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This month, I sit down with Mariam Thalos (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) to discuss freedom. What is it, why do we want it, and how do we attain it? Click here to listen to our conversation.

We all categorize ourselves. You might think of yourself as a student, or as a painter, or as being good with numbers, or as being civic-minded. These labels we use to categorize ourselves have a huge effect on how we make our decisions–when faced with the choice of doing X vs. doing Y, whether I think of myself as someone’s who’s civic-minded and whether someone who’s civic-minded would do X can both play a huge role in influencing whether I decide to do X.

What does all that have to do with freedom? Our guest this month thinks that freedom just is the ability to affect, shape, or even create these sorts of labels, before then applying them to yourself. It isn’t as though anyone invents every label they apply to themselves; plenty of them are handed down to us from popular culture and other sources. But Mariam Thalos thinks that if you’re living freely, you are playing at least some creative role in fashioning your own self-conception.

Join us as our esteemed guest discusses the feedback loop between our social identities and the way we live our lives!

Matt Teichman