"Richard Taylor's Paper "Freedom, Determinism And Fate" Explores The Necessity For Society To Adopt A View Of Fatalism.

1286 words - 5 pages

"If two-way communication across time is possible then it must be possible to know in advance what one will do and what will happen. If so, Taylor's story of Osmo could be realized- fatalism is unavoidable."It is believed by many that time travel is physically possible. Such a belief brings with it a plethora of paradoxes, and importantly, brings into question conceived notion of human freedom. However as Aubrey Townsend, in his paper "Time Travel, Freedom and Deliberation", brings to our attention the same paradoxes of human freedom occur if two-way communication between times is possible as opposed to actual travel between times, in both cases we have advanced knowledge of the future. Such a possibility closely resembles the story of Osmo as presented in by Richard Taylor in his paper "Determinism, Freedom and Fate". I will argue that if we are able to gain foreknowledge of our own future, through for instance a two-way communicator through time, then we are condemned to fatalism.The doctrine of Fatalism is an ancient one which dictates that human freedom is illusory, what ever happens is, and always was unavoidable. As opposed to the common view of the future as full of possibilities the fatalist thinks of the future as something eternal and unchangeable.The idea of time travel is not as absurd as some may believe, and if we can conceive of the idea of human travel across time then why not the ability to send messages across time? If we grant the existence of a two-way communicator across time then in order for this to be possible two metaphysical considerations must be met. The first; the acceptance of four-dimensionalism, namely, we must grant the notion that other times are equally as real as other places, in this sense there is somewhere for our messages to go to.The second consideration is that of reverse causation, that is we must accept that it is possible for earlier events to be causally dependant on later events, and thus we may be able to send messages from a later time to an earlier time. We can make sense of this if we distinguish between the temporal and causal ordering of events as Lewis does in his paper "The Paradoxes of Time Travel". Lewis contends that in the case of time travel, or in our case communication across time we must draw a distinction between temporal order and causal order. Normally we assume that temporal and causal order are the same however in the case of time travellers or communicators it can sometimes be necessary for them to be different. For example in temporal order; I get the answers to my test questions (from a message in my two-way communicator) before my teacher has written the test. In causal order; I am given the questions, I get the answers, and I send the answers back in time through my two- way communicator. If these considerations were met, and I had a two-way communicator, then it would surely be possible to have advanced knowledge of the future, as Osmo does.Taylor's story of Osmo depicts a...

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