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This is part 2 of a series I’m doing on chapter 3 of Oliver Crisp’s new book, Deviant Calvinism (part one here). First, to summarize the main point of the previous post: Crisp wants to argue that libertarian freedom is consistent with Reformed Theology, specifically as elucidated in the Westminster Confession of Faith. I argued that Crisp’s argument is incomplete, choosing to focus only on chapters 3 and 9 of the Confession. However, there are other chapters that confess propositions that arguably don’t support libertarian free will. Specifically, I cited the Confession’s teaching about the nature of God and his knowledge, and made the case that these claims are prima facie inconsistent with libertarian free will. I then argued that several standard ways of resolving these troubles may not be open to the libertarian Calvinist, since the Confession plausibly rules them out. There are other portions of the Confession that will be shown to spell trouble for Crisp’s case, and they will make an appearance in the next post. In that post (part 3 of the series), I will interact directly with Crisp’s case for libertarian Calvinism. But before I do that, I want to discuss two terms Crisp employs in the chapter but doesn’t elaborate on. These terms show up in debates over free will and the kind of necessity theological determinists have wanted to say attaches to free human actions. (more…)
My friend James Anderson recently wrote two nice posts on theological determinism and compatibilism. I direct the reader to those posts for all the nitty-gritty details. The purposes of his two posts were to chop up the conceptual space surrounding the theses of divine determinism and compatibilism. In this post I want to add to his work of conceptual carving. I will add to the distinction between hard and soft determinism that James drew, the further distinction between hard and soft compatibilism. Before continuing, I want to add a caveat up front: I don’t take it that I’m offering any substantive criticism of James’ posts. I merely hope to add to his project of carving conceptual space. However, as you’ll (hopefully) come to agree in the end, I think my t-shirt will be both conceptually and aesthetically superior to James’! (more…)
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…)
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.