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hello. i was wondering what makes a human. if someone had a brain transplant, would you call the body by its name or by the brains name? if you get rid of the body is it still that person, and vise versa? (with the brain) thank you! hope you can help!

While there are some Charles Taliaferro December 30, 2019 (changed December 30, 2019) Permalink While there are some philosophers today, known as "animalists," who identify the human person as their whole body (brain and all). many more philosophers hold that personal identity is a function of brain continuity. On this view, if your brain were transplanted i... Read more

I think it's grossly unfair and saddening that people are judged differently based on their looks, talent, education, when many of these factors are out of their own control. Not just that they are judged differently, but a person's fate can be largely dependent on factors outside their own control. For example, I can never become Einstein or Bach, but I am fortunate to live much more comfortable life from someone born in an area plagued by war, even though I do not think I'm more entitled to such life than they are. However, I understand absolute equality can also be appalling as depicted in Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron". Where do we draw the line? What do philosophers think?

This has been a major concern Charles Taliaferro December 30, 2019 (changed December 30, 2019) Permalink This has been a major concern for many philosophers. Few think that "equality" as an abstract term is ipso facto (by itself) something good; it would not be good, for example, for all people to have the same sickness or ingest equal amounts of poison. But... Read more

Should (intentionally) false speech be completely free? If so, on what basis? Such speech seems only to bring harm and spread misunderstanding.

Intentionally false speech Allen Stairs December 28, 2019 (changed December 28, 2019) Permalink Intentionally false speech isn't completely free. Lying under oath is against the law. So are slander and libel. So is providing false information on your tax forms. And so on. It would be odd to think these laws should be abandoned. But not all deliberately false... Read more

Why most philosopher of religion are theist?Are most philosopher of religion before theist they study philosophy of religion? As fas as,I know there are very few philosopher who change their mind after studying philosophy of religion.

Are most philosophers of Allen Stairs December 12, 2019 (changed December 12, 2019) Permalink Are most philosophers of religion theists? You may be right, but I don't actually know. And I also don't know whether most philosophers of religion are theists before they study philosophy of religion. I also don't know how many philosophers change their minds aft... Read more

I'm interested in the nature of truth. Truth is said to be a quality and sometimes referred to as a property, other times as a 'relation'. Is truth a primary or secondary property? I'm having trouble fitting truth into a category. Thanks.

I tend not to distinguish Stephen Maitzen December 12, 2019 (changed December 19, 2019) Permalink I tend not to distinguish between a property and a quality. I would say that truth is a property (or quality) of propositions primarily and sentences derivatively: sentences are true when and only when they express true propositions, but propositions can be true... Read more

Is it - must there be - possible to track all logical statements back to the fundamental laws of logic ( the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, etc.) when it comes to "classical logic"? Are all logic derived from these fundamental laws?

The problem here, I think, is Allen Stairs December 5, 2019 (changed December 5, 2019) Permalink The problem here, I think, is that there's no one answer to the question "What are the fundamental laws of logic?" We can do things in different ways, and things which are fundamental on some accountings will be derived on others. Let's assume that there is a de... Read more

A question on luck which an acceptable definition would be ....... success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions. If I strike a golf ball from a tee and it hits a rock and goes straight in for a hole in one is that “luck”?   How is it deemed so if my intention is to strike the ball in an attempt to get it in the hole? If It happened to hit a rock and go in it would be deemed “lucky” , what if I aimed for the rock hoping for that result is it luck? Using this example would all golf shots be luck bad /good dependent  on the bounce of the ball?  What exactly is luck philosophically speaking? Surely luck exists only if a certain interpretation of quantum mechanics is true?

An interesting question. Allen Stairs November 30, 2019 (changed December 19, 2019) Permalink An interesting question. Let's start with the word "chance," which you seem to see as an essential part of luck. If I follow you correctly, we have chance, hence luck, only if determinism isn't true. I think we'll see that what people mean by "luck" doesn't presup... Read more

I am reading a by book by the great logician Raymond Smullyan. In this book he says that any statement of the form, "All As are Bs" are true if there are no "As". That is, these statements are vacuously true. He gives the following example, "All Unicorns have 5 legs" is true since there are no unicorns. So is "All unicorns have 6 legs", and "All unicorns are purple", etc. But this strikes me as obviously false. For example, "All unicorns have two horns" and "All unicorns are necessarily existing" are false statements. The first is false in virtue of the fact that unicorns are by definition one-horned. The second is false in virtue by the fact that it is impossible for something to be both necessarily existing and nonexistent. Am I missing something here or misreading Smullyan? Or are these counterexamples sufficient in refuting the claim that any statement of the form "All As are Bs" is vacuously true if there are no "As"? For reference the book is, "Logical Labyrinths" from pages 99-101. Thanks for your reply.

I don't know that book in Stephen Maitzen November 28, 2019 (changed December 1, 2019) Permalink I don't know that book in particular, but I can give you a standard explanation that at least makes sense of the view you find puzzling. In Aristotle's logic, any statement of the form "All S are P" implies that at least one S is P, so the statement comes... Read more

Suppose I am closed in a room with an unconscious man who drank too much. It is a hot day and I try to keep the window open, to get some air, but it does not stay so. Case 1: I use this man's body (one of his feet) to prevent the window from getting closed. Case 2: I get sexually aroused and I have sex with this man. In both cases, he does not wake up, and he gets some bruises from my acting, but he comes to know what I did only some days later. Morally speaking, it seems that what I did in Case 1 was a minor offence (if it is an offence at all), but what I did in Case 2 was a serious crime, it was rape. But what difference between the cases justifies these different moral judgments? In both cases I used a man as a tool to advance my interests, I did something that he would probably not want, and I caused him some bruises. The difference, I suppose, is that he would *see* or *feel* that my action in Case 2 was more serious, more offensive. And that "society" would see or feel the same. But, morally speaking, can my action BE more serious or offensive only because other people see it so?

You ask: "morally speaking, Allen Stairs November 21, 2019 (changed November 21, 2019) Permalink You ask: "morally speaking, can my action BE more serious or offensive only because other people see it so? Suppose there was someone weird enough to think that your sleeping man would be indifferent between having his feet used to prop a window open and bei... Read more

It seems unethical to me for the government to provide material support for people in need, for two primary reasons: - for the harm it does to the people being supported - more importantly, because it undermines the moral imperative of people in society. - in the USA, it also appears to be a violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Helping people in need is fundamentally a religious directive ("feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless") I fully support providing material support for people in need, as long as it is done either directly by individuals, or by individuals organizing together in various social organizations (e.g., church, synagogue, local food bank, clothing drive, soup kitchen, etc.) - each of us has a personal moral imperative to help those less fortunate, we cannot simply satisfy this imperative by taking money away from other people by force and then using those funds to provide help. - the people receiving assistance also have a moral imperative to use these funds properly to tend to their own physical needs. Perhaps there are additional moral arguments to help support this thesis?

You offer two reasons (though Allen Stairs November 7, 2019 (changed November 7, 2019) Permalink You offer two reasons (though really it's three.) The first is that if the government helps people (provides material support, in your phrase), it harms those people. Is this true? It's quite possibly true sometimes,. But is it true by and large? You haven't of... Read more