Archive for June 11th, 2012

June 11th, 2012

Stephen Wyksrta’s “Toward a Sensible Evidentialism: On the Notion of ‘Needing Evidence’”

by Max Andrews

Wykstra argues contra ‘Calvinian’ epistemology, a la Alvin Plantinga, which suggests that belief in God is properly basic.  Wykstra puts forth a case for evidentialism.  His goal was to not refute Plantinga’s view but instead relocate the discussion so that evidentialism will appear as a viable option. With this option of evidentialism he doesn’t attempt to say that it’s necessarily absent from a Calvinian point of view but that Calvinians’ need to understand the role of evidence.  It’s not that evidentialism is wrong or that the Calvinian can’t use evidentialism but it’s that Calvinians can have their claim of properly basic beliefs without completely dismissing the evidentialist position.

Logically prior to such inferential reasoning is intuition or basic beliefs.  These beliefs may also be considered properly basic.  The belief that this glass of water in front of me will quench my thirst if I drink it is not inferred back from previous experiences coupled with an application of a synthetic a priori principle of induction.  Though this example is not how we form our beliefs psychologically or historically, it can be formed via instances of past experience and induction in the logical sense.  This is how the properly basic beliefs are related to God’s existence. 

Wykstra’s argument:

June 11th, 2012

The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Libertarian Freedom in Contrast to William Hasker’s Argument Against Theological Fatalism

by Max Andrews

I. The Argument

William Hasker has a deep commitment to the position that man holds a high level of libertarian freedom.  In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge.[1]  Hasker’s argument states that because God foreknows an agent’s action the agent necessarily fulfills that action.

  1. It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Assumption).
  2. It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption:  divine omniscience).
  3. Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 1 and 2).
  4. If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing.  (Assumption: the inalterability of the past).
  5. Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 3 and 4).
  6. It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one.  (Inference from 2).
  7. Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 5 and 6). So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet. [2]
    read more »