• In defence of Aquinas’ Argument From Degree for the existence of God
    The "Maximum Degree" has two interpretations, and they are being abused in the example.
    • There is a sorted maximum of a sample set, the top dog
    • There is no clearly defined maximum degree of moral goodness
  • Valid Arguments
    I'm not so sure the notion 'unfalsifiable' represents a true or false state, but rather some in-between condition that hasn't resolved to a boolean yes/no.
  • Alternative Economic Models - An Ownership Economy
    Redistribution through taxation produces a similar result.
  • The Awe of the Man Made
    Hello Alen, my name is Jonathan Wooldridge, a retired cook and hobbyist game designer.

    A snowflake is a marvel of organization out of chaos. I suggest that a bird's nest is the same essential thing, a sorting of order from disarray performed with a biological component. And finally, the artifacts of human endeavor are in a similar way the result of organizational force.

    The most amazing artifacts I know of is us, the result of a microscopic recipe book of DNA that generates the enormity of human endeavor from birth to death.
  • Classical Liberalism vs Classical Conservatism
    The primary difference I see is which way one casts their gaze: To the past or to the future.
  • How does language relate to thought?
    I know that choice of a particular computer language makes some problem solving tasks easier to comprehend and implement, while making other tasks more difficult to perceive.

    That probably holds true for spoken languages as well.
  • Is infinity a quantity?
    No, infinity is not a quantity it is a direction on any scale in which it is listed as a measurement.

    East is not a location, destination, or even an obtainable goal. It is a direction relative to the current position and might more properly be stated as "east of here," wherever here may be, in the same sense that x + 1 is not an absolute quantity but instead something greater than x.
  • Why do you believe morality is subjective?
    I find the definitions for good/bad as equality to be too narrow for a robust treatment. So I'll offer another definition of good/bad:
    Good that which contributes to the survival and reproduction of the species
    Bad that which detracts from the survival and reproduction of the species

    Some examples that this wider definition supports
    • Eating insufficient calories to sustain the energy output for a day is bad (starvation).
    • Opening an umbrella indoors is bad (broken lamp).
    • Specializing to become a high volume producer trading excess to other specialists is good (net gain in GDP).
  • Something above life?
    Something I have often considered is the possibility of this process continuing above and beyond the ability of our perceptions.JustSomeGuy
    Imagine for a moment how a blood cell has no conception of a human body, just the veins it travels in and it's own job within that stream. The same can be said for people, that our perceptual organs are designed for our scale.

    Beyond our scale are the aggregates of family, cities, societies, corporations, nations. Each is an entity with a lifespan, characteristics and behaviors distinct from individuals. A company can exist even though the people that started it are long gone. A city can last for centuries, grow and evolve with technological change.

    Such entities have needs, and it might not be too much of a stretch to say they have healthy and unhealthy conditions which establishes a sense of wants.

    So yes, there are entities greater than individuals.
  • About existence
    Is it safe to assume that for something to exist it has to come into existence first?Daniel
    Sure: My wooden chair did not exist when the material was in tree form, nor will it exist after it has rotted away.
  • On the benefits of basic income.
    Well, I am on SSI. $500 of my $635 goes to rent, and since I live with my family which helps with food costs, I get to keep the remainder for grooming, health needs, and transportation costs. That's pretty much what the money was intended to be used for and that's how it is spent by me.Posty McPostface

    Since you were bold enough to post a budget pie, I feel obliged to do the same. I'm on a program called ABD which is the step before SSI, granting $198/month in cash and $196/month in food stamps.


    The approximation contains two categories that don't appear in most pie charts:
    1). Addictions: Expenses that I haven't got control of; coffee, cigarettes, etc where the need decides for me rather than the other way around.
    2). Entertainment: I believe this to be a basic need, seen even in animal behavior, that often fails to be represented.
  • On the benefits of basic income.
    The question appears to be asking how to spend other people's money. Food stamps already have a long litany of opinions on what should not be allowed, the destination of such a conversation.

    Post your budget pie, if you wish to discuss how 'you' spend money.
  • Challenging the Status Quo
    The use of pain response as a behavioral modification program in systems of law fails to grasp frequency of individual experience as a factor in learning. It works for traffic/speeding tickets. It does not work for issues likely to be experienced less than three times in a lifespan.

