Recent Responses

Recent Responses

Response by Allen Stairs on October 17, 2019

The question of whether this sounds forced or not is a hard one to make a judgment about, but the answer, as I understand it, is pretty much the one you've heard. If one prays to a saint, one is asking the saint to intercede; not to perform the miracle. Although we might say loosely that a saint "performed a miracle," the saint has no powers over nature of his/her own and if a miracle occurs, the source of the miracle is God.

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Response by Jonathan Westphal on October 17, 2019

There is a well-known equivocation on "nothing" here. According to quantum theory, there are two particles that go in and out of existence, and leave behind "something". You might as well argue that when I win a trick in bridge, my score came from nothing because the trick disappeared into the "book" (the pile of tricks I needed to make") afterwards. How are two particles interacting "nothing"? Besides, there is also the structure of the sea of quantum gravity, with fluctuations. Is a sea nothing? Is a fluctuation nothing?...more

Response by Stephen Maitzen on October 10, 2019

@ Jonathan: If I may, I think Leibniz's analogy is faulty. The constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any books at all (or any books bearing a particular title) need not be constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any states of the universe at all. I try to explain why in this brief article.

Response by Stephen Maitzen on October 10, 2019

Besides your identity? Or are you seeking an analysis of personal or bodily identity? If the latter, then I recommend starting here, here, and here.

Response by Jonathan Westphal on October 10, 2019

Leibniz considered the question, and perhaps was the first to ask it, in "On the Radical Origination of Things" of September 23, 1697. He gave a comparison for the sequence of things demanding explanations.

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Response by Jonathan Westphal on October 10, 2019

I suspect that in some cases the process of falling in love, and then, perhaps suddenly, realizing that that is what is happening, are part of the same process. You are only fully in love when you have the delicious experience of realizing that you are in love. I don't think this is quite as paradoxical as it might seem, but the paradox is certainly worth thinking about.

Response by Joe Rachiele on October 10, 2019

What question are you referring to? I'll hazard a guess that you are talking about why there is something rather than nothing. Then your idea seems to be that, because something can't come from nothing, there is no explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. But does this really follow from the claim that something can't come nothing?

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Response by Joe Rachiele on October 5, 2019

I haven't looked into this, but suppose you are right about the typical required reading for a full-time MA student in philosophy. I'm not sure that 300 pages per week is an unreasonable demand. If you read a page every three minutes on average, then it should take you 15 hours a week to complete the reading. Taking 3 classes, you should be in class a maximum of 9 hours a week. That's a total of only 24 hours a week you are spending on school work. How long were you thinking students should spend on the reading?

Response by Allen Stairs on September 19, 2019

True: only sentient beings can think about moral questions, and so moral questions don't arise in a world with no sentient (or better, sapient) beings.

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