Free will and Determinism

We need not solve the question of whether we have free will or whether all of our behaviors are completely determined before we can act. It is enough to act as if we were free, to make decisions as if we were free to choose, to accept responsibility for our own lives as if we…

Absolute Certainty

There are so many people in the world who claim to be absolutely certain about the answers to life’s big question. I have great respect for religions and philosophies, but I must be honest and say “here’s what my thought, experience, and study suggest, but I know nothing with absolute certainty.”

Grounding Ethics

I disagree with the claim that ethics requires an ultimate ground in a deity in order to be valid and motivational to us as moral agents.  Ethics can be grounded in axiomatic principles of (1) rationality, (2) impartiality, and (3) universality; it can be grounded in considerations of welfare and actions that maximize benefits while…

Everyday Conversations

Everyday, superficial conversations are not philosophically uninteresting; they involve statements that presuppose accepting certain ways of living, make assumptions about the nature of the world and of human beings, and reveal underlying value systems.

Friends and Acquaintances

It is a joyous occurrence when acquaintances turn into friends, but a much sadder one when friends turn into acquaintances.


Hatred is never wise, but always aversion amplified by lack of reason.

Emptiness and Action

In Buddhism, sunyata (emptiness) means ’empty of a separately-existing, permanent self-nature.’  In this sense, all things in the universe, as impermanent and interdependent, are empty.  Emptiness, in this sense, does not mean that nothing exists or that nothing is of value, only that nothing exists permanently and by itself. If this is so, then how…

Being Critical Of Our Own Thoughts

Many people mistakenly believe that they should believe every thought they have.  However, the mere fact that an idea pops into my head is not, by itself, a reason to believe it.  I may simply be remembering something I have heard, making a false perception based on memory, or coming to a hasty conclusion.  We…

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts always come like uninvited guests.  They also seem to operate like ideologies; though they have an irrational core, they bend everything brought against them into arguments in their favor.