Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, that all things, including mental aspects and consciousness, are results of material interactions. In Idealism and consciousness are first-order realities to which matter is subject and secondary. In philosophical materialism the converse is true. Here mind and consciousness are by-products or epiphenomena of material processes without which they cannot exist. According to this doctrine the material determines consciousness, not vice versa. Materialist theories are divided into three groups. Naive materialism identifies the material world with specific elements. Metaphysical materialism examines separated parts of the world in a isolated environment. Dialectical materialism adapts the Hegelian dialectic for materialism, examining parts of the world in relation to each other within a dynamic environment. Materialism is related to physicalism, the view that all that exists is physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the discoveries of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter, such as: spacetime, physical energies and forces, dark matter, so on.
Thus the term "physicalism" is preferred over "materialism" by some, while others use the terms as if they are synonymous. Philosophies contradictory to materialism or physicalism include idealism, pluralism and other forms of monism. Materialism belongs to the class of monist ontology; as such, it is different from ontological theories based on pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism, neutral monism, spiritualism. Despite the large number of philosophical schools and subtle nuances between many, all philosophies are said to fall into one of two primary categories, which are defined in contrast to each other: idealism and materialism; the basic proposition of these two categories pertains to the nature of reality, the primary distinction between them is the way they answer two fundamental questions: "what does reality consist of?" and "how does it originate?" To idealists, spirit or mind or the objects of mind are primary, matter secondary.
To materialists, matter is primary, mind or spirit or ideas are secondary, the product of matter acting upon matter. The materialist view is best understood in its opposition to the doctrines of immaterial substance applied to the mind famously by René Descartes. However, by itself materialism says nothing about. In practice, it is assimilated to one variety of physicalism or another. Materialism is associated with reductionism, according to which the objects or phenomena individuated at one level of description, if they are genuine, must be explicable in terms of the objects or phenomena at some other level of description—typically, at a more reduced level. Non-reductive materialism explicitly rejects this notion, taking the material constitution of all particulars to be consistent with the existence of real objects, properties, or phenomena not explicable in the terms canonically used for the basic material constituents. Jerry Fodor influentially argues this view, according to which empirical laws and explanations in "special sciences" like psychology or geology are invisible from the perspective of basic physics.
A lot of vigorous literature has grown up around the relation between these views. Modern philosophical materialists extend the definition of other scientifically observable entities such as energy and the curvature of space; however philosophers such as Mary Midgley suggest that the concept of "matter" is elusive and poorly defined. Materialism contrasts with dualism, idealism and dual-aspect monism, its materiality can, in some ways, be linked to the concept of determinism, as espoused by Enlightenment thinkers. During the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels extended the concept of materialism to elaborate a materialist conception of history centered on the empirical world of human activity and the institutions created, reproduced, or destroyed by that activity, they developed dialectical materialism, through taking Hegelian dialectics, stripping them of their idealist aspects, fusing them with materialism. Materialism developed independently, in several geographically separated regions of Eurasia during what Karl Jaspers termed the Axial Age.
In ancient Indian philosophy, materialism developed around 600 BC with the works of Ajita Kesakambali, Payasi and the proponents of the Cārvāka school of philosophy. Kanada became one of the early proponents of atomism; the Nyaya–Vaisesika school developed one of the earliest forms of atomism, though their proofs of God and their positing that consciousness was not material precludes labelling them as materialists. Buddhist atomism and the Jaina school continued the atomic tradition. Ancient Greek atomists like Leucippus and Epicurus prefigure materialists; the Latin poem De Rerum Natura by Lucretius reflects the mechanistic philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus. According to this view, all that exists is matter and void, all phenomena result from different motions and conglomerations of base material particles called "atoms". De R
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 best-selling book by English biologist Richard Dawkins, a professorial fellow at New College and former holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, he is sympathetic to Robert Pirsig's statement in Lila that "when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion." With many examples, he explains that one does not need religion to be moral and that the roots of religion and of morality can be explained in non-religious terms. In early December 2006, it reached number four in the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Best Seller list after nine weeks on the list. More than three million copies were sold.
