Some Thoughts on Time, Totality, and Transcendence: Or, Why the Problem of Determinism is Really the Problem of Fatalism
Jenann Ismael (University of Arizona)

part of: 4th Annual IAPT Conference
June 13, 2017, 10:30am - 11:30am
Department of philosophy, University of Milan

Palazzo Feltrinelli
Via Castello 4
Gargnano 25084
Italy

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Organisers:

Wake Forest University
Davide Bordini
University of Milan
Valerio Buonomo
University of Milan
Université de Genève
Fabrice Correia
University of Neuchatel
Samuele Iaquinto
University of Milan
David Ingram
University of Milan
Colgate University
Kristie Miller
University of Sydney
University of Geneva
Giuliano Torrengo
University of Milan
Christian Wüthrich
University of California, San Diego
Nick Young
University of Milan

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Abstract. Fatalism and determinism are usually treated separately. Both pose challenges to free will that seem to have received support from modern physics, but the challenges come from different parts of physics. One has to do with laws, and gets support from Newtonian Mechanics. The other has to do with time and gets support from the Relativity. The determinist worries that there are relations of necessitation built into the very fabric of reality that determine how it unfolds. The fatalist worries that the universe doesn’t unfold at all; the future is simply there. I’m going to show how to connect them by linking determinism to totality and totality to the transcendent perspective on time adopted by relativity. The connection brings the central problem that has always framed the philosophical discussion of time more clearly into focus: viz., the problem how to reconcile transcendent and immanent visions of the universe (or the problem of how to reconcile the view of the universe from outside of space and time and the view from within). I will suggest that the right way to think of the transcendent and immanent visions is as compatible, but complementary.

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