Recent Responses

My friends and I have gotten into an argument over whether or not there is/are opposites to a circle. Both sides have some valid points, but the main idea is whether or not there are opposite shapes.

I can't think of any ordinary Stephen Maitzen 4/29/19 (changed 5/8/19) Permalink I can't think of any ordinary sense of "opposite" that allows for the existence of opposite shapes (i.e., closed plane figures). But you and your friends could invent a technical sense of "opposite" that allows for opposite shapes. Maybe the opposite of a shape is the mirr... Read more

Could necessary truths like "red is a color" turn out to be wrong?

Not if they really are Stephen Maitzen 4/28/19 (changed 4/28/19) Permalink Not if they really are necessary truths. By definition, any necessary truth couldn't possibly have been false. It takes some care to state propositions in such a way that they really are necessarily true. For instance, Red is a color asserts the existence of something -- red, or redne... Read more

I have a strong conviction. It's about free will. I don't think we have it. Here goes: 1. We don't choose our preferences. - I can't say we do, looking into myself and others I've talked to... Which ofcourse makes my basis for this assertion quite limited. So how is it? Do we choose our preferences? 2. We can't make choices outside of our preferences. - Looking into myself and my choices, they're always dictated by my preferences. No matter how banale or how life changing the choice was. I chose as I preferred to choose. (I call it choice even if I don't believe there ever was a choice per se, because there are options at hand, objectively speaking.) Conclusion: We don't have free will. We can't choose any other way than we in fact choose. Does this hold up as it stands? Thanks in advance.

Your comment runs together Stephen Maitzen 4/28/19 (changed 4/30/19) Permalink Your comment runs together two things that ought to be kept distinct: (1) Can we choose our preferences? (2) Could we have chosen otherwise than we in fact chose? I'll take them up in turn. I'm not a psychologist, but I take it as common knowledge that we do have some long-term... Read more

I am seeing a married man that had already started his divorce proceedings before we had our affair. His wife is a friend of mine and approves of our relationship because she still wants her husband around for advice and help but she is seeing other men and in fact has a stable relationship with one. I care for this man deeply and he has said he "loves me". From the beginning my guilt about being with a "married man" has haunted me from a religious point of view. I can't get around it. Now we are both in stressful situations where he is going to court (more than once because we are in Mexico and it takes a long time) and I am selling my house with a major issue with the closing. Since we have started to argue, I just want to break it up until his divorce goes through and my closing to get some breathing room. At this point, I don't even want to be with him. We were going to live together after I sold my house and feel this is a bad idea under the circumstances. In fact I feel my soul has been compromised and you cannot say I am a die hard Christian who has been a good person in my life. Many times I have done wrong in my life but this one thing I feel is unforgivable. You can tell me to go to a minister but I know that will not help.

According to many (but Charles Taliaferro 3/15/19 (changed 3/15/19) Permalink According to many (but perhaps not all) Christians and many secular philosophers (and persons of other faiths) marriage is fundamentally based on the vows that persons make to each other. So, for many Christians in the west, the church does not actually marry two persons; the churc... Read more

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 Allen Stairs 3/14/19 (changed 3/14/19) Permalink 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... Read more

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 Allen Stairs 2/26/19 (changed 2/26/19) Permalink 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... Read more

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 Allen Stairs 2/22/19 (changed 2/22/19) Permalink 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 possibil... Read more

Is philosophy something that everyone uses? Should people use philosophy more, than they already do?

If by "philosophy" we mean Charles Taliaferro 2/16/19 (changed 2/16/19) Permalink If by "philosophy" we mean something like having a view of reality and values then it is hard to imagine not having a philosophy. If we mean something more like "disciplined reflection on reality and values," then it also seems hard to imagine that doing more philoso... Read more

Are all philosophical questions unsolvable?

Questions do not have Jonathan Westphal 2/8/19 (changed 2/8/19) Permalink 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... Read more

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 Allen Stairs 2/7/19 (changed 2/7/19) Permalink 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 fro... Read more

Pages