Grace and Free Will: On Quiescence and Avoiding Semi-Pelagianism

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (4):70-95 (2022)
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Abstract

Several recent incompatibilist accounts of divine grace and human free will have appealed to the notion of quiescence in an attempt to avoid semi-Pelagianism while retaining the fallen person’s control over coming to faith and thus the agent’s responsibility for failing to come to faith. In this essay I identify three distinct roles that quiescence has been employed to play in the recent literature. I outline how an account of divine grace and human free will may employ quiescence to play one role without playing either of the others. I also note that getting clear about these roles allows us to see that so-called sourcehood accounts of free will do not need to appeal to quiescence to avoid semi-Pelagianism. Far from being a benefit of sourcehood accounts, however, this highlights a serious defect in such accounts; I draw out this defect, developing it into a general argument against sourcehood accounts of free will.

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