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  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

Alvin Plantinga's Role in Leading Philosophical Revolution

Who is Alvin Plantinga?... He’s a revolutionary.

The past half-century has seen a dramatic change in analytic philosophy. It used to be the case that few philosophers believed in God and those who did, kept their heads down. Today the situation is very different.

According to the atheist Quentin Smith (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University), Alvin Plantinga is largely responsible for this dramatic change. Smith explains that it all began in 1967 with the publication of Plantinga’s “influential book,” God and Other Minds. Seven years later it was followed by an “even more impressive book,” The Nature of Necessity. These works made it clear that a theist was writing at the “highest qualitative level” of analytic philosophy. Smith goes on to note that in the following years,

...naturalists [i.e. atheists] passively watched as [theists], most influenced by Plantinga’s writings, began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians.

Plantinga, who is now retired, spent most of his career at the University of Notre Dame where he helped establish the school as, arguably, the best place in the world to study philosophy of religion. His career involved solving the logical problem of evil, developing reformed epistemology, and reviving the ontological argument. As a result of his work, and the work of many others, the intellectual landscape has been overturned. Atheists can no longer claim that reason, logic and evidence belong solely in their domain. Any atheists who do so, betray an ignorance of both the revolution and the man behind the revolution.

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Quentin Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” Philo 4, no. 2 (2001): 195–215,



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