I've lost my grip on why Plantinga's free will defense (FWD) is supposed to be a successful reply to the logical problem of evil. Perhaps someone can straighten me out.
The core of Plantinga's FWD is the claim that there is a metaphysically
possible world at which every possible free creature God could've
created would freely do wrong at least once in their life. Call this thesis 'Possible Unrestricted Transworld Depravity' (PUTWD). Now it
seems to me that a minimal requirement for the success of Plantinga's
FWD is for PUTWD to be a live epistemic possibility. But I'm not seeing
why I should think it's successful in even this weak sense. For it seems not implausible
to me that at every possible world at which God exists, there are at least some
free creatures God could've created that aren't transworld depraved (or
more weakly: such a thesis seems to be at least slightly more plausible
than Plantinga's PUTWD). So, for example, it's not implausible that at any possible world W God could've created, God can create tokens of a type of creature that has libertarian free
will, but also has a nature that makes it "grossed out" by the thought
of doing wrong (on a par with, say, eating a shit sandwich), and that makes them delight in what is right and good. Such creatures have the power to do wrong; it's just
that their inclinations are strongly against it. As such, the possible worlds at which they freely do wrong aren't "close" (in the Lewis-Stalnaker sense) to W, in which case God can't actualize them -- i.e., they aren't "feasible" worlds.
I take it that
this is plausible to religious theists of an orthodox stripe (Isn't God
supposed to be free in this sense? Aren't the redeemed in Christian
heaven supposed to be free in this sense?). Furthermore, it's not implausible to me that at every possible world in which God exists, there are creaturely essences of the sort mentioned above that God could've actualized. But if that's right, then PUTWD isn't a live epistemic possibility. But if it
isn't a live epistemic possibility, then Plantinga's FWD isn't a
successful reply to the logical problem of evil in any interesting
sense. Or so it seems to me.
The main point I'm putting on the table is that while it may be true that at every metaphysically possible world, a subset of the infinite number of possible
free creatures God can create at that world is transworld
depraved, it's not implausible to think that at every metaphysically possible world, another subset of the infinite number of possible
free creatures God can create is not, in which case PUTWD seems undercut.
UPDATE: Joshua Rasmussen has already made the point I'm trying to make here. See his paper, "On creating worlds without evil – given divine counterfactual knowledge", Religious Studies 40 (2004), pp. 457-470. Thanks to P.M. for the pointer.
Review of Draper and Schellenberg (eds.), <I>Renewing Philosophy of Religion: Exploratory Essays</I>
Adam Green reviews the book for NDPR.
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