Thursday, July 28, 2016

When it comes to pain, do the numbers count?

C. S. Lewis says no. 

We must never make the problem of pain worse than it is by vague talk about the ‘unimaginable sum of human misery.’  Suppose that I have a toothache of intensity x, and suppose that you, who are seated beside me, also begin to have a toothache of intensity x.  You may, if you choose, say that the total amount of pain in the room is now 2x.  But, you must remember that no one is suffering 2x; search all time and all space and you will not find that composite pain in anyone’s consciousness.  There is no such thing as a sum of suffering, for no one suffers it.  When we have reached the maximum that a single person can suffer, we have, no doubt, reached something very horrible, but we have reached all the suffering there ever can be in the universe.  The addition of a million fellow-sufferers adds no more pain.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Does "Every event has a cause" entail determinism?

Does "every event has a cause" entail determinism? This article by Anscombe suggests that this is not so.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Could I have done otherwise if determinism is true?

If any kind of determinism is true, soft or hard, you could not have done otherwise given the actual past. It is possible that you could have done otherwise if antecedent conditions had been different, given the actual past, you could not have done otherwise from what you did.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Enhanced privacy: a solution to the bathroom debate?

I have seen bathrooms at a Starbucks in Seattle which had all toilets with doors all the way to the ground from top to bottom. There were no male urinals, The restroom was coeducational, but all the stalls had enhanced privacy. This might be the answer to the bathroom issue.

Is punishment a criminal's right?

Notice that the punishment is the criminal’s right. He deserves it. And, we might add, he deserves it and no more. He cannot merely be a means to someone else’s end, as Lewis put it, nor can he be the test-case for societal progress. Punishment must be just.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sleakes' defense of interactive dualism


If Physicalism Then Determinism

   Suppose we assume a naturalistic or physicalistic world-view. If we do, then the physical world is a causally closed system. And everything else that exists, at least in space and time, is a necessary consequence of the state of the physical. Now it seems as if we don’t choose the state of the physical, since the physical is determined and determined only by other physical states. Nor are we responsible for the necessary consequences of the physical. But if our actions are the necessary consequences of the physical, then we are not responsible for our actions either.