Patrick Grim advances arguments meant to show that the doctrine of divine omniscience—the classical doctrine according to which God knows all truths—is false. In particular, we here have in mind to focus on two such arguments: the set theoretic argument and the semantic argument. These arguments due to Grim run parallel to, respectively, familiar paradoxes in set theory and naive truth theory. It is beyond the purview of this article to adjudicate whether or not these are successful arguments against the (...) classical doctrine of omniscience. What we are here interested in is a way in which these arguments can be generalized. In particular, we show how generalizations of those arguments can target, explicitly, alternatives to the classical doctrine of omniscience, including what we here call 'restricted omniscience' and 'open future open theism'. As a corollary, considerations of Grim-style arguments do not support these alternatives to the classical doctrine of omniscience over the classical doctrine. We conclude that what is paradoxical is not the classical doctrine of omniscience just as such; rather, what is paradoxical is a core commitment shared by the classical doctrine and its more modest alternatives, namely, the thesis that God is a perfectly logical reasoner. (shrink)
जिनशासन प्रणेता आचार्य समन्तभद्र (लगभग दूसरी शती) ने इस ग्रंथ "स्तुतिविद्या" में, जिसका अपरनाम "जिनशतक" अथवा "जिनस्तुतिशतं" है, अत्यंत अलंकृत भाषा में चतुर्विंशतिस्तव किया है। यह गूढ़ ग्रंथ आचार्य समन्तभद्र के अपूर्व काव्य-कौशल, अद्भुत व्याकरण-पांडित्य और अद्वितीय शब्दाधिपत्य को सूचित करता है। जिनेन्द्र भगवान की स्तुति करने का कारण यही है कि उनके द्वारा प्रतिपादित मोक्षमार्ग की अमोघता और उससे अभिमत फल की सिद्धि को देखकर उसके प्रति हमारा अनुराग (भक्तिभाव) उत्तरोत्तर बढ़े जिससे हम भी उसी मार्ग की आराधना-साधना करते (...) हुए कर्म-शत्रुओं को जीतने में समर्थ हो सकें और निःश्रेयस (मोक्ष) पद को प्राप्त कर सकें। सच्ची सविवेक भक्ति ही मार्ग का अनुसरण करने में परम सहायक होती है और जिसकी स्तुति की जाती है उसके मार्ग का अनुसरण करना ही स्तुति को सार्थक करता है। सारांश यह है कि हम जिनेन्द्र भगवान की स्तुति अपने स्वयं के परिणामों को निर्मल बनाने के लिए करते हैं। स्तुति वास्तव में एक विद्या है। सम्यक स्तुति घने-कठोर घातिया-कर्म रूपी ईंधन को भस्म करने वाली समर्थ अग्नि है। ‘Stutividyā’ by Ācārya Samantabhadra (circa second century CE) is the adoration of the twenty-four Tīrthańkara, the Most Worshipful Supreme Beings. In his earlier masterpiece work ‘Svayambhūstotra’, Ācārya Samantabhadra had expressed his devotion to the twenty-four Tīrthańkara in a highly analytical manner, establishing the supremacy and inviolability of their Doctrine. ‘Stutividyā’, however, is the epitome of poetic dexterity; in its 116 verses, Ācārya Samantabhadra has used the most amazing figures-of-speech – alańkāra – that make the composition highly ornate, inviting and, at places, extremely difficult to comprehend. Such adroitness is possible only in the Sanskrit language; perhaps that is the reason some consider Sanskrit as the most scientific language in the world. (shrink)
This book deals with an old conundrum: if God knows what we will choose tomorrow, how can we be free to choose otherwise? If all our choices are already written, is our freedom simply an illusion? This book provides a precise analysis of this dilemma using the tools of modern ontology and the logic of time. With a focus on three intertwined concepts - God's nature, the formal structure of time, and the metaphysics of time, including the relationship between temporal (...) entities and a timeless God - the chapters analyse various solutions to the problem of foreknowledge and freedom, revealing the advantages and drawbacks of each. Building on this analysis, the authors advance constructive solutions, showing under what conditions an entity can be omniscient in the presence of free agents, and whether an eternal entity can know the tensed futures of the world. The metaphysics of time, its topology and the semantics of future tensed sentences are shown to be invaluable topics in dealing with this issue. Combining investigations into the metaphysics of time with the discipline of temporal Logic this monograph brings about important advancements in the philosophical understanding of an ancient and fascinating problem. The answer, if any, is hidden in the folds of time, in the elusive nature of this feature of reality and in the infinite branching of our lives. (shrink)
