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Critical Realism in Context

N.T. Wright’s Historical Method and Analytic Epistemology

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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N.T. Wright’s critical realist epistemology has become the foundation for many recent studies of Christian origins. This article argues that New Testament scholars have perhaps too quickly and uncritically adopted this method, when it is out of step with contemporary analytic epistemology. The method Wright employs—and which many have adopted—originates with an internalist epistemic account developed in the 1940s. Since then, key developments in the study of epistemology (beginning with Gettier in 1963) have made Wright’s critical realist model irrelevant in many ways. In light of these inadequacies, we tentatively outline some potential components of a more promising historical epistemology for the study of Christian origins.

Abstract

N.T. Wright’s critical realist epistemology has become the foundation for many recent studies of Christian origins. This article argues that New Testament scholars have perhaps too quickly and uncritically adopted this method, when it is out of step with contemporary analytic epistemology. The method Wright employs—and which many have adopted—originates with an internalist epistemic account developed in the 1940s. Since then, key developments in the study of epistemology (beginning with Gettier in 1963) have made Wright’s critical realist model irrelevant in many ways. In light of these inadequacies, we tentatively outline some potential components of a more promising historical epistemology for the study of Christian origins.

Introduction

N.T. Wright’s critical realism has been consistently adapted, adopted and assumed as a historical model in the study of the historical Jesus over the last two decades.1 Wright sets up his critical realist epistemology through the standard contrast between naïve realism/positivism on the one hand and phenomenalism on the other. His basic framework follows that of Ben Meyer, but his historical theory moves beyond the scope of Meyer’s critical realism through the incorporation of the broader epistemic framework of story/worldview. For Wright, critical realism is a method for describing the process of knowing ‘that acknowledges the reality of the thing known, as something other than the knower (hence “realism”), while also fully acknowledging that the only access we have to this reality lies along the spiraling path of appropriate dialogue or conversation between the knower and the thing known (hence “critical”)’.2 Wright concludes that ‘This path leads to critical reflection on the products of our enquiry into “reality”, so that our assertions about “reality” acknowledge our own provisionality. Knowledge, in other words, although in principle concerning realities independent of the knower, is never itself independent of the knower.’3 His model is then applied in his subsequent publications in the Christian Origins and the Question of God series.4

While there have been several references to and/or incorporations of Wright’s theory, what still seems to be lacking is a sustained effort to situate critical realist epistemology in the broader epistemic tradition and within contemporary analytic philosophy. In this article, we hope to lay the foundations for locating critical realism within these important contexts. We are deeply appreciative of Wright’s emphasis upon method and epistemology in historical Jesus research and we hope this article will help to clarify the discussion of critical realism that Wright has revived, leading to its further refinement and development. We hope more scholars will see the importance of reflecting on these issues, which have been so important to Wright, as a result of this article.

Varieties of Critical Realism

Realism is the view that the world and its properties exist independently of being experienced. Antirealism, by contrast, is the denial of realism. The distinction is not with empiricism, which is merely one form of antirealism—antirealism with respect to external objects. Those familiar with recent philosophical discussion will recognize that one can be an antirealist with respect to a whole range of realities such as moral values or abstract entities or propositions while at the same time maintaining realism concerning other realities.5 Alston distinguishes between medieval realism, which affirmed realism regarding objective universals, and a host of ‘departmental realisms’, which assert the existence of objective reality concerning distinctive fields of inquiry (scientific realism, historical realism, etc.).6 In the Enlightenment era, realism was countered with the idealism of Locke, Kant and Berkeley, which suggested that reality was essentially mind-dependent. The realist responses to antirealism and idealism in the early twentieth century emerged in the form of ‘new realism’ in North America and then ‘critical realism’, first, in a significant way, in North America and then later in Europe. As a result of and in many cases independent of these developments on the two continents, applications and developments of critical realism have emerged in a number of disciplines but its use in social theory, philosophy of science, and religion have been especially noteworthy. This diverse and segmented development of the tradition has resulted in what has often become a confusing label, and according to many is in need of definitional clarification.

American Critical Realism

In 1931, Victor Harlow already observed five phases in the development of American realism:7 (1) the period of realist implications (1885–1902), (2) realism becomes explicit (1903–1910), (3) new realism (1910–1912), (4) the rise of critical realism (1913–1920) and (5) the period of confusion and quiescence (1921–1930).

The distinct form of critical realism that arose in North America, commonly called ‘American critical realism’, in the first half of the twentieth century cannot be historically separated from its short-lived forerunner, new realism, Harlow’s third phase in the history of American realism.8 New realism emerged as the result of an interaction between William James (defending ‘radical empiricism’) and a group referred to by Josiah Royce and George Santayana (see below) as the ‘six little realists’, who marshaled a defense of realism based in epistemological monism (there is no metaphysical distinction between ideas and objects of knowledge). They were, however, metaphysical pluralists.9 William Montague, Ralph Perry and Edwin Holt were James’s former students at Harvard. The collaborative result of these six philosophers’ work was published in 1912 under the title The New Realism: Coöperative Studies in Philosophy.10 They distinguish their position from naïve realism (objects are presented directly to consciousness and are perceived as they appear), dualism (the mind only perceives its own states and ideas, not the external world) and subjectivism (all reality is mind-dependent).11 They saw the fundamental breakdown in all of these epistemologies to be the distinction between the notion of the idea and the object of knowledge. Even other forms of realism (e.g. representational realism) assume dualism with respect to the ontological status of ideas and the objective realities they are said to stand in relation to. Fundamentally, however, the polemic of the new realists was against idealism due to its influence during this time. Through the erosion of the distinction between the object and the idea of an object with epistemological monism, the new realists were able to define objective perception in terms of relations rather than substances.12 The new realists insisted instead that although objects are discovered through knowledge, they exist independently of it and move in and out of external knowing relations based upon the perspective of the object observer. When a knower enters into a knowing relation with an object the independent world is presented directly to the consciousness without having to be represented by ‘ideas’. The mental notion of a tree and the tree itself, then, are exactly the same, according to the new realists. The tree may be known to be 2 feet at t 1 by an observer and to be 5 feet at t 3 by the same observer, but during the intervening time (call this interval t 2) the tree will still, independently of observation, have been 3 and 4 feet. The function of consciousness was, then, to select or illumine aspects of the external world to the observer at a particular time. New realism, therefore, represents a form of direct realism, in which reality is epistemically direct, being presented to the knower unmediated by inference (conscious or unconscious).

The English term ‘critical realism’ originates with Roy Wood Sellars.13 In 1916 he published a book on epistemology by this title.14 However, the view (and name) came to be associated more widely with the collaborative work of seven realist philosophers, published in 1920, entitled Essays in Critical Realism: A Cooperative Study of the Problem of Knowledge.15 In this volume, collaborated under the direction of George Santayana (a new realist turned critical realist),16 and subsequent related critical realists’ publications, these American epistemologists attempted to capture the insights of new realism and idealism. American critical realism denies the direct realism of new realism (which they saw as a masked form of naïve realism)17 and the subjectivism of idealism, and also seeks to avoid any form of representational realism, which would lead to idealism. With the new realists, it affirms that there is an external world to be known, but with the idealists they also acknowledge mental mediation in the process of knowing the external world. They advocate a form of indirect realism, involving a triad of perception between a knower, a real external object perceived indirectly and some private mediating entity perceived directly (although Sellars wants to deviate from this pattern, see below). Precisely how or by what faculties knowledge is mediated and the role and nature of perception was a point of debate, even among the earliest critical realists.

We find three distinct schools of critical realist perception theory.18 The first is represented by Charles Strong, Durant Drake and Santayana, who adopt an essence-based theory in which one moves from sensory perception to an external object through a causal link based within the external world but distinct from it. Arthur Lovejoy, James Pratt and Arthur Rogers also advocate a causal theory of perception, arguing for an intentional transcendence in which ideas and logical structures bridge the gap between perception and the external world. Finally, there is the view of Sellars who sought to return to a form of direct realism within his critical realist framework (which had originally distinguished itself on the basis of indirect realism).

Roy Sellars has had the most influential and long-lasting impact of the original American critical realists, primarily due to the fact that his son, Wilfrid Sellars, developed his epistemic model into a rigorous theory of perception. Wilfrid Sellars continued to perpetuate the atheism and materialism of his father, but attacked the empiricism of C.I. Lewis instead of the naïve realism of the new realists.19 Lewis’s doctrine of the given essentially affirmed that knowledge is built upon a structural edifice with a foundation that consists (at least in part) of sense-data and, therefore, the perception of sense-data is the only apprehension that is basic to the structure of knowledge. The perception of sense-data, therefore, is ‘given’. Sellars’s most abiding influence in contemporary philosophy has probably been his dismantling of Lewis’s notion of the ‘given’ in his now famous series of Lectures in 1956 ‘The Myth of the Given’.20 Inspired by Kant, Sellars advocated a two-component theory of perception in which a significant distinction is made within a perceiver’s experience of the external world.21 First, there is a ‘sense impression’ or ‘sensory state’ in which ‘brute reality’ is presented to the consciousness. This is the non-conceptual dimension of perception. The second component involves a cognitive classifying mechanism according to which raw experience is organized according to concepts. Through evolutionary development, higher-level beings have become capable of this second type of perception, which allows them to form a system of set theoretical constructs against which deviations and parallels in sensory data can be drawn and categorized accordingly. In addition to the correlation with his father’s thinking Sellars’s epistemology also bears some distinct similarities to Rogers’s theory of perception.

