An important contribution to both philosophy of religion and Christian apologetics, defending Alvin Plantinga’s central principle in Warranted Christian Belief, arguing for Christian exclusivism rather than religious plurality. Plantinga argued that religious plurality was self-defeating and that anybody with a properly functioning cognitive faculty can produce warranted Christian belief, provoking numerous objections and epistemic disagreements.
Joseph Kim investigates the problem of religious diversity which lies at the intersection of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, and religious pluralism. The key to Plantinga’s case is that the warrant in Christian belief is linked with the proper cognitive function of the believer and that the evidence of externalism gives credence to the theory of internalism. Kim argues that not only is this reasonable, but that the equal weight theory is simply mistaken; other world religions do not necessarily act as defeaters for Christian exclusivism. Prominent criticisms of Plantinga are deftly refuted from within the perspective of Reformed Epistemology.
This is a thorough and articulate defence of Plantinga’s work, revealing the epistemic deficiency of religious diversity. Kim uses a mixture of informal and formal logic, making the book a useful tool for the academic theologian and accessible for the general reader.
Identifying the Problem
The Moral and Epistemic Objection
2. Warrant, Proper Function, and Christian Belief
Proper Function and Design Plan
An Objection to Externalism: Bonjour
An Objection to Externalism: Bonjour on Armstrong
A Proper Function Response to Bonjour’s Counterexample
Perception and Proper Function
The Extended A/C Model and Proper Function
3. Epistemic Disagreement and the Equal Weight Theory
Epistemic Disagreement: Kelly
Two Additional Cases
The Equal Weight Theory
The Problem of Religious Diversity and the Equal Weight Theory
4. The Great Pumpkin Objection
The Nature of Defeaters
The Son of Great Pumpkin Objection: Martin and DeRose
The Son of Great Pumpkin Objection: A Response
5. The Internalist Criterion and the Inadequacy Thesis
Reformed Epistemology and the Internalist Criterion: Willard
Reformed Epistemology and the Internalist Criterion: A Response
The Inadequacy Thesis: Baker
The Inadequacy Thesis: A Response
6. The Central Issue of Religious Exclusivism
Hick on the Central Issue of Religious Exclusivism
Endorsements and Reviews
Joseph Kim’s extremely careful, judicious, and accurate defense of Christian belief deserves a wide readership.
Alvin Plantinga, John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
Joseph Kim’s Reformed Epistemology and the Problem of Religious Diversity is a careful, perceptive, and well informed study of one important family of objections to Alvin Plantinga’s version of Reformed Epistemology.
Steven L. Reynolds, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University
The book is clearly written and the more technical philosophical statements are elaborated in plain English. Its strength is in its brevity (108 pages) and clear objectives: it serves as a very good survey of the philosophical challenges levelled at Reformed Epistemology.
Robert Shillaker, University of Highlands & Islands, in Theological Book Review , Vol 25, No 1
The book is valuable both for experts in these fields, for professors and students, but also for any reader who might be less familiar with the instruments of epistemology but interested in brilliant argumentation regarding one of the current and controversial problems of today’s world: diversity and pluralism of (religious) beliefs, which ignites the question of tolerance and unity.
Ramona Hosu, in Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Vol 12, Issue 34
This is an elegant, demanding, and tightly argued case on behalf of Alvin’s Plantinga’s defense of Christian exclusivism.
Gavin D’Costa, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 22, Issue 1