Hi all,

I wanted to bring attention to the current issue of Philosophy Now. I am not sure if any of you guys read the magazine or not, but it sometimes has some really interesting pieces. The current issue is centered around the notion of free will, a notion that we like to think actually exists, right?

Especially within today’s world we have so many activist groups, young people trying to make a difference in the world, people making “better” choices, etc. This is all great. It is great to think we have power in making world altering decisions, even if they are minuscule. But we can’t help, at least I can’t, question whether any of it even matters if we are NOT actually making any of these decisions, if we are NOT actually free. Then again, there is another side to me that says “Screw it, whether I am free or not, so long as my intentions are whole-hearted and clean, I am doing the best I can. What more can I do? There might not even be any purpose to life anyways.”

So, while we might all hold different positions on free will, it is definitely interesting to see how each different belief on the idea affects the way one chooses to live their life.

Below is a poem and links to a few articles on free will from this month’s issue of Philosophy Now, that you might find interesting.


by Peter Duff

Are choices freely made just as it seems
Or do the atoms choose for us instead?
Do people just respond or intervene?
By choice illusions are we each misled?
If now I choose to work instead of play
Is that because that impulse is more strong?
Else what decides which impulse will hold sway?
Are we the movers or just moved along?
And when decidedly I am resolved
To take some course of action come what may
Was I observing or was I involved
In that decision in the proper way?
Despite the doubts, I must believe I’m free
Accepting that I am too near to see.




One thought on “Free??

  1. It just occurred to me that I just read a sonnet. The structure of a sonnet is very strict, but the words in this one shows that the form has a seemingly liberating effect to Duff. I like that the first three stanzas outline the very dialogue between the free will and determinism “debate,” but the ending couplet concludes with something that can bridge them together.

    I used to write sonnets myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever used the structure to my advantage to that extent.

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