Thursday, April 02, 2009

Deane-Peter Baker's Recent Book, Alvin Plantinga

If you're evaluating Plantinga's work in philosophy of religion, get this book:

Baker, Deane-Peter. Alvin Plantinga (Cambridge UP, 2007).

Here's the blurb from the Cambridge UP website:

"Few thinkers have had as much impact on contemporary philosophy as has Alvin Plantinga. The work of this quintessential analytic philosopher has in many respects set the tone for the debate in the fields of modal metaphysics and epistemology and he is arguably the most important philosopher of religion of our time. In this volume, a distinguished team of today’s leading philosophers address the central aspects of Plantinga’s philosophy - his views on natural theology; his responses to the problem of evil; his contributions to the field of modal metaphysics; the controversial evolutionary argument against naturalism; his model of epistemic warrant and his view of epistemic defeat; and his recent work on mind-body dualism. Also included is an appendix containing Plantinga’s often referred to, but previously unpublished, lecture notes entitled 'Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments', with a substantial preface to the appendix written by Plantinga specifically for this volume."

And here's the table of contents:

Introduction: Alvin Plantinga, God’s philosopher - Deane-Peter Baker
1. Natural theology - Graham Oppy
2. Evil and Alvin Plantinga - Richard M. Gale
3. The modal metaphysics of Alvin Plantinga - John Divers
4. Natural theology and naturalist atheology: Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism - Ernest Sosa
5. Two approaches to epistemic defeat - Jonathan Kvanvig
6. Plantinga’s model of warranted Christian belief - James Beilby
7. Pluralism and proper function - Kelly James Clark
8. Plantinga’s replacement argument - Peter Van Inwagen
Appendix: Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments - Alvin Plantinga.

Btw: the editor of the collection (Deane-Peter Baker) is a Christian philosopher who recently wrote a very helpful article on Plantinga's externalist account of warranted Christian belief ("Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology: What’s the Question?", International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 57:2 (2005), pp. 77–103). After explicating Plantinga's account, he evaluates it by analyzing a virtually comprehensive list of criticisms of his account to date. He argues that the criticisms with real force reduce to four -- what he dubs (i) the proper basicality challenge, (ii) the ethical objection, (iii) the ‘further question’ objection, and (iv) the problem of religious diversity. He concludes that these criticisms have sufficient force to show that, pace Plantinga, positive arguments for Christian belief are required.

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