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Warranted Christian Belief Hardcover – January 27, 2000

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195131925 ISBN-10: 0195131924 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Warranted Christian Belief belongs on every Christian scholar's shelf"--SCJ 5

"[A] fine book; it has more virtues than a brief review can enumerate ... WCB adroitly extends Plantinga's project of developing a distinctly Christian philosophy, and in particular an epistemology of Christian belief."--Trinity Journal

About the Author

Alvin Plantinga is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195131924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195131925
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,207,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on March 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are two different types of criticism commonly given against Christian belief - one type is what Alvin Plantinga calls the De facto objection, which says that Christian belief is false because the evidence has proven it so - the other type (that is becoming more and more popular) is the De jure objection (the subject of this book) which claims that Christian belief is irrational, intellectually unacceptable, or morally suspect - irrespective of whether it is true or false. The beginning of the book discusses the difference between the De facto and De jure objections, and like the whole book it is very clear and illuminating -- The exact opposite of what you will read in this review --
Part 1 (Is there a question) begins by discussing (or searching for) some of Kants arguments concerning the impossibility of referring to anything beyond the world of experience -phenomena. Many others have taken up this 'argument' claiming that Kant proved that the language we use when speaking about the phenomenal world can not speak about the transcendent. Apparently, when the Christian speaks about God, ascribing properties to him -like infinite, ultimate- he is talking nonsense.
Part 2 (what is the question) deals with what is meant by an objector when he says that Christian belief is irrational. After much consideration the most plausible answer is found in Marx & Fraud -the same basic type of objection can be found in Nietzsche and Durkheim too.
In Part 3 Plantinga further develops his model for warranted Christian Belief (even if you have never read the other two books in the series - or God and other minds - you'll still be able to understand). This part of the book is the main response to the masters of suspicion (M&F), showing the futility of their objections.
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134 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Louie Kin Yip on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Plantinga has devoted his scholarly life to answer the question whether the Christian faith can be justified, and this book is the fruit of forty years of excellent work. How can the Christian faith be justified? The usual answer is to give arguments for the truth of Christian convictions (from popular writers like Josh McDowell to first rate philosophers such as Richard Swinburne). Plantinga took a different route by asking: what is justification (or warrant for knowledge)? Why must Christians prove his convictions based on principles accepted by non-Christians? The first part of the book review and refute different theories about how Christian faith may be justified (e.g. evidentialism) or dismissed (e.g. Marx and Freud). The second part argues that experience of faith of an ordinary Christian is a perfect justification for the Christian faith, unless one can show that the Christian faith is likely to be false. The third part looks at reasons for arguing Christian faith is likely to be false (biblical criticism, pluralism, evil and suffering). Plantinga think that the truth of Christian faith cannot be demonstrated or proven, but he provides coherent and compelling reasons that faith is a sufficient justification for Christian belief. The arguments sometimes get very complicated, but Plantinga is exceptionally clear and precise and this work is more accesible to non-philosophers than his previous works.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Snubnosed in Alpha on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
In WCB, Plantinga repeatedly refers to Alston's PERCEIVING GOD as "magisterial." Alston's book is indeed that. But Plantinga's own work in this volume is that and more.

WCB is a philosophically sophisticated defense of even the simplest (and least sophisticated) faith. He challenges a very common objection to Christian belief: "I am not in a position to say whether Christian theism is true or false (who could know a thing like that?), but one thing I do know is that it is not warranted." Plantinga argues, successfully, I think, that this position itself is without warrant. Why? For the simple fact that *if* Christian theism is true, then believers probably *are* warranted even in simple faith. A serious challenge to warrant must therefore include a serious challenge to the truth of the belief.

Warrant is whatever, when added to true belief, yields knowledge. And Plantinga carries into the WCB discussion the results of the prior two volumes. A belief is warranted when it is the product of a belief-producing mechanism that is (a)functioning properly (b) truth-aimed, and (c) functioning in the epistemic environment for which it was designed to acquire truth.

This account seems to do the best job of making sense of those sorts of basic beliefs that all of us hold without having inferred them from other beliefs. I remember that it rained yesterday. What is my evidence that this memory is reliable? From what more basic and certainly known belief may I infer this? Nothing, really.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
After a month of mulling over this book I'm still not sure if I've digested it enough to give it a sufficient review, but I'll give it a try. Alvin Plantinga is the most important and influential evangelical philosopher of the last half-century, and Warranted Christian Belief (hereafter WCB) will probably end up being seen as his most important work, especially when taken along with the two earlier works in his "Warrant" trilogy, "Warrant and Proper Function" and "Warrant: The Current Debate." But WCB is important not because it is some sort of magnum opus of proof that Christian belief is true (these would fall under what Plantinga calls the "de facto question") but because it provides a defense of Christian belief as being rational, justified, and warranted (the "de jure question"). Plantinga goes to great pains to define these terms. What does it mean, for example, when someone says a belief is irrational? Here he is at his best, as he is essentially defining the terms of the debate. Plantinga is an epistemologist, and thus his primary task as a philosopher has been the study of knowledge: what it is and how we get it. The Warrant trilogy has dealt with the idea of what actually constitutes a justified belief. In other words, it has dealt with the question of under what conditions an individual has an epistemic right to hold a certain belief or belief system. Thus you will find no defenses of the empty tomb here, nor any complex argument for God's existence. These are answers to the de facto question, but not the de jure question.Read more ›
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