You are on page 1of 6

out man's \villing them may happen by chance

or fortune.
It is sometimes supposed that "fate" and
"fortune" are synonyms, or that one has a
tragic and the other a happy connotation. It is
as if fortune were always good and fate always
malevolent. But either may be good or evil
from the point of view of man's desires. Al-
though fate and fortune are hardly the same,
there is some reason for associating them. Each
imposes a limitation on man's freedom. A man
cannot compel fortune to smile upon him any
more than he can avoid his fate. Though alike
in this respect, fa te and fortune are also opposed
to one another. Fate represents the inexorable
march of events. There is no room for fortune
unless some things are exempt from necessity.
Only that which can happen by chance is in
the lap of fortune.
It \vould seem that fa te stands. to fortune as
the necessary to the contingent. If everything
were necessi tated, fate alone would reign.Con-
tingency would be excluded from nature.
Chance or the fortuitous in the order of nature
and freedom in human life would be reduced
to illusions men cherish only through ignorance
of the inevitable.
In a sense fortune is the ally of freedom in the
struggle against fate. Good fortune seems to aid
and abet human desires. But even misfortune
signifies the element of chance. "vhich is more
congenial than fate, if not more anlenable, to
man's conceit that he can freely plan his life.
Chapter 2]: FATE
ATE-sometimes personified, sometimes
abstractly conceived-is the antagonist of
om in the drama of human life and his-
. So at least it seems to the poets of antiq-
. In Inany of the Greek tragedies, fate sets
stage. Some curse must be fulfilled. A dooln
nds and is inexorable. But the actors on
stage are far from puppets. vVi thin the
ework of the inevitable the tragic hero
s out his o\vn destiny, making the choices
which his personal catastrophe ensues.
pus, doomed to kill his fa ther .and marry
other, is not fated to inquire into his past
a discover the sins which, when he sees, he
to see no ITIOre. The curse on the house of
us does not require Agamemnon to bring
ndra back froin Troy or to step on the
carpet. The furies which pursue Orestes
s himself awakened by murdering his
r, Clytemnestra, a deed not fated but
undertaken to avenge his father's death.
e ancients did not doubt that 111cn could
e and, through chqice, exercise SaIne con-
ver the disposition of their lives. Tacitus,
ample, \vhile admitting that "most men
nnot part with the belief that each per-
uture is fixed from his very birth," claims
'the wisest of the ancients ... leave us the
ity of choosing our life." Atrhe same time
ognizes an order of events beyond man's
r to control, although he finds no agree-
regarding its cause-whether it depends
vandering stars" or "prilnary elements,
a combination of natural causes." For
n part, Tacitus declares, "I suspend my THE TERMS necessity and contingency cannot be
ent" on the question "whether it is fate substituted for fate and fortune without loss of
nchangeable necessity or chance which significance..As the chapter on NECESSITY AND
s the revolutions of human affairs." In CONTINGENCY indicates, they are terms in the
'ng, he grants the possibility that not philosophical analysis of the order of nature
thing which lies beyond man's control is and causality. They may have, but they need
SaIne of the things \vhich happen with- not have, theological in1plications. Necessity
FLUGEL. Thf Psycho.-Analytic Study of.the. Famil
HARTLAND. Primitive Society, the Begtnntngs of
Family. and the Reckoning of Descent '
GALSWORTHY. The Forsyte Saga
MARTIN DU GARD. The Thibaults
UNDSET. Kristin Lavransdatter
J. B. S. HALDANE. Daedalus
GORKY. Decadence
JUNG. Marriage as a Psychological Relationship
BRIFFAULT. The Mothers
DAWSON. "Christianity and Sex," in Enquiries
Religion and Culture .. . .
PIUS XI. Casti Connubu (Encycltcal on Chn
O'NEILL. Desire Under the Ebns
--. Strange Interlude
--. Mourning Becomes Electra
L. STURZO. The Inner Laws of Society, eH II
T. S. ELIOT. The Family Reunion
BRYCE. Marriage and Divorce
MANN. Buddenbrooks
SYNGE. Riders to the Sea
WEININGER. Sex and Character
SANTAYANA. Reason in Society, CH 2
GOSSE. Father and Son
SERTILLANGES. La famille et l'etat dans .l'education
DE\VEY and TUFTS. Ethics, PART III, CH 26
GALTON. Natural Inheritance
--. Essays in Eugenics
CHESTERTON. What's Wrong with the World
BATESON. Problems of Genetics
ELLIS. Man and Won'lan
--. Studies in the Psychology of Sex
D,. H. LAWRENCE. Sons and Lovers
H. JAMES . A Small Boy and Others
--. Notes ofa Son and Brother
JOYCE. A Portrait ofthe Artist as a Young Man
PROUST. Ren1embrance of Things Past
offate, in order that cause fo11o",r not cause from
everlasting," it is because in the atoms of his
makeup "there is another cause of motions ...
caused by a minute s\verving of first-begin-
nings at no fixed part of space and no fixed
Nevertheless, according to Augustine, Lu-
cretius is a fatalist \vho disbelieves in provi-
dence, other than which there is no fate. Each
of them uses the ,vord "fate," the one to deny,
the other to affirm, the power of God.
But even if a Christian avoids the supersti-
tions of astrology, or some similar belief in a
natural necessity \vhich does not depend on
God, he may still commit the sin of fatalism
which follows from the denial of man's free
will. Understanding fate as identical with prov-
idence, the Christian is a fatalist if, in the be-
lief that every human act is foreordained by
God, he resigns himself to his fate, making no
moral effort and taking nU'moralresponsibility
for his soul's \velfare. To do that is to argue like
Chaucer's Troilus:
I am, he said, but done for, so to say;
For all that comes, comes by necessity,
Thus to be done for is my destiny.
I must believe and cannot other choose,
That Providence, in its divine foresight,
Hath known that Cressida I once must lose,
Since God sees everything from heaven's height
And plans things as he thinks both best and right,
As was arranged for by predestination.
