• Who was right on certainty...Descartes or Lichtenburg?
    Both thoughts and the individual exist. The individual is the collection of thoughts.
  • 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?’ - ‘No Reason’
    What is time? It is a construct in the mind describing the conscious phenomena of awareness of moments. Physically, time describes the movement of matter through space. If there ever was a nothing, then time would not exist. However, I am having a hard time imagining a time when there was no time. Perhaps time always exists. Was there any purpose or reason for time before matter existed? What caused time to exist? If there was 1 year of time before anything else emerged in the universe, would one day of time matter during the pre-universe time?

    Look at it this way: Right now, I can imagine a time without consciousness or matter, a time when only time existed. The time before the existence of other things, I call negative integer time. The time after creation, is called positive time. However, before a consciousness existed that imagined negative time, said negative time did not actually exist. For non material things, consciousness is required for their existence.
  • Do People Have Free Will?
    The more we are aware of our surroundings and ourselves, the things that influence us, the stronger our will gets. If I know what is making me do this and why, I will be able to fight it.Eremit

    Yes, I agree with the above. There is an interesting area of study in psychology called cognitive bias. The more I studied the many common biases that everyone has, the more I could catch myself from repeating those same mistakes. But I continue to be influenced in the majority of my behaviors. I don't know if absolute free will is ever achievable, but learning about my surroundings may get me closer.
  • 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?’ - ‘No Reason’
    It looks like Devans99 was banned for some reason, but I think he was really on to something here. I agree with his conclusion, but he may be wrong about the notion that something can not come from nothing. Some of the newest experiments in quantum physics seem to indicate that something does come from nothing. However, we simply may not be detecting everything that may have caused the particle to appear from nothing. In any event, we don't have enough evidence to state with any certainty that something from nothing is impossible.

    Although this adds an extra element to the equation, the conclusion would still be the same:
    1. A First Cause existed
    2. The First Cause either always existed or emerged from nothing.
    3. Either way, there was "No Reason or Purpose" for the First Cause or First Thing to exist.

    This has a profound effect on the notion of the purpose of the universe as a whole. The result is that no absolute purpose can exist, and purposes imagined by thinking beings now are legitimate.
  • What if you lose a certain memory?
    Most if not all of the atoms that make up your brain right now are now different from the atoms that you had when you were born. There are many things that you have forgotten and you are different when you don't have access to memories. Of course you are constantly adding new memories as you live, which again change you.

    The thing which is called the self is a collection of memories, but it is also a system of organizing memories and impulses and logic. It is constantly changing and evolving. What is interesting is what happens when you believe "memories" you have about who you are when you are dreaming. I can easily believe that I have completely different memories, different proclivities, and even a different system of logic when I am dreaming, even though I still have a sense of "self." The "contiguous- self" may indeed be another one of those pesky illusions.
  • Free will and ethics
    In our society, there are three types of judgments that we make:
    1. We come to a decision or a judgment about what actually and factually occurred;
    2. Based on what we decide happened, we judge a person's moral culpability;
    3. We come to a decision or a judgment about what to do with a person that factually broke a law.

    Only the second one above should be affected by any lack of free will. We should not comment on a person's morality if they were compelled to act the way they did. However, determinism does not mean that we need to throw away our judicial system entirely. This is true for the following two reasons:

    1. The judicial system itself is based on determinism in that is predetermined that if one performs certain acts, then society will respond in certain ways;
    2. If a person has performed illegal acts because the person's genes and environment compelled them to act that way, then a change in environment can prevent that person from engaging in the same antisocial acts again.

