Friday, April 07, 2006


Richard creates a list of 10 things he things people should know about philosophy
so I created a slightly less biased list in response

1) Philosophy isn't just a matter of opinion. Some opinions are better justified, or more reasonable, than others. We should aim to hold those judgments that are best supported by reasons.

2) Therefore, one should change one's mind if the evidence is against you. (But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t argue your point until it is refuted).

3) The idea of objective truth is nothing to be scared of.
Rationally applied objective truth doesn’t result in the arbitrary rules that people usually fear. In most cases arbitrary rules reflect a lack of understanding of all the side effects.

E.g. utilitarianism properly applied includes allowances for long term effects and psychological effects so you would not run around killing people for some obscure gain.

4) Moral facts are a matter of opinion (but not JUST a matter of opinion).
a) When someone like Richard talks about morals he may well mean a different thing to you
b) They will probably try to push his view on you by the very nature of the meme.
c) However, it is not hopless, in any community you can get a general consensus on what they are, or what definitions will optimize the system. At very least we can eliminate some ideas.

5) We CAN provide non-spooky natural foundations for morality.

6) Most God Hypothesis doesn’t fit well with observed reality (rather like most non-god hypothesis).

6a) To a concequentialist - following someone or worshiping them doesn’t mean you share their moral position unless you provide concequential assistance towards their aims - in which case you share their moral position to the extent to which you achieve them. Or where in their plan has a moral value relitive to an alternative plan.

7) Time doesn't move.

8) Either this sentence is false or self-referential paradoxes are great fun.

9) Taxation is not (necessarily) theft - or theft becomes a fairly meaningless term.

10) Optimal freedom requires more than mere non-interference.


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