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Re: Van Til+Plantinga=?



Quoting "Everett, ekhenes" <everetthenes@yahoo.com>:

> It seems to be that by utilizing an argument from thomism such as the
> Ontological argument that one is allowing an unbeliever to reason without
> challenging his reasoning capabilities in an unbelieving worldview. 

I don't think it is correct to associate the ontological argument with thomism, 
since St. Thomas himself didn't buy that argument. But in any case, the proper 
question to ask of this argument is whether it is sound in such a way that it 
legitimately extends our knowledge. If it is, then by demonstrating the 
existence of God it *would* "challenge" the unbelieving worldview. So the 
mistaken point about the argument's association with thomism obscures what 
should be the real issue regarding that argument.

> Plantinga has put forth his version of the Ontological Argument (I am relying
> on Baker's Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics here) and it seems to me
> that it has a lot in common with prior ontological arguments.

Two quick points. First, you shouldn't rely on Dr. Geisler's Encyclopedia for a 
fair assessment of Platinga's version of the ontological argument. I've read 
his entry on that argument and I think that Geisler misunderstands that 
argument. His doesn't seem like a correct assessment of that argument at all. 
Second, Plantinga's version is different from St. Anselm's orginal formulation 
in being a modal version that utilizes the logic of "possible worlds." It also 
differs from some contemporary modal versions (e.g. of Malcolm) in not being 
committed, ultimately, to the idea that there are or could have been possible 
but nonexistent objects (cf. Plantinga's _Nature of Necessity_, 209).   
 
> Plantinga, on the other hand, is firmly persuaded (more on the basis, I'd
> venture, of philosophical considerations than biblical ones) that a
> libertarian, incompatibilist position is correct.

Yes, he does believe in libertarian freedom.

> Plantinga's classic
> Free Will Defence(against the deductive atheistic argument from evil) and his
> work on reconciling divine foreknowledge with free human acts (see 'On
> Ockham's Way Out')both presuppose a libertarian conception of human freedom.

You're right about the latter (about Ockham's way out), as that piece tries to 
show the compatibility of divine foreknowledge with libertarian freedom. But, 
as Paul Martin pointed out, you're incorrect about the former. The FWD, as you 
yourself note, is a defense against the logical (or deductive) versions of the 
problem of evil. Generally, the FWD has the form of showing that p and q are 
logically compatible with each other (where p = God of theism exists; and q = 
evil exists). To do this, Platinga searches for some proposition r that is 
possibly true, logically compatible with p, and together with p entails q. That 
is where libertarian freedom comes in (as well as his idea of "transworld 
depravity"). FWD does not require that one actually believe in the truth of 
libertarian freedom; for that defense to work, libertarian freedom need only be 
possibly true. 
-- 
Cheers,

Sean Choi

"At the March 1984 Pacific Regional meeting of the Society of Christian 
Philosophers, Pike presented a discussion of Fischer's paper, which was 
responded to by Marilyn Adams and Fischer, so that the conferees were treated 
to hearing Adams on Pike on Fischer on Adams on Pike, and Fischer on Pike on 
Fischer on Adams on Pike. 'Enough!' you may well cry. And yet the beat goes 
on." -- William P. Alston


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