Boethius’ Consolation, Freedom and Divine Foreknowledge

Eternity and God’s foreknowledge

Scholasticus

[This is the final segment in the Boethius series as the problem of divine foreknowledge takes us through the end of the Consolation. I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.]

In prose III of book V Boethius proposes the problem of divine foreknowledge as a subject for further philosophical discussion. How is it that God can have infallible foreknowledge about contingent future events because knowledge requires necessity? If God necessarily knows that Socrates will do X at some future time, then it seems that Socrates cannot fail to do X, and therefore that he does not have free will and X is not contingent. But it is ridiculous to deny the freedom of the will in Boethius’s opinion, since then there would be no vices nor virtues, and even vices would be understood to come about through God’s action, nor would there be any point…

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