Some Questions and Answers

(Part 2)

What are some of the weaknesses of the Ontological Argument?

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world -- e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists.

For some of the weaknesses in these arguments see -

I have two questions, if that is ok.

1) Are liberal democracies more peaceful?

2) Is the language of rights the best way to protect peace?

I realize that these two answers are probably too short to really answer your questions, but -

1) No liberal democracy has ever attacked another liberal democracy. Does that make them more peaceful? I suppose it depends on what you mean by "peaceful". Liberal democracies have gone to war to protect themselves (WW1 & WW2, to cite just 2), they have gone to war to protect what they have deemed to be the "vital interests of their citizens" (Korea, Vietnam, to cite just 2), and they have gone to war to "protect the peace" (Iraq 1, Iraq 2, to cite just 2). Due to the political difficulties inherent in convincing a suitable portion of their citizenry that war is justified, liberal democracies are in general slow to go to war. The history of warfare in the 20th century would seem to suggest that liberal democracies have been, by far, responsible for fewer deaths in inter-state and intra-state conflicts than any other form of government.

2) The language of rights is the best way to protect the continued efficacy of liberal democracy. Liberal democracies are not defined only by the presence of a government by an elected majority. Liberal democracies are also defined by the civil concept that the rule of law is superior to the powers of both elected representatives and empowered civil servants. Key to that concept is the principle of citizen rights which cannot be trampled upon by the majority will. So I would suggest, if the above argument successfully defended the hypothesis that liberal democracies are more peaceful, that the language of rights is also the best way of protecting the peace.

How can people have free will? According to science everything is based on a fundamental law. Even in quantum physics where the molecules are supposedly acting randomly. Or when we assume we are telling our arms to move when its all just a law of impulses in the brain. I don't believe in free will. Rather I believe in restrained free will. What do you think?

I would highly recommend Daniel C. Dennett's "Freedom Evolves". I considered this an excellently written exploration of this very question. I feel sure you will enjoy it.

Hi, would you kindly tell me the differences between effectiveness and efficiency in management?

Give at least five differences and how to measure them.

"Efficiency" is doing something right. How to measure how right (well) you are doing, naturally depends on what it is you are doing. You might measure "widgets processed per unit time", or "cost per unit output", or perhaps "patients still alive".

"Effectiveness" is doing the right thing. You measure that by the contribution of your effort to the corporate bottom line (profit). It doesn't matter a whole lot whether your particular management unit is a profitable profit center or lowest cost cost center. What matters is whether your management unit can be shown to contribute directly to the corporate bottom line. To quote Peter Drucker - "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

Since we are talking about two separate fields of discourse, there cannot be five differences, or ways to measure those differences.

Is the infinite a relative truth or an absolute truth?

Neither! The question is ill formed and therefore does not permit an answer. (Perhaps you might like to rephrase the question?)

On the right hand side, you have used the concept "Truth". But "Truth" is a property of propositions. On the left hand side, all you have is "The infinite". But "infinite" is a property of something -- in this case an unspecified noun. Unless you actually mean here "The Infinite" -- as in God or some such. In neither case have you specified a proposition of which "Truth" can be applied. It is therefore quite impossible to specify which subdivision of "Truth" might apply.

The question of the universe expanding and contracting has puzzled me. What is the universe contracting and expanding in? My concept of the universe has always been the it is the whole and there is nothing beyond the universe. If that is so what is outside the universe that it expands and contracts in?.

To which Jurgen Lawrenz replied (Answers 21):

I've asked myself the same question often enough and never found an answer. I can't give you one either, for it puzzles me as much as you why scientists come up with such obviously incongruent notions, which leave the word 'universe' out on a limb as a meaningless concept. Alternatively, of course, you could look upon it as an embarrassment of our understanding: we want to know if the universe is all there 'is', but we can't know, and so we look at atoms and electrons and quarks and leptons and imagine that in their rhythm a mirror image of the rhythm of the universe is displayed. Sorry: this is no answer. But there is no answer, and therefore the whole question is null and void. Perhaps that's one good reason why we still need philosophy!?

