2 thoughts on “Problems with Omniscience by Patrick Grim

  1. “I am not interested in ‘God’ used as a purported name for something-big-but-we-know-not-what, allowing claimants to change their claims regarding any or all purported properties.In my usage, we could not find out that God is very knowledgeable but not omniscient, that he isoccasionally cruel, or that he is actually a fairly normal mortal selling insurance in the suburbs ofChicago. The properties of omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection do not merelycharacterize God contingently. They define the meaning of the term ‘God’ on a central classicalconception. That is the target. If no being fits the bill, there is no God.”

    The notions that Claimants are changing their claims is of little concern compared to understanding what is possible and what is not. For example just because omnipotence might not include the the possibility that God can break the laws of logic does not for me mean there can be no God. So I guess he is immediately trying to frame this in terms or some debate with rules. But sadly reality does not offer rules that are fair for what we may know or believe despite his wishes.

    “1 The beliefs of an omniscient being would correspondprecisely to a set of all and only truths.Here again let me emphasize the ground rules. Omniscience demands knowingeverything. It is not satisfied by knowing all of some limited class of propositions. It is notsatisfied by knowing everything that a being of some particular type might be able to know, forexample. It is not satisfied by some we-know-not-what optimum of knowledge that falls short ofknowing everything. If no being knows literally everything, no being is omniscient. If no beingis omniscient, there is no God.
    II. The Divine Liar
    Consider the following:1. X does not believe that (1) is true.For X we substitute any name or referring expression. For any such substitution we can askwhether (1) is true or false. If (1) is true, X does not believe it, and thus X cannot be said toknow all truths. If X is false, it is false that X does not believe it. It must then be true that Xbelieves it. X therefore believes a falsehood.”

    I think the second to last sentence involves a typo. I think he means if 1 is false not if x is false. He makes x the subject not the proposition. But even with the correction it hard to understand the point. Is he saying X is God? If so X will believe 1 is true if and only if 1 is true and if it is false he will believe it is false. I don’t understand this one.

    The mathematical argument seems to make too many assumptions that God must believe a set of truths.

    “The beliefs of an omniscient being, we have said, would correspond precisely to a set of all and only true propositions. Because there can be no set of all and only true propositions, there cannot be what an omniscient being would have to know, and thus there can be no omniscient being.”

    I do not believe omniscience must entail a set of all and only true propositions if no set is possible. These sorts of arguments are very much like those that say God can’t make a rock so heavy even he can’t pick it up. Either God is bound by logic or he is not. If he is not these logical problems are not going to be an issue for him. If he is bound by logic then we just must understand his omniscience or omnipotence in those terms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. Thanks for the follow! Just followed you back!

    2. “The notions that Claimants are changing their claims is of little concern compared to understanding what is possible and what is not. For example just because omnipotence might not include the the possibility that God can break the laws of logic does not for me mean there can be no God. So I guess he is immediately trying to frame this in terms or some debate with rules. But sadly reality does not offer rules that are fair for what we may know or believe despite his wishes.”

    I think he’s talking about people who basically move the goalposts on him instead of making their position clear and being consistent from the beginning.

    3. “I think the second to last sentence involves a typo. I think he means if 1 is false not if x is false. He makes x the subject not the proposition. But even with the correction it hard to understand the point. Is he saying X is God? If so X will believe 1 is true if and only if 1 is true and if it is false he will believe it is false. I don’t understand this one.”

    I guess you’re right about the typo. I think he’s using a liar paradox -type argument. The sentence would be “X doesn’t believe this is true”. If it’s true then X doesn’t believe it, and if it’s false then X does believe it.

    4. “The mathematical argument seems to make too many assumptions that God must believe a set of truths.”

    “I do not believe omniscience must entail a set of all and only true propositions if no set is possible. These sorts of arguments are very much like those that say God can’t make a rock so heavy even he can’t pick it up. Either God is bound by logic or he is not. If he is not these logical problems are not going to be an issue for him. If he is bound by logic then we just must understand his omniscience or omnipotence in those terms.”

    It’s hard to see how logic could fail to apply to Him or anything else. I am open to non-classical logics, (I, however, doubt that alone could solve this problem), but it still seems reasonable that something like that applies to everything. You say, “If he is bound by logic then we just must understand his omniscience or omnipotence in those terms.” I say: As in everything logically possible to know or do? Fair enough, but I still see similar problems with that, like whether He can limit his ability or whether he is aware of his knowledge, and knows that, and knows that He knows, and so on, resulting in an infinite regress problem.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s