Today: • Odds & Ends • Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology: Objections & Responses • The Great Pumpkin Objection • The Role for Arguments Tonight: 8-10 pm—Strong’s Coffee Shop (on Franklin St.)
Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology Plantinga’s positive view is that: It is rationally acceptable to believe in the existence of God without evidence, proof, or argument. • This view is common to all of the members of the Reformed tradition. • Plantinga’s addition is to put this view in the language of “Foundationalism”. • For Plantinga, belief in God can be “properly basic”.
Great Pumpkin Objection • Plantinga says that belief in God can be properly basic, but does this commit him to the view that anything goes?
Great Pumpkin Objection • Plantinga says that belief in God can be properly basic, but does this commit him to the view that anything goes? • For example, are there circumstances in which belief in the Great Pumpkin can be properly basic?
Plantinga’s Initial Response • Remember, Plantinga has rejected the Classical Foundationalists’ criterion for proper basicality. • He admits that he does not have a full-fledged replacement criterion. • But that doesn’t commit him to the claim that anything can count as properly basic. • To illustrate this, he give the Verificationism Example.
Objection Restated • As we just saw, Plantinga is not committed to saying that anything can count as properly basic. • But he still has to tell us why belief in God can count as properly basic. • He needs to offer us some reason for thinking that a basic belief in God is relevantly different than a basic belief in the Great Pumpkin.
“Grounds” Plantinga claims that the relevant difference between belief in God and belief in the Great Pumpkin is that the latter is groundless. He claims that: • Belief in God can (in some circumstances) have grounds. • Belief in the Great Pumpkin is always groundless.
“Grounds” for Belief in God • The grounds for the properly basic beliefs are not other beliefs, but for instance are certain experiences. • For example, basic perceptual beliefs have perceptual experiences as their grounds. • In the case of basic beliefs in God, religious experiences are their grounds.
The Role of Arguments Plantinga has claimed that belief in God can be properly basic. Does this mean that arguments are completely irrelevant to religious belief? • Remember, Plantinga only claims that belief in God can be properly basic in certain circumstances. • In other circumstances belief in God won’t be properly basic, and will have to be defended with argumentation. • To illustrate this, notice that even basic perceptual beliefs can come under fire.