The Freedom of the Will

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer

On the Freedom of the Will is an essay presented to the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences in 1839 by Arthur Schopenhauer as a response to the academic question that they had posed: “Is it possible to demonstrate human free will from self-consciousness?” It is one of the constituent essays of his work Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik. Continue reading

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Christianity Is Not Real

I realized that evolution was a fact- that we evolved from very simple organisms that lived 4,000,000,000 years ago. I wondered why a god would use such a long, convoluted process to produce the desired human product, a process that included a 160,000,000 year reign of the dinosaurs and the countless suffering of animals that starved to death or were eaten alive. Continue reading

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? (Philosophical humor)

chicken crooroad

“Why did the chicken cross the road?” is a common riddle or joke in several languages. The answer or punchline is: “To get to the other side.” The riddle is an example of anti-humor, in that the curious setup of the joke leads the listener to expect a traditional punchline, but they are instead given a simple statement of fact. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” has become largely iconic as an exemplary generic joke to which most people know the answer, and has been repeated and changed numerous times.
The following is the answer given by some of the great men well known:

Plato: For the greater good.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration,
as a chicken which has the daring and courage to
boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom
among them has the strength to contend with such a
paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the
princely chicken’s dominion maintained. Continue reading

Envy an evil eye

THERE be none of the affections, which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions; and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the present of the objects; which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. Continue reading

Riches the baggage of virtue.


Frances Bacon

I CANNOT call riches better than the baggage of virtue. The Roman word is better, impedimenta. For as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue. It cannot be spared, nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it, sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. Continue reading

The contents of our character.

Current debates over immigration pivot on the notion of the distinctly American character and culture: Can anyone, from anywhere, learn how to be an American? REASON asked a number of writers and scholars to recommend three books, with a couple of restrictions: Continue reading

Anger is a kind of baseness

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon

TO SEEK to extinguish anger utterly, is but a bravery of the Stoics. We have better oracles: Be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Anger must be limited and confined, both in race and in time. We will first speak how the natural inclination and habit to be angry, may be attempted and calmed. Continue reading