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I think most would agree that there are multiple forms of intelligence. However, is there one particular form - for example, logic - which is foundational to all others? -santana

I think that the question that you ask is still an open one: it is not known to what extent our mental life is underwritten by logical reasoning. The question may eventually be resolved by cognitive science.

However, one worry that might face someone in answering your question is how broadly 'intelligence' should be understood. If you mean our general ability to cope with difficult situations that confront us in day-to-day life, then it is highly unlikely that logic is ultimately responsible for our degree of success. If you mean our ability to solve problems in IQ tests, then logic is highly likely to be responsible.

I'm personally rather sceptical of any approach that divides up human cognitive life into different general 'intelligences'. To my mind, a more interesting approach would be to pick a particular cognitive process---say, language learning---and try to determine, for that particular cognitive process, the extent to which logical inference plays a role.

Are there any arguments for the existence of an objective morality that are not religious?

The main argument is probably that it *feels* to most of us as if there are objective moral constraints on our actions. So the burden of proof lies on the person who says that we don't feel like that or that if we do then we're making some mistake.

It may be that you think that religion can indeed provide an argument for an objective morality. If so, then you need to face up to Plato's *Euthyphro dilemma*: either (e.g.) torturing babies is wrong because God says it's wrong (and morality is indeed dependent on God) or God says it's wrong because it is indeed wrong. If you go for the former, then morality appears arbitrary. If God decreed that parting your hair on the left was a terrible wrong, then it would be. And if you go for the latter, then you will need what you are seeking in your question -- a non-religious argument for objective morality.

Is music a language? And if so what requirements should a language satisfy?

There is no uncontroversial definition of a language. However, a requirement that is often cited is that there should be rules on how different elements of a language are composed together (syntax). Another requirement is that the elements of a language should have representational content (semantics).

Music arguably passes the first requirement: notes cannot be strung together in any way one likes to make music. But it appears to fail the second requirement: it is not obvious that individual musical notes represent anything at all. One might argue that sometimes there are phrases in music that do represent: for example, different instrumental lines in Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf represent the activities of different animals. But these tend to be rather isolated cases of representation; they are not as widespread and systematic as one would expect from a language (e.g. flutes in music do not always represent birds, or indeed anything at all).

Even if music is not a language in the above sense, that does not mean that there aren't interesting connections between language and music, or that our linguistic and musical abilities aren't related.

I have a question regarding destiny and free will. I have never been able to decide upon a solution to satisfy my search and stumbled upon this site and decided to see if a trained philosopher would be able to do the problem justice. Do we, in fact, have free will or do we not? There are two views I can think of that would both say that we do not have free will, while the general belief is that we do have free will and that what we do are products of that free will. Assuming belief in a higher all-knowing power exists, then doesn't it make sense that this being would know the future and therefore your actions are predestined simply by the knowledge this being contains and that there is no way of straying off the path that is known for you? The second belief is a more scientific belief in which no higher power is of existence, yet it is undeniable that quantum mechanics exist and that particles all have a set of laws they follow and that whatever started "everything" whether it was the big bang, or whatever else you may believe, that all the particles have simply been interacting with eachother in ways that these laws not only allow, but demand so that all of our thoughts are not of free will like we would like to believe, but are simply forced according to these laws and that even the belief in free will itself is a forced thought and perception? So I ask, is a certain destiny unavoidable, therefore leaving the idea of free will hopelessly lost and illogical?

It is very difficult to see how free will is possible. The problem your second view raises looks like the problem of determinism. If everything that happens in the world, including all human actions, are determined the laws of nature, then it is indeed difficult to see how we can have free will. Now maybe the laws of nature do not completely fix every event, but only the probabilities of various events occurring. Indeed this is the standard understanding of quantum mechanics, which you mention. But even this 'slack', this element of indeterminism, does not seem to leave any room for free will. If my body just happens to go one way rather than another by chance, that is not me acting by my own free will, since I am not in control.

The first view you mention is rather different. This is the thought that we have no free will if God knows everything we will do. In my view, this idea of foreknowledge is less of a threat to free will than determination by law. For even if someone knows exactly what I will do, that knowledge is not, I take it, restricting me in any way. In that respect, the foreknowledge case seems quite different from the laws of nature case. Think about it this way. As people get to know me better, they get better able to predict what I will do. But my free will does not go down as their knowledge of me goes up. So I am inclined to say that even if there is a God who can read me like a book, that in itself does not threaten my free will, so long as he does not interfere with my thoughts or actions.

Considering the problem of induction, do we need faith to believe in the uniformity of nature even though it would seem that we have little choice but to?

This is what David Hume's great skeptical argument seems to show. The claim that nature is (and will be) uniform, or such that our inductive practices will tend to take us to the truth, is itself something that it seems we could only know by using induction, but to use induction to justify induction seems worthless.

