A critique of Alvin Platinga's religious epistemology

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Jeremiah Joven B. Joaquin

Defense Panel Chair

Maxell C. Aranilla

Defense Panel Member

Lorenz Moises J. Festin
Napoleon M. Mabaquiao, Jr.
Mark Anthony L. Dacela
Mark Joseph Calano


Alvin Plantinga defends the rationality of belief in God in his Religious Epistemology. He argues against evidentialism that belief in God does not need propositional evidence, like the arguments from natural theology, to be rational because it is a properly basic belief. It is similar to belief in other minds and perceptual belief, which we acquire non-inferentially. If it is rational to hold these beliefs, it must also be rational to hold belief in God. According to Plantinga, the cognitive faculty responsible in producing belief in God is the sensus divinitatis. It is a natural, modular, and reliable cognitive faculty that produces theistic belief in us on the occasion of certain circumstances. However, there are philosophers who argue that Plantinga is not able to show convincingly that belief in God is properly basic and that there is a cognitive faculty exclusively responsible to form theistic beliefs in us. I agree with these objections against Plantingas religious epistemology. Plantingas defense of the rationality of theistic belief therefore fails. However, I concur with Plantinga that there is a spontaneous kind of belief or knowledge of God. Following Thomas Aquinas, I argue that there is a natural, non-inferential knowledge of God, but it is characterized as general, vague and confused. This kind of knowledge is nonpropositional and therefore cannot yet be classified as rational or irrational. Lately, Plantinga says that the rationality of clear theistic belief, not the confused and vague one, is ultimately an anthropological and metaphysical problem. If so, considering the close link between metaphysics and natural theology, between the study of being and its cause, I contend that Plantinga is indirectly admitting that whether theistic belief is rational or not is eventually a problem of natural theology after all.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer disc; 4 3/4 in.


Knowledge, Theory of (Religion)

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