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Philosophy

Philosophy and Culture Book Recommendations

There are a number of books on various topics that are quite good. These are the sort of books that it would be worth your money to actually buy. The first book is Real Essentialism. This is a book that explains the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas for the modern reader. It defends Aristotelian philosophy (basic to Aquinas’ beliefs) in the context of modern biology, chemistry and physics. Although I d...

Mary Sue Should Die

I mentioned that I would discuss poorly written stories in order to discover what makes stories good or bad. One of these is the Mary Sue. There are a number of definitions of Mary Sue (and Gary Stu). A Mary Sue may refer to a self-insert character, an overly idealistic character, an author avatar or many other options. For the purpose of this discussion, I stipulate that Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) ar...

Which God Exists

Most Christians do not really think very deeply about this question. Neither do most atheists. But this question is central to any discussion of whether or not God exists. Most Christians think of God as a person, but who knows everything, can do almost anything and desires only what is good. Most atheists think that the world would not be the way it is now if such a person really does exist. But ...

Knowledge

In a previous series, I have discussed the nature and purpose of education. When we are educated we learn what we did not know before. But what is knowledge? Can we have knowledge? Before we can answer whether or not we can have knowledge we must understand what knowledge is. The problem is that this is a difficult question. There are many ways to view knowledge. Some view knowledge as an awarenes...

Reasons to Restrict Free Speech

I have given two lines of argument to support free speech. But many people believe that free speech should be limited or restricted in some circumstances. I am not speaking of restrictions that are voluntary (such as politeness) but restrictions that are involuntary. These restrictions include restrictions for reasons of hate, offensiveness, sensitivity, practicality and power. Some speech may be ...

Against Universals

Universals are things that have a single name but many instances. There are many instances in universals in real life. Humanity, planets, stars, atoms and rocks are all universals. So is unity, redness and straightness. But while the existence of such universals is demonstrable, there is good reason to believe that they do not exist. A universal is contradictory and cannot exist. The existence of ...

Names, Particulars and Universals

Names can refer to both universals and particulars, but not in the same way. The difference between a personal name such as Stephen and a universal such as red is that names of particulars never have content insofar as they name particulars. They are a pure reference. Names of universals, on the other hand, always have content. Reference and content are two elements of speech. Every sentence will ...

Doubting Self Evident Truths

Much of modern philosophy begins in doubt. Descartes rather famously claimed that he knew he existed because he could not doubt it. Ever since that time, skeptical arguments have always been prominent. If self evident truths are the most certain truths we can know, then any doubts will appear to a greater extent in anything deduced from them. There is no good reason to doubt self evident truths no...

Beginning Philosophy

I think that philosophy is very difficult for someone who know nothing about it and want to learn. In order to learn philosophy we must start at the beginning. Ordinarily, I would suggest that we learn by studying the great philosophers of history. But such a thing is no good to someone who lacks any philosophical knowledge at all. Philosophy begins by explaining what it is, why it is studied and ...

Non-Commerical Groups and Universities

In my last post, I explained that the government’ s main contribution to universities is in the form of tuition subsidies for public universities. The government also provides assistance to individual students and regulates public universities, but the main way that the government uses universities is by giving them money. The modern university is also used by various non-commercial groups. ...

The Government and Universities

In my previous post, I explained that we canunderstand the nature of the modern university by understanding how it is used. One of the users of the university system is the government. There are three ways in which the government uses universities. The government funds universities, regulates universities and hires university graduates. The most significant of these influences is government fundin...

Perfections of Thought

In my previous post, I showed that theoretical virtues were innate because of our humanity but were also learned. They are learned by reflecting on our thoughts. Theoretical virtues are perfections of thought in the same way that moral virtues are perfections of our abilities. It might seem that theoretical virtues are simply dimensions to compare theories by. So the virtue of simplicity allows us...