Beyond Fate


170 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88784-679-3
DDC 001.3




Reviewed by Geoffrey Harder

Geoffrey Harder is a public services librarian and manager, Knowledge Common, in the Science and Technology Library of the University of Alberta.


The phrase, or at least the sentiment, “it’s beyond our control”
has become common parlance in Western culture. Beyond Fate, Margaret
Visser’s insightful new book, examines the reasons why people are so
often willing to acquiesce to fate rather than stand accountable for the
events and happenings in their lives. Many of us would deny that daily
events are “written in the stars”; however, we may be surprised to
fully realize how often fatalistic thinking lingers in our thoughts and

Visser cuts a wide swath in her choice of subject matter, as she pilots
the reader through the philosophical origins of fatalism toward the
identification of this belief and its various manifestations in
modernity. She observes that as one’s culture drifts toward fatalism,
the definition of what it means to be “free” becomes unclear. She
argues eloquently that humanity is free to do many things, one of which
is to stand apart from the fatalist perspective and to question,
analyze, and debate those things that influence our actions and

Visser writes with clear examples and well-defined parameters to create
a book that is accessible to both philosopher and layperson alike. It is
a worthwhile read and will inevitably lead readers to think twice about
whether choice or fate played a greater role in the events of the past
and present.


Visser, Margaret., “Beyond Fate,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,