I'm something of a nihilist, but with that I've lost is the reason to care about stuff, even myself and my loved ones. Why should I care about anything?

There is an interesting and much-discussed piece by Richard Hare called "Nothing Matters", in R. M. Hare, Applications of Moral Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1972), pp. 32–47). Hare develops the point that 'My wife matters' does not have the same sort of logical grammar as 'My wife chatters.' The idea is that chattering is something that my wife does to or at me, whereas mattering is not, in spite of the fact that 'My wife chatters' might be said when my wife chatters to me. Mattering is not like a sort of radiation, like invisible blue light, say, only more rarified, which my wife emits. A lead shield between me and my wife would not prevent her mattering to me. There are difficulties, certainly, with Hare's non-cognitivist approach, but his piece might be the best place for you to start.

What are some questions that we might be reasonably tempted to believe are answerable by psychology but that are actually only answerable by philosophy? Thank you very much.

Someone might reasonably think that the question what personal identity consists of is to be answered by psychology. So we can imagine looking at the formation of individuality over time, through childhood and on, and think we were answering the philosophical question what identity consists of. Clearly psychology cannot pre-empt the answer to the question whether, for example, the bodily criterion of identity is correct. There are a lot of other examples to choose from. The one I am most interested in at the moment is perception. Perceiving, as Ryle points out, is not a process, but the termination of one, like scoring a goal, to use Ryle's example. You can't ask how long it took to perceive some goat or other, and you ask how long the scoring of a goal took. You can ask of course in a different way how log it to Aston Villa to score a goal - the whole of the first half, say. It took them forty-five minutes. But what about the actual scoring? That is as you might say instantaneous. It happens when the...

Can a depiction or a representation of something be considered the something itself? For instance, can a picture of a unicorn actually be considered a unicorn? Is there a need to specify certain definitions in one's head in order for this to be argued? Like must I specifically define that if I want to see a unicorn I must specify I need one that must be living right in front of me and be able to perform the natural processes something that is living would, or could it be assumed to that if I want to see a real unicorn someone could show me a picture of one or a stuffed animal and it still be a valid response?

There could be a picture of an X that is itself an X. For example, there could be a minimalist picture of a square that is itself a square. The picture could even be titled in such a way that it is or is meant to be a picture of itself, so that this square is a picture of this square. But in general a picture of X is, obviously, not X. A picture of a unicorn is an oil painting, say, and an oil painting is not a unicorn. The famous portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Arthur Lawrence (1815-1816) is most certainly not the Duke of Wellington himself. It has outlived him for by a longtime, for example. We can of course say, looking at the portrait, 'Oh look, there's the Duke of Wellington. I can see why they called him the Iron Duke.' There is a difficult and interesting question here about depiction, and how to construe the first of these statements. It cannot mean, 'Oh look, there is a picture of the Duke of Wellington This is an observation about a picture in a material sense, gold frame and all. Nor can...

I have somewhat of a general question. What exactly is Compatibalism? As far as I understand, a way of reconciling the contradiction between free will and determinism. One way of describing it, as far as I understand, is this: "Free will is to be understood only as freedom from coercion, and anything further is an illusion." But I don't really understand what "freedom from coercion" means here. This quote is taken from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_free_will

This is a good question, and it is easy to answer. "Coercion" here is something like arm-twisting. It is a use of force or the threat of force to cause someone to do something. It takes this kind of force to prevent freewill doing its stuff. Ordinary causation won't do it, according to compatibilism. If my mother tells me to eat my nice soup, and I do it because I am hungry, that is ordinary causation. If my mother tells me to eat my nice soup, because if I don't she will whack me round the ear with her wooden spoon if I don't, that is coercion. It involves force or the threat of force. In this second case, according to compatibilism, I do not eat my nice soup freely. Why? Because what I do is coerced. By the way, "compatibilism" isn't just "freedom from coercion". It is the broader claim that freewill and determination (determinism) are compatible, and there are other versions. In the version you have been thinking about, the compatibilism of freewill and determinism is achieved by making coercion...

