Future contingency and God’s knowledge of particulars in Avicenna
Kaukua, J. (2022). Future contingency and God’s knowledge of particulars in Avicenna. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2022.2088469
Published inBritish Journal for the History of Philosophy
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Avicenna’s discussion of future contingent propositions is sometimes considered to entail metaphysical indeterminism. In this paper, I argue that his logical analysis of future contingent statements is best understood in terms of the epistemic modality of those statements, which has no consequences for modal metaphysics. This interpretation is corroborated by hitherto neglected material concerning the question of God’s knowledge of particulars. In the Taʿlīqāt, Avicenna argues that God knows particulars by knowing their complete causes, and when contrasted with the human knowledge of particulars, this epistemically superior access shows that the contingency of statements about future particulars is not due to the modal properties of real particulars but to the nature of human access to them.
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland; European Commission
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
The content of the publication reflects only the author’s view. The funder is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Additional information about fundingThe research was enabled by the generous funding of the European Research Council (grant agreement no. 682779) and the Academy of Finland (grant no. 340923).
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