- Abstract: Branden Fitelson and Elliott Sober raise several objections to my evolutionary argument against naturalism; I reply to four of them.
- My thanks to Branden Fitelson and Elliott Sober (hereafter ‘F&S’) for their comments on my evolutionary argument against naturalism. F&S devote most of their attention to what I called “the preliminary argument” (WPF, pp. 228–29). This argument as stated in WPF contains an error: it confuses the unconditional objective or logical probability of R with its probability conditional on our background knowledge. The main argument, happily, is unaffected, and here I’ll comment only on what F&S have to say about the main argument. F&S start several hares, most of which seem to me to run rather badly. I can’t chase them all, so I’ll restrict myself to the following four1:-
- P(R/N&E) low or inscrutable?
- Is “(N&E) & P(R/N&E) is low or inscrutable” a defeater for R?
- A defeater for all of my beliefs?
- Where: Let P be the proposition “my cognitive faculties are reliable”, N be philosophical naturalism (i.e., the proposition that there is no such person as God or anything like God) and E the proposition that we and our cognitive faculties have come to be by way of the processes favored in contemporary evolutionary theory.
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