- - - - -

With apologies to Jurgen, when he says "There is no answer", he is incorrect. Therefore, the matter is not "an embarrassment of our understanding". (Although, perhaps Jurgen means just an embarrassment of his understanding?)

The word "universe", is used to signify two related but quite different concepts. One is the familiar one that Andy refers to -- the totality of matter and energy (and, by extension, space) in existence. Understanding Andy's question with this as the meaning of "universe", there is a relatively simple answer. By definition, there is nothing outside the universe, and nothing that the universe expands or contracts "in". It would be like asking what is before "A" or after "Z" in the alphabet. The question commits a "frame error" of adopting an inappropriate frame of reference. (Perhaps this is what Jurgen means when he says the question is "null and void"?)

To help you adopt the proper reference frame, perhaps a popular analogy is in order (which you have probably encountered before). Visualise the surface of a balloon. The two dimensional surface of the balloon is finite and unbounded. When you blow up the balloon, any two spots on the surface will get further apart. Even if a two-dimensional observer (a "flat-lander") could not measure the surface area of his space (because he can "See" such a small part of it), he would be able to deduce, from the increasing distance between any two spots, that the total area is expanding. As three-dimensional observers, we can see the two-dimensional surface area expanding in our three dimensional space. But that "outsider's" perspective is not a necessary requirement for the validity of the flat-lander's conclusion that his space is expanding. Our three dimensional space is expanding just like the two-dimensional surface of that balloon. And it makes no more sense for us to ask "expanding in what" than it did for the flat-lander to ask about the expanding area of his two-dimensional space. (Assuming that to a flat-lander, a third spatial dimension is as unvisualisable as a fourth spatial dimension is to us.)

There is another line of reasoning that arrives at the same answer. To the best of our current understanding, our universe is infinite and unbounded. For the universe to be unbounded means that there is no "edge" (boundary) for there to be anything beyond. For the universe to be infinite in extent means that there is no distance beyond which there could be something that is not part of our universe. If our universe is, in fact, either infinite or unbounded, then there is no place for there to be anything "outside" of our universe, and nothing in which our universe could be expanding. And the same arguments apply to hypothetical "higher dimensions". If the universe is, in fact, four (or "n") dimensional, then the extents within these additional dimensions are also already a part of our universe.

If you object that you cannot visualise how a three (or four or "n") dimensional space could curve or expand without invoking a further dimension in which this curvature or expansion could take place -- don't be too concerned. We have evolved as three dimensional beings with a mental capacity tuned to deal with the normal slings and arrows of our daily existence. That the challenge of visualising multi-dimensional mathematics is beyond your capacity should be considered normal. That is what mathematics is for, after all. To help us understand and describe things of this Reality that are beyond our capacity to visualise. (Who, after all, can visualise -1 or a 4-dimensional hyper-cube?)

There is, as I mentioned, another meaning of the word "universe". It is a meaning that is properly reserved to certain branches of Cosmology and Theoretical Physics, and to certain kinds of fiction (science fiction and fantasy fiction). Although, as Jurgen was perhaps alluding to, it is a meaning that is well abused in popular writing. Within the proper restricted contexts, the word "universe" is used to refer to the totality of matter and energy (and, by extension, space) in the reality with which we are familiar. Notice the nature of the restriction. It is useful when one is speculating on the possible existence of "alternate realities" of various sorts. Cosmologists employ this meaning of the word when they are speculating about possible ways that "our" universe may have been spawned by an "earlier/other" universe. Theoretical Physicists employ this meaning of the word when they are speculating about the "real" meaning of Quantum Indeterminacy (the Multiple Worlds interpretation). In both of these manners of employment, "our" universe is considered to be but one of an infinite number of universes embedded in a "Supra-universe" (one that employs the "in existence" meaning of the word universe). But I don't believe that in any of these manners of speaking, there is envisaged anything outside of "our" universe in which "our" universe would be expanding. So, as far as I know, even within this restricted meaning of the word universe, the answer to Andy's question is still the "nothing" that I described above.

