Category Archives: philosophy

The Varieties of Religious Experience – Lecture 2

Chapter-by-chapter thoughts on William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience (hardcover, Kindle). Lecture II – Circumscription of the Topic James has set himself a daunting task. But first things first: definitions. Religion can mean many things to many people, but he defines it … Continue reading

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May 18 in freethought history…

May 18, 1872 - Philosopher and activist Bertrand Russell is born in Trellech, Wales. Aside from his career contributions to philosophy, mathematics, linguistics and computer science, he was a lifelong critic of war and an advocate for progressive social causes. He … Continue reading

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May 13 in freethought history…

May 13, 1951 – Dutch philosopher Herman Philipse is born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He is best known for his Atheist Manifesto, a collection of essays, which stirred some controversy in his country, and deeply influenced a Somali immigrant … Continue reading

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May 6 in freethought history…

May 6, 1862 - Philosopher and social reformer Henry David Thoreau dies in Concord, Massachusetts, aged 44. He is best known for his memoir Walden; or, Life in the Woods (a call for simplicity, thoughful living, and closeness to nature) and his … Continue reading

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April 10 in freethought history…

April 10, 1905 - Founder of situational ethics and euthanasia activist Joseph Fletcher is born in Newark, New Jersey. He founded the Euthanasia Society of America, signed Humanist Manifesto II, and was named Humanist of the Year in 1974 by the … Continue reading

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April 9 in freethought history…

April 9, 1347 – English friar William of Ockham dies in what is now Munich, Germany. He is best known by his namesake Ockham’s Razor (also Occam’s Razor), the “law of parsimony” that suggests that the hypothesis with the fewest … Continue reading

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March 29 in freethought history…

March 29, 1824 - Philosopher and physiologist Ludwig Büchner is born in Darmstadt, Germany. He was a foremost German proponent of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories, and published a number of scientific books in which he vehemently advocated an extreme materialist view (which … Continue reading

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March 23 in freethought history…

March 23, 1900 – Philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm (whose books include Escape from Freedom and The Art of Loving) is born in Frankfurt, Germany. He was named Humanist of the Year in 1966 by the American Humanist Association. He … Continue reading

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March 18 in freethought history…

March 18, 1898 – Abolitionist, suffragist, social activist and freethinker Matilda Joslyn Gage dies in Chicago, Illinois, aged 71. As a young woman, she participated in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to freedom. She was a leader in the women’s suffrage … Continue reading

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March 17 in freethought history…

March 17, 1906 – Anarchist and atheist Johann Joseph Most dies in Cincinnati, Ohio, aged 60. His upbringing was impoverished and traumatic–as a child he developed frostbite on his left cheek, which led to an infection and other complications. The resulting … Continue reading

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