When we ask the question of what distinguishes mankind from the rest of creation the possible answers usually include the presence and activity of the conscience. This "inner referee", as it has been called, acts to pull us toward the good and away from the bad.
While most have never heard of him, Thomas Nagel is at the center of a controversy that threatens to pull the curtain away from the great and terrible Oz of our day. I am speaking about the almost universally accepted belief that all of life - indeed, every element of the universe and all that exists in it - can be reduced to physical particles, themselves the product of physical processes guided by the principle of natural selection.
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Today millions around the world will gather with jersey-clad friends and family to eat and cheer their way through the Super Bowl. This championship of professional football in America has been the darling of the sports media for several weeks now, and finally the hoopla will give way to actual athletic competition.
It is rare when we think deeply anymore. In too many ways, and in too many instances, we are becoming a people who let others do our thinking for us.
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