Category Archives: Nietzsche
Posted by turmarion
Yes, I know it’s a reach, but it is Zep.
We’ve been discussing the seeming paradox encountered if we posit an immortal being making a voluntarily irrevocable decision–that is, something like “I will never do X”, where X is not forbidden by outside factors, but only refrained from as an ongoing act of will, then it seems as if he can’t have free will. This is because if he succeeds in keeping his decision, then the probability that he ever does X is zero; but zero probability implies that something can’t happen; and if it can’t be that the being in question could ever do X, then he seems to lack free will, since by definition having free will to do X implies that there is a probability greater than zero that he could do it. Conversely, if there is a non-zero chance of his actually breaking his stated decision and actually doing X, the implication is that sooner or later, given all eternity, sooner or later a situation will arise in which he will break the decision. But if this is inevitable, then once more free will takes a dive. Since we’re interested in whether or not the damned in Hell or the saved in Heaven can ever change their minds, this is relevant to the theme of universalism. In the last post, I argued that this paradox does not apply to God, for the reasons discussed there.
Here I want to make a couple points to avoid a possible error. Part of the reason I gave that God can make eternal and irrevocable decisions voluntarily, keep them perfectly, and yet not be affected by the paradox is that He is outside of time completely; to put it another way, only God is eternal in the strict sense theological sense of that word. Now it might at this point be objected that the angels, demons, and damned and saved humans are also outside of time, so they, too, can make irrevocable decisions without contradiction or paradox. I don’t think this is correct, though, for reasons I’m going to explain.
Posted by turmarion
[C]onvictions might be more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
I call a lie: wanting not to see something one does see, wanting not to see something as one sees it: whether the lie takes place before witnesses or without witnesses is of no consequence. The most common lie is the lie one tells to oneself; lying to others is relatively the exception.–Now this desiring not to see what one sees, this desiring not to see as one sees, is virtually the primary condition for all who are in any sense party: the party man necessarily becomes a liar.
-–Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, 55 (emphasis added)
All the more relevant in the wake of the Penn State mess.