We look today at another metaphysical argument. So lets just dive right in!
The Argument for Fatalism
(1) There exists now a set of propositions describing everything that might happen in the future.
(2) Every proposition is either true or else false.
(3) If (1) and (2), then there exists now a set of true propositions completely describing the future.
(4) If there exists now a set of true propositions completely describing the future, then whatever will happen in the future is already unavoidable.
(5) Whatever will happen in the future is already unavoidable.
The first premise is a pretty easy to grasp idea, if you were to create every possible set of actions from the beginning of time till end of the infinitely many sets one of them will in fact describe everything that has happened, likewise it’ll describe everything that not just ‘might’ but everything that will happen. For those curious as defined by the wonderful world of Wikipedia a propositions is as follows:
In logic and philosophy, the term proposition refers to either (a) the "content" or "meaning" of a meaningful declarative sentence or (b) the pattern of symbols, marks, or sounds that make up a meaningful declarative sentence.
Likewise the second premise is entirely correct as well, every possible proposition in the universe is defaulted to false and if it happens the triggers sets to true. Think of it like a computer script, if something is undefined then it automatically is false until otherwise defined. Because of the Law of Excluded Middle all propositions are either true or false (which is obvious in previous thought).
The Law of Excluded Middle (LEM): Every proposition is either true or else false.
The third premise is equally true, as I’ve stated before if you are to take into account every single possible set of propositions possible than at least one set is going to be inevitably correct. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy, to be further explained soon.
However this is where I break away from the argument and no longer can support it. The fourth premise is what I like to call a leap of faith, or perhaps an extreme super duper ultimate fabulously monstrous leap of blind and utterly unbelievable faith. The fourth premise says that if of all the possible outcomes in the universe that one of them is bound to happen that the future is already unavoidable. Unavoidable is defined as follows:
e is unavoidable =df no human is able to prevent e from occurring.
This is where we break off, ironically the strongest supporter in my class was the very person who stated why the logic behind the fourth premise is intelligible (or at least poorly worded). In essence when the fatalist says that the future is unavoidable they are saying that you are destined to do what you do and are thusly not responsible for anything that you do because it was already pre-ordained. However as our professor said in one of his examples “The past is a closed path and the future is an open one.” The past has already happened and thusly the triggers for all the propositions that were involved with the events of the past have been flipped to true. However just because the past has happened in one way does not mean the future is set to happen in a single way.
The reason that Fatalism is weak is because no matter what happens, regardless of what choice you take, you will eventually fill up at least one of the infinitely many possible outcomes. This is not because the future is bound to happen, it’s because a future is bound to happen. When we reach the end of time (assuming there is one) the fatalist can state that “see this particular history was the history that happened” but this does nothing but support the fact that if you state the obvious (IE. Something is going to happen) then you are bound to be correct.
Now take into thought the idea of the time traveler. Say you know that Kennedy gets shot when you are 13, so you go back in time and tell Kennedy the day before he is shot that he will be shot and he never goes on that parade. Kennedy survives and the future is changed, you have provided a being with what was originally a true proposition in the timeline the knowledge necessary to make it no longer true. Likewise this event does nothing to stop fatalism, because Fatalism just states that something is going to happen.
Fatalism would state that freedom does not exist, yet no aspect of freedom is negated by Fatalism likewise no act of free will negates Fatalist beliefs. Whatever you choose to do of the millions of choices you have in any given time you are filling in one of the infinitely many possible outcomes, it’s a shotgun approach to belief. What the fatalist requires is the knowledge now of the exact timeline that is going to happen for the belief structure to have any merit.
Likewise once you know which future was going to happen you can now change it and thusly your Fatalist proposition list has now become incorrect. It ties back to my first major quote here:
Because by its very nature Fatalism does indeed explain (likewise predict) absolutely nothing, it merely states the obvious. Likewise it takes an ambiguous statement and tries to mask it behind a fictitious concrete statement. Check the Illusionary Occam’s Razor for a recap on Ambiguity.