According to Dawkins in a 2016 interview with Matt Dillahunty, an unauthorised Arabic translation of this book has been downloaded 3 million times in Saudi Arabia. The book has attracted widespread commentary, with many books written in response. Dawkins has argued against creationist explanations of life in his previous works on evolution; the theme of The Blind Watchmaker, published in 1986, is that evolution can explain the apparent design in nature. In The God Delusion he focuses directly on a wider range of arguments used for and against belief in the existence of a god. Dawkins identifies himself as an atheist, while pointing out that, in a sense, he is agnostic, though "only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden". Dawkins had long wanted to write a book criticising religion, but his publisher had advised against it. By the year 2006, his publisher had warmed to the idea. Dawkins attributes this change of mind to "four years of Bush". By that time, a number of authors, including Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, who together with Dawkins were labelled "The Unholy Trinity" by Robert Weitzel, had written books attacking religion.
According to the Amazon.co.uk retailer in August 2007, the book was the best-seller in their sales of books on religion and spirituality, with Hitchens's God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything coming second. This led to a 50% growth in that category over the three years to that date. Dawkins dedicates the book to Douglas Adams and quotes the novelist: "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" The book contains ten chapters. The first few chapters make a case that there is certainly no God, while the rest discuss religion and morality. Dawkins writes that The God Delusion contains four "consciousness-raising" messages: Atheists can be happy, balanced and intellectually fulfilled. Natural selection and similar scientific theories are superior to a "God hypothesis"—the illusion of intelligent design—in explaining the living world and the cosmos. Children should not be labelled by their parents' religion.
Terms like "Catholic child" or "Muslim child" should make people cringe. Atheists should be proud, not apologetic, because atheism is evidence of a healthy, independent mind. Chapter one, "A religious non-believer", seeks to clarify the difference between what Dawkins terms "Einsteinian religion" and "supernatural religion", he notes that the former includes quasi-mystical and pantheistic references to God in the work of physicists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, describes such pantheism as "sexed up atheism". Dawkins instead takes issue with the theism present in religions like Christianity and Hinduism; the proposed existence of this interventionist God, which Dawkins calls the "God Hypothesis", becomes an important theme in the book. He maintains that the existence or non-existence of God is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice. Dawkins summarises the main philosophical arguments on God's existence, singling out the argument from design for longer consideration.
Dawkins concludes. He writes that one of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain "how the complex, improbable design in the universe arises", suggests that there are two competing explanations: A hypothesis involving a designer, that is, a complex being to account for the complexity that we see. A hypothesis, with supporting theories, that explains how, from simple origins and principles, something more complex can emerge; this is the basic set-up of his argument against the existence of God, the Ultimate Boeing 747 gambit, where he argues that the first attempt is self-refuting, the second approach is the way forward. At the end of chapter 4, Dawkins sums up his argument and states, "The temptation is a false one, because the designer hypothesis raises the larger problem of who designed the designer; the whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is no solution to postulate something more improbable". In addition, chapter 4 asserts that the alternative to the designer hypothesis is not chance, but natural selection.
Dawkins does not claim to disprove God with absolute certainty. Instead, he suggests as a general principle that simpler explanations are preferable and that an omniscient or omnipotent God must be complex (Dawkins argu
Existence of God
The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture. A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysical, empirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology and ontology and the theory of value; the Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument. John Calvin argued for a sensus divinitatis. Philosophers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include Immanuel Kant, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God's existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Lennox and Sam Harris, as well as philosophers including Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, A. C.
Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Edward Feser and David Bentley Hart. Scientists follow the scientific method, within which theories must be verifiable by physical experiment; the majority of prominent conceptions of God explicitly or posit a being, not testable either by proof or disproof. On these bases, the question regarding the existence of God, one for which evidence cannot be tested, may lie outside the purview of modern science by definition; the Catholic Church maintains that knowledge of the existence of God is the "natural light of human reason". Fideists maintain that belief in the existence of God may not be amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone. Atheists view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or weighing less in comparison to arguments against whereas some religions, such as Buddhism, are not concerned with the existence of gods at all and yet other religions, such as Jainism, reject the possibility of a creator deity. Positions on the existence of God can be divided along numerous axes, producing a variety of orthogonal classifications.