    The real question regarding free will and ethics is what environmental changes are best to bring about the behavior which is favorable to society and the individual. The justice system needs reform to take determinism more into account, but determinism's existence doesn't necessarily mean we need to throw the justice system away.
  • What is the Purpose of the Universe?
    I'm just saying that it seems like there's a contradiction in something coming from nothing.RogueAI
    It seems like a contradiction to us because we regularly observe only cause and effect in the universe, at least on the macro scale. I've been thinking about where did it all come from -- what is the first cause that had an effect? Of course, no one knows, but I think we can narrow down the nature of the first cause or the First Thing that ever existed. It either did indeed emerge spontaneously from nothing, or it always existed. Is there any other option? If these are the only two options, then there was no purpose before the First Cause. This means that a purpose for anything had to evolve or develop after at least one thing already existed.
  • Do People Have Free Will?
    That is an interesting way of looking at it. Could life be varying degrees of having free will to choose, but only amongst predetermined options? For example, I can choose what food I want to eat, but I must first consider what is available in my area, what will give me nutrients and what will not make me sick. Then there is a host of other things that will effect my "choice," like the foods I've been introduced to and that I like through my cultural background, what foods I have been consuming recently, and how often I have been eating. Finally somewhere in there, once in a while, there may be a free will choice, amongst predetermined options.
  • For what reasons should we despise racism?
    If you subscribe to the notion that the self is all that can be known to exist, that does not mean that in fact nothing else exists. Beyond the certainty of the existence of the self, we possess reasonable beliefs of various degrees of certainty regarding the existence of other things. We need these beliefs to reasonable make the most of our existence.

    Obviously we judge people by the way they look. It is probably a throwback in our genes to the days when our ancestors lived in small groups and had to be wary of other groups. For whatever my past experiences are, I have become wary of people who hold certain expressions on their face. I still will reserve judgment until they actually engage in behavior, but my guard goes up and down by the way a person carries themselves. It is obvious that I would engage in seriously fundamental and possibly dangerous error if I judge someone by the color of their skin, eyes or hair.

    If you look up "race" in Wikipedia the article indicates that the genetic differences between races are less than variations within a so-called race. I have also noticed this in my everyday life, and to a certain extent, I tend to believe that we are all, on average, equally different and similar members of the one race (human race). The power of the human is not in how they look, it is how they think. I like this forum because it illustrates people's thoughts. I have no idea what race any one here would be ascribed. I can only tell whether you wrote something smart or not.

    We should despise racism because it is intellectually wrong and faulty.
  • Do People Have Free Will?
    I agree that we are our will. However i can't agree that free will by definition is not possible. When Descartes postulated "I think, therefore I am," he proved that he himself must exist, but the existence of everything else can be doubted. If in fact you are the only thing that exists, then you must have free will, because nothing else is responsible for your behavior and thoughts other than yourself (because nothing else exists).

    This leads to an interesting philosophical argument to the bigger issue of whether the reliable evidence we can consider indicates whether we should believe in free will or not. If our choices regarding what to attribute our behavior and thoughts are either they are controlled by you or something else, and only you are certain to exist, then strict logic would tell us that the thing which is certain to exist should take precedence over things which may not exist. In this sense, we would be compelled to beleive in free will, which is of course a paradox in and of itself.
  • What is the Purpose of the Universe?
    I imagined that the purpose of the Universe is a profound concept which explains why there is something rather than nothing. When I try to imagine the dawn of time, I see two possible starting scenarios: Science tells me that everything was condensed into a point of matter, which either spontaneously emerged or always existed. Theology tells me that God also spontaneously emerged or always existed. Either way, there was nothing before which caused matter or God to spontaneously emerge or always exist.

    Does this follow that a purpose or reason for a god or matter existed only after a God or matter already existed? Purpose and reason are thoughts, not matter. Purpose and reason can't exist until there is a being capable of thought. Certainly, if there was a time when only mindless matter existed, that would be a time when no purpose for that matter existed.

    Likewise, did purpose necessarily not exist until a mind capable of considering "purpose" evolve into existence?
  • Can humans be reduced to good and bad?
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is "good" and "bad." There are a few people who committed acts so beneficial to so many people, that most people will regard them as good, and there are others who committed acts so egregious, that most humans would behold them as bad. Most people are perceived as doing things a little good sometimes and a little bad sometimes, but it always depends on the times and who is doing the looking.