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Warrant: The Current Debate [Paperback]

by Alvin Plantinga
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 27, 1993 0195078624 978-0195078626 n
Known for distinguished work in the fields of metaphysics and philosophy of religion, Alvin Plantinga ventures further into epistemology in this book and its companion volume, Warrant and Proper Function. Plantinga examines the nature of epistemic warrant; whatever it is that when added to true belief yields knowledge. This present volume surveys current contributions to the debate and paves the way for his own positive proposal in Warrant and Proper Function. This first volume serves as a good introduction to the central issues in contemporary epistemology.

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Editorial Reviews


"An important contribution which will be widely stimulating and influential for years to come."--Ernest Sosa, Brown University

"This two-volume work is one of the major accomplishments of twentieth-century epistemology."--Richard Foley, Rutgers University

"These books are contributions to epistemology of the first order of importance. They will, deservedly, receive a great deal of attention."--William P. Alston, Syracuse University

"A comprehensive and penetrating exposition and critique of contemporary epistemologies."--Umit D. Yalcin, East Carolina University

"A must for all epistemologists and philosophers of religion. Seldom is sustained philosophical argument such a joy to read."--Religious Studies Review

About the Author

Alvin Plantinga is at University of Notre Dame.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; n edition (May 27, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195078624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195078626
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Survey (Vol .1 of 3 Vol Series) October 6, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Warrant The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga is the first in the author's trilogy on subject of warrant. This first instalment surveys current thoughts on knowledge and sets the stage for Plantinga to lay out his view in Warrant and Proper Function. It is then applied to theistic belief in Warranted Christian Belief. Plantinga a leading contemporary philosopher in the fields of epistemology and the philosophy of religion.

This is an extensive and comprehensive overview of historic and contemporary views on knowledge. It covers the leading thinking and concepts in this area; Chrisholm, Alston, Bonjour etc. and even a nice discussion of Bayesian probability. The presiding definition of knowledge is `justified true belief' - with perhaps some caveats to account for Gettier-like problems. Discussion of this understanding is usually centered on issue of justification, i.e. what in addition to true belief is required to constitute knowledge. Plantinga uses warrant more or less synonymously with justification and seeks to understand how it might be achieved.

I am a fan of Plantinga, I find him to be a rare intellectual; brilliant, humble and witty. I did, however, have a couple of minor quibbles with the book. First, with respect to the physical book itself, I'm not sure exactly what it was, perhaps the font or the construction (or maybe my failing eyesight) - but, I thought the layout was less than ideal for this type of dense subject-matter. Anyways, relatively minor stuff. The other criticism regards the flow, the front end of the book felt a bit choppy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but rewarding March 14, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You need to be on top of your epistemology and be prepared to spend a lot of time going through the arguments and examples carefully to get a lot out of this book. Plantinga is a genius, there is no doubt about that, but this book is pretty advanced. In this volume, Plantinga presents the current best theories of warrant/justification, and then shows problems with them. This, of course, is a lead-up to his next book in the series 'Warrant and Proper Function' where he gives what he believes to be a more adequate theory of warrant. Basically, he finds the same kind of problem with all the other theories of warrant. That is, they do not account for cognitive malfunction or someone "messing" with your brain. This is a very interesting counter-example because it implies (as I think he talks about in his next book) that it means something to have properly working cognitive faculties. I think the next question is "proper with respect to what?"

But in any event, this volume does a great job of preparing the reader for what he will do in the next book as well as giving the reader pretty much everything they'd ever want to know about the major views (up to Plantinga) on warrant or justification. I look forward to continuing with the series.
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11 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable reference with a lot of caveats May 14, 2003
By A Customer
This book suffers from poor organization. For example, chapters 6 and 7 both deal with what Plantinga calls "Bayesian coherentism," as a theory of warrant, but it doesn't seem to me that there is such a thing. He creates a hypothetical theory of warrant out of a theory of probability associated with the 17th century clergyman Thomas Bayes. Then he spends two chapters discussing a variety of problems some of them associated with real life Bayesians (arguing over matters other than warrant) and others associated with his hypothetical Bayesianism.
Still, those who want a summary of a good part of the contemporary debate over epistemological questions will find it here, and you can use the footnotes to find other works in which to study the matters discussed with more depth.
I especially appreciatd the discussion of Laurence BonJour's version of coherentism. Plantinga finds BonJour's copmments on probability "thoroughly obscure....That precisely THAT mosquito should bite you precisely when and where it does, that on your cross-country trip on December 23 ar 4:13 PM you should be precisely where you are at that time, that there should be precisely the number of blades in your backyard that in fact adorn it...either these things are all improbable in the relevant sense or else I have no idea what that relevant sense might be."
A good point, that, and well expressed. Perhaps it was BonJour's problems with probability that stimulated the digression on Bayesianism.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warrant: The Current Debate February 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Recieved this item earlier than anticipated; item in excellent condition. Would definately use this seller again. Thanks for great service!
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