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A post about fatalism

  1. Mar 2, 2006 #1
    I hope it's okay that I made this thread...if it isn't, I'm very sorry, I thought it would be an interesting topic and that I had fleshed it out as best as possible. :smile:

    Anyways, I just finished up an entry for my journal and decided to post it here:


    I was doing an assignment for English in which I had to make up a list of ten personal vocabulary words from books, articles, etc. I've read and, in my search, I found the word "fatalism" [Found in Harry Potter and Philosophy, if Aristotle Ran Hogwarts. Yes, I read Harry Potter...shut up.:grumpy: :rofl: ]. I looked it up and this is what I found:

    fatalism: a doctrine that events are fixed in advance so that human beings are powerless to change them; also : a belief in or attitude determined by this doctrine

    I also found http://www.molloy.edu/academic/philosophy/sophia/ancient_lit/happiness/fatalism1.htm" [Broken] on it as well.

    **If it is fated for you to recover from your illness, then you will recover whether you call a doctor or not.

    **Likewise, if you are fated not to recover, you will not do so even if you call a doctor.

    **So, calling a doctor makes no difference.

    When thinking about fatalism I can't help but think about religion as those who believe in God say, "We have freewill." but I've also heard others say things happen for a reason, which implies our lives are planned out for us ahead of time, at least in a small way. Really, think about how people respond to a death. A child contracts cancer when he's seven and dies a few years later. A child dieing is always a terrible occurrance especially when it's from an illness... But, some of the families who go through this type of thing tend to look to God and say it was all a part of His plans. How is that if they believe we have freewill?

    If that child died because God planned it that way, nothing in the world could have prevented it from happening. They could have done everything under the Sun and that kid still would have died... Does that mean fatalism does have a place in our lives? That it's half and half? Some things we can change and some things we can't? What I've read would imply that those who are against fatalism believe it's ridiculous but maybe it isn't...I don't know, it's a curious topic.


    I thought this topic would be okay since I was planning on using the example Wikipedia gave to begin the discussion. What I've read would suggest those who argue against fatalism would probably agree with that example but I'm not so sure it's the argument ender... Let's say a doctor treated a cancer patient and that patient lived. I'm assuming medical tests would prove that that doctor was needed (And history would probably prove the same thing as people are living longer today than they did 100 years ago because of modern technology.)...so, instead of saying his ability to save lives proves fatalism is a crock, what if it proves he was a part of that patient's destiny to survive? Like I said, I don't really know what to think but I can't help but think about it.:rofl:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2006 #2
    We all get to die in the end. In the interim we are alive...where there is life there is hope. It boils down to looking for and exploiting the alternatives, creating options and making choices. It begins by acknowledging that you are responsibile for your own destiny (whether you choose to take control of it or not) and accepting that the time you have to live (however long that may be) is your ultimate value. Your life is yours to live for as long as you manage to stay alive, use your life and time wisely; let destiny worry about the rest.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Mar 3, 2006 #3
    One variant of fatalism is the belief that everything is determined within a possible range, and we choose what happens within this range. This might be the 50/50 idea you talked about. This makes the most logical sense for fatalism, but it does not answer the problem of pure fatalism.

    The key thing to remember with absolute fatalism is that it does not abrigate our responsibility. From our perspective we have complete freedom, and we can only make choices based on our perspective. No matter how much you might claim to believe in fatalism, if you let your child die becuase you refused to call a doctor, you will feel guilty. We cannot escape the neccesity of choice, and we have to base everything from that. Therefore, since we do not know the outcome we must act as if we had a say in it. This is not a metaphysical concept, but rather a practical philosophy. Taking this aproach we can, to some extent, reconcile fatalism with individual choice if we see the matter from a practical, not idealistic, point of view. Freewill, determinism: it really doesn't matter as long as you take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
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