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DIVINE SIMPLICITY, CONTINGENT TRUTHS, AND EXTRINSIC MODELS OF DIVINE KNOWING W. Matthews Grant A.well-known objection to divine simplicity holds that the doctrine is in- ‘compatible with God's contingent knowledge. I set out the objection and eject two problematic solutions, I then argue that the objection is best answered by adopting an “extrinsic model of divine knowing” according ‘to which God's contingent knowledge, which varies across worlds, does not involve any intrinsic variation in God, Solutions along these ineshave been, suggested by others, This paper advances the discussion by developing and offering partial defenses of three such models. 1. Divine Simplicity and the Problem of God's Contingent Knowledge God's contingent knowledge appears to pose a serious difficulty for the doctrine of divine simplicity? To appreciate this difficulty, consider the central claim of the doctrine, the Simplicity Thesis: SI-The divine substance is not composed in any way; nor are there entities intrinsic to God distinct from the divine substance? Difculties of the sort present here have been ccognized by fiend and foe ofthe doc- ‘sina For the forme see Jefey E- Brower, "Simpicty and Ase," The Oxord Handbook of Phlsophice! Twelogy tT Flint sna M,C. ea (Oxford: Oxford Unversity Press, 209), 7-123 and Alexandst 8 Drs, “Oa Iwo Probleme of Divine Simply” Ord Seu Phos of Religion (200), 157-15. or the latter, se Thomas V. Mots, Oar Ten of God {Notre Date Unversity of NotreDarne Pres, 191) 117-18 and Cheatopher Hughes, On {Camper Theory of Siple God Othaca: Cornell University Pzess, 1989), 107-114 Brewer find Pease attenigt to solve the problem by suggesting what I call “extrinsic models” of ‘vine loonring, but the development and dedenae oftheir models eiatiray Pret 8 inight be expected given that thei papers are ot focused exclusively on ths probe). “Lue ny” a ganercterm ering postive orto ee of any sr, na ing subrance subjct scedent stribsta feat, sope, propett, mater, form. essence actof enetence sate action, ete but ot lacks or paivations. The commonplace distinction between “intsinse"and "evsisic” hes proves dificult to analyze, but Til spume that ven shor of satsactory snalsis we ean grasp the meaning of the terms well enough to proceed. Th hs evplcaden of evine sing, Brower ron the inuiive dist ton betwen “intingie predicatlon,” wih charatierizes things “in virtue of the way they themselves ace" and “etrinae prediction "which characterizes things in vitue of thle {slatons of lack of elaine to other things” Csimplecty nd Ast" 124m. Given this {istinction (which Brower draws fom David Lewis, On the Piurality of Words [Oxford Backovell 1986) 61-6) we can sy thats for, et eos canbe) solely in virtue of whats [niin ith especto some subject that sley in virtue of wha Sis or haste tele that an intinscpredcaion ofthe fom "Sis te. By contast an extrinsic prediction tthe oom "3 sis true, not solely i vet of what intrinsic to, but rather teas Vol. 29 No. 3 July 2012 258 FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY & All rights reserved DIVINE SIMPLICITY, CONTINGENT TRUTHS, AND DIVINE KNOWING 255, ‘Now, assuming that God is omniscient and there are contingent truths, it follows that God has Contingent Knowledge: CK: God knows some contingent truth. But one might assume that God's knowing some truth, T, implies some~ thing intrinsic to God, such as God's belief that T, or pethaps just God's state or act of knowing T. What's more, one might suppose that such states would not exist were God not knowing T. Thus, we have the following thesis about God's knowledge (the Knowledge Thesis): KT: Necessarily, God’s knowing some truth T implies some entity intrinsic to God that would not exist were God not knowing T? Let us take the following as an example of a contingent truth God knows (@) Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Necessarily, God knows (1) only if (1) is true. Since (1) is a contingent truth, it follows that God's knowing (1) is contingent. But, by (KT), God's know- ing (1) implies some entity intrinsic to God that would not exist were God not knowing (1). Since there are worlds in which God does not know (1), there are worlds in which this entity does not exist. So, God's knowing (1) implies some contingent entity intrinsic to God. (Our problem arises when we recall that God is a necessary being: NB: The divine substance exists necessarily As we have seen, the conjunction of (CK) and (KT) implies the existence of a contingent entity intrinsic to God. Since an entity that exists contingent ly cannot be identical to an entity that exists necessarily, it