Alvin Plantinga

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Alvin Plantinga
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Alvin Carl Plantinga

(1932-11-15) November 15, 1932 (age 86)
Alma mater
Notable work
Kathleen De Boer(m. 1955)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic
Doctoral advisor Paul Weiss
Main interests
Notable ideas

Alvin Carl Plantinga [lower-alpha 1] (born 1932) is an American analytic philosopher who works primarily in the fields of philosophy of religion, epistemology (particularly on issues involving epistemic justification), and logic.

Analytic philosophy style of philosophy

Analytic philosophy is a style of philosophy that became dominant in the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century. The term can refer to one of several things:

Philosophy of religion is "the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions". Philosophical discussions on such topics date from ancient times, and appear in the earliest known texts concerning philosophy. The field is related to many other branches of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.


From 1963 to 1982, Plantinga taught at Calvin College before accepting an appointment as the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. [3] He later returned to Calvin College to become the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy. [4]

University of Notre Dame Private Catholic university in Notre Dame, Indiana, United States

The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a private Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana, outside the city of South Bend. The main campus covers 1,261 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting and it contains a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural, the Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica. The school was founded on November 26, 1842, by Edward Sorin, who was also its first president.

A prominent Christian philosopher, Plantinga served as president of the Society of Christian Philosophers from 1983 to 1986. He has delivered the Gifford Lectures two times and was described by Time magazine as "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God". [5] William Lane Craig wrote in his work Reasonable Faith that he considers Plantinga to be the greatest Christian philosopher alive. [6] A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2017. [7]

Society of Christian Philosophers

The Society of Christian Philosophers (SCP) was founded in 1978. Past Presidents include William Alston, Robert Merrihew Adams, Alvin Plantinga, Marilyn McCord Adams, George I. Mavrodes, Peter van Inwagen, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Eleonore Stump, C. Stephen Evans, Robert Audi, Linda Zagzebski, and Michael C. Rea. Michael Bergmann of Purdue University is currently President of SCP, Justin McBrayer of Fort Lewis College is Executive Director, and Kevin Timpe of Calvin College is Treasurer.

The Gifford Lectures are an annual series of lectures which were established in 1887 by the will of Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford. Their purpose is to "promote and diffuse the study of natural theology in the widest sense of the term – in other words, the knowledge of God." A Gifford lectures appointment is one of the most prestigious honors in Scottish academia. The lectures are given at several Scottish universities: University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen and University of Edinburgh. They are normally presented as a series over an academic year and given with the intent that the edited content be published in book form. A number of these works have become classics in the fields of theology or philosophy and the relationship between religion and science.

Time is an American weekly news magazine and news website published in New York City. It was founded in 1923 and originally run by Henry Luce. A European edition is published in London and also covers the Middle East, Africa, and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong. The South Pacific edition, which covers Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, is based in Sydney. In December 2008, Time discontinued publishing a Canadian advertiser edition.

Some of Plantinga's most influential works including God and Other Minds (1967), The Nature of Necessity (1974), and a trilogy of books on epistemology, culminating in Warranted Christian Belief (2000) that was simplified in Knowledge and Christian Belief (2016).[ citation needed ]

God and Other Minds is a 1967 book by the American philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga which re-kindled philosophical debate on the existence of God in Anglo-American philosophical circles by arguing that belief in God was like belief in other minds: although neither could be demonstrated conclusively against a determined sceptic both were fundamentally rational. Though Plantinga later modified some of his views, particularly on the soundness of the ontological argument and on the nature of epistemic rationality, he still stands by the basic theses of the book.

Warranted Christian Belief is a book written by Alvin Plantinga and published in 2000. It constitutes, after Warrant: The Current Debate and Warrant and proper function, both published in 1993, the last part of his trilogy on epistemology.



