Between Hartshorne and Molina

Process Studies 39 (1):129-148 (2010)
Abstract
The doctrine of inerrant divine “middle knowledge” of future contingent events, first developed by the sixteenth century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, has resurfaced as a prominent position within contemporary debates over divine foreknowledge, creaturely freedom, and the ontological status of possibilities. As yet, the only substantive response to the new Molinism from a process perspective has come in a brief section on “Hartshorne and the Challenge of Molinism,” in an essay on Hartshorne’s view of “The Logic of Future Contingents” by George W. Shields and Donald W. Viney, in Shields’ edited anthology Process and Analysis.Shields and Viney offer an insightful critique of Molinism. However, their use of Hartshorne’s understanding of possibility presents problems for those, like me, who prefer Whitehead’s more robustly realist notion of eternal objects. Here, I defend Whitehead’s Platonism from the main lines of criticism leveled against itby Hartshorne, while demonstrating that a “thick” conception of the objective content of the possible within the context of the divine understanding need not crossover into a deterministic conception of God’s foreknowledge, à la Molina
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