• Christopher C Rout added an answer:
    In Medieval philosophy, how did Bernhard of Chartres comment in his Glosses on Plato and Plato´s Republic?

    Bernhard of Chartres says in his Glosses on Plato, that such an ideal state cannot exist in this world. Is this now his own opinion, or does he refer to Republic IX 592ab? Because: As far as I know there was no copy of the Republic in his time, only Calcidius' Timaeus. So how could he refer to the Republic in such a detailed way?

    Christopher C Rout · University of KwaZulu-Natal

    Via Porphyry (lost commentary on the republic) and Augustine?

  • George Stoica added an answer:
    How important are personal connections in having a successful career?
    You may be a talented researcher, but that is not sufficient for success.
    George Stoica · University of New Brunswick

    It is true that many journals are dedicated to a specific "clientele", and research subjects outside the clientele's interests are simply ignored. This is one way of creating "connections", useful later in advancement etc. There are other ways, of course, and it works - unfortunately!  

  • George Stoica added an answer:
    Can a scientist be good exclusively in science without being good in humanities (literature, philosophy, art, etc.)?
    Science is a body of ideas and concepts which are often highly philosophical and which need advanced language to deal with. Before the modern era scientists were absolutely complete as e.g. Leonardo da Vinci and many others. What is your opinion about this since now we are seeing students who need google to write the smallest single text?
    George Stoica · University of New Brunswick

    Yes, I know people that fit the "profile" in your question. I know people that fit "the reverse profile": they are very good in humanities, yet not so good in sciences. I also know a third category: those who think they belong to a category listed above (as they say: watching ballet does not make one a ballerina!).

  • Graeme Smith added an answer:
    Is human thought a form of internal speech or is it independent of language?
    Can it be that, by necessity, all psychological faculties are innate and learned, biologically restricted and socially constructed at the same time? At the end, the human body is (innately) pre-structured to interact with the world external to it. Is it possible, therefore, that most discussions about Sapir-Whorf hypothesis are just a case of simple misunderstanding?

    John, the choice is simple, either thinking is any sequence of sensations in the brain, or it is directed by networks of connections, the most likely being the DMN, the DAN, and the FPN. The reason why this might supercede Dehaene's work, lies in the fact that the central network (that runs down the center of the brain on both sides) has been suggested as the Workspace for the Neuronal Workspace Model, My suggestion is that it is the output buffers in the DMN and DAN as controlled by the FPN in the Inferior Parietal Lobule (IPL) that feed the central networks. Thus instead of the simple competition by strength of signal suggested by the Neuronal Workspace Model, there is a sophisticated modulation of signals caused by the FPN that controls which signals get transferred to the central network.

  • George Stoica added an answer:
    Which branch of mathematics is developing faster than the others?
    Some fields are new, some become old. To start research and be successful, it is crucially important how fast you can get there.
    George Stoica · University of New Brunswick

    Very good point, Vitaly. I was reading somewhere that 95% of the published mathematical literature goes unnoticed and unquoted; the only validation in our jobs is to see if the remaining 5% make a difference.

  • Rohit M Parikh added an answer:
    What is your approach to the philosophical idea of 'negative growth'?
    I have just proposed to the economists and econometricians to study the notion of 'décroissance' translated as ungrowth or in better words negative growth. Many philosophers have studied the negative growth, the idea of sobriety at the level of the individual. 'Whoever loves wealth will never be satisfied with more income'. Nicolas Ridoux asserted that we must learn to ask ourselves: what to do and why to act instead of how to act. Every student knows that the method of research is always secondary to the purpose of the research. We crave for more means without understanding deeply what is the purpose and why we employ these means and not other ones.
    Rohit M Parikh · The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

    Negative Thought is the outcome of our mind .It is through our mind only that we may prove worthy of our life in every of our action our mind joins with our conscious mind & it is this conscious mind which may be the root cause of our negative growth as our mind has a tendency while carrying out our action very often goes to our nature of Anger,Greed,Attachment,Ego ,Jealousy  & such other ideas .In such case it is obvious that our action may not reflect us to a right road..

    Philosophy moves towards the road to a path which is the basic essence of our life & for which we have to take a recourse to meditation ,& power of prayer .

