Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quaeritur: Please Explain the Previous Post


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Quaeritur: May I ask good sir that you explain the previous post for us slow people?

Respondeo: Let's see if I can rework Garrigou's reasoning syllogistically. I will structure each of his three criticisms (as numbered in the previous post) as a reductio ad absurdum, using the following format:

P1: Either a or b.
P2: If b, then c.
P3: If c, then d.
P4: But d is false.
Conc.: Therefore, b is false and a is true.


FIRST ARGUMENT:

Premise 1: Either (a) God is the primary cause of our free actions (Thomistic position), or (b) he is not the primary cause of our free actions (Molinist Position).

Premise 2: If (b) God is not the primary cause of our free actions, then (c) these actions are caused independently of him.

Premise 3: If (c) these free actions are caused independently of him, then (d) God is not the universal primary cause of all things.

Premise 4: But God is the universal primary cause of all things (d is false).

Conclusion: Therefore, God is the universal primary cause of our free actions (b is false; a is true).


SECOND ARGUMENT:

Premise 1: Either (a) God's knowledge of our free actions causally determines our free actions (Thomistic position), or (b) God's knowledge of our free actions is causally determined by our free actions (Molinist Position).

Premise 2: If (b) God's knowledge of our free actions is causally determined by our free actions, then (c) God is passive with respect to these actions.

Premise 3: If (c) God is passive (or potential) with respect to these actions, then (d) He is not pure Act, Ipsum Esse, the Uncaused Cause, the Unmoved Mover.

Premise 4: But God is Pure Act, Ipsum Esse, the Uncaused Cause, the Unmoved Mover (d is false).

Conclusion: Therefore, God's knowledge of our free actions causally determines our free actions (b is false; a is true).


THIRD ARGUMENT:

Premise 1: God knows future free choices infallibly either (a) because He infallibly decrees them from all eternity (Thomistic position), or (b) because, without decreeing them, He can foresee (via Molina's so-called scientia media) what will happen given any circumstance (Molinist position).

Premise 2: If (b) because, without decreeing them, He can predict what will happen given any circumstance, then (c) human acts are infallibly determined by their circumstances; that is, given a certain set of circumstances, a human being can only act in one determined way (is not free to make different choices).

Premise 3: If (c) human acts are infallibly determined by their circumstances; that is, given a certain set of circumstances, a human being can only act in one determined way (is not free to make different choices), then (d) there is no freedom of the will, but rather a circumstantial type of fatalism (or "determinism of the circumstances").

Premise 4: But there is freedom of the will (d is false).

Conclusion: Therefore, God knows future free choices infallibly because He infallibly decrees them from all eternity (a is true; b is false).


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