Fatalism

Edited by Jonah Nagashima (University of California, Riverside)
About this topic
Summary According to fatalists, our actions are not merely determined but fated. If our actions are determined, then it is in some sense already settled how we will decide to act; if our actions are fated, then what we will do is already settled regardless of how we will decide. Most philosophers think that fatalism is a confusion and of no relevance to the free will debate, but there is a substantive problem concerning logical fatalism. A sentence concerning some future event seems to have a truth value prior to the event's occurrence, but if the sentence is to have a truth-value prior to the event's occurrence it seems that the event must be fated to occur.
Key works The problem of logical fatalism has its canonical statement in Aristotle forthcoming. Some solutions to the problem of foreknowledge and free will also serve as solutions to the problem of logical fatalism: for instance Ockham's distinction between hard and soft facts, where only the former concern the past alone: Ockham 1983. A much more recent argument for fatalism is Taylor 1962.
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301 found
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  1. Hypertemporal Humeanism and the Open Future.Benjamin Smart - manuscript
    Take strong open-future Humeanism (OFH) to comprise the following three tenets: (i) that truth supervenes on being (ii) that there is a dynamic present moment, and (iii) that there are no future facts; that is, contingent propositions about the future obtain truth values only when their referents are actualised (Tooley 1997). On the face of it this is a deeply problematic metaphysic - if there are no future facts then prima facie the Humean can neither provide laws of nature, nor (...)
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  2. Context, conditionals, fatalism, freedom & time travel.John Carroll - manuscript
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  3. Freedom and the Open Future.Yishai Cohen - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    I draw upon Helen Steward’s concept of agential settling to argue that freedom requires an ability to change the truth-value of tenseless future contingents over time from false to true and that this ability requires a metaphysically open future.
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  4. Decision and Foreknowledge.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Noûs.
    My topic is how to make decisions when you possess foreknowledge of the consequences of your choice. Many have thought that these kinds of decisions pose a distinctive and novel problem for causal decision theory (CDT). My thesis is that foreknowledge poses no new problems for CDT. Some of the purported problems are not problems. Others are problems, but they are not problems for CDT. Rather, they are problems for our theories of subjunctive supposition. Others are problems, but they are (...)
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  5. Naming and Free Will.Pedro Merlussi & Fabio Lampert - forthcoming - Grazer Philosophische Studien.
    Rigidity does interesting philosophical work, with important consequences felt throughout metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and so on. Our aim in this paper is to show that rigidity has yet another role to play, with surprising consequences for the problem of free will and determinism, for the phenomenon of rigidity has the upshot that some metaphysically necessary truths are up to us. The significance of this claim is shown in the context of influential arguments against free will. We show that (...)
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  6. Foreknowledge requires determinism.Patrick Todd - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    There is a longstanding argument that purports to show that divine foreknowledge is inconsistent with human freedom to do otherwise. Proponents of this argument, however, have for some time been met with the following reply: the argument posits what would have to be a mysterious non-causal constraint on freedom. In this paper, I argue that this objection is misguided – not because after all there can indeed be non-causal constraints on freedom (as in Pike, Fischer, and Hunt), but because the (...)
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  7. Autenticità e Alterità: Il ruolo dell’esemplarità nella trasformazione morale di sé .Roberta Guccinelli - 2022 - DYNAMIS. Rivista Di Filosofia E Pratiche Educative 1 (1):21–33.
    The terms “destiny” and “fate” are often used interchangeably in common parlance. In the course of history, in its relation to morality and religion, fate has sometimes prevailed over destiny as an irrational law or necessity capable of determining the course of events according to an inscrutable order. Scheler— whose philosophy inspired this contribution on authenticity as a fundamental quality of one’s identity—excludes all possible forms of fatalism. In this regard, he phenomenologically distinguishes “destiny” from “individual destination” or “vocation” (individuelle (...)
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  8. A puzzle about the fixity of the past.Fabio Lampert - 2022 - Analysis 82 (3):426-434.
    It is a widely held principle that no one is able to do something that would require the past to have been different from how it actually is. This principle of the fixity of the past has been presented in numerous ways, playing a crucial role in arguments for logical and theological fatalism, and for the incompatibility of causal determinism and the ability to do otherwise. I will argue that, assuming bivalence, this principle is in conflict with standard views about (...)
