Publications

  1. ‘warranted religion: answering objections to Alvin Plantinga’s epistemology,’ Religious Studies 51 (2015): 477-495.

 

Abstract: Alvin Plantinga over the decades has developed a particular theory of warrant that would allow certain beliefs to be warranted, even if one lacked propositional arguments or evidence for them. One such belief that Plantinga focuses on is belief in God. There have been, however, numerous objections both to Plantinga’s theory of warrant and to the religious application that he makes of it. In this article I address an objection from both of these categories. I first tackle an objection that attempts to show that proper function isn’t a necessary condition for warrant. After tackling this, I move on to interact with the Pandora’s Box Objection. This objection argues that Plantinga’s epistemology is weakened by the fact that all sorts of serious religious beliefs could be warranted by using his system.

 

  1. (with Tyler Taber) ‘Is the Problem of Divine Hiddenness a Problem for the Reformed Epistemologist?,’ The Heythrop Journal, forthcoming.

Abstract: The problem of divine hiddenness, currently a much-discussed topic in analytic philosophy of religion, can be (roughly) summarized in the question, ‘Why is God not more obvious or apparent?’ Sometimes the problem is used to undermine theistic belief. Here we seek to add a unique contribution to the growing debate on this theme from the perspective of Reformed epistemology, particularly Alvin Plantinga’s construal; moreover, we do so in a way that is theologically relevant. We conclude, with assistance from Scripture and from Plantinga, that the problem of divine hiddenness is not a problem for the Reformed epistemologist.

 

  1. (with Erik Baldwin) ‘An epistemic defeater for Islamic Belief?’ International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (2015): 352-367.

Abstract: We aim to further develop and evaluate the prospects of a uniquely Islamic extension of the Standard Aquinas/Calvin model. One obstacle is that certain Qur’anic passages such as Surah 8:43–44 apparently suggest that Muslims have reason to think that Allah might be deceiving them. Consistent with perfect/maximally good being theology, Allah would allow such deceptions only if doing so leads to a greater good, so such passages do not necessarily give Muslims reason to doubt Allah’s goodness. Yet the possibility of deception of the faithful threatens to provide a subjective defeater for the (epistemic) reliability of their cognitive faculties. (‘Even if Allah can be morally good while deceiving, how do you know you aren’t being deceived for a greater good on a more macro level, such as about the nature of the Qur’an?’) Similar in structure to Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN), this defeater threatens to undermine all of a Muslims warrant claims. We consider and evaluate the reply that there are other Qur’anic passages and/or additional conceptual resources in the Islamic tradition that provide grounds for thinking that God’s faithfulness or truthfulness is more centrally and securely embedded in a Muslim’s noetic structure than such doubts. Specifically, we will argue that under certain conditions, there exists a subjective defeater for some Muslims that, unlike McNabb’s approach, isn’t based off of the proper function condition but Plantinga’s truth aimed condition.

  1. (with Erik Baldwin) ‘From Theology to Theodicy: A Defense of Felix Culpa,’ in Evil and Some of its Theological Problems, eds. Ben Arbour and John Gilhooly (New Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).

 

  1. (with Erik Baldwin) ‘Reformed Epistemology and the Pandora’s Box Objection: The Vaisesika and Mormon Traditions,’ Philosophia Christi 18/2 (2016): 451-465.

 

Abstract: Furthering our project of applying Plantinga’s epistemology to different world religions, we do a comparative study of Mormonism and Vaiśeṣika Hinduism and analyze whether they can utilize Plantinga’s epistemology in order to claim that their beliefs about God if true are probably warranted. Specifically, we argue that they cannot, as ultimately they are unable to account for the preconditions needed to make for an intelligible cognitive design plan, due to either affirming an infinite regress when it comes to the designers of our cognitive faculties or affirming an infinite number of cosmological cycles in which our faculties are formed.

  1. (with Erik Baldwin) Divine Methodology: A Lawful Deflection of Kantian and Kantian-esque Defeaters

Abstract: Immanuel Kant argues that though Divine revelation is ontologically possible, given phenomenal level constraints on our cognitive faculties, it isn’t epistemically possible for us to know or to recognize Divine revelation on the noumenal level of reality. We call this Kant’s Epistemological Objection Against Divine Revelation (EOADR). Contra Kant, in this paper, we argue that the EOADR doesn’t undermine the Reformed tradition’s view of Divine revelation because it has resources that make knowledge of Divine revelation intelligible. The primary way of establishing our argument is by articulating and furthering Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology. After doing this, we tackle two objections to our approach that are in the family of Kant‘s objection, namely Stephen Law‘s X-Argument Against Religious Belief and Erik Baldwin‘s Multiple Viable Extensions Objection. Similar to Kant‘s argument, these arguments attempt to show, that the Reformed epistemologist is in danger of acquiring an undercutting defeater for trusting her religious belief. We respond to each in turn.

 

  1. “Super Mario Strikes Back: A Molinist Reply to Welty’s Gunslingers,” forthcoming in Perichoresis.

Abstract: Molinists generally see Calvinism as possessing certain liabilities from which Molinism is immune. For example, Molinists have traditionally rejected Calvinism, in part, because it allegedly makes God the author of sin. According to Molina, we ‘should not infer that He is in any way a cause of sin.’ However, Greg Welty has recently argued by way of his Gunslingers Argument that, when it comes to God’s relationship to evil, Molinism is susceptible to the same liabilities as Calvinism. If his argument is successful, he has undercut, at least partially, justification for believing in Molinism. While I concede that Welty’s argument is successful in that it does undercut some justification for believing in Molinism, this concession does not entail that, as it relates to the problem of evil, the Calvinist and the Molinist are in the same epistemic position. In this article, I argue that, when it comes to God’s relationship to evil, the Molinist is in a superior epistemic situation to the Calvinist. I do this in two steps. First, I argue for what I call the Robust Felix Culpa Theodicy. Second, I argue that the Robust Felix Culpa Theodicy is incompatible with Calvinism.

 

  1. ‘Proper Functionalism and the Metalevel: A Friendly Reply to Timothy and Lydia McGrew,’ forthcoming in Quaestiones Disputatae.

 

 

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