Recently there was a question that said, "you can't create something from nothing, can you?" Actually, if I understand quantum theory correctly, something indeed can exist from nothing. - nothing can spontaneously decay into a particle and its anti-particle - usually, those two particles then interact with each other, leaving nothing again afterward - occasionally one of those two resulting particles will interact with something else instead - consequently, the remaining particle of the original two particles will then continue to exist. Voila! something out of nothing, and it is grounded in physics.

There is a well-known equivocation on "nothing" here. According to quantum theory, there are two particles that go in and out of existence, and leave behind "something". You might as well argue that when I win a trick in bridge, my score came from nothing because the trick disappeared into the "book" (the pile of tricks I needed to make") afterwards. How are two particles interacting "nothing"? Besides, there is also the structure of the sea of quantum gravity, with fluctuations. Is a sea nothing? Is a fluctuation nothing? The fluctuation in the sea of quantum gravity is a most definite something. No, when in metaphysics we talk about something coming from nothing, the nothing has to be a pukka nothing - absolutely nothing at all, and not just a vacuum, for example, which has a structure and is therefore not nothing, but merely not air.

You can't create something out of nothing can you! And yet, here we exist. Is this not the most relevant question we can't answer?

Leibniz considered the question, and perhaps was the first to ask it, in "On the Radical Origination of Things" of September 23, 1697. He gave a comparison for the sequence of things demanding explanations. For a sufficient reason for existence cannot be found merely in one individual thing or even the whole aggregate and series of things. Let us imagine a book on the Elements of Geometry to have been eternal, one copy always being made from another; then it is clear that though we can give a reason for the present book based on the preceding book from which it was copied, we can never arrive at a complete reason, no matter how many books we may assume in the past, for one can always wonder why such books should have existed at all times; why there should be books at all, and why they should be written int his way. What is true of books is also true of the different states of the world . . . This puts the skids under the type of explanation Quentin Smith gives. He commits what informal logicians...

I have never had a successful romantic love experience. If I love someone, how am I supposed to know that I do?

I suspect that in some cases the process of falling in love, and then, perhaps suddenly, realizing that that is what is happening, are part of the same process. You are only fully in love when you have the delicious experience of realizing that you are in love. I don't think this is quite as paradoxical as it might seem, but the paradox is certainly worth thinking about.

Are all philosophical questions unsolvable?

Questions do not have solutions, so your question needs rephrasing. It contains a category mistake. Perhaps one could say that questions are to answers as problems are to solutions. At any rate, it is questions have answers, and problems that have solutions. So we can put your question as this: 'Is no philosophical question answerable?' Your question has a history starting in classical philosophy, as the question whether there are insolubilia , or unanswerable questions, such as whether the statement made by the Cretan Liar is true, or whether it is false. But in modern philosophy the question about insolubilia expanded from logical annoyances into the entire world of metaphysics and epistemology. Can we ever find reality and know it as it is? Kant famously thought not, that we are somehow imprisoned within our own conceptual schemes. This is a big deal. His arguments are complicated and take some study to understand, if they can be understood. There is a possible lesson here, which is that we...

Hello! My question is simple. How do philosophy of time and the philosophy of history distinguish themselves from one another?

The answer is equally simple. The philosophy of history is about actual human history, and things such as what constitutes a proper historical explanation, whether there are historical laws, the role of the individual in determining historical events, and so on. The philosophy of time deals with much more theoretical questions, not about human history at all, but about time itself. Does time pass, or is that an illusion? Is "the myth of passage" really a myth? ("The Myth of Passage" is the name of a well-known article by the Harvard philosopher D.C. Williams. Does time always flow forward, if it flows at all? Can it flow backwards? If not, why not? If it flows, how fast does it flow, and though what? Since speed = distance/time, the speed of time would be the temporal distance covered by time, such as a minute, divided by time, e.g. per minute; but this makes no sense at all. Etc. Etc. There is occasionally a little overlap between the two subjects. For example, the first event is important both in cosmic...

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