Want to Be a Really Great Philosopher? Advice from Alvin Plantinga

One of my favorite philosophers is Alvin Plantinga. We just received his new book Knowledge and Christian Belief (Eerdmans). Interestingly, the day I received them I put some on the end cap across from my desk. Later that day Dr. Plantinga came in. He does visit us occasionally. I told him we had just received his book. He happened to notice a new Baker release also on the end cap, Reading Barth with Charity by George Hunsinger (Baker Academic) which led into a short discussion about Barth. (Five minutes with Plantinga talking about Barth–I was in heaven.) Unfortunately, I didn’t even have time to look at his book so I couldn’t talk to him about it. Yesterday, however, I started it and read the following paragraph which I found incredibly funny. “Now Kant is by no means easy to understand, which is no doubt part of his charm. If you want to be a really great philosopher, make sure not to say too clearly what you have in mind (well, maybe that’s not quite enough, but it’s a good start); if people can just read and understand what you say, there will be no need for commentators on your work, no one will write PhD dissertations on your work to explain your meaning, and there won’t be any controversies about what it was you really meant. Kant must have heeded the above advice, and the fact is there are dozens, maybe hundreds of books written about his philosophy, and endless controversy as to his meaning.” (p. 2) Knowledge and Christian Belief is a “shorter and more user-friendly version” of Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford University Press). This one may have just jumped up in priority on my reading list.  It is a paperback with 141 pages and sells for $16.00.

Alvin Plantinga is John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism and Warranted Christian Belief. Knowledge and Christian Belief


About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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