1st Edition

Determinism, Death, and Meaning

By Stephen Maitzen Copyright 2022
    208 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers new arguments for determinism. It draws novel and surprising consequences from determinism for our attitudes toward such things as death, regret, grief, and the meaning of life.

    The book argues that rationalism is the right attitude to take toward reality. It then shows that rationalism implies determinism and that determinism has surprising and far-reaching consequences. The author contends that the existence of all of humanity almost certainly depends on the precise time and manner of your death and mine; that purely retrospective regret, relief, gratitude, and grief are irrational for all but those who hold extreme values; and that everyone’s life has an unending impact on the future and thereby achieves the strongest kind of meaning that it makes sense to desire.

    Written in a direct and accessible style, Determinism, Death, and Meaning will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and value theory, as well as general readers with a serious interest in these topics.

    1. Rationalism

    2. Determinism Advocated

    3. Determinism Defended

    4. Determinism and Infinite Regress

    5. The Counterfactual Past, Death, and Regret

    6. Cosmic Meaning


    Stephen Maitzen is the W. G. Clark Professor of Philosophy at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. His work appears in several edited collections and in major scholarly journals, including The Journal of Philosophy, Erkenntnis, Synthese, and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. He has received Acadia’s highest recognition for excellence in teaching.

    "This is a beautiful book. It is clearly and elegantly written, it addresses questions that are both large and important, and it defends bold and well thought-out answers to them. For those who are persuaded by its argument, the book is potentially life-changing."

    Professor Wes Morriston, University of Colorado, USA

    "This is a breathtakingly original book. Whether or not you accept Maitzen’s rationalism and commitment to determinism, this is an extremely rich and insightful study of their implications. It has deeply influenced how I think about counterfactuals, regret, and death – the most exciting discussion of these topics that I have read in ages, clearly and engagingly written. Whether or not you are (and always were) determined to read it, you should."

    Professor Alan Hájek, Australian National University

    "Challenging and elegant . . . The claims that Maitzen argues for are bold, the arguments are precise, and the implications are massive."

    The Review of Metaphysics

    "As well as its philosophical sophistication and depth, this is one of the best-written books that I have ever read. It deserves a wide audience."

    Australasian Journal of Philosophy