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Karma Theory, Determinism, Fatalism and Freedom of Will

Abstract

The so-called theory of karma is one of the distinguishing aspects of Hinduism and other non-Hindu south-Asian traditions. At the same time that the theory can be seen as closely connected with the freedom of will and action that we humans supposedly have, it has many times been said to be determinist and fatalist. The purpose of this paper is to analyze in some deepness the relations that are between the theory of karma on one side and determinism, fatalism and free-will on the other side. In order to do that, I shall use what has been described as the best formal approach we have to indeterminism: branching time theory. More specifically, I shall introduce a branching time semantic framework in which, among other things, statements such as “state of affairs e is a karmic effect of agent a”, “a wills it to be the case that e” and “e is inevitable” could be properly represented.

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Correspondence to Ricardo Sousa Silvestre.

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Work partially supported by CNPq (National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development of Brazil), public notice MCT/CNPq No 14/2013.

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Silvestre, R.S. Karma Theory, Determinism, Fatalism and Freedom of Will. Log. Univers. 11, 35–60 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11787-016-0154-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11787-016-0154-z

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • Primary 03A05
  • Secondary 03B44
  • 03B45
  • 03B80
  • 03C55
  • 03C98

Keywords

  • Branching time theory
  • temporal logic
  • logic of action
  • karma theory
  • determinism
  • free-will
  • fatalism