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Joseph C. Schmid [13]Joseph Conrad Schmid [1]
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Joseph Schmid
Princeton University
  1. The aloneness argument against classical theism.Joseph C. Schmid & R. T. Mullins - 2022 - Religious Studies 58 (2):1-19.
    We argue that there is a conflict among classical theism's commitments to divine simplicity, divine creative freedom, and omniscience. We start by defining key terms for the debate related to classical theism. Then we articulate a new argument, the Aloneness Argument, aiming to establish a conflict among these attributes. In broad outline, the argument proceeds as follows. Under classical theism, it's possible that God exists without anything apart from Him. Any knowledge God has in such a world would be wholly (...)
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  2. A Step-by-Step Argument for Causal Finitism.Joseph C. Schmid - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (5):2097-2122.
    I defend a new argument for causal finitism, the view that nothing can have an infinite causal history. I begin by defending a number of plausible metaphysical principles, after which I explore a host of novel variants of the Littlewood-Ross and Thomson’s Lamp paradoxes that violate such principles. I argue that causal finitism is the best solution to the paradoxes.
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  3. The fruitful death of modal collapse arguments.Joseph C. Schmid - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 91 (1):3-22.
    Modal collapse arguments are all the rage in certain philosophical circles as of late. The arguments purport to show that classical theism entails the absurdly fatalistic conclusion that everything exists necessarily. My first aim in this paper is bold: to put an end to action-based modal collapse arguments against classical theism. To accomplish this, I first articulate the ‘Simple Modal Collapse Argument’ and then characterize and defend Tomaszewski’s criticism thereof. Second, I critically examine Mullins’ new modal collapse argument formulated in (...)
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  4. Branching actualism and cosmological arguments.Joseph C. Schmid & Alex Malpass - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (7):1951-1973.
    We draw out significant consequences of a relatively popular theory of metaphysical modality—branching actualism—for cosmological arguments for God’s existence. According to branching actualism, every possible world shares an initial history with the actual world and diverges only because causal powers (or dispositions, or some such) are differentially exercised. We argue that branching actualism undergirds successful responses to two recent cosmological arguments: the Grim Reaper Kalam argument and a modal argument from contingency. We also argue that branching actualism affords a response (...)
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  5. The End is Near: Grim Reapers and Endless Futures.Joseph C. Schmid - forthcoming - Mind:fzad065.
    José Benardete developed a famous paradox involving a beginningless set of items each member of which satisfies some predicate just in case no earlier member satisfies it. The Grim Reaper version of this paradox has recently been employed in favor of various finitist metaphysical theses, ranging from temporal finitism to causal finitism to the discrete nature of time. Here, I examine a new challenge to these finitist arguments—namely, the challenge of implying that the future cannot be endless. In particular, I (...)
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  6. Symmetry's revenge.Joseph C. Schmid - 2023 - Analysis 83 (4):723-731.
    James Henry Collin recently developed a new symmetry breaker favouring the ontological argument’s possibility premiss over that of the reverse ontological argument. The symmetry breaker amounts to an undercutting defeater for the reverse possibility premiss based on Kripkean cases of a posteriori necessity. I argue, however, that symmetry re-arises in two forms. First, I challenge the purported asymmetry in epistemic entitlements to the original and reverse possibility premisses. Second, relevantly similar Kripkean cases equally undercut the original possibility premiss.
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  7. Benardete paradoxes, patchwork principles, and the infinite past.Joseph C. Schmid - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):51.
    Benardete paradoxes involve a beginningless set each member of which satisfies some predicate just in case no earlier member satisfies it. Such paradoxes have been wielded on behalf of arguments for the impossibility of an infinite past. These arguments often deploy patchwork principles in support of their key linking premise. Here I argue that patchwork principles fail to justify this key premise.
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  8. Simply Unsuccessful: The Neo-Platonic Proof of God’s Existence.Joseph Conrad Schmid - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (4):129-156.
    Edward Feser defends the ‘Neo-Platonic proof ’ for the existence of the God of classical theism. After articulating the argument and a number of preliminaries, I first argue that premise three of Feser’s argument—the causal principle that every composite object requires a sustaining efficient cause to combine its parts—is both unjustified and dialectically ill-situated. I then argue that the Neo-Platonic proof fails to deliver the mindedness of the absolutely simple being and instead militates against its mindedness. Finally, I uncover two (...)
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  9. Existential inertia and the Aristotelian proof.Joseph C. Schmid - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (3):201-220.
    Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis, according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival (...)
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  10. Stage One of the Aristotelian Proof: A Critical Appraisal.Joseph C. Schmid - 2021 - Sophia 60 (4):781-796.
    What explains change? Edward Feser argues in his ‘Aristotelian proof’ that the only adequate answer to these questions is ultimately in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this paper, I target the cogency of Feser’s reasoning to such an answer. In particular, I present novel paths of criticism—both undercutting and rebutting—against one of Feser’s central premises. I then argue that Feser’s inference that the unactualized actualizer lacks any potentialities contains a number of non-sequiturs.
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    Existential Inertia and Classical Theistic Proofs.Joseph C. Schmid & Daniel J. Linford - 2022 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    This book critically assesses arguments for the existence of the God of classical theism, develops an innovative account of objects’ persistence, and defends new arguments against classical theism. The authors engage the following classical theistic proofs: Aquinas’s First Way, Aquinas’s De Ente argument, and Feser’s Aristotelian, Neo-Platonic, Augustinian, Thomistic, and Rationalist proofs. The authors also provide the first systematic treatment of the ‘existential inertia thesis’. By connecting the thesis to relativity theory and recent developments in the philosophy of physics, and (...)
  12. Classical Theism, Arbitrary Creation, and Reason-Based Action.Joseph C. Schmid - 2022 - Sophia 61 (3):565-579.
    Surely God, as a perfectly rational being, created the universe for some _reason_. But is God’s creating the universe for a reason compatible with divine impassibility? That is the question I investigate in this article. The _prima facie_ tension between impassibility and God’s creating for a reason arises from impassibility’s commitment to God being uninfluenced by anything _ad extra_. If God is uninfluenced in this way, asks the detractor, how could he be moved to create anything at all? This _prima (...)
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  13. From Modal Collapse to Providential Collapse.Joseph C. Schmid - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (3):1413-1435.
    The modal collapse objection to classical theism has received significant attention among philosophers as of late. My aim in this paper is to advance this blossoming debate. First, I briefly survey the modal collapse literature and argue that classical theists avoid modal collapse if and only if they embrace an indeterministic link between God and his effects. Second, I argue that this indeterminism poses two challenges to classical theism. The first challenge is that it collapses God’s status as an intentional (...)
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  14. Naturalism, classical theism, and first causes.Joseph C. Schmid - 2023 - Religious Studies 59:63-77.
    Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy's naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy's naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel's argument for classical theism's advantage over Oppy's naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian doctrine along the (...)
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