  • Koji Nagata added an answer:
    What does Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle tell us about epistemology?
    The British astrophysicist, A.S. Eddington wrote (1928), interpreting QM, "It has become doubtful whether it will ever be possible to construct a physical world solely out of the knowable - the guiding principle of our macroscopic theories. ...It seems more likely that we must be content to admit a mixture of the knowable and the unknowable. ...This means a denial of determinism, because the data required for a prediction of the future will include the unknowable elements of the past. I think it was Heisenberg who said, 'The question whether from a complete knowledge of the past we can predict the future, does not arise because a complete knowledge of the past involves a self-contradiction.' "

    Does the uncertainty principle imply, then, that particular elements of the world are unknowable, - some things are knowable, others not, as Eddington has it? More generally, do results in physics tell us something substantial about epistemology - the theory of knowledge? Does epistemology thus have an empirical basis or empirical conditions it must adequately meet?
    Koji Nagata · Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

    Dear Professor Callaway:
    According to Newton’s philosophy, your handling hypotheses or assumptions is right and sound, I think. Anyhow I more greatly appreciate your kind education of me. I would continue the discussion with you if any in the near future. Thank you very much.

  • Rita De Vuyst added an answer:
    Is it possible that the 21th century will be remembered as the century of the GAP?
    Now that everyone is protecting their own niche and the connections are not existing, what will be the new god strong enough to see the unity of all that has been created?
    With ideas, construction and consummation of ideas and that which has been produced, is this the vicious circle of the century in which we are captured as icons in an old church? And where are the bridges?
    Rita De Vuyst · Afkikker/Klimop

    I believed that it would be possible to close the 'gap' but the more niches there are the more bridges are needed to found each other.

    There are many one-man-islands, very hard to localise and much more difficult to understand.  

  • Anthony St. John added an answer:
    Choice & Religiosity

    Choice & Religiosity


    The act of choosing is an act of affirming.
    The art of worshiping is an act of repeating.


    People choose to authenticate their existence.
    Other people worship to authenticate their religiosity.


    As long as people are they choose to preserve their being.
    As long as other people are they worship to preserve their religiosity.


    People's being is what they have chosen for themselves.
    Other people's religiosity is what has been worshiped by them.


    People choose to be free from non-being.
    Other people worship to be free from non-repeating.


    Non-being is not choosing.
    Non-repeating is non-worshiping.


    Choosing is being.
    Worship is repeating.


    People's instincts prod them to choose.
    Other people's instincts prod them to worship repeatedly.


    People choose to possess.
    Other people who worship repeat to possess.


    People possess what they have chosen.
    Other people who worship possess what they have repeated.


    The more people possess the more they have chosen.
    The more other people possess what they have repeated the more they have worshiped.


    Possessions are external affirmations of people's will to choose, to be.
    Possessions of what has been repeated are external affirmations of other people's will to worship.


    Desires are internal affirmations of people's will to choose, to be.
    Desires are internal affirmations of other people's will to worship.


    External affirmations pertain to empirical choices.
    Repeating is an external affirmation of people's will to worship.


    Internal affirmations pertain to impressionistic and idealistic choices.
    Internal affirmations of worshiping pertain to acts of repeating.


    Choosing is on-going.
    Worshiping is on-going.


    Non-on-going does not go on.
    Non-worshiping is not repeating.


    Going-on is choice, is being.
    Going-on is forward-moving worship.


    Going-on is forward-moving.
    Worshiping is retrogressive.


    Choice is essential and moving-on.
    Retrogression is ending.

    Authored by Anthony St. John
    28 January MMXI

    * * *

    Anthony St. John · The Association for Communication & Media Consultation


  • Marvin Kirsh added an answer:
    "The one you are looking for is the one who is looking." What is the meaning of this quote?
    Life can be seen as an act of research. While researching into the world, we start to configure who we are. Looking for someone else, discovering yourself in a unattainable search. Is it waste of time or is it life as normally life is supposed to be? An inner search hidden in the shape of an outer search, a search for the OTHER? If the OTHER does not exist, it does not matter, we must invent one to make sense of our own existence. I wonder whether consciousness is not more no less than the idea of an additional dimension of existence. It is me as I am (the inaccessible me) and me as I am perceived, acknowledged by others, which creates my own 'consciousness' of myself, as I am as an image that can be shaped and re-shaped.
    Marvin Kirsh · California State University, Los Angeles

    We tend to forget that among who is looking, history, history beyond ourselves, preceeding, is always looking and is what we are always looking for, is within-unfound we have a world of abstracted identies and a lack of real substance from our searches.  

