Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Responsibility and God

I've been playing with the idea that while responsibility in our case is always contrastive, and tied to choices that must be understood contrastively, God's responsibility is non-contrastive. Thus, I am for writing this post rather than doing some grading. But God is responsible simpliciter for the existence of kangaroos.

6 comments:

Heath White said...

What are the reasons for this distinction? I'm wondering, for instance, how being responsible simpliciter for the existence of kangaroos differs from being responsible for the existence of kangaroos rather than their non-existence.

David Parker said...

Heath, check out this previous article:

http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2010/11/theory-of-responsibility.html

Heath White said...

I get why Alex wants human actions to be contrastive. I don't get why he doesn't think divine actions are contrastive.

Marc said...

Dr. White:

Could the reason be that divine actions are constrained or governed by God's essential properties in such a way that, in some circumstances, only one option for action is presented to Him? If God is essentially loving and good, it would appear that He can't fail but to love and act in accordance with His good nature. But if divine actions don't have to be contrastive, divine freedom isn't compromised by God's having only one option for action. Perhaps PAP needn't or doesn't apply to divine action, at least in some circumstances. From what I understand, some Christian theists are inclined to account for Jesus's freedom in this (or a similar) fashion.

Shane said...

Of course many others will point out that there is no compelling evidence for gods or other flavours of space pixie in the first place, so why even bother? Simply restructure Christian behaviour using an atheistic model. Easy.

Toodle pip! :-)
http://churchofjesuschristatheist.blogspot.com

enigMan said...

Nice post, Alex (and useful link, David). I agree that our freedom is contrastive. Indeed, our ideal of freedom seems to contrast with our experience of freedom to such an extent that some of us go fatalistic. Perhaps that is some Platonic evidence for God. I tend to think that God would have pure freedom (be responsible simpliciter) because He is a perfect person, not a finite creature, and because our basic conception of freedom is of freedom simpliciter. Perhaps we have some idea of what He is like because we were made in His image. (Incidentally, I think that even though I think that God always has infinitely many options.) I suppose that the distinction between human and divine creativity is similar to this distinction between human and divine responsibility?