Biography

Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher, the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin College.

Plantinga is widely known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics and Christian apologetics. He is the author of numerous books including God and Other Minds, The Nature of Necessity, and a trilogy of books on epistemology, culminating in Warranted Christian Belief. He has delivered the Gifford Lectures three times and was described by Time Magazine as "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God".

During his first semester at Calvin College, Plantinga was awarded a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where he spent two semester. Plantinga attended a few philosophy classes at Calvin College, and was so impressed with Calvin philosophy professor William Harry Jellema that he returned to study philosophy under him. Plantinga began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he studied under William Alston, William Frankena, and Richard Cartwright, among others. A year later he transferred to Yale University where he received his Ph.D.

Plantinga began his career as an instructor in the philosophy department at Yale. He then accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, where he replaced the retiring Jellema. He then spent the next 19 years at Calvin before moving to the University of Notre Dame. He retired from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and returned to Calvin College, where he serves as the first holder of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Philosophy. He has trained many prominent philosophers working in metaphysics and epistemology including Michael Bergmann at Purdue and Michael Rea at Notre Dame, and Trenton Merricks working at University of Virginia.

Plantinga served as president of the American Philosophical Association, Western Division, 1981-1982. and as President of the Society of Christian Philosophers 1983-1986. He has honorary degrees from Glasgow University (1982), Calvin College (1986), North Park College (1994), the Free University of Amsterdam (1995), Brigham Young University (1996), and Valparaiso University (1999). He was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1971–1972, and elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship. The fellowship includes an annual lecture by the current Plantinga Fellow.

In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy Department, History and Philosophy of Science Department, and the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science awarded Plantinga the Rescher Prize, which he received with a talk titled, "Religion and Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies".