The Boethian Solution

Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

in The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780195107630
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852956 | DOI:
The Boethian Solution

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In the previous chapter, it was argued that the Accidental Necessity Version of the divine foreknowledge dilemma is very strong. In addition, there is the problem of the Causal Necessity Version. This chapter examines one classic response that would solve the differences between both of these. The move comes from Boethius and Saint Thomas Aquinas, but it has roots in the writing of Proclus and Ammonius. This is the claim that God does not have beliefs in time at all. The strongest forms of the foreknowledge dilemma make the assumption that in every possible world in which one does some act S, God previously believes that he will do S and the belief is infallible. This assumption, together with the principle of the Necessity of the Past and a Transfer of the Necessity Principle, leads to the conclusion that the person does not bring about S freely. This chapter preseents the infallibility version of the argument and discusses the timelessness solution, arguing that it generates another dilemma and therefore should not be considered a solution to the foreknowledge problem.

Keywords: God; Accidental Necessity Version; divine foreknowledge; dilemma; Causal Necessity Version; Boethius; Saint Thomas Aquinas; beliefs; infallibility; timelessness

Chapter.  14075 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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