What’s Your Philosophy?

BLOGGING EVENT!

Tell the world. Don’t be shy. Yes, we’re used to piggy-backing off the famous philosophers, and that’s why I came up with this prompt. Those well-versed in philosophy will appreciate a grassroots approach, even those who spend every waking hour thinking about the transcendental unity of apperception, believe it or not. No need to read everything everyone’s ever said about anything. Just say what YOU think. So rarely do we get a platform for original philosophical thought. Well, this is it.

No need to answer these any or all of these questions, but I thought they might help stimulate things:

How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?

How do you determine right from wrong?

Are you a rationalist or empiricist or both? (If you don’t know these terms, don’t worry about it. Or just Google ‘em.)

How would you solve the mind/body problem? (Clue: You can reduce things to one or the other, or…actually solve the problem. Good luck.)

Does God exist?

If God exists, does that mean there is life after death?

What is a soul? Does it exist?

Do dogs have souls?

What about parameciums?

What is Justice?

What is Love?

What is happiness?

What is courage?

Does happiness factor into ethics? (In other words, does being a good person mean being a happy person?)

What is the purpose of art?

Please leave a comment to link to your post, or leave your ideas directly in the comment box, if you wish.

Happy philosophizing!

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33 thoughts on “What’s Your Philosophy?

      • ‘Slab’ it is – don’t ask me why! There’s another, more intelligible, though older version on YouTube called ‘Beyond the fringe on Oxford Philosophy’. Still, I suspect the humour in both instances is a peculiarly English one in any case; the video submission was just me playing for time whilst I figured out if God exists.

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        • I think the ‘slab’ reference was making fun of Wittgenstein? Although I couldn’t hear the other words, so there was no context from which to make a determination.

          Good luck on the God question…but you know, the clock is ticking.

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          • How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?

            I side with there being no act of conscious choosing, merely the illusion of one. This is pretty well established I think, ever since Benjamin Libet came up with his ‘Time On’ theory of conscious choice. Still, the proprioceptive sense we have of choosing is conditioned by the body – which is still ‘me’ if you like – so one could counter the presumed need for a ‘conscious’ basis of the argument by saying it’s irrelevant, as it was in some way ‘me’ that chose in any case. And yet still, as there is no ‘me’ to be found within the body . . .

            I’ll get back to you on whether God exists; he’s not picking up my calls at the moment.

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  1. Do dogs have souls?

    Yes, of course. It’s just humans that don’t.

    All of which reminds me of the tired old English session musicians joke:

    ‘America have their soul singers, and we have our soul singers.’

    I’ll get my coat.

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  2. LOLS! There’s about six months of blogging here.

    How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?
    Free will is as real as baseball. (see emergence)

    How do you determine right from wrong?
    Instinct, justified afterward with logic.

    Are you a rationalist or empiricist or both? (If you don’t know these terms, don’t worry about it. Or just Google ‘em.)
    Both. But if my empiricism is irrational, it wins. (See quantum mechanics)

    How would you solve the mind/body problem? (Clue: You can reduce things to one or the other, or…actually solve the problem. Good luck.)
    The same way I solve the software / hardware problem.

    Does God exist?
    Which god? Big man in the sky? Doubt it. Sum total of the laws of nature? Sure.

    If God exists, does that mean there is life after death?
    Do carrots have an afterlife? What about jellyfish? Sponges? Did neanderthals?
    Humans might eventually build our own afterlife.

    What is a soul? Does it exist?
    The information in our brain. Yes

    Do dogs have souls?
    Yes

    What about parameciums?
    Huh?

    What is Justice?
    schadenfreude, maybe.

    What is Love?
    a mammalian instinct

    What is happiness?
    dopamine surges

    What is courage?
    desperation seen from a distance, usually

    Does happiness factor into ethics? (In other words, does being a good person mean being a happy person?)
    Unfortunately, not necessarily.

