Boyd on How Fatalism is Fatalism

From Gregory Boyd’s Five Brief Philosophical Arguments for the Open View:

The distinction between possibility and actuality

P1) The fundamental distinction between possibility and actuality is that of indefiniteness and definiteness.

P2) Self-determination is the power to change possibility into actuality, thus indefiniteness into definiteness.

P3) If EDF is the case, then every event is definite before it occurs.

P4) There is no indefiniteness to the future.

Conclusion: The self has no power to change possibilities into actualities, indefiniteness into definiteness. That is, the self has no self-determination.

Comment: If the distinction between actuality and possibility is not that of definiteness and indefiniteness, then what is it? And if self-determination is not the ability to render possibilities actual, then what is it? If both P1 and P2 are granted, however, the possibility of affirming that the content of God’s foreknowledge is exhaustively definite while affirming self-determination is undermined. Unless the future is to some degree ontologically (not just epistemologically) open (viz. partly constituted by indefinite possibilities) then agents can’t turn possibilities into actualities and thus posess self-determination. Despite protests to the contrary, I do not see that classical-philosophical theism allows for real possibilities.

Leave a Reply