The War & Peace of a New Metaphysical Perception : Book 1
Resolving Paradoxes of the Distant Past - An Alien Conversation

Tractate 3 : The Error of Boethius

525 AD Boethius – The Error of: Free Will – a new perception 2000 AD

The Error: The paradox of free will and divine foreknowledge
The perception: Boethius moves our perceptual understanding regarding the system being filled with free will into that of being ‘the’ system filled with both free will and divine foreknowledge. As such, free will and divine foreknowledge, with the help of Boethius, now have a location within which they can be found. However, the understanding regarding the role of both free will and divine foreknowledge as well as the understanding regarding the interrelationship between free will and divine foreknowledge not only remain in a state of confusion but even more disconcerting, the existence of such a interrelationship is not recognized as a significant aspect of the ‘larger’ system.

It is this state of confusion which will be specifically addressed within this tractate.


Part I: The Paradox of free will and divine foreknowledge
A misconception of determinism:
Three forms of action
Limits placed upon Boethius:
Some thoughts expounded by Boethius:
Boethius’ metaphysical system
Boethius’ metaphysical system and social acceptance
Boethius’ metaphysical system and perpetual historical acceptance
Boethius’ metaphysical system and why it is we have not presently discarded such a system

Part II: Resolving the issue with a new metaphysical perception:
‘The wall’ of perception:
Rationalizing the irrational:
The limits of language:
Oil and Water:
The four forms of action:

  1. What ‘will be’: Free will - A location for ‘being’ – individuality
  2. What ‘has been’: Divine foreknowledge - A location for ‘Being’ – the whole
  3. What ‘is being’: Determinism - A location for being – action, process/reality – the universe
  4. What ‘is’: Pre-destination/predestination - A location for being – existence of existence

Functionality of action:
Locations for actions:
Divine foreknowledge, predestination, pre-destination, and determinism versus free will:
Internationality: the need ‘for’ a location of determinism:
Potentiality: the need ‘for’ a location of free will:
Nothing: the need ‘for’ a location of nothing:
The Book of Divine Foreknowledge:
The Location of Free Will:
The Location of Determinism:
The misnomer of ‘free will’:
Letting go

Adjacent actions of multiplicity
Divine Foreknowledge
Free will
Cardinal Sequencing
Random Sequencing/factorial
Removing a piece of Randomness

Part I: Creating the paradox of ‘the’ System ‘containing’ free will

Free will confined within the boundaries of determinism is simply an illusion of free will.

    ‘There can be little question that Boethius, more than any other philosophic author, helped the great Schoolmen to retain a general comprehensive view of the world as a whole, in spite of the distractions of their minute inquiries. ’ (Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Penguin Books, 1969, England, Victor Watts, Merton College, Oxford.)

Boethius presented humanity with a model of a metaphysical system, which led to an understanding regarding how it is men retain free will within the parameters of an all-knowing entity. Boethius’ metaphysical system describes an omniscient God and It’s interrelationship to free will. Examination of Boethius’ metaphysical system becomes the point of the first part of this tractate. The second part of this tractate is an examination of a means by which we can embrace such a system while freeing ourselves of the contradiction divine foreknowledge, determinism, pre-destination, or predestination impose upon the the very concept of ‘free’ will.

Paradoxically, the process of freeing ourselves of the confines of determinism is accomplished through a process of removing free will from the realm of determinism and then reinserting free will back into determinism through a process of ‘separation through inclusion’ versus ‘separation through exclusion’. The exploration of ‘separation through inclusion’ versus ‘separation through exclusion’ is itself fully explored in Tractate 8: Russell. Although the in depth understanding regarding the concept of ‘separation through inclusion’ must wait for the Russell Tractate, we will initiate the understanding regarding such a concept within this tractate.

Boethius argued we must accept free will as being recessive, submissive to divine foreknowledge, determinism, pre-destination, and predestination. Now if submissive independence is not an error, what is?

