[Topics: Determinism, Foreknowledge, Free Will, Omniscience]
The Foreseeable Future:

The Implications of Infallible Divine Foreknowledge with Respect to Free Will

Introduction:

Boethius from medieval edition of Consolation of Philosophy - infallible foreknowledge - free will - determinismAs promised at the end of my last article, this article explores a persistent problem which has plagued philosophers of metaphysics, epistemology, and religion over the millennia: is it possible for an omniscient being to coexist with free will? Omniscient beings, after all, have infallible divine foreknowledge of all future events. Thus, it is literally impossible for them to be wrong about what (for instance) you will do in the moment following this one—which seems to indicate that you have no choice in the matter.

There are mountains of highly technical literature on this and related questions—with infinitely debatable minutiae (and this question’s own camps of more esoteric compatibilists and incompatibilists). But I will merely be skimming the surface to provide a brief tour of this topic. In the interest of that brevity, I would like to note that any use of the words ‘compatibilism’ and ‘incompatibilism’ below refer strictly to the sense in which they were used last week, concerning determinism and free will (rather than concerning infallible foreknowledge and free will).

My reason for providing this tour is in the interest of further clarifying the perceptual model of free will (employed by some compatibilists) which was introduced in the prior post, and to come at my notion of the ‘inescapable practical illusion of free will’ from another angle.

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[Topics: Determinism, Foreknowledge, Free Will, Omniscience]
The Foreseeable Future:

The Implications of Infallible Divine Foreknowledge with Respect to Free Will

was last modified: November 29th, 2022 by Daniel Podgorski

[Topics: Compatibilism, Determinism, Free Will, Philosophy of Language]
Free Will Twice Defined:

On the Linguistic Conflict of Compatibilism and Incompatibilism

 

Arthur Schopenhauer Sketch by M.R.P. - compatibilism - free will - determinism

Caricature Sketch by M.R.P.

Introduction:

“Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills” (Schopenhauer 531).

Attentive readers of last week’s post in this series will have noted that its discussion of meaning, while relevant to the meaningfulness of moral action, is more broadly applicable to all philosophical discussions of meaning. Using that article as a transitional moment, I will now move away from discussing moral action directly and, at least for a time, toward discussing human action more generally.

One of the most persistent debates across the history of philosophy, when it comes to human behavior and morality, is that of whether determinism or free will is true. But in order to get at that debate, I will instead today be confronting an intimately related debate of roughly equal age, that of whether determinism and free will are compatible or not. Many laypeople are casual incompatibilists, and would be quick to dismiss this latter debate as so much sophistry, feeling that determinism and free will are intractable opposites. But various different versions of compatibilism have had some strong defenders over the years, including Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, and the majority of professional philosophers in the world today. So what is compatibilism, and how does it respond to incompatibilism?

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[Topics: Compatibilism, Determinism, Free Will, Philosophy of Language]
Free Will Twice Defined:

On the Linguistic Conflict of Compatibilism and Incompatibilism

was last modified: October 10th, 2022 by Daniel Podgorski