    What is the purpose of art?
    emotional satisfaction

    Some of my answers might be different tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: What are your philosophical positions? | SelfAwarePatterns

  4. A few years ago I tried to think for myself what consciousness could be and I wrote a blog post about it:

    http://universal-consilience.blogspot.be/2011/03/my-own-opinion-on-consciousness.html

    And I did the same for “free will”

    http://universal-consilience.blogspot.be/2011/02/i-think-we-are-machines-just-virus-or.html

    And I did the same more recently about morality:

    http://universal-consilience.blogspot.be/2014/02/we-are-machines-programmed-by-our-genes.html

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  5. On most of these questions one could write whole books, so the following answers are necessarily incomplete and oversimplified. For most of these questions, there seem to be no complete answers, and I have not thought much about some of them yet. But let me try:

    How do you weigh in on the free will/fate debate?
    I don’t think there is free will.

    How do you determine right from wrong?
    Intuitively, with adding logic to it later. I am not convinced a complete, closed theory for this is possible.

    Are you a rationalist or empiricist or both? (If you don’t know these terms, don’t worry about it. Or just Google ‘em.)
    In a way, both. For each act of cognition, there is an active cognitive system already there that processes new information. However, as part of this process, the cognitive system is changed. The system you started with was itself the result of a learning process starting from a simpler system. For each “ratio” there is a learning process by which it can be created from something simpler. There is no absolut apriori. The main property of the mind is creativity, and that is the ability of leaving the scope of any fixed description of the mind. So any description of ratio is incomplete because it can be extended (essentially by incorporating new informatione).

    How would you solve the mind/body problem? (Clue: You can reduce things to one or the other, or…actually solve the problem. Good luck.)
    The mind is an emulated entity. It has an existence of its own in the sense that for example this blog post has an existence independent of the hardware in which it is implemented. It can be moved to another hardware working according to different physical principles, without you noticing it. Its properties do not depend on the hardare and the information in it does not arise out of the properties of the hardware. In a comparable way, the mind is implemented in terms of neurons but looking at neurons will not tell you much about the mind.

    Does God exist?
    No.

    If God exists, does that mean there is life after death?
    There is no life after death.

    What is a soul? Does it exist?
    Depends on how you define it. There is subjective experience, emotion etc. The mind exists from its own point of view. I don’t know how qualia come about but the fact that we think and talk about them means that they are not something that could just as well not be there (zombi.like). A mind of the way we have it (self-observing, reflexive) obviously has this kind of consciousness, and that exists. The “hard problem” will eventually be solved. In that sense, yes, souls exist but they are emulated by material systems.

    Do dogs have souls?
    In the sense of the previous answer, probably yes.

    What about parameciums?
    I doubt there is self-reflexiv observation in a paramecium, so I don’t think so.

    What is Justice?
    Maybe a state in which everybody could agree to switch identity with anybody else, without knowing in whose head they will end up (and including future people).

    What is Love?
    A subjective experience.

    What is happiness?
    I don’t think this can be answered generally. It might be subjectively different for different people.

    What is courage?
    Being yourself.

    Does happiness factor into ethics? (In other words, does being a good person mean being a happy person?)
    It contributes to it.

    What is the purpose of art?
    The purpose of art is defined by each artist and each perceiver. I don’t think this can be defined independent of time and culture. In our culture, it has split up into many different answers. Personally, I am most interested in abstract art that creates experiences of beauty. I have written some articles about these topics, e.g.: http://asifoscope.org/2013/03/02/before-words/ and http://asifoscope.org/2013/05/10/on-beauty/.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for participating! I know it’s a bit of a challenge to answer such huge questions, but everyone’s doing a fabulous job in the exercise of brevity and breeziness.

    “What is Justice?
    Maybe a state in which everybody could agree to switch identity with anybody else, without knowing in whose head they will end up (and including future people).”

    This would work for me! I think people might be more inclined to follow the golden rule.

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  7. Pingback: The Harmony of the Soul: Plato’s Republic | Diotima's Ladder

  8. Happiness is the mountain peaks on our way – to enjoy the view, we must have taken the trip up there through the dark canyons along the steep slopes – happiness isn’t stationary, but moments – If happiness was stationary then we people won’t appreciate it, but take it for granted… 😀

    Love is fuel for the soul… 🙂

    Justice is when the consequences match the intentions not from the perspective of self-interest but realism – not because we want it but because we deserve it… 🙂

    The soul is an electrical voltage between the ears, eyes, mouth and nose… 😀

    I believe that god don’t exist, even not human gods – some act like they believe they were… 😀

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    • Funny how we take things for granted. I have a wonderful mountain view in my backyard and when we first moved here, I thought it was the most spectacular thing I’d ever seen. Now I go out in my backyard and look at all the gardening I have to do, not noticing the spectacular view. But when friends come over and gasp, I remember what it was like when we first moved here and I can appreciate it all over again.