Is Boethius to blame for our having been able to resolve the paradox regarding free will and divine foreknowledge?

The answer is no. We are now the ones responsible for not resolving the issue regarding the paradox of the simultaneous independent existence of free will and determinism. Philosophers have expanded our understanding of abstraction and scientists have expanded our understanding of the physical. Now it is up to us to merge the two sets of knowledge. We have the knowledge. Therefore, it is up to present day metaphysicians to assemble these pieces of the puzzle and create a new metaphysical model.

An alternative metaphysical perception, metaphysical model, to Boethius’ metaphysical perception exists. The problem is to gain the attention of religion, philosophy, and science, all of whom have rejected the very validity of metaphysics itself.

With this in mind, let’s examine what it was Boethius laid out for us as a metaphysical perception. Let us then proceed to examine why this metaphysical system was accepted as a logical argument. We will then examine why such a metaphysical model advanced intact through history followed by an examination as to why it is we have not yet discarded this metaphysical system. Finally, let us examine why it is we can now file Boethius’ system away as an interesting perception found within the annals of philosophical history as opposed to its status of being an unresolved perplexing paradox of philosophical perception.

A misconception of determinism
Determinism and free will are perceived to be the two states of being/action found only ‘within’ process - reality (vb). This is a limited perception. It is a perception of ‘confinement’. In order to expand our perception regarding free will and determinism, it will help to examine the types of action, which appear to exist.

There appear to be three types of action correlating to the three regions of truth, the existence of ‘relativistic truth’ as explored in the previous tractate: Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesian Systems.

Action can be categorized as either active or passive.

In terms of action, there is being/action in the active sense and being/action in the passive sense. This statement suggests only two forms of action rather than three forms of action. Upon closer examination, however, one finds each of these two forms of action, these two forms of being/action are themselves subdivided into two subgroups.

Doesn’t such a statement imply there are in fact only two forms of action? No, there are four forms of action, which emerge from the two primary sets of action. Each of these four forms of action are not themselves relegated to a lesser significance than the two sets from which they emerge. It is the action itself, which ‘is’ as opposed to the two sets within which they can be categorized.

Understanding Boethius requires only the examination of three of the four forms of action. It is for this reason Part I: The Introduction of this tractate suggests there are three forms of action. Understanding the resolution to the paradoxical independent existence of free will and determinism requires the examination of all four forms of action. It is for this reason Part II: Resolving Boethius’ Paradox deals with four versus three forms of action.

Part I deals with three regions within which ‘a’ unique truth can be found to exist.

Part II expands upon this understanding to include not three but four regions, not three unique truths but four unique truths. In fact, it might better be said: Each of the four action forms dominates a particular ‘region’ of ‘location and that ‘a’ unique truth exists as ‘a’ unique dominate form of action, which ‘gives’ the ‘region’ its unique innate characteristics.

Such a statement, however, is misleading for it would better be said that each region of first truth evolves an innate characteristic through the primary action found to dominate the region itself.

To begin understanding the means of resolving Boethius’ paradox, we must first examine Boethius’ metaphysical system in terms of three action forms.

Three forms of action:
Before naming the three forms of action, it will help to briefly examine the three ‘regions’, which contain their own unique 1st truth. The in-depth examination of such an understanding was explored in Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesian Systems.

Having identified three ‘locations’, we can list three action forms. We can then demonstrate why it is we find such action existing as an innate characteristic of the region. We can demonstrate how it is first truth is first truth while being first truth only from the point of view of the region itself. In short, we will both demonstrate what is meant by the term ‘relativistic first truth’ examined in Tractate 2: Aristotle and Cartesian Systems and demonstrate how ‘relativistic first truth’ can resolve the paradox of the independent existence of free will and determinism.

