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Reformed Epistemology and the Problem of Religious Diversity:

Proper Function, Epistemic Disagreement, and Christian Exclusivism

By Joseph Kim

Reformed Epistemology and the Problem of Religious Diversity

Reformed Epistemology and the Problem of Religious Diversity:

Proper Function, Epistemic Disagreement, and Christian Exclusivism

By Joseph Kim

An able defence of Alvin Plantinga's Reformed Epistemology against criticisms based on the existence of religious diversity and disagreement.

Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback, PDF

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Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780227680094

Specifications: 229x153mm (9x6in), 122pp

Published: September 2012


PDF eBook

ISBN: 9780227901250

Specifications: 124pp

Published: November 2012

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.


1. Introduction
     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


Joseph Kim is Executive Vice-President of Christ Bible Institute Japan in Nagoya. He is an alumnus of Trinity International University, Harvard Business School, and Arizona State University where he received his PhD in Philosophy.

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