Several months ago I mentioned a book by philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, "The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes," and noted that we'd be having an online discussion here in the fall. The reprinted edition of this book is offered by Fordham University Press, and most if not all of the book is free here. Since this book addresses Catholic theology, philosophy, emerging computer intelligence, criminal justice and theories of punishment, and animal intelligences--and most importantly, what to make of all these interactions--I thought it would be a good subjection for discussion. Lots of Venn diagrams interacting!
If you have been reading this book, now is your opportunity to offer your reactions. Some possible questions to consider: Is free-will talked about enough in society? How important is this concept to our faith? Is there enough awareness of mitigating forces that encroach upon or attenuate free will--internal psychological forces being just one of them? How does the concept of free will fit into philosophies and platforms of the major political parties? Does modern neurology consider free will? Is the practice of the "social sciences" (psychology, economics, sociology, etc.) possible if one of the variables to be considered is free will?
Perhaps those of you with expertise in the Catechism or the Compendium can point us to sections of these works that show the importance of free-will in Catholic thinking.
I realize that today's readers would expect a title encompassing both men and women, and some will have hoped for copy editing that would equalize the masculine and feminine throughout the book. So this is noted.
I look forward to reading and discussing your thoughts and reactions, and will offer a second blog on Wednesday that will continue the discussion.
William Van Ornum