freedom, counterfactuals of creaturely

freedom, counterfactuals of creaturely
   The notion of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom seems to have been introduced first by Pedro da Fonseca (1528-99), a Portuguese Jesuit philosopher and theologian, and his disciple Luis de Molina. Latterly it has been revived by Alvin Plantinga and his followers. A counterfactual of creaturely freedom is a sentence or proposition that describes what a creature (such as a human) would freely do if he or she were placed in certain circumstances. What makes this an important notion is that the understanding of freedom presupposed in the discussion is that of libertarianism, that is, the liberty of indifference, not the liberty of spontaneity. The notion of counterfactuals of creaturely freedom has its theological application in the idea of middle knowledge, which is simply the idea that God knows all the true counterfactuals of freedom prevolitionally, that is, God knows them but does not make them true. This middle knowledge, then, according to the follower of Molina ('the Molinist'), enables God to exercise meticulous providential government of the world while still allowing for human responsibility. Critics of Molinism allege that the doctrine is incoherent either because there are no true counterfactuals of freedom (perhaps because there could be no truthmaker for them the 'grounding objection') or because nobody can know them in advance without imperilling free will.
   Further reading: Dekker 2000; Flint 1998; Hasker, Basinger and Dekker 2000; Plantinga 1974b

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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