South African Journal of Philosophy

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What kind of Classical Foundationalism has Plantinga refuted?

R-T Klein


Alvin Plantinga declared in 1983 that Classical Foundationalism had collapsed. He was convinced that he had found an utterly damaging argument against CF: CF is self-referentially incoherent. Already Alston (1985) and Quinn (1985 and 1993) and recently DePoe (2007) have denied that Plantinga’s argument is successful. There are three objections against his argument:i) He has to show that there is no argument for CF; ii) there may be an inductive argument for CF; iii) there are other good arguments for CF, presented e.g. by Richard Fumerton. In this paper I will argue that i) is wrong and that Quinn’s inductive argument (ii) fails. Plantinga has shown that the “old” type of CF is self-refuting. Plantinga’s argument is not successful if aimed against a contemporary Fumerton-style CF because this type of CF differs in at least one relevant aspect from the kind of CF Plantinga was struggling with.
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