Saturday, August 17, 2013

Free Will and decisions along with big Idea #190 Realism and Naturalism

BBC Radio Four  is currently running a radio programme which is definitely one of my favourites, it's called The Philosopher's Arms and its deceit is that there's a pub where you can enjoy a drink and a chat about higher matters.
This week the show was about free will a subject that is endlessly fascinating and one I've felt that I've wrestled with particularly this week.
The wrestling took place over something where a decision needed to be made and it was (perhaps) finely balanced what decision I should make.
Sometime ago I was approached to take part in a medical study (a seemingly benign research into Diabetes care) the initial screening was held at a local hospital and I did not meet the criteria but for a subsequent study I was considered suitable.
The project then invited me to take part in 3 lots of 3 days (and nights) observation with a severely restricted diet in a hospital ward the dates were convenient and expenses would be paid as well as a sum (not an enormous amount but a sum none-the-less) for taking part.
Quite a pub
So was I willing to forgo 'freedom' (in movements and ingestions) for money and the benefit of diabetic research?
The answer after a somewhat sleepless night is 'no' I don't think it's that I couldn't manage without alcohol or stimulants (tea and coffee) for around 4 days or that I couldn't share a (comfortable
modern) hospital ward with others  or that I can't be away from my allotment at this time of year for so long but for the 'benefits'  (somewhat intangible even the money)  I would rather not.
So I made my decision and there is little that I lose by the decision (although I realise more of my own fallibility) - it brings to mind that when one works one receives a 'compensation package' presumably compensation for temporary enslavement at something that one would not necessarily choose?

Which brings me on nicely to..

Big Idea 190 which is  Realism and Naturalism (in the arts)


As before movements when they get over familiar tend to create counter movements against themselves  Realism and Nturalism were a reaction against Romanticism. In realism the mode of representation is that the artist tries to depict the world as it is and with the development  of Naturalism this new style being a logical extension of Realism.
Balzac and Stendhal were literary figures who worked in the style of  'realism' and in the visual arts Gustave Courbet pioneered some marvellous representations such as The Gleaners.
Naturalist writers included Gorki (in Russia) and Zola (in France) -nice presentation download here


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