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Defending the independence constraint: a reply to Snider


In an earlier paper I argued that Alvin Plantinga's defence of pure experiential theism (a theism epistemically based on religious experience) against the evidential problem of evil is inappropriately circular. Eric Snider rejects my argument claiming first that I do not get Plantinga's thought right. Second, he rejects a key principle my argument relies on, viz. the ‘independence constraint on neutralizers’. Finally, he offers an alternative to the independence constraint which allows the pure experiential theist to deal successfully with the evidential problem of evil. In this paper I argue that: (a) I have correctly characterized Plantinga's argument; and (b) that Snider's proposed counter-example to the independence constraint fails. Finally, I argue (c) that Snider's proposed alternative to the independence constraint is not a plausible epistemic principle.

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David Silver Religious experience and the evidential argument from evil’, Religious Studies, 38 (2002), 339353

Eric Snider Are causes of belief reasons for belief? Silver on evil, religious experience, and theism’, Religious Studies, 44, 2008), 185202.

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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