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Alvin Plantinga on properly basic beliefs


A tribute to Alvin Plantinga

Tonight I’ll have the privilege of seeing Alvin Plantinga deliver a lecture on the incompatibility between science and naturalism at this year’s Evangelical Philosophical Conference. Dr Plantinga is widely recognized as one of the foremost philosophers in the world today. He is best known for his groundbreaking work in the area of epistemology (the study of how we know what we know). His crowning works are his Warrant series of books which include:

Since he deals with the issue of the mind quite a bit, Dr. Plantinga has also developed a rather strong argument against naturalism’s inability to ground the cognitive reliability of the mind. In sum, Plantinga’s argument goes as follows:

If natural selection is preoccupied with the survival of the species, then it follows that the production of true beliefs in any surviving organism is not guaranteed. Hence, if we have evolved as naturalists say we have, then we have no reason to trust the cognitive faculties with which we are currently endowed.

For a full presentation of Plantinga’s argument, I recommend this lecture from BeThinking.org titled “An Evolutionary Arguement Against Naturalsim” (audio here)