I. Passive action

  • 1. Action bound by the laws of nature
  • 2. Action bound by the laws of determinism

II. Active action

  • 3. Action bound by the laws of free will

Expanding upon our diagram through the placement of action, we obtain:

And why is it actions found bound by the laws of nature and actions bound by the laws of determinism are both considered to be ‘passive’ forms of action? Action bound by the laws of nature and actions bound by the laws of determinism are both ‘predetermined’ and as such, they are not ‘free’ but ‘bound’ to be what they are.

This is not to imply actions bound by the laws of nature are each proceeded by conscious ‘intent’ to have the action be what it is. Rather it implies that the laws of nature determine action naturally.

Within a system of divine foreknowledge, it could be said: Actions bound by the laws of free will are also ‘bound’. Such a perception, however, evolves out of a perception that being ‘bounded’ by the lack of control of one’s action is a form of control itself. Such a perception is correct. However, it is not correct in the sense one may first think. Actions bounded by the laws of nature and actions bounded by the laws of determinism are forms of ‘controlled actions’, which lie ‘outside’ the realm of one’s control. Actions bound by the laws of free will are by definition ‘controlled’ in the sense that they are not controlled by a source ‘outside’ one’s control but rather controlled by one’s self.

The question then arises: What do we call states of ‘being’? Such existence is said to simple ‘be’ without action. In essence, there is no action to such forms of existence found within the physical universe. A rock exists, an atom exists, a star exists. These are forms of simply ‘being’ often referred to as states of being as opposed to states of action.

One may object and point out that a star is a dynamic object. It is in essence a summation of many states of action. Fusion is but one such process taking place ‘within’ the star. This form of action does not apply just to the star however. The rock is composed of its own unique forms of action. Atomic vibration, subatomic particle movement, heat exchange, electromagnetic interactions, etc. ‘fill’ the rock with action no less than the star is ‘filled’ with action, states of active being.

These states of action are not forms of determinism. These forms of actions are actions bound by the ‘laws’ of nature. Such actions are discoverable through observation and measurement. We call such action, actions bound by the laws of nature. Laws of nature are not only predictable but lend themselves to a concept known as formulation. Formulation is simply a predictable pattern capable of being expressed through a mathematical equation. We may not have the mathematical sophistication capable of predicting all such actions but there is no denying we are working diligently on developing just such a level of sophistication. We may not have the time to develop this level of mathematical sophistication. The concept of limited time, however, is not stopping us from exploring such mathematical formulations.

Such states of being/action, process – reality are not examples of determinism. They are instead actions generated by the laws of nature, which are inherent in our universe. Such actions are universal to our universe because they exist within a universe where such laws ‘rule’. It is very possible such laws of nature may not exist in another universe. It is possible other universes abide by different ‘laws’ or lack of ‘laws’ as we might perceive an existence lacking ‘rules’ to be.

We are not, however, here to discuss unique possibilities regarding a variety of existences potentially found within unique universes. We are here to understand our personal universe. Part of understanding our universe, understanding ourselves, understanding the whole, understanding the interactions of the three lies in understanding action.

Actions bound by the ‘laws’ of nature are not forms of determinism nor are they forms of free will, they are rather just what they were stated to be, actions bound by the ‘laws’ of nature.

What are actions classified as forms of determinism and what are actions classified as forms of free will? Actions of determinism and actions of free will are actions, which are not bound by the ‘laws’ of nature.

Newton identified three basic laws of action, as well as inaction. Inaction is an extreme form of action. Inaction is the purest form of minimalistic action found on the extreme end of the action continuum.

Newton’s laws of motion/action existing ‘within’ nature: (Oxford: Concise Science Dictionary, 1996.)

  1. A body continues in a state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is acted upon by external forces.
  2. The rate of change of momentum of a moving body is proportional to and in the same direction as the force action on it, ie. F=d(mv)/dt, where F is the applied force, ‘v’ is the velocity of the body, and ‘m’ its mass. If the mass remains constant, F = mdv/dt or F= ma, where ‘a’ is the acceleration.
  3. If one body exerts a force on another, there is an equal and opposite force, called a reaction, exerted on the first body by the second.

