Question about Existence - Stephen Maitzen responds

I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only one object, a statue, or two objects, the statue and the stone it is made of. Are there well-known philosophers who
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I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only one object, a statue, or two objects, the statue and the stone it is made of. Are there well-known philosophers who argue that this is a false question, a mere matter of choice of words, that there is no criterion to distinguish one object from two objects? Thank you. Response from: Stephen Maitzen You might also look into the work of philosopher Eli Hirsch (Brandeis University), who argues that various disagreements in ontology, perhaps including the one you mentioned, are "merely verbal" disagreements.

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On solitary confinement

On being and not being. If Husserl and Heidegger are right, there is no difference between solitary confinement and death. A phenomenologist’s prison plight…
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On being and not being. If Husserl and Heidegger are right, there is no difference between solitary confinement and death. A phenomenologist’s prison plight… more»

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On Michael Oakeshott

Michael Oakeshott, author of dense, intricate works of philosophy: not a guy you’d expect to write pungent aphorisms. And yet..
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Michael Oakeshott, author of dense, intricate works of philosophy: not a guy you’d expect to write pungent aphorisms. And yet.. more»

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Gabriel García Márquez obituaries

Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, journalist, friend of left-wing causes, master of magical realism, is dead. He was 87… NY Times … AP … Reuters … BBC … Kakutani
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Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, journalist, friend of left-wing causes, master of magical realism, is dead. He was 87… NY Times … AP … Reuters … BBC … Kakutani … Guardian … Edmund White … Telegraph … Independent … WaPo … LA Times … Boston Globe … New Yorker …

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Question about Existence - Charles Taliaferro responds

I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only one object, a statue, or two objects, the statue and the stone it is made of. Are there well-known philosophers who
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I guess some philosophers discuss whether in some exact location there is only one object, a statue, or two objects, the statue and the stone it is made of. Are there well-known philosophers who argue that this is a false question, a mere matter of choice of words, that there is no criterion to distinguish one object from two objects? Thank you. Response from: Charles Taliaferro The philosopher Peter van Inwagen is rather skeptical about such relations. Although I may be wrong, but I think he is quite reluctant to believe that (strictly speaking) there are gross macroscopic objects like books and chairs and statues. These "objects" can (in principle) be described and explained in terms of simpler parts and things. I am not sure that terms like "statue" or "marble" are just a matter of words without any clear understanding of criteria / criterion of application... It seems like common sense that one might destroy a statue without destroying the material that makes up the statue.. . .

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Question about Biology, Children, Ethics - Oliver Leaman responds

Does allowing one's child to become obese constitute child abuse? Response from: Oliver Leaman On the other hand, there certainly have been cases where social services have removed children from
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Does allowing one's child to become obese constitute child abuse? Response from: Oliver Leaman On the other hand, there certainly have been cases where social services have removed children from parents where children have become obese, and the parents have been taken to be at fault.It seems to me to be an issue that needs to be considered on a case by case manner. There may be something in the parents' behavior that encourages obesity in the children, in just the same way that a parent may be in trouble with the authorities for letting their child play by a road. We tend to think that although many parents are not ideal, it is generally better for children to be brought up by them than by removing them and trying out alternative carers for them. There are clearly cases though where parents do not take account sufficiently of the dangerous situations in which they place their children and intervention by the state is then justifiable. Obesity could well be such a situation,. . .

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Question about Children, Ethics - Oliver Leaman responds

Is inter-country adoption immoral? (I'm a college senior doing an independent study on Korean transnational adoption and the Korean diaspora.) Response from: Oliver Leaman I don't see why it
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Is inter-country adoption immoral? (I'm a college senior doing an independent study on Korean transnational adoption and the Korean diaspora.) Response from: Oliver Leaman I don't see why it should be. Like inter-ethnic adoption, it might be better for someone to be adopted by someone more like them, but then it might not be also. If there is no alternative, it seems to me to be often better than leaving the child where it is.Presumably the new parents would have to think about how far they want to involve the child in the original culture of the country they come from, but that is about it. One of the curious aspects of inter-country and inter-ethnic adoption is that it is often regarded with suspicion by people who have no problems with inter-racial dating, or marriage, and this seems strange. The difference of course is that in one case the child is not able to give consent, and in the other the potential partners can, but the child can always decide what attitude he or she is. . .

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Question about Knowledge - Oliver Leaman responds

A question like this was posted in Askphilosophers some months ago but was never answered, so I'll try it again. What kind of knowledge is chess knowledge? Some of it is deductive (e.g., if I move
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A question like this was posted in Askphilosophers some months ago but was never answered, so I'll try it again. What kind of knowledge is chess knowledge? Some of it is deductive (e.g., if I move this piece over there it will be checkmate, given the rules of chess), but it is not possible to assess openings and middlegames deductively, since the number of possible positions until checkmate or draw is way too large for them to be computed. Some knowledge of chess players is empirical or has empirical grounds (e.g., if I play this opening my opponent will be worse, since s/he is not used to play it), but this is not exactly "chess knowledge", it is some application of "psychology" or common sense (there is also chess history, and that's empirical). Chess is mostly a non-physical matter, it is the abstract product of some rules and their possible applications. Anyway, chess players and other chess experts seem to know many chess things about openings and middlegames. If what they know. . .

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Question about Philosophers - Oliver Leaman responds

Hello, i was recently in a discussion regarding Kant's moral duties, and whether Kant would follow society's laws before following the duties derived from ethics. If a law in a society state "that
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Hello, i was recently in a discussion regarding Kant's moral duties, and whether Kant would follow society's laws before following the duties derived from ethics. If a law in a society state "that it's a righteous sanction to torture another human being if this has broken the law", would Kant say; follow that law!. Or would he point out that his moral laws is dissimilar to that of human society? My argumentation rested on the relativity of cross-cultural law-systems, and thus, the universality of Kant's Maxims. Response from: Oliver Leaman For Kant the key issue is whether a maxim can be universalized. If it can it is something we ought to act on, if not then not. We have a clear criterion then of when we should morally observe a state law. Can a maxim based on it be universalized?

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Question about Value - Oliver Leaman responds

Selfishness is considered bad in society, and my parents tell me to be as selfless as possible, but how can it be possible to be selfless? I think selfless can be traced back to our instincts. We
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Selfishness is considered bad in society, and my parents tell me to be as selfless as possible, but how can it be possible to be selfless? I think selfless can be traced back to our instincts. We had to work for ourselves in order to survive and reproduce so life can continue. Eating is selfish, because it's benefiting ourselves only. That food could feed other people. If I donate to charity, is that not also selfishness? I donate so I feel like I can contribute to the world, and so I can feel better as a person. That means that the donating was purely in my own interest. If a parent throws themselves in front of a car to save a child, I think the root of their action is actually selfish - they don't think they could live knowing that they could've saved the child but didn't. What's your view on this? Do you think there's such thing as being selfless? If so, how can I live selflessly? Am I just thinking about all of this completely wrong? Response from: Oliver Leaman You are right. . .

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