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Warrant: The Current Debate 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195078626
ISBN-10: 0195078624
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  • Warrant: The Current Debate
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  • Warrant and Proper Function
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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


From the Back Cover

Plantinga examines the nature of epistemic warrant; what it is that when added to true belief yields knowledge. This volume surveys current contributions to the debate, looking at the main varieties of both internalism and externalism.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 27, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195078624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195078626
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like it, the discussion is thorough, though, from a Christian perspective which emphasizes "true belief" as the main point of interest. Much of JBT discussions since Gettier have treated JBT as one item - two adjectives modifying one noun. It is actually made of 3 things - all 3 have to be there.

1. it has to be true - if not true - no knowledge - game over. (So the example of "potentially true belief" such as Prof. Alvin winning the Nobel Prize do not count as an example of knowledge. For something to be true it has to have happened. Gettier's unhappiness with his 3 page paper must stem from this obvious "problem" - neither Smith nor Jones can "know" they have the job until they signed the papers and survived the three month trial.)
2. It has to be believed. This is to assure that the "true state of affairs" is actually acknowledged. Knowledge has to be claimed by someone. I like that Plato insists on this point. I wish we could use a word other than "believe" because so many "untrue - hypothetical - unlikely" things are believed. The word is just epistemically trouble. "Opinion" would work. True opinion would be two legs of knowledge.
3. In order that "true opinion" is not accidental - justification is required. This is where the Gettier Problem blew up. Everybody conveniently forgot we are only talking about "A TRUE THING" and trying to find out why it is true - since true it is. And everybody rushed to talking about why their belief is justified. In the case of the Gettier problem why uncertain things that have not yet happened can be believed with justification. Prof. Alvin shows his intention by ambling confidently down that path.
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Format: Paperback
And so begins Plantinga’s vaunted “Warrant Trilogy.” Reviewing this work presents some challenges for me. I read the books in reverse order (WCB, WPF, and finally WCD). Therefore, I have to resist the urge to fault Plantinga in WCD for leaving some points undeveloped when I know he developed them in WPF.

Plantinga begins his work by outlining what “internalism” entails. Internalism implies knowledge as “justification.” I am justified in knowing something if I have fulfilled my epistemic duty with regard to that knowledge. It is “internal” because it suggests special epistemic access.
Justification:
Connection between justification and knowledge
Connotes epistemic responsibility
Internal cognitive access
Match up with evidence

Internalism is often linked with classical or modern foundationalism. The ground of a belief’s justification is the same as the property by which I determine if I am justified in holding it (Plantinga 21).

Ordinary Foundationalism: The evidence of basis on which I form a belief is taken from other, logically prior beliefs. Beliefs that I do not accept on the basis of other beliefs are basic beliefs (68). A foundationalist will reject circular reasoning.

Another epistemological model is coherentism. Coherentism is not foundationalism. A coherentist will hold that belief B is properly basic for person S [iff] B coheres with the rest of S’s noetic structure. Coherentism is not concerned about the transmission of warrant but of its source (79).

Plantinga gives a number of reasons on why these internalist models fail. He then moves to externalist models.

EXTERNALISM

I do not have to have some internal access to truth-making functions.
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