Reckoning with Ross

In this paper, I discuss St. Thomas’s explanation of how God knows the possibles—things He could create but never does create. Thomas’s full explanationincludes a discussion of the nature of possibility, the reality of the possibles, and whether there are divine ideas of the possibles. In this paper, I critique someof James Ross’s positions as he best represents the self-proclaimed “voluntarist” school. I believe that Ross gives Thomas’s texts an incomplete reading on this issue and I seek to provide what is missing in Ross’s reading by highlighting Thomas’s notion of virtual practical knowledge. The concept of virtual practical knowledge is overlooked even by most “traditional” Thomists, and yet I have found that virtual practical knowledge is Thomas’s richest explanation of how God knows the possibles because it incorporates the principles that Thomas introduces in his general theory of divine knowledge
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