  • Friedrich Arndt added an answer:
    What is Laclau's critique of Marx?

    Laclau and Mouffe are seen as the most influential post-Marxists, claiming to deconstruct Marx' categories, above all in their book "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy". Now, they are quite influential and well-known, but their writing could be called "opaque" - as a sociologist, I have a hard time following their arguments. Maybe you could help me putting in clear terms how exactly Laclau's postmarxism is different from other Marxist theories? In what way do Laclau and Mouffe succeed in deconstructing Marx - beyond this nice talk on "radical democracy"?

    Friedrich Arndt · University of Freiburg

    And, to add to the points made so far, Laclau and Mouffes analysis is not only analytical, but political itself. It is situated in the hjstorical period at the end of the 1980s when discussions in the political left were felt by many to be stuck. Thus, they do not mean to say that Marx' analysis in the 19th century was wrong or that his understanding of capitalism was faulty, but that in the given social situation, political struggles could neither theoretically nor politically be understood as a single, essentialist opposition. Instead, social struggles are fragmented and dispersed, and one goal of the left has to be to actively construct new "chains of equivalence", i.e. discursice coalitions.

  • Dragan Pavlovic added an answer:
    Has the philosophical analysis contributed to solve any biological conceptual problems?

    Of course the first question would be how many conceptual/empirical problems, of philosophy's interest the biology has? How many of those problems has been solved? 

    Just in case of any extremist response, what would you say to a biology scientists who thinks that the philosophy cannot solve anything?

    Dragan Pavlovic · Dalhousie University

    I now think that I do not need to make any comment here.

  • Tsediso Makoelle added an answer:
    How can the African philosophy of "Ubuntu" help us conceptualise inclusion in an African context?

    'Ubuntu" departs from a premise that a person is an individual in relation to others. Which simply means you are a person because of others.

    Tsediso Makoelle · Nazarbayev University

    yes, you could be right as this way of life is not necessarily constant and non changing hence some have spoken about  African Renaissance to revitalize  the past

  • John F. Wilhite added an answer:
    Is nihilism still philosophically and politically relevant?

    I'm organizing a workshop on nihilism, ethics, and democracy which will be an open-ended forum spanning the radical materialism of French physician and philosopher Julien de La Mettrie (1709-1751) to the present period. Before the workshop officially launches, I'm trying to get a sense of nihilism's current place in philosophical, political, legal and artistic spheres / discussions (e.g., Gianni Vattimo's Nihilism and Emancipation, 2004, where Vattimo equates hermeneutics with nihilism). Is nihilism still philosophically and politically relevant? Or outmoded, and perhaps a topic mainly for the concerns of history of (Western) philosophy? 

    John F. Wilhite · University of Tennessee

    Based on some of the above responses it would seem nihilism should be considered a topic of historical interest, not a doctrine with any contemporary validity or viability.

  • Victor Hamady added an answer:
    What is the difference between Need and Necessity?
    As per my knowledge goes, the need and necessity is a similar condition where the difference between the two lies on the priority. A need is an absolute craving of man to possess while the necessity is also a craving without which man manages to survive. For example transport is a need while the personal vehicle is a necessity. Here transport is a need of mankind to move from one place to another without which there will be hindrance in his daily affairs which may effect his existence also. But a personal vehicle is only a luxury which will enhance his ability to move. He may move without the personal vehicle by using alternate means. The term desire is applicable to the craving for the fulfilment of both the set. But I feel the desire that is having a negative effect on one's life is the craving for the set of necessity.
    Victor Hamady · Open Universiteit Nederland

    I would rather hold for more accurate to consider NEED as a state of being that is requiring a change. The NECESSITIES are all those possible items or means to enable that change of states. That good example was with a person feeling hungry [NEED], a kind of state of feeling weak and the food he may take are the [NECESSITIES] to make the transition to a state of more energy. Thus a necessity is a what it takes to bridging states of being.

