Recent Responses

Recent Responses

Response by Allen Stairs on March 25, 2021

Let's stick with criminal law here. One obvious reason why "immoral" doesn't entail "illegal" is that what's legal, what's not, and what the punishments are needs to be clear. In a functioning legal system, it's generally possible to determine in advance whether something is a crime, and in cases where it's not clear, there's a system for settling the matter, with various safeguards and forms of appeal built in. But there are plenty of moral loose ends — matters on which people disagree, sometimes vehemently, about whether something is immoral.

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Response by Allen Stairs on March 12, 2021

There are, indeed, philosophical issues that go with your question. But I think it's important to address the factual background. The premise of your question is that if someone has autism, she can't, as we say, feel other people's pain, or joy, or... And both from knowing people on the autism spectrum and having read around on the topic, I would say that you're mistaken about that. This link...more

Response by Allen Stairs on March 11, 2021

Interesting.

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Response by Allen Stairs on February 4, 2021

We could say a lot or a little about this; a little is best, I think.

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Response by Peter S. Fosl on January 28, 2021

Briefly, I think you're right that there's an incompatibility between the two philosophical movements you describe. One turns on disinterested reasoning; the other denies that reasoning of that kind is possible. Be careful, however. If you mean by two different logics, two different ways of thinking through philosophical issues, then yes. I think that's right. Note, though, that many will use "logic" in the narrower sense of reasoning based on standard deductive and inductive logical principles....more

Response by Allen Stairs on January 28, 2021

I agree with my colleague that "Only if A, then B" is not idiomatic English, and so it's hard to know what your teacher meant. In teaching logic over the years, I've seen many examples that take this form: "Only if A, B" — leaving the word "then" out....more

Response by Peter S. Fosl on January 28, 2021

You raise a very important topic today, and an interesting topic any day. Maybe it would help for me to respond with some questions that I have on this issue: Why should what's striking to students matter in determining curriculum? Is what's "striking" a sound criterion for either professors or students in selecting texts and topics? What makes you think philosophy is about what's "striking"? Should we ask what reasons a teacher might have for telling a student to scrap their work, if and when that happens; or is it sufficient to note their racial identities?...more

Response by Allen Stairs on January 28, 2021

There's way too much to be said here for one short post, but a handful of points.

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Response by Stephen Maitzen on January 28, 2021

It sounds to me as though your teacher may be using the awkward expression "Only if A, then B" as a way of asserting the biconditional "A if and only if B," which is equivalent to the biconditional "B if and only if A." As I say, the expression is awkward, but in any case I wouldn't read it as adding a modal operator like "Necessarily" to the conditional "If A, then B." Whoever wants to say "necessarily" really needs to use that word.

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