Plantinga Wins Nicholas Rescher Prize

Independent Institute Founder David J. Theroux writes:

The world-renowned philosopher Alvin C. Plantinga has recently received the prestigious Nicholas Rescher Prize for Contributions to Systematic Philosophy, awarded by the University of Pittsburgh’s Departments of Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Science Department, and the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science. Plantinga is widely known for his work in the philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics and Christian apologetics, and he has revolutionized scholarly interest in Christian theism, shown naturalism/atheism to be self-refuting and incoherent, and set the new standards for the defense of free will, individual agency, consciousness, rational inference, science, objective truth and morality, and more. As a result, Plantinga has both directly influenced the entire field of philosophy and has mentored and inspired new generations of top scholars who are critiquing the reductionism, relativism, materialism, collectivism, scientism, positivism, determinism, and de-humanization of the modern era. In short, Plantinga has devastated the prevailing view in Western elites that human beings are merely “matter in motion” (i.e., purposeless, accidental, robotic products of a closed, natural world ruled solely by physical laws and that truth, reason, morality, and God are illusions).

Congratulations to Alvin C. Plantinga.  Now I want to be careful here as I must stay honorable to my convictions.  Plantinga is a logic-producing machine.  He has done well in rightly noting that the naturalistic mindset reduces to irrational philosophical conclusions.  He has also done well in showing that the Christian community must not reject the use of logic and philosophy because, like everything else, it is a product of the mind of God, to be used for his glory.

On the other hand, we here at the Reformed Libertarian cringe at his advocacy of free will in the sinner.  We hold the Biblical teaching that the human will is bound by his sin.  Plantinga can come across as a presuppositionalist in the order of Cornelius Van Til.  But unfortunately, he is not at all.  Van Til knows that Biblical theology must be assumed before philosophy.  Plantinga does not.  This is the gap that separates them.  Plantinga’s method is similar to Van Til’s critics in that Plantinga first assumes his own premises as authentic and then argues from those.

Several years back I read a great summary of the similarities and differences between the two.  This can be found here. 

Plantinga is a friend of the Christian cause and has fought bravely with the mind that God has given.  However, if you are looking for a Christian philosophy, I would stick with Cornelius Van Til, Gordon H. Clark, and those in the Reformed Presuppositionalist camp.

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Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, where he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to