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Does Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism work?

  • WANG-YEN LEE (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

In Alvin Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism (EAAN), he contends that someone who holds both naturalism (N) and evolution (E) acquires an undefeated defeater for her belief that ‘human cognitive faculties are reliable’ (R) and as a result an undefeated defeater for everything else she believes when she comes to realize that P(R/N&E) is low or inscrutable. I argue for two theses in this paper. First, when a naturalist-evolutionist comes to think that P(R/N&E) is inscrutable, that does not constitute an undefeated defeater for her belief that R if her original grounds for believing R are something other than an assessment of P(R/N&E). Second, even if she acquires an undefeated defeater for her belief that R when she comes to think that P(R/N&E) is inscrutable, it does not follow that she has a defeater for all her other beliefs. The main contribution lies in my response to Plantinga's attempt to resist my second thesis.

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Bonjour Laurence (1998) In Defence of Pure Reason: A Rationalist Account of A Priori Justification (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Lewis David (1996) ‘Elusive knowledge’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74, 549567.
Plantinga Alvin (2002a) ‘Introduction: The evolutionary argument against naturalism’, in Beilby James (ed.) Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press), 112.
Plantinga Alvin (2002b) ‘Reply to Beilby's cohorts’, in Beilby Naturalism Defeated?, 204276.
Sosa Ernest (2002) ‘Plantinga's evolutionary meditations’, in Beilby Naturalism Defeated?, 91102.
Swinburne Richard (2001) Epistemic Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Swinburne Richard (2004) ‘Plantinga's argument against evolutionary naturalism’, in idem The Existence of God, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 350, n. 3.
Van Cleve James (1984) ‘Reliability, justification, and the problem of induction’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 9, 555567.
Van Cleve James (2002) ‘Can atheists know anything?, in Beilby Naturalism Defeated, 103125.
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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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