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Consistency Of Seventeenth-Century Thought Modal Analysis And Evaluation

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Chapter Summary

Modal analysis was commonplace in seventeenth-century theology and philosophy. This chapter analyzes and evaluates the major systematic positions of seventeenth-century thought with the help of possible worlds semantics. In the analysis, recent interpretations of these positions and their modal nature are also discussed. The five historical models of divine agency relate necessity and contingency differently to divine knowledge and will. Modal logic reveals that there are not merely gradual or minor differences of opinion at stake. The five dominant positions of seventeenth-century thought express different modal intuitions about divine knowledge and will. Modern logic enables a more detailed appraisal, which shows that the Reformed model is the only consistent position.

Keywords: modal analysis; seventeenth-century



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