Religious Studies 45 (4):435–54 (2009)

Arguments against our free will pose a serious problem. Although there are not very many philosophers who call themselves fatalists, quite a few are convinced that fatalism follows from common assumptions. Assuming that most believe themselves to be free, identifying ways to avoid the conclusion of such fatalist arguments is quite an important task. I begin by dealing specifically with theological fatalism. I present many versions of theological fatalism, but come to the conclusion that only one version constitutes a genuine problem. That version, I argue, is reducible to a deeper fatalist dilemma that follows from assumptions so common that it must be faced by even the atheist: the mutually incompatibility of human freedom, the principle of alternate possibilities and bi-valance. After considering other objections to my argument, I conclude that the only way to avoid the fatalist conclusion is to either deny the principle of alternate possibilities or deny bi-valance. I argue that, although each option is somewhat problematic, denying bivalence is the more defensible of the two options.
Keywords fatalism  freedom foreknowledge  divine Omniscience
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