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Volume 53 • Number 1

January 2016



Problems with the Bootstrapping Objections to Theistic Activism

by Christopher Menzel


According to traditional theism, God alone exists a se, independent of all other things, and all other things exist ab alio, that is, God both creates them and sustains them in existence. On the face of it, divine "aseity" is inconsistent with classical Platonism, that is, the view that there are objectively existing, abstract objects. For according to the classical Platonist, at least some abstract entities are wholly uncreated, necessary beings and, hence, as such, they also exist a se. The thesis of theistic activism purports to reconcile divine aseity with a robust Platonism. Specifically, the activist holds that God creates the abstract objects no less than the contingent concrete objects of the physical universe and, hence that, like all created things, they exist ab alio after all, their necessity notwithstanding. But many philosophers believe a severe roadblock for activism remains—a problem known as the bootstrapping objection. Despite widespread faith in the deliverances of this argument, in this paper, I show that the bootstrapping objection is open to significant objections on several fronts.

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ISSN: 2152-1123