  • Brendan P Minogue added an answer:
    How do we best address the moral issues about medical rationing?
    Given the various kinds of health care problems we face as a result of an aging and growing population, is it possible to address medical rationing concerns without, at some point, necessarily reducing such considerations to economic (i.e. basic supply and demand) questions? That is, given the reality that we live on a finite planet with finite resources, must basic economic considerations always be present when we make decisions that directly affect human life and human well-being within the context of our health care systems?
    Brendan P Minogue · Youngstown State University


    John Rawls' Theory of Justice is a masterpiece of liberal theory regarding distribution and there are literally hundreds of articles about his theory. Start there!  Relative to bioethics Beauchamp and Childdress' Bioethics is a great text for getting you up to speed on this big issue. A more conservative approach can be found in Englehardt's Foundations  of Bioethics.  These three will give you a great sense of how large the problem is .

    Most hospital emergency rooms deal with this on a triage basis and tend toward taking care of seriously ill patients on a "first come first served basis"  This is basically a lottery approach to distribution but looks really bad if you do not adequately fund the ER or if your patient population is so large and so ill that the concept of "minimally  decent" becomes totally unworkable.  

    Try to narrow your focus to a question like "how do you define minimally decent funding for an ER" in a poor part of a city.  You will find that defining "minimally decent" is brutally difficult. 

    Try taking a look at a technological approach to distribution. In this arena you eliminate the human providers and replace them with data gatherers  connected to IBM's Watson.  Watson can diagnose better than most docs and he can monitor ongoing care better than most nurses and he can manage millions of patients at one time.   It feels a little inhumane but inhumane care is better than no care and subsequent death. This might meet our budget requirements.

    Good luck


  • Jonathan Edwards added an answer:
    Does the Hard Problem of Consciousness Become Accessible Through the Perception of Personal Time?

    Consciousness is the one of the two Holy Grails of modern science (the other being the Unified Field Theory).  However, the understanding of consciousness seems to be elusive not only because of philosophical issues  (the human brain been both the object of study and the tool utilized to study and comprehend it) but also because the mere definition of consciousness still remains nebulous. 

    In the past years a number of post-physical theories have seen the light of day, with Roger Penroses' Quantum Nature of Consciousness being the most (in)famous one. Unfortunately, these borderline or even metaphysical approaches seem to simply throw the ball in the bleachers, forcing a delay and deferring the answer to a future date when biological quantum events will be not only be better understood but also more predictable.

    Nevertheless, I am convinced that consciousness is very much physical, it can be approached by a more detailed understanding of the brain region connections and neuronal activity and it is within our grasp.  Now, Universal Time may well be a biological illusion, yet personal time is very much part of our existence. All our experiences can be trichotomized into past (memories), future (imagination in extrapolation and planning) and present (conscious existence). So, this then becomes an investigation of determining where and when a sensory or internal perception turns present in the brain.

    This also means that, at least at some level, consciousness has no reason to be a unique human trait - and this opens up a huge window of experimental exploration.

    I have been exploring this possibility for some time now but, before I publish, I would like to ask anyone for their advice on the matter.

    Jonathan Edwards · University College London

    My view on Darwin is far from unique, Fabrice. You are probably not aware how nepotistic twentieth century British science was. Darwin had political clout (money). He spawned a clan of academics, possibly because his children married bright partners. The Huxley family were actually the bright ones - culminating in Andrew. I wonder if you have read Origins. It really is a terrible muddle and he gets almost everything wrong. He does better in later books - maybe with some help from Thomas Huxley. 

    For me the mental, experiential, is entailed within the concept of a physical dynamics. You can call that just real dynamics, I agree, but I use the term physical to indicate that the dynamics are being considered as operations of laws of physics (not to be confused with the intuitive 'stuff' sense of physical) - and that entails the mental aspect of experience as the 'read-out'. I am not sure what other mental there is to add but I would certainly deny any evidence of causation that doe snot follow the laws of physics.

  • David T. Risser added an answer:
    Can philosophical discussion be made worthwhile for the general public?

