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23. Determinism.docx

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

23. Determinism a.k.a „fatalism‟ (November 29, 2011) 0. A linguistic point  Free will  Falalism generally used in relgion or logical contexts  Determinisn generally 1. The three greatest questions a) The existence of God b) The survival of the soul c) The freedom of the will (are we free? Or just an illusion?) 2. What is fatalism? "Everything that happens in life is somehow fore-ordained"  Fatalism is the loose idea that everything that happens in life is somehow fore ordained;  Our futures are already determined;  It‟s out of our hands;  It‟s in the hands of the gods 3. Some mythological examples a) The Fates  Ancient Greek mythology had a trio of goddesses called the fates  Spinning the yard of life, measuring out the life of each person, string cut by scissors(Hercules) b) Oedipus Rex  Born to a royal couple, at his birth told by a sage, that when he is older her will kill his father and sleep with his mother, so family plans his death  Take the baby to a hill and expose him  Takes pity and doesn‟t expose him but sends him away to another family  Kills kings in a quarrel and he is now king and marries his wife  But the king was his father and the queen was his mother  You can‟t hide from fate  Theme: our whole future is set out by the gods, what is fated will occur "Seek not to have your way in all things, Where you had your way before, Your mastery broke before the end." "I pray that I might pass my life in reverent holiness of word and deed For there are laws enthroned above, Heaven created them, Olympus was their father, And mortal men had no part in their birth."  This suggest that we can and should take no responsibility for what we dom fr how our lives runs : it's all the doing of fate, or of the gods 4. Coarse-grained vs. fine-grained fatalism  We might call it “Big Picture Fatalism” o The idea that the major defining events of our lives are all somehow preset and inescapable o The character of our lives is established by forces beyond our control  Fine Grain Fatalism (contrast idea to big picture fatalism) o The idea that our lives are predetermined to do everything, everything to the finest detail of life With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead, And there of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed: And the first Morning of Creation wrote What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read. Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat LXXIX o We play out a pre wrote script o In one form or another, this general idea of fatalism has been a recurrent idea in human history but why would we believe it… 5. Why would anyone believe in fatalism/determinsim? a) God's Omniscience If God exists, and if God is omniscient, then God knows the future.  If god knows today what I will do tomorrow then what I will do tomorrow is already set, already fixed (God knows everything about your future)  This is different from the Greek mythological stories, where the gods determine what will happen; (he just knows, doesn‟t determine) b) Psychological Determinism All our decisions (and hence our actions) are determined entirely by the motives, wishes and desires – psychological forces – that play out i
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