Showing posts from 2014

Does Compatibilism Entail Determinism? A Pragmatic Argument From Purpose in Evil

Here is the paper I presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society in San Diego.
Does Compatibilism Entail Determinism? A Pragmatic Argument From Purpose in Evil by Guillaume Bignon

The debate on the nature of free will and divine providence, which has been showcased for centuries in the theological world between so-called ‘Arminians’ and ‘Calvinists’, is often (and appropriately) seen in the philosophical world to be between ‘libertarians’ and ‘compatibilists’. On the one side, ‘Arminians’ (understood broadly enough to include open theists, simple-foreknowledge Arminians and Molinists), are libertarians. They uphold ‘libertarian free will’ affirming that human free choices are not determined by God’s providential decree. Rather, given the totality of God’s providential dealings at the moment of choice, the free agent remains able to choose either way; he is not determined to pick one option over another. Most libertarians are also ‘incompatibilists’, that i…

The Distasteful Conditional Analysis of Ability

Here is the paper I presented at the 2014 Eastern meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers, on "Themes from the work of Peter van Inwagen", held at Niagara University, November 7th and 8th.

The Distasteful Conditional Analysis Peter van Inwagen on determinism, compatibilism, and the ability to do otherwise
Guillaume Bignon
In discussions on the nature of free will and debates on whether it is compatible with determinism—that is, the debate opposing compatibilism and incompatibilism—Peter van Inwagen’s heavyweight contributions are such that one may come to see him as the ‘chief incompatibilist’. Those who like me wish to fearfully maintain (contra van Inwagen) that moral responsibility—and hence free will—is in fact compatible with determinism must therefore deal with van Inwagen’s case and in particular his so-called ‘Consequence Argument’ for incompatibilism.[1] While doing so in detail is not the burden of this paper,[2] it shall concern itself with a closely relate…

A word on Oliver Crisp's "Deviant Calvinism"

Can a Calvinist believe in a libertarian view of free will? Even just a little bit? I suppose it depends on what one means by Calvinism. It is usually thought that Calvinism excludes any and all “libertarian” (indeterminist) understanding of free will, and requires instead some sort of universal causal determinism, wherein God providentially determines the outcome of all human choices. At the moment of choice, and given God’s full providential activity, there is one and only one option that the human can possibly choose, that is the one which God has predetermined to occur, and hence it is the one which will occur. Nevertheless, Calvinists are also normally “compatibilists”, which is to say they affirm that this sort of theological determinism is compatible with the moral responsibility of human beings. God determines the outcome of all their choices, but humans remain praiseworthy and/or blameworthy for making them. Oliver Crisp’s recent book “Deviant Calvinism”, in its third chapter, …