Does low self esteem really exist as mental chemical dysfunction or is it just that i'm smart enough to know how stupid i am, stay my real place and not engage in something beyond my reach no matter how others may react or judge ?

If I really believed that you really believed that these are the only two alternatives, then I'd probably believe that you're stupid. But I don't believe any such thing. I'd be willing to bet a tidy sum that if someone else asked you the very same question, you wouldn't have any trouble pointing out a whole bunch of alternatives that they're overlooking. Since I don't know anything about your circumstances, I wouldn't presume to guess which alternative best fits your circumstances. But I do think the idea that there's a "real place" for each of us is something to be suspicious of, and I'm also pretty skeptical that even self-aware people are always reliable about what they're capable of. Of course, if you've already grasped the second horn of your dilemma (false dilemma though it is), my reaction won't count. In spite of this, I'd suggest that one kind of reaction it's often wise to ignore is the one that tries to shame you into not trying things. The approval of people who react like that isn't...

Chelsea are due to play Arsenal in a soccer match. Mr A prays for Chelsea to win, while Mr B prays for Arsenal to win. Chelsea won the match. Why were Mr A's prayers answered but not Mr B's?

Why assume that Mr A's prayer's were answered? Is the idea of the example that Chelsea won because Mr.A prated for it to happen and God acted accordingly? Suppose I ray for a natural disaster and one happens. Would we assume that this was God answering my prayers? Surely not on any conception of God that's worth taking seriously. That Mr A prayed for what happened doesn't mean it happened because Mr A prayed for it, and in this case, that seems to be the response the believer should make. There's no reason even for a believer to think that Chelsea's victory was a matter of God favoring Mr A over Mr B. Of course, non-believers have an even simpler reply. But I'm treating your question hypothetically.

My question is whether or not beliefs require objects. Put another way, is it possible to have a belief about “nothing” or about a negative, as opposed to affirmative, proposition? This question came up in a discussion about the definition of Atheism. Essentially, is Atheism either A) a belief that there are no Gods; or B) a lack of belief (or denial) in the existence of at least one God? Thank you.

There are several questions here, and we need to distinguish them. 1) Does belief require objects? Beliefs are "about" in a very broad sense, but I believe (as should you) that there is no ratio of two integers that equals 2 when squared. There is no object that answers to my belief, but it's clear that my belief is really a belief, indeed a true one, and in some sense is about something. In this case, we could perfectly sensibly say it's about numbers, though not about some specific number. This might sound superficially paradoxical, but the paradox persists only if we insist on treating the word "about" in a way that rides roughshod over how we actually use it. 2) Is it possible to have a belief about "nothing" or about a negative, as opposed to affirmative proposition? Two different issues here. I can believe that Barack Obama is not seven feet tall. That's a negative proposition, and I clearly can believe it; any analysis of belief that claims otherwise wold be silly. But it's not a...

Two different sets cannot have the same reason for membership, so if beauty is the reason why a painting is in the set of beautiful paintings, then beauty cannot be the reason why the painting is in any other set, such as the set of good paintings. Is that fair?

No. There is a set of even numbers. There is also a set of numbers that are even or prime. (Note, by the way: something can be even and prime: the number 2.) The number 8 is in the first set because it's even. It's also in the second set because it's even, hence even or prime. Not all good paintings are beautiful, but for present purposes, we can still assume that all beautiful paintings are good paintings. A beautiful painting clearly fits the membership condition for the set of beautiful paintings. But it also fits the membership condition for being in the set of paintings that are beautiful or good and it fits it by virtue of being beautiful. There's nothing peculiar here at all. If X and Y are both sets, their union is also a set. That's elementary set theory, and it's so whether or not X and Y are mutually exclusive.

Perhaps a semantic quibble, perhaps a more deeply-rooted consideration.... Why is the Deity so frequently portrayed as "all-"powerful, "all-"knowing, etc. Is there some really fundamental reason why the Deity cannot be "very" powerful" and know "quite a bit indeed"?

Some theologians and philosophers would say that religious devotion to anything less than a perfect being amounts to idolatry, and a less-than-omniscient or less than omnibenevolent or less-than-omnipotent being would be less than a perfect being. My own view is that this is a view that only someone in the grip of a theory could love. I rather doubt that most believers give much thought at all to the difference between omni-God, as it's sometimes put, and a being so far beyond us that, perfect or not, deserves their profoundest devotion. (Whether there actually is such a being is a separate matter, and not the subject of these comments.) Perhaps there's one exception. Perhaps a being that was less than morally perfect couldn't be the object of a non-idolatrous religious devotion. That's a subject for an interesting conversation, but I'm not convinced that even this is right. So I think your question is a good one, and I"m inclined to think you're right.

What fallacy is it ? hasty generalization or begging the question ? Is it really a fallacious argumnet or a valid one ? Premise1- If A is true, then B is true. Premise 2- A is true. Conclusion- B is true. We have no empirical evidence for supporting P1 and P2 therefore both are false. Since 1 or more than 1 premise is false, the conclusion will always be false. A guy argues that it is a valid argument. On the other hand, I say it is not a valid argument. I don't know which informal fallacy it is. Does this argument contain really a fallacy or the other guy is right ?

The argument is valid. That's because in logic, we say that an argument is valid if it's impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false at the same time. If two statements A and If A then B really are true, then so is B . If both A and If A then B are false (or better, if at least one of them is), then the conclusion might be true or might be false, but the argument is still valid; the conclusion still follows. You seem to say that if we have no evidence for something, then it's false. But that's not right. Lots of things are true whether anyone knows them. (How many worms were there in the garden plot at noon yesterday? There's only one right answer, but no one happens to know it or even have evidence.) And things can turn out to be false even if we have serious evidence that they're true. And you seem to be saying that if the premises of an argument are false, the conclusion must be false too. But that's not right, and in particular it's not right even for valid...

