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The Core Curriculum

Minority Report, by Steven Spielberg, 2002

Relates to: 

Minority Report, by Steven Spielberg, 2002.

Providence vs. Free will

In Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story, Minority Report, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence.

Throughout the Divine Comedy, Dante attempts to reconcile the very same tension between free will and notions of providence, fortune and destiny. The following quote from Purgatory is indicative of his larger meditations on the subject:

  You living ones continue to assign
to heaven every cause, as if it were
the necessary source of every motion.
  If this were so, then your free will would be
destroyed, and there would be no equity
in joy for doing good, in grief for evil.
  The heavens set your appetites in motion –
not all your appetites, but even if
that were the case, you have received both light
  on good and evil, and free will, which though
it struggle in its first wars with the heavens,
then conquers all, if it has been well nurtured. (Purgatory XVI, 67-78)