Tuesday, April 25, 2017
A longtime friend, mentor, and instructor to hundreds of EPS members and a contributor to the Society’s journal, Philosophia Christi, Alvin Plantinga has significantly strengthened the plausibility of theism and religious epistemology within academic philosophy.
Since the 1960s, “Alvin Plantinga recognized that not only did religious belief not conflict with serious philosophical work,” said Heather Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, “but that it could make crucial contributions to addressing perennial problems in philosophy.”
The Templeton Prize, currently valued at about $1.4 million, “honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works,” according to the Prize’s website.
“More than one generation of evangelical philosophers is in Alvin Plantinga’s debt,” observes EPS President Angus Menuge. “He showed that Christian thinkers with a serious commitment to biblical theology can do rigorous, analytic philosophy at the highest level. He showed them how to present a coherent Christian worldview as a compelling alternative in a marketplace of ideas dominated by secularism.”
Long held captive by secularizing and naturalizing assumptions about knowledge, fields like philosophy of religion now experience a post-secular turn. “Plantinga started the thaw that de-secularized the academic discipline of philosophy,” says Menuge, “and he encouraged theists everywhere to think through the implications of their faith.”
“I am honored to receive the Templeton Prize,” Plantinga said. “The field of philosophy has transformed over the course of my career. If my work played a role in this transformation, I would be very pleased. I hope the news of the Prize will encourage young philosophers, especially those who bring Christian and theistic perspectives to bear on their work, towards greater creativity, integrity, and boldness.”
With more than a dozen books authored or edited and some 150 articles published, Plantinga's work is not only prodigious but evidence of his thoroughness and concentration. His vision-casting "Advice to Christian Scholars" has been anthologized, cited and quoted many times over by those within and beyond the philosophical guild.
Some of Alvin Plantinga’s contributions with the EPS include the following:
- 2012: "New Argument against Materialism" was published in the Summer 2012 issue of Philosophia Christi as part of a discussion with Michael Tooley. A version of this paper was also presented as a plenary address at the 2010 annual meeting of the EPS.
- 2010: "Religion and Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies," a plenary address at the annual EPS apologetics conference.
- 2001: special Philosophia Christi book symposium issue (vol. 3, no. 1) on his seminal work, Warranted Christian Belief.