Bryan N. Smith
History of Philosophy: Ancient & Medieval (PHIL 5360), Houston Baptist University, December 2015

Abstract:

One of the key attributes to a traditional conception of God is his being all-knowing, or omniscient. According to this attribute, God has infallible knowledge of all truths, including those truths about certain future events. In addition to this, one of the key attributes given to a traditional conception of human beings is that they have libertarian freedom of the will. That is to say, human beings have the freedom to choose to perform certain actions or not, they are not pre-determined in any way. However, many have argued that these two attributes, despite their strong intuitive appeal, are ultimately incompatible with each other. For if God is omniscient, then God infallibly knows what actions any human being will choose to perform in the future, implying that those actions are, in a sense, fated to occur. Such is the problem of theological fatalism. With that in mind, it is the aim of this paper to examine and assess the proposed solutions to the problem of theological fatalism that have been offered historically by Aristotle, Boethius, and Ockham.

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