Actions of determinism and actions of free will are distinguishable from forms of action or inaction bound by the laws of nature. If one jumps off a cliff, they will fall. The process of falling, the action of falling is bound by the ‘law of nature’. The decision to jump is a case of personal choice. One decides to jump or not to jump.

It is the issue of choice being an option or not being an option, which is to be addressed in this article. It is the issue of whether the book of life ‘is already written’ or whether the book of life ‘is in the process of being written’ which is to be examined in this tractate. It is the development of a new means of ‘looking’ at, of perceiving the function of determinism existing simultaneously with, yet independently from, free will. It is the intent of this article to demonstrate that not only do the two, free will and determinism, exist uniquely and simultaneously but they do so in a critically interdependent fashion.

The concept regarding a critical interdependence of free will and determinism establishes a metaphysical system wherein determinism and free will are dependent upon each other for their very existence as unique forms of action.

But what of actions bound by the ‘laws of nature’? Actions bound by the laws of nature will find themselves addressed in detail throughout this work. One need but revert to Tractate 1: Zeno and Seamlessness to find such an example. Within Tractate 1, one can find a detailed discussion regarding a region where an understanding emerges regarding the ‘real’ being simultaneously a ‘real illusion’ and the ‘real illusion’ being simultaneously the ‘real’.

Limits placed upon Boethius:
To understand Boethius’ metaphysical system one must understands the place in history Boethius occupied. Boethius followed Aristotle. It was Aristotle who, as we discussed in Tractate 2, closed the ‘region’ we call reality.

Boethius was therefore faced with one and only one choice in terms of where to place all action, be they actions bound by the laws of free will or actions bound by the laws of determinism.

This is better understood if we diagram it as:

The diagram demonstrates there being no ‘outside’ to ‘reality’. Why is there no ‘outside’ to Boethius’ ‘observable’ reality? There is no outside to physical reality because Aristotle closed it off from rational perceptual examination through the process of establishing a subconscious acceptance of the concept: ‘Seeing is believing.’

The result of Aristotle’s action: Free will and determinism found themselves immersed ‘within’ the universe and only the universe. As such, humanity had no choice but to reconcile the apparently contradictory actions classified as free will and determinism.

The process of finding a solution to the apparent paradoxical coexistence of free will and determinism existing simultaneously within the same location was the fundamental objective Boethius attempted to establish in his work: Boethius – The Consolation of Philosophy. The problem Boethius confronted, however, emerged from the limits within which Boethius found himself. Boethius found himself limited to ‘a’ reality comprised of the physical. As such, Boethius found himself limited to developing a means of reconciling the existence of free will and determinism ‘within’ the limits of a ‘physical system’.

An in depth examination of the paradox Boethius generated regarding the coexistence of free will and determinism can better be understood after having refreshed oneself with a few of Boethius’ thoughts extracted from his tractate: The Consolation of Philosophy.

Some thoughts expounded by Boethius:
Boethius: The Consolation of Philosophy

    Book V, section III:

    ‘Look,’ I said, ‘there is something even more difficult I find perplexing and confusing.

    ‘Tell me,’ she said, ‘though I can guess what is troubling you.’

    ‘Well, the two seem clean contrary and opposite, God’s universal foreknowledge and freedom of the will. If God foresees all things and cannot be mistaken in any way, what Providence has foreseen as a future event must happen. So that if from eternity Providence foreknows not only men’s actions but also their thoughts and desires, there will be no freedom of will. No action or desire will be able to exist other than that which God’s infallible Providence has foreseen. For if they can be changed and made different from how thy were foreseen, there will be no sure foreknowledge of the future, only an uncertain opinion; and this I do not think can be believed of God….

    Book V, section IV:

    Then Philosophy spoke. ‘This is an old complaint about Providence.

