Aquinas and the Problem of No Best World

New Blackfriars 98 (1075):503-519 (2017)
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Abstract

Thomas Aquinas is often mentioned in the debate regarding best possible worlds. Some philosophers believe Aquinas’ writings entail that God must create a best possible world while most think he rejects the notion. Additionally, it is thought that Aquinas’ position falls prey to the problem of no best world. However, a closer examination of Aquinas’ metaphysical views shows that he has been misunderstood in the current debate. In this essay, I first examine some contemporary views regarding Aquinas’ thought on best possible worlds. Afterward, I discuss Aquinas’ concepts of God’s goodness and God’s purpose for creating and determine their implications for his position regarding best possible worlds. Understanding these concepts helps to show why Aquinas’ position has been misrepresented. I conclude that while Aquinas does reject the popular notion of a best possible world, his arguments are not susceptible to the problem of no best world.

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B. Kyle Keltz
South Plains College

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