Molina_divine foreknowledge.pdf

Molina on Divine Foreknowledge and the Principle of Bivalence RI CHARD GASKI N 1, ACCORDING TO THE DOCTRINE of divine foreknowledge developed by the Span- ish Jesuit Luis de Molina ~ and defended by Fransisco Sufirez,' God' s fore- knowl edge of t he cour s e of event s in t he wor l d may be di vi ded i nt o t hr ee mome nt s : in t he first mome nt , He knows by Hi s nat ural knowl edge all met a- physi cal l y necessar y t r ut hs;
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  Molina on Divine Foreknowledge and the Principle of ivalence RICH RD G SKIN 1 ACCORDING TO THE DOCTRINE of divine foreknowledge developed by the Span- ish Jesuit Luis de Molina ~ and defended by Fransisco Sufirez, God s fore- knowledge of the course of events in the world may be divided into three moments: in the first moment, He knows by His natural knowledge all meta- physically necessary truths; in the second moment, He knows by His so-called m/dd/e knowledge what each created free agent would do in any conceivable situation; in the third moment, He knows by His free knowledge which situa- tions He is going to bring about and how He Himself is going to intervene in history.s These three moments of knowledge give God complete foreknowl- edge of the history of the created world, and, in particular, yield foreknowl- edge of future contingencies, including free human actions.4 Molina stresses ' Liberi Arbitrii cure Gratiae Donis, Divina Praesdentia, Providemia, Praedestinatione et Reprobatione Concordia, Part 4 (Paris, 1876). Part 4 has been translated by A. Freddoso, who also supplies an excellent introduction: Luis de Molina: On Divine Foreknowledge (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988). 9 De Scientia Quam Deus Habet De Futuris Contingentibus (Mainz, 1618); De Divina Gratia (Mainz, x6~o). sSee, e.g., Coneord/a d.5~. 9 (with Freddoso s nA 3, op. cit., x68); William Craig, The Problem of Divine Foreknowledge from Aristotle to Sudrez (Leiden, 1988), ch. 7. 4 Does God have middle knowledge in respect of his own actions? Molina denies that He does, on the ground that foreknowledge of His own action at a moment logically prior to decision destroys freedom (Conzord/a d.52nx-xs). But if God is to plan providentially the course of history, He must at some stage in the planning process know what He would do in different situations; otherwise He would have no way of comparing alternative complete world histories with one another and deciding which to actualize. Molina overcomes this difficulty by arguing that this hypothetical knowledge comes in the third moment rather than the second moment. In the third moment God dec/des what He would do in any possible situation, and decides which [55a]  552 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 3~:4 OCTOBER 1994 that the three moments occur at a point prior, both in time and in eternity, to the creation of the world;5 and that ille three moments themselves are not temporally ordered: rather, their ordering relation is one of logical or concep- tual dependence of later on earlier. ''6 The doctrine that God foreknows future contingencies requires that the principle of bivalence (PB)--the principle that every meaningful assertoric statement is either true or false-- be applied without restriction to the domain of statements about the future, including statements about future contingen- cies (FCSs). There can be no doubt about Suarez's position: he is absolutely clear that both foreknowledge and middle knowledge require unrestricted PB3 Recently, two prominent commentators, Alfred Freddoso and William Craig, have tried to assimilate Molina's position to that of Suarez in this par- ticular; they have suggested that Molina does not seek any change in the unrestricted status of PB. I shall argue that this interpretation of Molina is incorrect, that his position contains inconsistent commitments to divine fore- knowledge of the future on the one hand, and to the restriction of PB with respect to FCSs on the other_ The dispute centers on two texts: C0ncord/a 4, d-59-6 and 37 (the fifth argument and response); and the commentary which Molina wrote on Aris- mile's De nterpretatione (DO 9, which has been usefully reproduced by Stegmtiller, together with two quaest/on~ which follow it in the manuscript. 8 In both of these texts, according to Freddoso and Craig, Molina argues, or im- plies, that FCSs can be true or false without being determinately true or false, situations to actualize. So God does indeed have knowledge of His own hypothetical future actions, hut this knowledge comes too late to generate the determinism from which Molina rightly recoils; for, like HIS free knowledge, this hypothetical knowledge is consequential on God's decisions rather than anterior to them (cf. here D. Alvarez, De A _ . ri/_.