    Those issues should be addressed by determining the motive that drives them and the environmental factors that make that motive a viable strategy.
  • A very basic take on Godel's Incompleteness Theorem
    All I see is the use of the boolean operator AND, which implies there are four possible states.
    G_1: sentence is true but not provable <-- this was offered in the original post
    G_2: sentence is true and provable
    G_3: sentence is false but not provable
    G_4: sentence is false and provable
  • Moral Responsibility and Alternate Possibilities
    Missing from the picture is contributing factors. If laws are meant to contribute deterrance, then surely we can assume that provocation toward an illegal act is also contributed externally.
  • Moral Responsibility and Alternate Possibilities
    This leads to defining the difference between probabilities and possibilities,TimeLine

    Rolling 2d6, there are 11 possibilities, [2..12], and 36 probabilities (chances). Only 1 chance to get the possible 12 outcome, but six chances to get the outcome 7.
  • Moral Responsibility and Alternate Possibilities
    I like this suggestion, however determinism implies that the actions we commit cannot be other than what it is and therefore the OP is discussing the probabilities and not what follows from this said act.TimeLine

    Probabilities and what follows from an act are the same thing, just with a different count of repetitions. A 1% chance of something happening is identical to saying the frequency of occurrence is roughly once per hundred iterations.

    Upon reflection, it seems to me that the issue simply got pushed back one step (what's next, restricting the action that initiated the neural pathway process... and so on and so forth???). It seems to me that in all of the examples:

    1. A decision event occurs by the subject (alternate possibilities exist)
    2. The following event is either interrupted (reactive or blockage) or not interrupted at all.
    3. Either way, (moral) responsibility and alternate possibilities existed at the decision event.

    I think I can come up with examples, but before I do, am I missing something here?

    This gets to the point of making decisions, and the judgement/score system used by the subject. Laws are a social agreement on the values we place in sorting those possibilities, and attempts to enforce those ranking & priority schemes.
  • About time
    Planck time is a unit of measure, and a theoretical one at that. I have yet to see anything measured in units of planck time, which sort of makes it useless. I'm suggesting the notion of an atomic quantum of time is maybe not an observable phenomenon in our universe.

    And by observable phenomenon I mean that if it doesn't present any effect then for all intents and purposes it doesn't exist.
  • About time
    all units of time are defined in terms of change. So, in a universe with no change there can be no time or, at least, time is immeasurable - both render time meaningless.TheMadFool

    Apply the concept of continuous motion to change.
  • About time
    Change is essential for time. In a world without change time is meaningless.TheMadFool

    The smallest unit of measure for time is Plank time, the 'distance' between two states of the universe wherein something changed. And that of course depends on the granularity of movement.

    Does it seem possible that there's an infinite continuum rather than an atomic digital stepping of movement, such that at any resolution some smaller motion can be defined?
  • A question on the meaning of existence
    rationality is empirical and science is at the forefront of such a worldview. But look a few centuries ago micro-organisms and radio waves were undetectable to us. If one is to stay true to the empirical viewpoint we must believe that bacteria or radio are nonexistent.TheMadFool

    That which cannot (yet) be measured is difficult to even think about. A good example is rolling a pair of dice. The assertion that the outcome set is a sum between 2~12 is often met with a meta-game. What about when the cat jumps on the table and knocks a die under the couch? How often does an event external to the playfield become part of the play?

    Scientific analysis of such a process might even be impossible: Consider the researcher who breaks their pencil, goes off to get another and is waylaid in conversation along the way.
  • What is Scepticism?
    Doubt is the active searching process for an alternative explanation consequent upon such an anomaly.gurugeorge

    I like this, as distinct from confidence, which is a measure of proportions of success/failure. Nice perspective.
  • A question on the meaning of existence
    So, here Iam, torn between being open to possibilities (theism) and being rational (shaping my world view with reason). What should I do?TheMadFool
    I'm of the opinion that if there is a conflict between an assertion and rational thought, then rational thought wins, and I believe that theism is poorly represented as irrational.

