• Is it possible for a non spiritual to think about metaphysical topics without getting depressed?
    My question is: is it possible to bypass that unpleasant feeling without some kind of spiritual theory that gives life a meaning? Like getting closure with the fact that life doesn't have meaning, that there is probably nothing in the afterlife, etc, and not feel bad about it, not lose motivation to live another day. (Whether there is something or not in the afterlife is not what I want to talk about, I'm just wondering if we could deal with the fact that there is nothing, and be happy about it).Skalidris

    I agree with you that getting closer to the scientific materialistic view of the universe and of life and human beings can lead to feeling of emptyness and desolation. At least this is what I experienced and what I saw in books like "Chance and Necessity" by Monod.

    You mention 2 points that can give unpleasant feelings: meaning of life and afterlife.

    Meaning of life: it is not resolved by spiritual or religious views: the presence of god or vital forces in nature doesn't make any sense as the presence of living beings. Spiritual people just avoid thinking about the meaning, sometimes they say that "only god can understand". They solve the problem just removing it from their thought.

    Afterlife: the idea of "nothing" after life is actually not supported or suggested by science or by scientific common sense, science doesn't have an account for the existence of inner feelings, according tho the scientific mechanicistic view there shouldn't be any inner feeling in the universe. Science doesn't suggest anything about the birth or the end of these feelings. It could be rational even to think that inner feelings are always everywere (panpsychism or Russellian monism) and they just change in their form together with matter.
  • Uncertainty in consequentialist philosophy

    Here I have seen that there are different opinions about whether you should consider
    • actual consequences
    • predictable consequences
    • intended consequences
    • likely consequences
  • Morality vs Economic Well-Being

    Why do you advocate moral principles if you think that morality is "only a encumbrance to life"?
  • Uncertainty in consequentialist philosophy

    You cannot predict if after the death of the dictator some other worse dictatorship could arise.
  • Morality vs Economic Well-Being

    What about random violence against random people? Do you think we should feel free to be randomly violent and brutal with random people? And if you think we should avoid it, isn't it a moral principle you are advocating?
  • Against β€œis”
    The problem you are talking about seems not specifically related to the verb "to be" but to any verb and any statement that is not formulated as uncertain.
  • The collapse of the wave function

    How do we know nobody observed? Wigner's friend? :chin:

    It's a mental experiment where nobody observes.
  • The collapse of the wave function

    I think measurement is the really relevant thing and not conscious observation because you can do multiple sequential measurements without observing any of them and check the results later. You will observe that the first measurement actually produced the collapse and all the subsequent measurements resulted in the same collapsed state, even though nobody observed it.
  • Artificial intelligence

    Intelligence is just getting information as an input and returning some output that is "useful" for some "task". A computer engine designed to play chess is a form of intelligence. The "usefulness" and the "task" are not rigorous concepts and an AI could be actually stupid or pointless. You could think that any system that gives some "response" to any "input" has the same "nature" and essence of an AI.
  • What is false about an atheistic view on death?
    Does atheism completely preclude any kind of reincarnation? I can vaguely imagine a non-theistic rebirth scenario.0 thru 9

    Not at all, you have the panpsychist scenario:
  • Is the Math of QM the Central Cause of Everything we see?
    As far as I know the role of mathematics in science is by default considered to be that of modeling a certain part of reality: the idea is that we have mathematical models that work under some assumptions with some degree of correctness and we can always be forced to upgrade our model once we find some inconsistency (which already happened several times).
    There are also more "foundamental" mathematical models that explains "descriptive" models, a classical example is the heat equation (descriptive model): you had the theory of heat as a "fluid" (foundamental model) and the theory of heat as energy in a system of particles (another foundamental moel), both models lead to the "heat equation" (descriptive model) but they "explain" it in different ways. And you can always go deeper and deeper considering your foundamental model just as "descriptive" and explaining it with a more foundamental one.
  • Talent vs Passion and Work
    I think this is normally only possible when you also have knowledge of the boundaries and therefore implies a high level of technical skill as well. Aside from the random flukes of course that accidentaly are truly creative.

    It depends on which level you are being creative. If you can be creative with a fine technique but you can also be creative with the subject or with some general "implicit" rule that you are going to violate.
  • Talent vs Passion and Work
    Probably speaking of "talent" is to simplify things too much. Speaking about arts you have several important elements concurring together:
    1) "Technical" skills: the knowledge of the field and the ability to use standard techniques to get the wanted result
    2) Creativity: the ability to break the conventions and find unexpected/surprising solutions
    3) Interior emotional source: having strong emotions that you feel the need to communicate
    4) Emotional connection with the public: your emotions must arrive and create a resonance in a relevant part of the people around (this won't happen if your emotions are too far from the average person's).
  • An Alternative To The Golden Rule
    Interpreting the golden rule is well within your operational capability. No one is 100% unbiased and this case does not require a verdict beyond a doubt. The meaning of the golden rule is obvious; you know that; there is nothing significant to debate about it.Bitter Crank