For my money nobody has yet given a fully adequate reply to Hume's argument. And if his argument is sound, the our reliance on induction does seem to be a matter of faith: something we believe though we can have no good reason for it.

As you probably know, there is a huge literature of attempts to solve the problem of induction. My own view is that the prospects for inductive justifications of induction are better than they first appear. For example, I think that the fact that a particular method of predictive the future has worked well so far can give some reason to trust it in future, even though that argument would of course have no force for someone who refused to use induction at all. But the attempt to parlay that thought into anything like a general justification of induction is a long story.

Which philosophical texts are considered, generally, to be canonical (in the sense that any and everyone who either has an interest in philosophy or is studying it should have read them)?

The list of such texts will either be very long (if you allow that not absolutely all philosophers need to read each one), or else there will be no such list (if you insist that absolutely all philosophers should have read each one).

Philosophy has come to have so many sub-disciplines that it is quite possible for someone to be very good in field X and yet never have read any of the basic texts in some other field(s). Also, the closer we get to the present day, historically, the more difficult it becomes to name the texts that are going to be the "classics" of philosophy.

The safest answer to questions such as yours would be to look at the lists of texts taught in most history of philosophy classes (those covering ancient Greek through 19th Century European philosophy). What professors assign to their students in these classes are generally regarded as very important works of philosophy that good philosophers would do well to have read and understood.

I acknowledge that Descartes "Founder of Modern Philosophy" and the "Father of Modern Mathematics," ranks as one of the most important and influential thinkers of modern times. Obviously very influential and smart right? Well.... If this guy was so bright, then why did he believe that non-human animals were not sentient and therefore could not suffer or feel pain? This belief led him to accept vivisection as ethical. If you squeeze the skin of a cat violently and pinch it, it will scream in agony. My question is, how could a person supposedly brilliant and also striving to prove the existence of god and the infinite essence known as the soul in human beings found in meditations on first philosophy have the misconception that non-human animals cannot suffer? When inflicting vivisection or violent harm, the truth is SCREAMING at you in the face! I am boggled. Can somebody please shed some light on this supposedly wonderful mind of Descartes?

I hope others will chime in on this one, but here is a partial answer. The problem that lies behind your question is na version of what is called the "problem of other minds." The truth, as you put it, is actually not "SCREAMING at you in the face." Even Descartes would not have denied that cats will struggle and make loud noises when you begin to cut them open. The screaming, as you put it, is something that happens when cats are vivisected. The question--on which you and Descartes differ--is whether that screaming should be understood as a decisive indicator of whether the cat actually feels pain.

Consider even another human being. You witness them suffering some injury, and they cry out. You assume they are feeling pain, and that is why they cry out, because when you injure yourself in the same or similar ways, you feel pain, and that is what makes you cry out. But if you think about it, the only pain--indeed, the only consciousness of any kind that you ever have or ever will experience is your own.

But are analogies of the sort you make with this other human being (she is like me, so when she cries out, it is for the same reason or reasons) really all that reliable? Do you like the taste of liver? If you do, what do you make of people who hate it? Are you male? If so, do you really think that the way females experience things is exactly the same as the way you do? And so on... Now, if such questions arise when it comes to other human beings, how much more complex do they become when you are trying to assess the conscious states of non-human animals, whose neurologies and other morphologies, and whose evolutionary histories are in many ways significantly like ours? A famous question, framed years ago in a famous article by Thomas Nagel, is: What is it like to be a bat? Honest answer: Haven't a clue! Well, then, what makes you so certain that you know what it is like to be a cat??? Is it simply inconceivable, or logically impossible, that a being (such as a cat) might not respond to stimuli in ways that look very similar to the ways we respond to them (in some cases, anyway--not when my cat and I contemplate the same dish of cat food, however!), but in the case of the cat, there is no intervening (or supervenient, or whatever it might be) instances of consciousness? That is what Descartes supposed--that cat screaming was just behavioral only, and not related to consciousness. Since consciousness appears not to be directly observable (except in first-person, as it were), your evidence against Descartes's view is not at all compelling.

Of course, I don't think he had any very good evidence that cats do not have consciousness, and I myself suppose they do (at least my two cats do...well, sort of). But I have tried to show why your case against Descartes is not as easily made as you seemed to suppose.

When did it come to the point where science and philosophy were not the same thing, or at least in search for the same goal. An experiment here, a theory there, both being created by the thought of how to complete the experiment, or checking the pros and cons of a theory until it is as sound as one mind can allow. Are they not both in search for truth, thus intertwined for a singular outcome?

When? I think it was June 15, 1412 at 5:22 in the laboratory of... (just kidding!)

I don't think such questions have very definite answers. "Philosophy" means "love of wisdom," and originally, any thoughtful example of truth-seeking counted as "philosophia"--the Greek word for philosophy. As you say, both are examples of our search for truth, and in that sense, both continue to interact, at various levels.

