Recent Responses

Aside from so-called "moral intuition," what evidence is there for the existence of moral facts?

A preliminary question -- Gordon Marino September 19, 2019 (changed September 19, 2019) Permalink A preliminary question -- what would you consider evidence of moral facts? Log in to post comments

Is disregarding normative claims (epistemic like "you ought to believe true things" or moral like "you ought to donate to Oxfam") with full knowledge and understanding of them irrational? Is rationality grounded in other way than that we just all seem to participate in "rationality project" from the get-go (question of "why be rational" seems to be self-defeating as we look for reasons to be rational..)?

For the first question, let's Joe Rachiele September 16, 2019 (changed September 16, 2019) Permalink For the first question, let's focus on the practical claim. Suppose you judge that, all things considered, you ought to donate to Oxfam today but you experience no motivation to do so. You never form the intention to donate or form a desire to do so. A v... Read more

How do we justify our knowledge of the external world? Knowledge of the external world seems to be fallible in any case if we put the threshold of success at the highest level, namely 100% certainty. But this still raises a question: if we want to avoid complete skepticism, how can we be certain that our knowledge is at least likely to be true? In order to create a probability about the validity of our knowledge of the external world we need to start from perception. The problem is that we can be certain of the existence of perception but not the source of it (the matrix/the real world), and that is essential for the knowledge of the external world. In order to calculate our probability we then need the number of possible events E and the one favourable event F we're looking for: E = 2 possible events are external source or non-external source (matrix, hallucination, dream etc.) F = 1 favourable event i.e. external source P(F) = F/E = 1/2 = 50% It seems to me that both possibilities are equally likely. Why should I believe one over the other? A lot of people answers this question by saying that the simulation hypothesis is too convoluted and not as simple as common sense realism. But Doesn't that depend on the context? For example: If the reality in which I'm simulated there's an infinite amount of simulations the hypothesis would not be that convoluted. If I have no access to the external reality how am I supposed to establish what is convoluted and what is not? My question is: What makes external world realism more plausible?

Setting external world Allen Stairs August 29, 2019 (changed August 29, 2019) Permalink Setting external world skepticism aside for a moment, suppose I'm about to roll a die. Now there are two possibilities: it will come up 1 or it won't. If I reason as you did, I will conclude that the probability is 1/2 that the die will come up 1. Something has gone wro... Read more

Is there any way to escape an endless loop of "why"? Like when I was a kid I constantly asked my parents how something works and then it went to why something works. After they responded then it went to another why that went deeper and so on and so on. Similarily we can endlessly ask 'why' on matters like oughts of with what hand should I hold fork or on which hand should I wear a watch etc. So is there a way to escape it? Something like fact about ourselves comes to mind (i.e. because I want to do so) but that seems trivial or problematic in some areas (morality).

With matters of custom, such Stephen Maitzen August 29, 2019 (changed August 29, 2019) Permalink With matters of etiquette, such as which hand to use for the fork, or matters of personal preference, such as which wrist to use for one's watch, I don't think "Why?" questions are intellectually substantial enough to be worth asking more than once or twice. But... Read more

I still have problems understanding why external world skepticism is a thing in philosophy. I've heard so many hypotheses and they all seem to revolve around the idea that consciousness is a "simulatable". Here's what I don't understand: The keywords are: Consciousness: the state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. Simulation: imitation of something else. Simulation, by definition, is the imitation of something else. The "something else" in this case is consciousness. If it's the imitation of consciousness then it cannot be the real one. How on earth can consciousness not be real? It seems to me that by simulation they are trying to say that there is "illusory simulated consciousness" and "real non-simulated consciousness". How on earth can consciousness be illusory/simulated? A lot of people then say: external world skepticism is skepticism about perception not consciousness. It seems to me that perception and consciousness are more or less the same thing. Consciousness is the general state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. Perception is the specific response to one's surroundings or, in other words, "consciousness of" something specific. I don't understand. Is it possible that skepticism is finally dead?

I think that you and those Stephen Maitzen August 29, 2019 (changed August 29, 2019) Permalink I think that you and those you see as your opponents may simply be talking past each other. You define consciousness so that being conscious logically guarantees being aware of your surroundings. In arguments about external-world skepticism, consciousness has trad... Read more

I am having trouble understanding how the idea of qualia and p-zombies is logically coherent. If philosophical zombies are conceivable, and behave exactly the same as human beings, then zombies would also claim that they possess conscious experience / qualia, even though they do not. Doesn't it then follow that our conviction that we have qualia cannot be DUE to us actually having qualia, since zombies would hold the same conviction? Thanks.