Continental Critical Realism

Besides Wilfrid Sellars’s model, most would consider American critical realism to be a long past chapter in American epistemology. The theory that goes by that name in contemporary philosophy and social theory has its origins in Roy Bhaskar and was developed in Europe. Some refer to this form of critical realism as ‘contemporary’ critical realism, but since the time will come when it will no longer be the contemporary version, we prefer continental critical realism, reflecting a symmetry with its American counterpart. In his book A Realist Theory of Science, published in 1975, Bhaskar argued against the dominant positivist model in favor of what he referred to as a ‘transcendental realist’ position, which would turn out to be the first phase of what is now known as critical realism.22 The other three phases are (1) critical naturalism, defended in Bhaskar’s The Possibility of Naturalism (1979),23 (2) explanatory critiques, and (3) dialectic critical realism. The name critical realism was given to the overall theory as the result of combining ‘critical’ from ‘critical naturalism’ with ‘realism’ from ‘transcendental realism’.

Bhaskar’s aim in developing transcendental realism was, on the one hand, to undermine the prevailing deductivist position, based in positivism, and, on the other hand, to erect a theory in its place that reflected three levels of ontological depth: (1) intransitivity, (2) transfactuality and (3) stratification. The first level indicates that ontology is not reducible to epistemology. The epistemic fallacy, as Bhaskar refers to it, assumes that what is, is to be equated with what is known. Science is a social theory and the mechanisms it describes exist prior to and independent of their discovery.24 It is intransitive in this sense. ‘The domain of the real is distinct from and greater than the domain of the empirical.’25 Transfactuality distinguishes between the real, the actual and the empirical. Since the ‘domain’ of the real extends beyond the domains of the actual and empirical, the laws of nature are said to function independently of the closure of the systems in which they operate. Laws are analyzed as ‘transfactual’ and ‘universal’ within their range, but not actual or empirical. While explanations can account for the structures that given laws impact, these scientific explanations are not the same as the laws themselves. Stratification refers to the stratification of reality and, therefore, the sciences that study reality. These layers of reality can be traced by analyzed causal links and causal histories. Separate layers are analyzed as the investigator moves to different levels of engagement.

The next two phases were developed in Bhaskar’s The Possibility of Naturalism. According to critical naturalism, social sciences can be considered science in the same sense as natural sciences, with differences resulting only from the differing objects of study. Explanatory critiques are based upon the discovery that social science not only involves the study of social objects but also beliefs about these objects, enabling an

explanatory critique of consciousness (and being), entailing judgments of value and action without parallel in the domain of natural sciences, so vindicating a modified form of a substantive ethical naturalism, i.e., the absence of an unbridgeable logical gap between statements of facts and values of the kind maintained by Hume, Weber and Moore.26

Dialectical critical realism is the fourth phase of development in Bhaskar’s model. The critical realist model proposed here begins with transcendental realism, which is said to be the ‘first moment (1M)’ (of non-identity)—this moment involves critiques of epistemic and anthropic fallacies, theories of identity and actualism. The second dimension is referred to as the ‘dialectical edge’ (2E) and depends upon various notions of negativity, including especially ‘absence’, which involves, among other things, the Parmenidean notion of ontological monovalence, a Platonic analysis of negation in terms of difference, and a conversion of negative predicates to positive predicates along Kantian lines. A third ‘level’ of analysis hinges upon the concept of totality (3L), especially for example ‘holistic causality’ (focusing on the dialects of form and content, figure and ground, generative separation and delineation, retotalization in a unity-in-diversity), and the fourth ‘dimension’ (4D) works on the basis of ‘transformative practice’: ‘the unity of theory and practice in practice and so on’.27 The Bhaskarian dialectic then operates on the basis of a triad: identity, negativity and totality—two of which (negativity and totality) were shared by its Hegelian predecessor. However, according to Bhaskar, his dialectical system is distinct since ‘Hegel ultimately could not sustain real negativity and … his totalities were all essentially closed rather than open’.28

What has been most valuable about Bhaskar’s assessment has been its emphasis upon traditional philosophy of science while highlighting the importance of the social dimension in scientific investigation and explanation. In contemporary philosophy, discussion of critical realism usually has in mind some version of Bhaskar’s model.29

Critical Realism in Philosophy of Science and Religion

Beyond Meyer and Wright and a number of Catholic theologians (who adopt Bernard Lonergan’s critical realism, see below), the most significant discussions of critical realist philosophy and religion involve a version of critical realism developed within the philosophy of science. These philosophers often function as philosophers of both science and religion, attempting to integrate the two under a critical or (as it is often called in the philosophy of science) scientific realist framework (we shall refer to it, therefore, as scientific critical realism).30 Bhaskar’s methodological notion that the natural and social sciences should be treated co-extensively, as long as the distinctions between their respective objects of study are maintained, extends its specific application to religion so that the (usually natural) sciences and religion should be treated as epistemologically methodologically symmetrical. As Nancy Murphy, who herself is critical of critical realism (preferring a Lakatosian model for integrating science and theology), states, ‘The most common philosophical move of those arguing for the similarity between science and theology is to propose a “critical realist” interpretation of both. That is, both science and theology are said to give us tentative, approximate pictures of reality.’31 She states further that scientific critical realism is a philosophically inadequate epistemology by contemporary standards, and even if it does function epistemically, it is not entirely clear what a ‘tentative, approximate’ picture of reality looks like or, we might add, how one can go about explaining what it looks like without the explanation itself being only tentative and approximate. There seems, then, to be something of a regress problem, based on Murphy’s approximation.

While many theologians advocate scientific critical realism as the basis for joining theological and scientific analysis, Alister McGrath has moved in the direction of Bhaskar, utilizing his critical realist theory as a framework for developing a theological method.32 McGrath says that three significant Bhaskarian insights help in the development of theological method: (1) the co-existent nature of natural and social sciences, (2) the distinction between epistemology and ontology, and (3) the stratification of reality. McGrath especially emphasizes the notion of stratification, insisting upon the stratification of both scientific and theological reality.

Concluding Observations and a Note on Terminology

Clearly, our attempt to navigate through the maze of critical realisms has highlighted the fact that theories that have gone under this name are diverse and often related to entirely different issues. McGrath has recently questioned whether the typical way of framing the analysis in terms of naïve realism and critical realism is even useful. He thinks it is a rhetorical ploy in many cases, designed to gain the sympathy of the reader by attempting some kind of mediating position. He says:

The distinction between a ‘naïve’ and ‘critical’ realism is at times determined more by rhetorical than substantial issues, perhaps creating the impression that this distinction has more to do with the perceived credulity or sophistication of those entertaining these rival theories, rather than their philosophical divergences.33

Furthermore, what the original critical realists and Lonergan meant by naïve realism was direct realism, but many philosophers today no longer think that direct realism is ‘naïve’—at least, it doesn’t seem reasonable that these philosophers would maintain a position that they believe is naïve. For example, Carl Ginet summarizes the basic stance of direct realism:

Every one of every set of facts about S’s position that minimally suffices to make S, at a given time, justified in being confident that p must be directly recognizable to p.34

Similarly, Chisholm asserts,

[T]he concept of epistemic justification is … internal and immediate in that one can find out directly, what one is justified in believing at any time.35

So while, in light of common sense realism and new realism, the original American critical realists were intent on distinguishing their theories from these ‘naïve’ accounts of realism, it is questionable that in the context of contemporary epistemology such a distinction is useful or appropriate. Many epistemologists, especially those advocating internalism (which critical realism seems to require, see below), are appearing to be attracted to various forms of direct realism. And a number of philosophers, mostly anti-realists, would say that the distinction between naïve and critical realism—again, in more contemporary language, direct and indirect realism—is not a legitimate distinction to make.36 It is no wonder, therefore, that Ramsperger predicted in 1967 that since ‘Some have drawn closer to the positions of the direct realists in America or in Britain … it may be that the [critical realist] label will cease to characterize a definite epistemology’.37 It is worth asking at this point whether the terminology is helpful in this stage of the discussion—especially given its often confusing and convoluted history as well as its diversity of meanings—or legitimate, if it is defined in contrast to naïve realism and critical realism as is usual today. If the contrast is maintained, indirect realism as an epistemology needs to be defended in light of its current critics and direct realism critiqued instead of just dismissing the latter as ‘naïve’. The logic that whatever is between direct realism and positivism is correct does not seem to us to be initially compelling.

