Peter de Rivo, Boethius and the Problem of Future Contingents

Carmina Philosophiae 10:39-55 (2001)
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Peter de Rivo (b. ca. 1420), argues for the existence of human freedom despite its alleged incompatibility with the truth of future contingent propositions. Rivo’s solution doesn’t follow the common medieval attempt to dissolve the alleged incompatibility, but claims that future contingent propositions aren’t determinately true. This approach troubled Rivo’s contemporaries, who thought it was incompatible with biblical infallibility, particularly the veracity of prophetic statements. Rivo tries to reconcile his solution with orthodox Christianity by grounding authentic prophetic statements in God’s cognition of future events. In the end, Rivo’s attempted reconciliation fails because grounding the truth of prophetic statements in God cognition is incompatible either with his theological assumptions or his conception of free action.

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Jonathan Evans
University of Indianapolis


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