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Re: Van Til+Plantinga=?
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- Subject: Re: Van Til+Plantinga=?
- From: Sean Choi <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 14:46:27 -0700
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Quoting "Everett, ekhenes" <email@example.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
"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