Saturday, May 21, 2011

Alvin Plantinga talk

This is a very nice talk by Plantinga explaining the latest version of his Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. I attack a part of an earlier incarnation of the argument in the latest issue of Religious Studies. I have an attempt at refuting this version currently under review at another journal (Stop press 4.45 pm - just accepted in Analysis)

Here's the key thing re the latter paper - I think I can show that, even if semantic properties of neural structures are epiphenomenal, as Plantinga supposes they very likely are given naturalism, it turns out surprisingly enough that natural selection will still favour some belief contents over and others, and will in fact favour beliefs that are true. That sounds impossible, doesn't it? Surely natural selection can only favour those properties of neural structures that causally effect behaviour, right? And semantic epiphenomenalism entails that such properties as being a true belief cannot causally affect behaviour. But actually, given one very obvious possibility that a naturalist might well sign up to, it's not impossible for natural selection to favour true belief. In fact it's probable.

God & Evolution: Where the Conflict Really Lies from BLPR Philosophy & Religion on Vimeo.

Scroll forward to where Plantinga starts talking.

That said, the EAAN is certainly ingenious. I have a lot of time for Plantinga.

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