Book Chapter




Rennick S (2023) Foreknowledge. In: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Introduction: Foreknowledge transcends traditional discipline boundaries: discussion of it appears in philosophy of religion, time, action, free will, decision theory, logic, and epistemology. Nonetheless, the literature can be divided roughly into three overlapping categories. The first concerns divine foreknowledge, and the problems thought to arise from it: theological fatalism (that is, the incompatibility of God’s foreknowledge and human free will) and divine providence. The second covers the diverse texts exploring the potential prerequisites of foreknowledge—such as future contingents having truth values, or the reality of the future—and their consequences: logical fatalism, determinism, necessity, predictability. The final category, loosely conceived, contains the literature connecting foreknowledge and causation, explaining the former in terms of backward causation or time travel, or postulating the generation of causal loops as a side effect. The sections in this article cover each of these and more, beginning with general overviews and historical classics and then undertaking a hitherto unattempted journey through the complex and varied landscape that is the philosophical treatment of foreknowledge.

Publication date31/12/2023
Publication date online30/11/2023
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford

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Dr Steph Rennick

Dr Steph Rennick

Lecturer in Digital Media (Interactive), Communications, Media and Culture