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Hello philosophers in a recent debate I was involved in a theist stated “For morality to be objective, moral propositions such as "Killing is bad","Stealing is bad", etc... need to be true independently of the person who is stating them. “ I countered “That is the way this position is normally put but a problem arises as in if there are objective moral facts how would we know this to be the fact? To know something is an objective moral fact only needs an agent to know this , how can a moral fact be known independent of a human mind to decide?” Is my position logically sound or are there problems with my reply?

I think your counterargument is conflating issues that need to be kept distinct. Your interlocutor ((I'll call him or her your friend) said, correctly, that if morality is objective, the truth of moral claims doesn't depend on the person who makes them. That seems fine. To say that something is objectively true is to say that it's true whether or not anyone believes it. Your response was to ask how we could know that there are objective moral facts, if there really are. But that's a separate issue, and in fact it has nothing in particular to do with moral claims. If there are objective facts about what's going on now (say, in the Earth's frame of reference) in some remote part of the universe, then those facts are facts whether or not we could ever be in a position to know them. Whether X is mind-independently true and whether anyone is in a position to know that X is true are different matters. You ask: "how can a moral fact be known independent of a human mind to decide?" That's...

In what extent through the philosophy of time, can it be said that there is no 'past' or 'future.' But that there is a only a eternal 'Now' and if that's the case, how should a philosopher or someone like me be able to explain this idea? Also if there is a eternal 'Now,' then could it be said that the Universe is only, and always present with no future or past.

Here is a sampling of views on time that you'll find in recent literature: Presentism: Only the present moment is real; neither the past nor the future exist. Among other things, this view is supposed to help make sense of our sense that time really passes, but it does that (to the extent that it does) by treating the present as an infinitely thin slice and not as something eternal.On the contrary: the present is utterly evanescent. The Block Universe: On this view, all events exist eternally, as it were. That includes all events before my writing this post, all events simultaneous (in some frame of reference) with my writing, and all events after my writing. This view is claimed to fit best with the understanding of time that Relativity provides, but there is no eternal now . "Now" has no metaphysical interest whatsoever. "Now" is like "here": it's what is sometimes called an indexical term, picking out what it picks out only relative to its use. When you say "I am here" and I say "I am...

Can philosophy make you go crazy? If you think too much about philosophy, will you end up not being able to think properly?

If you obsess too much about more or less anything, it can be bad for you, but some of the topics that philosophy deals with can be more troublesome for some people. I have in mind especially some forms of radical skepticism. I have met people who've been obsessed with the possibility that they don't really know that there's an external world, or that there are other people. I've had them in my office, clearly distressed. I'd guess that there were already some underlying problems. I'd guess that it wasn't a case of someone who was otherwise fully functioning and then happened on Descartes' Meditations , but the skeptical questions provided something for their background issues to latch onto. When I'm talking with such folk, I tend to stress two things. The first is philosophical: the fact that something is possible in some rarified sense isn't a reason for thinking it's at all likely. Yes: in some sense of "could," it could be that what's going on in my mind is all there is. But in this sense of ...

how would i use natural deduction to prove this argument to be correct? Its always either night or day.There'd only be a full moon if it were night-time. So,since it's daytime,there's no full moon right now. i have also formalized the argument using truth functional logic i'm not sure if it is completely correct though and would much appreciate the help. symbolization key: N: night D: day Fm: full moon Nt: night time Dt: day time ((N V D) , (Fm → Nt) , (Dt → ¬Fm))

There's a problem with your symbolization. The word "since" isn't a conditional. It's more like a conjunction, but better yet, we can treat it as simply giving us another premise. So in a slightly modified version of your notation, the argument would be N v D F → N D ∴ ¬F But from the premises as given, the conclusion won't be derivable. The reason is simple. You are assuming that if it's day it's not night and vice-versa. That may be part of the meaning of the words, but the symbols 'N' and 'D' aren't enough to capture it. The easiest fix is to treat "day" as "not night." That gives us N v ¬N F → N ¬N ∴ ¬F In this case, the first premise is a tautology and not needed. The argument is just a case of Modus Tollens. If you want something less trivial, you can drop the first premise and add a premise like this: D ↔ ¬N F → N D ∴ ¬F The first premise amounts to making the "v" exclusive. From there it's easy to complete a proof. A couple of extra comments. First, in the English version, you add a...