Troilus sees no way of avoiding the conclusion
that "free choice is an idle dream."
THE THEOLOGIANS recognize the difficulty of
reconciling providence and free will. The truth
must lie somewhere between two heresies. If
it is heresy to deny God's omnipotence and
omniscience, then nothing remains outside the
all-encompassing scope of divine providence,
nothing happens contrary to the divine "rill,
no future contingency is or can be unforeseen
by God. If, on the other hand, to deny that
man sins freely means that God must be respon-
sible for the evil that man does, then it is a
heresy to deny free will, for that imputes evil
to God.
This is the problem with which Milton deals
in Paradise Lost, .announcing that he will try
"to justify the ways of God to man." In a
conversation in heaven, the Father tells the
d things \ve shall possess, or what evils we
I suffer, must be refused a hearing by all)-not
T by those \vho hold the true religion, but
those \vho wish to be the \vorshippers of any
s"vhatsoever, even false gods. For what does
opinion really amount to but this, that no
whatsoever is to be \vorshipped or prayed
iuce the \vord "fate" has been used for those
gs "vhich are determined apart from the
ofGod or nlan, Augustine ,vould
better for Christians not to use it, but to
titute "providence" or "predestination"
n they wish to refer to \vhat God wills.
inas, however, retains the word "fate"
restricts its meaning to the "ordering ... of
iate causes" by which God wills "the pro-
tion of certain effects."
ccording to the definition given by Boe-
s which Aquinas quotes, "Fate is a disposi-
inhe-rent to changeable things,bywhich
idence connects each one with its proper
r." Thus fate is not identified with provi.;.
e, but made subordinate to it. The distinc-
,Aquinas explains, depends on the way we
ider "the ordering of effects" by God. "As
in God Himself . . . the ordering of the
ts is called Providence." But "as being in
mediate causes ordered by God," it is called
While admitting that "the divine power
ill can be called fate, as being the cause of
" he declares that "essentially fate is . the
disposition or series, i.e., order, of second
e position Lucretius takes seems to .be
tly opposite to that of Augustine and Aqui-
Lucretius condemns the fatalism of those
.believe that the gods control. the order of
re and who therefore attribute \vhatever
Is them to divine ordination. For hiln,
ure free at once and rid of her haughty
is seen to do all things spontaneously of
If wi thout the meddling of the gods." He
to teach men that everything happens ac-
ng to the laws of nature, other than which
is no fate. The "decrees of fa te" lie in the
by which "all motion is ever linked to-
r and a ne\v motion ever springs from
er in a fixed order." If man by his "power
e action" can "make some commence-
of motion to. break through the decrees
IN THE TRADITION of Judaeo-Christian theo1
the problem of fate is in part verbal and in
real. The verbal aspect of the problelTI cone
the meaning of the \vord "fate" in ti
the divine will, providence, and predesttnat
With the verbal matter settled, there rem
the real problem of God's
dome The strictly monotheistiC conceptiO
an omnipotent and omniscientG.od dee
the mystery, and niakes it more
the problem of fate and freedom in p
If anyone "calls the \vill or the po\\re.r of
itself bv the name of fate," l\ugusune
"let keep his opinion, but correct his
guage.... For \\Then men hear that \var
cording to the ordinary use language,
simply understand by it the of that
ticular position of the stars which may
at the time \vhen anyone is born or cone
which some separate altogether from. th
of God, whilst others affirm that thiS
dependent on that will. But those
the opinion that, apart from the will of
the stars determine what we shall do, or
rather than on freedom. This is certainly s
Zeus is not the master of even his O'vn fa
much less the omnipotent ruler an10ng
gods or the arbiter of human destiny.
Pron1etheus Bound, the Chorus asks, "\Vh
the pilot of Necessity?" Prometheus anS\Ve
"The Fates trifonn and the unforgett
Furies." The Chorus then asks, "Is Zeus
lesser might than these?" To \vhich Prometh
replies "He shall not shun the lot ap
tioned:" When they ask what this ooom.
Prometheus tells theln to inquire no more,
they verge on nlysteries. Later Zeus him
sends Hermes to wrest from Prometheus
secret of ,vhat has been ordained for hini
"all consummating Fate" or "Fate's resist
la\v." Prometheus refuses, saying that "n
shall bend my will or force me to disclose
\vhom 'tis fated he shall fall from po\ver."
The question Aeschylus leaves unansw
is v\Thether Zeus would be able to escape
doom if he could foresee \vhat Fate hold
store for hinl. The suggestion seen1S to be
without omniscience the onlnipotence of
cannot break the chains of Fate.
and contingency can be explained \vithout any
reference to the supernatural, as is evident from
the discussion of these matters
on CHANCE. But fate and fortune, in their on-
gin at least, are theological terms. . .
In ancient poetry and both
evitability and chance \vere personihed as dei-
ties or supernatural forces. There were the god-
dess of Fortune and the three Fates, as \vell as
their three evil sisters or coun
F .. The Latin word from which fate
unes. . h.
COlnes means an oracle, and so signifies \v
divinely ordained. What happens by is
fated-something destined and in the
councils of the gods on Olympus; or it may be
the decision of Zeus, to whose rule all the other
divinities are subject; or, as ,ve see
endy, it inay be a supernatural destiny whIch
even Zeus cannot set aside. . .
In any case, the notion of a
natural will, even as destiny implies predestina-
tion by an intelligence able not only to plan
the future but also to carry out that plan..
inevitability of fate and destiny is thus
guished from that of merely necessit.y
which determines the future only insofar as it
may be the inevitable consequence of causes
\vorking naturally. .
But the ancients do not seem to be fatahsts
in the extreine sense of the term. To the extent
that men can propitiate the gods provoke
divine jealousy and anger, the at:i:udes and
deeds of men seem to be a determining factor
in the actions of the gods. To the. t that
the gods align themselves on Opposite Sides ofa
human conflict (as in the Iliad), or oppose each
other (as in t,he Odyssey), it may be thought
that what happens on earth merely reflects the
shifting balance of po\ver the gods.
