Yet Another Anti-Molinist Argument

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


'Molinism', in contemporary usage, is the name for a theory about the workings of divine providence. Its defenders include some of the most prominent contemporary Protestant and Catholic philosophical theologians. Molinism is often said to be the only way to steer a middle course between two extremes: the radically opposed conceptions of foreknowledge, providence, and grace associated with Open Theism and Calvinism. The work of Robert Adams, William Hasker, and others has uncovered a deep problem with Molinism: it posits 'brute' or 'ungrounded' facts concerning matters that require 'grounding' in more fundamental facts. This chapter develops an argument against Molinism that is in some respects less illuminating than theirs; it does not throw Molinism's deepest problems into relief. In another way, however, it is slightly more ambitious. Molinist feathers are often unruffled by complaints about 'ungrounded' facts and the apparent 'explanatory circularities' to which they lead. Groundedness and bruteness are metaphysically loaded notions; they - and the principles alleged, by anti-Molinists, to govern them - are complex and contested; Molinists have found ways to cast doubt upon their deployment in the arguments of Adams and company. The chapter shows that Molinism has highly unintuitive consequences that are independent of grounding worries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMetaphysics and the Good
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Philosophy of Robert Merrihew Adams
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191715396
ISBN (Print)9780199542680
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


  • Calvinism
  • Foreknowledge
  • Molinism
  • Molinists
  • Providence
  • Theism


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