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  9. Nietzsche's Immoralism: Politics as First Philosophy.Donovan Miyasaki - 2022 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    Nietzsche’s Immoralism begins a two-volume critical reconstruction of a socialist, democratic, and non-liberal Nietzschean politics. Nietzsche’s ideal of amor fati (love of fate) cannot be individually adopted because it is incompatible with deep freedom of agency. However, we can create its social conditions thanks to an under-appreciated aspect of his will-to-power psychology. We are driven not toward domination and conquest but toward resistance, contest, and play―a heightened feeling of power provoked by equal challenges that enables the non-instrumental affirmation of suffering. (...)
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  10. Cynicism, Denialism, and Fatalism: The Triple Pandemism of Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories.Al Chukwuma Okoli & Peter Sule - 2022 - Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 11 (2):43-60.
    Humanity is under siege with Covid-19. Whilst the crisis aggravates, the world is also grappling with yet another challenge - a global misinformation conundrum. This arises from the spread of contagious conspiracy theories that obfuscate understanding the pandemic at best. Incidentally, the conspiracy theories have gone as viral as Covid-19 itself, spreading just as swiftly digitally as the virus does physically. The outcome has been a spectrum of attitudinal patterns, ranging from cynicism and skepticism to outright denialism and fatalism. Using (...)
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  11. Cynicism, Denialism, and Fatalism.Al Chukwuma Okoli & Peter Sule - 2022 - Filosofia Theoretica 11 (2):43-60.
    Humanity is under siege with Covid-19. Whilst the crisis aggravates, the world is also grappling with yet another challenge - a global misinformation conundrum. This arises from the spread of contagious conspiracy theories that obfuscate understanding the pandemic at best. Incidentally, the conspiracy theories have gone as viral as Covid-19 itself, spreading just as swiftly digitally as the virus does physically. The outcome has been a spectrum of attitudinal patterns, ranging from cynicism and skepticism to outright denialism and fatalism. Using (...)
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  12. Free Will and Human Agency: 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments.Garrett Pendergraft - 2022 - Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments in Philosophy.
    In this new kind of entrée to discussions of free will and human agency, Pendergraft illuminates 50 puzzles, paradoxes, and thought experiments. Assuming no familiarity with the topic, each chapter describes a case, explains the questions that it raises, summarizes some of the key responses, and provides suggested readings.
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  13. Moral Responsibility and Existential Attitudes.Paul Russell - 2022 - In Dana K. Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York City, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 519-543.
    We might describe the philosophical issue of human freedom and moral responsibility as an existential metaphysical problem. Problems of this kind are not just a matter of theoretical interest and curiosity: They address issues that we care about and that affect us. They are, more specifically, relevant to the significance and value that we attach to our lives and the way that we lead them. According to the orthodox view, there is a tidy connection between skepticism and pessimism. Skepticism threatens (...)
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  14. The Independence Solution to the Problem of Theological Fatalism.Ryan Wasserman - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):66-77.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 104, Issue 1, Page 66-77, January 2022.
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  15. The Effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy With and Without Compassion on Spiritual Fatalism and Depression in Diabetic Patients.Tahereh Panahi, Fatemeh Shahabizadeh & Alireza Mahmoudirad - 2021 - Health, Spirituality and Medical Ethics 8 (2):85-94.
    Background and Objectives: There exists a relationship between spirituality and depression. Moreover, psychological interventions are effective in this regard. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with and without compassion on spiritual fatalism and depression in non-clinically depressed diabetic patients. Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with a pre-test, post-test and follow-up and a control group design. The statistical population included all non-clinical depressed patients with type 2 diabetes in the welfare centers of Mashhad (...)
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  16. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False.Patrick Todd - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book launches a sustained defense of a radical interpretation of the doctrine of the open future. Patrick Todd argues that all claims about undetermined aspects of the future are simply false.
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  17. A Theory of Evolution as a Process of Unfolding.Agustin Ostachuk - 2020 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 16 (1):347-379.
    In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...)
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  18. Fatalism and Future Contingents.Giacomo Andreoletti - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (3):1-14.
    In this paper I address issues related to the problem of future contingents and the metaphysical doctrine of fatalism. Two classical responses to the problem of future contingents are the third truth value view and the all-false view. According to the former, future contingents take a third truth value which goes beyond truth and falsity. According to the latter, they are all false. I here illustrate and discuss two ways to respectively argue for those two views. Both ways are similar (...)
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  19. How is the asymmetry between the open future and the fixed past to be characterized?Vincent Grandjean - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-24.
    A basic intuition we have regarding the nature of time is that the future is open whereas the past is fixed. For example, whereas we think that there are things we can do to affect how the future will unfold, we think that there are not things we can do to affect how the past unfolded. However, although this intuition is largely shared, it is not a straightforward matter to determine the nature of the asymmetry it reflects. So, in this (...)
