Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Response to Steve on Frankfurt Example

This clip is a response to Steve on Frankfurt examples.


Steven said...

Hello Dan (I guess your name is Dan)

I was directed to your blog by someone on another comment box, and I read through part of your review of John Owen's book because I think John Owen's double-payment argument is quite persuasive. I am not quite convinced of your refutation of it, and I was considering blogging on it, but never got around to it.

Anyway, I have been considering something, an idea that I've read on Triablogue before too, and that is this: that if Jesus dies for the sins of Hitler, to save Hitler from Hell, knowing that Hitler would be damned anyway, then Jesus is means-end irrational. Thus either you accept Jesus' irrationality or you deny Jesus has foreknowledge of future events. I haven't received much by way of interaction on this point with others, but perhaps you might be interested in commenting on it.


Godismyjudge said...

Hi Steven,

I responded back on your blog. If I have time latter, I will say something about Owen's argument as well.

God be with you,

natamllc said...


in your view, would you say the "frankfurt example" being discussed in here with Steve can be extrapolated from these verses too?

Mat 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Mat 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Mat 25:33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Mat 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Mat 25:36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Mat 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
Mat 25:38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
Mat 25:39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
Mat 25:40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Mat 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Robert said...

Steve Hays wrote:

“iii) Furthermore, in the past, Robert brags from time to time about corresponding with John Martin Fischer. I wonder if he ever told Fischer that Fischer was intellectually dishonest. Perhaps I should email Fischer and ask him about Robert’s views on the intellectual dishonesty of determinists.”

These comments merit clarification as Steve Hays is posting all sorts of things and doing so inaccurately.

First, I have not “bragged” about corresponding with John Martin Fischer. I have made reference to discussions that I have had with him on occasion, as he is one of the most prominent contemporary philosophers on the issue of free will and determinism. In particular I have made reference to an important distinction that Fischer makes (i.e. a determinist will believe that we may make choices we just never have choices in a fully determined world). Call this the “Fischer distinction”. This distinction is important because it brings out the idea that we are acting freely only when WE HAVE CHOICES. If we make choices but our choices are necessitated so that it is impossible for us to do otherwise, then we do not have a choice and we are not acting freely as ordinarily understood.

Second, while Fischer is honest enough to admit that in a fully determined world WE NEVER HAVE CHOICES, some other determinists are not that honest or forthright about their view.

Hays wonders: “I wonder if he ever told Fischer that Fischer was intellectually dishonest.”

Actually I would not charge Fischer with intellectual dishonesty because he is in fact completely honest about determinism: he freely admits that in a fully determined world we might make choices BUT WE NEVER WOULD HAVE CHOICES. This is honest and in my opinion he is correct. The dishonesty is present when someone claims that the world is fully determined but does not admit that in that case we would never ever have choices.

Third, there is another reason to discuss the “Fischer distinction” (i.e. that in a fully determined world you may MAKE CHOICES but you would NEVER HAVE CHOICES). In a recent post Steve Hays is attempting to argue that myself and other Arminians disagree concerning the definition of choice:

“You’d think that Arminians could at least agree on the definition of “choice.” After all, that’s a central plank in their belief-system. More so considering the fact that Dan has put so much weight on the correct definition of “choice” (and “choosing”). Yet over at Dan’s blog, major disagreements have repeatedly broken out over this key concept. If Arminians can’t agree on the fundamentals of their system, including the definition of choice, then it’s hard to see how they’re in much position to attack the Reformed definition of choice.” (cited from “Freedom of choice”, posted at Triablogue on July 18, 2009)

We do agree on the definition of choice (i.e. choosing is making a selection from alternative possibilities). It should also be noted that we agree that a person is acting freely only when they have a choice and then make a choice. That is not where we disagree.

The disagreement concerns whether or not we make choices in a fully determined world. We disagree about the “Fischer distinction”. I agree with Fischer that in a fully determined world while we would be ***making*** choices we would not ***have*** choices. Some others (including Dan) believe that we cannot make a choice unless we have a choice. So they believe that since in a fully determined world we would never have choices, therefore they conclude that we would not be making choices either in that determined world.

For Steve Hays to take our disagreement about the “Fischer distinction”, about whether or not we make choices in a FULLY DETERMINED WORLD, as evidence that we disagree about the meaning and nature of making a choice in this world or in general, is not accurate.