Recent Responses

Recent Responses

Response by Joe Rachiele on September 16, 2019

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 version of what is called "motivational judgement internalism" holds that this psychology would constitute a rational failing. This version maintains that it is a rational requirement that whenever someone judges that they ought to A, they experience at least some motivation to A....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?

Response by Allen Stairs on August 29, 2019

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.

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Response by Stephen Maitzen on August 29, 2019

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 philosophical and scientific questions are intellectually much more substantial, much deeper. There it makes excellent sense to keep asking "Why?" questions for as long as those questions remain well-posed....more

Response by Stephen Maitzen on August 29, 2019

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 traditionally been given a weaker definition, a definition that doesn't logically guarantee being aware of your surroundings. In the classic evil demon scenario, your conscious mental states are caused by the evil demon and not by your surroundings (not even indirectly)....more

Response by Stephen Maitzen on August 27, 2019

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 perceptual experience is -- unbeknownst to me -- unreliable. Likewise, if zombies are possible, and if they claim that they have conscious experience, then it follows that claiming to have conscious experience doesn't imply having conscious experience. But we knew that already.

Response by Joe Rachiele on August 27, 2019

Fascinating questions.

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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!

Response by Charles Taliaferro on August 22, 2019

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 emotions) of delight in the one you love and sorrowing when the beloved is injured, I am not sure you would have a case of love. So I think Fromm's claim that love is not a feeling, but a practice, is open to challenge. Maybe he might have made the point that love is not MERELY a feeling.

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Response by Joe Rachiele on August 20, 2019

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, which also countenances the existence of stars, atoms, and rollercoasters.

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Response by Allen Stairs on August 1, 2019

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—can't be causes. Others disagree and provide accounts that allow absences to be causal. This is an abstract and complicated issue, but how much difference will it make to how we judge the inventor?

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Response by Charles Taliaferro on August 1, 2019

Great questions and concerns. For most philosophical theists (those who affirm the existence of God) "good" and "evil" need to be used with the same sense / meaning in terms of humans and God. For you to be compassionate and God to be compassionate and to be called 'good' presumably we mean praise-worthy / desirable / it is better that there is such compassion rather than not. But value judgements are often contextual depending on those involved....more