God and Other Minds

God and Other Minds is the name of a 1967 book[1] by Alvin Plantinga which re-kindled serious philosophical debate on the existence of God in Anglophone philosophical circles[2] by arguing that belief in God was like belief in other minds: although neither could be demonstrated conclusively against a determined sceptic both were fundamentally rational. The philosophical argument has been developed and criticised by Plantinga and others in the succeeding 40 years.

The book God and Other Minds

God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God was originally published by Cornell University Press in (1967). An edition with a new preface by Plantinga was published in 1990 (ISBN 978-0801497353). The book has the following chapters:

Part I: Natural Theology

Part II: Natural Atheology

Part III: God and Other Minds

Reaction of notable commentators

The book has been widely cited[3]

Subsequent development of the argument

The psychologist Justin L. Barrett suggests that "Believing that other humans have minds arises from many of the same mental tools and environmental information from which belief in gods or God comes...no scientific evidence exists that proves people have minds"[5] and that "although some small number of academics...claim to believe that people do not have minds...they do not socially interact in accordance with such a belief ...[and] such a peculiar belief about minds (whether or not it is true) simply will not spread...a huge number of mental tools all converge on the nonreflective belief in minds"[6]

See also

Notes and references

  1. Hughes, G. E. (1970). "Plantinga on the Rationality of God's Existence (Review of God and Other Minds)". The Philosophical Review. 79 (2): 246–252. doi:10.2307/2183952. JSTOR 2183952.
  2. see e.g. The Rationality of Theism quoting Quentin Smith "God is not 'dead' in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s". They specifically relate this to Plantinga's God and Other Minds, and cite "the shift from hostility towards theism in Paul Edwards's Encycolepdia of Philosophy (1967) to sympathy towards theism in the more recent Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  3. by at least 65 other books Amazon.com citations of God and Other Minds and many other articles; Google Scholar though seems to have missed many citations
  4. The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 67, No. 2 (Jan. 29, 1970), pp 39-45 doi:10.2307/2024569
  5. Why would anyone believe in God, p 95 ISBN 0-7591-0667-3
  6. Why would anyone believe in God, pp 96-97
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