    ‘It cannot be that what is foreseen as a future event does not come to pass. It would be as if we believed that what Providence foreknows as future events are not going to happen, instead of believing that although they happen, they were not predestined in their own nature. You will easily be able to see it in this way; we see many things before our eyes as they happen, like the actions we see charioteers performing in order to control and drive their chariots, and other things of this sort. But no necessity forces any of them to happen in this way, does it?

    …’Therefore, all those things which happen without happening of necessity are, before they happen, future events about to happen, but not about to happen of necessity. For just as the knowledge of present things imposes no necessity on what is happening, so foreknowledge imposes no necessity on what is going to happen.

    ‘The cause of this mistake is that people think that the totality of their knowledge depends on the nature and capacity to be known of the objects of knowledge. But this is all wrong.’…

    ‘The point of greatest importance here is this: the superior manner of knowledge includes the inferior, but it is quite impossible for the inferior to rise to the superior.’…

    ‘In the same way, human reason refuses to believe that divine intelligence can see the future in any other way except that in which human reason has knowledge.’…

Herein lies the crux of Boethius’ argument, we, humans must accept his argument for it supposedly rises above human rationality and flows into the rationality of God, approximates God’s rationality which is and forever will be unknowable to us.

In short, Boethius is saying: It is so even if we cannot comprehend it. And just what is ‘it’? ‘It’ is the perception: ‘In the same way, human reason refuses to believe that divine intelligence can see the future in any other way except that in which human reason has knowledge…For just as the knowledge of present things imposes no necessity on what is happening, so foreknowledge imposes no necessity on what is going to happen.’

According to Boethius, divine foreknowledge, existing simultaneously with legitimate free will, is what it is. Such a concept reduces free will to a state of irrationality. The simultaneous existence of free will existing as free will even though the actions are pre-known is to be accepted as free will because Boethius has decided that such a state of existence is a primary theorem. As we can see from the previous quotes, Boethius tells us such a basic premise is to be accepted as a non-debatable theorem. Why is it Boethius claims we must accept, without debate, such a theorem? We must accept such a theorem because the theorem resolves the paradox of free will existing simultaneously with divine foreknowledge.

Such a perception is proposed as an ironclad theorem of metaphysics because it establishes a means of creating a rational understanding of an irrational position. In essence, Boethius attempted to rationalize an irrational metaphysical position. We cannot completely fault Boethius. There is no denying that Aristotle’s perception of the physical universe existing as ‘the’ system is a very tempting metaphysical system to embrace.

Aristotle established the scientific perception of there being ‘a’ singular location of existence. Aristotle established the scientific perception of there being ‘a’ location bound ‘within’ the physical, bound by the limits of the physical, confined by the limits of the physical. There is little doubt that such a metaphysical system is very difficult to refute since we can ‘see’/observe this metaphysical system.

Only an observable system, a physical system, is ‘provable’ through observation/measurement, an action of the physical itself. Abstraction is not measureable. Abstraction itself is not observable. What is observable in terms of abstraction is the affect abstraction has upon the awareness found within the physical. Free will and determinism are not the action itself but rather intent, which initiates action found within the physical. This is what is meant by: Free will being confined within the same boundaries, as determinism.

Boethius’ metaphysical system:
Boethius’ metaphysical system displays free will as being confined within the same boundaries as determinism.

It is obvious from the metaphysical system diagramed that the three forms of action must be reconciled metaphysically in terms of their interrelationships ‘within’ such a system.

To assist us in understanding the three forms of action we will examine the three forms of action through a series of diagrams:


Boethius’ metaphysical system placed all three forms of action ‘within’ the same container and shook up the three forms of action until they were completely emulsified. As such, the appearance of equality of action emerged. As with all emulsions, however, if one ‘waits’ long enough, the emulsion of action will eventually separate into layers of relative value.

Such a process would take on the following initial appearance:

This, over time, settles into its various layers of value and becomes:

Within Boethius’ metaphysical system, determinism becomes level one for without levels, two and three being predetermined by level one levels two and three could not exist. Level two, a location for level three, becomes level two for without level two level three has no ‘place’ to be and as such could not exist.