David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophia 35 (3-4):293-300 (2007)
One historically significant model of God holds that God is a perfect being. Analytic philosophers of religion have typically understood this to mean that God is essentially unsurpassable in power, knowledge, goodness, and wisdom. Recently, however, several philosophers have argued that this is inconsistent with another common theistic position: the view that for any world that God can create, there is a better world that God could have created instead. The argument runs (roughly) as follows: if, no matter which world God creates, there’s a better creatable one, then God’s action in creating a world is necessarily surpassable. And if God’s action in creating a world is necessarily surpassable, then God is necessarily surpassable. If this argument is sound, it reveals a serious flaw in an important model of God. In what follows, I set out this argument, and I then distinguish and evaluate four replies.
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