Alvin Plantinga (1932– ) is an American philosopher, and professor at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his contributions to epistemology and metaphysics, and, as a Christian, for his philosophy of religion and defense of Christian beliefs.
Plantinga argues that one can have knowledge of God without justification, in the same way that one can have knowledge of the existence of other minds. He argues that one may doubt both from scepticism, but ultimately one must accept both in order to be consistent.
Additionally, Plantinga also argues that there is no “problem of evil”, and that there is no logical contradiction between the existence of an omnipoetent, benevolent god and the evil that occurs in the world. Plantinga argues that God created human beings with free will, and that free will is necessary for good to exist. Thus, in order for there to be good, God must allow some evil to exist in the world, otherwise there would be no free creatures capable of moral good.
Plantinga’s argument assumes a modal logic of S5, in which (4) is possible—that is, things that are possibly neccessary are necessary. The main objection to his argument, however, is with (3), that maximal greatness is possible as Plantinga has defined it.
Name: Alvin Carl Plantinga
Born: November 5, 1932
Degrees: Ph.D. (Yale University, 1958)
MA (University of Michigan, 1955)
BA (Calvin College, 1954)