Anyone else here majoring/majored in Philosophy

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#1
I'm working on a BA in Philosophy right now and if everything goes the way I plan I'm going to go to grad school and get a PhD so I can become a professor. Has anyone else here studied philosophy quite a bit or is anyone currently studying it? It'd be great to have someone here to talk to and exchange thoughts/ideas with.
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#3
anything ... good books you would recommend reading, interesting classes you have taken, subjects that are difficult to handle and have many different ways to be viewed, nothing specific as long as it deals with philosophy or even theology ... anybody can throw anything out there to talk about
 
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SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#5
great, I do too. i'd like to talk about things that aren't discussed all the time with the same few opinions thrown back and forth non stop (not to offend anybody, but the creationism thread is a good example), and i don't even mind talking about a subject like that if new things are brought to the discussion.

A few of the things I'm reading right now - The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, Volume 2 of Copleston's History of Philosophy, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary ...
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#9
Anybody study scripture?

Now that it's Lent I'm getting to see the misinterpreted quote from Deutero-Isaiah again, "But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed." - Isaiah 53:5. This is printed all the time around Easter with "Jesus" written right above it when Deutero-Isaiah was not refering to Jesus.
 

blevunly

New Member
Ninjabro
#11
I'm working on a BA in Philosophy right now and if everything goes the way I plan I'm going to go to grad school and get a PhD so I can become a professor. Has anyone else here studied philosophy quite a bit or is anyone currently studying it? It'd be great to have someone here to talk to and exchange thoughts/ideas with.
What are your thoughts on free will, determinism, and compatibalism?
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#12
What are your thoughts on free will, determinism, and compatibalism?
I find I have a lot of trouble finding a place to stand in this debate for various reasons. I believe it is impossible to really know which of these theories is true if any of them. I also have a difficult time reconciling providence to any degree with free will because having a Higher Being putting even the smallest amount of influence on our lives obviously skews our choices and the way we would have seen things with no interference. Since it is either impossible or nearly so to actually determine which theory is true I think it is important to take available data and make our theory fit that instead of taking a theory and making our data fit it. I believed without any question that I was a morally responsible being (and everyone else to be morally responsible as well) my entire life until I started reading philosophy and realized there were other possibilities. This makes it easier for me to still believe that free will exists for all people than to believe determinism is a true theory. It seems quite clear to me that I make real decisions and have true alternatives to choose from when making them. This could entirely be an illusion, but so could any theory in philosophy, including determinism, or soft determinism/compatibilism. Hard determinism also absolves any person from having any moral responsibility because the course of action that any person took could have been no different because of the existing causal chains that cannot be escaped. This creates an ethical problem (if they can even exist within hard determinism) when people are punished for their crimes. Soft determinism has never been much of an option for me either. Soft determinism still adheres to belief in determinism, and whenever I read a piece trying to firm up soft determinism it seems that the writer has ultimately tipped the scale to the side of determinism more often than not, or free will. The refinements placed within compatibilism put agents in a position where they are still subject to external deternmination, including things that can be unseen by us. When everything is determined by factors beyond a person's control, then everything, including his/her own disposition, is beyond control. An idea that i've postulated on my own is that our Creator, at the time of creation, sacrificed His omniscience involving our earthly existence so that we could be free agents. This idea obviously isn't worked out clearly yet, because that sacrifice alone would not make us free agents by necessity, but I do believe that it is possible for our Creator to reconcile free will with providence in ways unknown to us. I should also add that it is quite clear that causal chains exist to some extent ... I set my alarm to wake up for school because the world tells me it is necessary to recieve an education because I need to make money with a worth while job someday because the job market is growing more and more competitive because technology and population are growing and so on ... but it is not clear at all to what extent these causal chains effect us and how far they actually go in depth.

I have to go now because my friend is here now (causal event LOL), I'll add more if something occurs to me (causal event too LOL).

what are your thoughts on the subject?
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#13
“The judgment of regret calls the murder bad. Calling a thing bad means, if it mean anything at all, that the thing ought not to be, that something else ought to be in its stead. Determinism, in denying that anything else can be in its stead, virtually defines the universe as a place in which what ought to be is impossible – in other words, as an organism whose constitution is afflicted with an incurable taint, an irremediable flaw …” This is a quote from William James that I marked down awhile ago and just found again. This leads me to find the universe as a more rational place with the allowance of chance.
 