    In my planned book "Philosophy for Everyone", my answer is yes, but...Philosophy as usually taught and practiced by academic Philosophy Departments and philosophers turns most people off--and rightfully so.  Before we got converted to academic philosophy, think of what got us interested in philosophical questions in the first place.  The essence of 'Philosophy', embodied by Socrates, is an approach to seek the truth in order to be able to live our lives more wisely.  It shouldn't be an academic exercise or contest to be clever with words or to baffle non-philosophers with 'deep' though obscure thoughts--intended only for the elite few.  Nor is it the history of what philosophers have said or of so-called philosophical issues, most of which is incomprehensible and irrelevant to non-philosophers.  If Socrates really is the Father of Philosophy and this claim isn't merely lip service by philosophers, it's perhaps time to learn what he actually had to teach.  Socrates' most important contribution are not his personal views, but his approach to resolving differences of philosophical opinions in open discussion with the common people. Socrates' approach is not the same as the Socratic Method.  His method is but one application of his approach. His method is only the tip of the iceberg.  What do you think?  Am I on the right track or am I off?

    David T. Risser · Millersville University

    Yes, I believe many of the most important issues in philosophy are accessible to non-philosophers, and Socrates is the right place to begin.  His commitment to the value of common opinions, and his belief that if a person is sincere about their views, they can learn to refine their arguments and develop their capacity to reason. This strikes me as more than merely a method, and nothing like that which is often labeled the Socratic method, e.g. the approach to instruction used in most law school classes, which strikes me more like cross-examination.

    As we know, most of what Socrates has to say in the Platonic dialogues are actually Plato's philosopical positions.  The exception is the Apology, which most scholars believe reveals much about Socrates himself and about his philosophical views. Socrates' statement that he recognizes his own ignorance and is only wiser than others in that he does not pretend to know that about which he lacks knowledge, strikes me as a lesson in what might be called enlightened skepticism.  I believe Socrates thinks that knowledge is possible, but that one should hold all views, even one's most fundamental beliefs, to be open to challenge.  Dogmatism is the enemy of "truth", not ignorance.

    Regarding Socrates' moral philosophy, I have been influenced by Hannah Arendt's interpretation of Socrates.  Every thought process is an activity in which one speaks with oneself.  Socrates, in the Apology, speaks about being at peace with the one whom he goes home with every night, meaning himself.  It is the voice of that other manifestation of the self that some refer to as conscience ( which comes from the same root as consciousness), and which Socrates says speaks to him and prevents him from doing that which he ought not do, but never advocates or initiates action. To "know thyself" suggests staying true to the voice of reason and avoiding the convincing rationalizations which alienate us from ourselves and prevent us from being at peace with ourselves.  This self-knowledge includes honestly remembering those instances in which our actions have fallen short of our own standards.

  • Ian Leader-Elliott added an answer:
    Looking for help: What's the distinction between self-deception and self-concealment?

    We (me and my research partner Thomas Waanders) have interviewed 20 Dutch Olympic Gold Medal winners about coping with extreme fatigue. At the moment we're analyzing the results and writing a book about the topic.

    We asked athletes questions about many different topics (e.g. pacing, self-regulation, coping strategy, culture, environment, personality and many more) related to the subject.

    Concerning the topic of coping strategy. One of the strategies athletes use is self-deception. Lately I've been reading more about self-concealment though. It got me thinking. At the moment I'm trying to better understand self-deception and self-concealment. I hope someone is willing to help me out with my thought processes..

    Self-deception is lying to yourself. An important strategy used by athletes (e.g. lying to themselves about the distance of the race or telling themselves their SRM system is broken). The thing I like. The person who lies and who's been lied to are the same. Interesting, because how does your mind work in such cases? Do you focus attention to certain information? Do you conceal (negative) information to the self (e.g. just like a trauma and clinical psychology)? What's the role of perception?

    Another strategy athletes use is 'self-concealment'. To explain. Athletes use small cues of tiredness from close competitors to give themselves a boost and keep pushing forward during a race (e.g. a marathon runner thinking: 'Do you see him breathe, he's almost done. Just keep pushing for one more bit and you will beat him.'). Because of this, athletes conceal (negative) information about oneself to competitors. If you show any 'signs of weakness', the opponent will see a chance for success and will be more willing to keep spending energy.

