Epistemic paradox as a solution to divine hiddenness

Perichoresis (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I offer a new, limited solution to divine hiddenness based on a particular epistemic paradox: sometimes, knowing about a desired outcome or relevant features of that desired outcome would prevent the outcome in question from occurring. I call these cases epistemically self-defeating situations. This solution, in essence, says that divine hiddenness or silence is a necessary feature of at least some morally excellent or desirable states of affairs. Given the nature of the paradox, an omniscient being cannot completely eliminate hiddenness, just as an omnipotent being cannot create a rock so heavy that they cannot lift it. Epistemically self-defeating situations provide an undercutting defeater for the assumption that any nonresistant nonbeliever could always, at any time, be in conscious relationship with a perfectly loving God. Thankfully, silence is a temporary feature of epistemically self-defeating situations: once the outcome is achieved, agents can know in full.

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Amy Seymour
Fordham University

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