Boethian Eternalism, Fatalism, and Future Contingents
OK, sorry I've been absent so long everyone. I was under the weather for a while and so was my wife so I just decided to take a break. Anyway, I promised Attilla that I would give the eternalist response to the problem of foreknowledge and fatalism. Here goes.
Here is how I think it might go. I will sketch the fatalism argument according to Linda Zagzebski as it makes clear some key assumptions (the Principle of the Necessity of the Past, the Transfer of Necessity Principle) in fatalist arguments. Let B = You will answer the telephone tomorrow at 9am. 1) Yesterday, God infallibly believed B (supposition of infallible knowledge) 2) If E occurred in the past, it is now-necessary that E occurred then (Principle of the necessity of the past). 3) It is now-necessary that yesterday God believed B (from 1, 2) 4) Necessarily, if yesterday God believed B, then B (definition of “infallibility”). 5) If p is now-necessary, and necessarily (p → q), then q is now-necessary (Transfer of Necessity Principle). 6) So it is now-necessary that B (3,4,5) 7) If it is now-necessary that B, then you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9am (Definition of "necessary"). 8) Therefore, you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9am (6, 7) 9) If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely (Principle of Alternate Possibilities). 10) Therefore, when you answer the telephone tomorrow at 9am, you will not do it freely (8, 9, modus ponens). The Molinist response (see previous post) does not deny any of the premises in this argument. It simply argues that God’s knowledge is such that if B God would infallibly know that B and if –B, then God would have infallibly known –B. The eternalist however explicitly denies 1). It does not deny that God infallibly believes B, rather it denies that Yesterday, God infallibly believes B. God exists timelessly, and since God does not exist at any time, then He does not hold His beliefs at any time. As God does not exist temporally before events, He does not have fore-knowledge of events, rather God’s knowledge is such that He apprehends in a single complete and infallible grasp, all events in the entire span of time. God’s knowledge of my answering the phone at 9am then does not make my answering the phone at 9am any more necessary than my seeing Socrates sitting makes Socrates’ sitting necessary. If our cognizance of present things does not make those things necessary, why should it be thought that God’s cognizance of things eternally present to Him makes them necessary?