In a previous issue of Philosophia Christi, Kirk MacGregor responded to an essay of mine in which I argued for a neo-Molinist account of open theism. The argument demonstrated how, given standard counterfactual semantics, one could derive an “open future square of opposition,” that is, a depiction of the logical relations that hold between future-tense statements from an open theistic standpoint. Conceding the validity of the argument, MacGregor nevertheless sought to deny its soundness by criticizing both its conclusion and the (...) Stalnaker-Lewis semantics on which the argument was based. In this paper, I argue that MacGregor’s reasons for rejecting the open future square, as well as his Molinist alternative to the Stalnaker-Lewis semantics, are uncompelling. (shrink)
A number of philosophers and theologians have argued that if God has knowledge of future human actions then human agents cannot be free. This argument rests on the assumption that, since God is essentially omniscient, God cannot be wrong about what human agents will do. It is this assumption that I challenge in this paper. My aim is to develop an interpretation of God’s essential omniscience according to which God can be wrong even though God never is wrong. If this (...) interpretation of essential omniscience is coherent, as I claim it is, then there is a logically consistent position according to which God is essentially omniscient, God foreknows what human agents will do, and yet it is possible for human agents to do otherwise. Thus, the argument for theological fatalism fails. (shrink)
The text published below is the translation of a part of this published article: "Il Dio che rischia e che cambia: introduzione all’Open Theism". The issue of omniscience is one of the most debated in contemporary Analytical Philosophy of Religion. However, what is often lacking in this discussion is a deep understanding of the dilemma of omniscience and human freedom within a complete epistemological (what can we really say about the divine and the world), metaphysical and theological framework. For example, (...) it is often forgotten to frame some issues within a clear definition of the notion of mystery. (shrink)
The global Peter Lombard research reinaugurated in 1990s has resulted in a number of recent publications, but the Master of the Sentences’ theology proper is partially underresearched. In particular, a more detailed exposition of the distinctions 35-41 of his Book of Sentences is needed in order to clarify his doctrine of God’s knowledge and its relation to the human free will. The article builds on the earlier established evidence that, for Peter Lombard in distinctions 35-38, God’s knowledge, in general, is (...) not causative, although some causative power has to be ascribed to God’s knowledge of the good. The last part of distinction 38 and the content of distinction 39 further analyze the capacities and functionalities of the divine omniscience and explain how it interacts with acts of human will. The key question here deals with the problem of alternative states of affairs: whether something may be otherwise than God foreknew. As it is shown, Master Peter agrees that it is possible for created things and events to be otherwise than they are, but insists that God’s knowledge must be in any case exhaustive and infallible. He uses a number of logical tools to defend the thesis about God’s perfect knowledge and the possibility of things happening otherwise, but lacks a strict definition of the notion of “possibility” used here. The study concludes that in few cases Lombard’s posse could mean a potency or a simple logical possibility, or the diachronic contingency, but the overall theological statement is clear: potentially, God’s knowledge can be different or include alternative state of affairs but it cannot change. (shrink)
Reality is two-fold, composed of the lighted world as revealed in Genesis, and the darker primordiality which preceded it. The illuminated represents that which the human mind can comprehend, manipulate and re-order to its will: a “designed” and mechanical universe of parts. But behind it, in the backspace of reality, remains the darkness. A formless state of pre-creation, the darkness exists as an endless series of intertwining “signatures” – single possibilities waiting to be created in the illuminated forefront of reality. (...) Permitting each and every part of the lighted world to be connected to the rest, it possesses a “design” all of its own. The question is, if we are blind in the dark, how could we ever come to know it? (shrink)
