Here is a reply I have written to Paul Manata of Triablogue fame conerning free will and moral impeccability. Some of you might find the original exchange linked above helpful to get a sense of the conversation.
Please excuse the tardiness of my reply to you. With end of the semester duties and fighting off pneumonia now for the last two weeks I have had to put all things internet related to one side.
I agree that Hasker believes a lot of other things, many of them I do not. Let me be clear, I have zero sympathy with his Open Theism. You are right to write that you are entitled to bring out implications, but the questions I had were concerning how you got those implications from the text cited. I took Hasker to be arguing that a necessary condition for genuine love was a lack of sufficient antecedent conditions, which is why he is focusing on sourcehood. We can look at the person affected by the potion or the person given the potion but I think the result will be the same. That is just to say that Hasker’s example is intuitive purchase. In imaginative cases I think it would be right to think that without the potion the person giving it would be fearful of losing the “love” that he had. Why? Because the potion was the source and without it, there wouldn’t be love present. This shows I think what Hasker wants it to show, namely that sourcehood is a necessary condition on freedom. This leaves untouched I think your concern. Hasker isn’t attacking the claim that an unfailable love is genuine love, but rather that a love brought about by sufficient antecedent conditions isn’t a genuine love. One can have the first without the second and Hasker has written as much elsewhere. And Hasker is not alone in thinking that one can have an unfailable outcome without determinism. If you don’t think so, then Frankfurt cases go out the window since they would then, as Widerker, Kane and Co. have argued, presuppose determinism.
I don’t know the inner workings of Hasker’s mind on Trinitarianism, but on a traditional model, the Father, Son and Spirit don’t have different wills, but only one so I don’t know how it would be possible for the Son to will for the Father to give up his nature. Your model presupposes a heterodox view of the will as hypostatic that I don’t think that even Hasker to my knowledge endorses.
My comments about time weren’t pedantic. What they point out is that the example as you frame it is ill framed. And lots of people believe that God is timeless, but that doesn’t tell me much since there are a variety of theories on divine timelessness. Furthermore, the point was to drive the question about the coherence of libertarianism further into the doctrine of God, which is where you took it, rather than looking at it within a temporal box.
I am not sure what problem you see concerning Libertarians wanting to say that the future is open to God. I suppose some of that turns on what constitutes openness. I do not have in mind what Hasker has in mind or Boyd or Pinnock for that matter. I suppose you are thinking that if for libertarians the future isn’t set then it isn’t set even for God and hence libertarians are committed to some form of Open Theism. For myself I think some things in the future are set irrespective of human choices and some are not. Those that are not are set by human choices, about which God knows infallibly and from which he can redirect those intentions to his intentional end (Gen 50:20) To the point, I don’t think God has a future or even a present. All that Libertarianism requires of me is that God’s actions meet the conditions on freedom. If God’s actions do, then free will can’t be essentially defined in terms of temporal conditions: God’s creation of the world is a perfect example where there are no possible temporal conditions, even more so on my more “radical” view of complete timelessness.
If I missed your comments on your thought that not all of God’s actions were determined by his nature, then I apologize. In any case, I think your thinking so makes more problems for you than you think it solves. If God is simple, then God and his actions are the same. This comports well with the idea that the divine nature determines divine actions, but it doesn’t comport well with the idea that some divine actions are not. That will directly imply that God is composite.
You are correct that your argument only needs to give one case where an action is determined and still praiseworthy but I don’t think you have given it since I don’t see any good reason to think that the unfailability of the Father loving the Son is an instance of a deterministic relationship and you haven’t given me any. The only reason proffered is if we don’t think of it as necessary (what kind of necessity you have in mind here is not known to me), this will make the relationship contingent. But this is only so if these categories are applicable to God. I don’t think they are.
The counter arguments I gave were not assumptions about the Trinity, they were arguments. First, your arguments turn on controversial assumptions, platonic ones at that. Second, if we grant those assumptions we end up exploding the Trinity. If the divine essence determines the actions of the persons in the case of generation, then it will produce an infinity of persons. And I don’t see how you can appeal to the idea that these actions are not determined by the divine essence since they are just a fundamental as the idea that the Father loves the Son. The counter argument undermines your argument in the following way. You argue that if we take such and so view we end up rejecting the Trinity, so we have to take the relationship as determined. I have only given you the same argument. If we take the relationship as determined then we end up rejecting the Trinity, so we can’t take it as determined either.
As I wrote previously, the Father loves the Son with libertarian freedom, but libertarian freedom doesn’t imply the contingency of any and all acts done by it. This is what you are assuming. Even Libertarians with whom I disagree maintain a distinction between derivative and underivative freedom, where one can choose to later give up alternatives, but the choice at a later point is still done with libertarian freedom. We can strip away the temporal language here and assume for the sake of argument a simultaneity view and speak of antecedent and consequent willing in God. God could do such and so, but given certain other conditions which God has enjoined, he could not do such and so. This is a fairly standard apparatus among the Reformed Scholstics.
When you write that God’s freedom is neither libertarian nor compatibilistic, I can’t see that you have any coherent idea on offer. You write that God is not constrained or forced by anything, but everyone says as much. Furthermore, to speak of God as determined by his essence certainly seems to deprive him of some measure of control. And the appeal to mystery here is strikes me as rather ad hoc. And incomprehensibility may help but only at the cost of helping libertarians for they too could easily invoke it against your criticisms since our freedom is essentially divine freedom since we are made in his image. So if you don’t have to provide some account, then I can’t see why the Libertarians need to. Further, why is it that Calvinists get all bothered and claim instant victory when non-Calvinists appeal to mystery (“See! They can’t answer it, which shows that they are wrong!”) but when cornered that “M” word just falls off their lips like an April shower? I don’t mean to be rude, but this seems ad hoc.
Theopedia is hardly a good source for working through the positions of professional philosophers. Generally reading their books and articles are. I have read Kane, talked to Kane, eaten with Kane. I think if you spent some time in his works you’d see that he’s not as easy to dismiss as you think.
As for the posts on heavenly freedom, I do think that some libertarians misunderstand certain features of the concept. But lots of libertarians think that about other libertarians. The same goes for Compatibilists. It is not like Fischer and Ravizza agree with Frankfurt’s hierarchical account. I acted and argued that your arguments against specific points were bad ones, because I thought they were and that a more charitable read could have been given. I don’t see why I am not entitled to argue so.
Tis true that almost every single version of the FWD defense is constructed such that it implies that FW implies the ability to do evil. And in some sense I agree. The problem is that there is an ambiguity there that has to be dissolved. Is the ability to sin essential to freedom or to something else? I think something else and it is that something else combined with freedom that makes evil possible on earth for a period of time and development, but the lack of it, that makes it not possible in heaven or with God.
The question is not whether your claim works against lots of other positions. Your target was Libertarianism per se, which means you have to cover all of the conceptual ground, not some, just as say the deductive problem of evil has to work against all Christian conceptions of God, not just most.
When you write something on the AP condition, please drop me a line and let me know.
I don’t know that Hasker wouldn’t agree. In fact, I think he might and it might lead to his rejecting of Open Theism for something better. In fact he writes, when he writes, on heavenly freedom, to get close(er) to my view, though he hasn’t figured it out yet. And the question isn’t whether Hasker would agree, but whether my view is in fact right and I can show the compatibility of moral impeccability and LFW.
Granted that I did not show that indeterminism was compatible with moral impeccability, but in my defense, that is a separate problem and is treated as such in the literature. Second, I can hardly be charged with not solving everything at once. The MIND argument aside, my work goes a long way to answering Mackie’s criticism of the FWD and that is worthwhile in and of itself since no one has been able to do it for forty years. Third, given that heavenly existence isn’t necessarily temporal, let alone governed by say Quantum Physics, to take about the same antecedent history seems, shall we say, problematic. There are more problems there than just free will. Fourth, the MIND argument has a life of its own and most people I know in the literature think, while the Luck problem and the Chance problem are significant issues to be discussed the MIND argument is pretty much done.
It doesn’t matter if your reading of the Bible doesn’t square with my reading of the Bible or my assumptions since the matter was whether moral impeccability was compatible with LFW. If you think on my own principles I am mistaken, please point out where.
I am united with all Libertarians on many core issues just as you are united with many Calvinists on many core issues. Does that mean you peddle here your own minority views and aren’t entitled to do so? Isn’t the question are such views true, rather than, are such views a minority position?
As for risk taking, I find it funny that you and Hasker actually agree. You and Hasker agree that free will and divinity are incompatible so it must be one or the other. You just disagree on which horn of the dilemma you take. This shows I think that you actually share the same fundamental worldview. On the other hand, I disagree with both turns because I disagree with the fundamental assumption.
Furthermore, you argued not just against Hasker, but from Hasker’s comment against Libertarianism per se. Citing goofy stuff Hasker says that he thinks is implied by Libertarianism is no proof that it is so. Nor is it adequat eto run back behind views specific to Hasker when the target was Libertarianism, and not all Libertarians agree with Hasker’s theological views.
In fairness to Hasker, he doesn’t think the Trinity has LFW. Just look what he says. http://www.opentheism.info/pages/questions/phiq/freewill/freewill_03.php
Now it is obvious that Hasker has goofed here but not in the way that you think. Hasker has actually come full circle right back to the conception of God he and others like Pinnock have been arguing against. If God is determined and free, why can’t we be? Most Open Theists I know run like the plague from this question. In any case, what this shows is that the view you defend and the view that Hasker defends share the same fundamental assumptions and at bottom are really two sides of the same coin. This shows that this perennial debate in western Christianity is seriously lost.
On the risk view you are correct that frustration is a necessary consequence, but not for LFW, as I argued above since what makes frustration possible is only a temporary state that can be transcended.