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Archive for the ‘Metaphysics’ Category

rlclrose22

The newborn just entered into the world, may say to herself, “I am soiled; I am hungry, and decidedly uncomfortable.  Surely, my mother knows this. Why then does she not come to feed and change me?”  Although surrounded by others, we are profoundly isolated, able to communicate only a small portion of our thoughts, feelings, and observations and unable to fully apprehend what others are attempting to communicate to us.  I think that it is this striking isolation that causes us to first consider the nature of our being.  Long before I knew the word philosophy, I stared intently at my own hand, concluding that whatever this wonderfully constructed organism was, it was not “me”.  I was apart from it, enclosed by it, wearing it if you will, but not it.  This was my first impression of my own “being.” Martin Heidegger made the contemplation and explanation of “being” his life’s work.
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What follows is a work in progress, and I would greatly appreciate any constructive feedback pertaining to my argumentation and the strength of my reply to the RPAP. As stated in the body of the post, additional information on the two primary articles cited can be found in the endnotes at the end of this post.

 

Frankfurtian-style counterfactual intervener scenarios of all different stripes hold a special place in discussions of free will and moral responsibility. In some situations, they are a necessary evil with which one must contend, and in others they are an insurmountable obstacle for some theories. Many journal articles and full-length books on these topics dedicate large sections of text to attempting to reconcile Frankfurtian-style counterfactual intervener scenarios (CIS) against Frankfurt’s modification of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP). I believe that, using Galen Strawson’s iteration of what he deems the “Basic Argument” for the impossibility of moral responsibility, I can at best obviate Frankfurt’s Revised Principle of Alternate Possibilities (RPAP) and at worst side-step the need for addressing the PAP/RPAP by way of positing a new principle based on Strawson’s Basic Argument, what I shall call the Principle of the Basic Argument (PBA).

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Michael Dummett, perhaps one of the most influential Anglo-American philosophers of the last half of the 20th century, died on December 27th, 2011. I would have posted earlier had I been aware, but Dummett’s death only recently caught my attention. Personally, Dummett’s work on intuitionistic logic and verificationism have greatly influenced my own thoughts on logic and epistemology and, ironically, despite his verificationism, Dummett was also a practicing Roman Catholic.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Dummett’s work, here is an informative discussion given by Graham Priest, who last year permitted the FSPB to interview him, and Alan Saunders, the host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s programme The Philosopher’s Zone.

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Must an omnipotent and omniscient supernatural agency also be morally perfect?

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Too many people take the so-called theory of intelligent design seriously, which is unfortunate since nobody who takes a scientific view of the world should, and everyone ought to take a scientific view of the world. As many have argued, ID theory is not, properly, a theistic explanatory model. However, I am not convinced that this is the case, and for two primary reasons. (Though, I find that insofar as ID theories are not theistic models, they actually suffer from more problems, so they really ought to welcome theistic interpretations. But this we may skip for now.) First, the correlation between theism and ID theory is too great for it to be an accident of honest inquiry. The overwhelming majority of ID theory proponents are theists, and theistic conceptions of god are, not surprisingly, suitable candidates for the intelligent designer. Second, the Discovery Institute, the main intellectual impetus behind ID theory in the English speaking world, published The Wedge, wherein they explicitly advocate for a theistic interpretation of ID theory. (FYI: One may read the document here: The Wedge.)

In any case, what is to follow is a rough and ready argument against theistic explanatory models.

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Before continuing, I should offer the following caveat. What is to follow is a very rough draft of a paper I threw together. The paper was inspired by another I authored on a similar theme for a PoS class. The following neglects many details and instead provides for a rough outline of a larger, much closer analyzed and ambitious paper I suspect I will write in the near future. So, this post is but an approximation of what is to come. Nevertheless, if the post engenders discussion on any topics pertaining to quantum mechanics, scientific methodology, philosophy of science, verificationism, logical positivism, whatever, and attracts critical first assessments, then it will have served its purpose.

Logical Positivism and the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

“The rise of quantum theory in the years 1900 to 1927 is surely one of the major advances in the history of science- perhaps even one of the greatest intellectual advances ever made by mankind” (Hund 1974, p. 5). The mathematical formulation of modern quantum mechanics consists of a complete and logically consistent framework of mathematical deductions (see, for instance, von Neumann 1955). However, an ordered series of mathematical deductions, no matter how complete or logically consistent, is not a physical theory. In order to obtain the status of a physical theory, the mathematical formalism or, more precisely, the mathematical representations, must be assigned certain, specifiable experimental conditions so as to allow for the determination of measurement procedures which may aid in the confirmation and disconfirmation of hypotheses and in the identification of new and fruitful avenues of investigation. Of course, the experimental data produced by the measurement procedures necessitate interpretation, and that interpretation will run up through the mathematical structure resulting in our view of the theory and its overall implications for our system of the world.

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Hello to All!

I must admit that there are some debates that are not worth getting into, because they’re as solvable as JFK’s assassination. Abortion is one of them. In an attempt to save myself from getting into such a debate with one of my business partners, however, I ended up finding something interesting that I figured would be worth a post here. (It’s also high time I posted something about religion, however big the trouble that I’ll get into will be.)

The title of this post is that very thing I found to be interesting. My business partner tried to get me to pull apart the idea that “God” always meant religion, or something involving religious beliefs, in order to “win me over” onto the pro-life side of the abortion debate. Now, as I said, I don’t think abortion is something worth talking about here because we could do so for hours and hours and get absolutely nowhere. But the notion between God and religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . I think that’s worth thinking about for a bit.

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