Lonergan in Critical Realist Context

The critical realism adopted by Wright is explicitly taken from Meyer, who depends upon Lonergan. Therefore, in an attempt to situate Wright’s critical realism it will be essential to understand Lonergan. As D.L. Denton states, ‘It would not be an exaggeration to say that Meyer everywhere assumes Lonergan’s cognitional theory as the epistemological world within which he conducts his enquiries’.38 Meyer simply ‘employs Lonergan’s ideas under the general label “critical realism” … as a catch-all for Lonergan’s cognitional theory’.39 And Meyer, for his part, claims no originality in the development of his epistemology, making ‘no attempt to improve upon the master’.40 This comes as no surprise since, as Andrew Beards observes, ‘Lonergan’s work on history takes place and is only intelligible within the wider context of his thought as a whole: his positions on the philosophy of history depend for their cogency on positions he argues for in the areas of cognition, epistemology, philosophy of science, and metaphysics’.41 So in adopting his historical epistemology one must, as Meyer clearly did, naturally take on the more foundational philosophical models that make Lonergan’s theory of historical knowledge intelligible. Likewise, those who incorporate Meyer’s historiographic and hermeneutic method must also be ready to endorse Lonergan’s prior epistemological and metaphysical commitments.

In order for New Testament scholars to clarify, develop and respond to the theoretical underpinnings needed to support Wright’s critical realism, it will be necessary to turn to the question of Lonergan’s philosophical method and—for the purposes of locating the theory in its appropriate context—how it relates to the broader critical realist tradition. The most developed statement of Lonergan’s cognitional theory is found in his Insight and later summarized in his Method in Theology, which he refers to most frequently as a ‘transcendental method’. Lonergan advocates a multi-structured process of conscious, intentional knowing. He distinguishes between four levels of consciousness and intentionality.42 First, there is the empirical level, which is the level at which sense-data are taken in. At this level, the knower stands in relation to the external world through their sensory organs and the basic data of the external world are accumulated through sensory operations such as seeing, hearing, feeling and tasting. Second, there is the intellectual level at which inquiry takes place, including the analysis and integration of assumptions. This is the level where understanding takes place in which one begins to form an integrated cognitive picture of the world through various intelligent operations, such as questioning, formulating and hypothesizing. Third, there is the rational level, where arguments are formed and evidence is marshaled in order to confirm the truth or falsity or the level of probability that obtains for a given proposition. This is the level at which judgments are made concerning the nature or certainty of a state of affairs through rational operations such as reasoning, refuting and weighing (evidence). At this level, hypotheses made at the second level are verified or dismissed. Lonergan, then, offers us an extremely modernist epistemology that basically runs (1) data, (2) hypothesis and (3) verification. These are the three levels developed in Lonergan’s Insight: experience, understanding and judgment. They form the basis for knowledge. The fourth level is developed later and stated explicitly in Method, the responsible level. This is the level of self-reflection, including, for example, the formation of beliefs about our own goals, operations and possible lines of action. In Method, then, the levels are reformulated as follows: (1) experiencing, (2) understanding one’s experiencing (including judging), (3) affirming/verifying the reality (including judging) and (4) deciding to act according to one’s judgments. Although each level involves consciousness and intentionality, the degree to which these features obtain at each level differs—degrees of consciousness and intentionality increase as the levels graduate. At the empirical level, then, we do not differ from animals who know according to mere empirical perception. Intelligent beings, however, pursue insight into the nature of the data. The empirical level provides the raw data while the higher levels of judgment mediate and decipher the data, leading to knowledge of the external world. Therefore, ‘What is grasped in insight, is neither an actually given datum of sense nor a creation of the imagination but an intelligible organization that may or may not be relevant to data’.43 This picture is a basic outline of Lonergan’s theory of cognitional structure, epistemology, perception, and (to a limited degree) justification. So by critical realist, Lonergan means a combination of a Thomistic understanding of having the ability to make real, accurate value judgments (thus realism) and the Kantian notion of a critique of the mind (thus critical).

Through this transcendental model, Lonergan moved away from what he thought was a prevailing misconception of naïve or direct realism, that knowledge is like seeing or looking at a picture since looking only constitutes the first level of human knowing. He proposed this form of indirect realism in its place, grounded causally in strictly internal criteria. Applied to historical knowledge, Lonergan’s model affirms, then, that historical inquiry is not a matter of looking at raw data or ‘mere history’ (i.e. letting the facts speak for themselves, etc.) any more than general knowledge involves this kind of direct realism. It involves accumulating the data, questioning it for the purpose of forming hypotheses and then making judgments on the validity of these hypotheses through a process of verification.44 Historical investigation then involves three distinct fields: (1) research (accumulating data [e.g. from archeology], literary sources, etc.), (2) interpretation (where judgments are made according to an interpretive framework) and (3) history. In his theological method, he builds upon this framework and adds: (4) dialects, (5) foundations, (6) doctrines, (7) systematics and (8) communications.45 Given the limited scope of our analysis, we will have to restrict attention here primarily to the first three specialties, which correspond roughly to Lonergan’s general theory of knowledge with data, hypothesis and verification.

Although Lonergan does not discuss the earlier American critical realists before him, he certainly fits well within the parameters of their beliefs. His model is not nearly nuanced enough to be aligned with Bhaskar’s approach, and in any case Bhaskar views Lonergan’s model as a reincarnation of new realism. Lonergan also falls into what Bhaskar refers to as the epistemic fallacy in making ontology reducible to epistemology (and therefore circumventing the critical nature of his own account) by defining his account or realism strictly in terms of his theory of knowledge.46 Lonergan’s theory is, in fact, quite in line with the causal perception model and indirect (judgment/intention mediated) realism of Lovejoy, Pratt and Rogers originally proposed so long ago in response to new realism, empiricism and idealism under the same name Lonergan used to describe his epistemology. It is surprising, to say the least, that none of these epistemologists are mentioned in his indices or utilized in his analysis given how closely his model aligns with theirs. Although his account is often put forward as a bridge between modernism and postmodernism, as we have seen, it reflects a thoroughly modern epistemic framework.

Having situated Lonergan within the tradition of critical realism, which (usually) responds to a very old set of issues in very old language, we will now distill the essential components of Lonergan’s method and set them in relation to contemporary issues in analytic epistemology.

Critical Realism and Contemporary Epistemology

There are a number of significant discussions in contemporary epistemology that provide an important context for understanding how critical realism relates to current theories of knowledge.47 Perception theory is one relevant area, but some of these issues have already been canvassed in the historical survey including direct and indirect realism, antirealism, causal theory, the relation of the subject to the object, and so on. Some of these issues will be readdressed below as well. Another important discussion is the relationship of critical realism to the structure of justification (how justified beliefs are related to other beliefs): the foundationalism/coherentism debate, although some form of foundationalism would seem to work best with the internalist epistemology of critical realism (see below). In this section we shall turn our attention to an even more immediate concern: the relationship of critical realism to what has undoubtedly been the most discussed topic in epistemology over the last several decades concerning the nature of justification, the internalism/externalism debate. Epistemic theories today are judged on the basis of how they fit in relation to internalism and externalism. In order to situate critical realist epistemology within the twenty-first-century discussion, and specifically Lonergan’s rendition of it, we will map it in terms of the nature of knowledge and knowing.

In today’s epistemology, philosophers discuss internalism and externalism as different accounts of the nature of justification or warrant—philosophers use these terms in different ways to describe positive epistemic status. Internalism refers to the view that the factors necessary for justification are internally accessible to the agent. Externalism is the view that the factors necessary for justification are external to the mind and may not be accessible.48 In essence, the grounds for the conferral of justification for a belief is the notion of rationality internal and accessible to the knower. The dominant form of externalism is reliabilism, the view that the justification of a belief is grounded in a belief-producing mechanism that is a reliable source of true beliefs. Therefore, it is not necessary that the epistemic agent have appropriate (i.e. epistemic) access to these grounds for justification.49 The non-necessity of epistemic access to justification conferring properties describes the sense in which the properties necessary for conferring justification remain external (in terms of epistemic access) while they can—on an externalist account—be internal in terms of their metaphysical relationship to the knower (e.g. a knower’s cognitive equipment). An externalist may also maintain that justification is established by standing in a certain causal or probabilistic relation to a belief or proposition—again, by some means not necessarily accessible to the knower. The issue is not with whether the grounds for justification are external or internal to the knower, metaphysically speaking, but whether the knower has appropriate internal epistemic access to such grounds.

