Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Freedom and the SelfEssays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Steven Cahn and Maureen Eckert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161534

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161534.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Fatalism, Time Travel, and System J

Fatalism, Time Travel, and System J

(p.93) 4 Fatalism, Time Travel, and System J
Freedom and the Self

Maureen Eckert

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the similarity between fatalists and time travelers, and presents David Foster Wallace's opinion concerning the error within this comparison. Fatalists regard the future like the past while time travelers regard the past like the future. This mirroring of the fatalist and time traveler suggests that both positions seem counterintuitive about what one can and cannot do. Richard Taylor expounded on this similarity in his response to the “Ability Criticism,” where he noted that people are all fatalists about the past. In “Richard Taylor's ‘Fatalism’ and the Semantics of Physical Modality,” David Foster Wallace points out the flaw between the comparison of the two using System J., saying that if Taylor's fatalist conclusion (all actions and inactions are necessary) involves a different sort of modality than the modality operating in his fifth premise, then his argument is rendered invalid.

Keywords:   David Foster Wallace, time traveler, fatalist, Richard Taylor, System J.

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .