How is it clear that religious thought and philosophy were totally intertwined during the Middle Ages? Why was it this way?

Interesting question. Many of the seminal figures in medieval philosophy (from Augustine to Anselm to Aquinas) were members of the Christian church. The earliest universities where philosophy was practiced were centers of theological practices (the art of disputation, for example) and were also sites where persons trained for the priesthood. Actually, in pre-Christian philosophy, many of the philosophers engaged in work that touched on matters that we would today describe as religiously significant (the existence of God or gods, the soul, an afterlife, etc). So, in a sense, in over 2,400 years of philosophy in the west, a majority of that time involved philosophers engaging in themes of religious significance. Even philosophers one might read in a secular light such as Hume and Kant spent enormous time and energy in the philosophical assessment of religious beliefs and practices.

Can a society exist without a concept of time? If a society was forced underground, cut off from cycles like day and night, without any time-keeping technology, would one be invented at some point or would people simply dictate everything by the "now," eating when they are hungry and sleeping when they are sleepy etc.

What an inventive thought experiment, though a bit scary (it is hard to imagine that a society would undergo this transition due to creative, peace-time reasons). I take it that you are suggesting that we often measure time in terms of the sun, moon, and other above-ground factors (tides, stars...), tempered by various forms of technology. Without daylight and machines (no clocks of any kind or devices that would offer us a reliable metric system), "telling time" might be difficult indeed, but it is difficult to imagine any society without a grasp of the past, present, and future. None of us can live in the (or an) instant --that infinitesimally small "knife-edge" present in which there is no past or future. One may put the point technically as the claim that we live in intervals or events, not instants. I actually think that "instants" (like points in space) are more theoretical entities as opposed to concrete individual objects. So, I would say that an instant is the end or beginning of an event....

If science, robotics, and society progressed to the point where all human basic needs were provided for (food, clothing, shelter, health care, daily chores) at no cost and therefore nobody was required to labor, what would be of value?

Interesting! I may be misunderstanding the question, but you seem to suggest (or want to explore whether) labor is an essential measure or determinant of value, for the way you put matters is that if food, clothing, shelter, health care, daily chores, were not the result of labor, their value would be in question. I suggest, initially, that food, clothing, shelter, health care, daily chores, etc, are valuable whether or not they are the outcome of labor. It may be that we ourselves (psychologically) may not appreciate such values without them being tied into labor, but I propose that our lack of appreciation would then be the result of simply taking this satisfaction of basic needs for granted. As you did not specify the security or reliability of such non-labor satisfaction of basic goods, it might be added that our appreciation for their value may be quite vivid when we realize our vulnerability to theft, warfare, malicious destruction. Another matter to consider: What kind of environment are...

Can something with attributes not have a definition?

It is natural to think of definitions as something that we formulate, whereas attributes are usually thought of as something that we might formulate or construct (the attribute of being a human invention, for example), but also something that we do not invent or create. On this later view, there may be indefinitely many objects with attributes that we have yet to define and we might be incapable of defining. Even our brains, for example, might have attributes we might never discover. It may even be that everything we observe and is observable has an attribute that we may not know and hence be able to competently define (e.g. the attribute or property of being created by God or Brahman). So, I suggest that some things do have attributes that lack definitions. For further thought, I suggest that some attributes may only be conceivable in cases of when we have definitions. So, in asserting that triangles have three sides, conceiving of the attribute of *being three sided* (or, in more detail: *being a...

It is said that one should put others before oneself, but isn't this impossible? Consider two people, Mr A and Miss B. If A succeeds in putting B before himself, B can't put A before herself. Hasn't B been forced into being selfcentred by A?

There can be a paradox here: imagine Mr. A vows he will not go through a door unless Miss B goes first, and Miss B vows she will not go through the door unless Mr. B goes first. Sadly, they may be in a fix, unless the two of them fall prey to optical illusions or somehow wrongly come to believe that the other has slipped through the door first and the way is clear for them. But in your case of A and B altruism, I am not sure the problem is arresting: imagine that A gives primacy to B and so goes and prepares lunch for her, whereas B gives primacy to A and prepares lunch for him. In this case, perhaps they both enjoy lunch (especially if they both believe it would be showing respect to the other to eat together --Mr. A might enjoy his lunch out of consideration for Miss B, while Miss. B would enjoy her lunch for the sake of Mr. A). I wonder whether your case might raise a question about the alternatives you have set up. You seem to give us two choices: either put another person first or be self...

Are all moral questions philosophical? Some moral questions depend on factual questions (historical or scientific), but I mean the other ones.

