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Augustine on Theological Fatalism: The Argument of De Libero Arbitrio

Augustine on Theological Fatalism: The Argument of De Libero Arbitrio

Hunt, David P.

Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 5, no. 1 (1996)

Abstract

Recent critiques of theological fatalism-the position that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with creaturely freedom-have tended to attach themselves to one or another of the analyses put forward by various medieval thinkers. The latter include Boethius, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and (under a sufficiently generous conception of ‘medieval’) Molina. Notable by his absence from this list is St. Augustine, whose De Libero Arbitrio is perhaps the Ur-text for the problem as it arises within a specifically theistic context.

Whereas Augustine is often cited respectfully when the problem itself is raised, he is virtually ignored when the time comes to offer a solution to the problem—unless, of course, he is being featured in a cautionary tale about how not to avoid theological fatalism.

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