A concise examination and description of freedom per se, among humans, in human interaction with the nonhuman environment, and as innate human capacity. The subject is freedom, not politics, though McMackin describes political systems in his first essay, “Alternatives and Restrictions,” and references those descriptions in illustration of human presumptive exercise of choice. Democracy is accorded more attention than most systems for the help it offers in his careful study of freedom.
The second essay, “Choice and Determinism,” is devoted to determinism, the hope that all, in the full sense of that word, either flows from the personal, conscious decisions of a perfect creator who transcends his universe, or the desire that all has been, is, and will be caused by the inherency of the self-existing universe, the relentless working of mindless matter. The topic suggests metaphysics; the discussion does not. McMackin is an accomplished essayist with a style uniquely his own, and the deftness he demonstrates as he clarifies concepts through his illuminating and suggestive analyses entertains while the insights challenge. As McMackin writes early in his first essay, “We need abstract and ideal terms not because we are amused by toying mystically with impossibilities but because only through them are we able to deal intelligently with the commonplace.”
About the Author
Lorin McMackin has taught philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the University of Bridgeport.