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Determinism, Contingency, Free Choice, And Foreknowledge In Gersonides

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Chapter Summary

The core of both chapters is not an explanation of the phenomenon of foreknowledge of future events, but rather a solution of the problem of determinism, contingency, and free choice. Human foreknowledge of future events through clairvoyance, dreams, or prophecy, which is a datum of human experience, is applied to solve the problem that concerns him here. Indirectly, the content of these chapters also serves to elucidate the phenomenon of precognition. The order in which Gersonides took up the various topics in this discursive note was not random, but mandated by the nature of the inquiry. His investigation of determinism and free choice provided the foundation for his treatment of foreknowledge. From his solution to the problem of determinism and free choice he made an inference about the possible scope of knowledge of future events. Precisely the same sequence, and for the same reasons, is found in the Wars.

Keywords: contingency; determinism; foreknowledge; gersonides; precognition; prophecy



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