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Brown 1 Alaina Brown Greg Spendlove Phil 1000-004 07/15/2013 Compatibalism and its Foreseen Objections

In this paper I will attempt to help explain or demonstrate how divine foreknowledge and freewill are able to coexist in what philosophers refer to as compatibalism, first theorized by Chrysippus. I will try and break down the basic problem of these two ideas consisting consecutively for skeptics to the best of my ability but realize I have very limited understanding on the subject. I intend to demonstrate that a God like being having divine foreknowledge of the future does not necessarily mean that the future is set to be that way in existence, because of Gods ability to know what will happen. That also this relationship between God knowing and determinism of your actions are not in any way necessarily a cause and effect relationship. That our actions remain our own and we still exhibit all of the following requirements for freewill, which are; one that it is an unforced choice, second with having the ability to do otherwise, and lastly deserving of praise and blame. I will try and do that with compatibilists reactions to common problems presented about the compatiblist theory as well as my rebuttal towards each following objection. One Important part of this argument is to discuss each individuals definition of freewill. It seems that each side of this main problems argument has a slightly altered definition for free will and

Brown 2 thus may be complicating the objections even further. For compatibilism, also called the soft determinist, the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy would define their particular view of freewill as the unique ability of persons to exercise control over their conduct in the fullest manner necessary for moral responsibility. So for the remainder of my paper we will use this assessment for our definition of free will as well and will refer back to it as we face each objection for the discussion of the existence of free will and divine foreknowledge being compatible. The first likely objection to be discussed concerns something presented by Peter Van Inwagen, that he called the consequence argument. This work for incompatibilism was actually firstly recognized by Carl Ginet originally but it became what Van Inwagen was most well known for. He believes that free will is diminished by determinism and that if our actions are not decided within ourselves that they are thus controlled by and outside source that is not of our own will. Van Inwagen stated about the consequence argument, If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the law of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born; and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are: therefore, the consequence of these things (including our present acts) is not up to us. This argument is the basis for Inwagen launching the topic into a moral debate claiming that no man can be held morally accountable for actions that were outside of his power to stop or to commit unless he had the power to do or not do a concerning action. Which we have already assured the irrelevance of in our definition of free will and having it included moral responsibility. In response to the consequence argument, I would have to tend to disagree using the cylinder analogy. Our actions can be determined and also be of our own free will in that it is the nature of our character to do something; just as the cylinder when placed on an incline is going to roll down the hill. Had the cylinder been another shape or form it would have reacted differently, but it still would have

Brown 3 been doing what was in its character to do when placed in the situation it was placed in. So it may be determined for you to be placed into the circumstances that you were put into but your actions were of your own freewill and thus you were free within your character to react to that situation, thus allowing for free will and determinism to be possible. The laws of nature do determine what situations come about in our lives but it is the shape of our character that determines how we will react to the situation and thus we control where we are going to be down the road from the immediate past. Had your characters shape been different perhaps you could have changed the way things have ended up for you. Just because you did not know it was in your character to do something does not mean that it was not already inside you waiting for the right opportunity to show your true nature. This is a theory demonstrated as early as Chryssipus, Thus our character in not necessitated, though it is fated by the stoic dogma of universal reason and lawful causal nature. Since the Stopics saw God as Nature, Chryssipus idea of fate compatible with freedom seems parallel to the religious idea of divine foreknowledge of our decision that is compatible with our free will. The second objection might be something to do with determinism not allowing for the garden of the forking paths theory to be true. If all our actions are determined then we do not have any freedom over what is going to happen and thus cannot make choices that would potentially lead us to new end points. But that is not necessarily the way that the compatibilist views the situation playing out. In the garden of forking paths, determinism does not work because you are said to have many different paths or options available to you. But if compatibilists are correct and determinism is true then there would not be options for the different paths or outcomes to each individual decision because everything is already predetermined, thereby making the two theories incompatible with one another. This would then lead incompatibilist to conclude that determinism is a false idea. When in all actuality the

