Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will by David WallaceFate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will by David Wallace

Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will

byDavid WallaceEditorSteven Cahn, Maureen Eckert

Paperback | December 10, 2010

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In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor's method, which, according to him, scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor's argument.

Fate, Time, and Language presents Wallace's brilliant critique of Taylor's work. Written long before the publication of his fiction and essays, Wallace's thesis reveals his great skepticism of abstract thinking made to function as a negation of something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of certain paradigms of thought-the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever gimmickry of postmodernism-that abandoned "the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community." As Wallace rises to meet the challenge to free will presented by Taylor, we witness the developing perspective of this major novelist, along with his struggle to establish solid logical ground for his convictions. This volume, edited by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, reproduces Taylor's original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace. James Ryerson's introduction connects Wallace's early philosophical work to the themes and explorations of his later fiction, and Jay Garfield supplies a critical biographical epilogue.
Steven M. Cahn (PhD, Philosophy, Columbia) is Professor of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center, where he served for nearly a decade as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, then as Acting President. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including From Student to Scholar (Columbia, 2008), Fa...
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Title:Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free WillFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pagesPublished:December 10, 2010Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231151578

ISBN - 13:9780231151573

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Table of Contents

Preface, by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert
Introduction: A Head That Throbbed Heartlike: The Philosophical Mind of David Foster Wallace, by James Ryerson
Part I: The Background
Introduction, by Steven M. Cahn
1. Fatalism, by Richard Taylor
2. Professor Taylor on Fatalism, by John Turk Saunders
3. Fatalism and Ability, by Richard Taylor
4. Fatalism and Ability II, by Peter Makepeace
5. Fatalism and Linguistic Reform, by John Turk Saunders
6. Fatalism and Professor Taylor, by Bruce Aune
7. Taylor's Fatal Fallacy, by Raziel Abelson
8. A Note on Fatalism, by Richard Taylor
9. Tautology and Fatalism, by Richard Sharvy
10. Fatalistic Arguments, by Steven Cahn
11. Comment, by Richard Taylor
12. Fatalism and Ordinary Language, by John Turk Saunders
13. Fallacies in Taylor's "Fatalism," by Charles D. Brown
Part II: The Essay
14. Renewing the Fatalist Conversation, by Maureen Eckert
15. Richard Taylor's "Fatalism" and the Semantics of Physical Modality, by David Foster Wallace
Part III: Epilogue
16. David Foster Wallace as Student: A Memoir, by Jay Garfield
Appendix: The Problem of Future Contingencies, by Richard Taylor

Editorial Reviews

A philosophical argument that deserves a place in any college-level library interested in modern philosophical debate. A lively, debative tone keeps this accessible to newcomers.