Alvin Plantinga’s Reidian Particularism: An Overview of an Epistemological Project

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Plantinga’s God and Other Minds, Reformed Epistemology articles, and Warrant Trilogy are all part of the same epistemological project. Although the project develops in phases focusing progressively on anti-theism, evidentialism, and internalism, the epistemology is consistently a Reidian particularism. It follows Roderick Chisholm’s famous particularist strategy for finding an epistemic criterion, uses principles of common sense from Thomas Reid as clear cases of beliefs satisfying that criterion, and applies that criterion to belief in God in order to show that this belief is epistemically respectable. Understanding this will help to clarify Plantinga’s philosophical contributions to our understanding of religious belief. In my article I introduce Plantinga’s epistemological sources, explain the structure of his project, overview its development in these three phases, and correct some misunderstandings of Plantinga that arise from inattention to his Reidian particularism. I also show how Reidian particularism itself suggests an improvement to Plantinga’s epistemology which his critics often recommend: that we recognize that evidence for the existence of God, even if it is not necessary for theistic belief to be warranted, may yet be valuable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-167
Number of pages21
JournalCriswell Theological Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • Reformed Epistemology
  • Thomas Reid
  • Religious Epistemology
  • Roderick Chisholm
  • Particularism
  • Alvin Plantinga


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