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Tayloring Reformed Epistemology

Charles Taylor, Alvin Plantinga and the de jure challenge to Christian belief

Tayloring Reformed Epistemology

Charles Taylor, Alvin Plantinga and the de jure challenge to Christian belief

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334041535
Published: 28/09/2007

In recent philosophical discourse, there has been a proliferation of work in the field of philosophy of religion, and in particular at the intersection between epistemology and philosophy of religion.

Much of that interest has centred on the emergence of what has come to be known as 'Reformed Epistemology'. The central claim of Reformed epistemologists is that belief in God is properly basic. The purpose of the arguments offered by Reformed epistemologists is to oppose what Plantinga calls the 'de jure' objection to theistic belief - the idea that it is somehow irrational, a dereliction of epistemic duty, or in some other sense epistemically unacceptable, to believe in God.

This objection is distinct from what Plantinga labels the 'de facto' objection - the objection that, whatever the rational status of belief in God, it is, in fact, a false belief. The primary goal of Reformed epistemology, then, is to defend Christian belief against the de jure objection, thereby showing that everything really depends on the truth of Christian belief.

This book demonstrates the feasibility of combining the Reformed epistemologist's position with an argument for theism that the author draws from Charles Taylor's work. In it, he shows the value that would be added to the Reformed epistemologist's position by such a combination.

Deane-Peter Baker

Deane-Peter Baker teaches in the School of Philosophy and Ethics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

"The Reformed epistemologists and Charles Taylor have been like ships passing in the night; neither has paid explicit attention to the other. In this very interesting book, Tayloring Reformed Epistemology, Deane-Peter Baker not only points out obvious affinities between these two bodies of work, but shows in detail how each holds out the promise of filling a lacuna in the work of the other. A creative and important contribution; it genuinely advances the discussion." -- Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus at Philosophical Theology, Yale University

" In Tayloring Reformed Epistemology, Baker offers a carefully argued, nuanced epistemology of religious belief, linking the best of reformed epistemology with Charles Taylor's historical and phenomenological case for theism." -- Charles Taliaferro, Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College