Thomas P. Flint Archives



More Generally: Contemporary Thinkers (198)

July 20, 2020

Almeida on Unrestricted Actualization

Molinism is the view that God has comprehensive knowledge of what free creatures would freely choose in any possible circumstance in which they might exist and be free. These kinds of propositions are called counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (CCFs). According to the Molinist, God knows these propositions, but cannot choose them. Although they are contingent, they do not depend on God's will. Instead, God exercises providential control by deciding which creatures to create and in which circumstances to place them while knowing what they will freely choose in those circumstances. Theological determinism is the view that every contingent state of...
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April 25, 2019

Leibnizian Supercomprehension

In a recent paper, Juan Garcia has argued that Leibniz is, in an important sense, "a friend of Molinism."1 For those who are familiar with contemporary versions of Molinism (e.g., Flint), this suggestion is rather surprising, since Leibniz is clearly a theological determinist: he holds that God chooses every detail of the actual world. Further, a key feature of Molinism (particularly as it is understood in recent analytic philosophy) is the idea that God's options for creation are limited by contingent but prevolitional counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. The contrary assumption, that God could have actualized any possible world, was dubbed...
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February 14, 2019

Molinism and the Logic of Subjunctive Conditionals

The following is a plausible principle of the logic of subjunctive conditionals: ◊(p□→q), ◊p ⊨ ◊q This is to say that if a subjunctive conditional is possible true, and its antecedent is possibly true, then its consequent is also possibly true. This principle is validated by most accounts of subjunctive conditionals, including those that allow for non-trivial counterpossibles. If Molinism is true, then this principle is very likely false. According to Molinism (as I use the term here), God exists necessarily and essentially possesses the attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, moral perfection, etc. God possesses two types of knowledge logically prior...
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May 19, 2015

Molinism and Circularity

Yesterday, I discussed Thomas Flint's response to the grounding objection in chapter 5 of Divine Providence: The Molinist Account. Today, I want to discuss his response to Robert Adams in chapter 7. Adams' objection turns on a notion of explanatory priority which, Flint complains, is not adequately defined. Flint argues that there is an equivocation in the argument, and that Adams relies on a transitivity assumption which is not plausible when applied across the different sorts of priority involved. I think, however, that Flint is mistaken on both counts: first, the notion in question is not equivocal. Rather, it is...
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May 18, 2015

Future Contingents and the Grounding Objection to Molinism

In chapter 5 of Divine Providence: The Molinist Account (1998), Thomas Flint defends a response to the grounding objection which he attributes to Alfred Freddoso. According to the Flint-Freddoso line, there are difficulties about future contingents which are exactly parallel to the difficulties about counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, and solutions to the problems about future contingents can be adapted to provide equally plausible solutions to the problems about counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. This claim is false. The exact formulation of the grounding objection is a little tricky. Some philosophers take it to be based on the (questionable) assumption of some...
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May 20, 2013

Omnipotence and the 'Delimiter of Possibilities' View

Aquinas notes that some analyses of omnipotence have a serious problem: they reduce the apparently substantive claim "God is omnipotent" to the trivial claim that God "can do all that He is able to do." Now, perhaps it is true that to be omnipotent is to be able to do everything God is able to do (or at least that omnipotence entails this), but this is hardly an illuminating analysis. In several places in his Anselmian Explorations, Thomas Morris defends the view that the Anselmian God is the 'delimiter of possibilities.' This view has been endorsed by other Anselmians, and...
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