But human planning and wllhng do not seem
to be excluded by the divine will and plan
which are forged out of the quarrels of the
gods. On the contrary,. polytheism seeIns to
make fortune itself contingent on the
of the OIYlnpian conflict, and so. ts men
a certain latitude of self-determi?ation. Men
can struggle against the gods precIsely
the gods may be with them as well as against
them. 0d h
The ultimate pO\\Ter of Zeus to deci e t e
issue may, however, place the accent on fate
mind's, freedom alone." But this development
and thIs freedom are entirely matters of neces-
sity as far as individuals and their works are
concerned. "They are all the time, the uncon-
scious tools and organs of the world mind at
work within them."
For Marx, history seems likewise to have the
same necessity. He deals with individuals he
writes in the preface to Capital, "only in far
as they are the personifications of economic
categories, embodiments of particular class-
relations .and class-interests. My stand--point,"
he says, IS one from which "the evolution of
the economic formation of society is viewed as
a process of natural history," and within which
the individual cannot be "responsible for rela-
tions whose creature he socially remains,how-
ever much he may subjectively raise thimself
above them." Here it is a question only "of
these laws themselves, of these tendencies
working with iron necessity towards inevitable
According to the historical determinism of
Hegel and Marx, which is further considered
in .chapter on HISTORY, men play a part
\vhIch IS already wri tten for them in the scroll
of history. Human liberty apparently depends
on man's knowledge of and acquiescence. in.the
unfolding necessi ties.
HISTORIC,AL DETERMINISM is merely a part of
the doctnne of a causal necessity which governs
all things. Causality seems to be understood by
moderns like Spinoza, Hume,.and Freud as ex-
cluding the possibility of chance or free will.
Among the ancients, Plotinus alone seems to
as far as Spinoza in affirming the universal
reIgn of natural necessity. What Spinoza says
of God or Nature, Plotinus says of the All-One,
namely, that for the first principle which is the
cause of everything else, freedom consists in
being causa sui, or cause of itself-self-deter-
mined rather than determined by external
"God does not act from freedom of the will "
Spinoza writes. Yet "God alone is a free caus'e
for God alone exists ... and acts from
of his ,own nature." As for everything
else In the unIverse, Spinoza maintains that
"there nothing contingent, but all things are
determIned from the necessity of the divine
the fleet was what the god pointed at; and
radvice was that nothing should be thought
cept the ships." The eloquence of Themis--
les carried the latter view. To stress its im-
rance, the historian observes' that "the sav-
of Greece" lay in the decision that led
ens to "become a maritime power."
presenting a comparable decision by the
ians, Herodotus seems to be contrasting
fatalism vvith the freedom of the Greeks.
rst Xerxes accepts the council of Artabanus
to go to war against the Greeks. But after
ies of visions, which appear to both the
and his councillor, that decision is re-
d, for, according to the dream, the war
ted to happen."
e conception of fate and freedom in the
id seems closer to the Greek than to the
view. Even though the consummation
'story, which will come with the founding
e Roman empire, is projected as a divinely
inted destiny, the hero who brings that
event to pass acts as if he were free to
t or evade his responsibilities.
e Christian understanding of historical
ny in terrns of providence permits-more
that, requires-men to exercise free choice
ery turn. "The cause of the greatness of
oman empire," writes Augustine, "is nei-
ortui tous nor fatal, according to the judg-
or opinion of those who call those things
tous which either have no causes or such
as do not proceed from some intelligible
,and those things fatal which happen in-
nden of the will. of God and man,. by
neceSSIty of a certain order. ... Human
aoms are established by divine provi-
ce." The fatalism which Augustine here
involves independence not only of
III of God, but of man's win also.
is only in modern times, with Hegel and
x, that necessity reigns supreme in the
sophy of history. Hegel spurns the notion
history is "a superficial play of casual, so-
'merely human' strivings and passions."
condemns those who "speak of Provi-
and the plan of Providence" in away
"empty" of ideas since "for them the
Providence is inscrutable and incom-
" For Hegel, history is "the nec-
development, out of the concept of the
that ,vhich leaves no place for chance or
dom anywhere in the universe, neither!
acts of God, nor in the order of nature,
the course of history. The doctrine of an
determinism, whether in theology, scicI1
history, is thus fatalism unqualified. '
The ancient historians are not fatalistsi
sense. Herodotus, for example, finds mue
can be explained by the contingencies
tune or by the choices of men. The
cision, for exalTIple, in the defense of
is presented as an act of lTIan'S
receiving the prophecy that "safe
wooden \vall continue for thee and
dren," the Athenians exercise their
disagreeing about its meaning.
old men," Herodotus writes,
opinion that the god meant to tell
citadel would escape; for this\vas
defended by a palisade.... Others
than as He kno'ATs it? In a discussion
grace and man's free will, Dr. Johnson
"I can judge with great probability how a
will act in any case, without his being restr
by my judging. God may have this proba
increased to certainty." To which Boswe
plies that "when it is increased to cert
freedom ceases, because that cannot be
tainiy foreknown, which is not certain a.
time; but if it be certain at the time, it
contradiction to maintain that there Ctl
afterwards any contingency dependent
the exercise of will or anything else."
Against such difficulties Aquinas insists
divine providence is compatible, not only
natural necessity, but also \vi thcontinge
nature and free will in human acts. Provi
he writes, "has prepared for some things
sary causes so that they happen of necessit
by contingency." Human liberty does
imply that the will's acts are not cause
God who, being the first cause, "moves
both naturaland voluntary. Just as bym
natural causes, I-Ie does not prevent thei
being natural, so by moving voluntaryc
He does not deprive their actions of
voluntary." God causes man to choose(
and freely to execute his choice.
