What Wallace did in his thesis—with the same understanding incisiveness of his later analyses of cruise ships, the porn industry, lobster biology, tennis, David Lynch, and a host of other matters—was show how to resist the seemingly compelling premises that led Taylor to that unhappy, fatalist conclusion. Wallace argues that Taylor has made a category mistake, presenting what is ultimately “a semantic argument for a metaphysical conclusion.” (Wallace is particularly good at unmasking the metaphysical arguments contained in or concealed by logical ones; years later, in his Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity, he discussed how “implicit in all mathematical theories . . . is some sort of metaphysical position.”) Wallace can thus end on a lucid, heartening, and elegant note: “If Taylor and the fatalists want to force upon us a metaphysical conclusion, they must do metaphysics, not semantics. And this seems entirely appropriate.”
It’s a valiant effort, but it doesn’t really get beyond the fact that these two texts wouldn’t be very interesting except that they were written by David Foster Wallace. While I do support giving these posthumous Wallace texts a fair public hearing, most of what I’ve read indicates they’re not terribly great.
In my opinion The Pale King, the only one of these three that was ever even vaguely meant to be published in some way, will be by far the most interesting and worthy of attention.