Future Contingents, Ockhamism (Retroactivism) and Thomism (Eternalism)

Keywords: future contingents; Ockhamism; eternalism; retroactive causation; soft fact; divine foreknowledge


In the current paper, I enter into debate with Marcin Tkaczyk and the chosen Anglo-Saxon analytic philosophers of religion to discuss the theological version of the problem of future contingents. I take into consideration some varieties of Ockhamism (retroactivism)—the position denying the temporal necessity (non-determination) of all past events and allowing some form of retroactivity. Strong Ockhamism postulates real retroactive causation, moderate Ockhamism limits it to the meanings of physical and psychical events, and weak Ockhamism replaces the notion of retroactive causation with that of retroactive dependence. I compare different forms of retroactivism with eternalism (of Boethius, St. Anselm of Canterbury, and St. Thomas Aquinas) to show that the latter has significant advantage. At the same time, I point out that eternalism in its presentist and relativist version (proposed by Brian Leftow) avoids the objections put forward against it, and that, within such eternalism, the problem of future contingents does not arise.


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