Hello, do you think experiences of the world are structured by gender? If you have read Young's 'Throwing Like a Girl,' that is what I'm getting at.

Iris Young's "Throwing Like a Girl" is a wonderful description of gendered experience. Our experiences of the world are influenced by many factors that have to do with our positions in the world, both our physical positions (biological sex, physical disabilities) and our political positions (race, gender, social class, power). "Experience" is defined broadly to encompass all we are conscious of (some call it phenomenological experience). I recommend Kay Toombs work on the phenomenology of disability as another rich description of perspective.

Is it inconsistent to assert that we should withhold judgment on people who act immorally (because we don't know the specifics of their situation) and also that we should praise people who act righteously (even though we don't know much about their situation either).

This behavior strikes me as lacking even-handedness, but not as inconsistent. One may have a view that it is better to risk praising falsly than to refrain from praising at all, and better to refrain from criticising than to risk criticising falsly. It's a pragmatic attitude that makes sense for those who want to deal with others by positively reinforcing their actions (sometimes inappropriately) but never punishing them.

Are there logical relations between colors? For instance, is it logically true that red and blue make purple?

Perceived color is a matter of retinal and neurological processing. People with full color vision see a variety of spectral inputs (from single frequency to mixed frequencies) as purple. Perhaps you are asking, could people who perceive red and blue normally see a mixture of red and blue as anything other than purple (in the same circumstances)? I don't think there are any cases of this kind of odd color perception, so it may well be that our 3-sensor color perception system will always perceive a mixture of red and blue as purple. Does that mean it is a "logical truth" that red and blue make purple? Only in the same sense that it is a logical truth that if you can hear the note A and hear the note C you will hear the combination as a minor third.

As an individual that feels a sense of 'alienation' and a lack of meaning in the world, I still feel obliged to confer some kind of meaning to my own life to keep living a productive and composed life. However, existential thoughts about the possibility of not having existed before, then coming onto the stage of life and being confronted with a vivid reality and possessing tools to understand it and the imperative to act upon it while taking it to be the only reality one can ever understand, and then facing the paradoxical nature of death that will seemingly completely extinguish this effort and the identity of the individual, can be the most shocking and anxiety producing thoughts. Such thoughts makes it extremely challenging for an individual to find a sense of incontrovertible meaning that dissolves such contradictory thoughts (like the above) and also provide true meaning for the individual to act productively in their environment. How does one cope with this kind of a human condition?

Many philosophers, and many other kinds of thinkers, have grappled with this question, from the Epicureans through Heidegger, Sartre, and beyond. You could look at what they say, and/or at some accessible contemporary texts that draw on these ideas e.g. Havi Carel Illness: The Cry of the Flesh and Irvin Yalom Staring at the Sun . Some of us cope by thinking things through, others cope through not thinking about it at all.

What underpins acceptance of scientific theories by non-scientists? In a recent argument about climate change, I maintained that, as a non-specialist, I’m not in a position to judge the validity of theories or critiques of theories of anthropogenic climate change but I instead have to make a judgement about the reasonableness of believing in statements that a certain body of people make about the world. My point was that in the absence of any dramatic evidence to the contrary it’s much more reasonable to believe that the IPCC (and almost everyone else) is right than it is to believe either that there’s a huge con or a huge mistake. I think this is right but am I missing something more?

You ask an important question about how non-experts should make reasonable judgments when there is expert disagreement. It is not enough to say that the reasonable choice lies with the majority opinion; the majority has been both unreasonable and/or wrong often enough. I think it is important to look at the case in some detail (although obviously not in as much detail as experts are able to do) and see what kind of evidence the minority is putting forth. That is, are they just nitpicking at the dominant theory, when all theories have areas of weakness, or are they themselves engaged in active empirical research? Scientific disagreement can be productive when both sides are engaged in experiment and observation, but less so when one side is working from an armchair.

Some people have criticized consciousness-altering drugs on the basis that they effect our perception of reality, but what is actually wrong with wanting your perception of reality to be altered? Don't all forms of art, music, theatre, etc. present us with a transformed version of reality? And in other sense, isn't the hallucinatory experience of a drug-user just as valid and genuine as the sober experiences of another person. Is it fair to say that the sober person's experiences are in some way "more real"?

You are right that we seek to alter our experiences in the world with the use of art, music etc. And insofar as drugs attempt to alter experience and give us new experiences, I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with them. More than that--drugs may be valuable because of the aesthetic and other pleasures they can produce. However, I think those who worry about "altered perceptions of reality" may be concerned that the drug user may be evading responsibilities when they get high ("I don't need to do my work, take care of my kids etc. because life is more interesting on LSD"). Or the drug user may behave when high in a way which does not cohere with his/her values. That is, the objections to drugs seem to me to be ethical rather than epistemic. In addition, the health risks (psychological and physical) of consciousness-altering drugs should be taken into account (another ethical concern). The word "real" is not helpful in this discussion, because it is used to mean so many different things...

A lot of people think we shouldn't conduct stem cell research or cloning based on the idea that man shouldn't 'play god.' My response; why not? Now, I'm an atheist, but even if we were to assume the bible were literal truth, why should we not try to emulate god if he is so perfect and wondrous? Is there any logic behind the playing god argument? What logic *can* be attributed to religion, at any rate...

I think you are right to discern that the "playing God" objection to stem cell research/cloning is not what it seems to be. Those who offer this objection seem quite comfortable with the idea of "playing God" in well proven medical interventions e.g. appendectomy for appendicitis, C-section for obstructed labor, chemotherapy for leukemia. Of course there are some people (Christian Scientists, for example) who forgo most medical care on religious grounds. But the vast majority of those who worry about "playing God" with stem cell research/cloning are happy consumers of the best that health care has to offer. The question is, why don't they extend that happy consumer attitude to stem cell research/cloning? I am not sure of the answer to this, but I think it may have to do with the uncertainty that currently exists around these new technologies (will they work? will they produce monsters of some kind?). So it may be a risk aversive attitude of the kind "leave it to God, we don't know enough to...

I'm just a Portuguese 15 year old boy looking for some answers (sorry for my bad english) Imagine that there is a suicide bomber terrorist with some people in a room, and there are lots of cops outside that room...The terrorist let all the people leave the room and he stay there alone unarmed but the cops are still outside and they obviously wnat to kill him.Would it be politicaly and would society think it was the correct way of doing things?I think they shouldn't kill him, after all he is a human... but why yes/not?

If the terrorist is alone in the room, then the cops should try to capture him, preferably without injuring him or killing him. Killing would only be justified in self-defense or in defense of other humans. It is up to judge and jury to decide guilt and consequences (e.g. punishment). I think, for moral reasons, the death penalty should be abolished. So there need be no killing here.

Is it plausible the theory of "occam's razor". Could a complex answer be the right one?

You ask an important question. Some philosophers (realists) argue that simpler theories are better confirmed by the data and therefore more likely to be true. Other philosophers (anti-realists) argue that simpler theories are psychologically easier to work with and therefore more convenient for us, but not likelier to be true. It is difficult to state exactly what counts as a "simple" scientific theory. Does it mean fewer causes and/or entities? Or something about the mathematical expression of theory? In any case, simpler theories are only preferred when all else is equal, and that is rarely the case. (We would love a simple theory of the causation of schizophrenia, but simple theories of the etiology of the disease have already been discredited.) Some feminist epistemologists have argued that simple scientific theories are not inherently preferable to more complex ones. Helen Longino, notably, argues that simple scientific theories often reflect/express/derive from a hierachical...