Plantinga was born on November 15, 1932, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Cornelius A. Plantinga (1908–1994) and Lettie G. Bossenbroek (1908–2007). Plantinga's father was a first-generation immigrant, born in the Netherlands. [8] His family is from the Dutch province of Friesland, they lived on a relatively low income until he secured a teaching job in Michigan in 1941. [9]

Ann Arbor, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census recorded its population to be 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan.

Michigan U.S. state in the United States

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

Friesland Province of the Netherlands

Friesland, historically known as Frisia, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northern part of the country. It is situated west of Groningen, northwest of Drenthe and Overijssel, north of Flevoland, northeast of North Holland, and south of the Wadden Sea. In 2019, the province had a population of 647,672 and a total area of 5,749 km2 (2,220 sq mi).

Plantinga's father earned a PhD in philosophy from Duke University and a master's degree in psychology, and taught several academic subjects at different colleges over the years. [10]

Duke University Private university in Durham, North Carolina, United States

Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment and the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.

Plantinga married Kathleen De Boer in 1955. [11] They have four children: Carl, Jane, Harry, and Ann. [12] [13] Both of his sons are professors at Calvin College, Carl in Film Studies [14] and Harry in computer science. [15] Harry is also the director of the college's Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Plantinga's older daughter, Jane Plantinga Pauw, is a pastor at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Seattle, Washington, [16] and his younger daughter, Ann Kapteyn, is a missionary in Cameroon working for Wycliffe Bible Translators. [17] His granddaughter Natasha Pauw lives at home with her parents. One of Plantinga's brothers, Cornelius "Neal" Plantinga Jr., is a theologian and the former president of Calvin Theological Seminary. Another of his brothers, Leon, is an emeritus professor of musicology at Yale University. [10] [18] His brother Terrell worked for CBS News. [19]


After Plantinga completed 11th grade, his father urged him to skip his last year of high school and immediately enroll in college. Plantinga reluctantly followed his father's advice and in 1949, a few months before his 17th birthday, he enrolled in Jamestown College, in Jamestown, North Dakota. [20] [21] During that same year, his father accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In January 1950, Plantinga moved to Grand Rapids with his family and enrolled in Calvin College. During his first semester at Calvin, Plantinga was awarded a scholarship to attend Harvard University. [22]

Beginning in the fall of 1950, Plantinga spent two semesters at Harvard. In 1951, during Harvard's spring recess, Plantinga attended a few philosophy classes at Calvin College, and was so impressed with Calvin philosophy professor William Harry Jellema that he returned in 1951 to study philosophy under him. [23] In 1954, Plantinga began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he studied under William Alston, William Frankena, and Richard Cartwright, among others. [24] A year later, in 1955, he transferred to Yale University where he received his PhD in 1958. [25]

Teaching career

Plantinga at the University of Notre Dame in 2004 Alvin Plantinga.jpg
Plantinga at the University of Notre Dame in 2004

Plantinga began his career as an instructor in the philosophy department at Yale in 1957, and then in 1958 he became a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University during its heyday as a major center for analytic philosophy. In 1963, he accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, where he replaced the retiring Jellema. [26] He then spent the next 19 years at Calvin before moving to the University of Notre Dame in 1982. He retired from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and returned to Calvin College, where he serves as the first holder of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Philosophy. He has trained many prominent philosophers working in metaphysics and epistemology including Michael Bergmann at Purdue and Michael Rea at Notre Dame, and Trenton Merricks working at University of Virginia.

Awards and honors

Plantinga served as president of the American Philosophical Association, Western Division, from 1981 to 1982. [27] and as President of the Society of Christian Philosophers from 1983 to 1986. [21] [28]

He has honorary degrees from Glasgow University (1982), Calvin College (1986), North Park College (1994), the Free University of Amsterdam (1995), Brigham Young University (1996), and Valparaiso University (1999). [28] He was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1971–72, and elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. [28]

In 2006, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship. [29] The fellowship includes an annual lecture by the current Plantinga Fellow. [30]

In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy Department, History and Philosophy of Science Department, and the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science co-awarded Plantinga the Nicholas Rescher Prize for Systematic Philosophy, [31] which he received with a talk titled, "Religion and Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies".