In most of its forms, critical realism fits firmly within the internalist tradition of epistemology, which comes as no surprise in light of when it was originally conceived (see below). It locates the factors for justification and the basis for knowledge by means of a set of epistemically internal criteria. The critical realist account of Lonergan, in particular, is thoroughly internalist in its orientation, explaining epistemology, perception and knowledge according to the internally accessible structures of data, understanding, judgment, insight and deciding. Levels of knowledge graduate as one becomes more self-reflective or introspective. Wright’s epistemology, following Meyer, who follows Lonergan, picks up on this same self-reflective feature of internalism: ‘the only access we have to this reality lies along the spiraling path of appropriate dialogue or conversation between the knower and the thing known (hence “critical”)’.50 Notice the internalist tendencies in Wright’s rendition right down to the emphasis on ‘access’. The addition of worldview in Wright’s theory remains an internalist notion as well. Lonergan’s (and derivatively Wright’s) theory of knowledge is classic internalism, even though contemporary philosophers have not generally recognized it as an important contribution to the discussion. Therefore, Denton is entirely out of step with the history of epistemology over the last one hundred years to state that Lonergan’s epistemology is unique since ‘most formal epistemologies overlook the roles of understanding and judgment’.51

Although internalism was the predominate perspective in the first half of the twentieth century, it has fallen upon hard times during the last forty years. The massive exodus from the internalist framework is generally attributed to the paradigm shifting (three-page!) article by Edmund Gettier in 1963, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’52 Gettier’s attack was upon the internalist definition of knowledge as justified true belief (jtb). In Gettier’s words, he was attacking the following formulations of knowledge (iff = just in case or if and only if):

  1. (a)S knows that P iff
    1. (i)P is true,
    2. (ii)S believes that P, and
    3. (iii)S is justified in believing that P.

or,

  1. (b)S knows that P iff
    1. (i)S accepts P,
    2. (ii)S has adequate evidence for P, and
    3. (iii)P is true.

or,

  1. (c)S knows that P iff
    1. (i)P is true,
    2. (ii)S is sure that P is true, and
    3. (iii)S has the right to be sure that P is true.53

The problem with this kind of analysis, says Gettier, is that (a) does not constitute a ‘sufficient’ condition for the truth of the proposition that S knows that P and the failure here causes problems for definitions (b) and (c) as well. Gettier’s strategy to support his case involved presenting counterexamples to the jtb formulation of knowledge (now, with a set of related examples, referred to as Gettier-type counterexamples). Through two fairly simple examples, Gettier showed that justified belief, even in cases in which it happens to be true belief, is insufficient to count as knowledge. Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew concisely summarize the essential logic of the examples as follows:

  1. 1An individual S has evidence e which justifies his belief that q
  2. 2S knows that q entails p
  3. 3S forms the belief that p on the basis of his knowledge of the entailment relations from q and for no other reason
  4. 4As it turns out, q is false
  5. 5As it turns out, p is true.54

Given 5 p is true and since in 1–3 p is merely true by virtue of its entailment relation to q, which is false, it seems intuitively implausible that S can have knowledge, even though S is justified in believing p, and p happens to be true. Something seems wrong about justifying a true belief on the basis of a false belief, in other words.

The question may still remain for some—especially those who have not had the time to acquaint themselves with contemporary analytic epistemology—why a dismissal of the jtb account of knowledge has been an important factor leading to the rejection of internalism. It can be observed that in the Gettier examples strictly (epistemically) internal conditions are not sufficient to ground knowledge. Since justification in Gettier’s thought experiments is the result of a logical entailment structure (this would be the third level of acquiring knowledge in Lonergan’s taxonomy), and this epistemically internal criterion turns out to be insufficient in adequately establishing knowledge, epistemologists have begun to look to more externally based criteria in their explanations of how true belief is converted to knowledge. William Alston offers some insight into the connection between internalism and the abandonment of the jtb structure of knowledge when he says:

Contemporary internalists who think that justification and truth are required for a belief’s counting as knowledge have been sufficiently impressed by Gettier to recognize that they are not sufficient. In addition, something must be there that will obviate Gettier problems. And, again, internalists accept, for good reasons, that we lack direct access to the satisfaction of these anti-Gettier conditions, e.g., the result in the belief’s not being sufficiently justified. Hence we can’t simply say: an epistemologist is an access internalist about knowledge provided that he holds that anything that contributes to knowledge other than truth is something to which we have relatively direct access. And so we still lack an acceptable general formation.55

What Alston is affirming is that any conditions added (often referred to as a ‘fourth condition’) to the jtb definition in order to attempt to account for the problems raised by Gettier will have to be epistemically external (in the sense described above). The bold remark by Alston that no acceptable formulation of internalism has been put forward that is able to satisfy the Gettier problem has become fairly widely accepted. As Swinburne affirms, ‘The account of warrant fashionable in the 1950s simply equated it with such strong internalist justification … To such an account the Gettier counter-examples proved fatal.’56 This is why McGrew and McGrew assert that ‘In a thumbnail history of analytic epistemology the last three or four decades might fairly be described as the progressive triumph of externalism’.57

Alvin Plantinga’s analysis makes the logical connection between the dismissal of internalism and the Gettier examples even more explicit. Plantinga says that the reason that it is not plausible that the Gettier-style justified true beliefs count as knowledge is because they are merely true by accident. For example, take a Gettier-style example proposed twenty years before Gettier by Bertrand Russell in which a person looks at a clock at noon, which had stopped working at 12 am the previous morning. Now the belief that the knower has is a true, justified belief, but it is only justified by virtue of accident—there are so many other times at which the clock could have stopped. According to Plantinga, what it means for a belief to be formed by accident in these scenarios is that ‘a true belief is formed in these cases, all right, but not as a result of the proper function of the cognitive modules governed by the relevant parts of the design plan’. In other words, ‘The faculties involved are functioning properly, but there is still no warrant; and the reason has to do with the local cognitive environment in which the belief is formed’.58 Plantinga states that in the Gettier examples there is a breakdown between our faculties and the situations in which they were normally designed to produce truth. There has been an unknown glitch in a typically reliable cognitive environment—the clock has stopped unexpectedly. One could also imagine, according to Plantinga, an example in which the Gettier tension is the result of a breakdown in the proper functionality of the knower’s cognitive equipment, such as an Austrian forest ranger who associates the sound of wind-chimes with the wind blowing, but as he grows older (unbeknownst to him) he slowly loses his hearing but is subject to slight auditory hallucinations of wind-chimes blowing and sometimes he has these hallucinations when the wind is in fact blowing. In this case, a failure of the knower’s cognitive equipment results in the accidental production of a justified true belief. Plantinga explains the severe blow that these kinds of examples deal to internalism:

In a Gettier case, it is as if everything connected with what is in this sense internal to the agent, is going as it ought; but there is a relatively minor hitch, a relatively minor deviation from the design plan in some other aspect of the whole cognitive situation—perhaps in the environment, but also, possibly, in some aspect of the agent’s cognitive equipment that is not internal in this sense. What is essential to Gettier situations is the production of a true belief that has no warrant—despite conformity to the design plan in those aspects of the whole cognitive situation that are internal, in the appropriate sense, to the agent. In these Gettier situations there is conformity to the design plan on the part of the internal aspects of the cognitive situation, but some feature of the cognitive situation external (in the internalist’s sense) to the agent forestalls warrant.59

In other words, according to Plantinga, ‘What the Gettier problems show, stated crudely and without necessary qualification, is that even if everything is going as it ought to with respect to what is internal (in the internalist sense), warrant may still be absent’.60

A combined set of other factors has further contributed to the widespread rejection of internalism. What Plantinga shows in another publication is that the major underlying motivation for internalism has been deontology: ‘the notion that epistemic permission, or satisfaction of epistemic duty, or conforming to epistemic obligation, is necessary and sufficient (perhaps with a codicil to propitiate Gettier) for warrant’.61 The deontological motivation behind internalism should be clear since the fulfillment of one’s epistemic duty is easily translated into justification within the internalist framework. One meets one’s epistemic duties by seeking to employ appropriate rationale, insight, understanding and judgment in the formation of one’s beliefs, and with respect to the beliefs produced for which these ethical qualities obtain, justification obtains. The relationship between deontology and internalism can also be established historically as far back as Descartes and Locke, both internalists.62 Alvin Goldman (and others) had already noted this connection several years earlier. Goldman asks: ‘What motivates or underlies this rationale for internalism?’ To which he answers that it is essentially a deontological framework combined with a guidance notion of justification (or doxastic volunteerism, the notion that we ‘guide’ or choose our beliefs).63 Although the doxastic volunteerist connection is weak, the deontological motivation for internalism does seem clear. But as Plantinga argues, deontology fails to provide us with an adequate account of knowledge since

it is wholly clear that satisfaction of epistemic duty is nowhere nearly sufficient for warrant. I may be ever so dutiful; I may be performing works of magnificent epistemic supererogation, and nonetheless, by virtue of cognitive malfunction, be such that my beliefs have next to no warrant at all.64

And on account of deontology breaking down, internalism breaks down since apart from deontology there really is no motivation for internalism.65

Nevertheless, internalists remain. Internalism still crops up in various forms in contemporary analytic epistemology, but not typically without sufficient qualification attempting to integrate Gettier situations. As we noted above, these de-Gettierization conditions typically involve an appeal to epistemically external criteria. So a common strategy for maintaining at least a significantly modified form of internalism (in many cases reducing to externalism) has been an assortment of attempts to combine internalism and externalism.