follows from the conjunction of (CK), (KT), and (NB), that there is distinction in God between the necessarily existing divine substance and the contingent en- tity or entities implied by God's contingent knowledge. Such distinction contradicts ($1). So, (CK), (KT), (NB), and GT) are incompatible. ‘pat in virtue ofS relations or lack of relations to other things. We can say, futher, that en {deal inspector could determine what entities are intrinsic with respect 5 by inspecting S alone, whereas knowing S's exteinsc properties (or what extrinsic predictions ae true of 5) would requice Inspecting objects apart fom S. Finally we can Say that fan entity that is intrinsic with respect to S censes to exist then ether 9 Woe ceases to exist ithe entity {Ss essence or balongs to S essentially), or S undergoes areal, as opposed to merely Car bridge, change. Fora discussion ofthe Intrinsiclextrinsic distinction see Brian Weatherson, “Tperinsic vs. Extrinsic Properties,” in The Stay Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Eat. tion) ed. EN. Zalta,htp:/platostanford.edu/archivesiall2008entres/intrinse-extrinsc although implication is typically thought of asa relation thet holds between proposi- tions, There use “implies” in an extended sense to relate non-propostional objects. (KT) ‘means that in any world fn whlch God knows some truth T, have is some entity intense t9 God that would not exist were God not knowing T intend (NB) and (CK) to be understood according tothe standard, possible worlds interpretation of the modal concepts “necessary” and “contingent” and intend "God" And ‘he divine substance” to serve as igh designators. Ths, (NB) means that one and the same individual, the divine substance (6: God) exists in all possible welds Faith and Philosophy In what follows, I consider how one wishing to retain (ST) might re- spond to the problem. Not surprisingly, the options are to reject at least one of (CK), (KT), or (NB). In the first section, I consider responses that reject (CK) and (NB), arguing that these responses are too costly, or that they leave significant problems unaddressed. In the third section, I argue that the problem is best solved by rejecting (KT), Rejecting (KT) means endorsing an extrinsic model of divine knowing, I present and offer par- tial defenses of three such models. 2, Problematic Solutions: Rejecting (CK) or (NB) By rejecting (CK), we could retain (KT) and (NB) without compromising (G1); for (KT) without (CK) would not force us to admit a contingent entity in God distinct from the necessarily existing divine substance. On the other hand, if we reject (NB) and hold that God is, in the standard sense, a contingent being, then (ST) could be preserved alongside (KT) and (CK). For then the contingent entity in God required by the conjunction of (KT) and (CK) need not be distinct from the contingently existing divine sub- stance. On either solution, God could be said to know whatever truths he knows (whether only necessary truths or also contingent) in virtue of a single entity that is identical with the divine substance itself* Unfortu- nately, neither solution is attractive. ‘To reject (CK) requires either denying that there are contingent truths, or admitting contingent truths, but denying that God knows any of them. ‘The latter violates omniscience. The former means nothing could really be (or have been) otherwise, with the consequence that neither God nor any human being could really do (or have done) otherwise. Rejecting (NB) would not work for someone who thinks God's perfec tion requires that he exist necessarily in the standard sense, or who posits God to account for beings that exist contingently in the standard sense. Still, even were one prepared to reject (NB) there remain significant problems in retaining (ST) alongside (CK) and (KT). To appreciate these, consider the actual world, W, in which God knows (1) Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Since (1) is a contingent truth, it might have been false. Indeed, there is a possible world, W*, where instead of (1), itis true that (7) John McCain is the 44th president of the United States. Twill assume as is required by these solutions, that esubjectean know multiple traths invirtue ofbeing in a single state, and that thece sin principle no uppe limit tothe num ber af ruths the divine being could know in virtue ofa singe state ‘Sone who denied (NE) might still firm the traditional claim “God is a necessary be- ng” according to different interpretation. For various intarpretations, see Ban Leow, “Necessary Being.” in Routledge BreylopediaofPilsopy, ed. E-Craig (Condon: Routledge, 1998), hitpfwwwrep outledgecomvarticle/KO52.