|Died||September 13, 2009 87) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
William Payne Alston (November 29, 1921 – September 13, 2009) was an American philosopher. He made influential contributions to the philosophy of language, epistemology, and Christian philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and taught at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, University of Illinois, and Syracuse University.
Philosophy of language, in the analytical tradition, explored logic, the nature of meaning, and accounts of the mind.
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
Christian philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.
Alston was born to Eunice Schoolfield and William Alston on November 29, 1921, in Shreveport, Louisiana. He graduated from high school when he was 15 and went on to Centenary College of Louisiana, graduating in 1942 with a Bachelor of Music in piano. During World War II, he played clarinet and bass drum in a military band in California. During this time, he became interested in philosophy, sparked by W. Somerset Maugham's book The Razor's Edge . After this, he engrossed himself in works by well-known philosophers such as Jacques Maritain, Mortimer J. Adler, Francis Bacon, Plato, René Descartes, and John Locke.After being discharged, he entered a graduate program for philosophy at the University of Chicago, even though he had never formally taken a class on the subject. While he was there, he learned more about philosophy from Richard McKeon and Charles Hartshorne, and he received his PhD in 1951.
Shreveport is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the most populous city in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area. Shreveport ranks third in population in Louisiana after New Orleans and Baton Rouge and 126th in the U.S. The bulk of Shreveport is in Caddo Parish, of which it is the parish seat. Shreveport extends along the west bank of the Red River into neighboring Bossier Parish. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The United States Census Bureau's 2017 estimate for the city's population decreased to 192,036.
Centenary College of Louisiana is a private, four-year arts and sciences college located in Shreveport, Louisiana. The college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Bachelor of Music is an academic degree awarded by a college, university, or conservatory upon completion of a program of study in music. In the United States, it is a professional degree, and the majority of work consists of prescribed music courses and study in applied music, usually requiring proficiency in an instrument, voice, or conducting. In Canada, the B.M. is often considered an undergraduate degree. Programs typically last from three to four and a half years.
From 1949 until 1971, Alston was a professor at the University of Michigan, and he became professor of philosophy in 1961.He then taught at Rutgers University for five years, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 1976 to 1980 and then Syracuse University from 1980 to 1992.
The University of Michigan, often simply referred to as Michigan, is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university is Michigan's oldest; it was founded in 1817 in Detroit, as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state. The school was moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet spread out over a Central Campus and North Campus, two regional campuses in Flint and Dearborn, and a Center in Detroit. The university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, commonly referred to as Rutgers University, Rutgers, or RU, is a public research university in New Jersey. It is the largest institution of higher education in New Jersey.
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public research university in Illinois and the flagship institution of the University of Illinois System. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, its campus is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana.
His views on foundationalism, internalism versus externalism, speech acts, and the epistemic value of mystical experience, among many other topics, have been very influential. Like most contemporary American philosophers, Alston is counted among the analytic philosophers.
Foundationalism concerns philosophical theories of knowledge resting upon justified belief, or some secure foundation of certainty such as a conclusion inferred from a basis of sound premises. The main rival of the foundationalist theory of justification is the coherence theory of justification, whereby a body of knowledge, not requiring a secure foundation, can be established by the interlocking strength of its components, like a puzzle solved without prior certainty that each small region was solved correctly.
Internalism and externalism are two opposing ways of explaining various subjects in several areas of philosophy. These include human motivation, knowledge, justification, meaning, and truth. The distinction arises in many areas of debate with similar but distinct meanings.
The concept of illocutionary acts was introduced into linguistics by the philosopher J. L. Austin in his investigation of the various aspects of speech acts.
Together with Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Robert Adams, Alston helped to found the journal Faith and Philosophy .With Plantinga, Wolterstorff, and others, Alston was also responsible for the development of "Reformed epistemology" (a term that Alston, an Episcopalian, never fully endorsed), one of the most important contributions to Christian thought in the twentieth century. Alston was president of the Western Division (now the Central Division) of the American Philosophical Association in 1979, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the Society of Christian Philosophers, which he co-founded. He was widely recognized as one of the core figures in the late twentieth-century revival of the philosophy of religion. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990.
Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher who works primarily in the fields of philosophy of religion, epistemology, and logic.
Nicholas Wolterstorff is an American philosopher and a liturgical theologian. He is currently Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as Reformed epistemology. He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers.
Robert Merrihew Adams is an American analytic philosopher of metaphysics, religion, and morality.
Alston died in a nursing home in Jamesville, New York, on September 13, 2009, at the age of 87.
