Metaphysics Finale (Part 3 of 4)

Over the next day or two I will be discussing the following topics (Update: Obviously its been more than a few days but I didn’t forget):
Formulating and Explaining: Determinism, Hard Determinism, Soft Determinism, Indeterminism, Volitional Indeterminism, The Theory of Agency, Fatalism, Theism, and Atheism.

Presenting, Explaining, and Evaluating: An Argument Against Moral Responsibility, The Kid Patriot Argument Against Soft Determinism, The Ernest Patriot Argument Against Simple Indeterminism, The Vera Patriot Argument Against Volitional Indeterminism, What I take to be the best argument against The Theory of Agency, The Argument for Fatalism, What I take to be the best argument for Theism, and What I take to be the best argument for Atheism.

Bolded parts can be found here. The Bolded AND Italicized parts can be found here.This may be a few days worth of material so I’ll continue to bold things and perhaps color them so its easy to find the parts relevant to visitors. I also realize that some of this has been stated before, but I will try to give new (I know fantastic) responses to them. Keeping in mind any story about Patriots is fabricated by my professors, I’m just trying to re-iterate them here to make sure I remember them :P.

Lets start with a story about Ernest Patriot, the cousin of Kid Patriot. Earnest Patriot wanted to be a secret service agent his whole life, not unlike Kid Patriot. Essentially all things between the stories are the same except no aliens come and screw around with Earnest Patriots brain. While protecting the president Earnest Patriot notices a piece of lint on his outfit. “Holy snipe!” He thinks and he decides he will dust it off. However, for reasons unknown, he pulls his gun and unloads a shell into the president. Immediately he panics unsure of why the hell it had just happened, perhaps a complex seizure…nobody will ever know because the other agents unloaded on the poor Earnest and dropped him within seconds.

The reason for this story has to do with a philosophy known as Simple Indeterminism which anyone who frequents my site has heard of before.

Simple Indeterminism
1) There are some undetermined actions.
2) People act freely whenever they perform undetermined actions.
3) People are morally responsible for their own undetermined actions.

I’d clarify this but for those curious you can read here. As for Ernest, his actions were indeed undetermined. In fact there was likely far less than a single percent change that what he did would have happened. However it did happen. But this action that was undetermined does not indeed feel like a free action and it most certainly is not fair to assume that someone should be morally responsible for such a deed. Unless we are to start punishing all seizure victims who are placed in a situation where they harm someone else unintentionally. The best I can come up with is that Earnest is morally responsible for placing himself in a position with the president after a previous family member had killed a president. But we’ll see a recurring theme with the patriots that stretch far beyond this second member.

For those who are interested the argument would look like this:

The Ernest Patriot Argument against Simple Indeterminism

(1) If Simple Indeterminism were true, Ernest patriot would be morally responsible.
(2) Ernest was not responsible.
—–
(3) Simple Indeterminism is False.

The justification for the above argument is outlined in the previous paragraphs (I hate redundancy but am generally caught being redundant).

The next magic word to be conjoined with Indeterminism is known as “Volition”.

Volition: The act of choosing, willing, or deciding to do something.

Pretty straightforward. So lets see how this applies to the idea of Volitional Indeterminism:

Volitional Indeterminism

(1) There are some undetermined volitions.
(2) People act freely when they act under undetermined volitions or else actions caused by their own undetermined volitions.
(3) People are morally responsible for their own undetermined volitions and actions caused by their own undetermined volitions.

As we always do lets begin with the reasoning behind the lines. Working from the theory of indeterminism not all actions are predetermined. These periods of freedom allow the person to make their own choice, IE an act of volition. That covers line one, moving on to line two it is relatively easy to see that when you are acting of your own choosing that you are acting freely. Finally if you are acting freely than it seems fair that you would be morally responsible for actions done under the realm of freedom. At first glance this does seem pretty obvious, but lets take another dab into the family of the patriots.

