Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Plantinga's paper on being an anti-realist

This is the link to Plantinga's How to Be an Anti-Realist.

So what we really have here is a sort of antinomy. On the one hand there is a deep impulse towards anti-realism; there can't really be truths independent of noetic activity. On the other hand there is the disquieting fact that anti-realism, at least of the sorts we have been considering, seems incoherent and otherwise objectionable. We have here a paradox seeking resolution, a thesis and antithesis seeking synthesis. And what is by my lights the correct synthesis, was suggested long before Hegel. This synthesis was suggested by Augustine, endorsed by most of the theistic tradition, and given succinct statement by Thomas Aquinas: "Even if there were no human intellects, there could be truths because of their relation to the divine intellect. But if, per impossible, there were no intellects at all, but things continued to exist, then there would be no such reality as truth." (De Veritate Q. 1, A.6 Respondeo). The thesis, then, is that truth cannot be independent of noetic activity on the part of persons. The antithesis is that it must be independent of our noetic activity. And the synthesis is that truth is independent of our intellectual activity but not of God's.

And later:

By way of conclusion then: the fundamental anti-realist intuitionthat truth is not independent of mind-is indeed correct. This intuition is best accommodated by the theistic claim that necessarily, propositions have two properties essentially: being conceived by God and being true if and only if believed by God. So how can we sensibly be antirealists? Easily enough: by being theists.

3 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

what I see of realism in ethics and science it is an alternative to God.It's a way of saying we can be moral without God we can explain physics without God.

Callum said...

Im not sure Feser would agree that this position should really be called anti realist, but anyway the basic Augustinian argument is defended in his new book that came out last week.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Callum said..August 23, 2017 10:13 PM.

" Im not sure Feser would agree that this position should really be called anti realist, but anyway the basic Augustinian argument is defended in his new book that came out last week."
--Feser makes such poor arguments in his posted articles and his on line video lectures that it is virtually certain his latest so-called "proofs" for the existence of god will be completely worthless.

As for the OP god offers no synthesis, since truth dependence on god's intellect is just another form of truth being dependent on an intellect, which is the core of the thesis.

If truth is a description of that which comports with reality then there can be no truth without an intellect to describe it.

If truth simply is that which is real then no intellect is required for truth to exist.

So, the question of whether truth exists independent of an intellect is only a matter of definition.

God is simply irrelevant.