August 12, 2010

More on FWD and Brute Contingencies

Yesterday, I noted that Plantinga's Free Will Defense (FWD), as it appears in The Nature of Necessity (NN) involves some very odd brute contingencies. These brute contingencies are not determined by God, or by anything else at all. They are truly brute: there is no reason or explanation for them. Furthermore, they limit God's power.

When Plantinga admits that according to his theory "the power of an omnipotent God [is] limited by the freedom he confers upon his creatures" (NN 190), he cites William Wainwright, "Freedom and Omnipotence", Nous 2 (1968): 293-301. As it turns out, Wainwright is responding to an earlier version of Plangtina's FWD, and makes more or less the point that I was making about the counterfactuals of freedom being brute contingencies that limit God even if he decides not to make the creatures they are about. Wainwright says that you might think that this means that there could be a being greater than God actually is. After all, there is a possible world where God can make beings that always freely choose right. However, according to Wainwright, this would not be a greater God, it would simply be a luckier God. So we're stuck with a world full of evil because of God's (and our) ill luck.

What's really odd is that Wainwright says all of this sympathetically; he seems to be trying to fend off objections to Plantinga's FWD. Then Plantinga cites Wainwright as clarifying his own views on how creaturely freedom limits divine omnipotence.

I'm wondering if there is something I'm not seeing here. Is there some reason why this is not as crazy as it looks?

Posted by Kenny at August 12, 2010 12:08 PM
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