In 2017, Baylor University's Center for Christian Philosophy inaugurated the Alvin Plantinga Award for Excellence in Christian Philosophy. Awardees deliver a lecture at Baylor University and their name is put on a plaque with Plantinga's image in the Institute for Studies in Religion. He was named the first fellow of the center as well. [32]

He was awarded the 2017 Templeton Prize.

Philosophical views

Plantinga has argued that some people can know that God exists as a basic belief, requiring no argument. He developed this argument in two different fashions: firstly, in God and Other Minds (1967), by drawing an equivalence between the teleological argument and the common sense view that people have of other minds existing by analogy with their own minds. [33] [34] Plantinga has also developed a more comprehensive epistemological account of the nature of warrant which allows for the existence of God as a basic belief. [35]

Plantinga has also argued that there is no logical inconsistency between the existence of evil and the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, wholly good God. [36]

Problem of evil

Plantinga proposed a "free-will defense" in a volume edited by Max Black in 1965, [37] which attempts to refute the logical problem of evil, the argument that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good God. [38] Plantinga's argument (in a truncated form) states that "It is possible that God, even being omnipotent, could not create a world with free creatures who never choose evil. Furthermore, it is possible that God, even being omnibenevolent, would desire to create a world which contains evil if moral goodness requires free moral creatures." [39]

However, the argument's handling of natural evil has been more heavily disputed, and its presupposition of a libertarianist, incompatibilist view of free will has been seen as problematic as well. [40] According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy , the argument also "conflicts with important theistic doctrines",[ clarification needed ] including the notion of heaven and the idea that God has free will. [41] J. L. Mackie sees Plantinga's free-will defense as incoherent. [42]

Plantinga's well-received book God, Freedom and Evil, written in 1974, gave his response to what he saw as the incomplete and uncritical view of theism's criticism of theodicy. Plantinga's contribution stated that when the issue of a comprehensive doctrine of freedom is added to the discussion of the goodness of God and the omnipotence of God then it is not possible to exclude the presence of evil in the world after introducing freedom into the discussion. Plantinga's own summary occurs in his discussion titled "Could God Have Created a World Containing Moral Good but No Moral Evil", where he states his conclusion that, "... the price for creating a world in which they produce moral good is creating one in which they also produce moral evil." [43]

Reformed epistemology

Plantinga giving a lecture on science and religion in 2009 AlvinPlantinga.JPG
Plantinga giving a lecture on science and religion in 2009

Plantinga's contributions to epistemology include an argument which he dubs "Reformed epistemology". According to Reformed epistemology, belief in God can be rational and justified even without arguments or evidence for the existence of God. More specifically, Plantinga argues that belief in God is properly basic, and due to a religious externalist epistemology, he claims belief in God could be justified independently of evidence. His externalist epistemology, called "proper functionalism", is a form of epistemological reliabilism.

Plantinga discusses his view of Reformed epistemology and proper functionalism in a three-volume series. In the first book of the trilogy, Warrant: The Current Debate, Plantinga introduces, analyzes, and criticizes 20th-century developments in analytic epistemology, particularly the works of Chisholm, BonJour, Alston, Goldman, and others. [44] In the book, Plantinga argues specifically that the theories of what he calls "warrant"-what many others have called justification (Plantinga draws out a difference: justification is a property of a person holding a belief while warrant is a property of a belief)—put forth by these epistemologists have systematically failed to capture in full what is required for knowledge. [45]

