Posts tagged ‘Alvin Plantinga’

February 27th, 2013

William Lane Craig and Epistemological Naturalism

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest post by Kegan Shaw. Kegan is currently in the MA in Philosophical Studies program at Liberty University and his research is in epistemological naturalism and rationalism.

__________

Looking back on the Feb. 2nd debate between William Craig and Alex Rosenberg, while much said was in keeping with good sense, there did appear to be some confusion about the notion of epistemological naturalism. It seems William Lane Craig confused or took together to be synonymous the terms scientism and epistemological naturalism (EN). These terms are importantly distinct and should therefor be kept that way. To make a statement of distinction right off, scientism is an epistemological theory, while EN is not strictly so.

The confusion stems from Craig’s taking epistemological naturalism to be equivalent to scientism, while proceeding to wrongly criticize epistemological naturalism as one would properly criticize scientism. For instance, Craig says in his Feb. 26 podcast that epistemological naturalism is the view that “science alone gives us knowledge and truth.” Craig’s debate powerpoint defined the same term as the view that “science is the only source of knowledge.” However, these are proper definitions of scientism, not EN.

February 18th, 2013

Q&A 11: Is the Belief in Free Will a Properly Basic Belief? Defeaters?

by Max Andrews

Question:

Is the properly basic belief that I have free will indefeasible? I’m thinking of the fact that a properly basic belief can be defeated, but was wondering how far that goes. So can someone ever provide a defeater for the idea that we have free will? The thought came to me again when I was listening to a podcast by Glenn Andrew Peoples and he made a comment about how we should give up the idea of free will if a good enough theory (of mind) came along that denied free will. I disagree with Glenn on this but was wondering if you ever could be presented with defeaters for free will. I can sort of see an undercutting defeater might but not a rebutting defeater.

Answer:

John,

For those who may not be familiar with the issue, a properly basic belief is a belief that is held via non-doxastic justification, which is self-evident to the subject. For example, a properly basic belief is the belief that I am a mind or that there is an external reality beyond myself. The first question is whether or not free will is a properly basic belief–and I think not.

December 17th, 2012

Ontology is Far Too Removed from Epistemology

by Max Andrews

God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties.  This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem).  The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves.[1]  This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.[2]

In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found.  If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object.  Thus, to know entities as they actually are is to know what they are in their relation “webs”.  Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.[3]

The methodology of the epistemological realist concerns propositions of which are a posteriori, or “thinking after,” the objective disclosure of reality.  Thus, epistemology follows from ontology. 

December 17th, 2012

Q&A 2: The Ontological Argument, Logic, and… Aliens?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion 1:

I am interested in becoming a Christian apologetic but these couple questions are kind of a stumbling block for me. Do you think you could answer these questions for me so I could understand Christianity more?
1.What is the ontological argument? To mean it seems like a lot of lip service. Basically tell me if I’m wrong the ontological argument is that if you think something exists it does or if your mind can imagine something it exists? It doesn’t make sense to me.  A perfect concept does not prove a perfect being.
2. I was watching a philosophical interview with Greg Koukl who was talking about abstract uncreated beings. From what I got out of it uncreated beings do not exist and God created everything even Numbers But if that’s the case then how can God be bound by logic? Like the answer to the question can God make a rock to be he can’t lift? One would say that God can do anything LOGICALLY possible and since there are no rocks he can’t lift then the question is logically impossible. So how does this make sense? Do you know about created and uncreated abstract beings and can you explain more about the study of them and what they are?
read more »

October 18th, 2012

The Epistemology Directory

by Max Andrews
Below is a collection of all my blog posts specifically related to epistemology.
  1. My Evidentialist Epistemology
  2. Onto-Relationships and Epistemology
  3. Why Plantinga’s Warrant Cannot Circumvent the Gettier Problem
  4. A General Rule for Gettier Cases
  5. Empiricism and Being in the Right Phenomenological Frame of Mind
  6. Meet Philosopher Linda Zagzebski
  7. The Connection Between Phenomenology and Existentialism
  8. A Response to Alvin Plantinga’s “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology”
  9. Alex Rosenberg on Whether Philosophy Emerges from Science
  10. Steven Wykstra’s “Toward a Sensible Evidentialism: ‘On the Notion of Needing Evidence.’”
  11. Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Epistemology
  12. New Paper: “Epistemological Scientific Realism and the Onto-Relationship of Inferentially Justified and Non-Inferentially Justified Beliefs”
    read more »

