Monday, December 05, 2011

Philosopher Interview: Alvin Plantinga

Today's interview is with Alvin Plantinga, emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He talks about his background and how he got into philosophy, theistic arguments (for two dozen or so, see here) and some he'd like to see worked on (the argument from evil & the argument from abstract objects), the use of the ontological argument, how he would speak to other about the faith, his view on the use of arguments for convincing others, properly basic belief, the proper function of his A/C, the shift toward theism in philosophy, reading recommendations for up-and-coming philosophers, study and reading habits, character traits for the Christian philosopher, topics he'd like to see Christian philosophers tackle, advice on apologetics, his latest book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism, and more.

Full Interview MP3 Audio here (45 min)

Some of Platinga's books include:
God and Other Minds
The Nature of Necessity
God, Freedom, and Evil
Warrant and Proper Function
Warranted Christian Belief
Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Subscribe to the Apologetics 315 Interviews podcast here or in iTunes.


LittleGoose said...

What is the difference between Plantinga's reformed epistemology and Presuppositional apologetics? Apparently they are both reformed, but what are the distinctions?

Dante said...

Great interview.

How about interviewing Edward Feser in your future podcasts?

pds said...

"Thus, using TAG you attempt to show that by arguing against the Christian faith, people are presupposing the laws of logic, the intelligibility of the universe, the principle of induction, the morality of human arguments, etc., which can only be made sense of not only in a theistic framework, but specifically in the worldview given to Christian's through revelation."

That last bit is where many of us would want to say that the TAG tries to prove too much. Bahnsen seems to state that if we say that the Bible is NOT the word of God is akin to us denying the law of non-contradiction.

On the other hand so called reform epistemology makes more modest claims.

Thanks for the interview Brian!

LittleGoose said...


thanks a lot man, that helps! I had no idea that Van Til and Plantinga had the same philosophy professor. The two systems definitely seem to cross over a lot but everyone always seems to make a distinction between the two. Also, both sides quote John Calvin and I get really confused cause sometimes it seems like they're saying the same thing. So this really helps thanks! I'll definitely check out the article and podcasts!


I love TAG, it's prob my favorite argument, but I agree with your statement. It always seemed to me that while it really helps in providing rational grounds for the truth claims of Christianity it doesn't seem to do what Bahnsen wants it to do. Then again I'm pretty new to the whole thing lol.

Maybe someone can help me understand why Bahnsen says that TAG is the ultimate proof for Christianity and not just for theism.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview, Brian! It's always nice to hear the thoughts of such an influential mind.

I would also like to suggest some potential guests for future interviews.

James Sinclair and Alexander R. Pruss would be great scholars to get on the "air".

I'd especially be interested in hearing Alex Pruss discuss his contributions to the Leibnizian argument and also to the Principle of Sufficient Reason. I think he's made some huge contributions to natural theology (among other fields) - although perhaps not well known.

Thanks again Brian! Keep it up!

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