Son that though He kno'vs disobey
his rule, Adam remains quite free to sin or not
to sin, and the fault is his o,vn, just as the re-
bellious angels acted on their own free .vvill.
The angels, God says,
So \vere created, nor can justly accuse
Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate;
As if Predestination over-rul'd
Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
'Vhich had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of Fate,
Or aught by me immutablie foreseen,
They trespass, Authors to themselves in aU,
Both what they judge and "what they choose; for so
I formed them free, and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change
Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall.
A solution of the. problem is sometimes
developed from the distinction bet,veen God's
foreknowledge and God's foreordiriation.God
foreordained the freedom. of .man, .but only
foreknew his fall; .man ordained that himself.
Strictly speaking, ho\vever, the word '.'fore-
knowledge" would seem to carry a false conno-
tation, since nothing is future to God. Every-
thing that has ever happened or ever will is
simultaneously together in the eternal present
of the divine vision.
During his ascent through Paradise, Dante,
vvishing to learn about his immediate future,
asks his ancestor Cacciaguida to foretell his
fortune, for he, "gazing upon the Point to
,vhich all times are present, can see contingent
things, ere in thelTIselves they are." Cacciaguida
prefaces his prediction of Dante's exile from
Florence by telling him that the contingency of
material things "is all depicted in the Eternal
Vision; yet thence it does not take necessity,
more than does a ship which is going dovvn the
stream from the eye in which it is mirrored."
The difference between time and eternity is
conceived as permitting the temporal future
to be contingent even though God kno"Ts its
content with certitude.
But, it may still be asked, does not God's
knowledge imply the absolute predestination
of future events by providence, since \vhat God
kno,vs ,vith certitude cannot happen otherwise
I. The decrees of fate and the decisions of the gods
32 M . 'lecttons an Replies, 216d-217
ILTON: A;cades [54-83] 26b-27a a
46 HEGEL Phtlosoph ifH
47 F Y 0 tstory, PART II, 271b
. aust, PART II [5305-5344] 131b-132a
2. The fated or inevitable in human life
4 HOMER: Iliad 3a-179d esp
104c-d, BK XVI [843-
] 121 BK xv [47-77]
137] 130 C, BK XVIII [5
c-131c BK XXII [ 66
j176d-177a ]159a, BK
5] 285b-c. B [ysse
5 ' K XXII 412] 310a
AESCHYLUS: Suppliant Maidens [10 2-10
1ta,c / Seven Against Thebes c
34a-37d / Prometheus Bound
46d-49c / Agamelnnon 52 6 d
ephoroe 70a-80d / E d a- 9 / Cho-
ument es 81a-91d
SOPHOCLES: Oedtpus th K
O d
,e tng 99a-113 /
e tpUS at Colonus 114a-130 a,c
123a-c / Antigone [93/9-
3] 149b-d. [ 2 a c . yax
156a-169a c / Ph"l 9 5-935] 151a / Electra
194a ' t octetes [13
-'1347] 193-d
5 EURIPIDES: Rhesus [ 6
237a-247 595- 4
] 208b-c / Alcestis
a,c esp [1-76] 237a-238 [
239a]-b, [962-<)9] 245c / Trojan {;io,:c;r.ttJ]
705 275d-276a / Electra 327a-339a c / B -
chantes [1327-1392] 351b-352a c' ac-
Mad [I3II-I358] 376c-d / Ph , . .1 Herc:cles
378a-393d es [, ' oentctan Matdens
p 1-87] 378a-379a, [867-928]
To find the passages cited use the nu b . . h 1 f h ' m elS In eavy typ h h h
numbers 0 t e passages referred to Fl' e, w IC are t e volume a d
number 4 is the. number of the or e, 104 HOMER: Iliad, BK II [265-283]
sage is in section d of page 12. me In t e set; the number 12d indicates that the
PAGE SECTIONS' When the text . .
upperandlowerhaivesofthepa 10. one column, the letters a and b refer to th
the upper half of 116 and III 53 JAMES: Psychology, 116a-119b, the assa e
pnnted III two columns, the letters a and b lower half of page II9 When
handsIdeofthepage, the letters c and d to the u to the upper and lower halves of the left-
thepage. Forexample in 7 PLATO. S . pper and lower halves of the right-hand"d f
of left-hand side dfpage
3 163b-164c, the passage begins in the 10 SI he lf
en SIn t e upper half of th . h' . wer a
AUTHOR'S DIVISIONS. One f h. e ng t-hand SIde of page
. . or more 0 . ted' ., .
SECT) are sometImes included in the r IVlSlons of a \vork (such as PART BK
t . . II e erence lIne numb . b k " CH
am cases, e.g., tad, BK II [265-283] 12d. ' ers, III rac ets, are given in cer:
and Douay versions, differ in akre to.boohk, chapter, and verse. When the King J
ame '.' d ' 00 s or In tenurnbe . f h' ames
s IS CIte first and the D . d. nng 0 c apters or verses th K
MENT: Nehen1iah 7 :4' 5-(D) II E d oua,y, In lcated by a (D) follows e'g 0' T
Ing , s ras, 7:4
. " .., LD ESTA-
SYMBOLS: The abbreviation " " 11
relevant parts of a whole "ca s. attention to one or more e .
tendy rather than continuously slgmfies the topic is discussed
or passage CIted. -
For additional information co . h
Reference Style; for general :f see the Explanation of
le reat Ideas, consult the Preface.
e decrees of fate and the de . . f
gods ClSlOns 0 the
OMER: Iliad, BK I [503-53IJ 8b .
66 ] 5 d -C, BK VIII
-77 1; BK XIII [631-632] 94d
2 53] 98 . ' , BK XIV
- C, BK XVI [431-461] 117a-b [6-
[843-861] 121c; BK XVIII
a-c, 13K XIX [74-94] 137d-138 .
