The traditional view of heaven holds that the redeemed in heaven both have free will and are no longer capable of sinning. A number of philosophers have argued that the traditional view is problematic. How can someone be free and yet incapable of sinning? If the redeemed are kept from sinning, their wills must be reined in. And if their wills are reined in, it doesn’t seem right to say that they are free. Following James Sennett, we call this objection (...) to the traditional view of heaven ‘the Problem of Heavenly Freedom’. In this paper, we discuss and criticize four attempts to respond to the Problem of Heavenly Freedom. We then offer our own response to this problem which both preserves the traditional view of heaven and avoids the objections which beset the other attempts. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore how free will should be understood within the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, particularly on the assumption of traditional Christology. We focus on two issues: reconciling Christ's free will with the claim that Christ's human will was subjected to the divine will in the Incarnation; and reconciling the claims that Christ was fully human and free with the belief that Christ, since God, could not sin.
In a recent issue of Faith and Philosophy, Steven Cowan calls into question our success in responding to what we called the “Problem of Heavenly Free- dom” in our earlier “Incompatibilism, Sin, and Free Will in Heaven.” In this reply, we defend our view against Cowan’s criticisms.
The present volume is devoted to philosophical reflection on the nature of paradise. Our contribution to this larger project is an extension of previous work that we’ve done on the nature of human agency and virtue in heaven. Here, we’d like to focus on three things. First, we will discuss in greater detail what it is we mean by “growth in virtue.” Second, we will answer a number of objections to that understanding of growth in virtue. Third, we will show (...) two benefits of this understanding of growth in virtue. Along the way, we’ll also draw a number of comparisons between our understanding of the nature of heavenly character and some of the other chapters in the present volume. (shrink)
Envy is, roughly, the disposition to desire that another lose a perceived good so that one can, by comparison, feel better about one’s self. The divisiveness of envy follows not just from one’s willing against the good of the other, but also from the other vices that spring from it. It is for this second reason that envy is a capital vice. This chapter begins by arguing for a definition of envy similar to that given by Aquinas and then considers (...) its relationship to other vices (e.g. jealousy, schadenfreude, and hate). At the heart of envy is a disposition to make relative comparisons which lead to a sense of inferiority. This is turn can lead a person to feel and act in ways destructive of community and the self. The present chapter also addresses recent work in both psychology and economics related to envy. (shrink)
In a recent issue of Faith and Philosophy, TimothyPawl and KevinTimpe seek to respond to the so-called “Problem of Heavenly Freedom,” the problem ofexplaining how the redeemed in heaven can be free yet incapable of sinning. In the course of offering their solution, they argue that compatibilism is inadequateas a solution because it (1) undermines the free will defense against the logical problem of evil, and (2) exacerbates the problem of evil by making God (...) the “author of sin.” In this paper, I respond to these charges and argue that compatibilism can offer a satisfactory explanation for the sinlessness of the redeemed in heaven. I also raise some problems for Pawl’s and Timpe’s incompatibilist solution. (shrink)
In a recent paper, “Incompatiblism, Sin, and Free Will in Heaven,” TimothyPawl and KevinTimpe discuss and propose a novel solution to a problem posed for traditional Christian theism that they call the Problem of Heavenly Freedom. In short, Christian tradition contains what seems to be a contradiction, namely, the redeemed in heaven are free but nonetheless can’t sin. Pawl and Timpe’s solution to the Problem of Heavenly Freedom is particularly attractive for two (...) reasons: it shows great respect for the Christian tradition’s teaching on heaven, and it entails that the redeemed in heaven act with morally weighty libertarian free will. Nonetheless, I think their solution can be improved upon. By drawing on some of the teachings of the Catholic tradition on heaven, particularly those of St. Thomas Aquinas, I raise three objections to Pawl and Timpe’s solution and introduce a modified version of their solution. In doing so, I have attempted to make their “best” solution to the Problem of Heavenly Freedom even better. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore some of the motivations behind John Martin Fischer's semi-compatibilism. Particularly, I look at three reasons Fischer gives for preferring semi-compatibilism to libertarianism. I argue that the first two of these motivations are in tension with each other: the more one is moved by the first motivation, the less one can appeal to the second, and vice versa. I then argue that Fischer's third motivation ought not move anyone to prefer Fischer's semi-compatibilist picture to any of (...) the leading contemporary libertarian theories. Finally, I make some methodological comments about the role intuitions play in Fischer's project. (shrink)