In the second book, Warrant and Proper Function , he introduces the notion of warrant as an alternative to justification and discusses topics like self-knowledge, memories, perception, and probability. [46] Plantinga's "proper function" account argues that as a necessary condition of having warrant, one's "belief-forming and belief-maintaining apparatus of powers" are functioning properly—"working the way it ought to work". [47] Plantinga explains his argument for proper function with reference to a "design plan", as well as an environment in which one's cognitive equipment is optimal for use. Plantinga asserts that the design plan does not require a designer: "it is perhaps possible that evolution (undirected by God or anyone else) has somehow furnished us with our design plans", [48] but the paradigm case of a design plan is like a technological product designed by a human being (like a radio or a wheel). Ultimately, Plantinga argues that epistemological naturalism- i.e. epistemology that holds that warrant is dependent on natural faculties—is best supported by supernaturalist metaphysics—in this case the belief in a creator God or designer who has laid out a design plan that includes cognitive faculties conducive to attaining knowledge. [49]

According to Plantinga, a belief, B, is warranted if:

(1) the cognitive faculties involved in the production of B are functioning properly…; (2) your cognitive environment is sufficiently similar to the one for which your cognitive faculties are designed; (3) … the design plan governing the production of the belief in question involves, as purpose or function, the production of true beliefs…; and (4) the design plan is a good one: that is, there is a high statistical or objective probability that a belief produced in accordance with the relevant segment of the design plan in that sort of environment is true. [50]

Plantinga seeks to defend this view of proper function against alternative views of proper function proposed by other philosophers which he groups together as "naturalistic", including the "functional generalization" view of John Pollock, the evolutionary/etiological account provided by Ruth Millikan, and a dispositional view held by John Bigelow and Robert Pargetter. [51] Plantinga also discusses his evolutionary argument against naturalism in the later chapters of Warrant and Proper Function. [52]

In 2000, the third volume, Warranted Christian Belief, was published. In this volume, Plantinga's warrant theory is the basis for his theological end: providing a philosophical basis for Christian belief, an argument for why Christian theistic belief can enjoy warrant. In the book, he develops two models for such beliefs, the "A/C" (Aquinas/Calvin) model, and the "Extended A/C" model. The former attempts to show that a belief in God can be justified, warranted and rational, while the Extended model tries to show that specifically Christian theological beliefs including the Trinity, the Incarnation, the resurrection of Christ, the atonement, salvation etc. Under this model, Christians are justified in their beliefs because of the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing those beliefs about in the believer.

James Beilby has argued that the purpose of Plantinga's Warrant trilogy, and specifically of his Warranted Christian Belief, is firstly to make a form of argument against religion impossible—namely, the argument that whether or not Christianity is true, it is irrational—so "the skeptic would have to shoulder the formidable task of demonstrating the falsity of Christian belief" [53] rather than simply dismiss it as irrational. In addition, Plantinga is attempting to provide a philosophical explanation of how Christians should think about their own Christian belief.

Plantinga has expressed a modal logic version of the ontological argument in which he uses modal logic to develop, in a more rigorous and formal way, Norman Malcolm's and Charles Hartshorne's modal ontological arguments.

Plantinga criticized Malcolm's and Hartshorne's arguments, and offered an alternative. [54] He argued that, if Malcolm does prove the necessary existence of the greatest possible being, it follows that there is a being which exists in all worlds whose greatness in some worlds is not surpassed. It does not, he argued, demonstrate that such a being has unsurpassed greatness in this world. [55]

In an attempt to resolve this problem, Plantinga differentiated between "greatness" and "excellence". A being's excellence in a particular world depends only on its properties in that world; a being's greatness depends on its properties in all worlds. Therefore, the greatest possible being must have maximal excellence in every possible world. Plantinga then restated Malcolm's argument, using the concept of "maximal greatness". He argued that it is possible for a being with maximal greatness to exist, so a being with maximal greatness exists in a possible world. If this is the case, then a being with maximal greatness exists in every world, and therefore in this world. [55]

The conclusion relies on a form of modal axiom S5, which states that if something is possibly true, then its possibility is necessary (it is possibly true in all worlds). Plantinga's version of S5 suggests that "To say that p is possibly necessarily true is to say that, with regard to one world, it is true at all worlds; but in that case it is true at all worlds, and so it is simply necessary." [56] A version of his argument is as follows: [57]