    Besides endurance athletes, think of a K1 fighter concealing pain in his left leg, to avoid having an opponent focusing on exactly that weakness. Sometimes they even smile to give their opponents the feeling their punches aren't having any effect. Just to give them a feeling of powerlessness.

    Looking for signs of weakness themselves and knowing their opponents do too, learns athletes that it's important to conceal negative information about their level of fatigue and pain.

    But what about semantics? When do we talk about self-concealment? Is it when you conceal (negative) information during self-deception (to the executive system?) about the self (is this even possible, think of a trauma and putting the memory away)? Or is it when you temporarily try to conceal negative information about your level of fatigue or pain, in order to don't 'give energy' and influence opponents 'costs-reward model' for pushing on. Or do we have another word for this?

    To make matters worse in my head :-) A side note. Self-concealment is also something that's been talked about in a more cultural perspective (e.g. think about social media and only sharing positive information and concealing to the public the negative information about the self) and health (e.g. coping with trauma). Or is self-concealment just like the term self-regulation. Having a different meaning in different fields?

    If you have an interesting viewpoint about the topic or some relevant literature, I would love to hear from you!

    Thank you in advance!

    Ian Leader-Elliott · University of Adelaide

    Fascinating enquiry. The answer above, from Hans van Laake, that self deception might have to do with directing one's attention to a current project does have at least one support from a well known, earlier scholar of SD. Herbert Fingarette published a monograph, called 'Self Deception', in 1969, with an update essay in 1998, which can be found in the Philosophical Quarterly (vol 47) for that year. Fingarette argues that there is no paradox about SD  It is an essential mechanism of one's mind in setting oneself to do a task, or pursue a course in life. His sad little vignette of 'Harriet', the self deceiving would-be academic who never quite makes the cut is memorable. Self concealment is very different.  It may be accompanied by self deception - one may 'put on a good front' for oneself as well as for others. But self concealment can be quite calculated. I have seen boxers feign hurt in order to gain the opportunity to administer a sucker punch.  Self concealment seems essentially communicative in a way that SD is not.

  • Vikram Zaveri added an answer:
    Vedanta is a philosophy taught by the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of India. Its basic teaching is that our real nature is divine. God, or Brahman as it is called, exists in every living being.

    Religion is therefore a search for self-knowledge, a search for the divine within ourselves. We should not think of ourselves as needing to be "saved." We are never lost. At worst, we are living in ignorance of our true nature.

    Vedanta acknowledges that there are many different approaches to God, and all are valid. Any kind of spiritual practice will lead to the same state of self-realization. Thus Vedanta teaches respect for all religions.
    Vikram Zaveri · Independent Researcher

    In my understanding Vedanta means end part of the four Vedas. This consists of Bhagavat Gita, Brahma Sutra and Upanishads. If we look for persons who have really grasped the essence of Vedanta and practiced it in their own life, the name of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa stands out among them. Following books gives complete record of the spiritual experiences of this sage.

    "Sri Ramakrisha The Great Master" by Swami Saradananda, (tr.)Swami Jagadananda.
    "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna." by Mahendranath Gupta, (tr.) Swami Nikhilananda.

    Above books available across the world at Vedanta Society bookstores.

  • Vikram Zaveri added an answer:
    Which one it's easier, concentrate on one thing or to think on nothing?
    Even further, is it possible to "not think"...

    In a way, I have speculated that if we knew exactly *why* we have thoughts, then we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.
    Vikram Zaveri · Independent Researcher

    To concentrate on one thing is easier but even that is impossible for most people. There is contradiction in the question "to think on nothing". The moment you think, the nothing goes away. The third question, "not to think"... Yes it is possible. That is Nirvana, Salvation, Mukti. 

    Why we have thoughts?... Human mind is made up of subtle energy. Energy is always in motion and it is of the nature of oscillations or vibrations. Human mind becomes conscious or unconscious because of the Spirit behind it. This Spirit is a unified field of consciousness pervading the entire universe. This is the observer the witness in every bodies, sentient and insentient. This conscious witness is perfectly motionless and is distinct from the energy. Human thoughts are the oscillations of the human mind. Because of these vibrations the human mind cannot see what lies behind it. Human desires creates a cloud of thoughts in the human mind. This cloud prevents the mind from seeing the underlying reality which is motionless and omnipresent. So when the man is able to bring the mind to a standstill it becomes united with the underlying reality. So we have thoughts because we have desires.

