The Voluntary Life: May 2016

31 May 2016

248 Thinking Rationally Part 6: Your Superpower For Self-Determination


This episode is about the role of rational thinking in life. Rational thinking is a discipline of self-mastery, similar to the discipline of achieving physical fitness. I tackle some misconceptions about rational thinking and answer these questions:

  • What does cognitive science tell us about thinking rationally?
  • What are the costs of thinking rationally, and what are the benefits?

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 248


21 May 2016

247 Thinking Rationally Part 5: Reason And Emotions

If you want to think rationally, what role do your emotions play? Is there a conflict between thinking rationally and experiencing feelings? In this episode, I explain the history of ideas around reason and emotion, and provide an overview of how to think rationally about feelings. Although the Enlightenment was a revolution in thinking rationally, Enlightenment philosophers never resolved their contradictions about the relationship between reason and the emotions, leaving a legacy of confusion about this topic. Instead of slavishly following feelings or repressing and ignoring them, rational thinking gives you a deeper, richer emotional life. Rational thinking enables you to pay attention to your feelings and make use of their valuable information.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 247


15 May 2016

246 Thinking Rationally Part 4: Listener Feedback On Faith Versus Reason


So far, the Thinking Rationally series has generated more listener feedback than any of my previous episodes! In this episode, I respond to feedback on the topic of faith versus reason. Here are the questions covered:

  • Can reason be accommodated within religious faith?
  • Don't we all live by some kind of faith, anyway?
  • Do I argue that we are "nothing more than matter in motion"?
  • Did I present a fair history of Christianity?

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 246




8 May 2016

245 Thinking Rationally Part 3: Anti-Rational Ideas


Rational thinking transforms your life, by giving you autonomy and the freedom of the individual. Since it spread during the Enlightenment, rational thinking has also transformed society and created the modern world. Yet many influential philosophers explicitly rejected rational thinking, because they understood where it would lead and did not like what they saw. This episode is about anti-rational ideas. I cover how these ideas emerged as a reaction to the Enlightenment, and why such anti-rational ideas are so popular today among contemporary philosophers.

Show Notes:


Listen To Episode 245