    We were not discussing the golden rule, we were discussing
    the Platinum Rule: treat others how they want to be treated.
  • An Alternative To The Golden Rule

    What if they want to be treated unfairly well compared with any other?
    β€” Babbeus

    In that case they have a diagnosable mental illness. Crazy wishes are best suppressed with a little Thorazine.
    Bitter Crank

    It's not so easy, you would need a neutral and objective judge that can establish without a doubt what is fair and what is not.
  • An Alternative To The Golden Rule
    Or what about the Platinum Rule: treat others how they want to be treated. Simple.darthbarracuda

    What if they want to be treated unfairly well compared with any other?
  • Basic Question: What's the difference between logical forms and truth conditions?
    This seems to be the same as the logical form of "all dogs are animals".mosesquine

    The "logical form" is a "form", a particular syntax. The "truth conditions" are facts of the world, not ways to shape a sentance. This is actually a huge difference.
  • Basic Question: What's the difference between logical forms and truth conditions?
    What do you consider to be the truth conditions of 'all dogs are animals'?
  • Why are universals regarded as real things?

    Why does it sound like philosophers are saying that certain ideas of objects and forms actually have an existence outside of the mind? That just sounds silly, yet I know I am missing something here...

    Just to confirm, physicalism and universals are non-compatible right?

    What is *real* then? Do there exist things that are not just arbitrarily chosen sets or instances of patterns that the mind recognize/identify? A stone is real? There is no stone: your mind is just arbitrarily giving a unique identity to a set of atoms. You are real? There is just an apparent sequence of perceptions and choices and an arbitrary grouping of them as it was a unique being.
  • Using a quantum random number generator to make decisions for me

    One uses the device to decide between yes or no to an action ( do i floss my teeth now , do i answer the phone, do i go there today) . Something like that. He substitutes his will for the indeterminate result of the quantum randomness. Nothing prevents him to break the rule.

    In this case there would be an element of free will when the persone choses wheter to actually accept the device's suggestion or break the rule.
  • Cogito ergo sum

    There are some big holes in Descartes' line of thoughts (that were pointed out by empiricists and contemporary thinkers) that should be considered:
    1) he says "I think/am" but even using of the pronoun "I" is problematic: is there something that can be unified under a single subject? If we want to put ourselves in the position of doubting everything we should consider the possibility that there is not a single unique subject but just a stream of toughts
    2) the ontological argument for the existence of god has been deeply analyzed by modern logicians with advanced tools as formal modal logic and computers, check this paper:
    what came out is (as far as I understand it) that all the proposed versions of ontological arguments do have some logical problem and it is not clear how to correct them.
  • Using a quantum random number generator to make decisions for me

    Last night someone said robots cant have preferences since they're machines. So I suggested that we might associate a quantum random number generator to it and make the robot take certain decisions based on the outcome of the quantum random generator. No natural law can predict the choice.

    And then it just dawned to me, why shouldnt someone use such a device for himself and then ask the question: "do I have free will now ? Whose free will is it now ? "

    What does it mean to "use the device"? How can an effective causal connection be established between the device and the action? What prevents you to break the rule when you don't like the "choice" of the device?
  • One-consciousness universe

    You are clearly anthropomorphizing and multiplying entities beyond necessity.

    It is the opposite: I am reducing a moltitude of entities to a single one, just like the one electron universe does with electrons.
  • The problem of absent moral actors

    Yes in the specific case of the original post there is an element that weakens the moral responsibility of the "inactive" neighbour: since there is an offender to be stopped there is a risk involved in the intervention that can be a moral justification.

    My point was that if you go deeply inside the meaning of the concepts you find that there is no real meaningful distinction between "action" and "inaction" so it would probably be better just to speak about "behaviour", "risks" and "consequences".
  • The problem of absent moral actors

    I see inaction rather as morally neutral.
    How do you define "inaction"? For example would "not moving your body" qualify as inaction? If you decide to be "inactive" while your car is moving stright towards a pedestrian in front of you so that you will not move your feet to activate the brake (that would mean to "act") would your decision/behaviour be "morally neutral"?
  • If a tree falls in a forest...
    If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around, does it still make a sound?dukkha

    What do you mean by "making a sound"? Do you mean it produces a sound "quale" or do you mean it generates a "sound" as defined in physics (i.e. pressure wave within the air)?
  • Is the golden rule flawed?
    There is still a problem: I know my neighbour would be happy to receive a gift from me. The principles (both the golden rule and the corrected one) seem to require me to actually do the gift... and do it again and again, possibly until I become poor. Is this reasonable?
  • Factor Analysis and Realism
    Can you show a concrete example with some specific observable and unobservable variables?
  • How would you describe consciousness?
    Yes--my different view is that words like "brain," "rock," stereo speaker," etc. aren't that confusing. I don't have to wonder what they could possibly refer to when people use them unless they use them in a very strange/unusual way.Terrapin Station

