Recent Responses

What, if anything, can you boil one's self down to, outside any notion of soul or essence?

Jay L. Garfield October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink Many philosophers, especially those in the Buddhist tradition (Nagasena, Candrakirti, Santideva,or see Hume for a Western sympathiser), have argued that there is nothing that one can "boil oneself down to," that is, that the self has no existence independent of convention. Others have argu... Read more

Is it true that time has no end?

Jay L. Garfield October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink This is an open question, and one that will be decided in the branch of physics known as cosmology. Since time is best conceived as a dimension of the universe, and as we do not now know the long-term future of the universe, this cannot be answered at present. Log in t... Read more

We are often told time is like a river. Are there other useful analogies for time? For example: Time is like a bowl of jello with fruit: time is the jello and events are the fruit stuck in it. I guess what I'm really asking is does time have to flow? Is there another way of thinking about time?

Jay L. Garfield October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink Thinking of time as flowing obscures far more than it clarifies, on my view, and I think that the river analogy is dangerous. Anything that flows flows at some rate. How fast does time flow? Sixty minutes per hour? The image raises the prospect of a supertime against which the flow of t... Read more

What is the difference between analytical and continental philosophy? Is one better than the other? Is analytical philosophy more scientific than continental philosophy?

Douglas Burnham June 30, 2006 (changed June 30, 2006) Permalink I agree that the two designations do not have much geographical significance, or significance in the nature of problems pursued or methods employed. I also don't think style is a very consistent indicator. Finally, the differences between philosophers within one of these very loose groups might... Read more

My question is a little bit technical. As you know, from Heidegger to Structuralism, there is always a theme of an "iron cage". In other words, we are always bound by language, structure, or something else. This word "iron cage" was as far as I find used by Weber first. But, I wonder, who is the first western philosopher who used such an idea of being bounded by a surrounding system. For example, can we count Hegel as an "iron cage" philosopher as for him no one can go beyond the <i>volksgeist</i>? Kind Regards, Nyouri Oezturk

Jay L. Garfield October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink Well, you'd have to include Kant, who argues that our knowledge is bounded by our perceptual and cognitive structures. Log in to post comments

How should we view architects and their work? If we think of buildings as purely functional, then we seem to be thinking of architects as means to ends only, forgetting their concern for aesthetics. Conversely, if we see buildings purely as aesthetic objects, we are underplaying the technical - scientific - expertise of architects. Is there a middle ground of judgement here?

Aaron Meskin October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink I’dlike to add a few points to Roger’s very reasonable remarks. First, thefact that works of architecture can be seen both functionally (i.e., interms of broadly utilitarian purposes) and aesthetically does notdistinguish them from many other works of art. Consider stained glasswindows, Native... Read more

Hi, My roommate claims that it is impossible for an omnipotent being to exist. His logic is that if a being can create a rock so big it cannot lift it, then that being is not omnipotent because its lifting power is not infinite. But also, if it cannot create the rock so big it cannot lift, then it's creation power is not infinite. And because of this paradox, an omnipotent being cannot possibly exist. My boss was a philosophy major in school. He claims that this explanation is completely wrong. However, I do not understand his explanation as he said it very quickly and with many names of old philosophers and theorems and such that I cannot remember. So who is right? Regardless of whether or not an omnipotent being does exist or not, can one exist? Thanks.

Mitch Green October 21, 2005 (changed October 21, 2005) Permalink I'd like to add one further point to the two made so far. Many contemporary philosophers infer from the so-called Paradox of the Stone that omnipotence is not a matter of being able to do anything, but only a matter of *being able to do anything it is possible to do*. That observation sugg... Read more

Do you believe that freedom is just being able to do what one wants without constraint? If so, why and how?

Peter Lipton October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink Sean Greenberg rightly says that the absence of physical constraint does not guarantee freedom. Moreover, as Harry Frankfurt has plausibly claimed, absence of physical constraint isn't even necessary for free will, though it is necessary for freedom. If I start out with free will, you don't... Read more

Why should I believe you?

Jyl Gentzler October 11, 2005 (changed October 11, 2005) Permalink Fair enough, Alan. Based on my experience of human beings, the more sociableand cheerful attitude that you suggest seems appropriate as ageneral day-to-day attitude toward others. I’m generally not worriedthat people are lying to me. But I understood the question differently– not as direc... Read more

How should we view architects and their work? If we think of buildings as purely functional, then we seem to be thinking of architects as means to ends only, forgetting their concern for aesthetics. Conversely, if we see buildings purely as aesthetic objects, we are underplaying the technical - scientific - expertise of architects. Is there a middle ground of judgement here?

Aaron Meskin October 7, 2005 (changed October 7, 2005) Permalink I’dlike to add a few points to Roger’s very reasonable remarks. First, thefact that works of architecture can be seen both functionally (i.e., interms of broadly utilitarian purposes) and aesthetically does notdistinguish them from many other works of art. Consider stained glasswindows, Native... Read more

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