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In a recent paper Anthony Flew gives an argument which can be outlined as follows:
1. Any attempt to give a ‘free will defence’ (to rebut the argument from evil against God's existence) must be based either on a compatibilist notion of free will or a libertarian, incompatibilist, notion of free will.
2. A free will defence based on a compatibilist notion of free will must fail, for on a compatibilist view of free will, God could make creatures who were free but never chose evil.
3. A free will defence based on a libertarian notion of free will might have other difficulties, but on a libertarian view of free will God could not both leave men free and bring it about that they never chose evil.
4. But a free will defence based on an incompatibilist, libertarian notion of free will can be rejected, since:
(a) It is not clear that the ordinary use of such key terms as ‘action’ and ‘choice’ carry any implications of libertarian free will.
(b) If such terms did carry the implication of libertarian free will it becomes hard to see how anyone could be in a position to know that a choice had been made or an action performed.
(c) The possession of libertarian free will by created beings seems to be incompatible with the essential theistic doctrine that all created beings are always utterly dependent on God as their sustaining cause.
In a recent paper, I challenged a currently fashionable argument against the intelligibility of disembodied survival. This argument urges that only bodily continuity can provide a satisfactory criterion for personal identity and since bodily continuity is, of course, ruled out ex hypothesi in disembodied survival, we could have no satisfactory criterion for identity of a disembodied person. Toward the end of the paper I issued a challenge to supporters of this argument; if there are reasonable standards for a criterion of personal identity which do not beg the question in favor of the bodily continuity criterion, let them be stated and let us see if other criteria of personal identity can meet them as well as bodily continuity.
The recent republication of a number of early papers by Bernard Williams has drawn my attention to a paper by Williams which may seem to anticipate and answer this challenge. In what follows I wish to see whether or not this is so; whether Williams has given standards for a criterion of personal identity which are reasonable, which bodily continuity can meet, and which other criteria (such as those proposed in my earlier paper) cannot meet.
In a recent book, J. R. Lucas presents an argument to show that if God has infallible knowledge of the future, our will is not free. Thus, Lucas concludes, like the medieval Jewish philosopher Gersonides, that God in creating beings with genuinely free will, abdicates some of his omniscience as well as some of his omnipotence. God could, but will not, determine our choices, since such an exercise of his power would rob us of free will. Similarly, Lucas holds, God could but does not foreknow our future choices since this also would rob us of free will. This argument, from so formidable a foe of determinism as Lucas, merits our most serious attention. However, I believe that there is a way to evade its conclusion, a way which Lucas considers but rejects (in my view too hastily).
T. S. Kuhn's book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, , is a long and complex work, containing a large number of examples and arguments bearing on questions in the philosophy, history, and sociology of science. My treatment of it here will necessarily be limited, but I will try to state its main theses and discuss them insofar as this can be done without detailed examination of the examples cited from the history of science.
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