Brown 4 circumstances of both divine foreknowledge and free will existing to the compatibilist is not the way they have perceived entirely. The man who introduced the idea of the garden of the forking paths was Jorge Luis Borges who was also a fiction writer and poet and incorporated his theories and ideas into the world of his novels. Borges is quoted saying, Whosoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past. This is an example of how he often lived in the paradox situations and how he generally enjoyed the labyrinths that could be made with an alternative theory such as the garden of forking paths. In defense for the compatibilist views against the theory of the forking paths I would use the concept of counterfactuals and counterfactual power over the past. This is the loop hole way of thinking created by compatibilists in order to explain the possible existence of both divine foreknowledge and free will. From this view, a person still maintains the free will of their choices and is determined to be in the situation they are in due to the actions sufficient enough to bring about said conditions but, with god as the divine foreknowledge role, he would just see the actions you do and you would still maintain the power to do otherwise. Had you made different decisions god just would have seen those instead and does not in any way cause the past or change the past with his knowledge, just that he knows what you do because you decide to do it. Any god that could not have this type of knowledge to me is not god because this is clearly the type of power god would have to possess to maintain his other requirements as god. In the opposing views the garden of forking paths argument does not seem to be the most compelling of views although their reasoning may be sound. If the principle of sufficient reason is true, as I am inclined to believe, than every action is cause by sufficient enough cause before that to make that situation come to be. If this were the case then in the garden of forking paths, all of our forked paths would have to have the exact same probability of happening or we would just continue to make

Brown 5 our decisions and end up on the same paths never achieving these alternative possibilities. In saying that every action is a consequence of what came before it, you are consenting to the idea that there is cause and effect for what goes on in your daily life and that the argument for determination is legitimate. That you couldnt have rewound life and done something different because of the circumstances to which the event occurred and that there is causation behind the action itself by what happened before the action and what came before the action before that one. Thus would not have the ability to choose different paths necessarily in the first place, although they very well may exist. In conclusion, I believe that in order to have divine foreknowledge and freewill there has to be some kinks in the definitions worked out between the opposing theorists but I do believe that the two could exist theoretically together at the same time. I believe that this has been demonstrated to the best of my ability concerning the likely objections and that my point still remains valid and defended against these attacks. I also believe that this standing argument is sounder than the argument and objections offered by the opposing side of the matter and I hope I was able to convey across my points in a way that would lead my readers to also agree with that notion. I hope that with my replies I was able to sway my readers opinion to the possibility of the idea of compatiblism. Although I am sure that some will inevitably remain skeptical towards the issue, I do hope that my argument was one enough to open their minds to the possibility due to my reasoning and explanation for the compatibalistic theory.

Work Sited:

Chrysippus. Retrieved August 6, 2013, Information Philosopher. Web Peter Van Inwagen. Moral Responsibility, Determinism, and the Ability to do Otherwise. The Journal of Ethics. Vol. 3, No. 4. 1999. determinism&searchText=soft&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dsoft%2Bdeterminis m%2Bhobbes%26Search%3DSearch%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Dfounder%2Bof%2Bsoft%2Bdeterminism%26 hp%3D25%26acc%3Don%26aori%3Da%26wc%3Don%26fc%3Doff&prevSearch=&item=1&ttl=342&retur nArticleService=showFullText

Michael McKenna. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. April 26, 2004/ October 6, 2009. Metaphysics Research, Lab, CSLI, Stanford University. July 10, 2013.

David Widerker. Libertarianism and Frankfurts Attack on the Principle of Alternative Possibilities. The Philosophical Review. Vol. 104. No. 2. April 1995. 2474539561

Shlomith Remmon-Kenan. Doubles and Counterparts: Patterns of Interchangeability in Borges The Gardden of Forking Paths. Critical Inquiry. Vol. 6. No. 4. 1974/2013. ext=J.&searchText=L.&searchText=%22the+garden+of+forking+paths%22&list=hide&searchUri=%2Facti on%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3D%2522the%2Bgarden%2Bof%2Bforking%2Bpaths%2522%2BJ.%2BL. %2Bborges%26Search%3DSearch%26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3Dgarden%2Bof%2Bforking%2Bpaths%2Bborge s%26hp%3D25%26acc%3Don%26aori%3Da%26wc%3Don%26fc%3Doff%26resultsServiceName%3DdoBa ckToBasicResults&prevSearch=&item=1&ttl=74&returnArticleService=showFullText