We typically think we have free will. But how could we have free will, if for anything we do, it was already true in the distant past that we would do that thing? Or how could we have free will, if God already knows in advance all the details of our lives? Such issues raise the specter of "fatalism". This book collects sixteen previously published articles on fatalism, truths about the future, and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human (...) freedom, and includes a substantial new introductory essay and bibliography. Many of the pieces collected here build bridges between discussions of human freedom and recent developments in other areas of metaphysics, such as philosophy of time and the nature of metaphysical "dependence". Ideal for courses in free will, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion, Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge will encourage important new directions in thinking about free will, time, and truth. (shrink)
The article analyzes and criticizes the assumptions of Peter Van Inwagen’s argument for the alleged contradiction of the foreknowledge of God and human freedom. The argument is based on the sine qua non condition of human freedom defined as access to possible worlds containing such a continuation of the present in which the agent implements a different action than will be realized de facto in the future. The condition also contains that in every possible continuation of the present state (...) of affairs, the same propositions about the ‘present past’ (the past before the present moment) are true as are true in the present state of affairs. The paper argues that Van Inwagen’s reasoning is inconclusive, it contains the type of mistake of confusing conditional impossibility with unconditional and presents a methodologically wrong method of solving a philosophical problem. It is because in the very construction of the problem determining the available solution. The article points to the possibility that the human freedom of some action is not excluded by the fact that specific past facts logically entail that this event will occur. (shrink)
After having given in the Essay a definition of freedom which straightforwardly entails its compatibility with – among other things – God's foreknowledge, Locke surprisingly writes in a 1693 letter to Molyneux that he does not see how human liberty can coexist with divine prescience. I argue that the confession to Molyneux can be made consistent with the Essay's definition by embracing the view that the problem Locke had in mind when he drafted it was not a problem concerning (...) the reality of human freedom but, rather, its value. (shrink)
Following an Open conception of Divine Foreknowledge, that holds that man is endowed with genuine freedom and so the future is not definitely determined, it will be claimed that human freedom does not limit the divine power, but rather enhances it and presents us with a barrier against arbitrary use of that power. This reading will be implemented to reconcile a well-known quarrel between two important interpreters of Duns Scotus, Allan B. Wolter and Thomas Williams, each of whom supports (...) a different interpretation of the way God acts according to right reason. (shrink)
In this paper we critically evaluate Trenton Merricks’s recent attempt to provide a “new” way of defending compatibilism about divine foreknowledge and human freedom. We take issue with Merricks’s claim that his approach is fundamentally different from Ockhamism. We also seek to highlight the implausibility of Merricks’s rejection of the assumption of the fixity of the past, and we also develop a critique of the Merricks’s crucial notion of “dependence.”.
I seek to clarify the notion of the fixity of the past appropriate to Pike’s regimentation of the argument for the incompatibility of God’s foreknowledge and human freedom. Also, I discuss Alvin Plantinga’s famous example of Paul and the Ant Colony in light of Pike’s argument.
