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Boethius - Essay Example

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In this case, the infallible providence of God is privy to all future events and whatever actions a rational creature sets out to do have actually been predetermined. However, this is going against the concept of freedom of choice, this is because the premise for legitimate free will would comprise of a non-predetermined course of things since freedom can be loosely defined as a the will by a rational creature to determine its own life and destiny independently. Thus, concisely if God is all knowing, cannot be wrong, and he knows of the human destiny and future action, then it translates that man’s future is predetermined in Gods knowledge of its occurrence and in these premise the concept of free will is fallacious. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius is one of the sages who have had significant impact on this debate; he posited a solution for this problem which he claims was shown to him in a vision by lady philosophy while he was locked up in prison. On free will he says the fact that humans are capable of reasoning means they possess free will, reason enables them to make logical judgments which translate to decisions (Flew, 175). Therefore, they have the ability and capacity to decide what should be included or excluded from their lives. He further classifies freedom thus; humans are freest when contemplating philosophically and least free when engaged in addictive behavior and bound in earthly fetters. However lady philosophy tells him that, God can foresee our future and puts everyone in the situations that are best fitted for their present needs in his infinite and infallible wisdom. However, this begs the question which had been earlier discussed before that, if the infallible God knows our actions and it is impossible that he is wrong, how then can we claim to have free will, this is because to justify perfect foresight, either what is going to happen must be foresees by him or what he sees must invariably come to pass, nevertheless in either case, human freedom is nullified. The solution offered by lady philosophy and which Boethius proposes is that God does not “know” or see things in the same way as man, he is eternal and the past present and future are simultaneous to him. He does not exist in the same temporal dimensions as humans thus despite the fact that tomorrow is yet to be, he sees it as we do the present, therefore he knows what will happen without directing it to happen (Flew 176).  Therefore, the knowledge of God transcends all that is in the temporal and spatial realms as perceived by man and it exists in the simplicity of a simple present, thus Gods knowledge is not future knowledge but awareness of a consistent present. In other words, one should not think of providence as the causative agent in the cause of things, they happen independently and providence only foresees them because they will happen not to make them happen. In my opinion, Boethius’ reasoning is not tenable, his arguments go round in circles and coming back to the same point, because he wants to justify two diametrically opposed ideas and makes it appear that both are logical. At the end of the day, if we agree God all knows, his transcendence of time will not change the fact that humans are immersed in it, thus events in his continuous present are occur to humans in different times. Thus, the fact that thing happen as they do, and God presumably is aware of them means free will remains and illusion. However, to borrow from a biblical reasoning, God knows an individual even when they are in ...Show more


Name Instructor Course Date Boethius on Free Will Over the ages, the issue of free will has been widely contested by philosophers and a variety of conclusions have been arrived at, despite the fact that there still exist many differing opinions on the subject…
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Boethius essay example
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