He argues that what is crucial to warrant is the proper functioning of one’s cognitive faculties in the right kind of cognitive environment. In this companion volume to Warrant: The Current Debate, Plantinga develops an Alvin Plantinga He argues that what is crucial to warrant is the proper functioning of one’s cognitive faculties in the right kind of cognitive environment. Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function Reviewed by Some Remarks on Bonjour on Warrant, Proper Function, and Ruloff –

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But proper functionalist theories of other epistemic properties have also been developed. Richard Otte and Alvin Plantinga b: Chapter 9 offer proper functionalist theories of epistemic probability, for example. Nicholas Wolterstorff defends a proper functionalist theory of epistemic oughts.

And Peter Graham develops a proper functionalist theory of epistemic entitlement. A theory of warrant is subject to Gettier-style counterexamples if a belief can meet all the conditions the theory specifies as jointly sufficient for knowledge, but meet them merely by accident in a manner that precludes that beliefs being an item of knowledge.

Plantinga argues that any theory that fails to construe a proper function condition as necessary propee warrant is subject to counterexamples of this sort. By way of illustration, Plantinga b: The scenario envisions prope aging forest ranger living in the mountains, with a set of wind chimes hanging from a bough. The ranger is unaware of the fact that his hearing has been degenerating of late, and it has gotten to the point where he can no longer hear the chimes.

He is also unaware that he is runction subject to small auditory hallucinations in which he appears to hear the wind-chime. On one occasion, he is thus appeared lavin and comes to believe that the wind is blowing. As it happens, the wind is blowing and causing the ringing of the chimes. The reason his belief lacks warrant, Plantinga maintains, results from the fact that it is due to cognitive malfunction.

One might question ;lantinga this explanation is correct, however, on the anv that certain cognitively external environmental conditions are also amiss in this case. This thought might push one toward bypassing proper functionalism and endorsing a reliabilist theory of warrant instead that is, an account according to which a belief having warrant is primarily a matter of it being formed or sustained in a way that involves a reliable connection to the truth.

But Plantinga also argues that any reliabilist theory which does not incorporate a proper function qlvin is also subject to Gettier-style counterexamples. Imagine Sam has a brain lesion, one that engenders cognitive processes which mostly result in false beliefs. One process the lesion engenders, however, is a process that results in the belief that one has a brain lesion. But clearly the belief that results is not a matter of knowledge.

What explains why this is so, Plantinga maintains, is that the belief in question though formed by a truth-reliable process is prper the result of cognitive proper function.

Accordingly, Plantinga concludes that any reliabilist account of warrant must be augmented with a proper function condition. Kenneth Boyce and Alvin Plantinga Once these cases are on the table, one can imagine variations of them in which different combinations of internal and external conditions other than proper function ones are met, but in which the belief in question lacks warrant because anv ends up being true merely by accident.

Furthermore, Boyce and Plantinga contend that in these cases it seems that part of what explains why these are cases in which the beliefs are true merely by accident in awrrant way that precludes their being items of knowledge is that they were not formed in a manner specified by cognitive proper function; that is, the way they get at the truth is accidental from the perspective of the cognitive design plan.

If that is correct, however, then as Boyce and Plantinga point outthere is reason to believe that the notion of cognitive proper function is centrally involved in the notion of non-accidentally that any adequate analysis of warrant must capture.

Examples of the sort discussed above are used by Plantinga to motivate the claim that cognitive proper function is necessary for warrant. As Plantinga conceives of it, a design plan may be modeled as a set of ordered triples, where each triple specifies a circumstance, a response, and a purpose or function. One need not initially take this notion of a design plan to involve conscious design or purpose.

The notion of a design plan at issue here is whatever notion is presupposed by talk of proper function for biological systems as when a physician determines that a human heart is functioning the way it is supposed to on account of its pumping at 70 beats per minute. Plantinga himself gives a theistic account of a,vin notion, but other proper functionalists, such as Ruth Millikan and Dunction Grahamhave offered naturalistic, evolutionary accounts.


Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function Reviewed by

Other conditions must also be satisfied. To a rough, first approximation, Plantinga takes a belief to be warranted if and only if it satisfies the following four conditions:. That is, when a belief is formed by way of truth-aimed cognitive proper function in the sort of environment for which the cognitive faculties in question were designed, there is a high objective probability that the resulting belief is true. While Plantinga adds various nuances, these four conditions serve to capture the main outlines of his view.

Two of the most prominent among them are considered below. The second amounts to an objection to the claim that they are sufficient. The most well-known version of this objection comes from Ernest Sosawho adapts a scenario originally proposed by Donald Davidson, and uses it against proper functionalism.

In that alvim, Davidson is standing next to a swamp when lightning strikes a nearby dead tree, thereby obliterating Davidson. Simultaneously, by sheer accident, the lightning also causes the molecules of the tree to arrange themselves into a perfect duplicate of Davidson as he was at the time ane his demise.

Yet, not being the product of intentional design, and not having any evolutionary history, it would seem that Swampman has no design plan. And so we have what appears to be a counterexample to proper functionalism. There are various responses to the Swampman objection.

They have also suggested, again for different reasons, that if this scenario is possible, perhaps Swampman can acquire conditions for proper functioning without natural selection or intentional design. Boyce and Plantinga For a similar response, see McNabb Since then, Kenneth Boyce and Andrew Moon have argued that the Swampman objection relies on funcrion false intuition concerning the conditions under which the belief of one creature has warrant if the belief of another, similar creature does.