It is not uncommon to think that the existence of exhaustive and infallible divine foreknowledge uniquely threatens the existence of human freedom. This paper shows that this cannot be so. For, to uniquely threaten human freedom, infallible divine foreknowledge would have to make an essential contribution to an explanation for why our actions are not up to us. And infallible divine foreknowledge cannot do this. There remains, however, an important question about the compatibility of freedom and (...) class='Hi'>foreknowledge. It is a question not about the existence of foreknowledge, but about its mechanics. (shrink)
In this paper, we will defend a particular version of the timeless solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Our strategy is grounded on a particular temporal framework, which models the flow of time and a libertarian understanding of freedom. The propositions describing a certain act by an agent have an indeterminate truth value until the agent makes her choice; therefore, they become true or false when a decision is made. In order to account for this (...) change of truth value, a multiple frame structure is introduced in which every frame presents a privileged time, with its past and the possible alternative futures, which are still open. God atemporally knows all the frames and the truth values of propositions with respect to each one. Since divine knowledge of what an agent decides in a certain temporal frame depends on the agent’s act itself, divine knowledge does not conflict with the agent’s free will. (shrink)
Theological fatalists contend that if God knows everything, then no human action is free, and that since God does know everything, no human action is free. One reply to such arguments that has become popular recently— a way favored by William Hasker and Peter van Inwagen—agrees that if God knows everything, no human action is free. The distinctive response of these philosophers is simply to say that therefore God does not know everything. On this view, what the fatalist arguments in (...) fact bring out is that it was logically impossible for God to have known the truths about what we would freely do in the future. And this is no defect in God’s knowledge, for infallible foreknowledge of such truths is a logical impossibility. It has commonly been assumed that this position constitutes an explanation of where the fatalist argument goes wrong. My first goal is to argue that any such assumption has in fact been a mistake; Hasker and van Inwagen have in effect said only that something does go wrong with the argument, but they have not explained what goes wrong with it. Once we see this result, we’ll see, I think, that they need such an account—and that no such account has in fact been provided. The second goal of this paper is therefore to develop— and to criticize— what seems to be the most promising such account they might offer. As I see it, this account will in fact highlight in an intuitively compelling new way what many regard to be the view’s chief liability, namely, that the truths about the future which God is said not to know will now appear even more clearly (and problematically)‘ungrounded’. (shrink)
Michael Tooley’s latest argument against the possibility of divine foreknowledge trades on the idea that, whichever theory of time is true, the ontology of the future—or lack thereof—gives rise to special problems for God’s prescience. I argue that Tooley’s reasoning is predicated on two mischaracterizations and conclude that, on at least some theories of time, the possibility of divine foreknowledge appears secure.
John Martin Fischer has argued that Molinism does not constitute a response to the argument that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with human freedom. I argue that T. Ryan Byerly’s recent work on the mechanics of foreknowledge sheds light on this issue. It shows that Fischer’s claim is ambiguous, and that it may turn out to be false on at least one reading, but only if the Molinist can explain how God knows true counterfactuals of freedom.
Nach Michael J. Murrays Aufsatz „Leibniz on Divine Foreknowledge of Future Contingents and Human Freedom" ist Leibniz nicht als Kompatibilist zu verstehen. Die göttliche Vorhersehung beruhe nicht darauf, dass menschliche Handlungen mechanischen Gesetzen von Ursache und Wirkung (causa efficiens) gehorchen, sondern auf den für diese Handlungen spezifischen geistigen Gesetzen (causa finalis, moralische Gesetze, etc.). In diesem Aufsatz argumentiere ich, dass Murray die Tragweite des Grundsatzes vom hinreichenden Grund in Leibniz' Philosophie nicht richtig versteht. Des Weiteren zeige ich, dass die (...) Unterscheidung zwischen causa efficiens and causa finalis nicht, wie Murray nahelegt, mit der Unterscheidung zwischen physikalischen und geistigen Ereignissen zusammenfällt. In diesem Zusammenhang mache ich deutlich, dass die prästabilierte Harmonie nicht als Beziehung zwischen unterschiedlichen Arten von Substanzen, Geistern und Körpern, verstanden werden kann. Zuletzt skizziere ich kurz, worin m. E. die eigentliche Auffassung von Leibniz mit Blick auf die behandelte Problematik besteht. (shrink)
I argue that the simple foreknowledge view, according to which God knows at some time t 1 what an agent S will do at t 2 , is incompatible with human free will. I criticize two arguments in favor of the thesis that the simple foreknowledge view is consistent with human freedom, and conclude that, even if divine foreknowledge does not causally compel human action, foreknowledge is nevertheless relevantly similar to other cases in which human freedom (...) is undermined. These cases include those in which certain human actions are logically, rather than causally, foreclosed. (shrink)
