Skip to main content

Salerno and Brogaard's Critique of the Argument from Anti-Realism to Theism

In his 1982 APA presidential address, "How to be an Anti-Realist", Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame) argued that anti-realism is true, and that the best account of anti-realism entails the truth of theism. Plantinga summarizes his argument at the end of his address as follows:

"By way of conclusion then: the fundamental anti-realist intuition-
that truth is not independent of mind--is indeed correct. This intuition
is best accommodated by the theistic claim that necessarily, proposi-
tions have two properties essentially: being conceived by God and being
true if and only if believed by God. So how can we sensibly be anti-
realists? Easily enough: by being theists."

Recently, Michael Rea (Notre Dame) has offered a similar version of Plantinga's argument (‘‘Theism and Epistemic Truth-Equivalences’’, Nous 34:2 (2000), pp. 291–301).

Joe Salerno (Saint Louis University) and Berit Brogaard (U of MIssouri, St. Louis) published a paper ("Anti-realism, Theism and the Conditional Fallacy", Nous 39:1 (2005), pp. 123-139) that critiques Plantinga's and Rea's versions of the argument. The paper can be found here.

Comments

Chad said…
Similar to Plantinga and Rea's argument is Josh Peterson's, “Conceptualism and Truth” Ratio 13:3 (2000), pp. 234-238.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/119037837/PDFSTART

Thanks for the reference to this critique.
exapologist said…
Hi Chad,

Thanks for the reference to Peterson's paper!

-EA
Luke said…
This blog is a goldmine.
exapologist said…
Thanks for the kind words, Luke!

Popular posts from this blog

Epicurean Cosmological Arguments for Matter's Necessity

One can find, through the writings of Lucretius, a powerful yet simple Epicurean argument for matter's (factual or metaphysical) necessity. In simplest terms, the argument is that since matter exists, and since nothing can come from nothing, matter is eternal and uncreated, and is therefore at least a factually necessary being. 
A stronger version of Epicurus' core argument can be developed by adding an appeal to something in the neighborhood of origin essentialism. The basic line of reasoning here is that being uncreated is an essential property of matter, and thus that the matter at the actual world is essentially uncreated.
Yet stronger versions of the argument could go on from there by appealing to the principle of sufficient reason to argue that whatever plays the role of being eternal and essentially uncreated does not vary from world to world, and thus that matter is a metaphysically necessary being.
It seems to me that this broadly Epicurean line of reasoning is a co…

Notes on Mackie's "Evil and Omnipotence"

0. Introduction
0.1 Mackie argues that the problem of evil proves that either no god exists, or at least that the god of Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, does not exist. His argument is roughly the same version of the problem of evil that we’ve been considering.
0.2 Mackie thinks that one can avoid the conclusion that God does not exist only if one admits that either God is not omnipotent (i.e., not all-powerful), or that God is not perfectly good. 0.3 However, he thinks that hardly anyone will be willing to take this route. For doing so leaves one with a conception of a god that isn’t worthy of worship, and therefore not religiously significant.
0.4 After his brief discussion of his version of the problem of evil, he considers most of the main responses to the problem of evil, and concludes that none of them work.

1. First Response and Mackie's Reply
1.1 Response: Good can’t exist without evil; evil is a necessary counterpart to good.
1.2 Mackie’s reply:
1.2.1 this see…

Notes on Swinburne, "On Why God Allows Evil"

Notes on Swinburne’s “Why God Allows Evil”

1. The kinds of goods a theistic god would provide: deeper goods than just “thrills of pleasure and times of contentment” (p. 90). For example:
1.1 Significant freedom and responsibility
1.1.1 for ourselves
1.1.2 for others
1.1.3 for the world in which they live
1.2 Valuable lives
1.2.1 being of significant use to ourselves
1.2.2 being of significant use to each other

2. Kinds of evil
2.1 Moral evil: all the evil caused or permitted by human beings, whether intentionally or through negligence (e.g., murder, theft, etc.)
2.2 Natural evil: all the rest: evil not caused or permitted by human beings (e.g., suffering caused by hurricanes, forest fires, diseases, animal suffering, etc.)

3. The gist of Swinburne’s answer to the problem of evil: God cannot – logically cannot -- give us the goods of significant freedom, responsibility and usefulness without thereby allowing for the possibility of lots of moral and natural evil. This is why he has al…