WARRANTED CATHOLIC BELIEF: PLANTINGA’S RELIGIOUS EPISTEMOLOGY AND THE CATHOLIC TRADITION

March 18, 2022 - March 19, 2022
University of Saint Joseph, Macau

Online
Macau
Macao

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Online Conference hosted by the University of St Joseph, Macao — 18th-19th March, 2022  

Alvin Plantinga and his fellow Reformed Epistemologists’ claim that Christian belief can be “properly basic” has transformed analytic assessments of how the Christian faith can possess positive epistemic status. However, explicit reactions to “Reformed Epistemology” from a Catholic perspective – which mainly date from the early 1990’s – vary from hostile incredulity to the mixture of appreciation and considered critique typified by the best-known Catholic response to Plantinga (Linda Zagzebski ed. Rational Faith: A Catholic Response to Reformed Epistemology (1993)). 

But in the thirty years since Rational Faith was published, philosophical evaluations of Reformed Epistemology and its relationship to traditional Christian accounts of faith and reason have developed considerably. Epistemologists have offered a variety of fresh critiques, defences, and adaptions of Plantinga’s account of warranted faith. Additionally, detailed historical research has compared Plantinga’s epistemology to the work of many historical theologians and philosophers, including Catholic thinkers such as Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, Newman, Balthasar, Maritain, and MacIntyre.

The Warranted Catholic Belief conference (online, 18th-19th March 2022) will begin a long-overdue reconsideration of the relationship between Reformed Epistemology and Catholic thought. We wish to highlight the influence of Reformed Epistemology as an apologetic project and its potential for adoption, adaption or critique from a Catholic perspective. A further goal is to stimulate historical conversation about the affinities – and differences – between Plantinga’s epistemology and historical or contemporary Catholic accounts of faith. Finally, we are keen to hear from non-Catholics about their views on the theological underpinnings of Reformed Epistemology.

We welcome papers which:

  • Appropriate, evaluate, or critique Reformed Epistemology from a Catholic theological and/or philosophical perspective.
  • Compare and/or contrast the religious epistemology of Plantinga or other Reformed Epistemologists to accounts of faith and reason given by influential Catholic thinkers.
  • Examine ways in which influential Catholic philosophers and/or theologians adumbrate or approximate themes in or relevant to Reformed Epistemology.
  • Assess the compatibility between Catholic theology and Reformed Epistemology from non-Catholic Christian perspectives (Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal …)
  • Provide Catholic analyses or appropriations of Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism.
  • Examine the potential for Catholics to use Reformed Epistemology in formation and evangelism outside the Academy.

Presentations will be 20 mins in length and are to be followed by 10 mins of questions. Please send short abstracts (100-300 words) to [email protected] by Sunday 31st October 2021.

All papers accepted for presentation at the Warranted Catholic Belief Conference will be considered for inclusion in a planned volume of essays exploring the relationship between Catholicism and Reformed Epistemology.


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