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Alvin Plantinga

From Academic Kids

Alvin Plantinga (born 15 November, 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in metaphysics and in the philosophy of religion. He is widely regarded to be the foremost philosophical apologist for Christianity.

Plantinga won a scholarship to Harvard University, but left it in 1951 to study at Calvin College (Grand Rapids), where William Harry Jellema was teaching philosophy. Following his time at Calvin, Plantinga studied at the University of Michigan from 1954-1955, alongside such future luminaries as William Alston, William Frankena and Nancy Cartwright. He received his doctorate from Yale University (1955-1958). He began teaching at Wayne State University, then spent almost 20 years at Calvin College before moving to the University of Notre Dame.

He is best known for:

  • A contemporary redeployment of the ontological argument using modal logic. The argument, thanks also to Norman Malcolm and Charles Hartshorne, enjoyed renewed interest in the 20th century.
  • His "[will defense (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodicy#Contemporary_philosophy_of_religion|free)]" response to J.L. Mackie's logical argument from evil, in which he introduced the concept of transworld depravity.
  • His "reformed epistemology" attacks on (internalist) foundationalism
  • His Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism - discussed by 12 philosophers in Naturalism Defeated?

In 1993 Plantinga's first two volumes of an epistemological trilogy on the concept of warrant were published. These fueled the discussion about what has to be added to true belief in order to be able to say that we have knowledge. In the first book, Warrant: The Current Debate, Plantinga introduces, analyzes, and criticizes 20th Century developments in Anglophone epistemology (Chisholm, BonJour, Alston, Goldman and others). In the second book, Warrant and Proper Function, he introduces the notion of warrant as an alternative to evidence and goes deeper into topics like self-knowledge, memories, perception, and probability. In 2000, the third volume, Warranted Christian belief, was published. Plantinga expands his focus of warrant from strictly epistemological issues to examine whether theistic belief can enjoy warrant. He argues that this is plausible.

Alvin Plantinga is John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is a Calvinist, not a Catholic. Plantinga gave the 2004-2005 Gifford lectures at St. Andrews University, titled Science and Religion: Conflict or Concord (to be published).

Some books

  • The Ontological Argument (1965) LCC 65-10634
  • God and other minds (1967)
  • The Nature of Necessity (1974)
  • God, Freedom, and Evil (1974)
  • Does God Have a Nature? (1980)
  • Warrant: the Current Debate, vol. 1 (1993)
  • Warrant and Proper Function, vol. 2 (1993)
  • Warranted Christian Belief, vol. 3 (2000)
  • The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader, James F. Sennett (editor), Wm. B. Eerdmans, (1998), ISBN 0802842291

External links

nl:Alvin Plantinga sv:Alvin Plantinga

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