Your question seems to assume that things can't have value if they're temporary. But we care what happens today even though today will end in a few hours. This is because one important source of value is what we experience: it matters to us to avoid pain, to enjoy the lives we live. That's a good reason to find out about life even though life won't last forever. It may also be that some things gain in value by being temporary: we might not find rainbows so beautiful if they were in the sky permanently.
Who was the Greek philosopher who was condemned to slavery, why so, how he got freed and by whom?
thanks and thanks
Epictetus (c. 55-135) was born a slave and was freed by his master in later life; it's not really known why, but such a thing was not uncommon. In the ancient Greek world, people became slaves if they were captured in war or were born of a slave (rather than being 'condemned' to slavery)
I am interested in reading about the philosophical ideas about authorship, and what it means to be an author. Could you recommend any good anthologies or other texts that might help me get started?
I've thought about your question for a bit and I can only come up with a couple of titles, but they are really interesting works. One is Sartre's autobiography, The Words , which deals with the way in which writing (especially about someone's life) imposes a by-hindsight order and structure on events which falsifies the lived experience of those events (Sartre's novel Nausea deals with issue too, but less exclusively.) Another (which you may already be familiar with) is Foucault's essay, 'What is an author?', which discusses the social-intellectual roles of the idea of authorship, especially in the organization of knowledge.
Taking into account history, isn't it justifiable to resort to terrorism in the face of a vast empire?
This is a really difficult question. If terrorism is the killing of civilians in order to achieve some political end, vast empires as well as fringe political groups commit terrorist acts--sometimes appealing to a state of war to justify their killings (but a declaration of war doesn't seem to make a moral difference.) If the history of terrorism by vast empires justifies terrorist acts by fringe political groups, then one would have to say that the violent measures taken by the empires (prolonged detention and torture of suspected terrorists, for example), are also justified. But if that is the case, what does 'justified' mean, and why should anyone care whether an act is 'justified'? One thought: 'justified' seems to mean at least two different things: the best thing to do, in the circumstances (which could be quite a bad thing to do, considered by itself), and 'a good thing to do' or 'the right thing to do', period. I think a terrorist act might be justified in the first sense, but not in the...
'Feminism' can mean at least a couple of different things. (1) As the view that women and men should have equal rights, or are owed equal respect, it's as falsifiable or unfalsifiable as any other moral/political position, e.g. that people should have equal rights or be given equal respect, irrespective of their race. Your question about feminism as a moral or political view raises more fundamental questions: are moral statements statements of fact? or are they expressions of approval or disapproval? or just claims as to how people should behave? If they are claims about how people should behave, are they grounded in the view that so behaving would make everyone better off, or that such behaviour alone gives due recognition to the relevant parties moral status, or that good, well-adjusted people would behave in such a way? (2) As the view that women and men have equal capacities, feminism should be falsifiable: either women and men do, or don't have equal capacities, and we should be able...
Could you please tell me what is meant by the term 'sense data'? I am not clear whether it refers to what we immediately perceive around us, or to images inside our heads. Or is there a third meaning? And why is it controversial?
‘Sense data’ refers to the images. The idea is that objects in the world impinge on our senses and this causes us to perceive images. We are have immediate and full knowledge of these images (although not of the objects that cause them). Philosophers who believe in sense data disagree about whether or not we can gain knowledge of objects in the world starting from sense data. Some philosophers think that the whole idea of sense data is wrong-headed, arguing, for example, that we aren’t in fact fully aware of our ideas, that what we’re aware of in perception is objects in the world, that there is no way to have knowledge of the world if we have to gain it through the ‘veil’ of sense-data. This is just a quick answer. You might also look at the article on the topic in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sense-data/