Many have attempted to respond to arguments for the incompatibility of freedom with divine foreknowledge by claiming that God’s beliefs about the future are explained by what the world is like at that future time. We argue that this response adequately advances the discussion only if the theist is able to articulate a model of foreknowledge that is both clearly possible and compatible with freedom. We investigate various models the theist might articulate and argue that all of these (...) models fail. (shrink)
Unlike versions of open theism that appeal to the alethic openness of the future, defenders of limited foreknowledge open theism (hereafter LFOT) affirm that some propositions concerning future contingents are presently true. Thus, there exist truths that are unknown to God, so God is not omniscient simpliciter. LFOT requires modal definitions of divine omniscience such that God knows all truths that are logically knowable. Defenders of LFOT have yet to provide an adequate response to Richard Purtill’s argument that fatalism (...) logically follows from the omnitemporality of truth. Hasker believes a distinction between hard and soft facts prevents fatalism, but I argue that his defense fails in light of arguments involving divine necessity. Additionally, I point out that Hasker’s philosophy of language concerning divine names faces problems that cannot be overcome, given the versions of the dilemma of freedom and foreknowledge that motivate LFOT. Thus, contra Hasker, Swinburne, and van Inwagen, open theism necessitates the alethic openness of the future. (shrink)
In this paper, a cognate of the problem of divine foreknowledge is introduced: the problem of the prophet’s foreknowledge. The latter cannot be solved referring to Ockhamism—the doctrine that divine foreknowledge could, at least in principle, be compatible with human freedom because God’s beliefs about future actions are merely soft facts, rather than hard facts about the past. Under the assumption that if Ockhamism can solve the problem of divine foreknowledge then it should also yield a (...) solution to the problem of the prophet’s foreknowledge, it is concluded that Ockhamism fails. (shrink)
The problem that divine foreknowledge poses for free will is one that is notoriously difficult to solve. If God believes in advance how an agent will act, this fact about the past eradicates all alternatives for the actor, given the infallibility of God’s beliefs. And if we assume, with many theists, that free will requires alternatives possibilities, then it looks as if God’s omniscience is incompatible with our free will. One solution to this problem, introduced and defended by David (...) Hunt, draws on the source incompatibilist position in the secular free debate. According to source incompatibilists, free will does not require alternative possibilities but is also not compatible with causal determinism. Hunt argues that because God’s foreknowledge does not eliminate future alternatives through causal means, it is compatible with free will. In this paper, I challenge Hunt’s position using Kevin Timpe’s distinction between “wide” and “narrow” source incompatibilists. I argue that if one wishes to be an incompatibilist concerning free will and causal determinism, one must accept that alternatives are required for free will. And if one must accept that alternatives are a necessary condition for free will, then Hunt’s solution to the foreknowledge dilemma will not succeed. (shrink)
Suppose it were known, by someone else, what you are going to choose to do tomorrow. Wouldn't that entail that tomorrow you must do what it was known in advance that you would do? In spite of your deliberating and planning, in the end, all is futile: you must choose exactly as it was earlier known that you would. The supposed exercise of your free will is ultimately an illusion. Historically, the tension between foreknowledge and the exercise of free (...) will was addressed in a religious context. According to orthodox views in the West, God was claimed to be omniscient (and hence in possession of perfect foreknowledge) and yet God was supposed to have given humankind free will. Attempts to solve the apparent contradiction often involved attributing to God special properties, e.g. being 'outside' of time. However, the trouble with such solutions is that they are generally unsatisfactory on their own terms. Even more serious is the fact that they leave untouched the problem posed not by God's foreknowledge but that of any human being. Do human beings have foreknowledge? Certainly, of at least some events and behaviors. Thus we have a secular counterpart of the original problem. A human being's foreknowledge, exactly as would God's, of another's choices would seem to preclude the exercise of human free will. Various ways of trying to solve the problem – e.g. by putting constraints on the truth-conditions for statements, or by 'tightening' the conditions necessary for knowledge – are examined and shown not to work. Ultimately the alleged incompatibility of foreknowledge and free will is shown to rest on a subtle logical error. When the error, a modal fallacy, is recognized, and remedied, the problem evaporates. (shrink)