Not an easy question to address. "Moral questions" might refer to questions about a particular act (is it morally permissible for you to buy a cup of coffee when that money might go to Oxfam and save a life) or a general practice or an institution. Moral questions might also include general questions about an overall moral or ethical theory. I suggest that in questioning the moral status of something, it is difficult to avoid some philosophy of values, even if this is not being explicitly invoked or applied. Even when employing historical and scientific methods in addressing the moral status of some state of affairs, some philosophy will be (or so I suggest) at work, even if this principally involves the philosophy of inquiry itself.

During a conversation with my friend about cosmological argument for God, friend told me that cosmological argument is not even true because causal principle is outdated and not needed in modern physics. After the conversation, I searched for that by internet and found out Russell first argued like that and many contemporary philosopher of physics agreed that causality is at least not needed in our fundamental physics. I think if this kinds of argument succeed, then causal principle is undermined and as a result cosmological argument cannot be hold. So my question is, how do proponents of causal principle and cosmological argument answer to that?

I could be wrong, but I believe that few philosophers today would claim that causation (per se) can be eliminated in an adequate description and explanation of the world. Indeed, it would be hard to understand our communicating right now (my intentionally responding to you, using computational mechanisms) without making use of cause-effect relations. There are abundant philosophical treatments of causation ranging from those that appeal to laws of nature, counterfactuals, Humean regularities.... I myself favor the idea that causation is best not understood as fundamentally involving laws of nature; I suggest that what we think of as laws of nature are abstractions that rest on substances (things / particles) that have primitive or basic causal powers and liabilities, but this (like so many things in philosophy) is controversial. There are still defenders of the cosmological argument for theism. You might look at what I think is the excellent entry on the cosmological argument in the free online...

If I'm asked "Do you have an opinion about opinions?" I cannot say "No" because then I would be expressing an opinion about opinions. Therefore isn't it impossible not to have an opinion about opinions?

Clever! This kind of query touches on a topic that some philosophers of mind engage having to do with the topic of what they call "higher order thoughts." Basically, it is one thing to have thoughts and then (supposedly) another matter to have thoughts about thoughts. This sort of thing comes into play when reflecting on nonhuman animals --some concede that some mammals have thoughts (perhaps even knowledge) but they do not have thoughts about thoughts (or knowledge of their knowledge). From this standpoint, it might be possible to have opinions but no opinions about opinions. Higher order thoughts also come into play in theories of action and, more specifically, freedom and responsibility. Theories of consciousness also involve reflection on higher order thoughts. Back to your topic of opinions about opinions: In the case you raise, when a person is asked if they have an opinion about their opinions (or an opinion about opinions in general), there may be a practical implication that the person's...

what is the ontological status of puppets and dummys? i'm think of of ventriloquist dummies and puppets like emu-what kind of existence do they have? what happens to them when they are put away in a box?

Great question. When functioning in a performance, I would think most of us would (rightly) see puppets and dummies as characters that are controlled by ventriloquists and puppeteers and thus not independent, autonomous agents. Their words and actions would be so entirely controlled by another agent that they themselves could only be the objects of praise or blame as part of a narrative or story (a matter of "make-believe" or imagination). I suppose there might be complicated circumstances in which someone controlling the puppets and dummies designates or assigns these characters some alter-ego or the embodiment of thoughts and feelings not shared by the controller, but this might be no more puzzling than what occurs when a novelist invents characters with goals the author does not share. When you ask about "what kind of existence do they have," I suggest that they are probably best seen as in the same category as tools. So, when a hammer or a puppet is put in a box and not being used, they remain...

"Everything in moderation" is a common view. But then moderation should be in moderation. If so, isn't moderation not fully moderate, and thus is partly immoderate?

Wonderful question. In Ancient Greco-Roman philosophy there was debate and disagreement about such a matter: some philosophers thought moderation in terms of appetites should be strict and without exception, whereas others thought the occasional immoderate indulgence was reasonable (for some, a person might on occasion over consume wine while still having living a life dedicated to the love of wisdom). One way to address the paradox you raise is to distinguish levels of moderation, thus restricting the "everything" in the injunction "Everything in moderation." So, if one alters the original claim to (for example) 'a person who loves wisdom should exercise moderation in satisfying their appetites and first-order desires (e.g. avoiding gluttony),' one avoids the idea that one should only be moderate in following this dictum. The kind of paradox you raise comes up in other areas. For example, if we consider a dictum that 'persons should be tolerant,' does this dictum require persons to be tolerant...

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