] 149 . a, BK XXI
d 4 a, BK XXII [131- 223] 156c-157c /
yssey, BK III [225-239] 195b-c B []
96d ' K xx 75
1\ESCHYLUS: Suppliant Maidens rIo 2-10
14a,c / Prometheus Bound 40a-51d [Z3]
/ Agamemnon [1018-1034] tfua
URIPIDES: Alcestis 237a-247
37a-238a, [
43] 239a_b
esp [1-7
l-l l M d ' 9 2-99
] 245c
erac es a [!313-1357] 376c-d / [phi enia
mong the [I 435-I499] 424a-d g
ERODOTUS: F!tstory, BK I, 20a-22a
PICTETUS . Dt . scourses, BK I, ClI 1,2 118d-120b
URELIUS M dt . . e 1 attons, BK II SECT 3 257 b
CT r I 258 b. ' a- ,
CT 8 26
a- ,BK III, SECT II 262a-b' BK V
9d-270b ' ,
2]llOa. eBn:.
, BK I [1-33] 103a-104a; [261-
7.a' BK' [II [4
-433] 136a; BK III [1-12]
, IV 440] 179a [6 I]
] 243b-245. ,.5 185a; BK VII
Sa. BK a, BK X [100-
7] 304b-
9] 331a; BK XII [7
dom and choice," he writes, is "quite unsc'
tific, and it must give ground before the cl
of a determinism which governs even m
life." He thinks it cal1 be sho\vn on the ba
clinical experience that every psychic assn
tion "will be strictly determined by ilnpor
inner attitudes of Hlind, vvhich are unkn
to us at the moment when they operate, ju
much unkno\vn as are the disturbing tende
which cause errors, and those tendencies \v
bring about so-called 'chance' actions."
The fatalism of what is often called "s
tiflc determinism" is that of blind nece
It not only eliminates liberty and chance,
also purpose and the operation of final ca
Every future event, in nature, history, 0
man behavior, is completely predetermine
efficient causes-predetermined, but not
destined, for there is no guiding intelli
at work, no purpose to be fulfllled. "The sy-
of fatality, of which Spinoza is the accre
author," I(ant writes, is one which "elimi
all trace ofdesign, and leaves the original gr
of the things of nature divested of all i
Whether such complete fatalism is th
doctrine compatible with the principl
findings of natural science has been ques
by philosophers like William James. It
tainly not the only doctrine, compatibl
the vie,v that nothing happens without a
As the chapters on CHANCE and WILL
ancient and mediaeval who
contingency in nature or freedom in
acts do so without denying the universa
of causation.
6. The historian's recognition of fate: the destiny of cities, nations, empires
5. The secularization of fate: scientific or philosophical determinism
4. Fatalism in relation to the will of God: the doctrine of predestination
3. The antitheses of fate: fortune, freedom, natural necessity, chance or contingency
2. The fated or inevitable in human life
nature to exist and act in a certain manner."
This applies to man, who, according to Spinoza,
does "everything by the will of God alone."
From quite different premises, Hume seems
to reach much the same conclusion concerning
chance and liberty. "Chance," he \vrites,
"when strictly exan1ined, isa mere negative
word, and means not any real power which has
anywhere a being in nature." But he also thinks
that liberty, "when opposed to necessity, not
to constraint, is the same thing with chance."
Hume embraces the consequences of such a
position. "If voluntary action be subjected to
the same la\vs of necessity with the operations
of matter, there is a continued chain of neces-
sary causes, pre-ordained and pre-determined,
reaching from the original cause of all to every
single volition of every human creature. No
contingency anywhere in the universe; no in-
difference; no liberty."
When confronted with the objection that it
then becomes impossible "to explain distinctly,
how the Deity can be the mediate cause of all
the actions of men, without being the author
of sin and moral turpitude," Hume replies that
"these are mysteries, which natural and unas-
sisted reason is very unfit to handle. . To de-
fend absolute decrees, and yet free the Deity
from being the author of sin, has been found
hitherto to exceed all the power of philosophy."
Unlike Spinoz
and 'Hume, Freud does not
deal with the theological implications or pre-
suppositions ofdeterminism. For him, determin-