Molinism attempts to resolve the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human libertarian freedom by the inclusion of the divine will into the solution. Moreover, middle knowledge is providentially useful under the Molinist model because of the way God uses it. This speaks of an integral link between the divine will and intellect that works in such a way as to provide a foreknowledge solution and, allegedly, the best view of providence. Nevertheless, there have been several anti-Molinist arguments by (...) analogy which suggest that the God presented in the Molinist model is a manipulator, and therefore something is lost or undermined in the libertarian freedom that Molinism purports to uphold through its model of foreknowledge and providence. This thesis examines the anti-Molinist charge of manipulation primarily by analysing how God uses information known through middle knowledge. The findings of the anti-Molinist arguments from analogy are reconstructed to form deductive arguments. These are evaluated against standard definitions of objectionable manipulation. It is concluded through analysis of these stronger, deductive arguments that divine providence under the Molinist model is a case of objectionable manipulation, one which many theists, classical or progressive, should find abhorrent. The effects of manipulation on ostensible libertarian freedom are then analysed, leading to the conclusion that Molinist-style manipulation results in a form of free-will compatibilism, ergo, the divine foreknowledge problem is not answered, nor is the result compatible with libertarian freedom. Given that it is close to a form of divine determinism, Molinism is then compared with Calvinism along several lines of criticism, namely whether such a God is good, loving and personal. (shrink)
: A vital presupposition of an influential argument for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and libertarian free action is that free action requires alternative possibilities. A recent, noteworthy challenge to this presupposition invokes a “Divine Frankfurt‐type example”: God's foreknowledge of one's future actions prevents one from doing otherwise without having any responsibility‐undermining effect on one's actions. First, I explain why features of God's omniscience cast doubt on this Frankfurtian response. Second, even if this appraisal is mistaken, I argue (...) that divine foreknowledge is irreconcilable with moral obligation if such foreknowledge eliminates alternatives. (shrink)
Review of Zagzebski's book, which develops a defense of the position that freedom is compatible with divine foreknowledge. After critiquing previous attempts at reconciliation, including Boethius, Ockham, and Molina, she develops her own view that the relation between God's knowledge and human existence must accord with human models of knowing.
Foreknowledge arguments attempt to show that infallible and exhaustive foreknowledge is incompatible with creaturely freedom. One particularly powerful foreknowledge argument employs the concept of accidental necessity. But an opponent of this argument might challenge it precisely because it employs the concept of accidental necessity. Indeed, Merricks (Philos Rev 118:29–57, 2009, Philos Rev 120:567–586, 2011a) and Zagzebski (Faith Philos 19(4):503–519, 2002, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011) have each written favorably of such a response. In this paper, I aim (...) to show that responding to the accidental necessity version of the foreknowledge argument by disputing the concept of accidental necessity, including doing so in the ways these authors do, does not constitute a successful response to the foreknowledge argument. This is because there is an only slightly modified but still well-motivated version of the foreknowledge argument which employs the notion of uncausability rather than accidental necessity; and this argument is not threatened by objections to the concept of accidental necessity, including those objections offered by Zagzebski and Merricks. As recent literature on the foreknowledge argument has emphasized, when a response to a foreknowledge argument fails to threaten an only slightly modified but still well-motivated version of that argument, the response in question is not successful. So the responses to the accidental necessity version of the foreknowledge argument I have mentioned are not successful. Moreover, those working on foreknowledge arguments more generally should take seriously the uncausability version of the foreknowledge argument articulated here, as it may well be that still more responses to the foreknowledge argument will not threaten it, either. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer’s charge that Molinism does not offer a unique answer to the dilemma of divine foreknowledge and human freedom can be seen as a criticism of middle knowledge for begging the question of FF -compatibilism. In this paper, I seek to answer this criticism in two ways. First, I demonstrate that most of the chief arguments against middle knowledge are guilty of begging the question of FF-incompatibilism and conclude that the simple charge of begging the question cannot (...) be as problematic as some suggest. Determinists and open theists incorporate FF-incompatibilist notions into their respective versions of the grounding objection, their conceptions of risk and libertarian freedom, and their requirements for divine foreknowledge. Thus, while I admit that Molinism does rely upon Ockhamist and Augustinian principles in its approach to the dilemma and is guilty of presupposing FF-compatibilism, I deny that this undermines its strength as a model of providence. Second, I argue that, although all models are guilty of question-begging moves, they are not all on par with one another. Molinism offers a more orthodox and robust approach to providence than open theism and process theology, and it handles empirical data better than all of its competitors. (shrink)
