The debate over determinism and free-will was central in religious and philosophical circles long before the scientific revolution and the emergence of neuroscience. The controversy cuts to the core of how we understand ourselves as human beings. Oddly enough religious and secular determinists basically concur: free-will is an illusion-- whether you believe in divine predestination or the inevitable laws of physics. An opposing view posits that freedom and autonomy are what distinguish humans from other animals. No consensus exists on this topic among scholars; it would be more than presumptuous to think we could settle the matter here.
Rather in this session we will discuss the many real-life issues that arise for us as individuals and as a society when we look more critically at what aspects of our lives we clearly have no control over and those that we seemingly do. In what circumstances can we effect change in our own lives for different (and presumably more desirable) outcomes. What things must we accept about ourselves—and others? How accountable are we for our actions?
Further, to what extent are we responsible for our destiny as a species? Is it possible to effect intentional change within society for different outcomes? Central to this discussion is the extent to which we see ourselves as autonomous actors or synergistic participants in communities and ecosystems that are integral to our existence.
Disciplines of mindfulness, reflection and critical thinking all come to play in our response to the factors and influences that inform our lives. Attendees are encouraged to bring their personal experiences, perspectives and reading on the topic to this discussion.
Childcare is available with advance notice. Please contact Audrey directly at [masked] to arrange for and ensure childcare.
These sessions are led by Audrey Kingstrom, humanist, naturalist and atheist with master's degrees in theology and education. While people are encouraged to participate throughout the year, anyone is welcome to come to as many or as few of the monthly sessions as they are able. For information on the entire series go to http://humanistsofmn.org/habits-of-humanism