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12 Monkeys$
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Susanne Kord

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781999334000

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781999334000.001.0001

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Free Will, Determinism and Doing What You’re Told

Free Will, Determinism and Doing What You’re Told

Chapter:
(p.63) 6. Free Will, Determinism and Doing What You’re Told
Source:
12 Monkeys
Author(s):

Susanne Kord

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781999334000.003.0006

This chapter discusses time travel as the secondary device for exploring the idea of liberty in Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys. It analyzes the juxtaposition between free will and determinism, in which the film seems to be caught in something of a bind. It also explains time travel that is one-directional, in which the scientists only ever send people into the past, never into their own future to see if their plan will pan out. The chapter talks about how 12 Monkeys seems to suggest that it is possible to influence the future, which is an idea that is entirely reliant on the illusion of linear time. It examines the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists that centres on a failure to distinguish between that which is known and that which is real.

Keywords:   12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam, liberty, free will, determinism, linear time, compatibilists, incompatibilists

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