Antirealism, theism and the conditional fallacy

Noûs 39 (1):123–139 (2005)
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Abstract

In his presidential address to the APA, Alvin Plantinga argues that the only sensible way to be an anti-realist is to be a theist. Anti-realism (AR) in this context is the epistemic analysis of truth that says, "(AR) necessarily, a statement is true if and only if it would be believed by an ideally [or sufficiently] rational agent/community in ideal [or sufficiently good] epistemic circumstances." Plantinga demonstrates, with modest modal resources, that AR entails that necessarily, ideal epistemic circumstances obtain. As it is a contingent matter whether ideal epistemic circumstances obtain, Plantinga concludes that an anti-realist should be a theist. In this paper, we show that counterfactual analyses of truth as epistemic are instances of a more general problem of philosophical analysis. More specifically, without a radical revision of the logic, counterfactual analyses of truth as epistemic cannot avoid perpetrating some version of the conditional fallacy. Even so, we argue, anti-realists are not committed to the necessary existence of ideal epistemic circumstances and therefore need not be theists. 

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Author Profiles

Berit Brogaard
University of Miami
Joe Salerno
Saint Louis University

Citations of this work

Against Naturalism about Truth.Berit Brogaard - 2015 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 262-276.
Against Naturalism about Truth.Berit Brogaard - 2015 - In Kelly James Clark (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 262–276.

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.
The taming of the true.Neil Tennant - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The conditional fallacy in contemporary philosophy.Robert K. Shope - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (8):397-413.

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