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OMNISCIENCE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH FREEWILL
Posted: 24 April 2011 03:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dougsmith,

Perhaps I am missing something, but I simply
Prior to the date mentioned in the statement, ” Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”,  the statement isn’t true (yet).  So there is nothing for God to know.

As to the statement, God knows that Adam will take a bite of the apple”, all the statement means (phrasing it in terms that are relevant here) is something such as “The statement “Adam takes a bite of the apple” will be true’. 

Regarding the suggestion that God knows that “Adam will take a bite of the apple” is true, if this is supposed to be a consequence of his knowledge of all truths, it seems to be nothing but a covert, question-begging assertion.  The set of statements, {all true statements}, doesn’t include so-called truths about the future.  With respect to those things that haven’t happened yet, and those things that aren’t determined by what has already happened, there are no truths about them precisely because the future hasn’t happened yet. 

cheers,

Elizabeth.

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Posted: 24 April 2011 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I don’t understand your point. Truths about the future are true tenselessly. Either it is true tenselessly that Obama [will win]/[wins] the 2012 election, or it is true that he won’t/doesn’t. Any omniscient being would know which one of those was true and which wasn’t.

Omniscience is the knowledge of all things it is possible to know. It is possible to know truths about the future (we do this all the time) so an omniscient being would know them.

The standard theological rejoinder is to say that God would know which things we choose, but that he nevertheless isn’t responsible for our choices because they are due to our ‘free will’.

This is a bad rejoinder for two reasons.

(1) It’s bad because if a bystander sees someone doing something awful, and can intervene without risk to himself, and chooses not to intervene, he is at least partly responsible for the ill that happens. So by not intervening, God is at least partly responsible for human ills.

(2) It’s bad because the notion of freewill on which this is premised is incoherent. (For more on this we have a very long thread about free will in this section).

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Posted: 24 April 2011 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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You are right—you don’t understand my point.  Maybe this will help.

In your response, you are confusing two different positions. 

Position one:

(i) “Either Obama will win the 2012 election or Obama will not win the 2012 election”. 

There is no problem here (unless constructivist considerations intrude); for the purposes of this discussion, we can allow that (i) is true now.  If dougsmith says this, (i), dougsmith has said something that is true. 

Position two:

(ii)  Obama will win the 2012 election.

(iii)  Obama will not win the 2012 election.

Neither (ii) nor (iii) is true now.  If dougsmith says (ii), and Elizabeth says (iii), dougsmith has not said something that is now true and neither has Elizabeth.


Running the two positions together is not uncommon.  Speaking of Geach, I think Anscombe talked about this somewhere (though I wouldn’t bet on my memory here).

cheers,

Elizabeth

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Posted: 24 April 2011 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Elizabeth - 24 April 2011 06:11 AM

You are right—you don’t understand my point.  Maybe this will help.

In your response, you are confusing two different positions. 

Position one:

(i) “Either Obama will win the 2012 election or Obama will not win the 2012 election”. 

There is no problem here (unless constructivist considerations intrude); for the purposes of this discussion, we can allow that (i) is true now.  If dougsmith says this, (i), dougsmith has said something that is true. 

Position two:

(ii)  Obama will win the 2012 election.

(iii)  Obama will not win the 2012 election.

Neither (ii) nor (iii) is true now.  If dougsmith says (ii), and Elizabeth says (iii), dougsmith has not said something that is now true and neither has Elizabeth.


Running the two positions together is not uncommon.  Speaking of Geach, I think Anscombe talked about this somewhere (though I wouldn’t bet on my memory here).

No, that’s not the problem. “True now” is a meaningless construct, unless it’s only meant to indicate things that are true at the present, in which case “George Washington was the first president of the US” is not “true now”, either.

Truths are true tenselessly, though the propositions they contain may well contain time indicators. (This is what I was pointing out with the example: “Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”).

Of your (ii) and (iii), one or the other is true, tenselessly; which is to say it is as true in the present as is “George Washington was the first president of the US”. True, we imperfect beings don’t know which one is true and which false, but then it’s equally the case there are many truths of the past which we imperfect beings don’t know are true, either.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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dougsmith,

I am having trouble understanding some of the things you are saying.  So, bear with me please!

Earlier you said,

“On Geach’s understanding, it might well be that God could not know “Adam took a bite of the apple” before it happened. But he would know (by virtue of knowing all true statements) “Adam will take a bite of the apple”, which amounts to the same thing for the purposes of the present discussion.”

