Volume 75, Issue 4, Fall 2001
Stephen R. Grimm
Cardinal Newman, Reformed Epistemologist?
Despite the recent claims of some prominent Catholic philosophers, I argue that Cardinal Newman's writings are in fact largely compatible with the contemporary movement in the philosophy of religion known as Reformed Epistemology, and in particular with the work of Alvin Plantinga. I first show how the thought of both Newman and Plantinga was molded in response to the "evidentialist" claims of John Locke. I then examine the details of Newman's response, especially as seen in his Essay in Aid of A Grammar of Assent, suggesting that many of Newman's central ideas closely mirror Plantinga's. Finally, I argue that if
Newman and Plantinga part ways at any point, it is with respect to the basicality of specifically Christian (as opposed to theistic) belief.