Monday, October 01, 2018

Freewill theism and induction

A natural law theodicy is a standard theodicy in freewill theism. According to that theodicy, moral agents require a stable environment for their deliberations and choices to have predictable consequences. Absent that, they can't be held responsible for their actions. 

I'd mention in passing that Calvinism can use that theodicy, too. Calvinism has a doctrine of ordinary providence. And there's value in having a world where actions generally have predictable choices. That's not unique to freewill theism.

If true, a natural law theodicy has the fringe benefit of grounding induction. On this view, God made a world in which, all things being equal (ceteris paribus proviso), the future resembles the past. That makes it possible to justifiably extrapolate from the past to the future. 

But here's a snag: a standard definition of libertarian freedom is leeway freedom: an agent can opt for two or more courses of action under the exact same circumstances. So there are ever so many different and divergent ways to complete the future. Given the same past, and billions of free agents, there are countless ways the future might turn out. Moreover, the choices of multiple free agents interact with each other or counteract each other. In addition, this impacts natural events inasmuch as humans often manipulate natural process to yield desired results. 

On the face of it, this renders the future utterly unpredictable, and destroys any basis for induction. Anything that's naturally possible could happen. 

In Calvinism, by contrast, although God had the freedom to choose between alternate timelines, yet having settled on a particular outcome (predestination), the outcome is fixed. By virtue of the decree, there's only one pathway from past to future. 

1 comment:

  1. The future *is* utterly unpredictable. I suppose it does destroy any basis for a pan-induction-ism. What of it? Why is that important?

    God does not "predict" the future. He knows the future, through his omniscience.