If God knew I were going to write this paper, was I able to refrain from writing it this morning? One possible response to this question is that God's knowledge does not take place in time and therefore He does not properly fore-know. According to this response, God knows absolutely everything, it's just that He knows everything outside of time. The so-called timeless solution was one of the influential responses to the foreknowledge problem in classical Christian Theology. This solution, (...) however, seemed to lose support in the recent debate. For example, Pike claims that "the doctrine of God's timelessness entered Christian Theology because Platonic thought was stylish at the time" and Hasker catalogues this as one of the minor solutions to the problem. One possible source for this general attitude towards timelessness is the thought that the very idea of timelessness is incoherent. In this paper I argue that that the timeless solution to the foreknowledge problem is congenial with the supervaluationist theory of branching time and that this formal framework provides, in fact, a precise characterization of the timeless solution to the foreknowledge problem. The views presented in this paper are in line with those of Kretzmann and Stump, Leftow and De Florio and Frigerio. (shrink)
Boethius represents one of the most important milestones in Christian reflection about fate and providence, especially considering that he takes into account Proclus’ contributions to these questions. For this reason, The Consolation of philosophy is considered a crucial work for the development of this topic. However, Boethius also exposes his ideas in his commentary on the book that constitutes one of the oldest and most relevant texts on the problem of future contingents, namely Aristotle’s De interpretatione. Although St. Thomas refers (...) to Boethius many times in his systematic works and even devotes two commentaries to two of his theological opuscules, it is of special interest that both authors composed a commentary on the abovementioned work by Aristotle. The commentary of Saint Thomas does not interpret the whole book, but it does study the pages about future contingents in dialogue with Boethius. We will study such texts in our presentation. They constitute one of the greatest contributions of Aquinas to the problem of necessity and contingency and therefore to the vexata quaestio of divine intervention in the world and particularly in human free will. Not only Augustin but also Aristotle (read by Boethius) and Nemesius of Emesa will be decisive in Aquinas’ perception of this matter. (shrink)
The traditional debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists was based on the assumption that if determinism deprives us of free will and moral responsibility, it does so by making it true that we can never do other than what we actually do. All parties to the debate took for granted the truth of a claim now widely known as "the principle of alternate possibilities": someone is morally responsible only if he could have done otherwise. In a famous paper, Harry Frankfurt argued (...) that the principle of alternate possibilities is false. I argue that Frankfurt's argument rests on a modal fallacy. (shrink)
A number of philosophers and theologians have argued that if God has knowledge of future human actions then human agents cannot be free. This argument rests on the assumption that, since God is essentially omniscient, God cannot be wrong about what human agents will do. It is this assumption that I challenge in this paper. My aim is to develop an interpretation of God’s essential omniscience according to which God can be wrong even though God never is wrong. If this (...) interpretation of essential omniscience is coherent, as I claim it is, then there is a logically consistent position according to which God is essentially omniscient, God foreknows what human agents will do, and yet it is possible for human agents to do otherwise. Thus, the argument for theological fatalism fails. (shrink)
Suppose we believe that God created the world. Then surely we want it to be the case that he intended, in some sense at least, to create THIS world. Moreover, most theists want to hold that God didn't just guess or hope that the world would take one course or another; rather, he KNEW precisely what was going to take place in the world he planned to create. In particular, of each person P, God knew that P was to exist. (...) Call this the "standard" conception. Most theists find the standard conception appealing. Unfortunately, the view seems to conflict with the equally appealing idea — call it "temporal actualism" — that there are no "future" individuals beyond those that already exist in the present moment. For, on this view, for any historical person P, prior to creation, there was no such person as P and hence nothing about P for God to know. Hence, in particular, God couldn't have known that P was to exist. This is of course not a new problem. But past solutions to it are highly problematic. In this paper, after canvassing previous approaches, I will propose a solution that seems to preserve both temporal actualism and a suitably robust form of the standard conception while avoiding the pitfalls of the past. (shrink)
Most arguments against God’s existence aim to show that it is incompatible with various apparent features of the world, such as the existence of evil or of human free will. In response, theists have sought to show that God’s existence is compatible with these features of the world. However, the fact that the proposition that God exists is necessary if possible introduces some underappreciated difficulties for these arguments.