Jamesville is a hamlet in the town of DeWitt, Onondaga County, New York, United States, part of the greater Syracuse area.
Thomas Reid was a religiously trained Scottish philosopher. He was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. In 1783 he was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A contemporary of David Hume, Reid was also "Hume's earliest and fiercest critic".
Roderick Milton Chisholm was an American philosopher known for his work on epistemology, metaphysics, free will, value theory, and the philosophy of perception. He was often called "the philosopher's philosopher."
Nicholas Rescher is a German-American philosopher at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science and has formerly served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department.
Gregory Vlastos was a scholar of ancient philosophy, and author of several works on Plato and Socrates. A Christian, Vlastos also wrote about Christian faith. He is considered to be "a preeminent scholar on Socrates who transformed the analysis of classical philosophy."
Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski is an American philosopher. She is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor, and Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at the University of Oklahoma. She writes in the areas of epistemology, philosophy of religion, and virtue theory. She was (2015-2016) president of the American Philosophical Association Central Division, and gave the Gifford Lectures at the University of Saint Andrews in the fall of 2015. She is past president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers. She was a 2011-2012 Guggenheim Fellow.
In the philosophy of religion, Reformed epistemology is a school of philosophical thought concerning the nature of knowledge (epistemology) as it applies to religious beliefs. The central proposition of Reformed epistemology is that beliefs can be justified by more than evidence alone, contrary to the positions of evidentialism, which argues that while belief other than through evidence may be beneficial, it violates some epistemic duty. Central to Reformed epistemology is the proposition that belief in God may be "properly basic" and not need to be inferred from other truths to be rationally warranted. William Lane Craig describes Reformed epistemology as "One of the most significant developments in contemporary Religious Epistemology ... which directly assaults the evidentialist construal of rationality."
Laurence BonJour is an American philosopher and Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Washington.
Peter van Inwagen is an American analytic philosopher and the John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Research Professor of Philosophy at Duke University each Spring. He previously taught at Syracuse University and earned his PhD from the University of Rochester in 1969 under the direction of Richard Taylor. Van Inwagen is one of the leading figures in contemporary metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of action. He was the president of the Society of Christian Philosophers from 2010 to 2013.
The Cornell University Press is a division of Cornell University housed in Sage House, the former residence of Henry William Sage. It was first established in 1869 but inactive from 1884 to 1930, making it the first university publishing enterprise in the United States.
Robert N. Audi is an American philosopher whose major work has focused on epistemology, ethics – especially on ethical intuitionism – and the theory of action. He is O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and previously held a Chair in the Business School there. His 2005 book, The Good in the Right, updates and strengthens Rossian intuitionism and develops the epistemology of ethics. He has also written important works of political philosophy, particularly on the relationship between church and state. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association and the 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.
Jason Stanley is an American philosopher, currently Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He is best known for his contributions to philosophy of language and epistemology, which often draw upon and have influence in other fields including linguistics and cognitive science. He has also written for a popular audience at the New York Times philosophy blog "The Stone". In his more recent work, he has brought tools from philosophy of language and epistemology to bear on questions of political philosophy, especially in his 2015 book How Propaganda Works, which grew out of some blog essays at "The Stone."
John Patrick Hawthorne is an English philosopher, currently serving as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. He is recognized as a leading contemporary contributor to metaphysics and epistemology.
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.
Alvin Plantinga's free-will defense is a logical argument developed by the American analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga and published in its final version in his 1977 book God, Freedom, and Evil. Plantinga's argument is a defense against the logical problem of evil as formulated by the philosopher J. L. Mackie beginning in 1955. Mackie's formulation of the logical problem of evil argued that three attributes of God, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence, in orthodox Christian theism are logically incompatible with the existence of evil. In 1982, Mackie conceded that Plantinga's defense successfully refuted his argument in The Miracle of Theism, though he did not claim that the problem of evil had been put to rest.
Religious epistemology as a broad label covers any approach to epistemological questions from a religious perspective, or attempts to understand the epistemological issues that come from religious belief. The questions which epistemologists may ask about any particular belief also apply to religious beliefs and propositions: whether they seem rational, justified, warranted, reasonable, based on evidence and so on. Religious views also influence epistemological theories, such as in the case of Reformed epistemology.
Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a 1991 book by the philosopher William Alston. It is one of Alston's chief works in the philosophy of religion.
Michael Bergmann is an American analytic philosopher teaching in the department of philosophy at Purdue University. His primary interests are epistemology and philosophy of religion. In epistemology, he writes mostly on externalism and, in philosophy of religion, he mostly writes on the epistemology of religious belief and the problem of evil.