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  20. From modal fallacies to a new argument for fatalism.Pedro Merlussi - 2019 - Manuscrito 42 (3):86-107.
    Do incompatibilist arguments, like some fatalist arguments, rest on modal fallacies? If Westphal (2012) is right, then one popular argument for incompatibilism van Inwagen’s “First Formal Argument” does rest on a modal fallacy. Similarly, Warfield (2000) claims that the standard modal formulation of the master argument for incompatibilism is a modal fallacy. Here, I refute both claims. Contra Westphal, I show that the mistake in van Inwagen’s "First Formal Argument" is no modal fallacy. After that, I argue that Warfield’s charge (...)
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  21. The problem of free will and determinism: An abductive approach.Kristin M. Mickelson - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):154-172.
    This essay begins by dividing the traditional problem of free will and determinism into a “correlation” problem and an “explanation” problem. I then focus on the explanation problem, and argue that a standard form of abductive (i.e. inference to the best-explanation) reasoning may be useful in solving it. To demonstrate the fruitfulness of the abductive approach, I apply it to three standard accounts of free will. While each account implies the same solution to the correlation problem, each implies a unique (...)
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  22. The Reification of Fate in Early China.Mercedes Valmisa - 2019 - Early China 1 (42):147-199.
    Early Chinese texts make us witnesses to debates about the power, or lack thereof, that humans had over the course of events, the outcomes of their actions, and their own lives. In the midst of these discourses on the limits of the efficacy of human agency, the notion of ming 命 took a central position. In this article, I present a common pattern of thinking about the relationship between the person and the world in early China. I call it the (...)
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  23. Timelessness and freedom.Taylor W. Cyr - 2018 - Synthese:1-15.
    One way that philosophers have attempted to defend free will against the threat of fatalism and against the threat from divine beliefs has been to endorse timelessness views. In this paper, I argue that, in order to respond to general worries about fatalism and divine beliefs, timelessness views must appeal to the notion of dependence. Once they do this, however, their distinctive position as timelessness views becomes otiose, for the appeal to dependence, if it helps at all, would itself be (...)
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  24. John Martin Fischer on the Puzzle of Theological Fatalism.David P. Hunt - 2017 - Science, Religion and Culture 4 (2):15-26.
    This is a contribution to an Author Meets Critics special issue on John Martin Fischer's _Our Fate: Essays on God and Free Will_.
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  25. Fischer's Fate With Fatalism.Christoph Jäger - 2017 - European Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 9 (4):25-38.
    John Martin Fischer’s core project in Our Fate (2016) is to develop and defend Pike-style arguments for theological incompatibilism, i. e., for the view that divine omniscience is incompatible with human free will. Against Ockhamist attacks on such arguments, Fischer maintains that divine forebeliefs constitute so-called hard facts about the times at which they occur, or at least facts with hard ‘kernel elements’. I reconstruct Fischer’s argument and outline its structural analogies with an argument for logical fatalism. I then point (...)
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  26. Toward a Demarcation of Forms of Determinism.Vladimir Marko - 2017 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 24 (1):54-84.
    In the current philosophical literature, determinism is rarely defined explicitly. This paper attempts to show that there are in fact many forms of determinism, most of which are familiar, and that these can be differentiated according to their particular components. Recognizing the composite character of determinism is thus central to demarcating its various forms.
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  27. The Truth About Osmo.E. J. M. Marques - 2017 - Logic and Philosophy of Time: Themes From Prior, Volume 1.
    (...)
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  28. A Blast From The Past.Kristie Miller - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 77:82-86.
    That we find the idea of travelling in time, and in particular travelling backwards in time, fascinating, is evidenced by the plethora of new science fictions shows depicting time travel that hit our TV screens in 2016. I love time travel shows, and I can hardly keep up. In almost all cases these shows depict what philosophers call inconsistent time travel stories: stories that commit what my colleague Nick Smith (The University of Sydney) calls the second time around fallacy. These (...)
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  29. The Limits of Free Will: Selected Essays.Paul Russell - 2017 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    The Limits of Free Will presents influential articles by Paul Russell concerning free will and moral responsibility. The problems arising in this field of philosophy, which are deeply rooted in the history of the subject, are also intimately related to a wide range of other fields, such as law and criminology, moral psychology, theology, and, more recently, neuroscience. These articles were written and published over a period of three decades, although most have appeared in the past decade. Among the topics (...)
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  30. Free Will Pessimism.Paul Russell - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 4. New York, NY, USA: pp. 93-120..