      I wonder if we do take happiness for granted…if it’s a lasting thing, we probably do. It would just hover in the background. If it’s not lasting, do we call it happiness or simply pleasure?

      Maybe it takes a friend to remind us of how happy we are. Fuel for the soul!

      Thanks for your responses. I enjoyed reading your creative answers.

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  9. Pingback: Re: What’s Your Philosophy? | Blogger at the Edge of the Universe.

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  11. Do souls exist?

    Hmm, interesting question. I assume that a ‘soul’ is a mind that is capable of existing absent the continued existence of our bodies.

    Yes, I think souls in the above sense do exist. My conscious states appear to exist, yet I do not see them or touch them or smell, taste or hear them. Similarly, my mind – the container of such conscious states – also appears to exist, and yet I do not see, touch, smell, taste or hear it. Both my conscious states and their container appear positively to be without, dimension. In other words, there appears to be inside my head a dimensionless container of conscious experiences.

    What it would take for my impression of a dimensionless container inside my head to be accurate? Well, it would take there to be a dimensionless container in there. Perhaps there isn’t, but in that case I do not exist: I am an illusion. However, I see no reason to think I am an illusion: I appear to exist and the burden of proof is always on the person who denies things are as they appear to be. No good showing me that a brain is inside my head, for by hypothesis a dimensionless thing has no visual appearance and is capable of existing inside a brain. So, the fact there is a brain in my head is not evidence that there is not a dimensionless thing in there as well. I conclude that there exists in my head a dimensionless container of conscious states, for there appears to be one and I see no reason to doubt those appearances.

    .

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    • Thanks for stopping by!

      I’m on your side in that I don’t want to dismiss inner experience as an illusion. I take mind as an epistemological starting point; it seems to be the most secure foundation. If you think about it, science always falls within that framework as a different kind of inner experience, a more “objective” one…although that word can be misleading. Of course, I’m arguing the mind/soul reality from intuition (to be distinguished from common sense) and there’s really no argument on my side for it. You either have it or you don’t. I notice people on the other side fail to find it convincing, except when they’re carrying on with the illusion of their lives 🙂

      “However, I see no reason to think I am an illusion: I appear to exist and the burden of proof is always on the person who denies things are as they appear to be.”

      I agree about the burden of proof falling on those who wish to show things are not as they appear to be. The problem is, I’m not sure anyone can prove that the soul does not exist, at least not with some deductive argument that will settle the matter once and for all. There can be a lot of inductive arguments that point in the direction of the “no-soul” thesis, but no slam dunk. Sam Harris likes to point out the experiment of Benjamin Libet as evidence to support his epiphenomenalism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet…but you’ll see here the problems with this evidence. In other words, there needs to be a talk about epistemology—what counts as knowledge. Instead we assume we know what counts and go on talking at cross-purposes. Experiments such as the one above are fine, but I think there needs to be more thought put into what they would actually prove.

      Now whether the soul survives the body is another issue. I don’t know. I tend not to focus on that issue (one step at a time!) because people jump to the conclusion that I’m some kind of religious nut, and I’m not. Besides, the only thing I’m experiencing and intuiting so pervasively is this soul, not it’s afterlife. And the soul’s dependence on the body is yet another issue I’m not sure of. I’ve found Husserl’s phenomenology the best way of dealing with dualism, but there are problems there too.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      —Tina

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      • Yes, I don’t think there’s any good evidence that souls do not exist, and a fair bit that they do. So I’d say that it is beyond a reasonable doubt that souls – understood to be non-physical substances – exist.

        I think what tends to happen in the philosophy of mind is a subtle sleight of hand occurs. The ‘mind’ starts off as being the thing there appears to be behind our eyes that is containing our conscious states. That appearance is an appearance of something positively non-physical – something that positively lacks any dimension (though it has location). Perhaps such things do not exist, but they appear to and we appear to ‘be’ such things.

        However, what happens is that the ‘mind’ undergoes a redefinition. Rather than being ‘the thing that appears to be bearing our conscious states’ it becomes ‘anything that is bearing our conscious states’.

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