By what definition, and extent, and to what purpose do we as humans classify the idea and act of murder as evil? To most people I ask this question seems ludicrous and the answer alarmingly obvious, but I have yet to understand why we identify this occurrence as ‘evil.’ I can understand that the intent of murder and its outcome can result in a way that selfishly benefits the murderer at such a terrible cost, and I can understand that the action of taking someone’s life is just as cruel to the deceased as it is to the people that knew and loved that victim, but it seems hypocritical to me that we as a society generalize the idea of killing as evil when relatively many of us favor capital punishment, strong military, and, at least in fiction, vigilante justice. We send men and women to violent battlefields yet, before they leave, indoctrinate the poor souls into thinking that the very act of murder is evil just by itself. They come back scarred because of this. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto...

Well, we think that murder is wrong, and that it's often (usually?) not just wrong but very wrong—wrong enough to count as evil. Robbing someone of their purse is bad; robbing them of the life is worse. What you say you don't understand is why we count murder as (typically? often? almost always?) evil in spite of the fact that we think killing isn't always wrong. You see some sort of hypocrisy here. But why? After all: not all killing is wrong. The obvious example: killing in self-defense, which I hope we can agree is morally acceptable in a way that murder isn't. Even more so: killing by a police officer to protect the life of an innocent person threatened by an assailant. Capital punishment is a harder case. I think it's wrong, but I don't think people who believe otherwise are therefore morally blind. War is complicated business, but there's a case to be made that going to war is at least sometimes morally acceptable too. The place where what you're saying seems to miss the mark is here: it...

Why are non-material objects not causally efficacious? Or, why can’t non-material objects partake in causality? Is there a reason other than simply saying that non-material objects are as such by definition? Thank you!

The first point is that not everyone would accept the presupposition of your question. Most obviously, theists wouldn't. According to many varieties of theism, the First Cause of the material world is not a material thing. Needless to say, not everyone agrees. But you can deny that there is a non-physical First Cause without denying that the very idea is incoherent. There are homelier examples. On at least some views, the fact that something was absent can be a cause. Absences, however, aren't material objects. (In fairness, they aren't non-material objects either.) So the first point is that it isn't simply agreed by the parties to the dispute that only material objects are causally efficacious. We could also add that even among materialists, broadly understood, most would say that events rather than objects are what do the causing, but it's at least arguable that events are in space and time and so even if they aren't material objects , they're physical in a broader sense. The...

Defenders of animals' rights argue that other people are "speciesists" (like some people are racists). I would like to ask if speciesism is always wrong. Suppose healthy adult people have some features that make them important (say, they can speak and they can reason in complicated ways) and that no non-human animals have. Suppose those features give adult healthy humans some rights. Is it necessarily wrong to assign those rights also to human babies and mentally handicapped humans, but not to non-human animals? We would recognize those rights in babies and the mentally impaired because we like them more than we like other animals (as a matter of fact, most of us are speciesists), but animals couldn't complain about that, could they? Anyway, they wouldn't be offended. I also think this argument would not make racism acceptable.

I was with you about 2/3 of the way through what you wrote. Yes: it might be that some features humans have give them rights beyond those of non-human animals. And yes, in light of that, it might be acceptable to grant the relevant rights to people who don't have the relevant characteristics. (Notice that I've said "might," because the actual arguments will matter.) Your question is whether it could be okay to draw the line at humans and not extend the same rights to non-human animals. Once again, I can see ways of arguing for that view that aren't just obviously crazy, whether or not the arguments are good enough all things considered. But I found myself puzzled by what comes next. You suggest that we'd draw this distinction because we like babies and mentally handicapped people better than we like, say, puppies and beef cows. Is that a speculation about what our actual motivations? I hope that's all it is, because it certainly doesn't seem like a moral justification. (I'm also pretty sure, based on...

Panpsychism seems to posit that consciousness is a fundamental property of matter. If so, it would then need to be able to explain how discrete chunks of matter, presumably with their own consciousness, combine to create the unified sense of conscious experience that humans enjoy. Would it not make more sense, (or are their philosophers who make this point), to think that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality and that the property that matter has is the ability to interface with consciousness as opposed to having its own? Such that, the more complex a system is the more access it has to consciousnesses, (and vice versa?). Roughly speaking, does it make more sense and fit with our intuitions as well as our empirical evidence to think of matter has being able to receive consciousness rather than create it? I call this the "capacity answer" to "combination problem". Increased complexity allows for greater access to/processing of the raw conscious "stuff" that is then colored by our interaction...

I think that the reason your question has been left unanswered for a while is that it's not clear what you're asking. You ask if it might be that "consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality and that the property that matter has is the ability to interface with consciousness as opposed to having its own." I'll confess that I'm genuinely unsure what that means. One problem is that consciousness isn't a thing. I'm conscious of the computer screen in front of me as I write my answer. You're conscious of the screen on your computer (or phone or tablet...) as you read what I wrote. To talk of consciousness is a way of talking about being conscious . There's no clear meaning to attach to the idea of some reservoir of "consciousness" out there, apart from being conscious of one thing or another. I do think you're right about this: saying that "consciousness is a fundamental property of matter" doesn't give us insight into how our experience is unified. I'm just not seeing how we get any further...

I talked with a 78 y.o. woman whose ears were pierced (for earrings) when she was 1 y.o. or so. I asked her if she didn't think her parents were wrong in having her ears pierced, because they caused her intense pain without need and without her consent. She looked very surprised with my question and told me that her parents did the right thing, since she would always have wanted to use earrings AND (this is the point) it would have been much WORSE if she would have her ears pierced when she was 7 or 12. She told me that she doesn't remember the pain inflicted on her when she was 1 year old, and so that pain "was nothing", it was "worth nothing" (the conversation was not in English....). I wonder if this makes sense. Is pain that one will absolutely forget within an hour much less important than pain that we will remember?

That's what we'd generally expect. Pain you remember can have consequences beyond the painful experience itself. It may give you unpleasant memories. It may intrude on your thoughts unbidden. It may make you phobic, avoidant, fearful. In extreme cases it may leave you with PTSD. I'm old enough to have had more than one routine colonoscopy. I don't know for sure what drug they used, but if it was Midazolam, then there's a good chance that I've experienced pain that I have no memory of whatsoever.* If so, I think your acquaintance's description gets it right: the pain was "worth nothing." If my doctor told me that I actually was given Midazolam and asked me whether I'd be willing to have the same medication the next time I'm due for the procedure, I'd say yes. Pain as such isn't as important as a crude version of utilitarianism might lead you to think. What matters much more is how it fits in with the rest of your life. -------------------------- * Actually, it's virtually certain that I've experienced...

How can we deal with decision making under ignorance of probabilities when all possible negative or positive outcomes of one alternative are equal to that of the other(s)? I put forth the following example: Let's say that I can choose either to deal with a current personal security matter, which might otherwise bring about death, or to deal with a health issue that, if left untreated, might have the same consequence; and let's suppose that I have no access to the probability of mortality from any problem, nor to the probability of mortality provided that I assess either of them. As I see it, normative accounts for these instances, such as the maximin, minimax, maximax, and Laplace criteria would hold the alternatives to be equally good, as they have the same expected utility. But I am sincerely dissatisfied with the idea of making choices at random, so I want to know what you think. I also see the possibility of the decision making process being tainted by an "anything goes" type of mentality, as coming...

If I understand your question correctly, it's this: in a case where the available considerations don't favor one alternative over another, how can we choose rationally what to do, where "rational" entails that anyone in the same situation (same preferences, values, information, probabilities or lack thereof...) would choose the same way? Unless I'm missing something, you can't choose rationally in this case in that sense. The way you've set the situation up leaves no room for singling out one alternative. One possibility is to add "do nothing" to the list of alternatives. If that's better, or likely better than each of the alternatives, do nothing. But if doing nothing is worse overall, then the obvious question is: what's wrong with picking randomly? After all, picking randomly only in cases where you need to make a choice and there's no principled way to do it isn't the same as thinking that anything goes in any circumstance. That should be clear in general. But an artificial example may help....

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