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Chance In Philosophy

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Chance in Philosophy

Boethius' "The Consolation of Philosophy" demonstrates many thoughts and ideas that Boethius had while he was imprisoned at Ravenna. Boethius wrote of his "conversations" with lady Philosophy, who came to help cure him during his sentence. Throughout the book, she explained (or reminded) Boethius of many things such as the nature of power and the nature of fame. Many things that she explains in the beginning of the book can be summed together with the thought that God governs everything. God, though not the afterlife, is a very important theme in "The Consolation of Philosophy". One part of this theme that I have looked at is whether God orders the world totally, or there is chance in our lives. Boethius explained, "Whenever something is done for some purpose, and for certain reasons something other than what was intended happens, it is called chance." (p. __) So is it that there is no chance in life, or do we truly have free will? I believe that there is a concept of chance in our lives, and even though God may know what is going to happen to us, that does not necessarily mean that he made the choice for us.

"For example, if someone began to dig the ground in order to cultivate a field and found a cache of buried gold... Neither the man who buried the gold, nor the man who was tilling the field intended the discovery of the money, but, as I said, it happens as a result of the coincidence that the one began to dig where the other had buried." (p. __) I believe that this explains that even though one may not be looking for something to happen to him, events that had taken place before would cause this event to eventually occur. So, because someone at some time buried the treasure, does that mean one was meant to find it? Yes, I believe that someone was meant to find it, and it is that person's chance that led him or her to do so. However, in "The Consolation of Philosophy", the idea is that there is no chance in Gods point of view; that God has a supreme knowledge of everything, and things do not seem to be chance to him because he may foresee their occurrence. It is implied that God created the world and the order that it stands in, and that he knows everything that will ever happen to us. So, how is it, then, that we have free will if God already knows what will happen to us? Does he choose our destiny, or do we shape it ourselves?

I believe that while God may know our destinies, we do shape them ourselves. It is possible for God to know our destinies because he "knows" the future. However, the future in God's perspective is not really the future per se, it is just a depiction



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