A Dead-End for Molinism

Jonathan L Kvanvig

in Destiny and Deliberation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696574
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732270 | DOI:
A Dead-End for Molinism

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The core motivation for Molinism is a desire to preserve a libertarian account of human freedom while at the same time defending a strong view of divine providence, but in recent times it was introduced by Alvin Plantinga in order to rebut certain versions of the problem of evil. Viewed from this perspective concerning the problem of evil, the key ingredient of the view is the existence of counterfactuals of freedom — counterfactuals concerning what any free individual would freely do in a given set of circumstances. What we are interested in here, and what is most relevant to the context of theological reflection on the nature of God's providence, is not the counterfactuals themselves but rather the choice situation in which the individual in question is deliberating about what to do. This chapter argues that we need a more fundamental investigation, focusing on conditionals of deliberation rather than on counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. It is a quite natural assumption to think of conditionals of deliberation in terms of counterfactuals, and hence it is quite natural to clarify a Molinist account of providence in terms of counterfactuals. Such an identification, however, is a mistake. The chapter concludes that attempts to avoid the need to engage in this more fundamental investigation by showing that there is no coherent Maverick position have failed. The best remedy is to abandon such resistance and pursue the more fundamental investigation to see what the prospects are for an account of creation that makes room for libertarian freedom while leaving the doctrine of providence intact.

Keywords: Molinism; Platinga; counterfactuals; freedom; creation; God; Maverick; providence

Chapter.  5985 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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