Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



6/15/2017 11:25 am  #11


Re: The problem of Divine Providence and Free will

     I'm reminded of a fight I had with someone else four or more years ago. The other person asserted that if I infallibly know something will be the case at time t, then I caused that thing to happen "by eliminating the other possibilities." You seem to be paralleling that concern here when you talk about the Old Testament prophecies about Christ's betrayal. If we've eliminated Judas' other possible choices, what else is there for him to do?
     Of course, the other person, I thought, was being circular, as he could only say I eliminated the alternative futures if my knowledge that they are false caused them to be false. Here, problem persists because God's knowledge causes things to be true. This takes us back to why I quoted from Dr. Feser's book; the problem seems to go away if it turns out that Divine providence doesn't necessitate our actions in an absolute way. As long as we are acting for our own reasons, perhaps we can say Judas is free. I see no reason, after all, to think prophecy argues against our acting on our own reasons.

Am I missing anything?


Caution: Novice at Work!
 

6/16/2017 3:10 am  #12


Re: The problem of Divine Providence and Free will

Grace and Rust wrote:

I'm reminded of a fight I had with someone else four or more years ago.

Damn dude, for someone who cautions others on grounds of being a novice at work, you're pretty hardcore! You get down to fisticuffs with a guy concerning philosophy? Sounds like the people who argued over the ontological status of properties in the past http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
. Perhaps change your signature to, "Caution: Philosopher at Work!"


Jokes aside,

Grace and Rust wrote:

The other person asserted that if I infallibly know something will be the case at time t, then I caused that thing to happen "by eliminating the other possibilities." You seem to be paralleling that concern here when you talk about the Old Testament prophecies about Christ's betrayal. If we've eliminated Judas' other possible choices, what else is there for him to do?

Correct, but this brings out a more general problem of future contingents.

Grace and Rust wrote:

Here, problem persists because God's knowledge causes things to be true. This takes us back to why I quoted from Dr. Feser's book; the problem seems to go away if it turns out that Divine providence doesn't necessitate our actions in an absolute way. As long as we are acting for our own reasons, perhaps we can say Judas is free. I see no reason, after all, to think prophecy argues against our acting on our own reasons.

The only problem I have with such a reply is that if God's knowledge about the world is actual, but is also temporal, then I don't see how Judas's acts are free. This might place contingency/necessity of Judas's act in God, but, it does seem to be the case that if knowledge of those things is true in time, then the other options are eliminated by virtue of God's infallibility. I wonder if I'm missing something too. The problem of divine providence and free will, and all such free will problems seem to have fundamental problems with time and modality, rather than say, agency and causation (although they are relevant, the main contentions llie with time and modality).

Last edited by Dennis (6/16/2017 3:16 am)

     Thread Starter
 

6/17/2017 8:36 am  #13


Re: The problem of Divine Providence and Free will

Word to the wise: never punch a computer screen. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png
 (But in defense of calling myself a novice, I only have about fifteen hours of philosophy from college, plus some personal reading on it.)

I think I can see how we'd get a problem if God's knowledge is temporal; it suggests that God knows the future because it somehow follows from the present (causal determinism) or else God predetermines our actions, and both appear to conflict with my suggested solution. How can I claim to act for my reasons if those are controlled by something or someone else?

I'm tempted to jump onto Molinism and see if it fairs better, but I'll wait longer. Maybe God's knowledge isn't problematic if it is only "temporalized" in inspiring a prophecy? In that case, He could know the future because He observes it, so that we don't face the dilemma I mentioned?


Caution: Novice at Work!
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum