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.


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

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

Thanks for the reference to Peterson's paper!

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…

CfP: Inquiry: New Work on the Existence of God

In recent years, methods and concepts in logic, metaphysics and epistemology have become more and more sophisticated. For example, much new, subtle and interesting work has been done on modality, grounding, explanation and infinity, in both logic, metaphysics as well as epistemology. The three classical arguments for the existence of God – ontological arguments, cosmological arguments and fine-tuning arguments – all turn on issues of modality, grounding, explanation and infinity. In light of recent work, these arguments can - and to some extent have - become more sophisticated as well. Inquiry hereby calls for new and original papers in the intersection of recent work in logic, metaphysics and epistemology and the three main types of arguments for the existence of God. 

The deadline is 31 January 2017. Direct queries to einar.d.bohn at

Andrew Moon's New Paper on Recent Work in Reformed Epistemology... the latest issue of Philosophy Compass. Here's the abstract:
Reformed epistemology, roughly, is the thesis that religious belief can be rational without argument. After providing some background, I present Plantinga's defense of reformed epistemology and its influence on religious debunking arguments. I then discuss three objections to Plantinga's arguments that arise from the following topics: skeptical theism, cognitive science of religion, and basicality. I then show how reformed epistemology has recently been undergirded by a number of epistemological theories, including phenomenal conservatism and virtue epistemology. I end by noting that a good objection to reformed epistemology must criticize either a substantive epistemological theory or the application of that theory to religious belief; I also show that the famous Great Pumpkin Objection is an example of the former. And if a copy should make its way to my inbox...

UPDATE: Thanks!