The following is the story of the cousin of Kid Patriot AND Daughter of Earnest Patriot, known to all since birth as Vera Patriot. Once again those damn dirty apes are back…er…martians. They’ve come and placed a chip in Vera much like Kid, this particular chip is not unlike Kids and what it does it makes you REALLY want to do something. It’s that kind of urge that causes people to do really stupid things that they regret greatly later. The story pans out much the same and she becomes the presidents secret service agent. The aliens slap the machine to “super-ultra-mega 99.99999999999999999999998%-mega-death-kill.” indeed she gets this nearly overwhelming urge and blasts the president. They turn off the machine and she is mortified but much like her two siblings she is dropped hard. (Again disclaimer these aren’t my stories).

The Vera Patriot Argument against Volitional Indeterminism
(1) If Volitional Indeterminism were true then Vera Patriot would be morally responsible.
(2) Vera Patriot is not Morally Responsible.

(3) Volitional Indeterminism is False

The justification for line one is that it was not a 100% chance and thusly it was an act of volitional indeterminism. The justification for line two is that Vera was a victim of the aliens and not morally responsible. I know…not the worlds most thrilling stuff. But thankfully you only have to see one more argument with a Patriot in it…tomorrow. After that we move on to more interesting stuff. (Lord knows I’ll mix this all up on the exam day since its pretty nonsensical).

By | 2009-03-16T19:22:02+00:00 March 7th, 2009|Journal|2 Comments

The Worthlessness of Freedom

  It is often the belief by people that freedom is the greatest of all life’s gifts. An inalienable right that all men (well humans) are born with, or something deep and inspirational like that. I’m here to argue however that it is relatively weak on the value scale in life.

  The inspiration for this article comes from a short story today begins as many bad jokes do:

“Mother Theresa walks into the White House to speak with Ronald Reagan. When they meet she scolds him greatly pointing out the fact that the US is the richest country in the world and yet it has poor people. To this Reagan responds that “They may be poor but they are free.” to which Theresa (apparently) responded “That is bullshit. The free that are hungry desire food, not freedom. The homeless that are hungry desire housing, not freedom. The poor that are free desire aid, not freedom. Freedom is only important to those that have all that the less fortunate do not.”

  Now I’m sure I embellished a bit but the basic point is the same. When you ask a starving man on the street what he wants most of all, you are more than likely not to hear “freedom”. Which comes back to a term that was introduced to me in the “Theory of Justice” course at Western Washington. Based on a book by a man named “John Rawls”, he introduces the concept of “Primary Goods”.

  There are certain goods that no person should be without, those things are called “Primary Goods”. I don’t recall what his were but by personal opinion mine would be, food, health, education, and shelter. Now you might think that at least one of these things are superfluous but allow me to explain.

  All humans (in fact all living organisms) require food (I include any nourishing material under the tag of food) to survive. Few things that are readily and consistently available will kill you faster than being without food.

  The next important factor is Health, now you can easily place shelter under the blanket of Health and I would be willing to accept that. Without a proper and universal healthcare system you aid in the spread of disease and birth defects. Neither of which is a positive addition to any living thing. Likewise over a billion dollars a year is lost in reduced man hours because of injury and illness. In most studies that I’ve seen the introduction of a diverse and available healthcare system results in a net gain of revenue for the country involved.

  Education comes in third but it is hardly unimportant. A good education is critical to the furthering of a species…period. If we do not work very hard to create a proper, comprehensive, and efficient education system we essentially are preparing our own demise. Let me drop some information on you for instance in the US:

33% of people don’t know the 3 branches of government
75% of people knew at least 1 of the AI judges…
50% of the US States don’t require Civics and Government to graduate.

    Now let me reiterate the depressing information above. It’s not that 33% of US citizens do not know what the 3 branches do it is that they don’t know what they are period. Our country is actively creating less and less competent people and this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. Even college is nothing more than job training, people in large do not go to college to educate themselves.

  The final factor in furthering humanity is shelter. Proper sheltering helps quell many diseases and it reduces overall health issues related to temperature and environment (that are not disease related like hypothermia). It’s relatively obvious so I don’t feel that it requires any further explanation feel free to comment if you disagree.