  • Emiliano Heyns added an answer:
    May we assume that Universe exist there without any awareness of its existence?
    Consider some object X from which is not possible to obtain any information. In other words, no one can be aware of the existence of X. If this is the case, there is no difference between X and any non-existent thing.
    Of course, men are aware of the Universe existence, but men are very recent inhabitants of it. In addition, we are only aware of some small portion.
    Emiliano Heyns · Universiteit Twente
    "If this is the case, there is no difference between X and any non-existent thing." is not exactly true. There is no subjective difference *for us*, sure, but that has no implications for the objective existence of or non-existence of X. If we can know about X, X may exist (and even that is just a "may", not a "does"; see van Fraassen, Kuhn), but it does not follow that if we cannot know about it, it does not exist.
  • Arno Gorgels added an answer:
    How can durable peace be established on earth? Any good ideas?
    Observation: The Highest Level of wisdom (Tora) and the Highest Level of knowledge (Kabbala) haven't ever turned the history of wars into an epoch of durable peace. What is wrong? Should these, maybe, be accompanied by profound modesty and sensitive altruism raised to a level of intrinsic daily praxis without mistake? What is your opinion?
    Arno Gorgels · Principia Naturae

    It is my firm opinion that wars, once, will be understood (even pretty soon) as part of a divine plan to purify the naughty designs placed on earth by heavenly (observant) designers. This understanding will match the necessary wisdom that is needed to cause durable and final peace on earth. This is the result of my research that I started 30 years ago that, back in 1994, appeared to have the purpose of bringing religion and science together as two slightly separate views of creation. Science should accept aktual infinity as an explanatory tool for many phenomena it denies existence of.

  • James F Peters added an answer:
    Are there mathematicians, scientists or philosophers whose work you view as influencing historical outcomes in a minor or in a major significant way?
    Do you think that the interaction between such scholars has led to the success of their work in making an impact?

    Scholars such as Euclid (geometry), Newton (science), Plato (philosophy) have
    been very influential in shaping the way we see the world. For example, Euclid’s
    Elements written in Alexandria around 300 B.C. became a standard work in geometry. It is one of the most widely read, translated and commented on work in European history. It was translated into Arabic around 800 A.D., into Chinese in 17th century and into Sanskit in the 18th century. The first english version of Euclid’s Elements was Sir Henry Billingsley’s translation published in 1570. Euclidean geometry has been enormously influential in shaping our view of the world. For more about this, see

    Plato, 428-348 B.C., descendent from kings of Athens and Messenia, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, founded the Academy of Athens, one of the institutions of higher learning in the Western world. He wrote about justice, beauty, equality, political philosophy, theology, cosmology, epistemology and the philosophy of language. For more about this, see
    A central notion in Plato’s philosophy is the theory of forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, unchangeable, perfect types, of which particular objects of sense are imperfect copies. This theory has been enormously influential in science and mathematics. For more
    about this, see

    Isaac Newton, 1643-1727, son of a farmer, Professor at Cambridge University, taught optics, introduced a theory of colours of light and theory of gravitation, published his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687, introducing infinitesimal calculus, co-discovered (with Leibniz). During his study of optics, Newton investigated the refraction of light, demonstrating that the multi-coloured speturm produced by prism (see attached image) could be recomposed into white light by a lens and a second prism. He showed that colour is the result of objects interacting with already-coloured light rather than objects generating the colour themselves. He designed the first reflecting telescope, demonstrating his telescope to the Royal Society in 1671.
    James F Peters · University of Manitoba

    @Guido: agreed on both of your observations about Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    Here is an exchange that took place in 1929 between G.E. Moore, Betrand Russell and Wittgenstein concerning the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, available in translation by C.K.Ogden and F.P. Ramsey in 1922.

  • Donald Stikeleather added an answer:
    What reasoning can justify implementing contemplative techniques in workplaces to bring benefits yet maintaining integrity of their origins?

