Arnold T. Guminski

Arnold T. Guminski earned a BA from the University of Buffalo and a JD from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. After serving in the U.S. Army, he is a retired deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, California. With many years of appellate practice, he has twice argued before the United States Supreme Court. As an independent scholar with interests in constitutional-rights theory, and philosophy of religion and ethics, he has authored peer-reviewed articles in Faith & Reason, Philo, Philosphia Christi, and for the Secular Web Library. He and his wife now reside in Boulder, Colorado.

Offsite Publications

The Scope and the Limits of the Church's Inherent Coercive Power (2014) (Off Site) (with Brian W. Harrison)

Some mistakenly hold that the Catholic Church's declaration on religious freedom issued in 1965 (the Dignitatis Humanae) is consistent with the idea that the Church has the power to either directly impose temporal penalties typically imposed by civil authority only, and/or to indirectly do so by requiring civil authority to act as her secular arm under penalty of ecclesiastical sanction (i.e., excommunication, deposition of the offending civil ruler, or release of subjects from their duty of allegiance). In this exploration of the extent to which the coercive authority of any church or society is compatible with internationally recognized religious freedom, Arnold T. Guminski (an old atheist) with Brian W. Harrison (a Catholic priest) argues that the Catholic Church's inherent coercive power over its members does not extend to the imposition or use of temporal penalties typical of civil authorities only. Instead, its acquired coercive power to do so obtained solely by virtue of: (a) the jus publicum of Catholic Christendom in the medieval era and for some time thereafter, (b) the discretionary delegation or grant of power by the secular authority; (c) customary law by which the Church acted as civil authority because of exigencies that arose during a period of severe political and social disorder; or (d) because of an influential but nonmagisterial theory, appealing to the power of the keys, regarding the Church's inherent power over temporal matters in a Catholic State. The latter theory never formerly constituted part of the authoritative doctrine of the Church. (For a more detailed abstract, click on the "Info" button at the top of the essay.)


Published on the Secular Web


A Critique of the Plantinga Version of the Modal Ontological Argument

In this paper Arnold T. Guminski examines the modal ontological argument based upon possible worlds semantics expounded by Alvin Plantinga and further developed and defended by William Lane Craig. In section A Guminski discloses the flawed underlying assumptions of this Plantinga modal ontological argument (PMOA). In section B he defends the “anti – Plantinga modal ontological argument – argument” (or anti-PMOA-argument) by showing that a maximally great being is not broadly logically possible. In section C Guminski shows that the anti-PMOA-argument is amply confirmed since the procedure used to construct the PMOA plausibly allows the construction of arguments relevantly similar to the PMOA, but inconsistent with it. Section D explains why that which is broadly logically possible/necessary ought to be distinguished from that which is metaphysically possible/necessary. Section E considers the plausibility of premise 1 of the PMOA according to the writings of other scholars.

A Critical Examination of Mark R. Nowacki’s Novel Version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument

This article examines Nowicki’s novel version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument (N-KCA), and finds it seriously flawed. The N-KCA purportedly shows the factual impossibility of a denumerably infinite set of coexisting concrete entities; and that there would be such a set were an infinite temporal series of events to obtain because each existing substance bears its own necessarily permanent temporal marks and those of its ancestors. Nowicki, professing the A-theory of time, nevertheless maintains that truth-makers of past-event propositions are not tensed facts, according to some correspondence theory of truth, but rather the temporal marks borne by existing substances.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument Yet Again: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Temporal Series

According to a form of the kalam cosmological argument expounded by William Lane Craig, there cannot be a beginningless temporal world because the application of Cantorian set theory of transfinite arithmetic to the real world generates counterintuitive absurdities, thereby disclosing that an infinite set of real entities is metaphysically impossible. This article shows how this is not the case by pursuing a novel approach wherein it is understood that an infinite set of real entities is not a set, considered as a technical term of art, within the meaning of Cantorian theory. Upon accepting the original version for publication, Quentin Smith, then editor of Philo, wrote: “Your paper has been studied thoroughly for some time and there is agreement that it is at least an undercutting defeater of [William Lane] Craig’s beliefs about real infinites, probably even an overriding defeater. More importantly, it introduces a novel metaphysical theory of the relation of transfinite arithmetic to concrete reality.” Guminski’s persuasive challenge to Craig’s account of why Cantorian transfinite arithmetic should not be deemed to apply to the world of concrete entities has yet to be answered by Craig. The world wonders.

The Moral Argument for God’s Existence, the Natural Moral Law, and Conservative Metaphysical Naturalism

Some Christian philosophers and apologists have vigorously mounted a moral argument for God’s existence made apart from the standard nonmoral grounds. The moral argument is based upon the idea of natural moral law (fundamental moral principles and norms apprehended as such by persons of good will as universally binding and not based upon supernatural revelation or divine positive law). In this expanded version of a talk given to the University of Colorado Theology Forum, Arnold T. Guminski aims to show why those naturalists and theists who hold that the natural moral law obtains should conclude that the moral argument for the existence of God is unsound. Particular attention is given to the writings of J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and Paul Copan.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument as Amended: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Temporal Series of Finite Duration

In this third paper about the kalam cosmological argument (KCA), Guminski shows how William Lane Craig has developed a mutated form of the argument such that it presupposes the metaphysical possibility of an infinite temporal series of finite duration. The Kalam Cosmological Argument As Amended (KCAAA) thus contradicts a key component of the KCA: that any infinite temporal series is metaphysically impossible. The KCAAA relies upon the Standard Big Bang Model as providing the supposed factual basis for concluding that the universe has a finite but indefinite past, thus involving an infinite temporal series of finite duration. Guminski argues why there is good reason to hold that any infinite temporal series of finite duration is metaphysically impossible given the A-theory of time, absolute simultaneity, and some complementary doctrines–assumptions that Craig accepts. Given these assumptions, however, the KCAAA fails.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument: The Question of the Metaphysical Possibility of an Infinite Set of Real Entities

According to a form of the kalam cosmological argument expounded by William Lane Craig, there cannot be a beginningless temporal world because the application of Cantorian set theory of transfinite arithmetic to the real world generates counterintuitive absurdities, thereby disclosing that an infinite set of real entities is metaphysically impossible. This article shows how this is not the case by pursuing a novel approach wherein it is understood that an infinite set of real entities is not a set, considered as a technical term of art, within the meaning of Cantorian theory. Upon accepting the original version for publication, Quentin Smith, then editor of Philo, wrote: “Your paper has been studied thoroughly for some time and there is agreement that it is at least an undercutting defeater of [William Lane] Craig’s beliefs about real infinites, probably even an overriding defeater. More importantly, it introduces a novel metaphysical theory of the relation of transfinite arithmetic to concrete reality.” Guminski’s persuasive challenge to Craig’s account of why Cantorian transfinite arithmetic should not be deemed to apply to the world of concrete entities has yet to be answered by Craig. The world wonders.