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Posts tagged "Free Will"

How to Save a Life: William James’ Tips for Surviving Depression

A young Gertrude Stein once took a class with the philosopher William James, who, even at the time, was something of a celebrity. One day, faced with an exam, Stein refused, writing at the top of it, “Dear Professor James, I am so sorry, but really I do not feel a bit like an examination […]

Happy Independence Day: You’re Not Free

When, in the course of human events, it become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with one another…wait, that sounds familiar. Has someone said that before? Those, of course, are the first words of the Declaration of Independence, the document that led to the American freedom from Great […]

Another Week Ends: Irrational Minds, Dangerous Parents, Anthony Weiner, Metallica References, Llama Drama, Post-Olympics Depression, and the Tastiest Fast Foods in America

1. This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Robert A. Burton entitled “A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required)” which argues that most people would agree that (1) our lives ought to have a personal sense of “meaning” or “purpose” and (2) our lives should be “shaped by reason” or “rationality.” As concepts, […]

Chants of Paradise: Progress, Christianity, and The Soul of the Marionette

In the can’t-make-this-up department, someone commented on The Guardian’s review of John Gray’s The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom: While science is the only game in town in deepening our understanding reality, obviously, philosophers and experts in history are also pretty handy to have around. Here is a distorted picture […]

“All This an Illusion”: A Reflection on Determinism and Free Choice

This humdinger comes from Jim McNeely: I recently listened to episode 93 of the Partially Examined Life podcast (you can listen to it or read about it here). It is a fascinating listen; these are not rabid militant “New Atheism” people, just fun and thoughtful agnostic/atheists who love philosophy. I have found that it is […]

Healthy Hearts, Smoldering Resentments, and the Starting Point of Compassion

Given the popularity of the section we posted from Paul Zahl’s Grace in Practice a few weeks ago on Competition in Marriage, here’s one that’s bound to be a little less popular… 😉 It can be found under the rather unsexy heading of “The Relation of the Un-Free Will to Compassion”–and yet it is one […]

Another Week Ends: Delta Malaise, Self-Deprecating Obituaries, The Hill and Wood, Breaking Bad, Bound Atheists, Fall Conf Schedule and more Dark Knight Rises

1. First up, The New York Times published an eye-opening article about sorority rush in US colleges this week that’s been spreading like wildfire. It visits all the usual themes of the Law of group belonging: self-doubt, attempts at identity improvement, the need to belong, and our single-minded attempts to live up to a certain […]

The Cross As Moral Striving?

Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a […]

I’m Just Like Pele… Except I’m Terrible at Soccer

Brian Phillips is a writer for Bill Simmons’ sports and pop-culture website His writing is gorgeous. Last year, he wrote several articles about Roger Federer that include some of the most lyrical sports writing I’ve read in a long time. The other day, he wrote an article about Pele (likely the greatest soccer player […]

Does Neuroscience Spell the End of Free Will? You Decide!

An interesting devil’s advocate piece appeared in The NY Times recently, addressing the question “Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?” Here author and philosopher Eddy Nahmias argues that recent discoveries about brain function do not in fact equate to the death of free will, that they really only speak to our faulty operating definitions […]

Another Week Ends: Parental Blindspots, Damsel Reviews, Rand Abolishing Lewis, Doublethink, Higher Ground and The Magnificent Ambersons

1. A couple of regretful if relevant instances of control backfiring when it comes to children. The first was reported in The NY Times Motherlode blog: “A newly released poll from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital finds that parents look at their children with blinders on, while looking at other children accusingly.” […]

Mockingbird at the Movies: Days of Thunder and “You’re Out of Control!”

Days of Thunder is such a fun movie. For any who haven’t seen it, it’s Top Gun in race cars. Literally. Despite its therefore necessary fluff and Tom Cruise preening, Days of Thunder has at least one moment of true profundity. Here it is: I would argue with Claire (Nicole Kidman) on one point: I […]