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Evidentialism and Reformed Epistemology

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jbejon

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Plantinga's books
« on: December 27, 2007, 08:01:42 pm »
I'd like to find out more Plantinga's so-called Reformed Epistemology.  Apparently he's written a series of three books: 'The Current Debate', 'Warrant and Proper Function', and 'Warranted Christian Belief'.  Has anyone read any (or, better, all) of these?  If so, is it best to read them in order?  Or is there a fair amount of repetition? or what?

   

   Thanks, James.

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DouglasMoore

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Plantinga's books
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 11:52:16 pm »
I've read all three.

The last one, Warranted Christian Belief is designed to stand on its own. However, you will get a far better understanding of Plantinga's position by at least reading Warrant and Proper Function too.


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jbejon

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Plantinga's books
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2007, 04:08:41 am »
Thanks Douglas.  I'll probably start with Warrant and Proper Function then.  What did you make of the books, by the way?  Do you think Plantinga's theory of epistemology is a good one?

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DouglasMoore

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Plantinga's books
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2007, 04:28:57 am »
I'm not as well read on epistemology and as well thought out on epistemology as I am on some things. It seems to me to do as well on examination as any other theory. In my view his conditional statements like: If Christianity is true, then we probably have genuine knowledge of God through the internal instigation of the Holy Spirit; are above reproach.

If you look around at recent anthologies on epistemology, he tends to have articles in quite a few of them. Usually the section on religious epistemology is composed only of something he wrote and perhaps a response, or something from William Alston. That's what I recall anyway. And I find his externalist theory of knowledge pretty intuitive. At least it seems to me he states many of the conditions necessary for knowledge. Again, I think his take on knowledge is up there with any other theory I know of.

In any case, Plantinga is one of the most brilliant philosophers around these days. If his books do nothing else, they will give you plenty rich concepts to tackle.


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vanhornluke

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Plantinga's books
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2007, 12:09:34 pm »

Everything Plantinga has ever written is worth reading.  His warrant trilogy contains the majority of his work in epistemology (he has a few scattered articles and book chapters, but the essential reading is in his trilogy).  Warrant: The Current Debate is an extended critique of all the main views at the time (1993) about warrant, "that quality enough of which turns true belief into knowledge."  Warrant and Proper Function then presents his own account of warrant.  Both of these books are very interesting, the latter being more important for understanding his own view, but the former showing why he thinks the other views don't work.  Finally, Warranted Christian Belief extends his account of warrant to theistic and explicitly Christian beliefs, showing that if Christianity is true, then Christians are warranted in believing Christian doctrine (i.e., Christians know that Christianity is true).  This is an absolute gem of a book, and along the way Plantinga discusses in detail Freud and Marx, religious pluralism, the problem of evil, biblical higher criticism, and a number of other fascinating subjects (and his comments on fundamentalism are perhaps the funniest I've ever seen in a philosophical work).  Highly recommended.