Originally posted by LemonJello
1. If God knows in advance that S will do A, then it must be the case that S will do A.
All the fatalist arguments I have seen rely on omniscience (more specifically, most of them really just rely on foreknowledge or infallible foreknowledge) and are silent on the matter of omnipotence. I don't really see how omnipotence would help the fatalist any.**
Here's another way of stating the common fatalist argument that gets the basic point he discussion. I'm just going to work here within a framework of libertarian free will.
If knowledge is being construed here in the standard sense of “justified true belief”, then I think your statement of premise 1 is tautological. But I am not sure how you are using the word “must” here—so let me rephrase a bit:
1a. God knows in advance that S will do A.
1b. Therefore, it is true that S will do A.
—I have substituted the phrase “it is true that” for “it must be the case that.” 1a. can be further parsed:
1a(i) God believes that S will do A;
1a(ii) God is justified in believing that S will A; and
1a(iii) It is true that S will A. [G’s belief is a true belief.]
1b. Therefore, it is true that S will A.
All of that may belabor a triviality, but the point is just that to say that “G knows that S will A” really only says: (1) S will A, and (2) G knows it. I don’t see how G can know
X and for X not to be the case, by definition. If it is true that X, then it is the case that X. To add “must”—or “it is necessary that it is the case that...”—seems to just be redundant.
You've already stated that you're not arguing that G can know X, but X not be the case. Are you simply arguing against the improper use of certain philosophical concepts, like "necessity"? But, see below--
It is not generally offered simply that G knows that this or that event E will occur, or even that G could know that any
E will or will not occur if G happens to think about it—but that G knows every E that will occur, and all the causal connections involved for every E that will occur. That is, G’s omniscience I think is generally offered as being total and universal.
Further, it is often described as if G sees everything from some privileged place transcendent to (“outside of” ) time. I have difficulty understanding what that means, but it seems to mean something like G is always at a point T(0), at which point all that ever (from our point of view) has happened, is happening, will happen is (from G’s point of view) happening instantaneously at that point. For G, there is no T(1) ... T(n), but only T(0).
Now, at this point, I want to throw up my hands and ask: “From whomever’s
perspective, what the hell is actually going on in the universe?!” Are past-present events [say T(0) or some T(0-t)] not “fully determined”? Is G’s perspective accurate and our’s delusional? Does not a universal and total omniscience at point T(0) represent something like the “unchanging situation” that undermines libertarian free will?
One other point: in Christian theology, God is creator—omnipotent or not. Therefore, time T(0) generally represents the inception of the created cosmos. The real view seems to be that God knew/knows every future E at some (“eternal”?) time T(0-t),* and then created/creates the cosmos such that that perfect foreknowledge is realized. Therefore, I find it hard to see, under that model, how everything—including what I will and will not will, and whether such willing is efficacious in this or that case—is not determined, precisely by God’s act of creation (rather like knuckling over that first domino).
* From G’s perspective, of course, there is no differentiation between T(0) and T(0-t) either.