Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sheldon Cohen

Committee Members

Sheldon Cohen, Richard Aquila, Jim Bennett, David Linge


Philosophers associating themselves with a Calvinist interpretation of Christianity, like Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, William Alston, and George Mavrodes, have recently argued that belief in God is properly basic. Since the existence of God is foundational, evidence is not required and should not be sought. I believe that Reformed thinkers are mistaken in the role they assign to evidence. Pointing to their own philosophical and theological grounding in Thomas Reid and John Calvin, I argue that, even though belief in God is foundational, evidence can and should play a role with respect to theistic belief. Evidence confirms and modifies even basic beliefs and is necessary to adjudicate between rival religious beliefs. It should therefore be afforded a greater role in Reformed epistemology.

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