xcept68

Banned or Dead
#14
“The judgment of regret calls the murder bad. Calling a thing bad means, if it mean anything at all, that the thing ought not to be, that something else ought to be in its stead. Determinism, in denying that anything else can be in its stead, virtually defines the universe as a place in which what ought to be is impossible – in other words, as an organism whose constitution is afflicted with an incurable taint, an irremediable flaw …” This is a quote from William James that I marked down awhile ago and just found again. This leads me to find the universe as a more rational place with the allowance of chance.
Chance is certainly allowed, along with a measure of free will. Take Judas for example. The Bible says that Satan entered him. He allowed satan to enter him and he also had the ability to resist and to not act according to what satan wanted him to do. But God, knowing that Judas would have choice of either listening to what satan wanted or not, already knew the outcome of this act upon the son. Judas had the choice, but God already knew what that choice would be.
 

blevunly

New Member
Ninjabro
#16
I find I have a lot of trouble finding a place to stand in this debate for various reasons. I believe it is impossible to really know which of these theories is true if any of them. I also have a difficult time reconciling providence to any degree with free will because having a Higher Being putting even the smallest amount of influence on our lives obviously skews our choices and the way we would have seen things with no interference. Since it is either impossible or nearly so to actually determine which theory is true I think it is important to take available data and make our theory fit that instead of taking a theory and making our data fit it. I believed without any question that I was a morally responsible being (and everyone else to be morally responsible as well) my entire life until I started reading philosophy and realized there were other possibilities. This makes it easier for me to still believe that free will exists for all people than to believe determinism is a true theory. It seems quite clear to me that I make real decisions and have true alternatives to choose from when making them. This could entirely be an illusion, but so could any theory in philosophy, including determinism, or soft determinism/compatibilism. Hard determinism also absolves any person from having any moral responsibility because the course of action that any person took could have been no different because of the existing causal chains that cannot be escaped. This creates an ethical problem (if they can even exist within hard determinism) when people are punished for their crimes. Soft determinism has never been much of an option for me either. Soft determinism still adheres to belief in determinism, and whenever I read a piece trying to firm up soft determinism it seems that the writer has ultimately tipped the scale to the side of determinism more often than not, or free will. The refinements placed within compatibilism put agents in a position where they are still subject to external deternmination, including things that can be unseen by us. When everything is determined by factors beyond a person's control, then everything, including his/her own disposition, is beyond control. An idea that i've postulated on my own is that our Creator, at the time of creation, sacrificed His omniscience involving our earthly existence so that we could be free agents. This idea obviously isn't worked out clearly yet, because that sacrifice alone would not make us free agents by necessity, but I do believe that it is possible for our Creator to reconcile free will with providence in ways unknown to us. I should also add that it is quite clear that causal chains exist to some extent ... I set my alarm to wake up for school because the world tells me it is necessary to recieve an education because I need to make money with a worth while job someday because the job market is growing more and more competitive because technology and population are growing and so on ... but it is not clear at all to what extent these causal chains effect us and how far they actually go in depth.

I have to go now because my friend is here now (causal event LOL), I'll add more if something occurs to me (causal event too LOL).

what are your thoughts on the subject?
Anything that is in existence physical or metaphysical either came from something previous(a precause), randomly occurred, or has always existed. If you see any other possibility for something coming into existence then please add it to the list. We have not always existed so we can rule that out, random events equal random will which negates free will; so lets look at the idea for a precause.

Now you could say the person is their own precause and this idea works until you trace back far enough and realize that their had to be a precause before the person existed that made the person the way they are. Thus all precauses that the person chained together began with this cause that the person had nothing to do with, yet this cause led to the person oding everything in their life, without it their life could've been completely different.

Another thing you have to remember is that a cause is much bigger than just a person a cause is everything working together. For example I look at the sun then all of a sudden I feel happy, this tiny cause has now reshaped my entire day. Same goes with any event.

For the reasons listed above I see no way possible for free will to exist. Could it exist? I guess it's possible, but every little bit of evidence suggests it doesn't. Except for a God such as the Christian God who has no beginning and is essentially his own cause. Since the original cause for all of his actions is himself he has free will IMO.

As for a Creator, I'll assume you are talking about the Monotheistic God. You used the word time, but he exists out of time so he couldn't do something to himself in the frame of time. Even if he could at a previous time he would've been omniscient and would've known everything that would happen on earth and would know exactly how he would create it once he sacrficed his omniscience thus making it a pointless act.

On the subject of punishment, I do not believe people should be punished. But I also believe people should be happy so serial killers and such must be detained to preserve happiness of the masses.
 
