Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Personal Responsibility and Middle Knowledge: A Challenge for the Molinist

Joseph Shieber
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Vol. 66, No. 2 (Oct., 2009), pp. 61-70
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40270268
Page Count: 10
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
Personal Responsibility and Middle Knowledge: A Challenge for the Molinist
Preview not available

Abstract

In this paper, I develop and discuss an argument intended to demonstrate that the Molinist notion of middle knowledge, and in particular the concept of counterfactuals of freedom, is incompatible with the notion of personal responsibility (for created creatures). In Sect. 1, I discuss the Molinist concepts of middle knowledge and counterfactuals of freedom. In Sect. 2, I develop an argument (henceforth, the Transfer of Negative Responsibility Argument, or TNRA) to the effect that, due to their construal of the concepts of middle knowledge and counterfactuals of freedom, Molinists are not entitled to the notion that individuals are personally responsible— even for those actions that they freely perform. I then discuss the only two promising strategies for rejecting the argument in Sects. 3 and 4. Finally, in Sect. 5, I contend that, although TNRA may be unsuccessful as an internal argument against the Molinist, either of the possible strategies for rejecting TNRA poses a difficulty for the Molinist. Both response strategies force the Molinist into adopting a popular compatibilist strategy for rejecting a common negative argument against compatibilism. Thus, if Molinism represents a libertarian—i. e., incompatibilist—account of human freedom (as, e. g., Flint claims in his recent Divine Providence: The Molinist Account, noting that libertarianism is one of the "twin bases of Molinism"), then the discussion of TNRA poses, if not a dilemma, at the very least a serious challenge for the Molinist.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[61]
    [61]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
62
    62
  • Thumbnail: Page 
63
    63
  • Thumbnail: Page 
64
    64
  • Thumbnail: Page 
65
    65
  • Thumbnail: Page 
66
    66
  • Thumbnail: Page 
67
    67
  • Thumbnail: Page 
68
    68
  • Thumbnail: Page 
69
    69
  • Thumbnail: Page 
70
    70