  1. A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
  2. A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
  3. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
  4. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
  5. Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
  6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Plantinga argued that, although the first premise is not rationally established, it is not contrary to reason. Michael Martin argued that, if certain components of perfection are contradictory, such as omnipotence and omniscience, then the first premise is contrary to reason. Martin also proposed parodies of the argument, suggesting that the existence of anything can be demonstrated with Plantinga's argument, provided it is defined as perfect or special in every possible world. [58]

Another Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, characterizes Plantinga's argument in a slightly different way:

  1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
  2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
  3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
  4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
  5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
  6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

According to Craig, premises (2)–(5) are relatively uncontroversial among philosophers, but "the epistemic entertainability of premise (1) (or its denial) does not guarantee its metaphysical possibility." [59] Furthermore, Richard M. Gale argued that premise three, the "possibility premise", begs the question. He stated that one only has the epistemic right to accept the premise if one understands the nested modal operators, and that if one understands them within the system S5—without which the argument fails—then one understands that "possibly necessarily" is in essence the same as "necessarily". [60] Thus the premise begs the question because the conclusion is embedded within it. On S5 systems in general, James Garson writes that "the words 'necessarily' and 'possibly', have many different uses. So the acceptability of axioms for modal logic depends on which of these uses we have in mind." [61]

Evolutionary argument against naturalism

In Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism, he argues that if evolution is true, it undermines naturalism. His basic argument is that if evolution and naturalism are both true, human cognitive faculties evolved to produce beliefs that have survival value (maximizing one's success at the four Fs: "feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing"), not necessarily to produce beliefs that are true. Thus, since human cognitive faculties are tuned to survival rather than truth in the naturalism-evolution model, there is reason to doubt the veracity of the products of those same faculties, including naturalism and evolution themselves. On the other hand, if God created man "in his image" by way of an evolutionary process (or any other means), then Plantinga argues our faculties would probably be reliable.

The argument does not assume any necessary correlation (or uncorrelation) between true beliefs and survival. Making the contrary assumption—that there is in fact a relatively strong correlation between truth and survival—if human belief-forming apparatus evolved giving a survival advantage, then it ought to yield truth since true beliefs confer a survival advantage. Plantinga counters that, while there may be overlap between true beliefs and beliefs that contribute to survival, the two kinds of beliefs are not the same, and he gives the following example with a man named Paul:

Perhaps Paul very much likes the idea of being eaten, but when he sees a tiger, always runs off looking for a better prospect, because he thinks it unlikely the tiger he sees will eat him. This will get his body parts in the right place so far as survival is concerned, without involving much by way of true belief... Or perhaps he thinks the tiger is a large, friendly, cuddly pussycat and wants to pet it; but he also believes that the best way to pet it is to run away from it... Clearly there are any number of belief-desire systems that equally fit a given bit of behaviour. [62]

The argument has received favorable notice from Thomas Nagel [63] and William Lane Craig, [64] but has also been criticized as seriously flawed, for example, by Elliott Sober. [65] [66]

View on naturalism and evolution

Even though Alvin Plantinga believes that God could have used Darwinian processes to create the world, he stands firm against philosophical naturalism. He said in an interview on the relationship between science and religion that:

Religion and science share more common ground than you might think, though science can't prove, it presupposes that there has been a past for example, science does not cover the whole of the knowledge enterprise. [67]

Plantinga participated of groups that support the Intelligent Design Movement, and was a member of the 'Ad Hoc Origins Committee' [68] that supported Philip E. Johnson's 1991 book Darwin on Trial , he also provided a back-cover endorsement of Johnson's book: "Shows how Darwinian evolution has become an idol." [69]

He was a Fellow of the (now moribund) pro-intelligent design International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, [70] and has presented at a number of intelligent design conferences. [71] In a March 2010 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education , philosopher of science Michael Ruse labeled Plantinga as an "open enthusiast of intelligent design". [72] In a letter to the editor, Plantinga made the following response:

Like any Christian (and indeed any theist), I believe that the world has been created by God, and hence "intelligently designed". The hallmark of intelligent design, however, is the claim that this can be shown scientifically; I'm dubious about that.

