Details

ISBN-10: 0231151578
ISBN-13: 9780231151573
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 12/10/2010
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.50" W, 0.60" H

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

Editor: Steven Cahn
Editor: Maureen Eckert
Introduction by: James Ryerson
Afterword by: Jay L Garfield

Paperback

Price: $19.95

Overview

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.

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Reviews
Fatalism, the sorrowful erasure of possibilities, is the philosophical problem at the heart of this book. To witness the intellectual exuberance and bravado with which the young Wallace attacks this problem, the ambition and elegance of the solution he works out so that possibility might be resurrected, is to mourn, once again, the possibilities that have been lost.–Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Thirty-six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
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Details

ISBN-10: 0231151578
ISBN-13: 9780231151573
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 12/10/2010
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.50" W, 0.60" H
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