This work presents a historically informed, systematic exposition of the Christology of the first seven Ecumenical Councils of undivided Christendom, from the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD. Assuming the truth of Conciliar Christology for the sake of argument, TimothyPawl considers whether there are good philosophical arguments that show a contradiction or incoherence in that doctrine. He presents the definitions of important terms in the debate and a (...) helpful metaphysics for understanding the incarnation. -/- In Defense of Conciliar Christology discusses three types of philosophical objections to Conciliar Christology. Firstly, it highlights the fundamental philosophical problem facing Christology: how can one thing be both God and man, when anything deserving to be called "God" must have certain attributes, and yet it seems that nothing that can aptly be called "man" can have those same attributes? It then considers the argument that if the Second Person of the Holy Trinity were immutable or atemporal, as Conciliar Christology requires, then that Person could not become anything, and thus could not become man. Finally, Pawl addresses the objection that if there is a single Christ then there is a single nature or will in Christ. However, if that conditional is true, then Conciliar Christology is false, since it affirms the antecedent of the conditional to be true, but denies the truth of the consequent. Pawl defends Conciliar Christology against these charges, arguing that all three philosophical objections fail to show Conciliar Christology inconsistent or incoherent. (shrink)
In “The Trouble with Tracing,” Manuel Vargas argues that tracing-based approaches to moral responsibility are considerably more problematic than previously acknowledged. Vargas argues that many initially plausible tracing-based cases of moral responsibility turn out to be ones in which the epistemic condition for moral responsibility is not satisfied, thus suggesting that contrary to initial appearances the agent isn’t morally responsible for the action in question. In the present paper, I outline two different strategies for responding to Vargas’s trouble with tracing. (...) I then show how further consideration of the epistemic condition for moral responsibility renders tracing significantly less problematic than Vargas claims. (shrink)
In this paper I show that the problem of temporary intrinsics and a fundamental philosophical problem concerning the doctrine of the incarnation are isomorphic. To do so, I present the problem of temporary intrinsics, along with five responses to the problem. I then present the fundamental problem for Christology, which I call the problem of natural intrinsics. I present six responses to that problem, all but the last analogous to a response to the problem of temporary intrinsics. My goal is (...) not to argue that any individual response to either problem is correct. Instead, my goal is to present and defend an interesting and unnoticed similarity between two different problems, and to note how work on one problem can help with work on the other. -/- This is a penultimate manuscript, and not a final version, of a forthcoming article in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. As such, please do not cite this version; cite the official version, due out in OSPR VII in 2015. (shrink)
In this article I canvas the options available to a proponent of the traditional doctrine of the incarnation against a charge of incoherence. In particular, I consider the charge of incoherence due to incompatible predications both being true of the same one person, the God-man Jesus Christ. For instance, one might think that any- thing divine has to have certain attributes – perhaps omnipotence, or impassibility. But, the charge continues, nothing human can be omnipotent or impassible. And so nothing can (...) be divine and human. So Christ is not both God and man, contrary to the traditional doctrine of the incarnation. To do so, first, in Section II, I will present the problem as a deductively valid argument. I then, in that section, go on to show that the proponent of traditional Christology should grant all but one premise of the argument. In the remaining sections I will canvas possible solutions to the problem. In Section III I discuss three ways to deny Premise 3 of the forthcoming argument. These ways include a Kenotic response, qua-modification (in four versions), and finally a response that accepts the compatibility of the allegedly incompatible predicates. (shrink)
This paper argues that human agency is not simply a function of intrinsic properties about the agent, but that agency instead depends on the ecology that the agent is in. In particular, the paper examines ways that disabilities affect agency and shows how, by paying deliberate attention to structuring the social environment around people with disabilities, we can mitigate some of the agential impact of those disabilities. The paper then argues that the impact of one’s social environment on agency isn’t (...) restricted only to those agents that have disabilities, but also characterizes all human agency. All of our agency is environmentally dependent. (shrink)
[paragraph 3 of the article] The goal of this article is to flesh out that initial understanding of incarnational immutability. The method I employ to attain this goal is to consider cases of predications from the texts of conciliar Christology. I show potential ontological truth conditions for those predications being true that do not require the truth conditions I propose for immutability to be unsatisfied. Put otherwise, I show ontological truth conditions for predications that imply Christ’s mutability and Incarnation that (...) are also consistent with the truth of “Christ is immutable.” Since the truth conditions for the incarnational texts do not require the falsity of the claim that “Christ is immutable,” the incarnational claims do not require the rejection of immutability. In other words, the Incarnation is no reason to deny divine immutability, and vice versa. (shrink)