...As far as I can see, God certainly could have used Darwinian processes to create the living world and direct it as he wanted to go; hence evolution as such does not imply that there is no direction in the history of life. What does have that implication is not evolutionary theory itself, but unguided evolution, the idea that neither God nor any other person has taken a hand in guiding, directing or orchestrating the course of evolution. But the scientific theory of evolution, sensibly enough, says nothing one way or the other about divine guidance. It doesn't say that evolution is divinely guided; it also doesn't say that it isn't. Like almost any theist, I reject unguided evolution; but the contemporary scientific theory of evolution just as such—apart from philosophical or theological add-ons—doesn't say that evolution is unguided. Like science in general, it makes no pronouncements on the existence or activity of God. [73]

The attitude that he proposes and elaborates upon in Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism is that there is no tension between religion and science, that the two go hand in hand, and that the actual conflict lies between religion and naturalism. [74]

Selected works by Plantinga

See also


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In philosophy, naturalism is the "idea or belief that only natural laws and forces operate in the world." Adherents of naturalism assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

Warrant and Proper Function is the second book in a trilogy written by philosopher Alvin Plantinga on epistemology. In this book, Plantinga introduces the notion of warrant as an alternative to justification and discusses topics like self-knowledge, memories, perception, and probability. Plantinga's "proper function" account argues that as a necessary condition of having warrant, one's "belief-forming and belief-maintaining apparatus of powers" are functioning properly—"working the way it ought to work". Plantinga explains his argument for proper function with reference to a "design plan", as well as an environment in which one's cognitive equipment is optimal for use. Plantinga asserts that the design plan does not require a designer: "it is perhaps possible that evolution has somehow furnished us with our design plans", but the paradigm case of a design plan is like a technological product designed by a human being. Ultimately, Plantinga argues that epistemological naturalism- i.e. epistemology that holds that warrant is dependent on natural faculties – is best supported by supernaturalist metaphysics – in this case the belief in a creator God or designer who has laid out a design plan that includes cognitive faculties conducive to attaining knowledge.

Kelly James Clark is an American philosopher noted for his work in the philosophy of religion, science and religion, and the cognitive science of religion. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and Professor at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Analytic theology refers to a growing body of theological literature resulting from the application of the methods and concepts of late 20th century analytic philosophy to theological writing and thought. In the last decade, various lectures, study centers, conference sections, academic journals, and at least one monograph series have appeared with “Analytic Theology” in their title or description. The movement counts both philosophers and theologians in its ranks, but as the head-noun theology in the title indicates, a growing number of theologians with philosophical training are producing AT literature. Analytic theology is strongly related to the philosophy of religion but is wider in scope due to its willingness to engage topics not normally addressed in the philosophy of religion. Given the types of historical philosophy that have funded analytic philosophy of religion, analytic theologians are frequently involved in retrieval theology as they revisit, re-appropriate, and modify older Christian solutions to theological questions. Analytic theology has strong roots in Anglo-American analytic philosophy of religion in the last quarter of the 20th century as well as similarities at times to scholastic approaches to theology. However, the title analytic theology primarily refers to a resurgence of philosophical-theological work during the last 15 years by a community of scholars spreading outward from centers in the UK and US.



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Further reading

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Alan Donagan
President of the American
Philosophical Association
, Western Division

Succeeded by
Manley H. Thompson Jr.
Preceded by
Robert Merrihew Adams
President of the
Society of Christian Philosophers

Succeeded by
Marilyn McCord Adams
Preceded by
Ernest Sosa
Nicholas Rescher Prize
for Systematic Philosophy

With: Jürgen Mittelstraß
Succeeded by
Hilary Putnam
Preceded by
Jonathan Sacks
Templeton Prize
Succeeded by
Abdullah II of Jordan