Recently, several authors have utilized the notion of dependence to respond to the traditional argument for the incompatibility of freedom and divine foreknowledge. However, proponents of this response have not always been so clear in specifying where the incompatibility argument goes wrong, which has led to some unfounded objections to the response. We remedy this dialectical confusion by clarifying both the dependence response itself and its interaction with the standard incompatibility argument. Once these clarifications are made, it becomes clear (...) both (1.) that the dependence response does not beg the question against the proponent of the incompatibility argument and (2.) that the dependence response advances the dialectic whether it is developed as a version of Ockhamism or as a version of multiple-pasts compatibilism. (shrink)
Many philosophers maintain that the ability to do otherwise is compatible with comprehensive divine foreknowledge but incompatible with the truth of causal determinism. But the Fixity of the Past principle underlying the rejection of compatibilism about the ability to do otherwise and determinism appears to generate an argument also for the incompatibility of the ability to do otherwise and divine foreknowledge. By developing an account of ability that appeals to the notion of explanatory dependence, we can replace the (...) Fixity of the Past with a principle that does not generate this difficulty. I develop such an account and defend it from objections. I also explore some of the account's implications, including whether the account is consistent with presentism. (shrink)
The most promising way of responding to arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom (in one way or another) invokes a claim about the order of explanation: God knew (or believed) that you would perform a given action because you would, in fact, perform it, and not the other way around. Once we see this result, many suppose, we'll see that divine foreknowledge ultimately poses no threat to human freedom. This essay argues that matters are (...) not so simple, for such reasoning threatens also to reconcile divine prepunishment with human freedom. The question here is this: if you have already been ( justly) punished by God for doing something, how then could you avoid doing that thing? As we'll see, there is a strong argument that seems to show that you couldn't. However, this essay argues that if divine prepunishment rules out human freedom, then so does divine foreknowledge. The arguments are exactly parallel in certain crucial respects. At any rate, investigating the issues surrounding prepunishment can help to throw into relief the various different strategies of response to the foreknowledge argument and can bring out what their costs and commitments really are. In particular, investigating prepunishment can help to bring out the inadequacy of the “Ockhamist” reply to the argument, as well as the sense in which God's past beliefs need to depend on what we do, if we are plausibly to have a choice about those beliefs. (shrink)
The bulk of the essay “Truth and Freedom” (Philosophical Review 118 : 29–57) opposes fatalism, which is the claim that if there is a true proposition to the effect that an action A will occur, then A will not be free. But that essay also offers a new way to reconcile divine foreknowledge and human freedom. In “The Truth about Freedom: A Reply to Merricks” (Philosophical Review 120 : 97–115), John Martin Fischer and Patrick Todd raise a number of (...) objections to “Truth and Freedom,” most of which are objections to its treatment of foreknowledge. Their central complaint seems to be that that treatment is, despite its claims to the contrary, merely a form of Ockhamism—and a poorly developed form of Ockhamism at that. This essay replies to Fischer and Todd's specific objections. But, more importantly, it further clarifies the fundamental differences between the way it reconciles divine foreknowledge and human freedom and the Ockhamist's way. In particular, this essay further demonstrates that when it comes to divine foreknowledge's compatibility with human freedom, the fundamental question is not the Ockhamist's question of whether God's beliefs about what an agent will do in the future are “hard facts.” Rather, the fundamental question is whether God's beliefs about what an agent will do in the future depend on what that agent will do in the future. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the eternity solution to the problem of human freedom and divine foreknowledge. After motivating the problem, I sketch the basic contours of the eternity solution. I then consider several objections which contend that the eternity solution falsely implies that we have various powers (e.g., to change God’s beliefs, or to affect the past) which, according to the objector, we do not in fact have.
