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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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30575816-Columbia-University-Press-Catalog-Fall-2010.pdf (6182 KB)

According to the Columbia University Press Fall Catalogue, there is a
nice treat on it's way for DFW fans! Fate, Time, and Language
An Essay on Free Will
David Foster Wallace The late novelist's legendary, unpublished work reveals the
philosophical foundations of his celebrated fiction. Long before he published Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace wrote a
brilliant critique of Richard Taylor’s argument for fatalism. In 1962,
Taylor used six commonly-accepted philosophical presuppositions to imply
that humans have no control over the future. Not only did Wallace take
issue with Taylor’s method, which, according to him, scrambled the
relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but he also called
out a semantic flaw that lie at the heart of Taylor’s argument. Wallace was a great skeptic of abstract thinking as a negation of
something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of certain
theoretical paradigms — the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the
clever gimmickry of postmodernism—that abandoned “the very old
traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion
and community.” As Wallace rises up to meet the challenge of Taylor (not
to mention a number of other philosophical heavyweights), we watch the
perspective of a major novelist develop, along with a lifelong struggle
to find solid ground for his soaring convictions. This volume reproduces
Taylor’s original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace
in his critique. James Ryerson, an editor at the New York Times
Magazine, draws parallels in his introduction between Wallace’s
philosophy and fiction. "The real accomplishment of this work is not technical or argumentative
but more like a moral victory. David Foster Wallace's intellectual
powers have been used to set aright a world momentarily upended by an
intellectual sleight of hand. He enlists clinical argument in defense of
passionate intuition. He restores logic and language to their rightful
places."—from the Introduction by James Ryerson $19.95t / £13.95 paper 978-0-231-15157-3
$60.00s / £41.50 cloth 978-0-231-15156-6
$60.00s / £41.50 ebook 978-0-231-52707-1