I've just returned from holiday. On the flight back I noticed that the seating rows were numbered from 1 to 33 and on further inspection that there was no row 13 marked (presumably through superstition). So there were actually 32 rows. My questions are: Does row 13 exist even if it is not numbered? Is there really a row 33, or is it merely row 32 given an incorrect name?

Row 12 is followed by row 14, so that if the steward directed you to sit in row 14, that is where you would go. We should distinguish between the what the rows are called (there is no row called "row 13") and which rows they are. The thirteenth row is still the thirteenth, as could be proved by counting the rows from the first to the thirteenth. You would end up with a count of thirteen rows. But when the steward says, 'Go to row 14,' he does not mean 'Go to the fourteenth row'. He means, 'Go to the row, over there, that you can see has the number "14" written above it' or wherever, even though you might not be able to tell the difference between the thirteenth row and the row numbered "14". Does this help? The thing we shouldn't say is that the fourteenth row is the thirteenth row (that were a contradiction) or that there isn't a thirteenth row. There plainly is such a row, as counting rows shows, and not even superstition can remove it. What is thought to be unlucky is the number thirteen, but - alas!...

As a believer, I think that theism is more reasonable than atheism although I think that atheists can have good reasons to believe that their worldview is true. Is this position rational? Put in another way, is it possible for me to claim that my worldview is the correct one while granting that the opposite worldview can be as reasonable as the one I hold to be true?

You might well think that you have the right or best solution to a difficult problem in engineering, say, and concede that some other solutions, though perfectly reasonable, happen not to be correct. "Reasonable" means that there are good reasons for saying or doing something. Is that reasonable?

If I tell you that science cannot explain why that stone fell to the ground, you will say that I am a lunatic, but if I tell you that science cannot explain the ultimate laws of physics, you will say that perhaps I am right (a read it here, written by one of the panelists). But if science cannot explain part of physical reality, why is it only the ultimate laws of physics? Perhaps physical events that cannot be explained by science are happening all the time. Perhaps some of those events can be called "magic" or "miracles", no?

When you say that science can or cannot explain this or that what you ought to mean is that, at the bare minimum, the proposition that this or that happens can be deduced from some other more general proposition or propositions. So it is not unreasonable to think that there isn't anything science can't explain. Maybe there are infinitely many propositions, and they are all related deductively. Here I am just applying the nomological-deductive model of explanation, but the same point could be made using any other model, in its terms. It also seems to me that your question confuses two senses of "explain", one in which why a stone falls to the ground is explained when we deduce it from a proposition about gravitation, and another one, in which explanation is ultimate and absolute rather than relative to other propositions, and in which we cannot explain why the laws of nature are what they are and why they exist at all. If you stipulate that the second sense of explanation is legitimate, then your problem...

Say I smoke marijuana not just because I find it pleasurable but because it is a form of counterculture expression. That is, smoking marijuana is a political act. I think that some in the 60s might have subscribed to that notion. I insist that weed is speech (and why not since money and flag burning seem to be), and the government cannot deny me exercise of that right. How do we square the general right of expression with problematic individual cases like the one above? Surely my exercise will get me arrested in many jurisdictions.

I have consulted an authoritative legal friend, who suggests the following line of thought. Is smoking marijuana a form of speech protected by the First Amendment? I cannot simply engage in an act and make the act a protected form of speech because I think or claim it is. There is also the objective test as to whether it has that meaning in the culture at large. In the 1960s smoking pot might have been taken as a protest, and yet today it might not, if only because its use is common. Besides, not any act, even literal speech, is protected under the First Amendment. One could not take unlawful killing, say, or "fighting words", for example incitements to criminal activity, to be protected. So far the law. It seems to me that very similar points apply, minus the Constitutional formulation, if the question is taken morally rather legally, in spite of the fact that the preservation of the democracy is not at the heart of morality.

What is the point of life? Aren't we ultimately living each day just waiting until the day we die?

There is no obvious logical if any connection between your premise ('Aren't we ultimately living each day just waiting until the day we die?' which is really an assertion: 'We are ultimately living each day just waiting until the day we die'), and your conclusion, again a rhetorical, question: 'What is the point of life?' The assertion here is 'There is no point of life.' Should this be 'There is no point to life?', I wonder. What is the difference? Compare this with, 'The passengers were just living each day just waiting until they got to port' and 'There is no point in getting to port.' Or again, 'The soldiers were ultimately living each day just waiting until the war was over' and 'There is no point to the war.' It is rather the reverse of what you suggest, in most cases. The fact that this is the one thing everyone is waiting for does not rob its opposite (life) of any point at all. Besides, it is not true that the soldiers were "ultimately" living each day "just" waiting until the war ended'...

