Thinking Out Loud Podcasts

What Is Liberty?

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Is liberty just a quaint and outdated word for freedom? What is freedom? Can we talk about one without the other? Is liberty personal, social, or political? Who decides our liberties? Our government? Our culture? Our conscience? What are we to be liberated from? Who or what oppresses us? Can we ever be completely liberated? Can we ever be completely free? Are wild animals free? Was Robinson Crusoe free on the deserted island? Was he liberated? Can we be free if we must continuously struggle for basic necessities? Does society curtail our freedoms or enhance them by providing a structure that eases the burden of survival? To what extent is freedom a question of attitude? To what extent is liberty a question of law? Does freedom for one come at the expense of freedom for another? Is it right to suspend civil liberties in the name of defending freedom? Is fear the enemy of freedom? Do our fears enslave us or protect us? Is it possible to have too much freedom? Does absolute freedom corrupt absolutely? Is liberation always a good thing? Doesn't national liberation lead to chaos? Doesn't personal liberation lead to the anxiety of choice? If we don't exercise the freedoms we have, do they matter? To what end do we seek freedom? Is liberation an ends in itself, or just another beginning?

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TOL Mission Statement


We engage together in, and record for broadcast, our earnest philosophical dialogues, so that we may:


  1. Enhance our understanding of life and the world in which we live.
  2. Stimulate intellectual curiosity and philosophical exploration in ourselves and others.
  3. Strengthen our intellectual skills of critical thinking and sound reasoning.
  4. Provide a forum for a diversity of thought from a broad spectrum of independent thinkers.
  5. Connect with and form a network among thoughtful and caring individuals, everywhere.
  6. Enjoy the pleasures of intellectually stimulating and philosophically insightful company.
  7. Promote the pursuit of wisdom in everyone.


TOL Guiding Principles


Civility - Treat everyone with respect. Use helpful, not hurtful language. Listen carefully and patiently when someone else is speaking.

Sincerity - Honest opinions and innocent questions are more valuable than "scoring points" or "looking smart". Strive for intellectual honesty.

Soundness - Favor sound reasoning over emotional rhetoric or sophomoric obfuscation.

Succinctness - Strive to be brief and to the point using understandable language. Speak loud and clear so others can hear.


TOL Rules of Discourse


Wait to be called on before speaking: Please don't just jump in. Restrain your enthusiasm. Hold that thought. Wait your turn.

One speaker at a time: No side conversations, comments, or noises please. They will be picked up by the recorder.

Address ideas, not individuals: Refrain from one-on-one debates, exchanges, or cross-examination. Focus on the message not the messenger.

Limit your time: Avoid the temptation to preach, teach, or lecture. Remember, others are waiting for their turn as well.

Yield to the moderator: - Always gracefully return the microphone back to moderator. Let the moderator determine who speaks next.


TOL Tips & Techniques


Listen carefully to what is being said and look for:


Assumptions that need to be examined.

Terms that need to be defined.

Inconsistencies that need to be resolved.

Distinctions that need to be made.

Patterns and relationships that emerge.


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