Showing posts from December, 2020

Free Will and Determinism

  The Choice is clear Faced with a choice between free will and determinism, the choice has always been clear.  Neither our legal system nor our morality could exist without free will.  No-one could be accused of a crime or a sin, unless we accept that they had free will, that they had a choice.  In recent eras, the conviction that determinism is wrong has been reinforced by expressions like "biological determinism" and "social determinism."   Biological determinism "Biological determinism" is widely recognized as the fallacious belief which claims that the limitations and diminished social status of women are determined by their biology, not by patriarchal societies and cultures.  In fact, there is a schism inside feminism with French feminists recognizing some role for biology and American feminists denying biology. Social Determinism "Social determinism" allows the idea that members of the upper classes of society are in fact superior. Some 19

The Truth about Money: Money Good; Money Bad

What is money? Anything can be used as money:  paper, tokens, clay tablets, seashells, tree bark, pixels on a computer screen, strokes on a ledger somewhere, even people.  Historically, not just slaves and cumal were used as money.  The Bible tells us a man can beat his servant because " he is his money " (Exodus 21:20-22).  As Jacob Goldstein reiterates throughout Money:  The True Story of a Made-up Thing :    "money is money because we believe it’s money." However, some things become like money (a soft way of saying they become money) even when people doubt, question or just don't notice.  Silver, data, Modigliani nudes , and, most importantly, "commercial paper" have all become forms of money despite doubts, questions and ignorance.                              In 2008, the day after the Lehman bankruptcy, this Modigliani                              sold for $150 million (USD). Someone was shifting                              currency from the st

The Politics of Adjectives

"If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from? "                                                                                  anonymous "The Great Canadian . . . . whatever" Have you ever noticed how many Canadian businesses and organizations brand themselves as "The Great Canadian . . ." something or other?  Ever wonder why?  In a brief article in the Catholic magazine Commonweal in 1929, Harvard Professor of Literature, Douglas Bush, asked the question "Is There a Canadian Literature?"  His answer was that in order for a Canadian literature to exist it must produce evidence of greatness, a great novel or poem or play--something great enough to be included in the established canon of great literature.  The sardonic response has been that in order for anything to be "Canadian" it must also be "great"; ergo, "The Great Canadian Bagel," "The G