Volume 11, Issue 2, 2009
Religious Diversity: A Dialogue
Dembski’s Specification Condition and the Role of Cognitive Abilities
This paper brings recent work in virtue epistemology to bear on the debate over design inferences. I intend to show that certain objections to William Dembski’s explanatory filter, in particular his specification condition, are on target, but that incorporating into the specification condition a notion borrowed from virtue epistemologists (a cognitive ability) makes the condition more understandable and immune to the criticisms that have been offered. I conclude by suggesting a way that one might flesh out the notion of a cognitive ability and revise Dembski’s account accordingly. This helps to advance the debate over design inferences.