Omniprescience and serious deliberation

E. J. Coffman
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Let’s say that you are omniprescient iff you always believe—occurrently and with maximal confidence—all and only truths, including ones about the future. Several philosophers have argued that an omniprescient being couldn’t engage in certain kinds of activity.[1] In what follows, I present and assess the most promising such argument I know of—what I’ll call the Serious Deliberation Argument (SDA). It concludes that omniprescience rules out serious deliberation—i.e., trying to choose between incompatible courses of action once you know that none is conclusively favored by your reasons.[2] The SDA—which (I’ll argue) should disturb many traditional theists—derives from an argument due to Tomis Kapitan[3]; and my favored objection to the SDA—roughly: that it fails because dependent on the alleged incompatibility of omniprescience and freedom—superficially resembles a reply to Kapitan’s argument due to David Hunt.[4] Along the way, then, I’ll briefly discuss Kapitan’s argument, and Hunt’s reply, to show how they differ from the SDA and my favored objection to it. I begin by presenting the Serious Deliberation Argument.
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