~_r Gra~ae et Humani Arbitrii [Cologne, 16a l ], 5-7. i z-13, 16, z9). The third moment can be thought of as articulated into two submoments: God decides what He uandd do in a range of hypothetical situations (yielding hypothetical knowledge); He then decides which situations He will actualize, and consequently what He m//./do throughout history (yielding complete free knowledge). Su:lrez seems to see no difficulty in according God middle knowledge (i.e., knowledge in the second moment) of His own free action: De Sck ntia ~.8 De Divina Gratia Prol.s.8.~o-z. See here Craig, Problem of Divint Foreknowledge 179-83 zz5-31. But Mofina's intuition seems sounder. The traditional (ultimately Boethian) response to the problem of divine foreknowledge--that sdent/a v/s/on/s, being purely speculative, does not rob the perceived act of its freedom--cannot simply be carried over from the case of God's foreknowledge of others' acts to foreknowledge of His own. There is an extra problem here. CL D. Basinger, Middle Knowledge and Classical Christian Thought, Religious Studies zz 0986): 416-17. 5 Concord/a d.49.8. e Concordda d.53. l.ZO. 7 De Scientia 9.5 De Divina Gratia Prol.z.7.9, II, 90--zt. s F. Stegmdller, Geschichte des Molinismus Band x: Neue Molinaschriften (= Be/trtige zur Geschich~e der Philosopi~ und Theologic des Mittelalters Band 3 z) (MOnster, 1935), 1- 9.  MOLINA ON DIVINE FOREKNOWLEDGE 55 where the qualification 'determinately' is to be understood as synonymous with 'necessarily'. That allows Molina to retain the full force of PB. I shall call the interpretaion of Molina canvassed by these writers the reconciliadonist approach, since it aims to reconcile Molina's treatment of PB with liis handling in the oncordia of divine foreknowledge. 2 The fifth objection to the doctrine of middle knowledge which Molina consid- ers in d.52 is to the effect that the assumption that FCSs are determinately true leads to necessitarianism about the future, as Aristotle allegedly showed in DI 9. But God's foreknowledge of the relevant events can import no lesser degree of necessity into those events than the determinate foretruth of the corresponding FCSs already does (presumably because foreknowledge enta//s foretruth). So, the objection concludes, foreknowledge destroys contingency.9 Of this objection it may be already noted that there seems to be some dialecti- cal distance, at least in the objector's mind, between determinate truth and necessity: for the objection has Aristode conclude from the assumption that FCSs are determinately true that the signified events are necessarily going to happen. If 'determinate' were understood to be simply synonymous with 'nec- essary' there would be no epistemic distance to traverse between them: one would then expect the objector to start his argument from the simple truth of FCSs--since that is all that is required by foreknowledge--and argue from that to determinate ( = necessary) truth) ~ His failure to argue in this way, and his preference for an argument from determinate truth to necessity, suggests that 'determinate truth' falls--epistemically speakingmon the 'truth' side of the truth/necessity divide. If Molina believed otherwise, one would expect him to respond in such terms to the objector. One would expect him to point out (in effect) that PB does not require that FCSs be determinately (i.e., necessarily) true, but merely that they be simply true, and that simple truth is all that is required, in turn, by divine foreknowledge. Of course it we once concede that FCSs are necessarily p Quinto, res significatae per proposidones de fu.turo contingenti non minus necessariae sunt, si scientia divina quae de ipsis habetur sit determinata vera, quam si propositiones ipsae de futuro quae easdem res significant tint determinatae verae. Seal ex eo, quod propositiones de futuro contingenti sint determinatae verae, coUigit Aristoteles primo de interpretatione cap. ultimo sequi res significatas esse necessario eventuras, et consequenter inanes esse nostras consul- tadones: ergo si scienda divina quae de eisdem rebus habetur sit determinate vera, sequitur omnia necessario et nihil condngenter evenire, inanes esse consultationes nostras, tollique prorsus nostri arbitrii libertatem. '~ fatalist's argument works by purporting to find no/ogic~ distance between (determi- nate) truth and necessity; but for an argument to be required there must be at least some q~tem/r distance between them.
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