Theism and atheism are positions of belief, while gnosticism and agnosticism are positions of knowledge. Ignosticism concerns belief regarding God's conceptual coherence. Apatheism concerns belief regarding the practical importance of. For the purposes of discussion, Richard Dawkins described seven "milestones" on his spectrum of theistic probability: Strong theist. 100% probability of God. In the words of C. G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know." De facto theist. High probability but short of 100%. "I don't know for certain, but I believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there." Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50% but not high. "I am uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God." Impartial. 50%. "God's existence and non-existence are equiprobable." Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50% but not low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical." De facto atheist. Low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is improbable, I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."
Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one." The Catholic Church, following the teachings of Paul the Apostle, Thomas Aquinas, the First Vatican Council, affirms that God's existence "can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason". In classical theism, God is characterized as the metaphysically ultimate being, in distinction to other conceptions such as theistic personalism, open theism, process theism. Classical theists do not believe that God can be defined, they believe. Robert Barron explains by analogy that it seems impossible for a two-dimensional object to conceive of three-dimensional humans. In modern Western societies, the concepts of God entail a monotheistic, supreme and personal being, as found in the Christian and Jewish traditions. In monotheistic religions outside the Abrahamic traditions, the existence of God is discussed in similar terms. In these traditions, God is identified as the author of certain texts, or that certain texts describe specific historical events caused by the God in question or communications from God.
Some traditions believe that God is the entity, answering prayers for intervention or information or opinions. Many Islamic scholars have used rational arguments to prove the existence of God. For example, Ibn Rushd, a 12th-century Islamic scholar and physician, states there are only two arguments worthy of adherence, both of which are found in what he calls the "Precious Book". Rushd cites “providence” and “invention” in using th
N. T. Wright
Nicholas Thomas Wright ) is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, retired Anglican bishop. Between 2003 and 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham, he became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He writes about theology, Christian life, the relationship of these two things, he advocates a biblical re-evaluation of theological matters such as justification, women's ordination, popular Christian views about life after death. He has criticised the idea of a literal Rapture; the author of over seventy books, Wright is regarded in academic and theological circles for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series. The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many pastors and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus, while the most released fourth volume and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus. Wright was born in Northumberland.
In a 2003 interview, he said that he could never remember a time when he was not aware of the presence and love of God and recalled an occasion when he was four or five when "sitting by myself at Morpeth and being overcome, coming to tears, by the fact that God loved me so much he died for me. Everything that has happened to me since has produced wave upon wave of the same."He was educated at Sedbergh School in the north Pennines, specialised in classics. In the late 1960s Wright played guitar in a folk club on the west side of Vancouver. From 1968 to 1971, he studied literae humaniores at Exeter College, receiving his BA with first class honours in 1971. During that time he was president of the undergraduate Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. From 1971 to 1975 he studied for the Anglican ministry at Wycliffe Hall, receiving his MA at the end of this period, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of Oxford. In 1975 he became a junior research fellow at Merton College and also junior chaplain.
From 1978 to 1981 he was a chaplain at Downing College, Cambridge. In 1981 he received his D Phil from Merton College, his thesis topic being "The Messiah and the People of God: A Study in Pauline Theology with Particular Reference to the Argument of the Epistle to the Romans". After this, he served as assistant professor of New Testament studies at McGill University, Montreal as chaplain and tutor at Worcester College and lecturer in New Testament in the University of Oxford, he moved from Oxford to become Dean of Lichfield Cathedral and returned to Oxford as Visiting Fellow of Merton College, before taking up his appointment as Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey in 2000. Between 1995 and 2000, Wright wrote the weekly Sunday's Readings column for the Church Times, he has said that writing the column gave him the "courage" to embark upon his popular... for Everyone series of commentaries on New Testament books. In 2003, he became the Bishop of Durham. On 4 August 2006 he was appointed to the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved for a period of five years.
