Molinism, Question-Begging, and Foreknowledge of Indeterminates

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Abstract

John Martin Fischer’s charge that Molinism does not offer a unique answer to the dilemma of divine foreknowledge and human freedom can be seen as a criticism of middle knowledge for begging the question of FF (foreknowledge and freedom)-compatibilism. In this paper, I seek to answer this criticism in two ways. First, I demonstrate that most of the chief arguments against middle knowledge are guilty of begging the question of FF-incompatibilism and conclude that the simple charge of begging the question cannot be as problematic as some suggest. Determinists and open theists incorporate FF-incompatibilist notions into their respective versions of the grounding objection, their conceptions of risk and libertarian freedom, and their requirements for divine foreknowledge. Thus, while I admit that Molinism does rely upon Ockhamist and Augustinian principles in its approach to the dilemma and is guilty of presupposing FF-compatibilism, I deny that this undermines its strength as a model of providence. Second, I argue that, although all models are guilty of question-begging moves, they are not all on par with one another. Molinism offers a more orthodox and robust approach to providence than open theism and process theology, and it handles empirical data (e.g., from science) better than all of its competitors.

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