A Critical Analysis of Graham Oppy's View of Arguments about God

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Islamic Theology, University of Qom, Qom, Iran.

2 PhD Graduated, Department of Philosophy and Islamic Theology, University of Qom, Qom, Iran.


Graham Oppy is an analytical philosopher in the contemporary era. He acknowledges the rationality of theistic, as well as non-theistic, beliefs, but he does not consider them successful for arguing for or against God. In general, a successful argument is one that persuades all reasonable persons who have reasonable views about the issue in question. His basic criterion for the success of an argument is its ability to convince all reasonable persons who previously denied, or were undecided about, its conclusion. The present article tries to answer the following question: Is Oppy’s standard for a satisfactory argument acceptable, and what challenges does it face? I conclude that his criterion, which renders all the traditional arguments for God’s existence unsuccessful, is pessimistic and self-defeating, because Oppy cannot provide a successful argument, by his own lights, for the correctness of his standard. He seems to propagate agnosticism, with a vague criterion, regardless of the difference between rational reason and argument from the common sense (sound judgment argument), and defending a kind of strong rationalism.


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