Recent Responses

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 February 26, 2019 (changed February 26, 2019) 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 i... 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 February 22, 2019 (changed February 22, 2019) 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 obsess... Read more

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

If by "philosophy" we mean Charles Taliaferro February 16, 2019 (changed February 16, 2019) 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 tha... Read more

Are all philosophical questions unsolvable?

Questions do not have Jonathan Westphal February 8, 2019 (changed February 8, 2019) 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 c... 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 February 7, 2019 (changed February 7, 2019) 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... Read more

A yellow chair isn't in the set of chairs because it's yellow. Similarly, a beautiful painting isn't in the set of good paintings because it's beautiful. Is my analogy sound?

Almost! You began with "A Stephen Maitzen January 31, 2019 (changed January 31, 2019) Permalink Almost! You began with "A yellow chair isn't in the set of chairs because it's yellow [but rather because it's a chair]." So I was expecting "A beautiful painting isn't in the set of paintings because it's beautiful [but rather because it's a painting]." Your... Read more

I'm leaning toward the position that there is little or no difference between advocacy and lying. Has any other philosopher discussed this in detail?

Check out Tom Carson's book Charles Taliaferro January 31, 2019 (changed January 31, 2019) Permalink Check out Tom Carson's book Lying and Deception (Notre Dame University Press). It's brilliant. I am not sure why you are leaning to equate lying and advocacy. Maybe you have in mind the idea that when persons advocate for a cause or person they might be... Read more

A man has a full grain silo and he refuses to feed the starving village people who the starve to death. I know he’ll be absolved in a court of law but, isn’t it wrong to let people die when you have the means to save them?

Great question. You are right Charles Taliaferro January 17, 2019 (changed January 17, 2019) Permalink Great question. You are right that, very often and in many places through history, there has been some reluctance to compel persons (through law) to save others when they are in a position to do so. This has included not just a reluctance to compel persons... Read more

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 you.’ This doctrine assumes that everyone, or at least others, innately both self-preserve and love themselves. To me, this idealized world is instantly refuted the second one realizes that the occurrence of murder exists at all. Otherwise, why act in such a needlessly violent manner? Why do as a society define murder as ‘evil’ and ignore the intent of it when the intent clearly outlines the motive and the scope of its effect?

Unless you think that all Allen Stairs January 10, 2019 (changed January 10, 2019) Permalink 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 (typ... Read more

What is it to know what a thing is? Suppose I can identify a laurel tree by its smell, but not by the shape and colour of its leaves. Or the other way around. Do I know what a laurel tree is in each of these cases? Or suppose I am a scientist and can identify it by analysing its genome, but not by its smell nor by the shape and colour of the leaves... Suppose I know only or, on the contrary, do not know the uses people give to laurel leaves. How many properties of laurel must I know so that I can know what laurel is? I think I must know something, otherwise I wouldn't even know what the word"laurel" means. But what? It can't be just one small thing: I wouldn't say that I know what laurel is if I can identify it only by its smell.

Great question(s). I suggest Charles Taliaferro January 10, 2019 (changed January 10, 2019) Permalink Great question(s). I suggest that "the bottom line" philosophically in such matters involves whether your concept of a "laurel" enables you to identify the plant as distinct from other plants and things in general (including minerals, animals, computers,..... Read more