ism is an essential postulate of science and
even to some extent a scientifically discoverable
fact. The "deeply rooted belief in psychic free-
35 H
uME: Human Understanding, SECT VIII. DIV
7 -81 485c..487a " ,
37 Tom fones, 32c-33b
:.Spirit of Latvs, BK XIV, 107a
OUSSEAU: So.ctal Contract, BK IV, 437d-438b
41 GIBBON: Declzne and Fall 23Gb' 239
42 KANT: Practical Reason, J. d
nlent, 594d [fn I] . U ge-
44BQsWELL:Johnson, 13h; 173c
46 HEGEL: of Right, PART III, ar . '}
llOd-llla / Phtlosophy 01 Histor1J PINT
153 190b .J" RO,
a- esp ls8c-162a; PART III 305 -d'
PART IV, 368d-369a c ,c ,
47G . '
OETHE: Faust, PART II [5305-5344] 131b-132a
48 MELVILLE: Moby Dick,396b-397a
51 TOLSTOY: War and Peace, BK VI 272 -b'
IX, 7b-358b; BK xv, 631a-c;
67so-677b; 680b-c;684h-d '
52 Brothers Karamazov,BK v 127b-
137c paSSIm '
54 !nterpretation of Drean1S, 246c-247d /
Czvtltzatton and Its Discontents, 776b; 793c
5. The of fate: scientific or philo-
sophlcal determinism
7 PLATO:BKX, 437b-441a,c esp 439a-441a c
12 LUCRETIUS: Nature of Things, BK II [18 -'
12 esp 18b-d; BK
Medztatzons, BK V, SECT' 8 269d-
17 PLOTINUS: Third Ennead,TRI 78a-82b /
Fourth Ennead, TRIll, CH 16
31 SPINOZA: Ethics, PART I DEF 6 7' '35' 5b
355 ... ' '. . . '., . - . . .; AXIOM
; 3 ct, PROP 17, SCHOL362c-363c; PROP 25-
9 65b-366c; PROP 32-APPENDIX 367a-372d
PART II, PROP 48 391a-c' PROP 4' 9' '
394b-c " SCHOL,
34 NEWTON: Optics, BK III, s42b
35 BERKELEY: Human KnowledfTe
431b .. SECT 93
35 HUME: H.uman Understanding, SECT VIII 478b-
487a paSSIm
42 KANT: Pure Reason, 140b,d-143a; 164a-171a
Judgement, 463a-467a; 575b-578a /
46 HEGEL: Philosophy ofRight, PART III, par 2-
348 llOc-ll1d / Philosophy ofHistory
esp 156d-158a,
50 MARX: Capital 6d' 7c lOb lId 3Sb
' , , - ; -c; 36c-d
[ n 2]; 378b-d esp 378d
50 MARX-ENGELS . Co A' ifi
51 T L .' ... ' mmunzst iVlant esto, 416c-d
o STOY. War aTJd Peace, EPILOGUE II 67sa
696d .-
53 JAMES: Psychology, 291a-295b 820b-825 .0
823a-825a ,a,--sp
54 FREUD.: Origin and Development of Psycho-
Analyszs, l3c / Interpretation ofDreams, 246b-
247c / GeneralIntroduction, 454b-c;486d-487a-
581d-582a / the Pleasure Princi Ie:
645b-646a / CzvtZzzation and Its Discont'fnts
772b-c; 796a-c; 80lc-802a,c / New
tory Lectures, 882c-883d
tOLSTOY: War and. Peace, BK IX, 342a--344b-
BK x, 389a-391c; BK XI, 469a-472b; iBK
XIV, 563a-s90c; BK xlv,609a-6l3d;BK XV,
618b-621b; 626d-630a;EPILOGUE I,645a-
650c; EPILOGUE II 67sa-696d
JAMES: Psychology, 291a-295b' 6s7a-b- 820b-
824a "
FREU:g:. .486c-487a
talism. relation.. to the' .. wiIlof God: the
doctr1ne of predestination
esp 45:4-8/Exodus,
4.21, 7-14 esp 7:3,9:12,10:1, 10:20, 10:27
11 :10, 14:4, 14:8, 1+:17; 33 :19 / DeuteronOm1J'
,6-8- 142 / P 7 ..... J'
.. ,. satm$,I47:I2- 20 esp 147:20-
(D) esp 147:20 I Proverbs, 16:33 /
Ecc!eszastes, 9:11-12 I Isaiah, 4I:8-I-(D)
[sazas, 41 :8-14 .. . 4
CRYPHA:Restof Esi{zer, 13:8-18-;-(D) OT
Esther, 13:8-18/ Wisdom oifSolomon ,... '
D) OT ,.194-5-
, , ,Book of Wisdom, 19:4-5 / Eccle-
szastzcus, 33:lo-I3-(D) OT, Ecclesiasticus,
E"': TESTAMENT: Matthew, 22:1-14/ John,
6.22-7IesP 6:40, 6:44-45,
John, .6:22-72 esp 6:40, .6:44-45, 6:65-66 'f
A,cts,. 17:24-27 / Romans, 8:28-11:36 / II Co-
rtnth.zans, .3-4 ... /.. Gal.atl.. ans 44. 6 / Eph .'
". .. ' .. ' ".- , eszans,
1.4-2.10, 4. 1- 16 esp 4:7, 4:11 I Philippians
2:12-15 / James: 4:13-15 / [Peter, 1:1-5 '
E)PIcTETUS: Dzscourses, BKI,CH 12118d"
120b; CH 17 122d-124a;,BKu, CH 16 156b-
158d; BK III, CH 22 19sa-201a' BK IV CH
213a-223d; CH 3. 22:J-b-d; 'CH 7 232c-235a I
AURELIUS: Medztatzons, BK III, SECT I I 262a-b'
BK VI, SECT 44 278b-c, '
PLOTINUS: Ennead, TR III, CH 16 150c-d
AUGUSTINE: Ctty of God, BK V, CH .. I
208c; CH 8-10 212c-216c; CH 15-16 220d-
22lb; BK XV, CH 1 397b,d-398c; BK XXI, CH 12
571a-c; BK XXII, CH'I-2 586b,d-s88a
AQUINAS: Summa Theologica PART I
24 l32b-143c; Q 116 , QQ 23-
DANT.E: Divine Comedy, HELL, VII [61-96]
lOb-c, PURGATORY, XVI [52-84] 77b-c; PARA-
DISE, I [94-142] 107b-d; IV [49-63J 111b;
VIII [91-148] 117d-118c; XVII [13-45] 132b-c'
xx [31-141] 137a-138a' '
