Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Discussing the Discussion – Sydney

Previously, I posted a blog post about Saul A. Kripke’s Naming and Necessity. I explored my question, “How do we judge, assess, and label “things?”” and read about how words have different connotations and denotations, and what the actual definition of a “name” might be. Kripke’s work allowed me to rephrase my question and change it into, “How do names refer to things in the world? However, during the class discussions, I found interest in topics other than simply naming objects.

On the first day of discussion, I talked with Kiana about the afterlife. This was really interesting because she mentioned how something she read had stated that death is merely a concept. Kiana and I discussed how it might be possible that because we are raised knowing that we will eventually die, that is simply the reason that we allow, so to speak, ourselves to die. Of course, our bodies will eventually deteriorate, but if we were unaware of death, our soul could possibly continue living. This concept is sort of similar to the idea of people who look at lists of symptoms for certain diseases online, and become suddenly so aware of the possibility that they could have the disease and think that they do when they actually don’t. We also applied this concept to other situations, such as when Mr. Jackson mentioned in class one day that blue was one of the last colours to be named. We wondered if just because there was no name for the colour blue, did they not see it all, or would they have just classified it as another colour or shade? This example of the colour blue does relate to my initial question in the way that it involves naming objects, but it relates more to questioning an object’s existence if it does not have a name at all.

On the second day of discussion, I was in a group with Jessica, Helena, Laike, Kiana, David, and Shem. In this group, we discussed different points about God:

  • Is there God? Does he make our decisions, or do we?
    • If people believe there is God, He has a plan for us.
    • Religion can be abused – how do we know what is real?
    • Religion gives people purpose, may be an external motivator
      • Especially in hard times, can provide relatability and be hero-like
    • Religion will evolve and change through time
  • Is religion put in place for justice?
    • Morality vs. actual law
    • There are obviously rules in the Bible, but what effect do they have on the law?
    • Can scare or limit people, but it may not be as useful today.

As much as this discussion was useful and interesting, I don’t think that this particular topic relates as much to my previous discussion or questions. It could be related through the question as to whether God is a name or a description, or whether God exists because we are aware of the possibility of His existence.

However, through these discussions, and especially my discussion with Kiana, I think that my question may be evolving into: Does an object exist if it does not have a name? Does an object exist if we are unaware of it?

 

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Heaven Is Probably A Place On Earth

the-meaning-of-lifeI will try my best not to delve too deeply into paragraph upon paragraph of religious bias. If you don’t enjoy the topic, skip ahead now.

A great number of people live because there is supposedly a God, or another superior form waiting to submit them into heaven, an afterlife, or anything else that is far greater than the flawed Earth we live on. But, the question is: do we need something greater to live for? We are all alive, but we can only live based on what we choose to believe. For instance: faithful people require a purpose in life to secure their purpose in death: admittance to paradise. It’s satisfying to firmly believe that “death does not bring about their complete annihilation” (MHR Philosophy Unit 2: Metaphysics, 114).

Three Saturdays ago, just before I was about to leave my house to catch a bus, a Jehovah’s witness quietly knocked on my front door. Not wanting to be rude, I entertained him by watching a video he had pre-loaded on an iPad. It attempted to answer why, if there is a God, there would still be suffering and grievance. For those of you not interested in religion-related media: basically, the Bible says suffering happens because there is an “evil power“.

Although I didn’t appreciate having to once again be pummelled with the dodgeballs of religion, I suddenly understood why this is comforting for some. Many people don’t like to think that humans are at fault for terrible happenings! If a higher power is responsible for turmoil, it must mean all humans are innately good.

However, it is not a source of despair to refute a higher power. We have what we have: an “impossible universe full of awe and wonder … [and] an infinite number of questions we can work on”(Jillette, God, No!, 229). We must live by leaving it be, not by letting faith guide us. This is my bias, but am I enforcing this upon you? No. Choose to believe whatever you want, because you will always be an individual.

Trash_Religion_b-on-w_no-siteThe core of “living” is individuality. Humans can never have a common, shared life experience, no matter how much they are in each other’s company. I can’t think, thought-for-thought, in the exact same manner as the brains currently in this room.

  • Can we know that there is a superior being?
  • Can we know that there isn’t?

The frustrating short answer is no, but the existence of superiority should not prevent us from living on our own “rational” thoughts: well, that is a whole other subject.

 

 
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