Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments by Alvin Plantinga

Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantinga offers up “two dozen or so theistic arguments.” For those who haven’t read/seen them before, here are his notes. Click here for the arguments.

Happy reading.


  1. J. K. Jones December 4, 2008

    I do not follow Plantinga’s assertion that the proofs offered do not prove anything. If the arguments do not logically require their conclusions, are they really arguments?

  2. Brian December 4, 2008

    J.K. —

    Deductive arguments have premises that guarantee their conclusion, but they inductive arguments have premises that support the conclusion but do not guarantee it. In this case, these are inductive arguments.

    I would say that none of these arguments guarantees the conclusion — however, put them all together and you can begin to form a strong cumulative case for God. The conclusion that God exists based on such a case would be much more probable than the conclusion that he does not.

    So back to the original question, yes, they can be called arguments even if the conclusions are not logically required.

  3. J. K. Jones December 4, 2008

    I do not see how the teleological argument can be regulated to an evidence only argument. Design requires a designer, or there is no design at all. No design at all means that all order is an illusion, or a framework imposed on our reality by our minds. To argue against the teleological argument is to argue against arguments themselves. We can reason from premises developed from our sense perception only if we and the world we live in were designed to make that possible. To argue at all would be to admit that the world is designed.

    Of course, it could be that Plantinga is arguing at a level that is well over my head. I’m just a Southern Baptist Layman, so I don’t feel bad about that.

  4. nbjacobson April 9, 2009

    I’ve always wished that Plantinga would revisit his now almost ubiquitous “dozen arguments” to flesh them out, clear up some incomplete sentences, etc. They serve as a nice starting point for exploration, but in their current form aren’t as useful as they could be. Per the issue of proof, some of the arguments are deductive, but I take it that Plantinga, like most Christian philosophers, believes the evidence for God is suggestive, but falls short of “proof”, at least of the irresistible sort. Even in the deductive cases, perhaps at least one premise can be plausibly denied in each case.

  5. Rick Landon February 9, 2010

    Another argument
    These arguments hurt my brain
    Why would these arguments would hurt my brain makes no sense
    if theism is false
    Therefore Theism is true