Free will and determinism
Wallace’s reputation as an author naturally outstrips his renown as a philosopher, but Wallace himself wrote that he saw philosophy and fiction as different arms of a single gesture. Among the strains of philosophy with which he dealt directly was determinism. Indeed, his undergraduate philosophy thesis on this subject was published as a stand-alone text in 2010, under the title Fate, Time and Language. This chapter introduces the concepts with which Wallace grapples in this work, as well as tracing the structural persistence of the theme of determinism through his writing. The chapter also argues that Wallace was an accomplished technical philosopher in his own right, but that the strict form of philosophical writing did not lend itself to his tendency toward literal illustrations of complex concepts. In this respect, the chapter argues for Wallace as a literary philosopher in the vein of Wallace Stevens, seeing the creative work as a form of philosophy in itself.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
Published inDavid Foster Wallace in Context
Pages159 - 168
PublisherCambridge University Press
- VoR (Version of Record)
Rights holder© Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Publisher statementThis material has been published in David Foster Wallace in Context edited by Clare Hayes-Brady https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009064545. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press & Assessment.
ISBN9781316513323; 9781009973516; 9781009064545