The fruitful death of modal collapse arguments

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 91 (1):3-22 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Modal collapse arguments are all the rage in certain philosophical circles as of late. The arguments purport to show that classical theism entails the absurdly fatalistic conclusion that everything exists necessarily. My first aim in this paper is bold: to put an end to action-based modal collapse arguments against classical theism. To accomplish this, I first articulate the ‘Simple Modal Collapse Argument’ and then characterize and defend Tomaszewski’s criticism thereof. Second, I critically examine Mullins’ new modal collapse argument formulated in response to the aforementioned criticism. I argue that Mullins’ new argument does not succeed. Third, I critically examine a powers-based modal collapse argument against classical theism that has received much less attention in the literature. Fourth, I show why God’s being purely actual, as well God’s being identical to each of God’s acts, simply cannot entail modal collapse given indeterministic causation. This, I take it, signals the death of modal collapse arguments. But not all hope is lost for proponents of modal collapse arguments—for the death is a fruitful one insofar as it paves the way for new inquiry into at least two new potential problems for classical theism. Showing this is my paper’s second aim.

Similar books and articles

Modal theistic arguments.Graham Oppy - 1993 - Sophia 32 (2):17-24.
Do Modal Distinctions Collapse in Carnap’s System?Genoveva Marti - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 23 (6):575 - 593.
Modal Collapse and Modal Fallacies: No Easy Defense of Simplicity.John William Waldrop - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (2):161-179.
Modal collapse in Gödel's ontological proof.Srećko Kovač - 2012 - In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontological Proofs Today. Ontos Verlag. pp. 50--323.
Essentialist arguments against descriptivism.Michael Mcglone - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):443-462.
Another Look at the Modal Collapse Argument.Omar Fakhri - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (1):1-23.
Modal epistemology.Peter Van Inwagen - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (1):67--84.
Without Reason?Benjamin Schnieder & Alex Steinberg - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):523-541.
The Dynamics of Argumentative Discourse.Carlotta Pavese & Alexander W. Kocurek - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (2):413-456.
Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.
Collapse of the Wave Function: Models, Ontology, Origin, and Implications.Shan Gao (ed.) - 2018 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Impossibilia and Modally Tensed Predication.Takashi Yagisawa - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (4):317-323.


Added to PP

3,592 (#1,739)

6 months
952 (#1,056)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Joseph Schmid
Princeton University

Citations of this work

Divine Simplicity.William F. Vallicella - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Božanska jednostavnost i mit o modalnom kolapsu.Khalil Andani - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (2):7-33.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Free Will and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2006 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
On the logic of demonstratives.David Kaplan - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):81 - 98.
The End of the Timeless God.R. T. Mullins - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 31 references / Add more references