New Article Added on Free Will and Foreknowledge

Just added this new article by J.C. Thibodaux in the Arminian Articles section.  Be sure to check it out.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello JC,

    I looked at and enjoyed your article.

    You said that the issue or “answer” is that choices are “fixed, but contingent.” I believe this is true and accurate. They are fixed in the sense that they are going to occur with certainty. They are contingent in that they did not have to be that way, they could have been otherwise, but because they will in fact happen are certain to happen and “fixed.”

    You then said this contingency was based upon what you call “Integral Factors of Self-Determination”. Because this is an important part of your view and I am not sure I fully understand your IFSD concept, or at least I want to make sure that I understand exactly what you are saying, could you flesh it out some more, explain it a bit more? Thanks.

    Robert

  2. Hey Robert,

    One could think of the IFSD as being the entirety of the core components of self-determination, the parts of who we are that we do determine, which when taken together and placed into a context produce the agent’s actions/reactions. Most determinists like to argue as if libertarian free will would logically require uninfluenced choices based on nothing at all that just spontaneously pop out of nowhere. That’s untrue, decisions that you make require lower level factors of self-determination, the IFSD would represent the most atomic of those factors in their entirety from an atemporal perspective (hence, over all of time).

    Take for simplistic example a self-determined factor(s) from the IFSD that reflects how good a steward one will be. A person whose factor here is high, barring other factors interfering, will be faithful over what he is given, whether it be little or much, which makes sense if you recall what Christ said,

    “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

    To illustrate knowledge derived from these fundamental factors and the error in the determinist arguments, imagine 2 undercover policemen setting up a sting: They know that 2 politicians were offered a $100,000 bribe that morning, and that one of them took it. They indirectly suggest a $500 ‘gift’ to both politicians, the first won’t hear any more of the matter as soon as the conversation turns to him receiving money, the other presses for the money without hesitation and tells them to bring more next time. As they leave the first cop exclaims, “I knew it! We got the culprit!” His buddy (who’s a hard-core believer in determinist epistemology, and lacks much with regards to good sense) replies, “I don’t know, can we really prove that they’d react the same way in a situation with more money?” The two cops get into an argument, with the determinist insisting that just because one of them took the smaller bribe, we still can’t know for sure that he wouldn’t react differently to the situation of being offered a larger sum. That’s a ludicrous claim of course, it’s pretty easy tell from the factors of greed and corruption that he displays that if he’ll sell out for a bit of quick cash, he’d definitely sell out for a lot more.

    Even mere human intuition, from witnessing how a person chooses to behave in one situation, can deduce how he or she will behave with a related one (or would have at that moment anyway). It’s because behavior reveals aspects of who the person is. And even as we can tell to an extent the nature of the tree by its fruit, so God’s infinite wisdom, intelligence, and all-encompassing perspective allows Him complete understanding of all the aspects/factors (the nature, composition, interaction, etc.) of a self-determining entity in all possible scenarios (e.g. how it will react, how it would react given differing factors), which placed within the context of space-time make up an individual’s free will and ultimately produces their actions and decisions.

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