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Res Philosophica

Volume 98, Issue 2, April 2021

Special Issue: Islamic Philosophy and Contemporary Philosophy of Religion

Seyma Yazici
Pages 331-351

Can al-Ghazali's Conception of Modality Propose a Solution to Rowe's Argument against Divine Freedom?

William L. Rowe poses a dilemma between God’s freedom and essential moral goodness by arguing that God cannot satisfy the arguably accepted condition for libertarian freedom, namely, ability to do otherwise. Accordingly, if God does a morally good action A freely, then there is at least a possible world in which God refrains from doing A and thereby does the morally wrong action. And if God does a morally wrong action in one of the possible worlds, he ceases to be essentially morally perfect. I will argue that Rowe’s conclusion is based on a specific possible world semantics, and we might avoid Rowe’s conclusion with an alternative understanding of modality. In doing so, I will examine the conception of modality proposed by al-Ghazalı in which the possibility of a state of affairs does not entail its actuality in at least one possible world.