# How is this argument valid? Either Oscar is an octopus or he is a whale. Oscar is a zebra. Therefore, Oscar is an octopus.

### Validity in an argument comes

Validity in an argument comes down to one question: Is it possible for all the argument's premises to be true and its conclusion false? If no, then the argument is valid. So, assuming it is impossible for Oscar to be both a whale and a zebra, the argument is valid. Even so, the argument is not formally valid, because the following is not a valid form: Octopus(Oscar) or Whale(Oscar) Zebra(Oscar) Therefore: Octopus(Oscar) Not all valid arguments are formally valid. Furthermore, assuming that Oscar is not both an octopus and a zebra, the argument is unsound despite being valid, because in that case the second premise and the conclusion are not both true. The same holds for this argument (on similar assumptions): Oscar is an octopus, or Oscar is a whale. Oscar is a zebra. Therefore: Oscar is a whale. Valid but unsound. So neither argument establishes its conclusion.

# Is there any way to define coincidences so as to make their existence possible in a deterministic world?

### I think so. Suppose you

I think so. Suppose you encounter an old acquaintance, whom you haven't thought about in years, on a street corner in a foreign city. That unexpected encounter sounds to me like a paradigm case of a coincidence, precisely because it was (as we say) "the last thing you were expecting." Nevertheless, the encounter might well have been guaranteed to occur by prior conditions, as determinism says all events are. Our very limited knowledge of the prior conditions -- indeed, our total lack of interest in their precise details -- makes such an encounter surprising, i.e., not at all predictable by us given how little we knew about the prior conditions. Even so, those prior conditions could have determined that the encounter would occur exactly when, where, and how it did.

# Hi. I have been struggling lately. I was just wanting to confirm that determinism is a THEORY,correct, as to ask if it has been proven? Has there been any 100% consensus as to say we don't have free will? Will we ever really know for sure? I'm sorry I'm just going through many questions right now. Determinism (in any form) has not been proven 100% correct? And all of those theories on determinism, and indeterminism, are all not confirmed correct? They're just perspectives correct? Thank you so much for any relief/ information you can give me.

### Determinism is neither as

Determinism is neither as well-established as (say) the sun-centered model of the planets nor as well-refuted as (say) the earth-centered model of the planets. The truth or falsity of determinism is an open empirical question. But perhaps I can provide some relief from the threat that you think determinism would pose for free will. Please see this answer to a question posted here in 2016: http://askphilosophers.com/question/25905.

# Hello my question is about the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I personally do agree with the premises and the conclusion, however a person on youtube said that you cannot say that an infinite regress does not make sense but an infinite being does. So my questions are what is the difference between an infinite regress and an infinite being, can you say they are both absurd? Does an infinite being make sense?

### I myself have much more

I myself have much more sympathy for the major premise of the KCA, "Whatever begins to exist is caused to exist," than for the minor premise, "The universe began to exist." It's true that the major premise faces pressure from quantum mechanics, but only from those interpretations of quantum mechanics that presume indeterminism. The minor premise is often thought to gain support from physical cosmology, but I have my doubts about that. It's one thing to admit that our equations go silent at the instant of the Big Bang, quite another to insist that nothing, not even time, existed prior to that instant. Anyway, to your question. Some infinite regresses clearly make sense, such as the regress generated by starting with 0 and subtracting 1 from every result you get. There is nothing absurd about that regress unless there is something absurd about the set of negative integers. By the same token, I see no reason why states of the universe cannot go back infinitely far into the past. To object that "The...

### A response to Jonathan's

A response to Jonathan's point: To deny that the universe had a beginning is not to deny that a Big Bang occurred several billion years ago, nor is it to discount the evidence for such an event. But the available evidence doesn't imply, and it may not even favor, the claim that a Big Bang event occurs only once rather than cyclically, with the cycles going back, in principle, forever. So I stand by "eminently." While I'm at it: Jonathan wrote that "some infinite series don't make sense (e.g. an infinite series of events leading up to a present event, since one could never take the last step, since there is no last step)." I take it that Jonathan meant to write "there is no first step," since we're talking about a series that is infinite in the earlier direction. But either way -- "first" or "last" -- his reasoning sounds like Zeno's argument that I can never begin to traverse (or finish traversing) any distance because there is never a first (or a last) fraction of the distance that I traverse. That...

# Hello, why a thing cannot exist without any properties ? (like being just itself)

### I see no reason why

I see no reason why properties do not include being identical to the number 7 and being distinct from the number 7 . If so, then -- necessarily -- everything that exists has exactly one of those two properties. The number 7 has the former property; everything else has the latter property. If there is no such thing as the number 7, then everything has the latter property. Either way, nothing can exist without having one property or the other.