  Once you have fulfilled all of the primary goods, that is when freedom starts being the most important thing to deal with. Because until that happens, the only people who value freedom, are those that have the primary goods. Likewise the people who have lived their entire life with these goods will never appreciate them or appreciate just how horrible the life of a person who is without them is. Freedom feeds no-one, freedom heals no disease, freedom houses no people, and freedom educates no-one. What freedom does is allow these things to be freely dispersed and the problem is that freedom is not used in such a way. For that reason, Freedom is worthless.

  I can see no positive gain from ‘for-profit’ versions of any primary goods and the mere act of doing these things solely for profit is a slap in the face to all living people (regardless of whether or not they are within your domain). The moment people stop attributing an intrinsic (and dominating) value to Freedom and begin working on the truly valuable goods is the moment that I feel that the US will truly be a country to admire.

  A person can bash these sort of beliefs all they want, but considering the following information:

The top 10 "happiest" countries:
1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. The Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada

The U.S. ended up on the 23rd place, the UK on 41, China is 82, Japan 90, and India an unhappy 125.

   These sort of studies are done all the time, and you can almost always correlate the ease of acquiring the primary goods in the nations with their ranking on the happiness scale. There are always special exceptions, however the overall pattern is difficult to overlook. Well…apparently not all that difficult considering the garbage I’ve been reading and witnessing on the topic of healthcare and education.

  A small clarification that is a common retort to this is: “What about countries under Tyranny they want freedom.” I would point people back to the paragraph just above the list of countries. When people desire freedom, they want it for the things it is supposed to aid and enhance. You’ll also find that some of the most unhappy places in the world not only do not have any freedoms, they have no primary goods as well.

By | 2009-03-06T18:59:08+00:00 March 6th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on The Worthlessness of Freedom

We all are living in the past.

  Something that has recently hit me was that nothing is instant. You will hear “It’s basically instant” but basically doesn’t pay the bills. Everything from the firings of nerves to the brain to the things you see take at the very least a nanosecond. It doesn’t seem like much but it brings up some interesting points.

  When we look at the stars we make the point that what we are seeing at any one point could indeed no longer exist, exploding brilliantly millions of years in the past and we are merely waiting to be informed. But everyday our lives are bundled into a bit of hope, for a nanosecond (or even a few nanoseconds) we are hoping that the person in front of us still exists. Sound travels even slower than light and so for a very small portion of time we are living in utter ignorance.

  Much like your hand recoils before you even feel the pain (since the process routes through your spine and be glad that it does) you are taking for granted that a few nanoseconds ago is the same as now. Indeed when the meteor that destroyed the dinosaurs hit they had absolutely no idea for a large radius around ground zero that anything had happened. They were obliterated with such speed and force that before they could even feel the pain, see the flash, or sense anything they were dead and gone. Blasted into atomic leftovers (possibly worse, I’m not a physicist).

  So the next time you look at something, the next time you feel something. Take a moment. You are forever living in the literal past, a few nanoseconds behind the physical universe. You could very literally be dead before you know it. It’s not all bad though, at least we are catching up to what has already happened. Imagine if we were a few nanoseconds up and on the line of time, we’d be jumping into something even the universe hasn’t worked out yet (but before you know it it already has).

  So yes, we are all living in the past. Albeit a fantastically small bit in the past, basically negligible, however basically doesn’t pay the bill but in case of ground zero impact you at least don’t have the misfortune of even knowing you no longer exist ;).

By | 2009-03-05T13:50:10+00:00 March 5th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on We all are living in the past.

The Seraphim of Scion

  For those of you that DO know I’m writing a story and were invited to my rough drafting project. Here is the image that shows the current known deities (known as Seraphim) in the Isles of Scion Lore. There is a good reason there is a lot of white canvas to see :). I think grey looks very professional…but the font seems a little hokey on some monitors (looks perfect on PS).

SeraphimofScion  Hope you enjoy. It’s not exactly informative but I’ll start unloading information on you folks as I get deeper into my project. I hope that it’ll be successful :). It would give me something very pleasurable to work on in my life. Which this site certainly is turning into as well.

By | 2009-03-04T21:25:33+00:00 March 4th, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on The Seraphim of Scion