Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The clock shows the wrong time.

I think it's time we had a discussion on the nature of time. Now there seem to be two main theories of time; one where all time exists as a dimension, and the present moves along/through this time, and the other where only the present exists, and time flows through the present. The first is useful for explaining scientific concepts and the second for theories of identity that allow for alteration, and even complete divorces from and creation of a new identity in the one self, which is obviously disallowed under the first concept of time.

Now as far as I understand it the first concept of time gained momentem because of relativity, allowing supposed movement back and forward through time. the trouble with this is that the person traveling through time doesn't actually have time flow differently for him; it is only in relation to others.

So my idea is that the first idea of time is purely analytical, as concepts of duality in personhood have been accused of being so in the "Question for Theologists" discussion. If this is the case then obviously Augustine must be right if there is a god, in saying that time is just one of god's creations, explaining how he can be perfectly transcendental. In which case the first concept of time is (at least partially) correct because of god's nature. Now we have a contradiction. So either god doesn't exist or the first concept of time is the correct one.

So if we take the first idea of time to be the correct one, then god is not outside of time, and thus cannot be prefectly transcendental, so obviously not god. Again, we have a contradiction, so either god does not exist or the second conception of time is the correct one. Which brings us full circle.

I think it's entertaining, how about you?

Philosophy Talk

I found this site, Philosophy Talk today.

Philosophy Talk is a radio show about philosophy (obviously) that is broadcast/webcast/podcast etc. from Stanford University. I still have to download realplayer so I can actually listen to their archive, but there seems to be some pretty good stuff here: eg a discussion on Intelligent Design with Daniel Dennett, Brian Leiter on Nietzsche, John Searle on Mind or Martha Nussbaum on Friendship. (Their blog is worth a look too).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Notice: O Week Ideas

Since it will probably take a while for us to get organised enough to actually meet (in the flesh as it were), I thought it might be a good idea to start throwing around ideas/plans etc. for Orientation Week (13th - 17th Feb).

I tried to book our stall,but the person incharge of that was away, so I will have to chase that up this week. But other than that it is just a matter of deciding what, (if anything), we want to do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Race

The ABC has recently been running a documentary series about the idea of race, reporting to us with undeniable genetic proof that which any third year sociology student can tell us without breaking a sweat: the notion of race is just a myth. One of the great myths of modernity no doubt, but a myth nonetheless. Now I haven't watched any of this series myself but having spent a fair amount of time over the years toying with various claims of biological determinsim I got to thinking.

My concern is basically this. The temptation with proving the falsity of such a claim as racial differentiation is to then say something like, "hence cultural clashes that are based on claims about race (such as aparthied) can be seen to be based on nothing that is real". But what if the notion of race was not the cause of these cultural clashes but was instead the effect. There are no doubt people out there who would claim that cultural clashes, be they physically violent or otherwise, occur. They would happen if the people involved were thinking about racial differentiation or not. And it may have been in an effort to explain these clashes that the notion of race was first concieved. Hence proving race to be a myth does little for advancing our position as long as we remain unable to get along peacefully.

Now it is obvious that without the necessary historical analysis I am clearly debating about chickens and eggs here. But to engage in some specualtion, suppose it were true that race was the effect and not the cause of cultural clashes. Perhaps we can find no biological determinants of cultural clashes at all. Now my questions here are, are there any cultural determinants that can be said to cause such clashes and if so what are they? Could we then go on to use our knowledge of such determinants to find solutions and/or preventions to our problems? Or in attempting to find such determinants are we in danger of creating another boogeyman-myth like race? Should we in fact just accept such clashes as inevitable?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ethical Hypothetical – On Disability, Voluntary Euthanasia, And Organ Donation

A hypothetical:

A, a young man of utilitarian persuasion, decides that life with a disability is not justified. A signs a statutory declaration to such effect, adding that in the case of an emergency where an operation could save his life though leave him disabled he refuses medical assistance other than that which will enable his organs to be donated.

A, after this declaration, is involved in an accident that leaves him unconscious and with a leg requiring amputation. Surgery to remove the limb will be uncomplicated, and enable A to live with a disability. Following A's instructions will involve the medical professions in the death of an individual who would otherwise have recovered, though his organs will be donated to numerous other individuals who will benefit from them.

[Cross posted at Epideixis, where comments have been enabled.]

[Comments, you may note, have been enabled here (MH 24/01).]

Calls For Papers

Philosophy Conferences And Calls For Papers has put up it’s February list, for those interested …

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Question For The Theologists....

OK people, I'm after some commentary, tips, corrections, hints, suggestions, etc regarding some thoughts I have been having for some time concerning everybody's favourite topic: Atheism.

First: The basic propostion runs something like this: An atheist is someone who claims that there is no God. And when understood as such (which is quite probably how most people concieve of atheism), atheism is understood as nothing but a denial. Yet if we say that there is no Deity then we must hold that reality, whatever it is, must be an accident. Hence atheism, when properly understood, is not to be concieved of as a just a denial ("No I don't belive in a God") but also as an affirmation ("Yes I do belive that everything is an accident").

Second: Now, I understand that the word 'faith' is often associated with or used to refer to a persons belief in Deity. However it can also be used to refer to any belief which is not based on a proof. As such is it not possible then to say that an atheist has faith? Even to say of a particular atheist for instance, that his/her faith is stronger than that of a particular christians faith?

Third (this is where my concern over these points originated): It seems to me that this type of account of atheism was what was being employed by quite a few 19th C Geman thinkers, such as Nietzsche.

Friday, January 06, 2006

‘How To Read Derrida’ – Review Notice

Dolan Cummings has reviewed Penelope Deutscher’s How To Read Derrida and Peter Osbourne’s How To Read Marx (from a series published by Granta) for New Statesman.

[Cross-posted at Epideixis. Comments have been disabled here.]