Re: History and Goals (for TE)

Craig Rusbult (
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 12:46:15 -0500

* 21. GARRY ( > ) responding to comments by BRIAN HARPER ( >> ):
>>Now to change the subject. It struck me that there seems to
>>be a parallel between the concerns being expressed here
>>(concerns which I certainly share) and those that one often
>>hears in a theological discussion about God's sovereignty
>>versus man's free will.
>There certainly is a parallel. The counterfactuals of chance in the
>evolutionary scenario are parallel to the counterfactuals of freedom in
>many attempts to reconcile God's sovereignty and human free will. But it
>can be argued that the ground of the truth-claim in a counterfactual of
>freedom is metaphysically possible, while that in a counterfactual of
>chance is not. (I confess I'm not entirely sure if that argument is sound
>or not.)
>>For example, I might ask myself
>>"does God know what I'll be doing two months from now?"
>>Of course I want to answer yes, but as soon as I do I'll
>>argue with myself "well, how can I be free then?". I
>>really don't want to get into this theology, I just wanted
>>to note the parallel.
>It has long been recognized that foreknowledge, even infallible
>foreknowledge, does not necessitate anything. Aristotle, in his famous
>discussion of the "sea fight tomorrow," seems to have concluded that there
>is a truth-value gap for future contingent propositions. Much later,
>William Ockham proposed what is now called the theory of soft facts: God's
>past knowledge of my future actions is a soft fact about the past. Suppose
>God believes that in two months I will freely do A. If I am truly free with
>respect to A, then I have it in my power to do not-A, and so bring it about
>that God believed in the past that I would do not-A.

* 19. BRIAN also says:
>> From the above considerations I would say that while the
>>thought of a universe with chance and indeterminacy makes
>>me a little uneasy, the idea of a deterministic universe
>>makes me even more so.

[ CR: These are interesting, important, difficult questions, related
to my "functional worldview" in Section 1A, which could be compared
with other worldviews that have contrasting views of relationships
between theism, deism, and determinism, or between "foundational TA"
and "active TA", or between and "history and goals", or... ]