#17
On the subject of punishment, I do not believe people should be punished. But I also believe people should be happy so serial killers and such must be detained to preserve happiness of the masses.
Just curious, but do you also believe that people shouldn't be rewarded either?
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#19
They should be rewarded for doing something that is perceived as good to promote the behavior and overall happiness.
That cannot happen if you entirely deny free will, adhering to hard determinism. Technically, nothing can, in the true sense of the statement, ever be "percieved as good", and most certainly we can do nothing to "promote" anything including overall happiness when we are nothing more than the result of causal chains that have left us out of control of anything. This includes even our thoughts, including the ability to percieve something as good, because we could have percieved of it in no other way, and if we reward someone, then we could have done no different and not rewarded them. Even the statements we are making in the thread would be completely out of our control ... what we are saying would have already been decided for us long ago.
 

SolitaryIndividual

Pig that doesn't eat Jews
Ninjabro
#20
Anything that is in existence physical or metaphysical either came from something previous(a precause), randomly occurred, or has always existed. If you see any other possibility for something coming into existence then please add it to the list. We have not always existed so we can rule that out, random events equal random will which negates free will; so lets look at the idea for a precause.

Now you could say the person is their own precause and this idea works until you trace back far enough and realize that their had to be a precause before the person existed that made the person the way they are. Thus all precauses that the person chained together began with this cause that the person had nothing to do with, yet this cause led to the person oding everything in their life, without it their life could've been completely different.

Another thing you have to remember is that a cause is much bigger than just a person a cause is everything working together. For example I look at the sun then all of a sudden I feel happy, this tiny cause has now reshaped my entire day. Same goes with any event.

For the reasons listed above I see no way possible for free will to exist. Could it exist? I guess it's possible, but every little bit of evidence suggests it doesn't. Except for a God such as the Christian God who has no beginning and is essentially his own cause. Since the original cause for all of his actions is himself he has free will IMO.

As for a Creator, I'll assume you are talking about the Monotheistic God. You used the word time, but he exists out of time so he couldn't do something to himself in the frame of time. Even if he could at a previous time he would've been omniscient and would've known everything that would happen on earth and would know exactly how he would create it once he sacrficed his omniscience thus making it a pointless act.

On the subject of punishment, I do not believe people should be punished. But I also believe people should be happy so serial killers and such must be detained to preserve happiness of the masses.
"Anything that is in existence physical or metaphysical either came from something previous(a precause), randomly occurred, or has always existed. If you see any other possibility for something coming into existence then please add it to the list. We have not always existed so we can rule that out, random events equal random will which negates free will; so lets look at the idea for a precause."

- I'm not sure that those are the only ways things can come into existence, and even within the ways you mention, things could get confusing, but that is something that will take some time to think about. I can't agree with your assertions either than random events or the idea of a precause (which i wil just call a cause) negate free will. If at the time a person makes a decision after deliberating their alternatives, if those alternatives are such that the causal laws and the antecedent state of the world do not determine which of them will occur, then none of them has been ruled out by the antecedent state of the world plus the causal laws. It can't be demonstrated that all alternatives have been ruled out by these at any given time. Also if I randomly pick 10 numbers blocks out of a group of a hundred blocks labeled individually from 0 to 99, and then pick one block out of the 10 previously selected with a purpose after deliberating my choices, the random action has only narrowed my choice to being one of the 10 randomly selected, from this point on it has not narrowed my choice at all out of the 10 that are left, (ignoring other arguments such as cause for the ake of this point) nothing is now limiting me from the effects of the random will as to what i can chose from the 10 remaining, that would be a free act of my own.

"As for a Creator, I'll assume you are talking about the Monotheistic God. You used the word time, but he exists out of time so he couldn't do something to himself in the frame of time. Even if he could at a previous time he would've been omniscient and would've known everything that would happen on earth and would know exactly how he would create it once he sacrficed his omniscience thus making it a pointless act."

- Time is another entire discussion within metaphysics that we should address for sure sometime. As for our Creator, He is, arguably first and foremost before other attributes are subscribed to Him, omnipotent. This attribute can effect all others, and it would give Him the ability to will Himself to not be omniscient after our creation until He willed Himself to be all-knowing once again. If this power is taken from Him, then He cannot be said to be omnipotent.

"On the subject of punishment, I do not believe people should be punished. But I also believe people should be happy so serial killers and such must be detained to preserve happiness of the masses."

- I hold the same view here but for slightly different reasons. Partly because of my religious belief in forgiveness, and also because I believe that causal laws can have a strong enough effect in some cases to make it unbearably hard for a person who has done wrong to have done any different. I also think anyone who takes away from the general welfare of the masses should be detained to preserve general happiness, or the potential to have it.