Since the mid-90’s the figure of Peter Lombard and his Book of Sentences has regained the importance in scholarly world and been studied from both historical-theological and historical-philosophical perspectives. But some aspects of his thinking, encapsulated in the written form, which was to become the material basis for the thirteenth- through the fifteenth-century theological projects, remained somewhat insufficiently researched. Therefore this article analyzes the select parts of the Book of Sentences with the purpose of looking at how Peter Lombard handled (...) the issue of God’s knowledge. The article shows that for Peter Lombard God’s knowledge is God’s awareness of everything knowable. It has no causal power which belongs to the divine will. Nevertheless, this knowledge is able to function in two different modes: it can be either a purely cognitive act as awareness alone, or a double cognitive and voluntary act as awareness and simultaneous volition in the form of approbation. Hence, God’s knowledge in general is not causative, but God’s knowledge of the good must be causative because he simultaneously knows and wills what is good. The article reasonably suggests that Lombard’s logic implies the compatibility of God’s (fore)knowledge and voluntary activity, on the one hand, and the contingency of the created order and the rational creatures’ free will, on the other hand. But the details of this conception remain unrevealed as Lombard’s presentation of the problem is to be declared underdeveloped. (shrink)
This paper models God and time in the framework of modern physics. God bridges and simultaneously exists in (1) a universe with infinite tenseless time and (2) a created parallel universe with tensed time and a point origin. The primary attributes of God are inexhaustible love, inexhaustible perception, and inexhaustible force. The model also incorporates modern physics theories that include relativity, the conservation of energy, quantum mechanics, and multiverse geometry. For example, creation out of nothing and divine intervention are subject (...) to physical processes and likewise nomological possibility. I will call this model semiclassical theism. (shrink)
Patrick Grim and Einar Duenger Bohn have recently argued that there can be no perfectly knowing Being. In particular, they urge that the object of omniscience is logically absurd (Grim) or requires an impossible maximal point of all knowledge (Bohn). I argue that, given a more classical notion of omniscience found in Aquinas and Augustine, we can shift the focus of perfect knowledge from what that being must know to the mode of that being’s understanding. Since Grim and Bohn focus (...) on the object rather than mode of God’s knowledge, this classical approach to omniscience undermines their objections. (shrink)
The new theoretical perspective proposed by the Open Theism theologians, compels us to study in depth and to evaluate the “classic” argumentative tools used to solve the ancient antinomy between divine omniscience and human freedom, to which the thesis of the Open Theism try to give an innovative solution. Among these tools – invoked by many authors in the contemporary debate about omniscience, in analytic philosophy of religion – several ones are part of Thomas Aquinas’ thought: the division in primary (...) and secondary causes, the division of God’s knowledge, the distinction between propositions understood in sensu composito or in sensu diviso, the division between necessity de dicto or de re, and others. This paper aims to analyze the interpretation of these tools developed in the contemporary context and tries to draw some conclusions on the overall efficacy of the “Thomistic Solution” that we can build starting from these tools. La nuova prospettiva teoretica proposta dai sostenitori dell’Open Theism ha reso necessario un approfondimento e una valutazione degli strumenti argomentativi “classici” utilizzati per risolvere l’antica antinomia tra onniscienza divina e libertà umana, alla quale le tesi dell’Open Theism cercano di dare una soluzione innovativa. Tra questi strumenti – recuperati da molti autori nel contemporaneo dibattito sull’onniscienza, all’interno della filosofia analitica della religione – ve ne sono molti attribuiti a Tommaso d’Aquino: la divisione in causa prima e cause seconde, la suddivisione della conoscenza di Dio, la distinzione tra proposizioni intese in senso composto o in senso diviso, quella tra necessità de dicto e necessità de re, e altri. Il presente contributo si propone di analizzarne l’interpretazione sviluppata nel contesto contemporaneo e trarre alcune conclusioni sull’efficacia complessiva della “soluzione tomistica” che si può delineare a partire da questi strumenti. (shrink)
The End of the Timeless God considers two approaches to the philosophy of time, presentism and eternalism. It is often held that God cannot be timeless if presentism is true, but can be if eternalism is true. R. T. Mullins draws on recent work in the philosophy of time as well as the work of classical Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas to contend that the Christian God cannot be timeless in either case.