Today I am sitting in my high school library at 9:55 am. So far in my life I have listened and watched my friends and myself go about life. I have come to a point in which I have fallen into a rut. Although I am not the best writer or student, all I can think about are questions about society and questions about our world. I write today not to find an answer to all my questions but to attempt to find a peace of mind. My questions are as follows.

Why are we capitalists?Is it human nature to be greedy or have we been corrupted?

Next, why should we go through school and life trying to accomplish as much as we can? Does this make us better people to society? or does this make us the people we were intended to become by god or whatever created us?

Last, what is point of everything? Why do we wake up every morning? because I'm not buying into the "we have our family our friends and society to live for" thing. I know it will be very hard to answer some of these questions.

John Brandon provided this answer:

Your first question is a presumption to which many people would not subscribe. In fact, my own instincts do not lean towards capitalism. I find it appalling that capitalism seems to have got completely out of hand, and is running riot in the world. My greatest concern is that it has now become linked with democracy, a capitalist state is now automatically considered to be a democratic state. 'Free market' and 'free people' are not interchangeable concepts!

Is it human nature to be greedy? A good question to follow the one on capitalism, the two terms are often linked. Perhaps there is something in the notion that a capitalist can never have enough. Greed shows itself in theft and murder, in embezzlement and profiteering. However, most people do not fall into these categories. Received knowledge from the society in which a person is brought up will probably have a great deal to do with whether they recognise greed as an essential attribute to make progress and achieve a 'good life'. A capitalist society is geared to produce such a person. However, whether a person accepts this world view is very much a matter of choice. A person entertaining sets of categories of what is right and what is wrong is likely to place greed in the latter category, and speak against it; but does a capitalist society encourage the majority to see some moral right in the former?

Greedy people are usually "Thick skinned' and selfish, so what others think about them is of little interest to them. Of course, what a greedy person does to hurt or upset others also makes little impression on their conscience. Unfortunately, this has now reached its zenith in the destruction of the environment, the greed for oil profits, the greed for timber profits, the handing over of vital utilities to the greed of privatisation, the greed of the car companies, the greed of pharmaceutical companies, supermarkets, etc. etc.. Encouraging capitalism as a morally correct and democratic process is a major factor in the demise of our planet. We also have to ask ourselves what part political systems that turn a blind eye to all this play, or why in some cases they endorse it. In fact many politicians actually have their fingers in the pie.

You ask, why should we go through school and life trying to accomplish as much as we can? The short answer is the reciprocal question: Why not? Again, it rather depends on our world view and our aims within that world. Your further question regarding making us better people in society and, becoming what God or the creator intended, are extensions of the original question. If you firmly believe that there is a purpose in life and that purpose has religious connotations, then you are likely to be considerate of your fellow beings, and find a purpose which aims to improve the life of society. Your questions seem to point to a state of introversion, which leads to a rather self-orientated and pessimistic view of life. The extrovert view which is concerned with recognising having a place in society and being concerned with the well being of others, leads to a more optimistic view of the world.

Success in society can be viewed as self achievement, aiming to stand on the pedestal and to glory in the awards. Alternatively, it can be seen as something achieved for the whole of society, the achievement being its own reward. If we wish to believe that this latter objective was God's purpose for our existence, then that is a very valuable bonus to the achievement.

You ask, what is the point of everything? Why do we wake up in the morning? I see this again as a very self-centred and depressed approach to life. We should not sit tight under the shadow of pessimism wondering what the point of everything is. We should be out there finding out for ourselves what it is. I suggest we wake up every morning to do just that. My advise to a person who finds no meaning in life is to become a philosopher and share in the excitement of trying to discover what the world and what life is all about. We can either be depressed with our shallow view of the world, or we can be stimulated by seeking the deeper reasons for what we perceive around us. And be warned, the concepts we form in life constitute the world we live in.

- - - - -

Having reviewed the answer that John Brandon provided to your questions, I am driven to provide an alternative view of the situation.

