Brief Reflections on Free Will

Free will is one of those philosophical questions that everyone feels strongly about. Before we start reflecting on it, most of us have established opinions about the existence or nonexistence and the extent of human freedom of will. It is almost intuitive. After all, if I do not have any free will, then how can …

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Spreading the Word: On Living in the Moment

Our experience of time changes throughout life. First, it is an upward climb with a promise of an astonishing panorama at the top of the hill. Then, for some sooner, for some later, there comes a gradual realization that all you can see is a way downward with, perhaps, a distant view of the end …

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Spreading the Word: Chinese Parable about Luck

I stumbled upon this short article by a fellow blogger and book lover on Atkins Bookshelf. It tells a story about a Chinese farmer who takes life as it comes, without judgement. His preferred response to all events is “Bad luck, good luck — who really knows?” This reminds me of an ancient Greek story …

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On This Day: June 13

Today is special for me and my family. My husband and I, along with our dog and cat, have moved to Malta. This morning we woke up for the first time at our new home on this tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. After 9 years in Munich, Germany, the time has …

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Spreading the Word: Frankl’s Quotes on Meaning

In this short video, you will hear some of what Viktor Frankl had to say about our need for meaning. Given his severe and bitter personal experience (Nazi camps survivor), I find his thoughtful words particularly inspiring and motivating. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HUtKHLHeAY Keeping up the "Spreading the Word" tradition, every weekend, I hope to share an …

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Spreading the Word: Philosophers on Authenticity

Continuing the theme of the last weeks, today I share a BBC podcast episode on authenticity. What does it mean to be oneself, is there a fixed self at all, and why should it matter whether we are authentic or not? Philosophers engage in discussing these and other questions, addressing some of the perennial themes …

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Life in Search of Narrative

The 20th-century French philosopher Paul Ricoeur wrote in his 1991 essay Life in Quest of Narrative that life is "an activity and passion in search of a narrative". Indeed, it is hard to overstate how important the stories are to us, human beings. Narrative is a medium through which we make sense, interpret, understand, identify, …

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Spreading the Word: Fable of the Bees

How can a poem influence economy and what do bees have to do with it? The 18th-century Anglo-Dutch philosopher, physician and satirist Bernard Mandeville has an answer. Fable of the Bees is his book that contains the satiric poem "The Grumbling Hive; or, Knaves Turn'd Honest" (1705) in which Mandeville uses an allegory to show …

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