Over the past four decades, the issue of the relationship between divine omniscience and human freedom has been the subject of a great debate in the context of Analytic Philosophy of Religion. Many authors have contributed to the debate by formulating some ‘solutions’, taking inspiration from the thought of classical authors (e.g. Boethius, Aquinas, Ockham). One of these, is inspired by Luis de Molina’s thought. The Author, therefore, aims to present the main theoretical thesis of this solution, following the development (...) in the various publications about this question. The Author also tries to show how the thought of Molina has beeen “translated” in contemporary discourse, the limits of the solution, and make understandable the transition occurred within the debate, which led to the Molinist solution and then to the Open Theism. (shrink)
Rob Lovering has recently argued that God is not omniscient on the grounds that (1) in order to be omniscient a subject must not only know all truths always but also know what it's like not to know a truth, and (2) God cannot fulfil both of these requirements. I show that Lovering's argument is unsuccessful since he inadequately supports (1) and (2), and since there are several serious doubts about (2). I also show that Lovering does not otherwise indicate (...) that God is not maximally great. (shrink)
The debate on divine omniscience and its compatibility with human freedom, developed after the formulation of the famous Pike’s Argument, has led some authors to formulate a new form of theism called open theism. The main thesis of this theory deals with the redefinition of the attribute of omniscience – meant as dynamic – and other divine attributes, such as eternity and immutability. The core of the theory, however, lies in the assumption, in metaphysical terms, of the affirmation of the (...) New Testament «God is love» (revoking some insights of Trinitarian theology). Clearly, the critiques moved to open theism, in the intense and still underway debate, are various, but the most compelling ones concern the weakness of the new metaphysics that open theism is trying to build. After setting out the main features of the debate around omniscience, the thesis and the main objections to open theism, it appears possible to draw some conclusions which, although temporary, show how the theoretical path defended by open theism represents an appealing challenge for contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The philosophical thought of Massimo Cacciari and the conceptual issues of « open theism » are two speculative routes apparently very distant from each other. This contribution highlights the common goal in their going to the root of philosophic problems in order to seek an answer: they think of a divine way of becoming explaining the reason of both the reality of the world and the paradoxical reality of human freedom. The two routes tend to converge and recover concepts pertaining (...) to the Trinitarian speculation whose philosophical « translation » in philosophy passes, today, through the relational and trinitarian ontology, and also the « iperphatic » theology. In this convergence there is ground for thinking not only a truly Trinitarian theism, but also a Trinitarian philosophy, which considers Trinity as the essential summit of a good metaphysics. (shrink)
Theological fatalists contend that if God knows everything, then no human action is free, and that since God does know everything, no human action is free. One reply to such arguments that has become popular recently— a way favored by William Hasker and Peter van Inwagen—agrees that if God knows everything, no human action is free. The distinctive response of these philosophers is simply to say that therefore God does not know everything. On this view, what the fatalist arguments in (...) fact bring out is that it was logically impossible for God to have known the truths about what we would freely do in the future. And this is no defect in God’s knowledge, for infallible foreknowledge of such truths is a logical impossibility. It has commonly been assumed that this position constitutes an explanation of where the fatalist argument goes wrong. My first goal is to argue that any such assumption has in fact been a mistake; Hasker and van Inwagen have in effect said only that something does go wrong with the argument, but they have not explained what goes wrong with it. Once we see this result, we’ll see, I think, that they need such an account—and that no such account has in fact been provided. The second goal of this paper is therefore to develop— and to criticize— what seems to be the most promising such account they might offer. As I see it, this account will in fact highlight in an intuitively compelling new way what many regard to be the view’s chief liability, namely, that the truths about the future which God is said not to know will now appear even more clearly (and problematically)‘ungrounded’. (shrink)
Dennis Whitcomb argues that there is no God on the grounds that God is supposed to be omniscient, yet nothing could be omniscient due to the nature of grounding. We give a formally identical argument that concludes that one of the present co-authors does not exist. Since he does exist, Whitcomb’s argument is unsound. But why is it unsound? That is a difficult question. We venture two answers. First, one of the grounding principles that the argument relies on is false. (...) Second, the argument equivocates between two kinds of grounding: instance-grounding and quasi-mereological grounding. Happily, the equivocation can be avoided; unhappily, avoidance comes at the price of a false premise. (shrink)
In a series of recent papers John Martin Fischer argues that the Molinist solution to the problem of reconciling divine omniscience with human freedom does not offer such a solution at all. Instead, he maintains, Molina simply presupposes theological compatibilism. However, Fischer construes the problem in terms of sempiternalist omniscience, whereas classical Molinism adopts atemporalism. I argue that, moreover, an atemporalist reformulation of Fischer’s argument designed to show that Molinism is not even consistent is unsuccessful as well, since it employs (...) a transfer principle about causal inaccessibility that Molina rightfully rejects. (shrink)
It is not uncommon to think that the existence of exhaustive and infallible divine foreknowledge uniquely threatens the existence of human freedom. This paper shows that this cannot be so. For, to uniquely threaten human freedom, infallible divine foreknowledge would have to make an essential contribution to an explanation for why our actions are not up to us. And infallible divine foreknowledge cannot do this. There remains, however, an important question about the compatibility of freedom and foreknowledge. It is a (...) question not about the existence of foreknowledge, but about its mechanics. (shrink)
Many have attempted to respond to arguments for the incompatibility of freedom with divine foreknowledge by claiming that God’s beliefs about the future are explained by what the world is like at that future time. We argue that this response adequately advances the discussion only if the theist is able to articulate a model of foreknowledge that is both clearly possible and compatible with freedom. We investigate various models the theist might articulate and argue that all of these models fail.
