Emmanuel Nartey

Omniscience, Free Will, and Religious Belief

Article
21/2 - Fall 2016, pages 135–155
Date of online publication: 15 novembre 2017
Date of publication: 15 novembre 2017

Abstract

In this paper, I examine a standard foreknowledge argument and some interesting ways of handling it, along with some criticisms. I argue that there are philosophically interesting notions of free will that are compatible with determinism. These are the notions of free will that matter to ordinary life, and I argue that these generate a way for a philosophically interesting understanding of free will to be compatible with belief in God’s infallible foreknowledge. I discuss two key questions—the empirical question and the divine interference question—that are often neglected in the contemporary debate on foreknowledge and free will. Finally, I provide some answers to these questions that I hope can advance the debate.

Keywords

Cite this article

Nartey, Emmanuel. “Omniscience, Free Will, and Religious Belief.Forum Philosophicum 21, no. 2 (2016): 135–155. doi:10.5840/forphil201621218.

Bibliography

Balaguer, Mark. Free Will. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014.

Cottingham, John. Cartesian Reflections: Essays on Descartes’s Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Davies, Brian. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Third edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Dennett, Daniel. Freedom Evolves. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.

Descartes, René. Œuvres de Descartes. Edited by Charles Adam and Paul Tannery. Volumes 1–13. Paris: Cerf, 1897–1913. New edition, volumes 1– 11, Paris: Vrin and CNRS, 1964–1974.

Descartes, René. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Edited and translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch, and Anthony Kenny. Volumes 1–3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984–1991.

Edwards, Jonathan. Freedom of the Will. Edited by P. Ramsey. Volume 1 of Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

Fischer, John Martin. “Responsibility and Control.” Journal of Philosophy 79, no. 1 (1982): 24–40. doi:10.2307/2026344.

Fischer, John Martin. God, Foreknowledge, and Freedom. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989.

Fischer, John Martin. The Metaphysics of Free Will: An Essay on Control. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

Fischer, John Martin, Patrick Todd, and Neal Tognazzini. “Engaging with Pike: God, Freedom and Time.” Philosophical Papers 38, no. 2 (2009): 247–70.

Fischer, John Martin and Mark Ravizza. Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Frankfurt, Harry. “Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.” Journal of Philosophy 66, no. 23 (1969): 829–39. doi:10.2307/2023833.

Frankfurt, Harry. “Duty and Love,” Philosophical Explorations 1, no. 1 (1998): 4–9. doi: 10.1080/10001998018538686.

Harris, Sam. Free Will, New York: Free Press, 2012.

Hoffman, Joshua and Gary Rosenkrantz. “On Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom.” Philosophical Studies 37, no. 3 (1980): 289–96. doi:10. 1007/bf00372450.

Kant, Immanuel. Practical Philosophy. Edited and translated by Mary J. Gregor. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Kenny, Anthony. The God of the Philosophers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.  

Libet, Benjamin. “Consciousness, Free Action, and the Brain.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 8, no. 8 (2001): 59–65.

Libet, Benjamin. “The Timing of Mental Events: Libet’s Experimental Findings and Their Implications.” Consciousness and Cognition 11, no. 2 (2002): 291–99. doi: /10.1006/ccog.2002.0568.

Libet, Benjamin. “Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary Action.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8, no. 4 (1985): 529–66. doi:10.1017/s0140525x00044903.

Libet, Benjamin, Curtis A. Gleason, Elwod W. Wright, and Dennis K. Pearl. “Time of Conscious Intention to Act in Relation to Onset of Cerebral Activity (Readiness-Potential): The Unconscious Initiation of Freely Voluntary Act.” Brain 106, no. 3 (1983): 623–42. doi:10.1093/brain/106.3.623.

Mele, Alfred R. A Dialogue on Free Will and Science. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Mele, Alfred R. Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Mele, Alfred R.. Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Mele, Alfred R. Free Will and Luck. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. de Molina, Luis. On Divine Foreknowledge. Part IV of Concordia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988.

Pike, Nelson. “Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action.” The Philosophical Review 74, no. 1 (1965): 27–46. doi:10.2307/2183529.  

Pike, Nelson. God and Timelessness. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001.

Plantinga, Alvin. “On Ockham’s Way Out.” Faith and Philosophy 3, no. 3 (1986): 235–69. doi:10.5840/faithphil19863322.

Sorabji, Richard. Time, Creation, and the Continuum: Theories in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983. 

Speak, Daniel. “Fanning the Flickers of Freedom.” American Philosophical Quarterly 39, no. 1 (2002): 91–105. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20010059.  

Strawson, Galen. “The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.” Philosophical Studies 75, no. 1–2 (1994): 5–24. doi:10.1007/bf00989879.

Stump, Eleonore and Norman Kretzmann. “Eternity.” The Journal of Philosophy 78, no. 8 (1981): 429–58.

Swinburne, Richard. The Coherence of Theism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Swinburne, Richard, ed. Free Will and Modern Science. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Talbott, Thomas B. “On Divine Foreknowledge and Bringing About the Past,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46, no. 3 (1986): 455–69. doi: 10.2307/2107315.  

Timpe, Kevin. Free Will: Sourcehood and its Alternatives. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Todd, Patrick. “Prepunishment and Explanatory Dependence: A New Argument for Incompatibilism about Foreknowledge and Freedom.” Philosophical Review 122, no. 4 (2013): 619–39. doi:10.1215/00318108-2315315.

van Inwagen, Peter. An Essay on Free Will. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983.

van Inwagen, Peter. “What Does an Omniscient Being Know About the Future?” In Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, edited by Jonathan L. Kvanvig, 1:216–30. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Watson, Gary, ed. Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Wegner, Daniel. The Illusion of Conscious Will. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

Widerker, David. “Libertarianism and Frankfurt’s Attack on the Principle of Alternative Possibilities.” Philosophical Review 104, no. 2 (1995): 247–61. doi:10.2307/2185979.

Widerker, David. “A Problem for the Eternity Solution.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 29, no. 2 (1991): 87–95. doi:10.1007/bf00133807.

Wierenga, Edward. The Nature of God: An Inquiry into Divine Attributes. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989.  

Wierenga, Edward. “Omniscience.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology, edited by Thomas P. Flint and Michael C. Rea, 129–44. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Zagzebski, Linda T. The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Zagzebski, Linda T. “Foreknowledge and Free Will.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Summer 2017 Edition. Accessed July 12, 2017. https:// plato. stanford. edu/ archives/ sum2017 / entries/ free- will- foreknowledge/.

Zagzebski, Linda T. “Omniscience and the Arrow of Time.” Faith and Philosophy 19, no. 4 (2002): 503–19. doi:10.5840/faithphil200219443.

Zagzebski, Linda T. “Recent Work on Divine Foreknowledge and Free Will.” In The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, edited by Robert Kane, 45–64. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Copyright

© Forum Philosophicum