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The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge$
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Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195107630

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195107630.001.0001

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The Foreknowledge Dilemmas

The Foreknowledge Dilemmas

(p.3) 1 The Foreknowledge Dilemmas
The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge

Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Oxford University Press

The problem of divine foreknowledge forces the religious person to give up one of a pair of beliefs both of which are central to Christian practice. These beliefs are, first, that God has infallibly true beliefs about everything that will happen in the future, and second, that human beings have free will in a sense of the “free” is something that is incompatible with determinism. A strong form of the dilemma of foreknowledge can be generated from just two properties that are consequences of essential omniscience: the property of knowing the future and infallibility. This chapter presents the strongest general form of the dilemma it can devise and shows how it differs from weaker foreknowledge dilemmas and from the problem of future truth. This chapter also argues that the premise of the necessity of the past is much more plausible in the argument for theological fatalism than in the argument for logical fatalism. It examines the three leading traditional solutions to the dilemma of divine foreknowledge and human free will—those arising from William of Ockham, Luis de Molina, and Boethius.

Keywords:   God, divine foreknowledge, beliefs, dilemma, free will, infallibility, William of Ockham, Luis de Molina, Boethius, omniscience

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