Warrant and the Freud‐and‐Marx Complaint

Alvin Plantinga

in Warranted Christian Belief

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780195131932
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867486 | DOI:
Warrant and the Freud‐and‐Marx Complaint

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Among objections to Christian belief, we can distinguish between de facto objections and de jure objections, i.e., between those that claim that Christian belief is false (de facto objections) and those that claim that Christian belief, whether or not true, is at any rate unjustifiable, or rationally unjustified, or irrational, or not intellectually respectable, or in some other way rationally unacceptable (de jure objections). In Chs. 3 and 4, I argued (roughly) that no viable de jure objection to Christian belief can be developed in terms of justification or rationality (in most of the senses of that term); in this chapter, I turn to the objections offered by Freud and Marx, objections best understood in terms of warrant. At the heart of the criticism of religious belief due to Freud and Marx is the claim that religious belief is not produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly and aimed at truth: according to Freud, religious belief arises from the psychological mechanism of wish fulfillment (a cognitive faculty or process not aimed at truth), while according to Marx, religious belief is produced by cognitive faculties malfunctioning due to a perversion in the social structure. After an initial examination of these objections, I briefly recapitulate the account of warrant I proposed in Warrant: The Current Debate and Warrant and Proper Function (and also take the opportunity to make a correction or supplementation to my account of warrant, a supplementation relating to Gettier problems and cognitive minienvironments). I then point out that the criticisms of Freud and Marx amount to the objection that religious belief lacks warrant; in the next chapter, I evaluate this objection.

Keywords: Christian belief; Freud; Gettier; Marx; religious belief; warrant; wish fulfillment

Chapter.  14067 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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