Reforming reformed epistemology

Duncan Pritchard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Perhaps the most influential proposal in the recent literature on the epistemology of religious belief has been Alvin Plantinga's anti-evidentialist contention that we should treat certain religious beliefs as properly basic. In order to support this anti-skeptical maneuver, Plantinga (along with other "reformed" epistemologists such as William Alston) has looked to the kind of anti-evidentialist model that is standardly offered as regards the epistemology of perceptual belief and has claimed that there are sufficient analogies between perceptual experience and religious experience to motivate the use of such a model in religious epistemology. It is argued here, however, that while Plantinga et al. are right to draw our attention to these analogies, in doing so they have failed to pay due attention to important disanalogies that exist between religious and perceptual experience. Moreover, I contend that these disanalogies have epistemological ramifications that require subtle modifications to the reformed epistemology thesis. In particular, following a suggestion made by Keith DeRose, I argue that reformed epistemology would be better modelled along explicitly virtue-theoretic lines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-66
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Reforming reformed epistemology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this