    Where our understanding is less detailed, we still use some sort of handle to cope. Could be called magic, and there's nothing wrong with that generalization.
  • If objective morality exists, then its knowledge must be innate
    The most atomic version of categorization of an incident as 'good'/'bad' is how it affects your survival.
  • Why is it that we often think about the past?
    Throw a Frisbee to someone and they will demonstrate thinking about the future.
  • Finding info about good vs evil in the bible
    Some tips:
    "Evil" is a word that used to mean being of two minds on a subject, a synonym for ambivalent.
    "Good" can be thought of as the summary assessment of actions that survived.
  • Why has the golden rule failed?
    "the golden rule" should probably be stated explicitly in the first post rather than assumed to be known. The same way acronyms should be spelled out once, with a parenthesis showing the acronym to be used later. Sez me.
  • If objective morality exists, then its knowledge must be innate
    I admit I use the terms 'ethics' and 'morality' interchangeably, as I don't know what the difference is. But how can one disagree that attempted murder is unethical? Would you like to be the target? Would anyone? If not, then it is unethical by applying the Golden Rule.Samuel Lacrampe

    What if we asked the question "was this attempted murder unethical?" Re-framing the question in terms of a past incident seems to cause more consideration for detail. I suspect that is part of the process that assesses an incident and sorts it into the category 'attempted murder' along with a tick for 'bad' or 'good' depending on judgement of that incident.

    Then the stack categorized as 'attempted murder' can answer the question is it ethical as though it computed the proportion of good/bad ticks.
  • Well, what do you expect?
    "If I kill you and take your money, then that is good for me" - how exactly are you defining good?Qurious

    At the atomic level, I'm defining good as that which contributes to survival and therefore continues to exist, while bad is that which does the reverse. Yes, my response can be construed as pain/fear avoidance.

    My favorite interpretation of evolutionary forces is cull the least fit, and offer a spread on any metric where that takes place. I suspect that survival of the species, clan and village also gets sorted into the mix. Helping a non-hostile (friend) results in strength of the village (Seattle) and better security in numbers.
  • Well, what do you expect?

    I don't know where "false pretense" came from, but I do claim my decision contained the purest and most essential form of good/bad that there is: Survival of good, death of bad.

    Morality is a table-of-contents look-up into an encyclopedia of historical incidents. If we look up "Opening an umbrella in the house is bad luck," we will find several entries where a child broke something with an umbrella. Don't be deceived by the word 'luck' on the end, it is an admonishment defining "bad" for the child.

    Law is where we as a group see that what is good for the one can also be harmful to the pack, such as my example murder. And so we put in place an accepted outcome of that behavior that is an improvement over the previous: Either I don't do it, or I likely go to prison / get executed. Both situations are additional improvements to the previous scenario from the point of view of the pack that agreed upon them.
  • Well, what do you expect?
    How do you become a good person?AngleWyrm
    By being aware of what is good.Qurious

    If I kill you and take your money then that's good for me. Unless I get caught, then that's bad for me. Chances of being caught are pretty high in modern city life, so my best choice is to not kill you to take your money.

    Do you think I made a good decision?
  • Well, what do you expect?
    but do good things as a result of being a good person, as opposed to aiming to do good things in spite of not being a good person.Qurious

    How do you become a good person?
  • Well, what do you expect?
    I think we should try simply to BE morally good rather than trying to DO good things.Qurious

    "What's love but a second hand emotion?" ~ Tina Turner

    Do good, on purpose.
  • Why would anybody want to think of him/herself as "designed"?
    Watching from the sidelines while people quarrel over things like the origin of humans has often left me shaking or scratching my head.

    A big head scratch-er is the concept of design in that aforementioned quarrel. Maybe it is just a figure of speech. Maybe neither side of the quarrel uses "design" in the conventional sense like in the work of an architect, engineer, etc. If they are using "design" in that conventional sense, that is strange.

    I find it very awkward and counter-intuitive to say "I was designed..."

    Design, as you've deftly pointed out is not used in the traditional sense, but as a somewhat more poetic passive culling-the-herd design rather than active design. Snowflakes are all about the same size, because water. Deer are brown because the ones that weren't got eaten.

    A point not often made is that evolution is a relationship to the current environment, a spread of slightly different around a norm. It's not the norm that survives best, it's the best match to the current environment.
  • How can AI know that creator exists?
    Since the topic of emergent behavior seems to have closed, maybe we can move on.

    If I go to the trouble of putting down in print any specific thing that I consider intelligent, self-aware, creative, etc behavior, the moment the ink hits the paper it becomes a programmable task, and as such can be replicated in software.

