Saturday, February 08, 2014

Kraay's Important Recent Paper on Divine Satisficing

Kraay, Klaas. "Can God Satisfice?", American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (2013), pp. 399-410.

Here's the abstract:
Three very prominent arguments for atheism are (1) the argument from sub-optimality, (2) the problem of no best world, and (3) the evidential argument from gratuitous evil. To date, it has not sufficiently been appreciated that several important criticisms of these arguments have all relied on a shared strategy. Although the details vary, the core of this strategy is to concede that God either cannot or need not achieve the best outcome in the relevant choice situation, but to insist that God must and can achieve an outcome that is good enough. In short, this strategy invokes divine satisficing in response to these arguments for atheism. (The widespread use of this strategy may have gone unnoticed because the appeal to divine satisficing is usually implicit.) In sections 1-3, the three arguments for atheism will be set out, and it will be shown that the relevant replies all employ this shared strategy. Section 4 will show that those who invoke divine satisficing have failed to establish that this is a coherent notion. Accordingly, these replies to three important arguments for atheism are, at present, incomplete.
Required reading. Then go read this paper (if you haven't already).

1 comment:

Muslim Salik said...

It seems pretty obvious to me that in situations that have no best option, a maximally great being will choose a 'good enough option'. I don't see why this needs an argument because it seems so obvious. The only interesting point in Kray's paper is the apparent inconsistency between God being unsurpassable in goodness, and there existing an option that is better than the 'good enough' option that He chose. Kray doesn't really tell us what he means by 'unsurpassable in goodness' - presumably unsurpassable in good actions rather than in good qualities. I have no problem denying the former, and affirming the latter. A being that is unsurpassable in the latter sense will always choose the best option if a best option exists, and will always choose a 'good enough' option if there is no best option.

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