Three progressively stronger (and later) versions of internalism may be noted. First, William Alston proposes an ‘internalist externalism’. For Alston, ‘to be justified in believing that p is for that belief to be based on an adequate ground’.66 The first project Alston undertakes in developing his account is unpacking this condition for justification. The notion of being ‘based on’ in Alston’s epistemology highlights a basing relation that, for Alston, must be produced by a belief-producing mechanism that takes account of and is guided by the ground for belief. For example, if a knower believes that their dog is dirty based upon the fact that they are appeared to in a dirty-dog-like way (this appearance could involve a complex of factors such as how the dog smells, looks, a countenance of shame on Spot’s face that he often gets after playing in the garbage, etc.), it is ‘taking account’ of these features of sensory data that provides the basis for forming a belief in light of them. This implementation of a ground that is epistemically accessible to the agent accounts for the internalist dimension of Alston’s proposal.67 The interpretation of this adequacy condition, however, is along externalist rather than internalist lines. For the internalist, the adequacy of the ground would have to do with its internality and the requirement for such a ground as a sufficient condition for justification. Alston rejects this formulation leading to an externalist dimension within his position—nevertheless, viewing internal adequacy as a necessary rather than a sufficient condition for justification.68 A second hybrid proposal, quite a bit closer to the internalist side of the spectrum, has been put forward by Richard Swinburne: he sometimes refers to his view as ‘largely internalist’. Swinburne sets out to establish that when philosophers adopt internalist or externalist perspectives, they are really giving accounts of different types of justification rather than establishing entirely divergent positions.69 For Swinburne there is an attempt to keep internalism fairly intact. While he acknowledges that certain types of justification are diachronically (justification over time) and synchronically (justification at a time) grounded in external criteria, he claims that these instances of justification are not of intrinsic value. Synchronically (externally) justified belief ‘is valuable only in virtue of the truth of the belief of which having such justification is evidence’.70 And diachronic externalist justification is similarly of ‘no intrinsic value in a subject pursuing a course of investigation that as a matter of fact usually leads to better justified beliefs, unless the subject believes that this kind of investigation usually does have this result and is pursuing it for that reason’.71 In other words, since externalist synchronic and diachronic theories of justification prohibit appropriate epistemic access to the grounds for justification they end up yielding a type of justification but not the kind that we should consider intrinsically valuable for knowledge. So with Swinburne we come even closer to a (essentially) pure internalist perspective, but one that attempts to account for externalist intuitions (especially those picked out by the Gettier situations).72 Finally, McGrew and McGrew have recently attempted to revive internalism in their monograph Internalism and Epistemology. The first chapter of their book is devoted to the Gettier problem, which highlights the need for contemporary advocates of internalism to speak to the difficulties raised by these counterexamples. The McGrews take their cue from Russell in attempting to solve the dilemma for internalism posed by Gettier, adding the condition that ‘Knowledge is validly deduced from known premises’.73 Although this definition is further adapted by Russell, what remains unchanged is that there is no need for premises to be true premises in the acquisition of inferential knowledge. The McGrews go on to assert that while some knower S does not have the kind of inferential knowledge yielded by justification2 (which requires true premises), it does give the kind of inferential knowledge yielded by justification1 (which only requires rationally credible premises). With the added (axiomatic) condition that ‘truth is non-epistemic; our believing, wishing, hoping or fearing that p is not definitional of p’s being true’ being added to Russell’s condition for rationally credible premises, one may arrive at knowledge in the Gettier cases through justification1 but not through justification2.

These, then, are three graduating moves (both in strength and date) toward internalism in recent years, but what is important to notice in these philosophers who still seek to maintain some form of internalism is that they all seem to be agreed upon the fact (with mainstream externalist paradigms) that traditional (i.e. pre-Gettier) internalism is no longer a sustainable epistemology. We, as well as most contemporary epistemologists, find externalist accounts most convincing (see below), but even internalists are agreed that post-Gettier proposals must be sufficiently nuanced and qualified if the internalist case is going to succeed.

Important theoretical issues that remain to be worked out as prolegomena to the application of the pre-Gettier internalist epistemology of Lonergan within a suitable, informed epistemic framework include re-thinking the critical realist epistemology in relation to the internalism/externalism debate over the nature of justification; the relationship of critical realism to the discussion of the structure of justification in the foundationalism/coherentism debate; articulating an adequate theory of perception in light of the former two concerns; and reformulating a sufficiently nuanced epistemological model that is able to account for Gettier type situations, whether that means rejecting internalism in favor of externalism or reformulating Lonergan’s internalism so that it is satisfactory according to contemporary standards; there are many more besides. These are, in any case, the types of concerns that need to be addressed in the future development of Lonergan’s critical realism.

Critical Realism in New Testament Studies: Meyer, Wright and Beyond

How does all this relate to Lonergan’s critical realism and Meyer–Wright’s critical realism as it is applied specifically to the study of the New Testament or the historical Jesus? To begin with, we must recognize that the Lonergan–Meyer–Wright critical realist epistemology that is popular in New Testament studies today is by all standards a version of pre-Gettier internalism. Even though Lonergan writes in the post-Gettier era of epistemology (his Insight was published eight years after Gettier’s seminal article and his Method in Theology long after that), his dialogue partners have passed well off the scene, usually dating back to the Enlightenment era and just beyond. He interacts with many of the same thinkers that his American critical realist predecessors engaged with in the 1920s. Lonergan’s internalism, therefore, is not philosophically sensitive or nuanced enough to be immune to the Gettier examples. This establishes, then, one substantial way in which the theory needs to be developed—or, better, updated—if it is going to provide a philosophically adequate foundation for New Testament research, including Jesus studies. Specifically, those working with Lonergan’s theory such as Wright, James Dunn, Denton, and Scot McKnight, as well as others, if they intend on continuing to do so, need to decide where their model fits within the contemporary epistemic landscape of internalism/externalism (as well as other modern epistemological debates that we have not had sufficient time to address, e.g. perception theory, foundationalism vs. coherentism, etc.). If they choose to continue with the now widely rejected form of internalism that Lonergan perpetuated, they need to show how it can adequately ground knowledge. It is, in fact, startling that Denton’s theoretical treatment of Meyer’s ‘historiography and hermeneutics’ does not even begin to raise some of the necessary methodological questions needed to refine and contextualize critical realism, though he does attempt to do some historical situating in an appendix.74 Nor does the article-length analysis of Wright’s critical-realism by Thorsten Moritz, published in a series designed to unite philosophy and biblical interpretation, even raise the necessary preliminary issues required for an appropriate evaluation of any epistemology.75 These treatments, for the most part, go about simply repeating what Lonergan proposed long ago, apart from its contextual development or contemporary application (including contemporary theoretical implications for the broader discussions of epistemology). Much has happened in epistemology since Lonergan wrote and even since Meyer (and Wright) adopted his model. Even if Lonergan’s theory is not, in the end, rejected, there needs to be serious attention given to some of the major issues involved in supporting its theoretical underpinnings. If an internalist theory of historical knowledge is maintained, it needs to be—at the very minimum—a post-Gettier formulation.

We tend to agree with the dominant trend in epistemology over the past forty or so years that the best response to recent developments may be a return to externalism, which predates Descartes and Locke, the originators of internalism, going as far back as Aristotle and finding a significant place in the epistemologies of philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, both commonly located within the externalist tradition. Reliabilism, in particular, seems extremely promising in grounding knowledge, but it remains to be seen how this might look as a historiographic model adapted for the study of the New Testament.

It may also turn out that an externalist epistemological model accomplishes at least one of Wright’s original purposes for developing his critical realist account at least as well as and perhaps even better than his internalist theory is able to achieve. One of Wright’s motives or perhaps sub-motives in constructing his account seems to be the development of a model that will level the epistemic playing field so that religious scholars are just as warranted in making statements about historical knowledge as scholars who claim not to be committed to a particular religious perspective. Wright understands ‘history’ along critical realist lines as ‘neither “bare facts” nor “subjective interpretations”’, but as ‘the meaningful narrative of events and intentions’.76 He warns against the misconceptions of Enlightenment historians of ‘mere history’, that is, history that exists entirely independent of the observer.77 Yet this does not entail that there are no facts, according to Wright.

All accounts ‘distort’, but some do so considerably more than others. All accounts involve ‘interpretation’; the question is whether this interpretation discloses the totality of the event, opening it up in all its actuality and meaning, or squashes it out of shape, closing down its actuality and meaning.78

For Wright, this means that the person who approaches the text with (supposedly) no vested ‘religious’ interest is in no better a position to assess the historical value of (say) the Gospels than the confessing Christian who approaches the text. Furthermore, non-religious biblical historians still have an ideological framework that contributes to their interest in the text. No historian approaches the text from a neutral vantage point; just different vantage points.

