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Fatalism, Bivalence and the Past

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In his paper ‘Some Comments on Fatalism’, The Philosophical Quartery, 46 (1996), pp. 1–11, James Cargile offers an argument against the view that the correct response to fatalism is to restrict the principle of bivalence with respect to statements about future contingencies. His argument fails because it is question-begging. Further, he fails to give due weight to the reason behind this view, which is the desire to give an adequate account of the past/future asymmetry. He supposes that mere appeal to the direction of causation will suffice to explain this asymmetry, whereas in fact the causal asymmetry is the same as the temporal asymmetry, and so cannot ground it. I finish by drawing a connection between the power asymmetry (our ability to affect the future but not the past) and the memory/intention asymmetry.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sussex

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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