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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 37, Issue 2, April 2020

Daniel M. Johnson
Pages 137-157

How Puzzles of Petitionary Prayer Solve Themselves
Divine Omnirationality, Interest-Relative Explanation, and Answered Prayer

Some have seen in the divine attribute of omnirationality, identified by Alexander R. Pruss, the promise of a dissolution of the usual puzzles of peti­tionary prayer. Scott Davison has challenged this line of thought with a series of example cases. I will argue that Davison is only partially correct, and that the reasons for this reveal an important new way to approach the puzzles of petitionary prayer. Because explanations are typically interest-relative, there is not one correct account of “answered prayer” but many, corresponding to a variety of reasons to care whether God might answer our prayers. It follows from this that the omnirationality solution can be vindicated and that puz­zles of petitionary prayer that are not dissolved thereby will typically contain within themselves the seeds of their own solutions.

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