Recent Responses

Recent Responses

Response by Allen Stairs on November 21, 2019

You ask: "morally speaking, can my action BE more serious or offensive only because other people see it so?

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Response by Allen Stairs on November 7, 2019

You offer two reasons (though really it's three.)

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Response by Charles Taliaferro on October 31, 2019

Great response. I would add that since the 17th century, theology as a discipline has largely been seen as distinct from philosophy. Theology, though, historically and today, has drawn from philosophy and philosophers (throughout its history) have addressed religiously significant themes. Philosophy of religion is a respected sub-field of philosophy (see the entry Philosophy of Religion in the free online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) just like philosophy of science, philosophy of art, and so on....more

Response by Allen Stairs on October 26, 2019

There are two sorts of issues here. Let's start with the one that I think underlies your discomfort.

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Response by Jonathan Westphal on October 24, 2019

There could be a picture of an X that is itself an X. For example, there could be a minimalist picture of a square that is itself a square. The picture could even be titled in such a way that it is or is meant to be a picture of itself, so that this square is a picture of this square. But in general a picture of X is, obviously, not X. A picture of a unicorn is an oil painting, say, and an oil painting is not a unicorn. The famous portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Arthur Lawrence (1815-1816) is most certainly not the Duke of Wellington himself....more

Response by Allen Stairs on October 24, 2019

You've given an apparently powerful reason for thinking that it's morally acceptable to have a military to defend the nation: lives will be saved. You've implicitly cast this in terms of defense. That is, you've implicitly offered a justification for having an army by appeal to the right of a nation to defend its citizens. It's plausible that having no military would lead to more deaths than having one. And it's morally plausible that people—and nations—have a right to self-defense....more

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.