Posts tagged ‘william hasker’

November 15th, 2013

William Hasker’s Emergent Dualism

by Max Andrews

William Hasker is an open theist and has focused his research in two major areas: omniscience and the mind-body problem.  In this post I’m only going to focus on the latter.  Whatever theory we adopt about mind and body, and their interaction, there is still mystery (whether it be physical, immaterial, or a combination of the sort). The issue of one of transcendence:  how can an embodied being such as humans, transcend their physicality and have mind-like awareness of oneself (when the body is not a mind)?  Hasker says it is not enough to choose theory M (say, materialism) over D (say, dualism) simply by showing that dualism has seemingly insurmountable problems. One should take the speck out of one’s eye first:  one must examine objections to M, too, for these may be even more severe than those against D.  A healthy reminder that having reasons against ~p is not the same as having reasons in favor of p. 

August 3rd, 2012

The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom Contra William Hasker

by Max Andrews

William Hasker is deeply committed to the position that man holds some level of libertarian freedom.  In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge.[1]  Hasker proposes an argument suggesting that divine foreknowledge is just as inconsistent with free will as predestination.[2]  Consider his argument:

1.  It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Assumption)
2.  It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption:  divine omniscience)
3.  Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 1 and 2)
4.  If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing.  (Assumption: the inalterability of the past)
5.  Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 3 and 4)
6.  It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one.  (Inference from 2)
7.  Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 5 and 6) So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet.[3]

June 11th, 2012

The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Libertarian Freedom in Contrast to William Hasker’s Argument Against Theological Fatalism

by Max Andrews

I. The Argument

William Hasker has a deep commitment to the position that man holds a high level of libertarian freedom.  In his section on “Freedom, Necessity, and God,” Hasker takes the libertarian to task by challenging him with free will’s compatibility with divine foreknowledge.[1]  Hasker’s argument states that because God foreknows an agent’s action the agent necessarily fulfills that action.

  1. It is now true that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Assumption).
  2. It is impossible that God should at any time believe anything false or fail to believe anything which is true (Assumption:  divine omniscience).
  3. Therefore God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 1 and 2).
  4. If God has always believed a certain thing, it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that thing.  (Assumption: the inalterability of the past).
  5. Therefore it is not in my power to bring it about that God has not always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 3 and 4).
  6. It is not possible for it to be true both that God has always believed that I will have a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow, and that I do not in fact have one.  (Inference from 2).
  7. Therefore it is not in my power to refrain from having a cheese omelet for breakfast tomorrow.  (Inference from 5 and 6). So I do not have free will with respect to the decision whether or not to eat an omelet. [2]
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April 26th, 2012

Defining Omniscience

by Max Andrews

As advocated by St. Anselm, God is a maximally perfect being.  If ignorance is an imperfection, all things being equal [according to Ockham’s razor], then it is greater to be knowledgeable.  To prevent initial detractions from the classical definition of omniscience, omniscience should be understood as knowing all truths.

O.  For any agent x, x is omniscient= def. For every statement s, if s is true, then x knows that s and does not believe that not-s.[1]

If there are truths about future contingents, God, as an omniscient being must know these truths.  Since there are truths about the future, that is to say, since statements about future contingents are either true or false, and they are not all false, God must therefore know all truths about the future, which is to say He knows future-tense facts; He knows what will happen.[2]  One may try to avoid this reasoning by contending that future-tense statements are neither true nor false, so that there are no facts about the future.  Since the future does not exist, it is claimed that the respective future-tense statements cannot be true or false, simply without truth.[3] 

January 26th, 2012

Theology Thursday: William Hasker

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: William Hasker (Contemporary)

General summary of his theology: Hasker is an open theist and has focused his research in two major areas: omniscience and the mind-body problem.  In this post I’m only going to focus on the latter.  Whatever theory we adopt about mind and body, and their interaction, there is still mystery (whether it be physical, immaterial, or a combination of the sort). The issue of one of transcendence:  how can an embodied being such as humans, transcend their physicality and have mind-like awareness of oneself (when the body is not a mind)?  Hasker says it is not enough to choose theory M (say, materialism) over D (say, dualism) simply by showing that dualism has seemingly insurmountable problems. One should take the speck out of one’s eye first:  one must examine objections to M, too, for these may be even more severe than those against D.  A healthy reminder that having reasons against ~p is not the same as having reasons in favor of p.  [Epistemic principle here:  just because P and Q are logically not co-possible; and you have (non-decisive) evidence against P; it doesn’t follow that you have (decisive, or even non-decisive, perhaps) evidence for Q (cf. Islam and Buddhism, say)].