Nothing comes from nothing

Very few people take Hegelianism and it's children as a theory of history seriously. The notion that historical events can be explained by some grand system is a dismissed idea at best, and cause for moral concern at worst. Philosopher of Science Karl Popper argued that the absolutist states of the 20th century we're born out of it's justification of nationalism. Similarly, it is difficult to return to arguments of Manifest Destiny or a Dictatorship of the Proletariat and expect to be taken seriously.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

The computer and the internet are both things predicted and developed in mathematical theory long before the materials for construction existed. Boolean algebra and advances in syntax allowed for the creation of programming languages.

END OF SUBSTANCE DUALISM

Descartes' theory of substance dualism, the notion that one's mind is an immaterial substance distinct from a physical body, is just about the deadest idea in philosophy, and for good reason. Without the acceptance that mind arises from the body, it would be almost impossible to have a meaningful study of psychiatry. And given the proven success of psycho-pharmacology, I'd rather not return to a world haunted with demons, to paraphrase Carl Sagan.

IDENTITY AS NARRATIVE

As a culture, I see us as slowly recognizing how one's personal identity is not a constant, but a narrative that is contently being changed, and is capable of reconstruction. The contingency of identity became possible when the idea of essences came into question, and I would argue we are much better off for it.

THE HOLES OF CLASSIC THEISM

No other area of metaphysics has been more tread than religious philosophy. Arguments for or against the existence of God are for many people the only questions of ontology (the study of being) they will ever entertain. Given this, the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, and the moral argument for the existence of God have been presented, and all have been sufficiently rejected in contemporary metaphysics. This is not to say this proves God doesn't exist, in fact Kant stated after his demolition of the ontological argument that ridding the notion that God can be proven has made faith possible. Additionally, many contemporary church leaders have recognized that much of classic theism is a variation on Platonism, and bares limited resemblance to Christ of scriptures or the early church.

THE NATURALISTIC FALLACY

This argument, as first presented by British philosopher G.E. Moore, is as simple as revolutionary: Just because something is natural does not mean it is good. This insight single-handedly dismantles the fallacious arguments against gay marriage, transsexualism, and technological advancement. The next time somebody goes off about chemicals in their food, or tries to say that smoking Natural tobacco is OK, make sure to tell them that radon, hemlock, and arsenic are All-Natural and still deadly.

SEMANTICS

For those who imagine that 20th century philosophy is either a bunch of marijuana-induced rambling against capitalism or the about the meaning of life will be shocked to see how much of the past 60 years have been about the philosophy of language. This is a very diverse and extensive field, but some of the discoveries include:

1. An understanding that a proposition may be grammatically correct, but at the same time meaningless. The importance here is how a meaningless proposition is not false, while at the same time not true either.

2. Fictional characters can be meaningfully understood to have canonical properties, even if they don't exist in our reality. Copyright and trademark law requires this recognition.

3. Two people may agree on all the relevant facts in a particular case, but still come to a different conclusion based on their semantics. While arguing about semantics often has a connotation of being trivial, there are several examples for how the interpretation of the meaning of a word has great consequence. For example, I might agree that a radical environmentalist burned down an empty factory, but I might identity her as a misguided arsonist, while you call her a terrorist. The semantic difference between arsonist and terrorist is the difference between evoking the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and an extra 20 years in prison. Similarly, is the mention of God a reference to the Christian God, and therefore a violation of Church and State, or a statement of Ceremonial Deism, as the Supreme Court ruled? Is a fetus a child? Is Redskins an ethnic slur? Can a scholarship for African-Americans go to an Egyptian-American, or an Afrikaner?

Why, of course semantics matter, and deferring to a restatement of facts does not always resolve an argument.

NOTHINGNESS

Just what exactly is Nothing, after all? Contemporary physicists and cosmologists have done a considerable amount of work distinguishing between the sort of nothing that is a vacuum, but can still contain physical fields, like gravity, and a total, utter nothingness, where even the laws of logic need not apply. Contemporary notions of nothing challenge the commonplace assertion Nothing comes from nothing, and give an explanation for how the universe could have begun out of an absolute void.

INFINITY

This is something I don't completely understand, but mathematicians agree, there are different sorts of infinities, and some infinities are greater or smaller than others.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 10/06/2018


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