen; I find no serious disagreement between us. (shrink)