David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan (2009)
On what basis does God choose a possible world to make actual? Theists typically claim that God freely selects exactly one world on the basis of its axiological characteristics. But suppose that (a) there are infinitely many unsurpassable worlds from which to choose; or else that (b) there are no unsurpassable worlds, but instead an infinite hierarchy of increasingly better worlds. On each of these scenarios, philosophers have alleged that God is unable rationally to choose a world for actualization. In the former case, God lacks sufficient reason to select any particular world, since there are infinitely many other equally good candidates. In the latter case, God lacks sufficient reason to select any particular world, since for any world there are infinitely many better candidates. These considerations generate arguments for atheism, as follows. On theism, God is supposed to be the explanation for this world’s being actual, and God requires sufficient reasons for action. So on either scenario (a) or (b), since there is an actual world, and since God could not have had a sufficient reason for selecting it, this world was not actualized by God. In response, defenders of theism have urged that God need not have sufficient reason for choosing a world on (a) or (b): God may defensibly choose a world at random. In what follows, I evaluate this reply. I conclude that it succeeds only on the enormously implausible assumption that there is exactly one randomizer available to God.
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