Plantinga’s Warrant, remixed
The thrust of Plantinga’s notion of Warrant is essentially this: belief in God is “properly basic” and so belief in God is warranted. In saying a concept is properly basic, we mean it appears fundamental to human experience and thought, and is manifest across time and culture. This is why the Flying Spagetti Monster or Russell’s Teapot are not defeaters to the validity of belief; they’re not properly basic. They are arbitrary human inventions (and so too could be conceptions of the Abrahamaic God). However, the pure concept “God” extends far beyond an isolated, arbitrary whim.
The argument then is not that God must exist – or that a particular God does exist – rather, that belief is at the very least warranted.
I’ve been batting around a possible way to extend the argument a tad further.
Now, Plantinga also argues that since we readily accept that other people have minds – have consciousness – again, belief in God (being similar, albeit more grand) is warranted.
Even though I can test for the presence of consciousness, I can’t ever really prove that any person HAS consciousness as I do; that they truly have a perspective, are subjects, are self-referencing, self-aware, etc. I simply trust that fellow humans are conscious just as I am conscious.
This is, it seems, a probabilistic argument. Even though a decisive empirical observation of consciousness is impossible (in my view), the probability that a conscious mind is present in my neighbour is good enough.
I would suggest that not only is belief in my neighbour’s mind warranted, it is also valid, and “valid enough” to be considered true.
It appears to me that most every concept, be it a logical or scientific fact, carries with it a degree of probability. Apart from the statements, “something exists,” and, “nothing does not exist,” I’d be hard pressed to come up with another absolute; even logical proofs like A = A and A ≠ not A, are beginning to seem as though they might have probabilistic properties.
I say this for two reasons; one, logic necessarily seems self-evident and indefatigable. Just as space and time are necessary categories that allow for thought, so too is logic; but this seems circular to me. We cannot see around our own eyes. The validity of this is supported by the second reason, that being the rather “illogical” activity that takes place at the quantum level. While in the world of atoms logic holds, below it, logic appears to unravel. Causality goes bye bye. Something can be itself, and something else. Logic, then, does not hold in all occasions; it is not universal.
While I’m willing to allow that gaps might get filled in we may find an extremely logical foundation for the quantum, for the time being, let’s allow that it might be contra-logical.
“Might” being the keyword.
The implication is that logic itself may be probabilistic, meaning that it is probably true, but not necessarily true.
Now, the idea I’m playing with is that high probability equals high validity. Once something crosses a probabilistic threshold, we can consider it, for all intents and purposes, to be true.
Again, using logic as the example; not only is belief in logic warranted, but the probability of logic being true is so high that we can consider it valid, or better, we should consider it valid; and so, it ought to be believed.
Therefore, given the conditions that make belief in God warranted, I would argue that a probabilistic threshold further compels us to declare such belief to also valid.
I’m not sure if this holds up, and I’m not sure if Plantinga’s taken the argument that far (he might have). It’s just something I’ve been batting around the past few days.