    Debate has arisen as to the purposes of utilising contemplative techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, within organisations as part of efforts towards enhancing workplace wellness, as justification is made in terms of productivity and financial measures. Yet, are workplace applications upholding the underlying philosophy of the techniques? In cases where the answer is yes, how can this be explained, of how the implementation is aligned in a way that maintains the purity of the practices, and in the cases where the answer is no, how could the approach be modified towards bringing benefits not just the bottom line but also from a more holistic perspective?

    Donald Stikeleather · Indiana University Health

    McMindfulness is an appropriation of a religious practice. It's like telling a Christian, "Oh God will take care of this," dismissing the experience and valuing a temporary placidity.

  • Jayaraman V added an answer:
    Can anyone refer me to work about Ayn Rand and feminism?

    I am looking for scholarship exploring Rand's attitude towards feminism as expressed in her publications, novels and philosophy. I would also like to be referred to any feminist or anti-feminist work about Rand. 

    Jayaraman V · Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ) Headquarters

    Thanks, Anita. That blog contains lot of junk too. Hope you will take the grains leaving out the chaff!

  • Joe Graymer added an answer:
    The death penalty and human dignity - what are your thoughts?
    John Stuart Mill stated regarding the death penalty that, "I defend this penalty, when confined to atrocious cases, on the very ground on which it is commonly attacked—on that of humanity to the criminal; as beyond comparison the least cruel mode in which it is possible adequately to deter from the crime." It is well known that both Kant and Hegel thought that execution is required to preserve the convicted murderer’s dignity as a rational moral agent. Was it merely the state of the prisons of their day which led these men to make such statements or is there some notion of what it means to be a fully functioning human being which they felt was degraded by being imprisoned for life?
    Joe Graymer · NYAS

    We all receive a death penalty once conceived; if death comes from a disease or an accident, or is inflinged by other people, as a murder, as an execution, as a consequence of a conflict, is not the important or the main issue. There's no 'Death with dignity', all deaths are humiliating and imposed. Thanks

  • Vikram Zaveri added an answer:
    How to understand the concept of "sex" in religious philosophy?
    Buddhism and Jainism both preached celibacy as the highest virtue a man can attain and should pursue. Why?
    But the same religions talks about adultery, extra marital affairs and love affairs. Even some of the non-canonical religious texts provide detailed and erotic descriptions... how to understand such things in religious philosophical discourse.?
    Vikram Zaveri · Independent Researcher

    Sex and Celibacy both are creations of God. Sex is necessary to populate the earth and Celibacy is necessary for one's own salvation. This could be understood only in the context of rebirth. Those who have the desire to enjoy the world they take up the life of the householder. After several births when they develop the spirit of intense renunciation they naturally feel inclined to practice celibacy. In celibacy, all outgoing energies gets stored within the human and it gets utilized towards evolution of spinal chord, the mind and the intellect. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say that one who practices unbroken continance for 12 years develops a special nerve. With this he is able to grasp and retain deep spiritual truths. Swami Vivekananda used to say that practice of continence results in excellent memory and concentration of mind. Pre-monastic name of Swami Vivekananda was Narendra. He met his Guru Sri Ramakrishna when he was nineteen. One day Narendra asked following question to his Guru.

    NARENDRA: Sir, have you seen God?
    SRI RAMAKRISHNA: Yes, I have seen God... I have seen Him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked to Him more intimately than I am talking to you... But, my child, who wants to see God?... People shed jugs of tears for money, wife, and children, but who does that for God? If they weep for God for just one day, they would certainly see Him.

    I recommend following books about the detailed account of a person who saw and experienced (communed with) God.

    "Sri Ramakrisha The Great Master" by Swami Saradananda, (tr.) Swami Jagadananda.
    "The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna." by Mahendranath Gupta, (tr.) Swami Nikhilananda.

    Above books available across the world at Vedanta Society bookstores.

  • Is ethics a science?
    Although all science are concerned with their own particular spheres, it can be an interesting philosophical question if ethics can be considered as a science or not?
    Abdulvahed Khaledi Darvishan · Tarbiat Modares University

    Dear All

    Thank you for your contributions.


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