    There's an online AI CleverBot that's been interacting with thousands of people/day for years. The result is that it has an interesting and sometimes surprisingly deep understanding of conversation trees. That's it's specialty; just don't ask it for look-up data. Google does a fine job of that, just another specialty.
  • Welcome to The Philosophy Forum - an introduction thread
    Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!ArguingWAristotleTiff

    Thanks and hiya!
  • Forgotten ideas
    Where do forgotten things go? Or do the ideas simply cease to exist?believenothing
    They go to new memories. The storage space gets a make-over.
  • Mermaids aren't falsifiable
    I believe that we can model the process of arriving at a confidence threshold with a very simple formula:
    This chart was generated by rolling two virtual dice and testing for the outcome of a sum of seven, which has a probability of 6 chances out of 36 outcomes, 6/36 = 1/6 chance/outcome.

    As the history accumulates both successes and number of tries, the resulting proportion approximates the ideal prediction.

    I know there are 1,000 marbles in the bag. In reality there are 999 white marbles and one black one, but I don't know that. I start pulling out marbles. I pull out 1,000, all white.T Clark
    The last sentence indicates that the marbles are being placed back in the bag after each pull; the technical name for that is sampling with replacement, which is identical to rolling a die or spinning a roulette wheel. The alternative is sampling without replacement which is what happens when drawing cards from a deck, lottery balls, and names from a hat.

    For the D&D nerds like me, a similar chart can be done with 3d6.The number of chances of a given sum coming up can be directly read off the polynomial expansion of Sum(x^i)^numDice as the coefficients, where Sum goes from 1 to sidesPerDie.

    ( x^1 + x^2 + x^3 + x^4 + x^5 + x^6 )^3 =
    1x^3 + 3x^4 + 6x^5 + 10x^6 + 15x^7 + 21x^8 + 25x^9 + 27x^10 + 27x^11 + 25x^12 + 21x^13 + 15x^14 + 10x^15 + 6x^16 + 3x^17 + 1x^18

    So here's the result of rolling 3d6 a bunch and testing for the outcome 12, which appears 25 times in the 216 possible outcomes, and so the approximation should approach 25/216.

    In the above image, a green-tinted region shows an approach from the right side of the graph. At some point the approach reaches an unacceptable level of noise in the data, a variance beyond a desired error level. How can we determine how close to zero (how few tests) we can get without exceeding a desired error level?
  • Mermaids aren't falsifiable
    ...roll two dice and look for a sum of thirteen. We know beforehand that result isn't possible, but can we demonstrate through a series of trials how the unlikeliness of the outcome increases over the series of tests? — AngleWyrm

    Now I'm lost. The probability of rolling two dice with a maximum number of pips on any face of six and getting a total greater than 12 is 0, no matter how many times you roll the dice.
    T Clark

    That is not a test of the researcher's present knowledge, it is a test of a system wherein there is unknown state that we happen to know beforehand so we can validate the results. The experiment run to test for the outcome thirteen will always fail, and we understand why that is so. The question is that if we didn't have that information, how does each toss (and the resultant failure to get a thirteen) affect our prediction of future tosses?

    If done without knowing ahead of time that the result is impossible, there is some accumulation of failures and failure to accumulate successes that eventually reaches a threshold of decision-making wherein we say "it has always failed, and I predict it will continue to fail" based entirely on test results.

    It is this shift from a starting position of "let's see what happens" to "I'm reasonably certain of the outcome of this test," that represents a variable we can call confidence. We see it happen, we make those judgements, so we should be able to measure it.
  • Mermaids aren't falsifiable
    If you wish to resort to religion and belief then you're welcome to do so. I do think they have a valid place in both society and our individual lives. And that place is in a temple or church rather than the halls of science, which is mostly about measuring and observing things.

    The main difference I see in those two perspectives is merely a level of detail/resolution available to the witness. I understand cell phones work on electromagnetic waves, so it's no longer a magic wand to me. But I don't have enough detail to describe the process by which a stem cell chooses to become any of a variety of available options. So I'm fine with saying it wants to be similar to it's neighbors.

    That's effective magical thinking that serves as a handle and a coping mechanism. But if I eventually wish for and have the opportunity to acquire a more detailed understanding, it comes at the price of a loss of mystique.

    Notice that at no time have I implied deceit or erroneous behavior. That is the horse of a different odor that I referred to with the garbage-in/garbage-out un-testable scenarios.