“1. Walls thinks the CI is a “fairly straightforward implication of [theological] compatibilism:

(CI) If freedom and determinism are compatible, God could have created a world in which all persons freely did only the good at all times.

Walls does not argue that this is an implication. This is important since, as he is aware in footnote18, not all theological compatibilists would agree. John Feinberg, who is a theological compatibilists, for instance, denies this in No One Like Him. I do not know whether CI is true or false, for there may be reasons that I have not considered that show the consequent is false. Nevertheless, even if the consequent is true, it is not a “straightforward” implication from the antecedent. I will assume CI is true from hereon in my comments.”

The problem is that even after you point out a hole in his argument, a place in which he needs to connect the dots, he skips along repeating the same exact points only to declare his own victory over Calvinists without ever connecting the dots. And here 4 years later, we are repeating the same points. I think we all know the heart of what’s wrong with Jerry’s arguments.

]]>You’re not testing my patience at all. It’s a pleasure to interact with someone who cares about clarity and precision. Sorry about the delay in replying; first-week-of-semester busyness is to blame.

We can certainly agree on this: (4) follows from (1-3), and **if** (5) is understood as equivalent to (4) **then** (5) must follow from (1-3) as well. No room for dispute there.

My objections then come to this: first, (3) may be a gratuitous and disputable assumption (esp. in the current political context) for some of the people to whom the argument is directed; and second, even allowing for rhetorical devices, (5) is a very misleading and prejudicial way to express (4). Taken at face value, (5) has entailments that (4) does not. In my view, statements like “A non-vote for B is a vote for A” rely far more on rhetorical force than logical force to persuade people. And I take exception to that!

By the way, my blog is currently set up to close comments after 30 days. If you’d like to post a reply (and you’re welcome to have the last word!) just email it to me, or send it via the contact form on the About page, and I’ll gladly post it on your behalf.

]]>I am afraid I have done a poor job explaining myself. Please forgive me for testing your patience as I try to make my argument as perspicuous as possible in this response. Consider the following three premises:

**(1)** Oscar votes if and only if Oscar votes for either candidate A or candidate B.

**(2)** Oscar does not vote for both candidates.

**(3)** If Oscar votes, then Oscar votes for candidate B.

Premises (1) and (2) simply limit the possible candidates Oscar can vote for to either A or B, but not both. Premise (3) is the added assumption that I originally proposed. Now, the question I am asking is what follows from these three premises? (Note: whether or not any of these premises are true is irrelevant at this point. I am simply asking what would follow *if* they were all true.) The answer is: Oscar either votes for B or not at all. Given this disjunction, it follows that A’s lead will be either L or L+1. From here, it is easy to see that:

**(4)** If Oscar does not vote, then A’s lead will be one more than it would be if Oscar does vote.

Now consider the following statement:

**(5)** A no-vote by Oscar is a vote for A.

Here is my claim:

**(BC)** If what is meant by (5) is (4), then (5) is a reasonable argument.

I claim that (4) is tautologically entailed by (1), (2) and (3). If this is the case, then assuming that *tautological entailment* is reasonable, (BC) is established. Do you agree?

This leads to the next question: Does (4) express what is really meant by (5)? Now, I grant that a no-vote by Oscar is not *equivalent* to a vote for A. But couldn’t (5) in the right context simply be a rhetorical device used to express (4)? If so, then (5) in itself does not necessarily express an equivalence claim. I will stop here.

Kind Regards,

Brian

]]>Actually, I offered three arguments against your proposal. But since you focus here on the first, I’ll do likewise. You suggest my argument is problematic because I treat Oscar’s voting for A as a “real possibility,” but that isn’t the case, and thus the L+2 scenario should be discounted. Leaving aside the issue of what exactly counts as a “real possibility,” I’ll simply observe that whether or not Oscar’s voting for A is a real possibility is irrelevant to my argument. The original claim was that not voting for B *is* a vote for A. I take that to be an equivalence claim. But if so, it’s strictly false, because Oscar’s voting for A would result in a lead for A greater than if Oscar were not to vote. Whether Oscar’s voting for A is a real possibility is neither here nor there; we still know what Oscar’s voting for A would entail, and that would not be equivalent to Oscar’s not voting at all. It’s a simple point of mathematics. So my argument doesn’t assume that the L+1 and L+2 scenarios are real possibilities, because that’s irrelevant to the argument.

Now, perhaps your response will be that the original claim is not an equivalence claim but a similarity claim. It’s not that Oscar’s not voting *is equal to* a vote for A, but rather than Oscar’s not voting *is like* a vote for A. Well, how much like it? *Half* like it? :)

My other two arguments were objections to the assumed premise. In fact, the second one amounted to the idea that Oscar’s voting for B might be no more of a “real possibility” than Oscar’s voting for A. In that case, once again, by parity of reasoning, the claim that Oscar’s voting for A isn’t a real possibility won’t do the argument-defeating work it has been conscripted to do.

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