He retired from the See of Durham on 31 August 2010 and took appointment as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's College, St Andrews in Scotland, which enabled him to concentrate on his academic and broadcasting work. In his popular book Surprised by Hope, he outlines the scriptural emphasis on resurrection as the blessed hope of all Christians. Though critical of the North American church's overemphasis on "going to heaven when you die" and underemphasis on the resurrection from the dead, he does not deny the teaching that one's soul lives on after death, he advocates a reunion of soteriology and ecclesiology, commenting that such a connection is neglected in Protestantism. In addition, he is critical of various popular theological ideas, such as the dispensationalist doctrine of the rapture. Wright follows the New Perspective on Paul interpretation of the Pauline letters. Wright offers that Paul cannot be ignored by any serious Christian and that, through this central place within the New Testament canon, Paul has come to be abused, imposed upon, approached with incorrect or inappropriate questions about the Christian faith.
Wright offers, "Paul in the twentieth century has been used and abused much as in the first. Can we, as the century draws towards its close, listen a bit more to him? Can we somehow repent of the ways we have mishandled him and respect his own way of doing things a bit more?"This question reflects the key consideration for the New Perspective on Paul and a fundamental aim of Wright's scholarship: to allow the apostle Paul to speak for himself without imposing modern considerations and questions upon him and in so doing, seeking to ascertain what St. Paul was trying to say to the people he was writing to. From this, Wright contends that by examining the Pauline corpus through this unique perspective, difficult passages within the text become illuminated in new ways, his letters gain coherence both in their particularities as well as with one another, it provides an overall picture of what Paul was about, without doing violence to the little details within the letters; the content of the new perspective can be traced to the work of E. P. Sanders and his book Paul and Palestinian Judaism.
In this 1977 work, Sanders argued that the prevailing view of first-century Judaism in the New Testament was inaccurate. He described it instead as "covenantal nomism", which emphasised God's election of a peop
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the New Testaments together as sacred scripture; the New Testament has accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies; the New Testament has influenced religious and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature and music. The New Testament is a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the 1st century AD, at different times by various writers, the modern consensus is that it provides important evidence regarding Judaism in the 1st century. In all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books: the four gospels, The Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one epistles, Revelation.
The united Catholic Church defined the 27-book canon. The earliest known complete list of the 27 books is by the 4th-century eastern Catholic bishop Athanasius; the first time that church councils approved this list was with the councils of Hippo and Carthage in North Africa and Pope Innocent I ratified the same canon in 405, but it is probable that a Council in Rome in 382 under pope Damasus gave the same list first. These councils provided the canon of the Old Testament, which included the apocryphal books; the original texts were written in the first century of the Christian Era, in Greek, the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the conquests of Alexander the Great until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. All the works that became incorporated into the New Testament are believed to have been written no than around 120 AD. John A. T. Robinson, Dan Wallace, William F. Albright dated all the books of the New Testament before 70 AD. Others give a final date of 80 AD or of 96 AD.
Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament; the Old Testament canon is not uniform among all major Christian groups including Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, the Armenian Orthodox Church. However, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament, at least since Late Antiquity, has been universally recognized within Christianity; the phrase new testament, or new covenant first occurs in Jeremiah 31:31. The same Greek phrase for'new covenant' is found elsewhere in the New Testament.
In early Bible translations into Latin, the phrase was rendered foedus,'federation', in Jeremiah 31:31, was rendered testamentum in Hebrews 8:8 and other instances, from which comes the English term New Testament. Modern English, like Latin, distinguishes testament and covenant as alternative translations, the treatment of the term Διαθήκη diathḗkē varies in Bible translations into English. John Wycliffe's 1395 version is a translation of the Latin Vulgate and so follows different terms in Jeremiah and Hebrews: Lo! Days shall come, saith the Lord, I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the house of Judah. For he reproving him saith, Lo! Days come, saith the Lord, when I shall establish a new testament on the house of Israel, on the house of Judah. Use of the term New Testament to describe a collection of first and second-century Christian Greek scriptures can be traced back to Tertullian. In Against Marcion, written c. 208 AD, he writes of: the Divine Word, doubly edged with the two testaments of the law and the gospel.
