Res Philosophica

Volume 101, Issue 1, January 2024

Timothy Perrine
Pages 109-129

A Timid and Tepid Appropriation
Divine Presence, the Sensus Divinitatis, and Phenomenal Conservativism

Plantinga develops an ambitious theistic religious epistemology on which theists can have non-inferential knowledge of God. Central to his epistemology is the idea that human beings have a “sensus divinitatis” that produces such knowledge. Recently, several authors have urged an appropriation of the sensus divinitatis that is more friendly to internalist views, such as Phenomenal Conservativism. I argue that this appropriation is too timid and tepid in a variety of ways. It applies only to a small fraction of theistic beliefs; it fails to play the theological role Plantinga intended the sensus divinitatis to play; it fails to imply that most theistic beliefs, most of the time, are justified; when combined with a standard form of Evidentialism, it actually implies that most theistic beliefs are, if justified, inferentially justified; and it is consistent with substantive criticisms of theistic belief originating in work from the Cognitive Science of Religion.