Recent Responses

Recently I asked if theology were a branch of philosophy, and was encouraged by Dr. Stairs to ask my question. If we are told in Christian (Catholic at least) faith that God is the only One True God and we should not pray to any other God except Her/Him/It, then how come (in some branches) we can pray to saints or to Mary, and not be committing idolatry? One answer I've heard is that we do not "pray" to them so much as we ask them to intercede for us on our behalf....I don't know though, that sounds forced.

The question of whether this Allen Stairs October 17, 2019 (changed October 17, 2019) Permalink The question of whether this sounds forced or not is a hard one to make a judgment about, but the answer, as I understand it, is pretty much the one you've heard. If one prays to a saint, one is asking the saint to intercede; not to perform the miracle. Although w... Read more

Recently there was a question that said, "you can't create something from nothing, can you?" Actually, if I understand quantum theory correctly, something indeed can exist from nothing. - nothing can spontaneously decay into a particle and its anti-particle - usually, those two particles then interact with each other, leaving nothing again afterward - occasionally one of those two resulting particles will interact with something else instead - consequently, the remaining particle of the original two particles will then continue to exist. Voila! something out of nothing, and it is grounded in physics.

There is a well-known Jonathan Westphal October 17, 2019 (changed October 17, 2019) Permalink There is a well-known equivocation on "nothing" here. According to quantum theory, there are two particles that go in and out of existence, and leave behind "something". You might as well argue that when I win a trick in bridge, my score came from nothing because t... Read more

You can't create something out of nothing can you! And yet, here we exist. Is this not the most relevant question we can't answer?

@ Jonathan: If I may, I think Stephen Maitzen October 10, 2019 (changed October 17, 2019) Permalink @ Jonathan: If I may, I think Leibniz's analogy is faulty. The constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any books at all (or any books bearing a particular title) need not be constraints on what counts as a good explanation of wh... Read more

What is in myself and not in others and it doesn't change from childhood to death

Besides your identity? Or are Stephen Maitzen October 10, 2019 (changed October 10, 2019) Permalink Besides your identity? Or are you seeking an analysis of personal or bodily identity? If the latter, then I recommend starting here, here, and here. Log in to post comments

You can't create something out of nothing can you! And yet, here we exist. Is this not the most relevant question we can't answer?

@ Jonathan: If I may, I think Stephen Maitzen October 10, 2019 (changed October 17, 2019) Permalink @ Jonathan: If I may, I think Leibniz's analogy is faulty. The constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any books at all (or any books bearing a particular title) need not be constraints on what counts as a good explanation of wh... Read more

I have never had a successful romantic love experience. If I love someone, how am I supposed to know that I do?

I suspect that in some cases Jonathan Westphal October 10, 2019 (changed October 10, 2019) Permalink I suspect that in some cases the process of falling in love, and then, perhaps suddenly, realizing that that is what is happening, are part of the same process. You are only fully in love when you have the delicious experience of realizing that you are in lov... Read more

Is theology a subset of philosophy? Even if in theory it is, in practice is it treated as a separate discipline? I notice a contradiction in thought in an organized religion and wanted to ask about it, I'm not sure if this is an appropriate forum. Thanks!

I don't think theology is a Allen Stairs October 10, 2019 (changed October 10, 2019) Permalink I don't think theology is a subdiscipline of philosophy, but philosophy of religion is, so you should feel free to ask your question. Log in to post comments Read more

You can't create something out of nothing can you! And yet, here we exist. Is this not the most relevant question we can't answer?

@ Jonathan: If I may, I think Stephen Maitzen October 10, 2019 (changed October 17, 2019) Permalink @ Jonathan: If I may, I think Leibniz's analogy is faulty. The constraints on what counts as a good explanation of why there have been any books at all (or any books bearing a particular title) need not be constraints on what counts as a good explanation of wh... Read more

A full-time graduate student, from what I gather, takes three courses per semester. Looking at syllabi for graduate courses in philosophy shows that, typically, every week a student is required to read around 100 or more pages a week. As I'm sure you're aware, we're not talking uncomplicated reads here, either. I don't think this kind of typical reading-quota per week allows a student to develop a deep understanding of the texts they are reading. And I think it goes against the reasons for studying philosophy at the master's level, one of which I take to be learning the material to the point of being able to teach it (if only to oneself). Part-time study is always available, one might say; but that usually means no funding (which is a no-starter for many). So, what do you think: is the typical reading load for a full-time graduate student in philosophy reasonable given the purposes for studying philosophy at that level? I'd really like to see as many responses from the contributors here as possible, even from those who don't currently teach at the master's level. Thank you so much!

I haven't looked into this, Joe Rachiele October 5, 2019 (changed October 5, 2019) Permalink I haven't looked into this, but suppose you are right about the typical required reading for a full-time MA student in philosophy. I'm not sure that 300 pages per week is an unreasonable demand. If you read a page every three minutes on average, then it should t... Read more

There have been some excellent questions about whether moral claims can be objectively true or not. Isn't there an unspoken presupposition to that argument, however? "Moral claims can only exist in situations where there are beings who are subject to morality present in the first place." or perhaps you can word it better to capture what I am trying to say. In other words, if there were no sentient beings, then the concept of morality could not even exist, as only sentient beings are capable of moral reflection in the first place.

True: only sentient beings Allen Stairs September 19, 2019 (changed September 19, 2019) Permalink True: only sentient beings can think about moral questions, and so moral questions don't arise in a world with no sentient (or better, sapient) beings. Of course, in one sense of "arise," no questions arise unless there are creatures who can ponder the question... Read more

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