Sunday, March 10, 2013

Plantinga's Abject Failure?

We noted on another occasion Richard Otte's important paper that demonstrates (and Plantinga concedes) that Plantinga's doctrine of possible transworld depravity (<>TWD), which is the heart of Plantinga's FWD, is necessarily false. Of course, in that paper, Otte offers a repair that gets around the problem. But here's a brand new paper (final draft now out in the current issue of F&P) which argues that Plantinga's <>TWD thesis is necessarily false, and that Otte's repair can't avoid the problem. Almeida has recently argued for a similar conclusion.  We've also seen another recent criticism of <>TWD from Howard-Snyder. Josh Rasmussen argues for an even stronger conclusion.  And let's not forget Schellenberg's new formulation of the logical problem of evil, as well as his Free Will Offense. Finally, we've noted Morriston's critique of Plantinga's (FWD), which raises worries for it that do not rely on concerns about <>TWD.

It's not looking good for Plantinga's FWD. Perhaps it's time to stop calling his response to the logical problem of evil a clear success, folks.

2 comments:

Angra Mainyu said...

Hi, EA,

Pretty interesting stuff. Thanks for posting it.

Personally, I see these matters differently (e.g., I'm a compatibilist), but I do agree that some of those arguments seriously undermine Plantinga's FWD, under some of the same hypotheses accepted by Plantinga, like libertarian free will, that there are essences, etc.

Two cents:

I just read Alexander Pruss' draft, and I see that his argument goes doesn't only support the conclusion (under the hypotheses in question, including standard Molinism, plus the Conditional Dominance Principle) that <>TWD is necessarily false, but also that <>U is necessarily false, where U is the thesis that there are uncooperative essences (a claim weaker than <>TWD, which Plantinga offers in "Transworld depravity, transworld sanctity, & uncooperative essences." as a variant of the FWD).

There are some typos in the draft: what needs to be shown is that C* dominates C with respect to Eve's choosing to eat the apple, not with respect to Eve's choosing to dance the gig, and also in C*, dancing the gig is forbidden (what's not forbidden is eating the apple). But that aside, the argument goes through, under the given hypotheses.

Angra Mainyu said...

Sorry, U is the thesis that for every perfect world, there is at least one uncooperative essence.