    The immediate aim of this paper is to articulate the essential features of an alternative compatibilist position, one that is responsive to sources of resistance to the compatibilist program based on considerations of fate and luck. The approach taken relies on distinguishing carefully between issues of skepticism and pessimism as they arise in this context. A compatibilism that is properly responsive to concerns about fate and luck is committed to what I describe as free will pessimism, which is to be (...)
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  31. Karma Theory, Determinism, Fatalism and Freedom of Will.Ricardo Sousa Silvestre - 2017 - Logica Universalis 11 (1):35-60.
    The so-called theory of karma is one of the distinguishing aspects of Hinduism and other non-Hindu south-Asian traditions. At the same time that the theory can be seen as closely connected with the freedom of will and action that we humans supposedly have, it has many times been said to be determinist and fatalist. The purpose of this paper is to analyze in some deepness the relations that are between the theory of karma on one side and determinism, fatalism and (...)
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  32. Why compatibilist intuitions are not mistaken: A reply to Feltz and Millan.James Andow & Florian Cova - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):550-566.
    In the past decade, a number of empirical researchers have suggested that laypeople have compatibilist intuitions. In a recent paper, Feltz and Millan have challenged this conclusion by claiming that most laypeople are only compatibilists in appearance and are in fact willing to attribute free will to people no matter what. As evidence for this claim, they have shown that an important proportion of laypeople still attribute free will to agents in fatalistic universes. In this paper, we first argue that (...)
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  33. Astrology, Fate and Causation.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2016 - Philosophical Pathways (200).
    Some philosophers assert that astrology is a false theory. The simplest way to argue against all astrology is to identify a proposition that any kind of astrology must be committed to and then show that this proposition is false. In this paper I draw attention to some misconceptions about which propositions are essential to astrology.
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  34. Time and Tense: Unifying the Old and the New.Stamatios Gerogiorgakis - 2016 - Munich: Philosophia.
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  35. The Stoics on Fate and Freedom.Tim O'Keefe - 2016 - In Meghan Griffith, Neil Levy & Kevin Timpe (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will. Routledge. pp. 236-246.
    Overview of the Stoic position. Looks at the roots of their determinism in their theology, their response to the 'lazy argument' that believing that all things are fated makes action pointless, their analysis of human action and how it allows actions to be 'up to us,' their rejection of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities, their rejection of anger and other negative reactive attitudes, and their contention that submission to god's will brings true freedom.
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  36. Facing the fatalism of Fate (Stanisław Wyspiański 'Klątwa' [Curse] – John Millington Synge 'Riders to the Sea'). Sketch.Maria Jolanta Olszewska - 2016 - Acta Universitatis Lodziensis. Folia Litteraria Polonica 33 (3):255-278.
    The article presents an analysis of two literary works – Klątwa [Curse] by Stanisław Wyspiański and the Riders to the Sea by John Millington Synge, examined in the context of elements characteristic of ancient tragedy the present in their structure. As a result, although both plays are set in the countryside, they go beyond the naturalistic convention and are more reminiscent of tragic miniatures. They employ the poetics of maximum condensation. Both Klątwa and Riders to the Sea are a modern (...)
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  37. Future Contingents are all False! On Behalf of a Russellian Open Future.Patrick Todd - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):775-798.
    There is a familiar debate between Russell and Strawson concerning bivalence and ‘the present King of France’. According to the Strawsonian view, ‘The present King of France is bald’ is neither true nor false, whereas, on the Russellian view, that proposition is simply false. In this paper, I develop what I take to be a crucial connection between this debate and a different domain where bivalence has been at stake: future contingents. On the familiar ‘Aristotelian’ view, future contingent propositions are (...)
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  38. On behalf of a mutable future.Patrick Todd - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2077-2095.
    Everyone agrees that we can’t change the past. But what about the future? Though the thought that we can change the future is familiar from popular discourse, it enjoys virtually no support from philosophers, contemporary or otherwise. In this paper, I argue that the thesis that the future is mutable has far more going for it than anyone has yet realized. The view, I hope to show, gains support from the nature of prevention, can provide a new way of responding (...)
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  39. Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace.Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.) - 2015 - New York: Columbia University Press.
    The book_ Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will_, published in 2010 by Columbia University Press, presented David Foster Wallace's challenge to Richard Taylor's argument for fatalism. In this anthology, notable philosophers engage directly with that work and assess Wallace's reply to Taylor as well as other aspects of Wallace's thought. With an introduction by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, this collection includes essays by William Hasker, Gila Sher, Marcello Oreste Fiocco, Daniel R. Kelly, Nathan Ballantyne, Justin (...)
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  40. Ästhetik des Fado.Andreas Dorschel - 2015 - Merkur 69 (2):79-86.
