Let me add a third beat-up-on-Molinism post. Here is the idea. Ordinary language makes use of counterfactuals of free will (CFWs). But ordinary CFWs are not Molinist in kind. For one, Molinist CFWs have no truthmakers, or at best have Platonic kinds of truthmakers (a pair of abstract propositions standing a property of subjunctive conditionality). Ordinary CFWs have concrete truthmakers.
Here are some examples of ordinary CFWs:
- George grabs some money off the table not knowing or caring whether it is his or not. As a matter of fact, it is his. A standard criticism to make of George is: Were the money not his, he would still have taken it.
- Martha kisses a man she just spent two hours talking with at a bar. Had this man not been her husband, she might not have kissed him.
- Patrick is an optimist, and as gets up in the morning, he chooses to believe that he won the lottery for which the draw was last night. He looks at his newspaper, and finds he was right. Nonetheless, we say that Patrick did not know he won until he looked at his newspaper, and one reason he did not know was because he would have believed that he won even had he not won.
- Curley takes a smaller bribe. Had he been offered a larger, he would have taken it. (This example is Plantinga’s.)
The four above CFWs are made true by the causes, motives and reasons behind the agent’s actual choice. Thus, that George took the money and did not know or care whether the money was his is what makes it true that he would have taken it even if it were not his. What makes it true that Martha might not have kissed the man had he not been her husband is that among the considerations guiding Martha’s decision to kiss the man, there was the fact that he is her husband. What makes it true that Patrick would have come to the same conclusion had he not won is that he chose to believe he won on grounds that would have been the same had he not been the winner. And what makes it be the case that Curley would have taken the larger bribe is that he took the smaller, and all the reasons for taking the smaller bribe are available for taking the larger, and there are no additional reasons against taking the larger bribe (if there are, e.g., if the penalties are higher, then we ordinarily cannot affirm the counterfactual in (4)).
There is a way in which these kinds of ordinary CFWs do not state some further counterfactual fact–rather, they are a convenient restatement of the facts about the causes, motives and reasons behind the agent’s actual choice.
Because these CFWs are made true by concrete things, they are not Molinist CFWs. In fact, I suspect that most Molinists (I am thinking of Tom Flint in particular, who made a remark that commits him to this) would say that the corresponding Molinist CFWs can have different truth value from the ordinary ones. For instance, take (2). On standard Molinist views, it is highly plausible that there is a possible world w where Martha kisses her husband, and where the fact that he is her husband is one of the reasons for kissing him, which is sufficient to make true the might conditional in (2), but where in w there also holds the Molinist CFW that had he not been her husband, she still would have kissed him. Thus, the Molinist CFW would conflict with the ordinary one. Likewise, Molinists are apt to agree that Molinist CFWs could be such that were Patrick not to have been the winner, he would not have chosen to believe that he was the winner. The Molinist CFWs hang loose from the ordinary ones, then, and are irrelevant for the kind of nomative evaluation that we make. If Patrick is lucky enough that for him the Molinist CFW holds that had he not been the winner, he would not have chosen to believe he was the winner, that doesn’t make his belief knowledge.
But now we have a problem for the Molinist. Nomic counterfactuals and ordinary CFWs are different kinds of counterfactuals from Molinist CFWs. But then how do we ever acquire a concept of a Molinist CFW? And if we don’t ever acquire such a concept, then it seems all the Molinist stuff is, literally, nonsense.