However, one thing that distinguishes science is that it has a methodology tied to observations and experimentation, whereas much of what philosophers debate has not (yet, at any rate) lent itself to empirical resolution through observation and experimentation. We do "thought experiments" a lot of the time, but these results are not as reliable, as universal, or always replicable, in the ways that actual empirical experiments (which can be performed by anyone anywhere, with suitable equipment) are.

This seem like an odd question and perhaps misplaced on this site but I am interested none the less. I was thinking about the definition of a car. You see, I've brought this up in conversation before and people are usually arrogantly dismissive of it, and say something like “it has 4 wheels and an engine!”; then I inform them that they've just described cars, forklifts, tractors, some planes etc... Then they realize that any true definition would require much more eloquence. But this is where I am stuck, as any definition I can think of does not omit other non-car vehicles or does not include the myriad of car forms. The fact that what is a car is obvious to the observer is testimony to the fact that there is a working definition of it, and if we fail to find one then, to me at least, it suggests that there is some uniquely car trait that we have yet to quantify. I suppose the broader question this raises is are definitions meaningful anyway?

Most historians of philosophy agree that definitional questions were introduced as the special province of philosophy by Socrates, who asked them about virtue-terms, and thus invariably exposed the ignorance of his interlocutors. Socrates is also sometimes said to have committed "the Socratic fallacy," which is (roughly) the claim that unless you have knowledge of the definition, you can't know anything else about the thing to be defined, including that any instance of it really is an instance. Some very prominent scholars continue to think that Socrates believed in this kind of epistemological priority of definition, which your car example shows well would be a fallacy (if indeed Socrates held such a view, though I have argued in my published work that he did not).

Anyway, of course you can know that a certain Chevy Impala is a car, even if you don't know how to define "car." So definitional knowledge is plainly not epistemologically prior to our ability to know instances.

I am not going to try to help you to define "car" (hate to disappoint!), but want to raise a couple of issues that do pertain to your question. One such issue is whether there really is such a thing as "Car-ness" or the "uniquely car trait" you mention. Some philosophers (called nominalists) deny that there are such things as "essences"--such as the car-ness of cars, or the humanity of human beings (or, for that matter, the Nick-Smith-ness of me!). Others (called essentialists) think that at least some of the things in the world do have essences, but most essentialists would limit essences to things that naturally occur in the world ("natural kinds") and are more wary when it comes to artifacts (things made by human beings, mostly), such as cars. So it is possible that it would turn out that "car" cannot be absolutely defined, so as to include all and only instances (all past, present, and future ones) of cars. That would make the search for a definition, in this case, futile.

But if we grant that at least some things have essences, then the search for definitions can be useful as a mode of inquiry--a kind of research project. As the Socratic dialogues often show (have a look at Plato's Euthyphro, for one excellent example of this), such a search can not only reveal to us the inadequacy of our present understandings, it can also allow us, as we learn from our mistakes, do do better and better jobs of providing the relevant sort of analysis. I am not so sure this will be all that useful for "car" (though I can imagine the problem arising in a legal circumstance, where "cars" are required to pass certain emissions standards that are more exacting than those applying to other sorts of vehicles, and some manufacturer decides to by-pass the legislation by producing something very car-like, but which they argue is not really a car, and so should not be held to the same emissions standards as those that apply to cars.

But when it comes to ethical terms, such as those Socrates was most interested in, it seems that the search for adequate definitions really is helpful--because in ethics (and unlike most car-identification cases), it can sometimes be very difficult to judge whether something really is an example of "goodness" or "rightness," and if we could provide better and better definitions (or, as some would say, analyses) of such terms, we would be better and better able to make judgments in the tough cases.

I've been reading Schopenhauer for the first time, and he claims to have developed metaphysics and ethics into one. Does anyone agree with this claim? I'm just a little perplexed, and I wonder if he really accomplished this.

It's a neat view: the world-in-itself is an undifferentiated "will" that we individuate through categories such as space, time, and causation which (following Kant) Schopenhauer thought that we bring to our experience of the world. These differentiated parts of the world-as-experienced include different people with conflicting desires and interests (i.e., conflicting bits of will). The metaphysical realization that in the realm beyond appearances there is only an undifferentiated will motivates the fundamental Schopenhauerian ethical attitude of compassion: to take on another's perspective as one's own is appropriate since the world beyond appearances is inter-subjectively undifferentiated.

I don't believe in a transcendental world beyond experience that has the properties Schopenhauer claimed for it. I believe in a real world that is (at least partly) mind-independent, but I don't think there are good reasons to hold that it is undifferentiated and will-full in Schopenhauer's sense. So, although I agree that compassion is fundamental to ethics, I don't think, alas, that the claim gets the metaphysical support Schopenhauer claimed for it. I suspect that most contemporary philosophers reject Schopenhauer's view for these or different reasons, but I don't know this with any certainty.

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