This article addresses a difficult case at the intersection of philosophical theology and truthmaker theory. I show that three views, together, lead to difficultiesin providing truthmakers for truths of contingent predication, such as that the bread is white. These three views are: the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation, astandard truthmaker theory, and a trope view of properties. I present and explain each of these three views, at each step noting their connections to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. After presenting the (...) three views, I show why they entail a difficulty for providing truthmakers for truths of contingent predication,drawing on two cases that are not impossible, for all we know. I then present four ways that one can respond to this difficulty, afterward noting some shortcomingsof those responses. (shrink)
This paper considers how a number of particular disabilities can impact agency primarily by affecting what psychologists refer to as ‘executive function.’ Some disabilities, I argue, could decrease agency even without fully undermining it. I see this argument as contributing to the growing literature that sees agency as coming in degrees. The first section gives a broad outline of a fairly standard approach to agency. The second section relates that framework to the existing literature, which suggests that agency comes in (...) degrees. The third section considers the psychological literature on executive function with a particular focus on how aspects of executive function contribute to agency. I then consider, in sections 4 and 5, two disabilities that have an impact on an agent’s executive function. Other disabilities will likely involve comparable impacts, although I don’t have time to explore additional disabilities in the present paper. (shrink)
Eleonore Stump has recently articulated an account of grace which is neither deterministic nor Pelagian. Drawing on resources from Aquinas’s moral psychology, Stump’s account of grace affords the quiescence of the will a significant role in an individual’s coming to saving faith. In the present paper, I firstoutline Stump’s account and then raise a worry for that account. I conclude by suggesting a metaphysic that provides a way of resolving this worry. The resulting view allows one to maintain both (i) (...) that divine grace is the efficient cause of saving faith and (ii) that humans control whether or not they come to saving faith. (shrink)
Call the claim, common to many in the Christian intellectual tradition, that Christ, in virtue of his created human intellect, had certain, infallible exhaustive foreknowledge the Foreknowledge Thesis. Now consider what I will call the Conditional: If the Foreknowledge Thesis is true, then Christ’s created human will lacked an important sort of freedom that we mere humans have. Insofar as many, perhaps all, of the people who affirm the Foreknowledge Thesis also wish to affirm the robust freedom of Christ’s human (...) will, the truth of the Conditional would be most unwelcome to them. I consider an argument in support of the Conditional from the necessary conditions for deliberation, arguing that the argument fails. (shrink)
I argue that Traditional Christian Theism is inconsistent with Truthmaker Maximalism, the thesis that all truths have truthmakers. Though this original formulation requires extensive revision, the gist of the argument is as follows. Suppose for reductio Traditional Christian Theism and the sort of Truthmaker Theory that embraces Truthmaker Maximalism are both true. By Traditional Christian Theism, there is a world in which God, and only God, exists. There are no animals in such a world. Thus, it is true in such (...) a world that there are no zebras. That there are no zebras must have a truthmaker, given Truthmaker Maximalism. God is the only existing object in such a world, and so God must be the truthmaker for this truth, given that it has a truthmaker. But truthmakers necessitate the truths they make true. So, for any world, at any time at which God exists, God makes that there are no zebras true. According to Traditional Christian Theism, God exists in our world. In our world, then, it is true: there are no zebras. But there are zebras. Contradiction! Thus, the conjunction of Traditional Christian Theism with Truthmaker Necessitation and Truthmaker Maximalism is inconsistent. (shrink)
In this paper I have briefly presented the problem of temporary intrinsics, along with five types of responses to the problem. I then presented the fundamental problem for Christology, which I called the problem of natural intrinsics. I presented six types of response to the problem, all but the last analogous to a response to the problem of temporary intrinsics. my goal has not been to argue that any individual response to either problem is correct. Instead, my goal has been (...) to present an interesting and unnoticed similarity between two different problems, and to note how work on one problem can help with work on the other. (shrink)
This paper analyzes Catholic philosophy by investigating the parameters that Catholic dogmatic claims set for theories of truthmaking. First I argue that two well-known truthmaker views—the view that properties alone are the truthmakers for contingent predications, and the view that all truths need truthmakers—are precluded by Catholic dogma. In particular, the doctrine of transubstantiation precludes the first, and the doctrines of divine causality and divine freedom together preclude the second. Next, I argue that the doctrine of the Incarnation, together with (...) an admittedly-contested theological premise, requires a vast and sweeping revision to the standard view of truthmakers for predicative truths. (shrink)
This volume presents a systematic exploration of the relationship between religious beliefs and various accounts of free will in the contemporary domain. With a particular eye on how theological commitments might shape our views about the nature of free will, a team of leading experts in the field explores an important gap in the current debate. They focus their attention on this crucial point of intellectual intersection with surprising and illuminating results.
