Plantinga on warrant

Religious Studies 37 (2):203-214 (2001)
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Alvin Plantinga Warranted Christian Belief (New York NY: Oxford University Press, 2000). In the two previous volumes of his trilogy on ‘warrant’, Alvin Plantinga developed his general theory of warrant, defined as that characteristic enough of which terms a true belief into knowledge. A belief B has warrant if and only if: (1) it is produced by cognitive faculties functioning properly, (2) in a cognitive environment sufficiently similar to that for which the faculties were designed, (3) according to a design plan aimed at the production of true beliefs, when (4) there is a high statistical probability of such beliefs being true. Thus my belief that there is a table in front of me has warrant if in the first place, in producing it, my cognitive faculties were functioning properly, the way they were meant to function. Plantinga holds that just as our heart or liver may function properly or not, so may our cognitive faculties. And he also holds that if God made us, our faculties function properly if they function in the way God designed them to function; whereas if evolution (uncaused by God) made us, then our faculties function properly if they function in the way that (in some sense) evolution designed them to function.



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