Modal Structuralism and Theism

In Fiona Ellis (ed.), New Models of Religious Understanding. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2018)
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Abstract

Drawing an analogy between modal structuralism about mathematics and theism, I o er a structuralist account that implicitly de nes theism in terms of three basic relations: logical and metaphysical priority, and epis- temic superiority. On this view, statements like `God is omniscient' have a hypothetical and a categorical component. The hypothetical component provides a translation pattern according to which statements in theistic language are converted into statements of second-order modal logic. The categorical component asserts the logical possibility of the theism struc- ture on the basis of uncontroversial facts about the physical world. This structuralist reading of theism preserves objective truth-values for theistic statements while remaining neutral on the question of ontology. Thus, it o ers a way of understanding theism to which a naturalist cannot object, and it accommodates the fact that religious belief, for many theists, is an essentially relational matter.

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Silvia Jonas
Universit├Ąt Bamberg

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