In a letter to Wlodek Rabinowicz, David Lewis introduced a decision scenario that he described as “much more problematic for decision theory than the Newcomb Problems”. This scenario, which involves an agent with foreknowledge of the outcome of some chance process, has received little subsequent attention. However, in one of the small number of discussions of such cases, Huw Price's Causation, Chance and the Rational Significance of Supernatural Evidence it has been argued that cases of this sort pose serious (...) problems for causal decision theory. In this paper, I will argue that these problems can be overcome: scenarios of this sort do not pose fatal problems for this theory as there are versions of CDT that reason appropriately in these cases. However, I will also argue that such cases push us toward a particular version of CDT developed by Wlodek Rabinowicz. (shrink)
Gregor Betz explores the following questions: Where are the limits of economics, in particular the limits of economic foreknowledge? Are macroeconomic forecasts credible predictions or mere prophecies and what would this imply for the way economic policy decisions are taken? Is rational economic decision making possible without forecasting at all?
We contend that since what is true cannot be false, foreknowledge is transparently incompatible with free will. We argue that what is crucial to the conflict is the role of truth in foreknowledge and that the identity of the one who foreknows is irrelevant.
This original analysis examines the three leading traditional solutions to the dilemma of divine foreknowledge and human free will--those arising from Boethius, from Ockham, and from Molina. Though all three solutions are rejected in their best-known forms, three new solutions are proposed, and Zagzebski concludes that divine foreknowledge is compatible with human freedom. The discussion includes the relation between the foreknowledge dilemma and problems about the nature of time and the causal relation; the logic of counterfactual conditionals; (...) and the differences between divine and human knowing states. An appendix introduces a new foreknowledge dilemma that purports to show that omniscient foreknowledge conflicts with deep intuitions about temporal asymmetry, quite apart from considerations of free will. Zagzebski shows that only a narrow range of solutions can handle this new dilemma. A compelling contribution to the field, The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge will appeal to students and scholars of theistic philosophy and the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
In this essay, my goal is, first, to describe the most important contemporary philosophical approaches to the nature of time, and then, secondly, to discuss the ways in which those different accounts bear upon the question of the possibility of divine foreknowledge. I shall argue that different accounts of the nature of time give rise to different objections to the idea of divine foreknowledge, but that, in addition, there is a general argument for the impossibility of divine (...) class='Hi'>foreknowledge that is independent of one’s account of the nature of time. (shrink)
In Section 1, I rehearse some arguments for the claim that morality should be ``action-guiding'', and try to state the conditions under which a moral theory is in fact action-guiding. I conclude that only agents who are cognitively and conatively ``ideal'' are in general able to use a moral theory as a guide to action. In Sections 2 and 3, I discuss whether moral ``actualism'' implies that morality cannot be action-guiding even for ideal agents. If actualism is true, an ideal (...) agent will know about her own future actions. Since such foreknowledge is often thought to be incompatible with deliberation, and since action-guidance presupposes the possibility of deliberation, there is an apparent difficulty in combining actualism with the requirement of action-guidance. In opposition to an argument by Jan Österberg, I try to show that actualism and action-guidance are in fact compatible. (shrink)