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Friday, March 05, 2010

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Bill,

Why not plausibly deny 3? "Creation" is widely held to entail a.) a quasi-transition from non-existence to existence and b.) the conservation of the existence of things. Set aside a and just keep b. By substitution, 3 then becomes:

"There are contingent items of divine knowledge that do not depend on God conserving the existence of things, but do depend on creaturely freedom."

Even if we replace the word "creation" with something else (like "the divine will") I still think the problem repeats itself, since God is in fact Creator.

I'm having trouble seeing how (1) and (2) entail ~(3). God might know prior to the creation of any L-free being in W what they will (freely) do in W, supposing God has middle knowledge. Indeed, God might ensure that every L-free agent does what is right in W by simply uttering the words "all L-free agents will always go right". Those agents will still be L-free, since it's just a soft fact that God utters those words. Still, what the agents do depends on what God utters in each world, not vice versa. That is, there seem to be ways to make (1) and (2) compatible with (3).

Dr. Vallicella:

Your recent treatments concerning the Trinity and Divine Simplicity have been both enjoyable and illuminating. Thanks for your lucid efforts in this regard, especially as I've lately found myself preoccupied by these subjects.

For to say that God is a se is to say that God is not dependent on anything distinct from himself.

I've always understood God's having aseity to entail that He's self-existent, depending on nothing distinct from Himself for His existence. This appears to be a narrower conception of aseity than the one you described, but perhaps I've misapprehended you. So if one accepts this understanding of aseity, wouldn't this, at least to some extent, alter the dependence relation between God and Oswald's action? That is, as many theists affirm, God only depends on Oswald's action in the sense that He depends on Oswald for what He knows, not that He knows (all true propositions).

Peace,

-- Marc

James,

I don't see how one could plausibly deny (3). Although (3) is perhaps poorly formulated, the idea is that there are propositions that God knows that cannot be true solely on account of divine activity. Compare *God knows that I am freely blogging* with *God knows that there are human beings.* The latter is true, and is known by God, because God created the world and the human beings in it. The former is true in part because of my free choice and not solely on account of divine activity. So God's mental state in knowing that I am freely blogging is partially dependnet on what I freely decide -- which fact appears to compromise the divine aseity.

Marc,

I am glad that these posts have been of of use to you.

Aseity entails self-existence. But there is more to it than that. Suppose that God is self-existent in the sense that he does not depend on anything distinct from himself for his existence, but does depend on things distinct from himself for his being omniscient, being omnipotent, etc. Then God would not be a se, from itself. If omniscience and omnipotence were Platonic Forms that God participates in, then God would be dependent on these Forms to be what he is. Now what a thing is is 'part' of its Being: so God would not be absolutely as se as he must be if he is to be an absolute reality. Nothing absolute can be dependent on something other than it.

Mike,

Middle knowledge does add a further wrinkle. If *God knows that I am freely blogging* compromises the divine aseity, then it would see that the same would hold for *God knows that I would be freely blogging were I created and placed in my present circumstances.* For is it not a contingent fact about me that I would freely blog were I to exist in my present circumstances? If yes, then God's mental state in knowing the second proposition depends on a contingent fact -- which compromises the divine aseity.

Mr. Vallicella,

On page 28 of Brower's article, we get this argument:

(1) If predications of contingent divine knowledge appear to make God dependent on something distinct from himself, then a question arises that has to do with the consistency of this account with divine aseity.

(2) Predications of contingent divine knowledge appear to make God dependent on something distinct from himself.

(3) A question arises that has to do with the consistency of this account with divine aseity.

But is 2 true? Rather, predications of contingent divine knowledge appear to make God's knowledge dependent on something distinct from God. Unless God depends on his knowledge, the remainder of the article seems irrelevant. According to Brower's account, God does not depend on his relations of agent-causation. (p.27) Why should his cognitive relations be any different?

You wrote:

"But God has the the property of being such that he knows that Oswald freely chose to kill Kennedy, and his having this property depends on something outside of God's control, namely, Oswald's L-free choice."

"Having this property" is just the cognitive relation extrinsically predicated of God, yes? It doesn't seem to matter what the relation depends on if God does not depend on the relation.

Consider two propositions:
(1) Some predication depends on its truthmaker.
(2) The subject of some predication depends on the predication's truthmaker.

I think Brower moves from (1) to (2) on page 27. ("Nor is there any danger of this truthmaker's violating divine aseity...")

Only when (2) is accepted and the subject is God does it seem necessary to show that the truthmaker depends on God.

When the predication is intrinsic, the subject is the predication's truthmaker.(Brower, p.23) By (1), "God is wise" depends on God. By (2), God depends on God.

When the predication is extrinsic, there may be no truthmaker. If there is, then it is not simply the subject. By (1), "God knows Oswald's L-free choice" depends on God, God's cognitive relation to Oswald's choice, and Oswald's choice. By (2), God depends on God, God's cognitive relation to Oswald's choice, and Oswald's choice.

Hence, "For whether or not predications like G7a are extrinsic, they appear to make God dependent on something distinct from himself-- namely, the objects of his contingent knowledge." (Brower, p.28)

The Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without Original Sin though through the merits of Christ's suffering and death. Yet, Christ's suffering and death could come about only through Mary's L-free agreement to become his mother.

So, it appears the effect came before the cause. But in any case, God knew what Mary's L-free choice would be otherwise she would not have been preserved from Original Sin and the fact she was preserved depended only on God and not her choice since it preceded her choice.

Parallel cases are seen in predestination and in the efficacy of prayer.

Furthermore, if God is the cause of all causes he would be a cause of every L-free decision, presumably knowing that he is causing and what he is causing, namely, the very freedom of the agent.

AT,

Neither Scotus who more or less formulated that view of the IC nor Aquinas who opposed the idea thought Mary had LF. At best they are source incompatibilists but probably some form of soft determinist. Consequently LFW isn't part of the idea that Mary was immaculately conceived.

"Neither Scotus who more or less formulated that view of the IC nor Aquinas who opposed the idea thought Mary had LF."

Maybe not, but Vallicella said: 1. Every free agent is a libertarianly-free (L-free) agent.

I should try to be more clear.

If we assume the BVM was L-free, still God knew what her choice would be because he granted her freedom from Original Sin.

So, either L-freedom doesn't mean God doesn't know what choices will be made, contrary to what many say. Or, L-free choices are not the case and we have to go with C-freedom.

AT,

Well at that point, I'd object that the IC is incompatible with LFW since she is not the source of the character and will that she ends up having. She lacks self forming willings and a self formed will and so fails to fulfill the UR condition at the least and most certainly the AP condition.

This is one reason why the Orthodox do not adhere to that dogma.


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