Friday, 26 August 2016

A Few Points That Didn't Get into Recent Posts

Poul Anderson, Operation Luna (New York, 2000).

When the dwarf Fjalar starts to think about how to forge a steel broomstick capable of space travel, he considers:

the kind of alloy that had gone into Brynjubitur;
slightly more dragon-bone charcoal and eagle dung;
a spell like the one that powered Gungnir.

Eagle dung? Our willing suspension of disbelief is strained.

"Nobody can foreknow everything." (p. 294)

This is relevant to Omniscience? Why can nobody foreknow everything? Suppose I did foreknow in exact detail everything that I was going to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, think, say and do tomorrow, even including precisely how my thoughts and actions were going to be influenced by this foreknowledge. Suppose that my foreknowledge of the entire day was so complete that it was indistinguishable either from directly experiencing the entire day or from vividly/photographically remembering the entire day. In this case surely there would be no difference between foreknowledge and mere knowledge? The future is that part of our life that is not known in anything like this amount of detail. That is how we distinguish it from the merely remembered past and the directly experienced present. Thus, complete foreknowledge is contradictory.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

But the kind of "foreknowledge" you talked about here is possible only when applied to God. I don't believe merely finite beings like us can have that kind of foreknowledge.