And Tertullian continues in the book, writing: it is certain that the whole aim at which he has strenuously laboured in the drawing up of his Antitheses, centres in this, that he may establish a diversity between the Old and the New Testaments, so that his own Christ may be separate from the Creator, as belonging to this rival god, as alien from the law and the prophets. By the 4th century, the existence—even if not the exact contents—of both an Old and New Testament had been established. Lactantius, a 3rd–4th century Christian author wrote in his early-4th-century Latin Institutiones Divinae: But all scripture is divided into two Testaments; that which preceded the advent and passion of Christ—that is, the law and the prophets—is called the Old.
A religious experience is a subjective experience, interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defense against the growing rationalism of Western society. William James popularised the concept. Many religious and mystical traditions see religious experiences as revelations caused by divine agency rather than ordinary natural processes, they are considered real encounters with God or gods, or real contact with higher-order realities of which humans are not ordinarily aware. Skeptics may hold that religious experience is an evolved feature of the human brain amenable to normal scientific study; the commonalities and differences between religious experiences across different cultures have enabled scholars to categorize them for academic study. Psychologist and philosopher William James described four characteristics of mystical experience in The Varieties of Religious Experience. According to James, such an experience is: Transient – the experience is temporary.
Feels outside normal perception of space and time. Ineffable – the experience cannot be adequately put into words. Noetic – the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience. Feels to have gained knowledge, hidden from human understanding. Passive – the experience happens to the individual without conscious control. Although there are activities, such as meditation, that can make religious experience more it is not something that can be turned on and off at will. Norman Habel defines religious experiences as the structured way in which a believer enters into a relationship with, or gains an awareness of, the sacred within the context of a particular religious tradition. Religious experiences are by their nature preternatural, they may be difficult to distinguish observationally from psychopathological states such as psychoses or other forms of altered awareness. Not all preternatural experiences are considered to be religious experiences. Following Habel's definition, psychopathological states or drug-induced states of awareness are not considered to be religious experiences because they are not performed within the context of a particular religious tradition.
Moore and Habel identify two classes of religious experiences: the immediate and the mediated religious experience. Mediated – In the mediated experience, the believer experiences the sacred through mediators such as rituals, special persons, religious groups, totemic objects or the natural world. Immediate – The immediate experience comes to the believer without any intervening agency or mediator; the deity or divine is experienced directly. In his book Faith and Reason, the philosopher Richard Swinburne formulated five categories into which all religious experiences fall: Public – a believer'sees God's hand at work', whereas other explanations are possible e.g. looking at a beautiful sunset Public – an unusual event that breaches natural law e.g. walking on water Private – describable using normal language e.g. Jacob's vision of a ladder Private – indescribable using normal language a mystical experience e.g. "white did not cease to be white, nor black cease to be black, but black became white and white became black."
Private – a non-specific, general feeling of God working in one's life. Swinburne suggested two principles for the assessment of religious experiences: Principle of Credulity – with the absence of any reason to disbelieve it, one should accept what appears to be true e.g. if one sees someone walking on water, one should believe that it is occurring. Principle of Testimony – with the absence of any reason to disbelieve them, one should accept that eyewitnesses or believers are telling the truth when they testify about religious experiences; the German thinker Rudolf Otto argues that there is one common factor to all religious experience, independent of the cultural background. In his book The Idea of the Holy he identifies this factor as the numinous; the "numinous" experience has two aspects: mysterium tremendum, the tendency to invoke fear and trembling. The numinous experience has a personal quality to it, in that the person feels to be in communion with a holy other. Otto sees the numinous as the only possible religious experience.
He states: "There is no religion in which it does not live as the real innermost core and without it no religion would be worthy of the name". Otto does not take any other kind of religious experience such as ecstasy and enthusiasm and is of the opinion that they belong to the'vestibule of religion'. Ecstasy -- In ecstasy the believer is understood to have a spirit which can leave the body. In ecstasy the focus is on the soul leaving the body; this type of religious experience is characteristic for the shaman. Enthusiasm – In enthusiasm – or possession – God is understood to be outside, other than or beyond the believer. A sacred power, being or will possesses it. A person capable of being possessed is sometimes called a medium; the deity, spirit or power uses such a person to communicate to the immanent world. Lewis argues that ecstasy and possession are one and the same experience, ecstasy being one form which possession may take; the outward manifestation of the
Alvin Carl Plantinga is a prominent American analytic philosopher who works in the fields of logic, philosophy of religion, epistemology. From 1963-82, Plantinga taught at Calvin College before accepting an appointment as the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, he returned to Calvin College to become the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy. A prominent Christian philosopher, Plantinga served as president of the Society of Christian Philosophers from 1983-86, he has delivered the Gifford Lectures two times and was described by TIME magazine as "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God". William Lane Craig wrote in his work Reasonable Faith that he considers Plantinga to be the greatest Christian philosopher alive. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2017; some of Plantinga's most influential works including God and Other Minds, The Nature of Necessity, a trilogy of books on epistemology, culminating in Warranted Christian Belief, simplified in Knowledge and Christian Belief.
Plantinga was born on November 15, 1932, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Cornelius A. Plantinga and Lettie G. Bossenbroek. Plantinga's father was a first-generation immigrant, born in the Netherlands, his family is from the Dutch province of Friesland, they lived on a low income until he secured a teaching job in Michigan in 1941. Plantinga's father earned a Ph. D. in philosophy from Duke University and a master's degree in psychology, taught several academic subjects at different colleges over the yearsPlantinga married Kathleen De Boer in 1955. They have four children: Carl, Jane and Ann. Both of his sons are professors at Calvin College, Carl in Film Studies and Harry in computer science. Harry is the director of the college's Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Plantinga's older daughter, Jane Plantinga Pauw, is a pastor at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in Seattle and his younger daughter, Ann Kapteyn, is a missionary in Cameroon working for Wycliffe Bible Translators, his granddaughter Natasha Pauw lives at home with her parents.
One of Plantinga's brothers, Cornelius "Neal" Plantinga Jr. is a theologian and the former president of Calvin Theological Seminary. Another of his brothers, Leon, is an emeritus professor of musicology at Yale University, his brother Terrell worked for CBS News. After Plantinga completed 11th grade, his father urged him to skip his last year of high school and enroll in college. Plantinga reluctantly followed his father's advice and in 1949, a few months before his 17th birthday, he enrolled in Jamestown College, in Jamestown, North Dakota. During that same year, his father accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In January 1950, Plantinga enrolled in Calvin College. During his first semester at Calvin, Plantinga was awarded a scholarship to attend Harvard University. Beginning in the fall of 1950, Plantinga spent two semesters at Harvard. In 1951, during Harvard's spring recess, Plantinga attended a few philosophy classes at Calvin College, was so impressed with Calvin philosophy professor William Harry Jellema that he returned in 1951 to study philosophy under him.
In 1954, Plantinga began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he studied under William Alston, William Frankena, Richard Cartwright, among others. A year in 1955, he transferred to Yale University where he received his Ph. D. in 1958. Plantinga began his career as an instructor in the philosophy department at Yale in 1957, in 1958 he became a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University during its heyday as a major center for analytic philosophy. In 1963, he accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, he spent the next 19 years at Calvin before moving to the University of Notre Dame in 1982. He retired from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and returned to Calvin College, where he serves as the first holder of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Philosophy, he has trained many prominent philosophers working in metaphysics and epistemology including Michael Bergmann at Purdue and Michael Rea at Notre Dame, Trenton Merricks working at University of Virginia. Plantinga served as president of the American Philosophical Association, Western Division, 1981–82. and as President of the Society of Christian Philosophers 1983–86.
He has honorary degrees from Glasgow University, Calvin College, North Park College, the Free University of Amsterdam, Brigham Young University, Valparaiso University. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1971–72, elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship; the fellowship includes an annual lecture by the current Plantinga Fellow. In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy Department and Philosophy of Science Department, the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science co-awarded Plantinga the Nicholas Rescher Prize for Systematic Philosophy, which he received with a talk titled, "Religion and Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies". In 2017, Baylor University's Center for Christian Philosophy inaugurated the Alvin Plantinga Award for Excellence in Christian Philosophy. Awardees deliver a lecture at Baylor University and their name is put on a plaque with Plantinga's image in the Institute for Studies in Religion.
He was named the first fellow of the center as well. He was awarded the 2017 Templeto