Justified Faith without Reasons?: A Comparison between Søren Kierkegaard’s and Alvin Plantinga’s Epistemologies

Frankfurt am Main: De Gruyter (2023)
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Abstract

This study intends to show that the question whether faith can be justified without proofs can be resolved by importing ideas from Kierkegaard’s and Plantinga’s affirmative take on the matter. There is a deep similarity between the way they understand belief in God and belief in Christianity: for both the first is considered universal human knowledge and the second seen as a gift from God. Against the charge that such an understanding is irrational Plantinga offers an externalist epistemological model which allows those beliefs to be warranted. The authors also share the modern idea that there is an objective truth, combining it with the postmodern stance that no method exists which would guarantee access to it. A specific contribution on Kierkegaard’s part to the understanding of the rationality of transitions toward a Christian stage of existence is to show in detail the way in which such transitions are mediated through inwardnes - a perspective akin to Michael Polanyi’s scientific epistemology. One can see in both authors not only a deep commonality of ideas, but also a remarkable way in which their understandings augment each other. Whereas Plantinga’s inquiry contributes to the rational plausibility of a “Justified Faith without Reasons” project, Kierkegaard’s venture balances such a logical-analytic effort with a deep existential inquiry.

Author's Profile

Valentin Teodorescu
Goethe University Frankfurt (PhD)

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