Faith and Philosophy

Volume 32, Issue 3, July 2015

Daniel Speak
Pages 313-324

Domination and the Free Will Defense
A Reply to Pruss

Few arguments have enjoyed as strong a reputation for philosophical success as Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense (FWD). Despite the striking reputation for decisiveness, however, concerns about the success of the FWD have begun to trickle into the philosophical literature. In a recent article in this journal, Alexander Pruss has contributed to this flow with an intriguing argument that a proposition necessary to the success of Plantinga’s FWD is false. Specifically, Pruss has argued, contrary to the FWD, that, necessarily, God is able to actualize a world containing at least one significantly free creature who never does anything morally wrong. Thus, Pruss purports to demonstrate that it is not possible that every creaturely essence suffers from transworld depravity. Since the possibility of universal transworld depravity is essential to Plantinga’s defense, Pruss concludes that the defense in its Plantingian form ultimately fails. After presenting Pruss’s argument, I argue that the free will defender can resist it, in large part because the free will defender can quite reasonably reject the dominance principle on which the supposed counterexample depends.