[W]e must reject the idea, common since Reimarus, that ‘real’ history will undermine the ‘interpretive’ and particularly the ‘theological’ elements in the Gospels. All history involves interpretation; if the evangelists offer us a theological one, we must listen to it as best we can, and not assume that our own, especially ‘neutral’ or positivistic one will be right.79

The reason we say that contemporary reliabilism—quite apart from the Gettier revival—can do what Wright hopes to do in leveling the epistemic playing field between religious and non-religious scholars is because it provides the historian with parallel epistemic recourses for critical analysis. Wright hopes to clear the playing field by being ‘critical’ of one’s ideological framework. He wants to recognize that the world, and historical knowledge in particular, is processed through one’s sensory equipment and to propose an integrated worldview that makes sense of the data before a knower. We think that the externalist account can do this at least as well as Lonergan’s internalism. It may even do it better—although this is not why we say it can do it better—because it provides a precise mechanism for being critical, the notion of defeaters. A defeater is an epistemic reality that undermines a held belief. As a knower forms beliefs, they maintain justification in the absence of defeaters or lose justification in the presence of defeaters. If a knower has a belief that there is a bulldog in the room, say because Spot the bulldog was in the room before he left the room to go enjoy playing in the trash, and the knower turns around and no longer sees a bulldog in the room (perhaps because they hear a rustling in the trash), the knower has a defeater for that belief. This is known as a ‘rebutting defeater’.80 There are also ‘undercutting defeaters’. Say, for example, to use John Pollock and Plantinga’s thought experiment, we are observing an assembly line of widgets and they appear to us redly—we perceive and form a belief that they are red. Then the superintendent approaches us and informs us that they are currently under infrared lighting as a means of quality control, causing the widgets to merely appear to be red. We now have an undercutting defeater for our belief that the widgets we perceive are really red.81 This, we might say, could be remolded into a historical (reliabilist) externalist version of the old hypothesis-verification method according to which a hypothesis is formed and verified internally. In this scenario, however, the criteria for justification or warrant would be epistemically external. Since reliabilism grounds justification and warrant in a reliable belief-producing mechanism aimed at producing for the most part true beliefs in appropriate cognitive environments, there is a sort of initial a priori positive epistemic status for beliefs formed under these circumstances. But these beliefs can be criticized, rebutted and undercut by defeaters for these beliefs. This is an unfortunately oversimplified sketch of Plantinga’s reliabilism and how it might work in place of an internalist approach, but it will have to do for the purposes of this underdeveloped set of remarks.82

We have said why we think that an externalist account has the necessary epistemic equipment to level the playing field so that people with positive and non-positive relationships to religious beliefs can be allowed to acquire historical knowledge. But how does an externalist account go beyond this? We suppose if Wright could, in a legitimate and entirely epistemically and philosophically satisfactory way, not only level the playing field, but reverse it in favor of the religious biblical scholar, he probably would—since he is, himself, a religious biblical scholar. Perhaps it is presumptuous to speculate regarding what Wright would do in this kind of situation. What is more certain is that we would be comfortable with a reversal of the epistemic paradigm in favor of the religious biblical scholar, if the evidence for such an account led us strongly and decisively in that direction. We believe that this is precisely what Plantinga’s reliabilist account does, with the appropriate caveat that we realize that the interface between epistemology and hermeneutics would need to be addressed in a far more detailed way at a later point. At least, at the epistemic level we think this shift to be quite persuasive and, with Lonergan, see hermeneutics operating at a different, but related level.

How does the shift toward externalism tip the epistemic paradigm in favor of the religious biblical scholar? Let’s review the externalist criteria for knowledge. According to Plantinga, a knower has warrant for a belief B in an externalist framework if and only if:

(1) the cognitive faculties involved in the production of B are functioning properly (and this is to include the relevant defeater systems as well as those systems, if any, that provide propositional inputs to the system in question); (2) your cognitive environment is sufficiently similar to the one for which your cognitive faculties are designed; (3) the triple of the design plan governing the production of the belief in question involves, as purpose or function, the production of true beliefs (and the same goes for elements of the design plan governing the production of input beliefs to the system in question); and (4) the design plan is a good one: that is, there is a high statistical probability that a belief produced in accordance with the relevant segment of the design plan in that sort of environment is true.83

If the Gettier cases hold up, and the criteria for justification and warrant, leading to knowledge, are external, then there needs to be some way to secure the reliability of belief-producing mechanisms when they are fitted with the appropriate cognitive environments. The non-religious biblical scholar is in a worrisome predicament here since their only explanatory resources for accounting for the development of sensory and cognitive organs is some kind of evolutionary mechanism. Naturalists will typically grant language about a design plan, proper functionality and so forth. In fact much of natural science, especially biology, assumes the language of ‘proper function’. For example, when a person visits the doctor and something is not ‘functioning properly’, medicine is prescribed or surgery is undergone to restore the proper function. But typically when naturalists speak in this way, they intend to ground such intentionality in a version of natural selection. The question that needs to be answered in this context, however, is whether natural selection can account for the kind of proper function needed to ground knowledge, whether natural selection gives us cognitive equipment that is aimed at, properly functions in, producing true beliefs. In short, Plantinga’s conclusion is that it does not. In a section entitled, ‘So What’s a Poor Naturalist to Do?’, he states, if one wants to adopt the evolutionary account concerning how our cognitive equipment developed then the only ‘way to be a naturalist [in this sense] in epistemology is to be a supernaturalist in ontology’.84 What he means is essentially this:

If naturalism is true, there is no God, and hence no God (or anyone else) overseeing our development and orchestrating the course of our evolution. And this leads directly to the question whether it is likely that our cognitive faculties, given naturalism and their evolutionary origin, would have developed in such a way as to be reliable, to furnish us with mostly true beliefs … [E]volution is directly interested (so to speak) only in adaptive behavior (in a broad sense including physical functioning), not in true belief. Natural selection doesn’t care what you believe; only in how you behave. It selects for certain kinds of behavior: those that enhance fitness, which is a measure of the chances that one’s genes will be widely represented in the next and subsequent generations. It doesn’t select for belief, except insofar as the latter is appropriately related to behavior in certain ways—ways that contribute to our (or our ancestors’) surviving and reproducing in the environment in which we have developed.85

However, according to Plantinga, ‘if theism were true, God might be directing and orchestrating the variation in such a way as to produce, in the long run, beings created in his image and thus capable of knowledge; but then it wouldn’t be the case that truth takes the hindmost’.86 So in direct relation to biblical studies, the shift from internalism to externalism actually seems to tip the epistemic paradigm in favor of the theistic biblical scholar—going further than Wright’s internalism is capable of. If naturalism and externalism are true, there is no basis for holding to the possibility of any form of historical knowledge since there is no way to be sure that historical beliefs were produced by a reliable belief-producing mechanism, aimed at producing, for the most part, true beliefs. Only theists can enjoy this kind of reliabilist warrant for their historical beliefs.

Conclusion

This article has attempted to locate Wright’s critical realism, especially as it is represented by Lonergan, its originator, within the context of classical and contemporary epistemological discussion. We have attempted to raise the appropriate historical and synchronic issues that need to be addressed as we continue to refine and develop a suitable epistemology for the study of Christian origins. Where we believe the internalist model of Lonergan has failed, we offer a suitable externalist alternative that both satisfies the Gettier problems and accomplishes what we presume are at least some of Wright’s goals better than Lonergan’s pre-Gettier internalism. We hope that the conclusions and concerns of this article will be productive in establishing helpful parameters according to which New Testament scholars can continue to discuss not only Wright’s critical realism but critical realism in its other forms.

1 N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 1; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1992), esp. pp. 31–80. Those who have followed him include James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Christianity in the Making, 1; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), pp. 110–11; D.L. Denton, Historiography and Hermeneutics in Jesus Studies: An Examination of the Work of John Dominic Crossan and Ben F. Meyer (jsntsup, 262; jshj; London: T&T Clark, 2004), esp. pp. 168–92; and Scot McKnight, Jesus and his Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory (Waco, tx: Baylor University Press, 2005), pp. 19–28.

2 Wright, New Testament, p. 35.

3 Wright, New Testament, p. 35.

4 N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 2; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), e.g. p. 55; idem, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 3; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), e.g. pp. 702–705; idem, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 4–5; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), e.g. pp. 77–79.

5 On varieties of antirealism, see William P. Alston (ed.), Realism and Antirealism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002); Søren Harnow Klausen, Reality Lost and Found: An Essay on the Realism-Antirealism Controversy (Odense: University of Southern Denmark, 2004), pp. 13–109.

6 William P. Alston, ‘What Metaphysical Realism is Not’, in Alston (ed.), Realism and Antirealism, pp. 97–115, here p. 97.

7 Harlow structures his book on this basic template. Victor E. Harlow, A Bibliography and Genetic Study of American Realism (Oklahoma City: Harlow Publishing, 1931).

