Videos: Two Lectures by Eleonore Stump at University of Navarra. Analytic Theology Cluster Group.
November 18, 2015 — 4:33

Author: Martín Montoya  Category: News  Tags: , , , , , ,   Comments: 0

The Cluster Group on Analytic Theology at University of Navarra (http://www.unav.edu/en/web/facultad-de-filosofia-y-letras/analytic-theology) is pleased to announce four new lectures videos by Eleonore Stump:

1) ‘Eternity, Simplicity, and Divine Presence’ by Eleonore Stump. Second Public Lecture on Analytic Theology. Cluster Group at University of Navarra. April 20, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtHOqnQBAMo

2) Q&A ‘Eternity, Simplicity, and Divine Presence’ by Eleonore Stump. Analytic Theology Cluster Group at University of Navarra. April 20, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlW8ueEYbhw

3) ‘The Openness of God: Eternity and Free Will’ by Eleonore Stump Second Special Session for the Cluster Group on Analytic Theology at the University of Navarra. April 21, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JVzy-eXqKU

4) Q&A ‘The Openness of God: Eternity and Free Will’ by Eleonore Stump. Analytic Theology Cluster Group at University of Navarra. April 21, 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js9K9R9_F-4

The Cluster Group in Analytic Theology at the University of Navarra “Philosophical and Theological Perspectives on Divine Providence” gathered together philosophers and theologians to study and discuss the main approaches made to this issue with an analytic methodology. As a result of the group activities Analytic Theology was introduced for the first time in Spanish academia. The Cluster Group was supported by the Project “Analytic Theology” of the Center for Philosophy of Religion of the University of Notre Dame, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Comments are very much welcome.

Omniscience and Simplicity
November 9, 2010 — 19:19

Author: Kenny Pearce  Category: Books of Interest Christian Theology Concept of God  Tags: , , , ,   Comments: 5

The end of the semester is fast approaching, which means an even more hectic academic schedule, followed by a vacation. This post will be a brief remark on Sobel‘s treatment of omniscience, which completes his interlude on divine attributes. Following this, I will leave off until after the holidays, at which point I will deal with the remainder of the book, which treats arguments against the existence of God, and also ‘Pascalian’ practical arguments for belief in God.
The main puzzle Sobel finds with omniscience is one pushed by Patrick Grim. The thrust of the argument is this: (1) a Cantorian diagonalization argument shows that there can be no set of all truths. But, (2) for any being, there is a set containing all and only the propositions known by that being. Therefore, (3) no being knows all truths. (This is my simplified reconstruction; Sobel spells out some of the set-theoretic details related to (1).)
As Sobel rightly points out, there is no reason for the theist to accept (2) and, as a result, the argument fails. (Sobel also considers a similar argument from Grim to the effect that the sentence ‘there is a being who knows every proposition’ fails to express a proposition, because there are no propositions about all propositions. Sobel is, I think, correct in saying that Grim’s premises involve details of a theory of propositions, rather than just an intuitive definition of propositions and ‘aboutness’, and any theory of propositions that has this consequence is clearly unacceptable.) All I want to note here is that Sobel doesn’t point out what I take to be one of the more interesting reasons theists might reject the premise. Consider the following argument in support of (2):

(a) For every distinct proposition p known by a being S, S is in a distinct mental state which (partly) constitutes S’s knowledge that p.
(b) No being can be in a proper class of distinct mental states.
Therefore, (c) No being can know a proper class of propositions, i.e. (2) is true.

(a) is plausible insofar as knowledge either is itself a mental state (as Williamson says), or else is partly constituted by belief, which is a mental state. (b) seems plausible probably because we typically think of mental states as concrete entities, and we balk at the idea of a proper class of concrete entities. (Having countably or continually many concrete entities is mind-boggling enough.)
I think Sobel probably has an argument like this in the back of his mind, and this is why he offers the suggestion (pp. 384-388) that if we aren’t too wedded to pure actuality and atemporality as divine attributes, we might hold that only some set of propositions is before God’s mind at any given time, but these propositions are such that God can easily (instantaneously) deduce any of the other propositions from them whenever he likes. Sobel calls this ‘virtual’ knowledge.
But, as Sobel realizes, the theist is at liberty to reject (b), and so to continue rejecting (2). What Sobel doesn’t seem to realize, is that certain theists, those who accept the strong (Western) form of divine simplicity, are under independent pressure to reject (a). According to this view, God is identical to each of his attributes. Therefore, if God knows that p, and God knows that q, then God’s knowledge that p = God’s knowledge that q = God, and similarly for God’s belief in each of these propositions. If this idea makes any sense (and I suppose we shouldn’t just take for granted that it does), then God can know a proper class of propositions without being in a proper class of mental states.
[Cross-posted at blog.kennypearce.net]

Something for Nothing
October 1, 2006 — 18:24

Author: Tim Pawl  Category: Christian Theology  Tags: , ,   Comments: 8

I’ve been thinking for a while about metaphysical positions that bring with them — free, so to speak — theological claims. For a not-so-good example, think of Bradley’s metaphysic. According to F.H. Bradley, there is no such thing as time. If Bradley is right, and God exists, then God is atemporal. (I say this is a not-so-good example because Bradley’s argument for the unreality of time also gets him the unreality of space, and further, the claim that there cannot be more than one thing. So, if Bradley is right, and God exists, then pantheism is true.) The same is true for McTaggart — if McTaggart is right about time being an illusion, then God is atemporal.
Now, of course I know that just about every metaphysic entails something-or-other about theology. And I also know that some metaphysical positions have nothing at all to say to some theological claims. However, I’m wondering whether there are any contemporary metaphysics such that, adding a contentious theological claim doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t provide a difficulty not already resolved in the metaphysic? A concrete example, you ask? Why, sure.

more…