Recent conversations have again turned my attention to claims by Muller and the Utrecht school, to the effect that “Classic Reformed theology is not a species of determinism.” I find most of the substantive conclusions they draw perplexing. Aside from the fact that it is a live and open debate whether the intellectual progenitor(s)—whether Aristotle, Aquinas, or Scotus—of putative classic Reformed theologians were compatibilists or not, is that I have a hard time seeing how their conclusions follow even given what they say about the views of the classical Reformed theologians. (more…)
Here’s a worry. The claim that “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3) is something on which virtually all Christians agree. Many think this claim is at the heart of the Christian faith. Suppose you think that Jesus died for your particular sins, which seems to be a fairly popular pre-theoretical view. Then, we might wonder how we can avoid (in a strong, libertarian sense) doing those specific sins. If we cannot, then it would seem that (one aspect of) the atonement rules out our having libertarian free will. Of course, this wouldn’t deal a knockout blow to the conjunction of Christianity and libertarian free will. It would mean, however, that Christians who affirm libertarian free will could not affirm that Jesus died for our particular sins. But, not only does it seem possible that Jesus did indeed die for our particular sins (and holding to libertarian free will would commit you to its necessary falsehood (in saying this I am assuming some modal moves that I don’t spell out here)), rejecting such a notion means rejecting what I take to be a fairly common and wide-spread belief, one which many Christians who hold to libertarian free will have also held. This would be, if not ad hoc, at least a previously unnoticed cost of “free will theism.” Let me flesh this out a bit. (more…)
In the course of his commentary on John 6, Aquinas writes, (more…)
In Jerry Walls’ “Why No Classical Theist, Let Alone Orthodox Christian, Should Ever be a Compatibilist” (Philosopia Christi, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2011), he offers an interesting argument to the conclusion that some actually existing humans have libertarian free will. Here is his argument, numbering in the original: (more…)
I. Calvinism and its discontents
Many theologians and philosophers have serious problems with Calvinism. Typically, Calvinism is presented as a system committed to (some form of) determinism about all of man’s actions. Call this determinism, ‘theological determinism’ (TD). Since Calvinists hold that man is (at least) morally responsible for some of his actions, then it seems that Calvinism is committed to compatibilism. I’ll define ‘compatibilism’ (COMP) as the view that moral responsibility is compatible with TD. That is, there exists a model on which both TD and COMP are true. Call this conjunction, ‘THEOCOMP’.
Part five of a series on arguments for/against incompatibilism.
In this final post of the series I’ll argue that Andrew Bailey’s (2012) Another Argument (for incompatibilism) fails according to the standards it sets for itself. Recall that the “original” consequence argument, CA, failed as an argument for strict incompatibilism because it relied on a contingent premise to get a necessary conclusion. Joseph Campbell illustrated this nicely via his “Adam” example. Adam is a being who has no past and does a free action in a determined world. Incompatibilists will say Adam’s action couldn’t be free. But how can they show this? Not by the CA. Call this objection, The No Past Objection, NPO. (more…)
Part four of a series on arguments for/against incompatibilism.
In this post, I’ll provide the gist of Bailey’s (2012) argument for strict incompatibilism; thus, there will be details left out, but I don’t think passing over them will hinder us as we move forward. It’s important to remember that Bailey’s argument is intended to do three things: (1) get us strict incompatibilism, (2) get us strict incompatibilism without cost (cf. my previous post), and (3) avoid Joseph Campbell’s No Past Objection.