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My solution to the grounding objection
« on: July 31, 2013, 09:40:43 am »
It seems to me that grounding counterfactuals of freedom in God's mind as ideas solves the grounding objection and maintains creaturely freedom. Although it is true that this would make CF's somewhat dependent on God's will, God would not necessarily have the power to CHANGE such ideas, any more than he would have the power to change his idea of a triangle into that of a square. He could of course think of one rather than the other, but it does not seem possible that he could "unthink" one INTO the other. Perhaps the idea of a certain soul, joined temporally to certain predicates (body x, circumstance y) has as unique a
response to these things (which is its "freedom" being expressed through time and matter) as the unique idea of a triangle. Such an idea is complete in itself as a possible entity or thing. Again, God could no more imagine such a particular idea differently than he could imagine a fish as a cat, a 1 as a 2, or a triangle as a square. He could imagine these things as they are in themselves, but to think of one rather than another - to imagine a soul which did NOT eat the apple in the garden, when assigned all the same temporal predicates as Adam - would be to imagine a different idea of a different soul. In other words it would be not to imagine Adam at all. (Mark, I am not saying Adam could not have been made with a different body or under such circumstances in which he did NOT eat the fruit - that may have been possible - only that, were a soul given exactly the same temporal predicates and chose differently, such a soul would have had a unique expression of freedom and would NOT be the eternal idea of Adam's soul.) What follows is that it would not be possible to "make" Adam's idea or soul any different than it is in itself. God could only have created a different soul. Freedom, then, becomes a property inherent in the irreducible substance of each soul in themselves, much like "three sidedness" is an inherent property of triangles or "being unmarried" is to bachelors. This being the case, a particular soul's freedom or self determination would be beyond God's control to change, and so, although CF's are grounded in God as ideas, yet creaturely freedom is safeguarded.

What are your thoughts?



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Re: My solution to the grounding objection
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2019, 02:57:00 pm »
This being the case, a particular soul's freedom or self determination would be beyond God's control to change, and so, although CF's are grounded in God as ideas, yet creaturely freedom is safeguarded.
It seems to me that you are largely correct, that God can know what the creatures would do under different circumstances,  but it does not become determinism because the soul has been given its own nature. You can ask the question of deep determinism, that God made the creatures knowing their faults, and thereby determined what He couldn’t later change. However all this reasoning proceeds under a presumption man is a finished being. If instead man is not finished, God’s approach might be like an animal trainer. Such trainers generally know how their beasts will react and behave, put into different circumstances. A lion tamer asked if the lion can be released in public will say, “No, you wouldn’t want to do that.” He knows a hungry lion will tear and rend, until feeling sated.

The reactions of a soul might be more visceral than rational. In that scenario God, perhaps a bit depressingly, will always know men are going to make greedy choices. Yet as each makes his choice God sees the animal in them coming to the fore, as they emphasize, “I am here, I tear, I rend until feeling sated,” in their words and actions. Yet this animalistic aspect God too understands. He can’t be shocked, seeing it all before.

You can’t forget the souls need to make their way in the world, which can be a difficult and confusing process. Unless God is going to make all their choices for them, He has to have given them an ability to make some choices on their own. Perhaps God would be needed to coach the lion in how to pursue prey, but by and large the lion learns and pursues prey while God watches on, the lion is doing what God intended the lion to do.

Were God determining everything, everything would be obviously good. In the real world the self-guiding souls tend to be cantankerous and problematic. The question is whether God has designed a process by which the souls can grow more competent, and whether they can choose to engage in this process, agreeing that the outcome will be good. God knows generally what the creatures will do in any given circumstance, but as the personality emerges as a reaction to local sense experience, there are forces beyond God in operation, which is to say the souls self-determine. God is love, but hate appears.



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Re: My solution to the grounding objection
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2019, 08:32:39 am »
This is a fascinating discussion. On Dr Craig's scholarly articles, he challenges the grounding objection on the basis that it presupposes truth-maker theory - a controversial and potentially unsound branch of the correspondence theory. If this is correct, then we don't even necessarily need a solution to the grounding objection, as it doesn't even get off the ground in the first place. Putting this reservation to the side what might we say about the suggestion that countefactuals are grounded in God's mind? 

Firstly I do agree that this doesn't necessarily mean that counterfactuals are dependent on God's will. After all, it seems clear that we can have knowledge of all sorts of truths (both necessary and contingent) that do not depend on our will. It also seems like a clever move, because what else is there to ground the truth of these counterfactuals prior to God's creative decree? Prior to Creation God is the only thing that actually exists, so where else could we ground true propositions? (if they do need to be grounded).

I wonder whether grounding God's middle knowledge in God's mind might lead to the extreme conclusion that all reality grounded God's mind? Rather like the suggestion that the physical universe is simply a thought in God's mind? Middle knowledge after all doesn't just comprise of the counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. Rather middle knowledge consists of all God's contingent, prevolitional knowledge that is independent of his will. I am not convinced that your proposal does lead to this type of idealism, but I do think it is a risk.   

Another risk here is circularity: when the grounding objector asks what grounds the truth of a proposition like a counterfactual, they are asking what real and actual state of affairs the proposition corresponds to. If we respond by saying that the proposition is grounded in the mind of God, what we are really saying is that the proposition is true because God knows it is true. But then, the objector may ask, why does God know it is true? What grounds that fact? The only answer we can give is that God knows the proposition is true because it is true.... and so on. So essentially we would just be saying that the proposition is just an ungrounded fact in the mind of God. So I think we would be better of agreeing with Dr Craig that true propositions don't need truth-makers. They only need to correspond to reality (not actuality) in the way that Fredosso suggests. Counterfactuals are simply grounded at the temporal and modal location that the proposition specifies: namely “It would the case (at Y) that Z” is now grounded if and only if “Z is now grounded” would the case (at Y) (Where Y = any specified conditions, and any temporal or modal indicators).
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 09:25:48 am by pdtryon »