My question involves the word "same" apropos to identity vs. comparison, especially to the base case of a particular induction proof. I was trying to find the flaw in the induction for: "P = All horses are the same color. Base Case: P(1) = One horse is the same color as itself. Induction: We have n+1 horses. Take any one away, and the rest will be the same (because of P(n)). Since it didn't matter which we took away, all horses must be the same." I posit that the flaw in this proof isn't simply the lack of "sameness" overlap in the P(2) instance, but in the choice of base case and use of the word "same." I say that there needs to be a comparison (i.e., 2 or more unique objects) in the base case to use the word "same" as it is in "P". If I say Horse A is the same color as Horse A, and you say Horse A is the same color as Horse B, are we really using the word "same" in the same sense? If not, doesn't it follow that it's better not to use them interchangeably in an induction proof such as the one above? If...

Wait! You have proved the base clause all right, but where is your proof of the inductive step? Is it that if you remove the inductive steps, you are left with a true base step, which is true? But this is obviously not a good deductive proof. I think too you may be mixing up mathematical induction, which is a form of deduction, and induction in the sense of generalization, which is not a form of deduction. So your paradox is not a paradox, and it doesn't make trouble for the word "same". What am I missing?

What is the ”I” who watches what the mind does? When reading about philosophy of mind, I encounter expressions like ”I (or we) think”, ”I percieve”, ”I remember”, ”I see red”, ”I feel pain” etc. Isn´t it the mind that performs these actions, not the "I"? What is this ”I”? Is it some separate compartment of the mind, identical to the mind, or outside the mind? Should we modify Descartes and say: ”The mind thinks, therefore it is”?

I'm not sure I'm getting your second question. Why should the I that says 'I feel pain' be the mind and not the I? Unlike Descartes, who thinks that both of these things are the same as consciousness, and as himself, not to mention his soul (Berkeley makes these equations too) I would prefer to reserve the words "mind" and "mental" to describe two things that are not me. (i) The intellect. We say, 'He has a good mind' and things like that. (2) The imagination. We say, 'It's all in your mind; you're just imagining it. Snap out of it.' The mind and the imagination are two different things, obviously. But neither of them is me. What is meant by "I" and "me" and so on? It certainly is not the same thing as "mind", and nor could my mind, in my two senses, be me. I have a healthy appetite, especially for Italian food, but the same is not true of my mind or imagination. I have just had lunch. But my mind and my imagination, poor things, never eat. So neither of them is me. They are things or whatever that I ...

Some scientists say that there is a part of the brain that is responsible for consciousness. If we replicate that part of the brain on a computer, will it too be conscious? Surely an inanimate object can't be conscious, right?

I think you have to ask what "inanimate" means. If it means what the root word "anima" (Latin for the Gk. "psyche") suggests, then if consciousness requires a psyche or anima, mind or soul, the answer to your third question is 'Right; an inanimate object can't be conscious.' On the other hand if "inanimate" just means "not living", then the answer to your second question might be, "Yes".

Hi, I am working on a story which revolves around the idea of memory implantation. So, I am wondering: If Person A commits a crime, then they have the full memory and emotions of that crime erased from their mind and then that memory is placed into the mind of Person B so they believe they committed the crime (Even remembering the thoughts and feelings as they committed it) who is guilty of the crime? Kind Regards, Lee

It seems that you have answered your own question. You write, "If Person A commits a crime . . . who is guilty of the crime?" Person A, certainly, since you write on the supposition that "Person A commits a crime . . ." Of course A isn't legally guilty until he's found guilty by a court. But I think you mean, 'Who committed the crime?' That was A. Should A be tried? He is suffering some kind of memory loss, so there are issues of competence. On the whole, if I have forgotten about a crime I have committed, it doesn't seem enough to make me innocent. A faulty memory is hardly a good defence.

I don't know if this a philosophical question or scientific question, So this is my question, If A create all things, is it logically safe to say that A is uncreated?

If I print all the money in the world, except the money in my wallet, does it follow that the money in my pocket is unprinted? Well, it doesn't. Maybe there is another press somewhere that prints money in spite of my near monopoly. Does it make any difference if I built that press, for example if I made it over to someone else after its construction? I think on reflection that Prof. Maitzen is right about the two sentences in John . I retract the point that the second sentence is a premise for the first. I should say instead that it is a restriction and a clarification, a sort of 'Oh, and by the way, what I said means . . . " sort of amplification.

I'm not sure Prof. Maitzen is quite right about this. My answer to the original question is, 'Certainly not.' First there is the contradiction that exists if I say God created all things but did not create God, unless of course we put a heavy, suggestive emphasis on things . If I create everything except myself, then of course it follows that I do not create myself, and there is a contradiction in saying that I do, given the premise. But contra Stephen does it follow that I am uncreated? I can't see how it does. For one thing, there could be someone else who created me, Stephen for example. I think Prof. Maitzen's reading of the John passage is a bit stretched. After all, the "and" between the two sentences might suggest an amplification in the conjunction. We could then read 'All things were made by [God] . . . ' as 'All things that were made were made by God', giving the second sentence as evidence. Just a thought.

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