CHAUCER: Troilus and Cressida, BK IV . STANZA
137-154106b-108b . ,
HOBBES: Leviathan, PART II, 113b-c
Essays, 254b-d; 342a-c
BERVANTES: Don Quixote, PARTII, 408b-c
NovumOrganum, BK I, APH 93 12sd-
DESCARTES: Objections and Replies, 14lh
MILTON: Paradtse Lost 93a-333a esp BK I
93b-94a, BK III [80-134] l37a-138a, BK
[224-245] l80a-b, [506-543] 186a-187a, BK
VII [139-173] 220a-221a / Samson Agonistes
.347b-348b; [667-709] 354a-355a /
reopagtttca, 394b-395b
43 MILL: Representative Government, 347b-c
47 GOETHE: Faust, PART II [9
24lb esp [9908-9938] 24la-b
48 MELVILLE: Moby Dick, 4a-b; 120a-b;
397a; 398a; 409b-4l0b
51 TOLSTOY: War and Peace, BK VIII, 303d-3
BK XII, 542d; 547a--549d; 553c-d; BK
578b-582a esp 578d-579a
54 FREUD: Interpretation of Drea1ns, 246b-2
General Introduction, 58ld-582a / Civiliz
and Its Discontents, 796a-c
3.. The antitheses of fate: fortune, freedom,
ural necessity, chance or contingen
7 PLATO: Republic, BK x, 437b-44la,c esp 4-
44la,c / Statesman,' 586c-589c
8 ARISTOTLE: Interpretation, CH 9' 28a-2
Physics, BK II, CH 4-6 272c-275a / Metaph
BK VI, CH 3 549c-d; BK IX, CH 5 573a-c
9 ARISTOTLE: Ethics, BK I, CH 9 345a-c; B
CH 3 [I I 12
I8-3.3] 358a-b
12 LUCRETIUS: Nature of Things, BK II [25
12 AURELIUS: Meditations, BK II, SECT
257a-b; BK III, SECT II 262a-b; BK V, S
269d-270b; SECT 36 273d; BK VI, SE
277d; BK XII, SECT 14 308c
15 TACITUS: Annals, BKIV, 68a; BK VI,
17 PLOTINUS: Third Ennead, TR I 78a..
Fourth Ennead, TR III, CH 16 l50c-d
18 AUGUSTINE: City of God, BK V, CH I
208c; CH 8-10 212c-216c
19 AQUINAS: Summa Theologica, PART I,
21 DANTE: Divine Comedy, PURGATORY
[52-84] 77b-c
23 HOBBES: Leviathan, PART II, 163d-164-
26 SHAKESPEARE: Julius Caesar,. ACT I,
41] 570d; ACT IV, sc III [
223] SIb
31 DESCARTES: Discourse, PART III, 49b-
31 SPINOZA: Ethics, PART II, PROP 49,
32 MILTON: Paradise Lost, BK VII [17-173
34 NEWTON: Optics, BK III, 542b
38 MONTESQUIEU: Spirit of Laws, BK I, la-
42 KANT: Pure Reason, 45b-c; l33a; 140b,
146a-.c; l47b; l64a-171a; 205b-209b t
Prine Metaphysic of Morals, 264d-265a;
d esp 281c-283d / Practical
291a-293b; 296a-d; 301d-302d; 304a-
3l4d; 319c-32lb; 33lc-337a,c t Intro.
physic of Morals, 386d-387a,c; 390bt
ment, 463a-467a; 57lc-572a; 587a-588
44 BOSWELL: Johnson, 549c
46 I-IEGEL: Philosophy of Right, PARTIn,
l10b-c; par 342-344 llOe-lll
/ Phil
History, INTRO, l60c-l65b; l66b-16
IV, 368d-369a,c
48 MELVILLE: Aloby Dick, l58b-159a
(2. The fated or inevitable in human life.)
385d-386b, [1595-1614] 392a, [175
393d / Orestes [1-70] 394a-d; [807-843] 402c-d
/ Iphigenia A1nong the Tauri [4
9] 414d-
4l5a; [1435-1499] 424a-d
6 I-IERODOTUS: History, BK I, 8a-lOa;20a-22a;
46c; BK II, 65b; 77a-b; BK III, 98b-99a; 102d-
l04b; BK IV, l53b-d; 155b-c; BK IX, 29lb-c
7 PLATO: Apology, 210d / Republic, BK x, 437b-
44la,c esp439a-44la,c / Statesman, 587a-589c
12 AURELIUS: Meditations 2s3a-3l0d esp BK II,
SECT 3 257a-b, SECT 7 257c, BKIII, SECT II
262a-b, BK IV, SECT 33-35 266c--d, SECT 44
267b, BK V, SECT 8 269d-270b, SECT 19-
272a, SECT .3
273d, BK VI, SECT 8 2'74b, SECT
II 274c, SECT 20 276a, SECT 39-40 277d, SECT
50 279a-b, SECT 58 279d, BK VII, SECT 8280b,
282c, SECT 54 283b, SECT 58 283c-d,
BK VIII, SECT 17 286d, SECT 3
SECT35 288b, SECT 45-47 289a-c, SECT 51 289d-
290a, BK IX, SECT 41 295c, BK x, SE
3 296d,
SECT 5-6296d-297b, SECT 2S299c, SECT 33
300c-30la, SECT: 35 30tb, BK XII, SECT" 3
307b-d, SECT 11-14 308b-c
13 VIRGIL: Eclogues, IV 14a-15b / Aeneid,BK I
[1-33] l03a-104a; [24-27] l08b; [223-34]
lOga-llla; BK III [356-462] l57a-160a; BK
IV [218-396] 173a-178a; BK VI [75
23la-235a; 'BK VIII [520-540] 273a-b; BK IX
[77'-122] 28la-282a; BK X [100-
7] 304b-
30Sa; [621-632] 3l9a-b; BK XI [108-
9] 331a;
BK XII [13.3-15] 357b-358a
14 PLUTARCH: Romulus, 20b-c/ Camillus,107b-d
I Aemilius Paulus, 225a-c; 228c-229c / Sulla,
370c-37lb / Caesar, 600a-604d / Marcus Bru-
tus, 8l4d-8lSc; 822a-b
15 TACITUS: Annals, BK III, 49c; BK VI, 9lb-d /
Histories, B.K 19ld; 194b
17 PLOTINUS: Third Ennead, TR I 78a-82b
22 CHAUCER: Troilus and Cressida, BK III, STANZA
89 66a; BK IV, STANZA 137-155 106b-108b /
Knight's Tale l74a-2l1a esp[108I-I
] 177b-
l78a, [1251-1267] l80b, [1663-1672] 187b,
[3027'-3066] 209h-2l0a / Tide of Man of Latv
[4610-4623] 237b; [4701-4735] 239a:240a /
Monk's Prologue 432a-434a / l'v1onk's Tale
24 RABELAIS: Gargantua and Pantagruel, BK IV,
25 MONTAIGNE: Essays, 2l4a-c; 342a-d
26 SHAKESPEARE: Romeo and Juliet, PROLOGUE
