Posts tagged ‘Thomistic Modal Realism’

July 7th, 2014

Many Worlds and Modal Realism – Tyndale Fellowship Paper

by Max Andrews

I recently returned from my journey to Cambridge University where I presented a paper titled “The Ontology of Many Worlds and Thomistic Modal Realism”. This paper is a continuation of research from this summer’s forthcoming Philosophia Christi publication “God and the Multiverse” I coauthored with Dave Beck.

The part of the paper that pertains particularly to the philosophy of science is also a part of doctoral research. There is another version of this paper that is more detailed though it excludes the initial theological/historical aspects. I included the theological preface for the presentation since it’s a continuation of “God and the Multiverse”. The current, more detailed technical paper has been submitted to a journal and is currently under review.

DOWNLOAD “The Ontology of Many Worlds and Thomistic Modal Realism”

I received excellent feedback from the attendees and I’m grateful for the critiques.


January 7th, 2014

Abstract for an Upcoming Paper Developing my Model of Modal Realism

by Max Andrews

I’ve recently submitted an abstract for Glasgow University’s Philosophy of Religion Conference concerning my recent research of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics along with my secondary research of its theological implications. I won’t find out for for another week or two as to whether it has been accepted but my hopes are high. Here’s my abstract:

The Ontology of Many Worlds and
Thomistic Modal Realism

Abstract: Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics (MWI) has caused perturbations in the fields of physics and philosophy. There are many aspects about the interpretation that make it favorable due to its objectivity and lack of logical holes. If MWI is adopted due to its favorability then this creates a problem for understanding macro-states. If it’s true that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously then defining the mechanism, which causes these ‘splits’ and how these ‘splits’ and branches operate, are problematic on the macro-scale. The question becomes, “How does this work on the macro-level?” In order to construct an argument that traces the historical development to propose a preferred understanding for the macro-ontology I will discuss

February 1st, 2013

The Less-Than-Best Problem and Modal Realism

by Max Andrews

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed a similar idea to Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of variety, which is known as the principle of plenitude.  He argues that there must be diversity in that which changes.[1]  This change and diversity is what produces the specification and variety of simple substances.  This diversity must involve a multitude in the unity or in the simple.  For, since all natural change is produced by degrees, something changes and something remains.  As a result, there must be a plurality of properties and relations.[2]  The principle of plenitude entails absolutely every way that a world could be is a way that some world is and absolutely every way that a part of a world could be is a way that some part of some world is.[3]

The principle of plenitude has been used to argue against modal realism.  The principle is supposed to ensure that there are no gaps in logical space.  There is some real concrete universe for every way a world could be.  This entails that there may be a plurality of worlds that are on balance more bad than good.  Theistic modal realism entails that each possible world is a real concrete universe that a perfect being has actualized.  In the Leibnizian tradition, the principle entails at least some of the worlds are so bad that no perfect being could actualize them.[4]  Hence, Leibniz committed to this world being the best of all possible worlds.[5]  This is called the less-than-best problem.

November 17th, 2012

“God and the Multiverse” EPS 2012 Paper

by Max Andrews

David Beck and I recently presented a paper on God and the multiverse at the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society conference in Milwaukee, WI on November 14, 2012. In this paper we argue that if a multiverse exists then it is harmonious with theism. Not only do we argue that it’s compatible with theism but we develop a distinctly Christian approach to it. We trace the idea of many worlds back to the pre-Socratics, which contributed to a theistic framework. We use Thomas Aquinas, Leibniz, Kant, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others to create a Christian model of modal realism. We have called our model “Thomistic Modal Realism.” We plan on explicating the paper and submitting it for publication soon. Please feel free to comment and leave feedback in the comment section. Any and all appropriate/substantive feedback will help us strengthen our model.

November 12th, 2012

This Week’s Annual EPS Conference

by Max Andrews

Tomorrow morning Leah and I will be flying out to Milwaukee, WI for the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society conference at the Hyatt Regency. I have coauthored a paper with Dave Beck titled “God and the Multiverse.” In it we develop a new model of modal realism, what we call Thomistic Modal Realism. Below is the abstract of our paper.

Wednesday 14 Nov.
10.10—10.50 (Hyatt Executive B)
W. David Beck
Max L. E. Andrews
(Liberty University)
God and the Multiverse

Recent developments in quantum physics postulate the existence of some form of multiverse.  We will argue that a cosmology of many worlds is not novel either to philosophy or to theism.  The multiverse is not a monolithic concept and we will refer to and use the four levels of categorization proposed by Max Tegmark.  We will trace the idea of a multiverse back to the pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle in order to initially demonstrate its fit with a concept of God.