According to them, the central intuition that motivates our intuitive reaction to the Swampman case may be stated as follows:. They argue that it is CI, in conjunction with wafrant stipulation that Swampman forms his beliefs in the same way pfoper an ordinary human being would an ordinary human being to whom we would be inclined to attribute knowledgethat explains our tendency to regard Swampman as having warranted beliefs.

Boyce and Moon then go on to argue that CI is subject plantinha counterexamples, and that this undercuts the force of the Swampman objection. See Section 3b for further discussion of their argument. Plantinga has conceded that his theory, as he originally formulated it, is subject to Gettier-style counterexamples.

InPlantinga formulated this counterexample:. I own a Chevrolet van, drive to Notre Dame on a football Saturday, and unthinkingly park in planginga of the many places reserved for the football coach. All of the non-environmental conditions for warrant, furthermore, are met.

It also looks as if the environmental condition is met: Something else must be added. According to Plantinga, what the original account requires is an addition to the environmental condition.

More specifically, the problem in the above case is that while the global environment that Plantinga is in is the one for which his faculties were designed, his more local environment is epistemically misleading. So in order to deal with this counterexample, Plantinga proposes adding a resolution condition. RC A belief B produced by an exercise of cognitive powers has warrant sufficient for knowledge only if MBE the mini-environment with respect to B and E is favorable for E.

A proposal is found in Boyce and Plantinga For other proposals, see Crisp and Chignell Proper functionalist theories of other epistemic concepts have also been developed.

The kind of epistemic justification that Bergmann The having of this property is frequently though not universally held to be a necessary condition for a belief being an item of knowledge.

In fact, it is often held that a belief having this property, in conjunction with its being non-accidentally true in a way that rules out Gettier caseswarrznt not only necessary, but also sufficient, for its being an item of knowledge. Just how this divide should be characterized is itself a matter of dispute. But for present purposes, we may characterize internalists about justification as being committed at least to the view that whether a belief is justified depends entirely on which mental states that belief is based upon in such a way that necessarily, any two believers who are exactly alike in terms of their mental states and in terms of which of those mental states their beliefs are based upon are also alike in terms of which poper their beliefs are justified.


Externalists, by contrast, maintain that whether a belief is justified may depend on other factors. It should be noted, however, that Bergmann He notes, for example, that some epistemologists use this term to pick out a subjective notion, one that it is satisfied by a belief provided that the subject is blameless in holding it. It is this objective notion of justification in which Bergmann is interested see also pp.

He takes it to be a conceptually open question as whether this kind of justification is necessary for knowledge though he thinks it is. And he also takes some disputes between self-avowed externalists like himself and self-avowed internalists such as Richard Feldman and Earl Conee to involve a genuine disagreement concerning the nature of this kind of justification.

Bergmann argues that the right way to analyze this kind of justification is in terms of proper function. Bergmann also takes these conditions, in plxntinga with the condition that the subject does not take the relevant belief to be defeated, to be sufficient for a belief being justified.

Warrant and Proper Function – Alvin Plantinga – Google Books

The motivations for this view are perhaps best appreciated by looking to its purported advantages. Epistemic justification of the kind Bergmann has in mind has some puzzling features. Alvni the one hand, it involves some notion of truth-aptness. In particular, there would appear to be some important, non-trivial, connection between a belief being justified and it being objectively likely to be true.

At the very least, it would be a significant cost for a theory of justification to deny this. But which ways of forming and sustaining beliefs result in a wargant proportion of true beliefs depends on what sort of environment one is in.

Our tending to believe that occluded objects still exist, for example, results in a high proportion of true beliefs in our environment, but it is easy to imagine environments in which this would not be the case. These considerations push in the direction of regarding what makes for epistemic justification a contingent matter, one that depends on the sort of environment one inhabits. On the other hand, justification is a normative concept, the satisfaction of which does not appear to depend on the sort of environment in which one is located.

Consider a population of beings, just like ourselves, who form their beliefs in response to experience in just the ways that we do, but who unlike us are victims of a Fknction demon who renders their belief-forming processes unreliable.

From many reliabilist theories of justification, it follows that these beings have far fewer justified beliefs than plantingga do since most of their beliefs are not formed in a truth-reliable manner. But this seems false.

Warrant and Proper Function – Paperback – Alvin Plantinga – Oxford University Press

These beings are in an epistemically bad situation, to be sure, but they are still forming their beliefs in ways that are appropriate given their experiences because their beliefs are at least justified. First, it accommodates the intuition that inhabitants of a demon world, who are like us, and who form their beliefs in response to experience in the same ways we do, have the same proportion of justified beliefs.

For, as Bergmann This analysis also, as Bergmann points out, accommodates the intuition that justification is importantly and non-trivially connected with truth-aptness. There is no need, though, to rehearse the various responses that might be given to this objection here since many of them will be the same or similar to those described in Section 1c.

And Long maintains that to deny that beliefs of demon-world victims in the latter situation are justified also runs contrary to our intuitions. He suggests that there is an analogy between Swampman and the demon victims in such a scenario; accordingly, he adapts his reply to the former so as to apply it to the latter. Another kind of objection to a proper functionalist theory of justification involves cases in which the design plan specifies ways of belief formation that appear to be objectively bad in some way, in spite of the fact that this component of the design plan is successfully aimed at truth.

There are at least two kinds of cases of this sort. The following discussion will make reference to cases described by Tucker, who provides examples of each kind.