One thing I learned in Philosophy of Science class was that the definition of Species can be a very difficult thing to pin down exactly. My question (I think I have several) involves the definition of Human in relation to other animals. Say that we were to all agree on a definition of Human (imagine that!), and this definition describes humans along only psychological and mental properties. Assuming such a definition were possible - would this definition hold true for some 'intelligent' alien species (let's call them X)? Say their minds worked like exactly like ours. Would X truly be a different species? Let me put it another way. In science and futurism, one thing that often comes up as possibly happening at some point in the future is what's called Mind-Uploading. It's something to do with a human brain being successfully emulated by a computer; copying and loading a simulated model of someone's brain, such that people - humans - can 'live' inside a computer. Basically, what's going on in the Matrix....

We have apples and Martian oranges here. Whatever exactly biology means by "species" (and there's a debate about that), it's about what the actual science of biology, with its particular set of concepts, theories and empirical claims, uses the term "species" to mean. And so to imagine the word "human" defined only in terms of psychological and mental properties is to imagine a use of the word "human" that has nothing to do with what biologists mean when they talk about species. Once we get to uploading and matrix-style scenarios, we're not even in the same intellectual universe as biology. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't use the word "human" in a way that's tied purely to the psychological. We can use words however we like. I'd suggest, however, that there's a better word: person as used by philosophers. And so in that vocabulary, your question becomes: if we discovered alien creatures who fit our psychological notion of what a person is, should we count those creatures as persons? My...

What fallacy is being committed here: I owned two Chevy cars – a Cruze and a Malibu – and they gave me nothing but trouble. The choke and the batteries froze up and the clutches went out on both cars. They were always in the shop. Chevy’s are poorly constructed and should be avoided. What fallacy does this person commit? fallacy of hasty generalization or fallacy of composition? It is difficult to tell if the argument assumes that parts of the Chevy car are troublesome (batteries, clutch etc.) therefore the whole Chevy car is poorly constructed making this a composition fallacy or if the person has observed a small amount of Chevy cars and made a generalization about the whole of Chevy cars which in this case it would be a hasty generalization fallacy. These fallacies are hard to tell apart and a little confusing.

The fallacy of composition is drawing conclusions about the whole from facts about the parts when the facts about the parts don't support the conclusion . Obvious case: every cell in my body weighs less than a pound. But that doesn't support the conclusion that I weigh less than a pound. The fallacy of composition is an informal fallacy: you can't tell whether it's been committed just by looking at the form of the inference while ignoring the content. In any case, the inference you're considering isn't a conclusion about a particular car—a whole—based on premises about its parts. It's a conclusion about all or most cars of a certain sort based on facts about some cars of that sort. This doesn't count as a part/whole relationship in the sense relevant for potential cases of the fallacy of composition. "Chevy cars" aren't a whole in the relevant sense. On the other hand, it would be hasty to generalize about Chevies based on a sample of two. So yes: hasty generalization. A footnote, however:...

When I was a child, I started asking myself: Why am I me? Why do I exist instead of not existing? Now as an adult, this question started bothering me again as I started trying for a baby. With each cycle, I wondered, what if I conceive a baby today and not tomorrow? If a baby was to be conceived in any case, they would be a different person depending on if we have sex today or tomorrow. What if my own parent had had sex on another day? They might have had another child that wouldn't have been me, hence I would have never existed. Of course then I would not have been there to ask the question. But why am I there to ask? What if I didn't exist at all? It's like I'm feeling my own consciousness looking at itself in the mirror for the first time and realizing it exists! Then it brings me to the idea that if I didn't exist (or when I'll cease to exist when I die), my entire perception of the world will cease to exist too. Then it will be as if the world didn't exist at all, at least from my own point of...

I don't have anything insightful to offer here, but I can say for certain that you're not the first person to be puzzled by the sorts of things you're puzzled by. It's also very hard to articulate your question in a way that would make sense to someone who didn't "get" it. As for philosophers who might have written about this, I'm going to offer up a long quote from a philosophically-inclined physicist, Hermann Weyl. This passage is from his Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Science , originally published in 1927. I suspect there's no fully coherent way to make sense of the whole quote, but this passage has stuck with me for a very long time. "The postulation of the ego, of the 'thou,' and of the external world is without influence upon the cognitive treatment of reality. It is a matter of metaphysics, not a judgment but an act of acknowledgement or belief... Yet this belief is the soul of all knowledge. From the metaphysico-realistic viewpoint, however, egohood remains an enigma. Leibniz......

Should (intentionally) false speech be completely free? If so, on what basis? Such speech seems only to bring harm and spread misunderstanding.

Intentionally false speech isn't completely free. Lying under oath is against the law. So are slander and libel. So is providing false information on your tax forms. And so on. It would be odd to think these laws should be abandoned. But not all deliberately false speech is illegal. If you tell me that my ridiculous new hat is just dandy because you don't want to hurt my feelings, it's legal and should be. Less happily, politicians can lie when they make campaign promises or stand up in the Senate and say that there's no such thing as global warming even when they know damn well that it's real. Of course being legal isn't the same as being cost-free. If you come to be known as a liar, you're likely to pay a social price, and that seems more or less right. Politicians may also pay if they can't persuade voters to believe them or if they get caught in a lie. The justice is rough, but it's not nonexistent. It's hard to say anything precise here. Wrongdoing shouldn't be cost-free, and deliberate lying is...

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