No, it doesn't follow. Stephen Maitzen August 27, 2019 (changed August 27, 2019) Permalink No, it doesn't follow. Compare: If an evil demon were thoroughly deceiving me right now about my surroundings, then my current perceptual experience would -- unbeknownst to me -- be unreliable. But the truth of that conditional doesn't imply that my current percep... Read more

A typical response to global skepticism (skepticism which claims that we can know nothing), is that such a position is self-defeating. However, couldn't the global skeptic respond by stating that such an objection relies on the objector having knowledge of the truth of the law of non-contradiction, which the skeptic claims we don't know? Thus, the skeptic could argue that they know nothing can be known while having the privilege of also incoherently claiming that they still know certain things. Would it even be possible to even intelligibly respond to such a claim, since it seems when one begins to reject things like the laws of logic, then intelligible discourse becomes impossible and were left with assumptions?

Fascinating questions. Joe Rachiele August 27, 2019 (changed August 27, 2019) Permalink Fascinating questions. The view that no one can know anything does not seem self-defeating to me. You think this version of global skepticism defeats itself because it implies that the view itself is unknowable. But why does this defeat the view? Even if we cannot know... Read more

Hi! I have two questions that are related. So, instead of making two different entries, i will try to sum up everything now. My first question is regarding love: Can someone love something/someone that is perfect? If so, Is it meaningful? When i ask myself this i think in love as a desition, as a judgment, as a promise. Something that "requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn't a feeling, it is a practice.” (Fromm, 1957). With this in mind, i see perfection as something imposible to love because it is easy to accept it. If love is practice, then you cant love anything and anyone that doesnt require patience and discipline. I think in the start of a relationship, when everything is perfect and the world is in colour pink, that feeling wouldnt be called love. But at the same time, i find myself thinking in people that care about others, people that listen and are willing to help. Selfless people. Do they love? So, besides the question of loving someone perfect, Can someone love a stranger?Or Can someone love an acquaintance? My second question its related to the first one because it implies the same concept of love but doesnt revolves around a romantic relationship: Who can be consider as a friend? If love is a fundamental part of friendship the it requires it hard work. Should i consider highschool friends as "friends"? Or anyone who i havent kept in touch with but i had have a amazing relationship in the past. But also coworkers or classmates, people who i can connect with and have a great time but no necessarily choose to be with. We just are in the same time at the same place. Our relation is mediated by an activity or an institution. Well, i hope i was clear. Moreover, i hope someone can answer this or at least give me some reading recommendations. Thanks for your time!

Great questions. An initial Charles Taliaferro August 22, 2019 (changed August 22, 2019) Permalink Great questions. An initial observation: Fromm's view of love seems compelling, though I am uneasy about his claim that love is not a feeling. It seems that one might have discipline, patience, faith... and care for another person, but without FEELINGS (the emo... Read more

I was reading an argument for Metaphysical Solipsism and while most of the premises were ultimately meaningless, one of them store out to me and I still am unclear about its value. “Occam's Razor This is a form of ontological parisomony which deems a competing theory a priori most likely if that theory has less ontological commitments than the other theory [4]. If two theories X and Y have the same ontological commitments, but X is ontologically committed to Z and Y is not, it would deem Y as more parsimonious than X. Thus, this argument is frameworked by the fact that metaphysical solipsism posits the fewest ontological assumptions. To promote an alternate ontology would be to assume that qualia represents a physical reality, external to the mind. It has been shown that such a fact is dubious and unjustifiable via the Trilemma, thus metaphysical solipsism ought to be deemed a priori most likely. ”Endquote Is it true that Occam’s razor seems to support Solipsism, or does it reject solipsism on the grounds that it postulates equally as many types of entities and that realism has better explanatory power? I can’t find much information on the subject of Solipsism and Ockam’s Razor so I figured I’d ask here. Thanks in advance.

The version of Occam's Razor Joe Rachiele August 20, 2019 (changed August 20, 2019) Permalink The version of Occam's Razor quoted above seems to support solipsism, the view that only one's conscious experience exists, over a view which also admits the reality of the external world. After all, solipsism is committed to fewer entities than the latter view... Read more

An inventor creates a life-saving drug for disease X, which has no other cure. Worldwide, death by disease X among white people has been eliminated because of his drug; however, the death rate remains at pre-drug levels among non-whites because he has contractually restricted its sale and use to white people. For non-whites who die from disease X, is this inventor a causal factor in their death? My friend and I have debated this. I argue YES. The actions the inventor has taken to restrict the sale of his drug demonstrate intent with full knowledge of the consequences of the actions he has taken. I think his actions are not only causal, but in a world where this medicine is readily available everywhere, he becomes the primary cause of death. My friend argues NO. The inventor has done nothing with respect to non-whites. There is no causal relationship. Pulling a man from a burning building saves a life, but not doing so doesn't cause a death. Where I see actions that cause harm, my friend sees something passive, akin to passing a beggar on the street while talking with a friend on the way to lunch. He agrees that if the inventor ended this sales policy that lives would be saved, but insists he isn't causing anything.

As you've described the case, Allen Stairs August 1, 2019 (changed August 1, 2019) Permalink As you've described the case, there's something the inventor could do that would save lives. There's also a dispute about how to analyze the notion of a cause. Some would say (your friend apparently is in this camp) that absences—in the case, not doing something... Read more

Pages