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Faculty Book: Steven M. Cahn, ed.

Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, eds.

Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will
(Columbia University Press, 2010)

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, contending that it scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor’s argument. 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. 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 edited volume reproduces Taylor’s original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace. Steven M. Cahn is a professor of philosophy and urban education at the Graduate Center. Maureen Eckert (Ph.D., Philosophy, 2004) was his student and now serves as associate professor of philosophy at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

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Submitted on: NOV 10, 2010

Category: Faculty Books, Philosophy, Urban Education