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Consider the statement, "There exists at least one true statement." Is a demonstration of the truth of this statement possible, which does not assume the statement's truth? If so, what is that demonstration? If not, does it then follow that certain knowledge - that is, knowledge that is conscious of itself as knowledge - is impossible?

Peter Lipton 4/21/06 (changed 4/21/06) Permalink 'All statements are false' is necessarily false, so there is at least one true statement. Log in to post comments

Whose opinions are worth more? The Philosophers (the ones who create the philosophies) or the Philosophologists (the ones who study and critique the Philosophers). And which one are you?

Richard Heck 4/21/06 (changed 4/21/06) Permalink I don't myself see that there is any real distinction between philosophers and "philosophologists". I've never even encountered the latter term before. It's hard to imagine doing philosophy without reading, understanding, and criticizing it, and I don't honestly know how one could read, understand, and critic... Read more

I am stuck on a decision that I hope one of you can help me with. I am graduating in June (2006) and everyone is telling me to go to college. I am currently protesting college - thinking that if I self-teach myself (by reading many books), then I could possibly gain more knowledge than if I am sitting in a classroom with many other students. I am stubborn with this idea. I assume that with a teacher in a classroom full of students, (s)he is teaching the subject, not the people. (I hope that makes sense.) I am not too sure if my thinking is something I should go by, or if I should just grow up and go to college. Any opinion would be great.

Nalini Bhushan 4/23/06 (changed 4/23/06) Permalink When college works as it should, it allows you to imagine alternate possible ways of living your life in the "real" world, as you experiment with different disciplines, and are thrust into the orbits of sometimes unlikely people who might serve as mentors and role models. These could be your teachers, or,... Read more

Consider the statement, "There exists at least one true statement." Is a demonstration of the truth of this statement possible, which does not assume the statement's truth? If so, what is that demonstration? If not, does it then follow that certain knowledge - that is, knowledge that is conscious of itself as knowledge - is impossible?

Peter Lipton 4/21/06 (changed 4/21/06) Permalink 'All statements are false' is necessarily false, so there is at least one true statement. Log in to post comments

I just picked up the book "What does it all mean? - a very short introduction to philosophy" by Thomas Nagel... In the third chapter - Other Minds - the author brings up the thought that we should assume our consciousness is the only thing that exists. If we make this assumption, then how can we explain this? How can we explain exactly what our thoughts are? Furthermore, how can we explain the fact that other people will assume the same thing (that theirs are the only existing thoughts, and I am some sort of non-existing thought form)? If I assume that I have the only existing thought in my universe, then shouldn't the man who wrote this book - who agrees with the same assumption - have the same assumption: that HIS is the only existing thought ... which should prove that we both exist in relation with the same assumption. (This can get really confusing to me as I am only 17 and don't know too much about philosophy yet, but can you please shed some light...) Steve

Peter Lipton 4/20/06 (changed 4/20/06) Permalink You are right. If you and I each assumes that our own thoughts are all the thoughts there are, then we are both wrong. Of course if I am really the only thinker, then my assumption would be correct, but it does not look like I could justify that assumption, since if you were out there too, you would be in j... Read more

I am stuck on a decision that I hope one of you can help me with. I am graduating in June (2006) and everyone is telling me to go to college. I am currently protesting college - thinking that if I self-teach myself (by reading many books), then I could possibly gain more knowledge than if I am sitting in a classroom with many other students. I am stubborn with this idea. I assume that with a teacher in a classroom full of students, (s)he is teaching the subject, not the people. (I hope that makes sense.) I am not too sure if my thinking is something I should go by, or if I should just grow up and go to college. Any opinion would be great.

Nalini Bhushan 4/23/06 (changed 4/23/06) Permalink When college works as it should, it allows you to imagine alternate possible ways of living your life in the "real" world, as you experiment with different disciplines, and are thrust into the orbits of sometimes unlikely people who might serve as mentors and role models. These could be your teachers, or,... Read more

If you don't love yourself, can you love others?

Thomas Pogge 4/19/06 (changed 4/19/06) Permalink In this question, the words "can" and "love" are difficult. Take a simple understanding of what it means to love someone: to admire (at least some features of) this person and also to care greatly about his/her flourishing (eudaimonia, the quality of a human live comprehensively conceived). And take a narrow... Read more

Can you recommend an introduction to the philosophy of mathematics?

Richard Heck 4/18/06 (changed 4/18/06) Permalink Stewart Shapiro's Thinking About Mathematics. (On Amazon.) It's a well-written textbook that covers most of the basics. Log in to post comments

I often find myself to be impatient, often frustrated, when people claim something to be 'obvious', and never more than when I think that they are using it incorrectly. An example of this might be "obviously, Hitler was an evil man", or "obviously, it's better to be poor and happy than rich and sad" - this is because I wish justification for their claim, and do not want to simply accept it (in these cases because of popular opinion). I realise that both of these examples are ethical, but is there anything that is understood by philosophers to be obvious (and by obvious I mean without need of qualification or justification)?

Luciano Floridi 4/17/06 (changed 4/17/06) Permalink If I may reply in terms of personal experience: when students start"doing philosophy", one of the first thing they (need to) learn isthat what seems obvious to x may be much less so to y. As soon as things become interesting, they stop being obvious. Yet I have noticed that this is not the only important... Read more

Are sensations real? That is, do they continue to exist when unperceived? It seems to me that objects that I perceive around me are both real (because outside my head) and composed of sensations: that is, they are structures of colours, tactile qualities, etc.; in which case these sensatations, as parts of real objects, are real. But it also seems obvious that sensations exist only while perceived, in which case they are not real.

Peter Lipton 4/17/06 (changed 4/17/06) Permalink Sensations are real in my book while I am having them, but you are right that it is not easy to use them to build a table. The trouble is that the table has a continuous existence, while it is only intermittently observed. One standard way around this problem is to fill in the apparently unobserved periods... Read more

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