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.
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The Lottery' & Locke's Politics
John P. Irish considers through an infamous lottery.
The Determined Will
Stephen Brewer’s couple are determined to argue about free will.
What Is Truth?
Richard Oxenberg on the need for an old paradigm, especially in ethics.
Paul Tissier argues that Russell’s Paradox isn’t really a paradox.
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.
A Map of Political Ideas
Phil Badger draws the boundaries of political thought and explores the territories.
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.
Cultural Colonialism & Aesthetic Injustice
Gustavo Dalaqua on decolonizing minds.
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.
Diogenes the Cynic (c.404-323 BC)
Martin Jenkins recalls what we know for sure about the philosopher in the barrel.
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