Is it your view that God could know that the statement “Adam took a bite of the apple” is true before it happened or is it your view that God could not know that the statement is true before Adam took the bite?  Here I am looking for your view, not your understanding of Geach’s view.

cheers,

Elizabeth

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Posted: 25 April 2011 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Elizabeth - 25 April 2011 07:44 AM

dougsmith,

I am having trouble understanding some of the things you are saying.  So, bear with me please!

Earlier you said,

“On Geach’s understanding, it might well be that God could not know “Adam took a bite of the apple” before it happened. But he would know (by virtue of knowing all true statements) “Adam will take a bite of the apple”, which amounts to the same thing for the purposes of the present discussion.”

Is it your view that God could know that the statement “Adam took a bite of the apple” is true before it happened or is it your view that God could not know that the statement is true before Adam took the bite?  Here I am looking for your view, not your understanding of Geach’s view.

Future and past are relative to one’s reference frame, and time is another dimension exactly like the three of space. That’s from Einstein, who showed that the notion of simultaineity is relative. Since simultaineity is relative, so too is this thing we call “the present”. “The present” is relative to our frame of reference. Different frame of reference, different present. There is no such thing as “the present” for the entire universe as a whole, without specifying a reference frame. Or perhaps better put, any notion of “the present” for the universe is physically meaningless. (Though we can talk of “the present” in our particular reference frame without problem).

It’s for this reason that Einstein famously said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”.

Similarly, physical law is symmetric about the time axis. It doesn’t matter for physical law whether time runs ‘forwards’ or ‘backwards’. (All except for the second law of thermodynamics, of course, that tells us entropy increases towards the future).

So, for these reasons and others, were there a truly omniscient being, it would know everything that happened in the universe. It would know everything that happened at every place in the universe, and since time is a dimension just like the three of space, it would know everything that happened at every time. And that would include what we in our reference frame refer to as “the future”.

So if God were to exist, since by definition he’d be omniscient, he’d know “Adam took a bite of the apple” before it happened. He’d know everything there was to know. That’s what it is to be omniscient.

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Posted: 25 April 2011 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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dougsmith - 25 April 2011 09:20 AM


Or perhaps better put, any notion of “the present” for the universe is physically meaningless. (Though we can talk of “the present” in our particular reference frame without problem).

It’s a ginormous problem isn’t it Doug?

Why is this my particular reference frame rather than six years ago, for instance?

Stephen

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Posted: 25 April 2011 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 April 2011 11:04 AM

Why is this my particular reference frame rather than six years ago, for instance?

Both are ...  cheese

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Posted: 02 May 2011 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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dougsmith - 25 April 2011 11:20 AM
StephenLawrence - 25 April 2011 11:04 AM

Why is this my particular reference frame rather than six years ago, for instance?

Both are ...  cheese

http://www.iep.utm.edu/time/#H9

Opposing both presentism and the growing past theory, Bertrand Russell, J.J.C. Smart, W.V.O. Quine, Adolf Grünbaum, and Paul Horwich object to assigning special ontological status to the present. They say there is no objective ontological difference among the past, the present, and the future just as there is no objective ontological difference among here, there, and far. Yes, we thank goodness that the pain is there rather than here, and past rather than present, but these differences are subjective, being dependent on our point of view.

What is our subjective point of view if not our particular reference frame?

If my point of view were both when I experienced pain and after I experienced pain, I couldn’t make sense of “thank goodness it’s over”.

Stephen

[ Edited: 02 May 2011 12:32 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 02 May 2011 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Sure, but you are present at both of them. (“You” in the non-temporal-parts version of “you”).

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Posted: 02 May 2011 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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dougsmith - 24 April 2011 06:44 AM

No, that’s not the problem. “True now” is a meaningless construct, unless it’s only meant to indicate things that are true at the present, in which case “George Washington was the first president of the US” is not “true now”, either.

The sentence is true because the “was” negate the current truth of this. IOW the statement is true only because the reality is no longer true. George no longer exists. He can’t be anything.

Truths are true tenselessly, though the propositions they contain may well contain time indicators. (This is what I was pointing out with the example: “Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”).

How can a truth be tense-less if you need a tense to express them?

Of your (ii) and (iii), one or the other is true, tenselessly; which is to say it is as true in the present as is “George Washington was the first president of the US”. True, we imperfect beings don’t know which one is true and which false, but then it’s equally the case there are many truths of the past which we imperfect beings don’t know are true, either.

