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Eternity, knowledge, and freedom


This article addresses the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom by developing a modified version of Boethius' solution to the problem – one that is meant to cohere with a dynamic theory of time and a conception of God as temporal. I begin the article by discussing the traditional Boethian solution, and a defence of it due to Kretzmann and Stump. After canvassing a few of the objections to this view, I then go on to offer my own modified Boethian solution, according to which temporal reality is fundamentally dynamic, but truth is not. My claim is that there are eternally existing, tenseless propositions, with determinate truth values, but that these are made true by events that come into existence, and are not themselves eternal.

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J. Diekemper (2004) ‘Temporal necessity and logical fatalism’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 104, 289296.

J. Diekemper (2005) ‘Presentism and ontological symmetry’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 83, 223240.

J. Diekemper (2007) ‘B-Theory, fixity, and fatalism’, Noûs, 41, 429452.

S. McCall (2011) ‘The supervenience of truth: freewill and omniscience’, Analysis, 71, 501506.

T. Merricks (2007) Truth and Ontology (New York: Oxford University Press).

T. Merricks (2009) ‘Truth and freedom’, Philosophical Review, 118, 2957.

M. Rea (2006) ‘Presentism and fatalism’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 84, 511524.

E. Stump & N. Kretzmann (1981) ‘Eternity’, Journal of Philosophy, 78, 429458.

M. Tooley (2001) ‘Response to the comments on Time, Tense, and Causation by Storrs McCall, Nathan Oaklander, and Quentin Smith’, in L. N. Oaklander (ed.) The Importance of Time, Philosophical Studies Series 87 (Dordrecht: Kluwer), 3158.

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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