Posts tagged ‘grounding objection’

November 27th, 2015

Future Truths

by Max Andrews

Sir,

As you are a brilliant supporter of Molinism, I dare send you a question about that doctrine.

I find Molinism quite appealing from a theological point of view, for it reconciles everything in a very elegant manner: freedom, providence, omniscience, etc. But, this marvelous theological solution has a very high philosophical cost (as far as I understand it, of course).

It supposes that God can know the future contingent facts… without any ground to do it!

To know something is to have a justified true belief. Now, there are only two ways to justify a belief about events: either there is a causal relationship (direct or indirect) between the event and one’s mind, or one is able to deduce the realization of the event from the present state of the world (scientific prediction).

But, and that is the problem, according to Molinism, God is supposed to know the future contingent events without predicting them from their causes (which is normal since they are contingent), and without “seeing” them (God doesn’t wait in order to see them, nor cause them, as in Thomistic theory of physical premotion).

Therefore, what is the link between ideas of God about the events and the events themselves? God doesn’t cause the event, and the event doesn’t cause the idea…Whence do these ideas come? I see no solution. The presence of the idea in God seems absolutely inexplicable, absolutely unfounded. Where does the adaequatio rei et intellectus come from in that case? This situation sounds absurd to me. My question is : how can we explain the truth of innate ideas of God about the things that do not exist and are unpredictible from present situation? To say that divine ideas are true “by definition” seems to be a pure assertion…

Thank you for your help!

In Christo,

Frédéric Guillaud (Paris/France)

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April 29th, 2013

Grounding the Grounding Objection

by Max Andrews

The grounding objection asks the question: By what means or grounds does God know what he knows (particularly middle knowledge)?

Suppose I have an argument similar to the grounding argument from the grounding objection claiming that contingent truths are not self-explanatory but must simply exist, from all eternity, as an ungrounded, metaphysical surd.  How would I, as a Molinist, respond?

This objection is merely the result of misunderstanding the means by which God knows what he does.  God’s knowledge is wholly intuitive and relies on no existent entity and is completely compatible with divine aseity.  According to Luis de Molina,

God does not get his knowledge from things, but knows all things in himself and from himself; therefore, the existence of things, whether in time or eternity, contributes nothing to God’s knowing with certainty what is going to be or not to be… For prior to any existence on the part of the objects, God has within himself the means whereby he knows all things fully and perfectly; and this is why the existence of created things contributes no perfection to the cognition he has of them and does not cause any change in that cognition… [And] God does not need the existence of those things in his eternity in order to know them with certainty.[1]

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May 1st, 2012

Molinism and the Grounding Objection

by Max Andrews

The grounding objection asks the question: By what means or grounds does God know what he knows (particularly middle knowledge)?

Suppose I have an argument similar to the grounding argument from the grounding objection claiming that contingent truths are not self-explanatory but must simply exist, from all eternity, as an ungrounded, metaphysical surd.  How would I, as a Molinist, respond?

This objection is merely the result of misunderstanding the means by which God knows what he does.  God’s knowledge is wholly intuitive and relies on no existent entity and is completely compatible with divine aseity.  According to Luis de Molina,

God does not get his knowledge from things, but knows all things in himself and from himself; therefore, the existence of things, whether in time or eternity, contributes nothing to God’s knowing with certainty what is going to be or not to be… For prior to any existence on the part of the objects, God has within himself the means whereby he knows all things fully and perfectly; and this is why the existence of created things contributes no perfection to the cognition he has of them and does not cause any change in that cognition… [And] God does not need the existence of those things in his eternity in order to know them with certainty.[1]

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