285a-b; ACT I, SC IV [106-I13] 291d / Julius
Caesar, ACT II, SC II [1-107] 578a-579b
27 SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, AcT V, SC II [4-4
68a-b / King Lear, ACT I, SC ". II [112-166]
249a-c; ACT IV, SC III [34-37] 272a / Macbeth
284a-310d esp ACT I, sc III 285b-287b / Cyn1-
beline, ACT V, SC IV [3-122] 48lc-482b
36 STERNE: Tristrani Shandy, 194b-195a; 202b-
208b; S02b-S03a
37 FIELDING: Tom Jones, 275d-276a; 310b
DE QUINCEY. On the Knocking at the Gate in
SCHOPENHAUER. Die beiden Grundprobleme der
Ethik, I
-.-. Transcendent Speculations on Apparent Design
in the Fate ofthe Individual
EMERSON. "Fate," in The Conduct of Life
T. f-IARDY. The Return ofthe Native
--. Tess ofthe D' Urbervilles
--. Jude the Obscure
SYNGE. Riders to the Sea
I ..AGERLOF. The Ring ofthe Lowenskolds
\VILDER. The Bridge of San Luis Rey
B. RUSSELL. Religion and Science, CH 6
T. S. ELIOT. The Falnily Reunion
RSONIDES. Commentary on the Book ofJob
.ALVIN. Institutes of the Christian Religion, BK III,
elI 14-2 5
ox. An Answer to the Cavillations ofan Adversarie
especting the Doctrine of Predestination
'REZ. Disputaiiones Metaphysicae, XIX (10-1 I)
WORTH. A Treatise of Freewill
UTLER. The Analogy of Religion, PART I, CH7
DWARDS. A Careful . .. Enquiry into the Modern
.. , Notions of Freedoln of Will
. Candide
LDSMITH. The Vicar of Wakefield
PRIESTLEY and PRICE. A Free Discussion ofthe
oetrine ofMaterialism andPhilosophiealNeeessity
25 MONTAIGNE: Essays, 214a-d; 462e-465c
46 HEGEL: Philosophy ofRight, PART III, par.3
360 110b-114a,e esp par 342-343 l10e-1
par 347111b-e /Philosophy ofHistory, L
156d-190b esp 158e-162a; 203a-206a,e; PA
241d-242b; 258b... d; PART II, 278a-c; 2
281b; 283d-284a,c; PART III, 285b-d; 3
301c; 303e-306a; PART IV, 315a; 368d-3
50 MARX: Capital, 6e-7d passim; 377e-378d
50 MARX-ENGELS: Communist Manifesto, 41
51 TOLSTOY: War and Peace, BK IX, 342a-34
BK X, 389a-391e; BK XI, 469a-472b; BK x
XIV, 563a-590c; BK XIV, 609a-613d; BK
618b-621b; 626d-630a; EPILOGUE I, 6
650e; EPILOGUE II 675a-696d
54 FREUD: New Introductory Lectures,
CICERO. De Pato (On Fate)
--. De Divinatione (On Divination)
MAIMONIDES. The Guidefor the Perplexed, PAR
CH 17-19
Listed below are works not included in Great Books o.fthe fVestern World, but relevant to the
idea and topics with which this chapter deals. These works are divided into two groups:
I. Works by authors represented in this collection.
II. Works by authors not represented in this collection.
For the date, place, and other facts concerning the publication of the works cited, consult
the Bibliography of Additional Readings which follows the last chapter of The Great Ideas.
J. S. MILL. A System of Logic, BK VI, CH 2
W. JAMES. "The Dilemma of Determinism," in
Will to Believe
6. The historian's recognition of fate: the des-
tiny of cities, nations, empires
6 HERODOTUS: History, BK VII, 214d-220b esp
218b-220b; 239a-240d; BK VIII, 262b-e
7 PLATO: Republic, BK VIII, 403a-d
13 VIRGIL: Eclogues, IV 14a-15b I Aeneid, BK I
[ I ~ 9 : ] 115a-116b; BK VI {752-90I] 231a-
235a; BK VIII [608-731] 275a-278b; BK x
[100-117] 304b-305a; BK XII [725-842] 373b-
14 PLUTARCH: Romulus, 18d; 20b-e I Camillus,
107b-d; 10ge-110a / Philopoemen, 300b I
Alexander, 55Se I Demosthenes, 698b-e I
Marcus Brutus, 815e
15 TACITUS: Annals, BK III, 58b-d; BK VI, 91b-d
I Histories, BK I, 189b-190a; BK II, 232d
18 AUGUSTINE: City of God, BK V 207b,d-230a,e
esp CH I 207d-208e, CH 12 216d,..219b, CH 15
For: The basic opposites of fate, see CHANCE Ia-Ib, 2a; HISTORY 4a (I}; WILL 5-Sa(4), 5C;
for other terms in which the opposition between fate and chance is expressed, see NEC
The problem of human liberty in relation to fate, see LIBERTY 4b; NECESSITY A.
The implications of fate in theology, or for the relation of human liberty to divine pr
dence, see CAUSE 7C; GOD IC, 7b; HISTORY 5a; LIBERTY 5a-5c; WILL 7c.
The foretelling of fate or providence, see PROPHECY Ia-I b; and for the condemnation
astrology and divination, see PROPHECY 5.
Fatalism or determinism in the philosophy of nature, see CHANCE 2a; NATURE 3c-3C
WILL 5C; WORLD lb. -
The same doctrine in the philosophy of history, see HISTORY 4a(I)-4a(4);' N'ECESSITY
PLUTARCH. "Of Fate," in Moralia
AUGUSTINE. On the Predestination ofthe Saints
AQUINAS. Sumnla Contra Gentiles, BK III, CH 64-83,
88-98, 163
DESCARTES. The Principles of Philosophy, PART I,
HOBBES. A Treatise of Liberty and Necessity