8 On new realism, see William Pepperell Montague, ‘The Story of American Realism’, Philosophy 12 (1937), pp. 140–61; Neal W. Klausner, ‘Three Decades of the Epistemological Dialectic’, Philosophy of Science 14 (1947), pp. 20–43; May Brodbeck, ‘The Emergence of American Philosophy’, American Quarterly 2 (1950), pp. 39–52; Herbert W. Schneider, A History of American Philosophy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2nd edn, 1963), pp. 509–16; Roy Wood Sellars, Reflections on American Philosophy from Within (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969), pp. 43–55; Bruce Kuklick, A History of Philosophy in America 1720–2000 (Oxford: Clarendon, 2001), pp. 201–207. It is noteworthy that Pratt’s survey of American epistemology mentions neither new nor critical realism as major participants in the discussion: Scott L. Pratt, ‘Knowledge and Action: American Epistemology’, in Armen T. Marssobian and John Ryder (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to American Philosophy (Malden, ma: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 306–24.

9 Cf. Sellars, Reflections, p. 47.

10 Edwin B. Holt, Walter Taylor Marvin, William Pepperell Montague, Ralph Barton Perry, Walter B. Pitkin and Edward Gleason Spaulding, The New Realism: Coöperative Studies in Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1912).

11 Holt et al., New Realism, pp. 2–8.

12 The mistake of idealism was what Perry called the egocentric predicament, taking awareness or consciousness to be a substance or internal relation that mediated between the knower and an object rather than as an external relation between a knower and an object. He said that the idealist argument that all objects are mediated and modified by knowledge because all objects of knowledge are known was begging the question. It was a text-book example of the post hoc fallacy. See Ralph Barton Perry, ‘Cardinal Principle of Idealism’, Mind 19 (1910), pp. 325–26, 330–31; Ralph Barton Perry, ‘Ego-centric Predicament’, Journal of Philosophy 7 (1910), pp. 5–14; cf. Holt et al., New Realism, pp. 11–20.

13 On American critical realism, see Montague, ‘Story’, pp. 140–61; Klausner, ‘Three Decades’, pp. 20–43; Brodbeck, ‘Emergence’, pp. 49–52; Roderick M. Chisholm, ‘Sellars’ Critical Realism’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (1954), pp. 33–47; Schneider, History, pp. 513–15; Sellars, ‘Reflections’, pp. 57–71; Roderick M. Chisholm, ‘The Theory of Knowledge in America’, in Chisholm, The Foundations of Knowing (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), pp. 109–96; Kuklick, History, pp. 207–24; Alister E. McGrath, A Scientific Theology, Volume 2: Reality (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), pp. 203–208. Some dictionaries and encyclopedias define critical realism strictly in terms of its developments within American epistemology, which can be confusing in light of its use in contemporary philosophy of science (including the social sciences). For example, see A.G. Ramsperger, ‘Critical Realism’, in Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (8 vols.; London: Collier-Macmillan, 1967), vol. 2: pp. 261–63 and, more recently, C.F. Delany, ‘Critical Realism’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn, 1999), pp. 194–95.

14 Roy Wood Sellars, Critical Realism (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1916).

15 Durant Drake, Authur O. Lovejoy, James B. Pratt, Arthur Kenyon Rogers, Charles A. Strong, George Santayana and Roy Wood Sellars, Essays in Critical Realism: A Cooperative Study of the Problem of Knowledge (London: Macmillan, 1920).

16 Drake et al., Essays, p. v; cf. Kuklick, History, pp. 207–209.

17 Cf. Montague, ‘Story’, p. 155.

18 Cf. Sellars, Reflections, p. 50.

19 E.g. C.I. Lewis, Mind and the World-Order (New York: Scribner, 1929).

20 Paul Coates has recently emphasized the importance of Sellars's theory of perception for articulating an internalist critical realist epistemology. Paul Coates, The Metaphysics of Perception: Wilfrid Sellars, Perceptual Consciousness and Critical Realism (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy; New York: Routledge, 2007). See also, ‘Having the World in View: Sellars, Kant and Intentionality’, Journal of Philosophy 95 (1998), pp. 431–50.

21 See esp. Wilfrid Sellars, ‘The Structure of Knowledge: (1) Perception; (2) Minds; (3) Epistemic Principles’, in H. Casteñeda (ed.), Action, Knowledge, and Reality: Critical Studies in Honor of Wilfrid Sellars (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1975), pp. 205–47.

22 Now in its second edition: Roy Bhaskar, A Realist Theory of Science (London: Routledge, 2008).

23 Also in its second edition: Roy Bhaskar, The Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the Contemporary Human Sciences (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989).

24 This summary is heavily dependent upon the development of critical realism in Roy Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, in Margaret Archer et al. (eds.), Critical Realism: Essential Readings (Critical Realism—Interventions; London: Routledge, 1998), pp. ix–xxiv.

25 Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xii.

26 Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xviii.

27 Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xx.

28 Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xx.

29 On continental critical realism and its various applications, see especially Archer et al. (eds.), Critical Realism: Essential Readings; Andrew Collier, Critical Realism: An Introduction to Roy Bhaskar’s Philosophy (London: Verso, 1994); Mats Ekstrom, Explaining Society: An Introduction to Critical Realism in the Social Sciences (London: Routledge, 2001); José López and Garry Potter (eds.), After Postmodernism: An Introduction to Critical Realism (London: Continuum, 2005); Jon Frauley and Frank Pearce (eds.), Critical Realism and the Social Sciences: Heterodox Elaborations (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007); Mervyn Hartwig (ed.), Dictionary of Critical Realism (Critical Realism—Interventions; London: Routledge, 2007); Mervyn Hartwig and Roy Bhaskar, The Formation of Critical Realism: Mervyn Hartwig Interviews Roy Bhaskar (London: Routledge, 2008).

30 See esp. Ian Barbour, Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study in Science and Religion (New York: Harper & Row, 1974); Arthur Peacocke, Creation and the World of Science (Oxford: Clarendon, 1979); idem, Intimations of Reality: Critical Realism in Science and Religion (The Mendenhall Lectures 1983; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984); idem, ‘Science and Theology Today: A Critical Realist Perspective’, Science and Theology Today 5 (1988), pp. 45–58; idem, Theology for a Scientific Age (Theology and Sciences; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993); Wentzel van Huyssteen, Theology and the Justification of Faith: Constructing Theories in Systematic Theology (trans. H.F. Snijders; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989); idem, Essays in Postfoundationalist Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997); idem, The Shaping of Rationality (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999).

31 Nancy C. Murphy, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 197. Note that her definition of scientific critical realism has some affinities with that of Wright.

32 McGrath, Scientific Theology, pp. 195–244.

33 McGrath, Scientific Theology, p. 205.

34 Carl Ginet, Knowledge, Perception and Memory (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1975), p. 34.4.

35 Roderick Chisholm, Theory of Knowledge (Prentice Hall Foundations of Philosophy Series; Englewood Cliffs, nj: Prentice Hall, 3rd edn, 1989), p. 7. We owe finding this and the previous citation to Alvin I. Goldman, ‘Internalism Exposed’, Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), pp. 271–93, here p. 276.

36 See Edward Pols, Radical Realism: Direct Knowing in Science and Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 6–9.

37 Ramsperger, ‘Critical Realism’, p. 263.

38 Denton, Historiography, p. 81.

39 Denton, Historiography, p. 81.

40 Ben F. Meyer, Reality and Illusion in New Testament Scholarship: A Primer in Critical Realist Hermeneutics (Collegeville, mn: Liturgical Press, 1995), p. viii.

41 Andrew Beards, ‘Reversing Historical Skepticism: Lonergan on the Writing of History’, History and Theory 33 (1994), pp. 198–212.

42 Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology (New York: Herder and Herder, 1972), p. 9.

43 Lonergan, Method, p. 10.

44 Wright takes over this component of his theory virtually without modification.

45 For an overview of these categories of analysis, see Lonergan, Method, pp. 127–45.

46 Bernard Lonergan, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (New York: Philosophical, 1970 [1957]), p. 423.

47 This section profited from the thoughtful comments of a colleague working in analytic philosophy, Paul Silva.

48 For a basic overview of the issues involved here, see Robert Audi, Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy; New York: Routledge, 2nd edn, 2003), pp. 238–45. Audi provides the following fuller definition of internalism: ‘In its most general form, internalism is the view that what justifies a person’s belief, the ground of it’s [sic] justification, is something internal to that person. The "internal", in the relevant sense, is that to which one has introspective, thus internal, access; it includes beliefs, visual and other sensory impressions, and thoughts. To have such access to something is to be aware of it or to be able, through self-consciousness or at least by introspective reflection to become aware of it.’ Robert Audi, ‘Causalist Internalism’, American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (1989), pp. 309–20, here p. 309; repr. in Robert Audi, The Structure of Justification (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 332–52.

