What’s Wrong with the World

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RIP William P. Alston

I have just learned (actually, via a friend on Facebook) that Christian philosopher William P. Alston died at his home today, September 13, 2009, of pancreatic cancer. I believe the word went out originally on the SCP e-mail list.

Professor Alston was an excellent and careful epistemologist. He was an externalist in epistemology, but not altogether a contented one. He wrote so clearly and articulated his position so well and with so much sympathy to the internalist positions he was disagreeing with that for several years his work was particularly important and valuable as my husband and I hammered out our contrary positions. A number of chapters of our book Internalism and Epistemology take Alston as a major foil.

Alston was one of the teachers of and a great influence on Alvin Plantinga.

Rest eternal grant unto him, o Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.

Comments (3)

This is very sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.

Though I have not yet read it in its entirety, in my humble opinion "Perceiving God" should be essential reading for any philosopher who specializes in epistemology or philosophy of religion. That seems too limited though. Maybe I should just say that it should be essential reading, period. Some of the religious experiences he cites actually brought tears to my eyes.

I hope he is in a better place.

Aaron, I'm sure that he is. I woke up this morning and thought to myself, "Now he _is_ perceiving God." He's in a privileged epistemic state, that's for sure, and one I hope by God's grace to be granted some day.

If memory serves me correctly,Nicholas Wolterstorff had a high regard for Alston. Thanks for letting us know about his death.

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