Best feasible worlds: divine freedom and Leibniz’s Lapse

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 77 (3):219-229 (2015)
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William L. Rowe’s argument against divine freedom has drawn considerable attention from theist philosophers. One reply to Rowe’s argument that has emerged in the recent literature appeals to modified accounts of libertarian freedom which have the result that God may be free even if he necessarily actualizes the best possible world. Though in many ways attractive, this approach appears to lead to the damning consequence of modal collapse i.e., that the actual world is the only possible world. But appearances can be deceiving, and in this paper I argue that the threat of modal collapse dissolves when we consider Alvin Plantinga’s critique of the purportedly Leibnizian notion that God can actualize any possible world, and incorporate the implications of this critique into the divine freedom debate. Developing a suggestion by Edward R. Wierenga, I argue first that the modal collapse objection fails within a Molinist context, and then I extend the discussion beyond that context to show that the objection also fails on the assumption that Molinism is false

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Justin Mooney
College of the Holy Cross

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References found in this work

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
The existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
God, freedom, and evil.Alvin Plantinga - 1978 - Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Must God create the best?Robert Merrihew Adams - 1972 - Philosophical Review 81 (3):317-332.
The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 1981 - Philosophical Quarterly 31 (122):85-88.

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