December 19, 2008
What is Epistemology? Epistemology is the philosophical theory/ study of knowledge. Foundationalism is any theory of epistemology that holds that beliefs are justified based on basic beliefs.
It is not uncommon for people to think that a belief in god is not right if it is not based on evidence. The idea that a belief in god requires some sort of justification is not the sort of the thing people just accept. This is what Alvin Plantingathinks is wrong. Plantinga’sview is that a belief in god or any religious belief is “properly basic.” What is properly basic? Properly basic/ basic beliefmeans that there is no evidence that can support it, it is self evident.
He begins by giving us examples and with each example we have certain sorts of experiences, and in turn, we form such beliefs. Some of the examples were seeing a tree and having breakfast. All of these are cases of properly basic beliefs. In each case, there is some sort of circumstance that makes the person justified in believing and thus making this belief basic. Every situation is different and of course will vary with the belief. This is Plantinga’s reason for thinking that a belief in god is epistemicallyjustified.
Alvin Plantinga, in my opinion was not a classical foundationalist because classical foundationalism is the view that beliefs are only rational if they are self-evident, unalterable, evident to the senses, or held on the basis of otherrational beliefs. He defended the notion that belief in God can be ‘properly basic’ like memory beliefs and perceptual beliefs, it can be perfectly rational without being held on the basis of other beliefs. I do believe that he was a foundationalist, just not in the sense of classical foundationalism. [continues]
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