    1) "That confusing" is misrepresenting what I said
    2) What is "usual" and "unusual" depends on contingencies and can change over time (maybe you wanted to say that you would make deeper consideration on the meaning only when you personally feel it strange/unusual wrt your experience but this is just your personal psychological attitude)
  • How would you describe consciousness?
    Very few, this is why when we want deeper understanding of reality - in science, mathematics or foundational philosophy - we usually don't rely on common everyday-life understanding of the words but we go deeper and become more formal with the definitions. Do you have a different view?
  • How would you describe consciousness?
    Your questioning of 'brain' is unwarranted, I write 'biological', recall, and brains are literally biological. You can't get more precise than that.jkop

    If someone whould have told me that "soul can exist only inside humans" I would have asked what is a human. The same I do when someone says that "consciousness can exist only with brains". Concept like "humans", "brains" or "chickens" are not philosophically well founded: they are just fuzzy patterns with undefined boundaries. There is a sequence of organism that starts from unicellular ones and ends with human beings, where each member of the sequence is the father of the following member. Which is the point where the members of the sequence actually start to be "human"? When do they start to have a "brain"? What is there that actually "trigger" the consciousness that didn't exist before?

  • Might I exist again after I die? Need I be concerned about what will happen to me in this life?

    The main problem with your question is that it can be interpreted in two ways:
    (1) assuming "you" is your person as we see it with distinctive behaviour and look
    (2) assuming "you" is your "self" abstracted from your specific person as it is, the entity (or maybe entities?) that is continuously percieving experience through your body, the entity that would continue to be the same even if your personality and behaviour would change abrubtly into someone else's

    With the first interpretation the answer to your question is "no"... unless we are in a universe which has a periodic motion returning again and again in the same states.
    With the second interpretation the answer can be yes or no depending on the solution of the hard problem of consciousness: if panpsychism is true then the answer is "yes" (you would never stop existing and experiencing, although in a more elementary way), if emergentism is true you are probably forced into an eliminative materialist position and the question wouldn't make sense because there would be no "self".
  • Causality - what is it?
    I wouldn't say that forces exist between charges if matter is not coming into contact with other matter and influencing itTerrapin Station

    Electrostatic forces for examples are described by Coulomb's law which doesn't require any contact and predict a non-zero force for any finite distance.
  • Causality - what is it?
    Causality obtains simply when:
    (a) one event, x, precedes another, y,
    (b) x and y are contiguous (in terms of tactility),
    (c) with respect to (a) and (b), x exerts forces that produce y, and
    (d) y would not have occurred without (a), (b) and (c) being the case.
    Terrapin Station

    What does it mean that an event "exert forces"? We know that electromagnetic forces always exist between charges: they are not "triggered", does it mean that there is no causation when electromagnetic forces are the only one involved?
  • Causality - what is it?
    In your model universe and by your definition, everything causes everything that follows.SophistiCat

    In my model causality is defined between two sets of states, not between two states. It wouldn't make sense to say that the state A causes the future state B. When we say (according to my definition) that the impact causes the crash we mean that "impacts" are always followed by "crashes" (which is in fact not completely true).
  • The people around me having conscious experiences makes no sense!
    You might say that's fine, that other consciousness exist in an external world beyond your perception. But this position requires some strange relationship between the bodies around you and conscious experiences which exist in the external world. Strange relationship as in, eg, another person wills his arm to move in his own represented world, and somehow this causes the persons arm you see in front of you move in a correlated way. Likewise there's this sort of strange correlation between all his other behaviors he does in his represented world and the person you see in front of you. I don't know how this relationship would work?dukkha

    Since both perceptions (yours and that of the other person) are corretaled to the same physical world they should be also correlated with each other.
  • The people around me having conscious experiences makes no sense!
    Maybe there is a world around you and there is also your perception of the world that is different from the world itself. Isn't it a reasonable view?
  • How may consciousness communicate to the physical world?
    I would really appreciate to read an abstract before going into the details...
  • How would you describe consciousness?
    Consciousness is a biological phenomenon, it arises from conditions of satisfaction such as a brain and things to be conscious of. So, I would describe it as such.jkop

    What is a "brain"? "Brain" is a term we use to describe a very broad class of information-processing structures build up with a network of neurons, sometimes we also speak of "electronic brains" and we also have artificial "neural networks" (which are non-biological) but we don't have a precise definition of what should be considered brain and what should not.
  • Qualia
    The analogy/question was whether we need to say that an arroyo or wash is always flowing with water, just sometimes the water is hidden (however it is). I wasn't asking you about other ways that you could look at water.Terrapin Station

    We don't feel the need to say that the water is flowing and hidden when there is no water, but we do feel the need to say that the water is always somewere in some form.