In current debates about moral responsibility, it is common to differentiate two fundamentally different incompatibilist positions: Leeway Incompatibilism and Source Incompatibilism. The present paper argues that this is a bad dichotomy. Those forms of Leeway Incompatibilism that have no appeal to ‘origination’ or ‘ultimacy’ are problematic, which suggests that incompatibilists should prefer Source Incompatibilism. Two sub-classifications of Source Incompatibilism are then differentiated: Narrow Source Incompatibilism holds that alternative possibilities are outside the scope of what is required for moral responsibility, and (...) Wide Source Incompatibilism holds that while ultimacy is most fundamental to moral responsibility, an agent meeting the ultimacy condition will also have alternative possibilities, thereby also satisfying an alternative possibilities condition. The present paper argues that the most promising incompatibilist positions will be versions of Wide Source Incompatibilism. (shrink)
This volume focuses on contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion through an engagement with Eleonore Stump’s seminal work in the field. Topics covered include: the metaphysics of the divine nature ; the nature of love and God’s relation to human happiness; and the issue of human agency.
Marilyn McCord Adams argues that God’s goodness to individuals requires God to defeat horrendous evils; it is not enough for God to outweigh these evils through compensatory goods. On her view, God defeats the evils experienced by an individual if and only if God’s goodness to the individual enables her to integrate the evil organically into a unified life story she perceives as good and meaningful. In this essay, we seek to apply Adams’s theodicy of defeat to a particular form (...) of suffering. We argue that God’s goodness to individuals requires that God defeat the suffering to which a range of disabilities can give rise. (shrink)
Call the claim, common to many in the Christian intellectual tradition, that Christ, in virtue of his created human intellect, had certain, infallible, exhaustive foreknowledge the Foreknowledge Thesis. Now consider what I will call the Conditional: if the Foreknowledge Thesis is true, then Christ's created human will was not free. In so far as many, perhaps all, of the people who affirm the Foreknowledge Thesis also wish to affirm the freedom of Christ's human will, the truth of the Conditional would (...) be most unwelcome to them. I consider an argument in support of the Conditional; I argue that it is not successful. (shrink)
I consider the fundamental philosophical problem for Christology: how can one and the same person, the Second Person of the Trinity, be both God and man. For being God implies having certain attributes, perhaps immutability, or impassibility, whereas being human implies having apparently inconsistent attributes. This problem is especially vexing for the proponent of Conciliar Christology – the Christology taught in the Ecumenical Councils – since those councils affirm that Christ is both mutable and immutable, both passible and impassible, etc. (...) Many extant solutions to this problem approach it by claiming that the predicates are incompatible when said of the same thing without qualification, but that once the appropriate qualification is added, compatibility is achieved. I provide a different approach. Here I argued that the predicates can be understood so that they are compatible. I then work out the logical relations between the predicates, so understood, showing that no contradiction follows from understanding them in the way I suggest. After that, I consider some of the motivations we have for believing the purportedly incompatible pairs to be, in fact, incompatible, and argue that, on the view offered here, we can salvage most of our intuitions that motivate taking the predicates as incompatible. Finally, I consider three objections. (shrink)
In ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility,’ Harry Frankfurt introduces a scenario aimed at showing that the having of alternative possibilities is not required for moral responsibility. According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), an agent is morally responsible for her action only if she could have done otherwise; Frankfurt thinks his scenario shows that PAP is, in fact, false. Frankfurt thinks that the denial of PAP gives credence to compatibilism, the thesis that an agent could both be causally determined (...) in all her actions and yet be morally responsible.1 Since its introduction, Frankfurt’s original ex-. (shrink)