49 Alvin Goldman, Epistemology and Cognition (Cambridge, ma: Harvard University Press, 1986), pp. 43–51, provides a standard representation of reliabilism.

50 Wright, New Testament, p. 34.

51 Denton, Historiography, p. 84.

52 Edmund Gettier, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis 23 (1963), pp. 121–23.

53 Gettier, ‘Justified True Belief’, p. 121, referring in the first definition to Plato, in the second to Roderick M. Chisholm, Perceiving: A Philosophical Study (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1957), p. 16, and in the third definition to A.J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge (London: Macmillan, 1956), p. 34.

54 Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew, Internalism and Epistemology: The Architecture of Reason (Routledge Series in Contemporary Philosophy; New York: Routledge, 2007), p. 8.

55 W.P. Alston, ‘The "Challenge" of Externalism’, in R. Schantz (ed.), The Externalist Challenge (New York: de Gruyter, 2004), pp. 37–52, here p. 41, cited in McGrew and McGrew, Internalism, p. 11.

56 Richard Swinburne, Epistemic Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 193.

57 McGrew and McGrew, Internalism, p. 1.

58 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 33. He recognizes ‘a belief’s being formed in circumstances differing from the paradigm circumstances for which our faculties have been designed’. Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 35.

59 Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 36.

60 Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 36.

61 Alvin Plantinga, Warrant: The Current Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 182.

62 See Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, chapter 1.

63 Alvin I. Goldman, ‘Internalism Exposed’, Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), pp. 271–93, here pp. 272–76, esp. p. 272.

64 Plantinga, Warrant: The Current Debate, p. 182.

65 Anthony Brueckner has attempted to respond to this argument in his ‘Deontologism and Internalism in Epistemology’, Noûs 30 (1996), pp. 527–36. However, Brueckner has clearly misunderstood the force of Plantinga’s argument.

66 William P. Alston, ‘An Internalist Externalism’, Synthese 74 (1988), pp. 265–83; repr. in William P. Alston, Epistemic Justification: Essays in the Theory of Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 227–45, here p. 227.

67 For a ground to be ‘adequate’, Alston insists, ‘the ground must be such that the probability of the belief’s being true, given that ground, is very high’. Alston, ‘Internalist Externalism’, p. 232.

68 He also aligns himself fairly closely with particular tendencies of reliabilism and sees the importance of securing a reliable indicator as a necessary condition for justification.

69 Swinburne, Epistemic Justification. Swinburne’s monograph is based upon the distinction between diachronic and synchronic justification.

70 Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 185.

71 Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 185.

72 Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 199.

73 Russell in McGrew and McGrew, Internalism, p. 8.

74 Denton, Historiography, pp. 210–25.

75 Thorsten Moritz, ‘Critical but Real: Reflecting on N.T. Wright’s Tools for the Task’, in Craig Bartholomew, Colin Greene and Karl Möller (eds.), Renewing Biblical Interpretation (Scripture and Hermeneutics, 1; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), pp. 172–97.

76 Wright, New Testament, p. 82.

77 Wright, New Testament, pp. 82–88.

78 Wright, New Testament, p. 92.

79 Wright, New Testament, p. 95.

80 Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 359.

81 Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, p. 359.

82 But see Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function and Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, for a full account. See also Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Warrant in Contemporary Epistemology: Essays in Honor of Plantinga’s Theory of Knowledge (Lanham, md: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996) for a wide range of interactions with Plantinga’s epistemology.

83 Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 194.

84 Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 215.

85 Alvin Plantinga, ‘Introduction: The Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism: An Initial Statement of the Argument’, in James Beilby (ed.), Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002), pp. 1–12, here p. 4.

86 Plantinga, ‘Introduction’, p. 4.

  • 1

    N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 1; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1992), esp. pp. 31–80. Those who have followed him include James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered (Christianity in the Making, 1; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), pp. 110–11; D.L. Denton, Historiography and Hermeneutics in Jesus Studies: An Examination of the Work of John Dominic Crossan and Ben F. Meyer (jsntsup, 262; jshj; London: T&T Clark, 2004), esp. pp. 168–92; and Scot McKnight, Jesus and his Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory (Waco, tx: Baylor University Press, 2005), pp. 19–28.

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  • 2

    Wright, New Testament, p. 35.

  • 3

    Wright, New Testament, p. 35.

  • 4

    N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 2; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), e.g. p. 55; idem, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 3; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), e.g. pp. 702–705; idem, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, 4–5; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), e.g. pp. 77–79.

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  • 9

     Cf. Sellars, Reflections, p. 47.

  • 11

    Holt et al., New Realism, pp. 2–8.

  • 14

    Roy Wood Sellars, Critical Realism (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1916).

  • 16

    Drake et al., Essays, p. v; cf. Kuklick, History, pp. 207–209.

  • 17

     Cf. Montague, ‘Story’, p. 155.

  • 18

     Cf. Sellars, Reflections, p. 50.

  • 19

     E.g. C.I. Lewis, Mind and the World-Order (New York: Scribner, 1929).

  • 25

    Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xii.

  • 26

    Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xviii.

  • 27

    Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xx.

  • 28

    Bhaskar, ‘General Introduction’, p. xx.

  • 30

     See esp. Ian Barbour, Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study in Science and Religion (New York: Harper & Row, 1974); Arthur Peacocke, Creation and the World of Science (Oxford: Clarendon, 1979); idem, Intimations of Reality: Critical Realism in Science and Religion (The Mendenhall Lectures 1983; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984); idem, ‘Science and Theology Today: A Critical Realist Perspective’, Science and Theology Today 5 (1988), pp. 45–58; idem, Theology for a Scientific Age (Theology and Sciences; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993); Wentzel van Huyssteen, Theology and the Justification of Faith: Constructing Theories in Systematic Theology (trans. H.F. Snijders; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989); idem, Essays in Postfoundationalist Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997); idem, The Shaping of Rationality (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999).

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  • 31

    Nancy C. Murphy, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 197. Note that her definition of scientific critical realism has some affinities with that of Wright.

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  • 32

    McGrath, Scientific Theology, pp. 195–244.

  • 33

    McGrath, Scientific Theology, p. 205.

  • 34

    Carl Ginet, Knowledge, Perception and Memory (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1975), p. 34.4.

  • 36

     See Edward Pols, Radical Realism: Direct Knowing in Science and Philosophy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 6–9.

  • 37

    Ramsperger, ‘Critical Realism’, p. 263.

  • 38

    Denton, Historiography, p. 81.

  • 39

    Denton, Historiography, p. 81.

  • 41

    Andrew Beards, ‘Reversing Historical Skepticism: Lonergan on the Writing of History’, History and Theory 33 (1994), pp. 198–212.

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  • 42

    Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology (New York: Herder and Herder, 1972), p. 9.

  • 43

    Lonergan, Method, p. 10.

  • 50

    Wright, New Testament, p. 34.

  • 51

    Denton, Historiography, p. 84.

  • 52

    Edmund Gettier, ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’ Analysis 23 (1963), pp. 121–23.

  • 53

    Gettier, ‘Justified True Belief’, p. 121, referring in the first definition to Plato, in the second to Roderick M. Chisholm, Perceiving: A Philosophical Study (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1957), p. 16, and in the third definition to A.J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge (London: Macmillan, 1956), p. 34.

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  • 54

    Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew, Internalism and Epistemology: The Architecture of Reason (Routledge Series in Contemporary Philosophy; New York: Routledge, 2007), p. 8.

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  • 56

    Richard Swinburne, Epistemic Justification (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 193.

  • 57

    McGrew and McGrew, Internalism, p. 1.

  • 58

    Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 33. He recognizes ‘a belief’s being formed in circumstances differing from the paradigm circumstances for which our faculties have been designed’. Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 35.

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  • 59

    Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 36.

  • 60

    Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 36.

  • 61

    Alvin Plantinga, Warrant: The Current Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 182.

  • 63

    Alvin I. Goldman, ‘Internalism Exposed’, Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), pp. 271–93, here pp. 272–76, esp. p. 272.

  • 64

    Plantinga, Warrant: The Current Debate, p. 182.

  • 66

    William P. Alston, ‘An Internalist Externalism’, Synthese 74 (1988), pp. 265–83; repr. in William P. Alston, Epistemic Justification: Essays in the Theory of Knowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), pp. 227–45, here p. 227.

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  • 70

    Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 185.

  • 71

    Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 185.

  • 72

    Swinburne, Epistemic Justification, p. 199.

  • 73

    Russell in McGrew and McGrew, Internalism, p. 8.

  • 74

    Denton, Historiography, pp. 210–25.

  • 76

    Wright, New Testament, p. 82.

  • 77

    Wright, New Testament, pp. 82–88.

  • 78

    Wright, New Testament, p. 92.

  • 79

    Wright, New Testament, p. 95.

  • 80

    Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 359.

  • 81

    Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, p. 359.

  • 83

    Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 194.

  • 84

    Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, p. 215.

  • 86

    Plantinga, ‘Introduction’, p. 4.

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