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Warranted Christian Belief$
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Alvin Plantinga

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195131932.001.0001

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Rationality

Rationality

Chapter:
(p.108) 4 Rationality
Source:
Warranted Christian Belief
Author(s):

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195131932.003.0004

Among objections to Christian belief, we can distinguish between de facto objections and de jure objections, i.e., between those that claim that Christian belief is false (de facto objections) and those that claim that Christian belief, whether or not true, is at any rate unjustifiable, or rationally unjustified, or irrational, or not intellectually respectable, or in some other way rationally unacceptable (de jure objections). In this chapter, I ask whether there is a viable de jure objection to Christian belief formulated in terms of rationality, i.e., I ask whether the objection that Christian belief is not rational is a strong one. In order to assess this sort of objection, we must be clear on what is meant by the term “rational,” and so I distinguish several senses of that term: (1) Aristotelian rationality, (2) rationality as proper function, (3) rationality as within or conforming to the deliverances of reason, (4) means–end rationality, (5) deontological rationality, and (6) William Alston's practical rationality. I conclude that there is no viable de jure objection to Christian belief in terms of any of these senses of rationality, with a possible exception of the second – rationality as proper function. In the next chapter (Ch. 5), I begin to explore this remaining possibility and take up the question of the relation between proper function, warrant, and de jure objections to Christian belief.

Keywords:   Alston, Christian belief, de facto, de jure, practical rationality, proper function, rational, rationality, reason, warrant

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