MINDING THE GAP
Philosophy Now|December 2021 / January 2022
Dylan Skurka on a film that suggests it’s possible to choose to overcome your upbringing.
Dylan Skurka

Do we have free will, or are our lives just an amalgamation of forces beyond our control, push-ing us around like billiard balls? The question seems straightforward enough, but if you spend enough time with it you’ll soon find that you’ve opened up a Pandora’s box of philosophical questions, especially since each side of the debate has a peculiar way of seeming both perfectly plausible and implausible. It certainly feels like I’ve gotten where I am through choices that I’ve freely made; but how can I be so sure? Is freedom just an illusion – something I can tell myself I possess to avoid the terrifying fact that the events of my life are completely beyond my control? I can just as easily embrace my lack of control and situate myself on the determinist side of things; but would this just be a sly way of evading any responsibility for all the mistakes I’ve made? How could we possibly praise or blame anyone for anything if no one really has the ability to freely choose what they do? And so the vicious circle of thinking begins.

Getting nowhere and feeling frustrated as hell about it, I found myself restlessly looking for answers – from having lengthy conversations with some of the smartest people I know, to reading the most eloquently defended positions from the world’s leading thinkers on the topic. All to no avail, of course.

Bouncing between the two sides of the free will vs determinism debate ad nauseam, I eventually became too jaded to think about it any further, and figured the debate itself was either meaningless, unanswerable, or a combination of both. But when I came across the 2018 documentary film Minding the Gap, the initial excitement I had for the debate was unexpectedly reawakened in a profound way.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM PHILOSOPHY NOWView All

The Lottery' & Locke's Politics

John P. Irish considers through an infamous lottery.

10+ mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

The Determined Will

Stephen Brewer’s couple are determined to argue about free will.

5 mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

What Is Truth?

Richard Oxenberg on the need for an old paradigm, especially in ethics.

10+ mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

Paradox Lost

Paul Tissier argues that Russell’s Paradox isn’t really a paradox.

5 mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

The Goodness of Existence

Jarlath Cox says whether life brings pleasure or pain, the value of being born is the ability to experience at all.

10+ mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

A Map of Political Ideas

Phil Badger draws the boundaries of political thought and explores the territories.

10+ mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

Robert Nozick's Metaverse Machine

Lorenzo Buscicchi asks, would you plug into Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual world? He finds that the question has been considered by philosophers for decades.

7 mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

Cultural Colonialism & Aesthetic Injustice

Gustavo Dalaqua on decolonizing minds.

8 mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

Duane Rousselle

Duane Rousselle is a Canadian professor of sociological theory, author, and a practicing psychoanalyst. He reports to Julie Reshe on recent mutations in postmodern ideology.

10+ mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022

Diogenes the Cynic (c.404-323 BC)

Martin Jenkins recalls what we know for sure about the philosopher in the barrel.

9 mins read
Philosophy Now
April/May 2022
RELATED STORIES

NEVER SETTLE

ZACK LUGO HAS WORKED HIS ASS OFF TO BECOME ONE OF TIKTOK'S MOST NOTABLE CREATORS, AND THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING

4 mins read
Inked
2022 Music Issue

1st & Ten with STEFON DIGGS

Stefon Diggs had one of the best seasons ever by a Bills receiver in 2020, and he’s looking for an encore. Diggs was clearly amped up and ready to go as the Bills began their preparations for the new season, leading the huddle and supporting his teammates as they kicked off training camp in Orchard Park. Diggs recently touched on his goals for the upcoming season for both himself and the team in an informative discussion with members of the media. Here are the highlights from that discussion.

9 mins read
Bills Digest
August 29, 2021

Eating Disorder & BMI

Expert Guide on Identifying Eating Disorders & Time to Take Action

4 mins read
Women Fitness
May - June 2021

A Heroic Effort

The new version of Justice League asks moviegoers to watch four more hours of a movie they hated the first time.

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
March 22, 2021

Stop Working, Start Automating

Why waste your energy on tedious tasks when an app can do them instead?

2 mins read
Entrepreneur
January - February 2021

Choppertown - Thunder By the Bay

Back in 2004, friends Zack Coffman and Scott DiLalla started One World Studios Ltd. and produced their first motorcycle film called ‘Choppertown’.

3 mins read
Born To Ride Florida
January 2021

Search Engine Success

SEO Tips for the New Year, Rebranding, and More

7 mins read
Home Business Magazine
Winter 2021

What We're Reading

What We're Reading

4 mins read
JUXTAPOZ
Winter 2021

The 300 Spartans - Ultra HD Blu-ray

Inspired by the 1962 Cinemascope epic The 300 Spartans that he saw as a lad, writer/artist Frank Miller would go on to create the five-issue graphic novel 300, a wildly stylized, heavily fictionalized account of the Battle of Thermopylae.

3 mins read
Sound & Vision
December 2020 - January 2021

Fall Forecast: Warm & Bright

A designer reveals unexpected ways to cozy up your home this season.

3 mins read
Cottages and Bungalows
October -November 2020