Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Notes from the Conference

Had another fun session at the science and open theology conference this morning (Tuesday).

Among other things, a very well known philosopher named Tom Flint presented a paper defending "Molinism" and arguing AGAINST Open Theism. "Molinism" holds (among other things) that if God is truly omniscient, he must know the truth value of all meaningful propositions and must therefore know the truth value not only of all propositions about what free agents WILL and WILL NOT do in the future, but also propositions about what they WOULD and WOULD NOT do in every other conceivable future.

I argued against Tom that Molinism limits God's omniscience! For if God knows the truth value of ALL meaningful propositions (which I agree with), then he must know not only know propositions about what agents WILL do and WOULD do, but also what they MIGHT and MIGHT NOT do, since these too are meaningful propositions.

If I'm correct, then when God knows that it's true that Greg will (certainly) do x, he knows it's false that I might and might not refrain from doing x. But when God knows that Greg might and might not do x, he knows that it's false that I will (certainly) do x and false that I will not (certainly) do x.

So, I argued, only the God of Open Theism is truly omniscient, for only this God knows the truth value of ALL meaningful propositions. Open Theism is the only view that empowers God to know that some events might and might not come to pass.

Tom of course had a response, but it's too complicated to go into on a blog. I'll just say the issue hinges on whether one accepts or rejects the claim that saying Greg WOULD do x or WOULD NOT do x exhausts the alternatives. Molinist think they do. I do not.

For there's always those nasty "might and might not" propositions we need to deal with!

Chew on it.