Sunday, December 14, 2008

Modality, Semantics, Fatalism and an American Novelist

The New York Times features a piece about novelist David Foster Wallace's philosophy thesis on the argument for fatalism by Richard Taylor. I will never forget reading this argument in the 2nd edition of Taylor's Metaphysics in 1977 at the University of Oregon.

Wallace was quite philosophically inclined and tackled Taylor's infamous argument in a 76-page thesis, which was never published. I comment this article to you for its reflections on Wallace (who committed suicide this year) and on metaphysics.


BJS said...

This caught my eye yesterday. It's a great article. It's wonderful to see philosophy get some decent treatment and a well-written piece in something as major as the Times.

Steve Schuler said...

On September 13 of this year I was introduced to David Foster Wallace. I had selected an article of his to read which appeared in an on-line magazine. I chose the article because of a photo of David which appeared with the link to the article. As I read the article it soon occured to me that I had stumbled upon the work of an extraordinary talent and a brilliant mind. In the course of my reading I remember admiring the quality of mind that could create such a beautifully crafted piece of literature to the point of envy. When I finished reading it I was so impressed that I determined to find out more about Mr. Wallace. I can't speak of the shock and dismay I felt when I learned he had comitted suicide the day before. That sense of sorrow is brought again to the front of my thoughts in learning more about him. For now I will not pursue reading any more of his work. The veil of sadness that his words would have to penetrate would distort them so much that their meaning would be lost.

Steve Schuler said...

While reading David's article I was more than a little envious of the quality of mind he had been blessed with and had developed. I remember thinking or imagining how great it would be to be so endowed. The quality of vision, the characteristic of discernment, the rarity of intellect that was evidenced before me left me wishing that I had been so blessed. I was in a few minutes to come to the realization that there were burdens and a level of suffering in that same mind that would shatter the illusion that I had formed. I pray for David and his family and friends and others so burdened, hoping they can find respite before it is too late.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I did a short post on Wallace elsewhere on this blog; it links to an NPR interview. Please note that.