Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism / Edition 1

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Overview

Almost a decade ago, Alvin Plantinga articulated his bold and controversial evolutionary argument against naturalism. This intriguing line of argument raises issues of importance to epistemologists and to philosophers of mind, of religion, and of science. In this, the first book to address the ongoing debate, Plantinga presents his influential thesis and responds to critiques by distinguished philosophers from a variety of subfields. Plantinga's argument is aimed at metaphysical naturalism or roughly the view that no supernatural beings exist. Naturalism is typically conjoined with evolution as an explanation of the existence and diversity of life. Plantinga's claim is that one who holds to the truth of both naturalism and evolution is irrational in doing so. More specifically, because the probability that unguided evolution would have produced reliable cognitive faculties is either low or inscrutable, one who holds both naturalism and evolution acquires a "defeater" for every belief he/she holds, including the beliefs associated with naturalism and evolution. Following Plantinga's brief summary of his thesis are eleven original pieces by his critics. The book concludes with a new essay by Plantinga in which he defends and extends his view that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Plantinga has both defended and embellished his view in his response to his critics, and sometimes what he has learned from them has strengthened and refined his own argument at important points."—Russell DiSilvestro, Bowling Green State University, Philosophia Christi, 5:1, 2003

"I have been emphasizing the similarities between the critical essays in Beilby's book, but there are important differences as well, differences that add to the depth of the book. Moreover, the similarities give the book a great deal more cohesiveness than one would have expected to find in a collection of essays by distinct authors, especially given the variety of interesting issues raised by Plantinga's argument. Thus, my overall evaluation of the book is very positive."—Paul Draper, Florida International University, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 55, 2004

"This book has much to offer scholars in the fields of philosophy, religious studies, theology, and science and religion. I highly recommend its use with upper-level undergraduates through faculty. We are all indebted to Beilby who has deepened the sophistication of a growing discussion of evolutionary epistemology. Does Plantinga defeat naturalism? Read the book and decide for yourself."—Peter Heltzel, Fordham University, Religious Studies Review Vol 30 No 1, January 2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801487637
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism 1
Naturalism Defended 15
Is Science Biologically Possible? 30
Darwin's Doubt, Calvin's Calvary 43
Commonsense Naturalism 61
Plantinga's Evolutionary Meditations 91
Can Atheists Know Anything? 103
A House Divided against Itself Cannot Stand 129
Conditional Probabilities in Plantinga's Argument 135
The Illusion of Defeat 153
Conditional Probability and Defeat 165
Plantinga, Naturalism, and Defeat 176
Reply to Beilby's Cohorts 204
Contributors 277
Index 281
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