Professor Emeritus Michael Allen Fox presents a fresh discussion of the concept of fate and its role in philosophy, religion, politics, culture, and the history of ideas in Fate and Life: Who's Really in Charge? (McGill-Queen's University Press, May 2024).


From the publisher: Some believe that fate rules our lives, while others dismiss the idea outright. Fate remains central to many cultural outlooks, and in our age of conflict, climate change, and pandemic, it features conspicuously in debates about the future. A careful examination of this important idea - its background, many meanings, and significance for everyday life - is not only informative and intriguing but also timely.


In Fate and Life Michael Allen Fox confronts the idea of fate head on and demonstrates that how we interpret and apply this concept can make it work for rather than against us. Many discussions characterize fate negatively or as part of the occult, representing it as a supernatural force that stifles our freedom. Fateful ideas have also helped rationalize and promote the persecution of certain groups. But viewed more positively, fate can be understood as the given conditions of existence and the imponderable way certain unanticipated events momentously alter the path we follow over time. Thinking about fate teaches us about who we are, how we see the world, and our evaluation of the possibilities of life.

Fate and Life provides a multicultural and global account of how we talk about the idea of fate, how we use and misuse it, and how it contrasts with notions like destiny and karma. Fox's original perspective - a breakthrough in philosophy and the history of ideas - shows that fate is supported by experience; it is compatible with our sense of agency and purpose; and it helps us make sense of our lives.

For more information on the book or to order a copy: Fate and Life by Michael Allen Fox.