Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 80, 2006

Intelligence and the Philosophy of Mind

Bernardo Cantens
Pages 201-208

Cognitive Faculties and Evolutionary Naturalism

In Warrant and Proper Function Plantinga argues that his natural view of warrant is best understood within a supernatural ontology. A central reason why a naturalistic ontology cannot accommodate his version of natural epistemology is that it cannot explain the reliability of cognitive functions. He presents arguments for the following two conclusions: (1) that naturalism is probably false; and (2) that naturalism is irrational. He considers the latter to be his main argument. The objective of this paper is to refute Plantinga’s arguments for the conclusion that naturalism is irrational. I will demonstrate that given naturalistic evolution, we have reason to believe that it is likely that we would develop reliable cognitive theoretical faculties. As a result, a naturalist has sufficient epistemic ground to maintain the reasonableness of the view that her theoretical cognitive faculties are reliable and her theoretical beliefs true. It is, therefore, not irrational to be a naturalist.