October 4th, 2012

Onto-Relationships and Epistemology

by Max Andrews

God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties.  This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem).  The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves.[1]  This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.[2]

In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found.  If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object.  Thus, to know entities as they actually are what they are in their relation “webs”.  Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.[3]

The methodology of the epistemological realist concerns propositions of which are a posteriori, or “thinking after,” the objective disclosure of reality.  Thus, epistemology follows from ontology.  False thinking or methodology (particularly in scientific knowledge) has brought about a failure to recognize the intelligibility actually present in nature and the kinship in the human knowing capacity to the objective rationality to be known.[4]

October 2nd, 2012

Why Plantinga’s Warrant Cannot Circumvent the Gettier Problem

by Max Andrews

Alvin Plantinga’s notion of warrant (justification) is a form of externalism (reliablism).

[A] belief has warrant only if it is produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly in an appropriate environment. Plantinga’s notion of proper function, moreover, implies the existence of a design plan, and a belief’s having warrant requires that the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at truth. In addition, the design plan must be a good one in the sense that the objective probability of the belief’s being true (given that it’s produced in accordance with the design plan) must be high.

However, Plantinga does not avoid the Gettier problem. The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge ([K], if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false.

October 1st, 2012

A General Rule for Gettier Cases

by Max Andrews

The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge (if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false. For example, I leave my keys in my jacket pocket hanging over the back of the kitchen chair. While I’m away, my wife comes around and picks up my jacket to throw it in the wash. Noticing that my keys are in my jacket pocket she thinks I’ll probably be heading out to soon since I didn’t hang up my jacket and put my keys in their respective places. She then places my keys back in my jacket and my jacket back over the chair where they were before. When I return do I have knowledge that my keys are in my jacket? That’s the issue. Do I believe my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Is it true my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Am I justified in believing this? Well… probably not since the reason why the keys are actually there are not the reason why I believe they’re there. Thus, I have no justification for believing this even though I do believe it and it happens to be true.

July 12th, 2012

The Problem of Evil and the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

If God has a sufficient reason for permitting evil in some possible world then he has a sufficient reason in all possible worlds. Given simplicity, God is perfectly similar in every possible world we can conceive.  He never wills differently, he never acts differently, he never knows differently, and he never loves differently.  If modal realism is true and evil exists then the probability overall or on balance for justice is precisely 1.[1]  Thus, the problem of evil is an insufficient objection given whatever God’s interaction is in this world. It would be morally equivalent to his actions in other worlds with evil.  If God is absolutely similar in all possible worlds and if he has a morally sufficient reason to permit evil in some possible world then he is morally justified in permitting evil in all possible worlds (even if some worlds are more bad than good because God would be acting towards the same telos).  The following is a modified version of Alvin Plantinga’s ontological argument.[2]  In it I include the necessary entailment of a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil.

P1. The property of being maximally great is exemplified in some possible world.
P2. The property of being maximally great is equivalent, by definition, to the property of being maximally excellent in every possible world.
P3. The property of being maximally excellent entails the properties of omniscience and moral perfection.
P4. The property of moral perfection necessarily entails a morally sufficient reason for permitting states of affairs that are overall more evil than good.
P5. A universal property is one that is exemplified in every possible world or none.

June 13th, 2012

A Response to Alvin Plantinga’s “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology”

by Max Andrews

In this article Plantinga uses the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck as an outline for the reformed objection to natural theology.  The first aspect of the objection is that arguments or proofs are not, in general, the source of the believer’s confidence in God.  Secondly, argument is not needed for rational justification; the believer is entirely within his epistemic right to believing that God has created the world, even if he has no argument at all for that conclusion.

There are three further points made.  We cannot come to knowledge of God on the basis of argument; the arguments of natural theology just don’t work.  Secondly, Scripture ‘proceeds from God as the starting point,’ and so should the believer.  Finally, Bavinck points out that belief in God relevantly resembles belief in the existence of the self and of the external world. Furthermore, the Christian ought not believe on the basis of argument; if he does, his faith is likely to be unstable and wavering.

To criticize someone as irrational is to criticize them for failing to fulfill duties and responsibilities, or for failing to conform to the relevant norms or standards ethically.  Plantinga rejects the doxastic system of internalism and foundationalism and advocates an externalist reliabilism.  The reformed objection to natural theology, or reformed epistemology, is primarily an objection to foundationalism.