American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly


published on March 30, 2023

Benjamin Robert Koons

Warranted Catholic Belief

Extending Alvin Plantinga’s model of warranted belief to the beliefs of groups as a whole, I argue that if the dogmatic beliefs of the Catholic Church are true, they are also warranted. Catholic dogmas are warranted because they meet the three conditions of my model: they are formed (1) by ministers functioning properly (2) in accordance with a design plan that is oriented towards truth and reliable (3) in a social environment sufficiently similar to that for which they were designed. I show that according to Catholic doctrine the authoritative spokespersons of the Church—ecumenical councils and popes—meet these conditions when defining dogmas. I also respond to the objection that the warrant of Catholic dogmas is defeated by the plurality of non-Catholic Christian sects that deny Catholic dogmas.