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Hopeful Calvinism (Part 2)

(I introduced the concept of this post last time in part 1. What follows is a continuation of pat 1 and assumes it as a background.)

3.a. Problems and Prospects

In presenting a possible case where one might be a hopeful Calvinist, there are several problems such a case will meet. One is that the proposed Calvinist system is “deterministic.” I use scare quotes because this is divine determinism, and as such I believe it is only roughly analogous to nomological physicalist determinism. However, since it is a kind of determinism, then libertarian freedom will not obtain, compatibilist freedom will. For some, this will be the end of it; and I admit that, at least in this post, I do not have and will not give any argument against libertarian free will or for compatibilism. But, as some consolation, I will grant a lot—in fact, probably more than has been granted heretofore by a Calvinist—to libertarian intuitions (see 3.b.). Continue Reading »

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Hopeful Calvinism (Part 1)

0. Introduction

“Hopeful Universalism” gets a lot of attention these days. It is said that, even if you don’t believe that universal reconciliation is the case, you should at least hope that it is the case. Of course, universalists think this, but so do many non-universalists (whether they are agnostic on the matter, annihilationalists, committed classical Arminians, and probably even some Calvinists, I’d assume). Alvin Plantinga summed up this view nicely when he said in an interview with Robert Lawrence on Closer to the Truth (2:10-4:45) that:

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Welcome to the Asylum

To avoid the build-up of writing an earth shattering first post in order to justify this blog’s existence, I’ll just link to this post which inquires about the claim made by some libertarians that libertarianism may be crazy, but it’s the best we’ve got. This appears to be an iteration of the old street fighting saying: Crazy beats strong every time.

I’ll close by highlighting John Fischer’s comment:

I actually don’t think libertarianism is ‘crazy’–nor do I think my own approach is! I think each approach has its more and less attractive features, and one has to do some sort of holistic ‘cost/beneft’ analysis.

Why not, however, opt for the best view: Semicompatibilism. We can accept the best features of libertarianism: the incompatibility of causal determinism and freedom to do otherwise and also the fact that we are indeed robustly morally responsible–and yet avoid the worst aspects of libertarianism, including that our freedom hangs on a thread. What is appealing about Semicompatibilism is that it avoids some of the ‘craziness’ of other views and embraces their sane and sensible insights!

What’s not to like?