202216 May

Molinism and Other Determinisms


Here’s how Kane explains the term in his book A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will: An event (such as a choice or action) is determined when there are conditions obtaining earlier (such as the decrees of fate or the foreordaining acts of God or antecedent causes plus laws of nature) whose occurrence is a sufficient condition for the occurrence of the event. But the fact remains that on the Molinist scheme, despite its commitment to libertarian free will, God has an infallible decree and foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. Isn’t the whole point of Molinism to reconcile a doctrine of meticulous divine providence with an non-deterministic account of creaturely freedom? Just as we are able to exploit our knowledge of the laws of nature in order to bring about certain outcomes (e.g., I know that my pulling the trigger of a gun, in conjunction with the laws of nature, will result in a bullet being expelled from the barrel toward a target) so God is able — so the Molinist claims — to exploit his knowledge of the CCFs in order to bring about certain outcomes (e.g., God knows that his placing me in circumstances C, in conjunction with the CCFs, will result in my freely choosing A). Thomism, Calvinism, Molinism, Simple-Foreknowledge Arminianism, and even some versions of Open Theism are committed to determinism in the broadest sense.

Source: Proginosko