I don’t know what a “tense-less” truth would be. I kind of doubt any truth can be tense-less. I could be wrong

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Posted: 02 May 2011 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Elizabeth - 24 April 2011 03:41 AM

dougsmith,

Perhaps I am missing something, but I simply
Prior to the date mentioned in the statement, ” Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”,  the statement isn’t true (yet).  So there is nothing for God to know.

As to the statement, God knows that Adam will take a bite of the apple”, all the statement means (phrasing it in terms that are relevant here) is something such as “The statement “Adam takes a bite of the apple” will be true’. 

Regarding the suggestion that God knows that “Adam will take a bite of the apple” is true, if this is supposed to be a consequence of his knowledge of all truths, it seems to be nothing but a covert, question-begging assertion.  The set of statements, {all true statements}, doesn’t include so-called truths about the future.  With respect to those things that haven’t happened yet, and those things that aren’t determined by what has already happened, there are no truths about them precisely because the future hasn’t happened yet. 

cheers,

Elizabeth.

Kind of pleading a special case of omniscience.

God knows what is but doesn’t know the future because the future doesn’t exist to know. However if God’s knows everything, including the past then God should be able to predict the future accurately via Laplace’s demon. So he still gets stuck with “knowing” the future.

And if in knowing the future, being all powerful, could create a universe were everyone is saved. Some Christians do believe everyone gets saved. Course if that is true, why bother being a Christian?

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Posted: 02 May 2011 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Gnostikosis - 02 May 2011 05:01 PM
dougsmith - 24 April 2011 06:44 AM

No, that’s not the problem. “True now” is a meaningless construct, unless it’s only meant to indicate things that are true at the present, in which case “George Washington was the first president of the US” is not “true now”, either.

The sentence is true because the “was” negate the current truth of this. IOW the statement is true only because the reality is no longer true. George no longer exists. He can’t be anything.

Truths are true tenselessly, though the propositions they contain may well contain time indicators. (This is what I was pointing out with the example: “Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”).

How can a truth be tense-less if you need a tense to express them?

Of your (ii) and (iii), one or the other is true, tenselessly; which is to say it is as true in the present as is “George Washington was the first president of the US”. True, we imperfect beings don’t know which one is true and which false, but then it’s equally the case there are many truths of the past which we imperfect beings don’t know are true, either.

I don’t know what a “tense-less” truth would be. I kind of doubt any truth can be tense-less. I could be wrong

Tenseless means without a temporal indicator. In English we’d use the present tense, but without an intent to fix it to the present time. E.g. my Adam example is tenseless; it’s from an ‘omniscient’ POV. There’s no implication that it’s before or after or coincident with ‘our’ time. (Except by reading the date, of course).

It’s the same as a placeless indicator that says X happened at latitude A and longitude B. You don’t fix it to “here” or “there” but to an objectively available location in space. A tenseless indicator does the same with time.

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Posted: 03 May 2011 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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dougsmith - 02 May 2011 07:10 PM

Tenseless means without a temporal indicator. In English we’d use the present tense, but without an intent to fix it to the present time. E.g. my Adam example is tenseless; it’s from an ‘omniscient’ POV. There’s no implication that it’s before or after or coincident with ‘our’ time. (Except by reading the date, of course).

It’s the same as a placeless indicator that says X happened at latitude A and longitude B. You don’t fix it to “here” or “there” but to an objectively available location in space. A tenseless indicator does the same with time.

Sorry it’s probably a bit off topic, but the concept of truth has always interested me.

In your example…

Truths are true tenselessly, though the propositions they contain may well contain time indicators. (This is what I was pointing out with the example: “Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”).

I suppose the idea here is to remove any relativity. To avoid the argument that truth is relative?

But then doesn’t this become truth by definition?  Still kind of an arbitrary assignment of truth. Especially in this case since Adam is rather mythical.  smile

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Posted: 03 May 2011 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Gnostikosis - 03 May 2011 08:52 AM

Truths are true tenselessly, though the propositions they contain may well contain time indicators. (This is what I was pointing out with the example: “Adam takes a bite of the apple in 6042BC on June 12, at 8:32 AM”).

I suppose the idea here is to remove any relativity. To avoid the argument that truth is relative?

But then doesn’t this become truth by definition?  Still kind of an arbitrary assignment of truth.

Well, truth isn’t relative, so that’s right. I’m not sure what you mean by “truth by definition” and “arbitrary assignment”.

Gnostikosis - 03 May 2011 08:52 AM

Especially in this case since Adam is rather mythical.  smile

Oh, right. That was just a silly example. Perhaps better, Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865 CE. (And at such-and-such time which I don’t know precisely).

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