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In a previous post, I explained that a common anarchist argument against taxes fails. But that does not mean that taxes are moral. It just means that one argument against taxes fails. This is my positive argument for taxes (or something like them). I will say upfront that this argument does not justify the taking of any tax whatsoever. Nor does it mean that taxes ought to be paid in all circumstan...

Are Taxes Moral?

One of the arguments against the existence of special government powers such as the power to tax is that taxing is no different from theft. Since theft is wrong, so is taxing. A careful examination of this argument shows that it assumes that there is no moral difference between an individual under government and an individual without government. There is good reason to believe that this assumption...

Encouraging Respect

In my previous post, I showed that objectively offensive speech falls into two categories. False speech can be punished by law, while disrespectful speech cannot be. Free speech by itself cannot solve the problem of a lack of respect in speech, but neither can any law. Laws only make the situation worse. Respect can only be encouraged by virtue and sound reason, which require a good education, whi...

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 ...

Selfless Reasons to Support Free Speech

I have explained why free speech is a good idea if you wish to convince other people of the truth of your position. But it is also something that you should support even if you do not know what the true position is. Free speech helps those who do not know the correct position because it permits exploration of all alternatives, clear consideration of the evidence and an open assessment of the state...

Sentences and Definitions

I have finished my discussion of self-evident concepts. Concepts do not do anything except refer to things in our experience. They must be combined in order to be of any use. There are exactly two ways to combine concepts. They may be combined as a definition or as a sentence. The difference between a definition and a sentence is that a definition is a concept and a sentence is not a concept. All ...

Particulars and Universals

The problem with names is that they can always be applied to more than one thing. But the existence of unique individuals is self-evident. It is these two facts that create a puzzle for philosophers. Anything that can be applied in many cases is a universal. But something that is unique is a particular. But why should we believe in particulars at all if particular have nothing that makes them uniq...

Are Self-Evident Truths Sufficient?

One of the early questions that I asked is whether or not self-evident truths are sufficient to build a proper philosophy on. I whether or not there is a method to determine self-evident truths. I think that these questions are related. There is no a priori method to determine whether or not self-evident truths are sufficient because there is no general method to determine self-evident truths. The...

Disagreement and Self-Evident Truth

Sometimes people disagree over whether or not a truth is self-evident. Some people that the statement is true, but not self-evident. Others believe that the statement is false. In either case, they do not believe that the statement is self-evident. Unless there is a fair and logical way to adjudicate this disagreement, it will not be possible to build a philosophy on top of self-evident truths. If...

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 ...

Being

It is self-evident that something exists. We know this simply from the fact that we are aware of something. Absolutely all of our knowledge entails this. When we speak of something that exists in general, we call that being. The two most fundamental questions in regards to being are what is it and why is it. We know that something exists. To speak of that something in general, without speaking of ...

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