    Fado, the urban folk of Lisbon and Coimbra, is an art of nuances. These nuances music takes from poetry; as ‘sung poetry’ (‘poema cantado’ in Portuguese) fados are not to be equated with ‘songs’ that turn the word into a vehicle – a dominant procedure in, e.g., rock music. Again, ‘voice’ in fado does not so much manifest individual expression; rather it is, as it were, ‘on loan’ from tradition. Keeping some distance from dance, too, fado at the beginning of (...)
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  41. Fatalism and the Metaphysics of Contingency.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2015 - In Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.), Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace. Columbia University Press. pp. 57-92.
    Contingency is the presence of non-actualized possibility in the world. Fatalism is a view of reality on which there is no contingency. Since it is contingency that permits agency, there has traditionally been much interest in contingency. This interest has long been embarrassed by the contention that simple and plausible assumptions about the world lead to fatalism. I begin with an Aristotelian argument as presented by Richard Taylor. Appreciation of this argument has been stultified by a question pertaining to the (...)
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  42. Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge.John Martin Fischer & Patrick Todd (eds.) - 2015 - Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.
    We typically think we have free will. But how could we have free will, if for anything we do, it was already true in the distant past that we would do that thing? Or how could we have free will, if God already knows in advance all the details of our lives? Such issues raise the specter of "fatalism". This book collects sixteen previously published articles on fatalism, truths about the future, and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, (...)
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  43. Contingencies within Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Rennes 1
    I begin by giving reasons to accept the block-universe view, the strongly supported by physics view that we live in a four-dimensional world. According to it, the past and the future are as real as the present. As a result, it seems that the future is determined in the sense that what will be the case will necessarily be the case. In the dissertation, I examine whether we have to accept this consequence. I show that we do not have to (...)
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  44. The time shuffling machine and metaphysical fatalism.Jimmy Alfonso Licon - 2015 - Think 14 (41):57-68.
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  45. Introduction.Patrick Todd & John Martin Fischer - 2015 - In John Martin Fischer & Patrick Todd (eds.), Freedom, Fatalism, and Foreknowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 01-38.
    This Introduction has three sections, on "logical fatalism," "theological fatalism," and the problem of future contingents, respectively. In the first two sections, we focus on the crucial idea of "dependence" and the role it plays it fatalistic arguments. Arguably, the primary response to the problems of logical and theological fatalism invokes the claim that the relevant past truths or divine beliefs depend on what we do, and therefore needn't be held fixed when evaluating what we can do. We call the (...)
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  46. Free will and predestination in Islamic thought: theoretical compromises in the works of Avicenna, Ghāzālī and Ibn 'Arabī.Maria De Cillis - 2014 - London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    The subject of "human free will" versus "divine predestination" is one of the most contentious topics in classical Islamic thought. By focusing on a theme of central importance to any philosophy of religion, and to Islam in particular, this book offers a critical study of the intellectual imports offered to this discourse by three key medieval Islamic scholars: Avicenna, Ghāzālī and Ibn Arabī.
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  47. A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought.Christopher Gill - 2014 - The European Legacy 19 (6):797-798.
  48. Fatalism, Determinism and Free Will as the Axiomatic Foundations of Rival Moral World Views.Yair Schlein - 2014 - Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 22 (1):53-62.
    One of the prominent questions of moral thought throughout history is the question of moral responsibility. In other words, to what measure do human actions result from free will rather than from being subordinate to a common “predetermined” law. In ancient Greece, this question was associated with mythical figures like Moira and Ananke while in recent times it is connected with concepts such as determinism and compatibilism. The argument between these two world views crosses cultures and historical periods, giving the (...)
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  49. Fatalism.Patrick Todd - 2014 - Oxford Bibliographies Online.
    In contemporary philosophy, arguments for “fatalism” are arguments for the conclusion that no human actions are free. Such arguments typically come in two varieties: logical and theological. Arguments for logical fatalism proceed, roughly, from truths about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. Arguments for theological fatalism, on the other hand, proceed, roughly, from divine beliefs about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. What is characteristic of any (...)
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  50. The Metaphysics of the Thin Red Line.Andrea Borghini & Giuliano Torrengo - 2013 - In F. Correia & A. Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree. Semantical and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching and the Open Future. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 105-125.
    There seems to be a minimal core that every theory wishing to accommodate the intuition that the future is open must contain: a denial of physical determinism (i.e. the thesis that what future states the universe will be in is implied by what states it has been in), and a denial of strong fatalism (i.e. the thesis that, at every time, what will subsequently be the case is metaphysically necessary).1 Those two requirements are often associated with the idea of an (...)
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