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HUMANITIES 137 omniscience and divine foreknowledge - are inconsistent with free will. The largest part of his discussion, however, is devoted to the question of whether causal determinism is consistent with free will. Sobeldistinguishes various forms of determinism, each a possible elaboration of the causal principle that every event has an antecedent cause, together with various modes of each form, consisting of different views concerning laws of nature and the past. Though Sobel thinks some varieties of determinism more pIausible than others, he does not argue for or against determinism as such. Sobel contends, however, that freewill is consistent with some philosophically interesting varieties of determinism but not with others. Sobel's arguments are plausible. I have some misgivings, however, about an underlying assumption that figures in his formulations of determinism, which is that causality may be explicated in terms of logico-semantic relations between propositions and laws, without direct reference to events. Sobel's discussion of rational choice theory focuses on a pair of wellknown problems concerning prediction and choice, Newcomb's Problem and the Samarra Problem. He takes up the question of whether certain circumstances of predicted choice, such as those assumed by these problems, would preclude rational choice. The issue here is not whether it is possible to choose freely but whether it is possible to choose rationally. Defending a causal theory of rational decision-making, Sobel argues that the scenario stipulated by Newcomb's Problem would allow for rational choice but that required for the Samarra Problem would not. Sobel's discussion of these issues is an excellent, non-technical (number-free) introduction to rational choice theory. (BERNARD D. KATZ) Mark Fortier. TheorylTheatre: an Int1'OductioJ1 Routledge 1997. viii, 196. $98.00, $28ยท99 Theory/Theatre is an introduction to the impact of contemporary theory on the study of theatre and is designed as a text to be used on a course on theory and theatre. As such, it fills a gap, much as did Belsey's Critical Practice. Fortier's command of a broad range oftheoretical schools and their histories is impressive not only for his sophisticated understanding of the subtleti~s of the various positions, but for his enviable ability to offer concise and lucid explanations. Fortier's writing is straightforward and direct, employing the terminology which is specific to various schools with clear definitions. Writing about complex theory, Fortier is simple without being simplistic. Even so, packing years of theory, drawn from a range of cultural contexts, into a book which has a text of under 150 pages intro:. duces the thorny question of the intended reader. Theory/fheatre isorganized into three major sections: semiotics, phenomenology and deconstruction; psychoanalytic, gender and reader-response theory; and materialist, postmodem and postcolonial theory. That is a lot 138 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 of material in a short amount of text. In reading the book, I asked myself: would r use this text as part of the syllabus of a senior undergraduate course on theory and theatre? My response is a 'maybe' because for undergraduates in theatre or drama programs the brevity of the book and the vast range of material means that, of necessity, the lucid explanations are still a tad cryptic in their dealing with complex issues. For example, while Fortier provides a clear explanation of 'queerness' as a critical trend and provides a briefsense that'queer' troubles a number of gay and lesbian critics because it suggests that a.1l sexualities are constructs, I am not sure that without reference to the historical construction of the homosexual in the late nineteenth century as criminal or pathologized (such as in the work of Jeffrey Weeks), resistance to the notion of 'queerness' registers in the ways which it ought. For gay and lesbian critics, the issue is not simply 'reading' in an abstract sense, but entails a sense of the history of oppression and resulting struggle for escape from categories which marginalized gays not in abstract theory but in their lives. Without hesitation, Theory/Theatre is a text which I would include on the syllabus of a graduate course on theory and theatre, because students wouldbenefit greatly from Fortier's lucid commentaries on various schools. Insuch a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 137-139
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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