Showing posts from March, 2016

Mary the Scientist

This argument is put forth by Frank Jackson. 
Mary is a scientist confined to a room where everything is black and white. She learns every fact about the physical world, or just about everything there is to know about the physical world and how it works. If physicalism, the view that all that there is entirely physical, is true, then Mary knows everything there is to know, and so she knows everything. There isn't something she doesn't know. Yet, this does not seem true. If Mary were let out to the world and experience something Red, it would be said that Mary has actually learned something, which is, redness. She knows what it is like to experience redness. So, physicalism is false. This is the knowledge argument against physicalism. 
This doesn't seem convincing to me. First, it seems to assume that if physicalism is true, then everything must be expressed as a proposition. Even if physicalism was true, that wouldn't follow. Say Mary didn't know what strawberries ta…

Calvinism, Love and Hell

I was talking to one of my Calvinist friend after some St. Patrick's Day drinks on some points of theology, and not being a Calvinist myself, we found ourselves disagreeing on some important issues. I claimed that God loved everyone, while my Calvinist friend denied that God loves everyone. He said, "So you're telling me that God loves both the saint in heaven praising him and glorifying him and the damned in hell who hate him?" 
Why is that controversial? Of course he does. As I have said a thousand times on this blog, love is the willing of the good for the other. For those in heaven, it is uncontroversial that they experience some good, and so it is no surprise that God loves them. But what about those in hell? Can God love those in hell? Well, to translate, or to plug in a definition, does God will the good for those in hell? I don't see why not, and I certainly don't see why hell isn't precisely that good. Hell is good? Yes, hell is a good because hel…

Alexander Pruss

Today was an enlightening day. I met Alexander Pruss, someone I highly admire and respect, and to be honest, am a little intimidated by. I took notes on my phone from his lecture, and I'll copy it here, but do scroll down for my interaction with him during Q&A. 

Loving Through Death

I suffered the death of a friend today. I loved her, and I loved her greatly. We made plans together, to graduate together, to go camping together, to shake the world up for Christ together. Those plans will not come to fruition. Love acts. Love that does not act is not love. And now, I cannot act. So, do I not love anymore? This is an interesting question. 
Dietrich von Hildebrand was married and widowed before he married Alice. From what I am told, there was a great respect on Alice's part for the deceased wife, and presumably, Dietrich still loved his first wife. But is this the same love? It might seem like it. The day before she died, he loved her, and loved her with a spousal love. The day after she died, it's probably also true that he loved her, and loved her with a spousal love. But that kind of love is unitive, and that unity is no longer possible (Maybe that's an argument for an afterlife. If one doesn't continue to exist after death, we cannot love them. We …

Political Principles

I get annoyed when I hear fake conservatives try to distinguish themselves from their liberal counter-parts as being "principled" but they are, in reality, no such thing. And you hear a lot of politicians say the same, "We need to hold on to our conservative principles." I have a challenge for anyone who says this: what are those principles? I usually hear two things, which is fidelity to the constitution and encouraging a free market. But these are hardly principles. If fidelity to the constitution is what makes you a conservative, then it means there were no conservatives in the founding era prior to the drafting of the Constitution. There's no principle to be had there. And so it doesn't count as a principle. Principles are something like axioms, or certain truths that remain throughout history and place. Like natural law. That is why I call myself a natural law conservative. If I take an oath to the constitution and I find another document better suite…

Problem of Government

There is a really stupid slogan that goes around in Republican circles that says, "Government is the problem." You hear variants like, "The bigger the government, the bigger the problem" or "the smaller the government, the smaller the problem" and you have these so called conservatives say stupid things like this, but they aren't thinking. What this entails is anarchy, literally. If the problem is government, then if you want to get rid of the problem, you want to get rid of government. But no conservative believes this. And conservatives who say this have no principles. And that's no conservative.

Meta Desire

Consider the many girls who do not like me, whom I have attempted to date. Say they clearly and soberly understand what it is about me that they do not like. Maybe it is something physical, or even something having to do with some character trait. Say Alex does not like Ben because Ben is like X. But Ben can change X. So, Ben says to Alex, "Alex, I will change X. Then, it will no longer be an obstacle. Would you like that?" 
Why should Alex say no? Alex has no desire for Ben, but if Alex could like Ben if it were not for X, why would Alex not want Ben to be rid of X? Basically, I could ask, do you want to want me? Because, I'm in a few situations (I date around...) that are pretty similar to that. I can't think of a reason someone would give to not wanting to desire someone. If there is a reason, it's probably going to be something that fits in the first order, and not the second order of desire, and so, I can't see a reason, in principle, why someone would …

Exchange with ICOC Guy

I met this guy, let's call him Tom, at an engagement party, and he is a member of the ICOC, which I used to be a member of. We had a discussion about Original Sin (which they deny) and Infant Baptism (they're Anabaptists) and he sent me some Bible verses which he believed denied Original Sin, and I said I would think about it and get back to him. Of course, I've heard it all before, being a former member of the ICOC, but I was just being polite since I didn't want to get into the nitty gritty there at a mutual friends party. He has stopped responding to me, and it's been a while now, so I'm sharing our exchange here. Some arguments I was toying and experimenting with here with, so any feed back is appreciated. His emails are in Blue, while mine are in Red. 

Best Friends

Today, I had a friend casually refer to me as her best friend. It was the first time in our relatively short time having known each other (a little under a year) that she had called me that, and I didn't think she realized she did it. I grinned, and waited for her to complete her thought, and I said, "Awwww, I'm your best friend?" After a pause, she got defensive, and tried to play it down with, "Well, it's not like I have a lot of friends anyways, and my other best friend is my little cousin, who is like nine years old, so..." Sure. 
It's a great honor really. But it can also be somewhat awkward if it isn't reciprocated. Say Devin is Adrian's best friend. This statement says something about the position of Devin in Adrian's life. It does not follow, however, that Adrian has the same status in Devin's life. Perhaps Lucas is Devin's best friend. Lucas is such that Lucas is the best friend in the set of friends Devin has. I think ma…