# Why does God not relieve the acute suffering of a child? This example incites the jury. The child's suffering and mine during a flu episode only differ in degree. The question is why God allows suffering at all. In a world of inevitable death suffering is unavoidable and is therefore as natural as elliptical orbits. Suffering (like its twin pleasure) is morally neutral and a by-product of sentience--cruelty and indifference are not neutral. For God to intervene would be to change the natural order, thus depriving humans of a full range of experience, freedom to act, and full responsibility for those actions. The terms of existence are non-negotiable. God's moral law is the architect's plan for living with these conditions. Does my argument hold any water?

### I think your argument has

I think your argument has holes that prevent it from holding much water: 1. Our world need not have been a world of inevitable death. Any God capable of creating the universe from scratch is capable of creating its physical laws, so nothing forced God to make our universe one in which everything dies. The creation of a universe having that feature is entirely God's choice. Nor could any sin we humans later committed force God to institute death as a response. That response is not dictated to God by any law; it is likewise entirely God's choice. 2. "For God to intervene would be to change the natural order..." But, again, it's a natural order that God chose to institute in the first place. 3. "...thus depriving humans of a full range of experience, freedom to act, and full responsibility for those actions." As it is, humans don't have the full range of experience: there are things (including pains and pleasures) that we can't experience but other animals can. If the freedom to act is highly valuable...

# Can you have morals without acknowledging God? If so, where do they come from?

### If I may: One can argue that

If I may: One can argue that people have morals only if they do not , in the relevant sense, "acknowledge God." I give such an argument in this chapter of a recent anthology.

# When you look at non-human animal communication, for instance birds and cats, you can explain what's going on simply in terms of cause and effect. Now, human language is more complex, but if you happen to have determinist beliefs, at some level you believe it's all cause and effect, right? So, when describing why and how people use words, would an ideal observer need to talk about the meanings of words at all, or would the concept of meaning drop out as unnecessary?

### Since no one else has

Since no one else has answered your question, I'll chime in. I confess that I find it hard to see how any explanation of human communication purely at the level of (say) sounds and scribbles, with no reference to the meaning conveyed by sounds and scribbles, could avoid leaving out something important. But I'm no expert on this topic, so all I can do is recommend reading the SEP entry on "Eliminative Materialism," found here . I'm going to read it now myself.

# Is it a matter of convention that 24 September 2017, 17 September 2017, 10 September 2017, 3 September 2017, 1 February 1970, etc. are or were Sundays? Of course, we could have given and can give them a different name. They actually have different names in different languages. We could even have no common name for them. There could be no English language. There could be no Gregorian calendar (at least it could be that no one invented it). And, of course, what people do with Sundays varies greatly from one place or time to another. But it seems to me that it is no convention that these days were, are or will be Sundays. In any case, these thays would always be Sundays.

### I presume that anything you

I presume that anything you would count as a Sunday must recur every seven days and must be the same day of the week. If not, then I don't know what you mean by "Sunday" in your question. But the decision to treat one week as consisting of seven days is entirely conventional rather than natural. (Notice that neither the solar year nor the lunar month divides equally into seven-day weeks.) See this link . According to other conventions, one week consists of more or fewer than seven days, so no particular day of the week recurs every seven days, so no day of the week is a Sunday.

# Good Day! I would just like to ask. Is truth relative? Personally, I don't think it is because the question begs you to believe there are instances where it is false which means it is not constantly applicable which makes me question it. However, I find a flaw that I can't quite answer. Let's say something that is true on a specific culture, is false on another, if this is the case, then how could truth be absolute? Or is truth actually relative? Thank you!

### I find it hard to make sense

I can't make sense of the idea that truth could be relative. Suppose that I find some dish spicy, while you find it mild. We might be inclined to say that (R) "This dish is spicy" is true relative to me and false relative to you, but I think that way of speaking is by no means forced on us and, in fact, is misleading. For if R itself were true, its truth would have to be explained in terms of the truth of this non-relative claim: (NR) This dish is spicy relative to my taste but not yours. NR neither is nor implies the claim that truth is relative. Rather, perceived spiciness is. So too with (P) "Polygamy is acceptable" is true relative to culture A but false relative to culture B. P is an avoidable and misleading way of making the non-relative claim that culture A accepts polygamy whereas culture B doesn't. The acceptance of polygamy is relative to culture, and that's a non-relative truth.