In contemporary philosophy of religion, the doctrine of omniscience is typically rendered propositionally, as the claim that God knows all true propositions (and believes none that are false). But feminist work makes clear what even the analytic tradition sometimes confesses, namely, that propositional knowledge is quite limited in scope. The adequacy of propositional conceptions of omniscience is therefore in question. This paper draws on the work of feminist epistemologists to articulate alternative renderings of omniscience which remedy the deficiencies of the (...) traditional formulation. (shrink)
In this paper I present two new arguments against the possibility of an omniscient being. My new arguments invoke considerations of cardinality and resemble several arguments originally presented by Patrick Grim. Like Grim, I give reasons to believe that there must be more objects in the universe than there are beliefs. However, my arguments will rely on certain mereological claims, namely that Classical Extensional Mereology is necessarily true of the part-whole relation. My first argument is an instance of a problem (...) first noted by Gideon Rosen and requires an additional assumption about the mereological structure of certain beliefs. That assumption is that an omniscient being’s beliefs are mereological simples. However, this assumption is dropped when I present my second argument. Thus, I hope to show that if Classical Extensional Mereology is true of the part-whole relation, there cannot be an omniscient being. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Ockham appeared to maintain that God necessarily knows all true propositions, including future contingent propositions, despite the fact that such propositions have determinate truth values. While some commentators believe that Ockham’s attempt to reconcile divine omniscience with the contingency of true future propositions amounts to little more than a simple-minded assertion of Ockham’s Christian faith, I argue that Ockham’s position is more sophisticated than this and rests on attributing to God a dual knowledge property: God not only knows every true (...) proposition, but knows its modal properties as well. Future contingent propositions are determinately true when actualized, not timelessly, and God’s knowledge of their truth values is knowledge of when the truth value of a proposition is actually determined. (shrink)
The Storms of Providence surveys and critiques Calvinism, Arminianism, and Open Theism as models of the divine-world relationship. Further, the book defends a modified version of traditional Arminianism. The author contends that the most theologically and philosophically sound model of the divine-world relationship is one that affirms that human actions are free and not divinely determined, even while asserting that God has complete knowledge of the future.
As a result of his studies in metalogicEssler became convincedthat an absolute fixed totality of alltruths and a final metalanguage doesnot exist. Taking this result into account,it is shown that the usualabsolute concept of omniscience isuntenable. From this it can be concludedthat definitions of knowledge whichappeal to such a concept of omnisciencelead to serious problems.
Paul Helm presents a new, expanded edition of his much praised 1988 book Eternal God, which defends the view that God exists in timeless eternity. Helm argues that divine timelessness is grounded in the idea of God as creator, and that this alone makes possible a proper account of divine omniscience.
The chapters of this volume originated as papers presented at the Ohio State University, March 3-4, 1982. Students of philosophy and theology should find the work interesting, both as an introduction to medieval thought and as a source of insights into issues still disputed.
Richard M.Gale reviewed my book in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews in May 2009. The overall conclusion of my reply is that although Gale repeatedly claims that the book is defective, his review has not identified any genuine defects.