According to <> "capitalism" is "an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, in which personal profit can be acquired through investment of capital and employment of labor." And according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "capitalism" "also called free market economy , or free enterprise economy - [is an] economic system, ... in which most of the means of production are privately owned and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets.

In order for a Capitalist economic system to function, the political environment within which the economic system exists must sustain two features. It must provide some minimal support to the legal principles of private property, and it must provide some minimal level of individual freedom. There cannot be private investment in the means of production unless there can be private ownership of the stuff being invested. There cannot be a functioning market to guide productive investment and income distribution unless there is a minimal amount of individual freedom to participate in markets at will.

So John's "greatest concern ... that [capitalism] has now become linked with democracy" is seriously misplaced. Contrary to his suggestion that "a capitalist state is now automatically considered to be a democratic state", the reverse is more properly correct. Any form of government that grants its citizens both a right to privately own property and a modicum of individual liberty will inevitably come to support a capitalist economy. An example of this inevitability can be seen currently in China. Although certainly not a democratic state, China is quickly becoming a capitalist economy. It is inevitable that a modern liberal democracy (one that, by definition, provides legal support for both private property and individual freedoms) will be a capitalist economy. "Free market" and "free people" might not be interchangeable concepts. But "free market" presupposes "free people". And "free people" includes within it "free markets". Given a modicum of legal support for private property, "free people" thus implies "capitalism". It is obvious, however, from the tone of your question and the nature of John's answer, that neither of you look kindly on the concept of private property.

So why are we capitalists? We are capitalists because we live in a liberal democracy where the vast majority of the people have discovered that private property and the workings of free markets are the most effective and efficient means of achieving the greatest economic welfare for the greatest number. History has demonstrated that when it comes to economic measures of well being, nothing is as successful as capitalism at delivering the Utilitarian ideal of "The greatest good for the greatest number".

Your second question is a very emotionally loaded one "Is it human nature to be greedy or have we been corrupted?" The very formulation of your question both presumes more than many would accept, and presupposes the answer. According to Microsoft's American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, "greed" is "an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth". Your question therefore presumes that most people's nature is to display an excessive desire to possess more than one needs. Your further suggestion that we do so because we have been corrupted suggests that you feel that not only do most people desire excessively more than they deserve, they do so because they are damaged goods.

I dispute both of your presumptions. Most people are not greedy. Nor is it human nature to be greedy. (Which is not to say, of course, that there are not greedy people about.) It is human nature for people to want more than they have. It is human nature to strive to improve their lot in life. It is human nature for people who live in a capitalist economic system to strive to earn more than they have. It is human nature for people who live in a social environment to seek to circumvent the rules established by others. It is human nature to co-operate with those they can co-operate with, and compete with the rest. This does not make human nature greedy. There is nothing about the natural human desire for more than one has that is excessive. And as long as the capitalist economic system functions properly, people will not receive more than they deserve.

The answers to the rest of your questions I think are best provided by addressing your question about "The point of everything". The answer I am about to provide you will not be met with agreement by many (I am sure John, for one, would strenuously disagree). It does, however, have the advantage of being consistent with all that we currently know about biology, evolution, and psychology.

So - "The point of it all" is the welfare of your genetic descendants (over the long run, of course). Go to school because it is the best means available to you at this time, and in this place, to prepare you to do well by your children. You are not here to be good for society. You are not here to become whatever God might have intended. You wake up every morning and tackle the day because you have a function to perform. Friends, family, and society matter only to the extent that they can contribute to your ultimate purpose in life.

Finally, I fully agree with John's concluding remarks - "My advise to a person who finds no meaning in life is to become a philosopher and share in the excitement of trying to discover what the world and what life is all about. We can either be depressed with our shallow view of the world, or we can be stimulated by seeking the deeper reasons for what we perceive around us. And be warned, the concepts we form in life constitute the world we live in." Amen!

An elderly lady of 99 years of age has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She lives in a residential home for the elderly and her cognitive abilities are fully intact. Her doctor does not wish the elderly lady to know about her illness. Should this lady be informed about her illness, or would her knowing cause more harm than good?

Whether her knowing might cause more harm than good is a "Trick" question. It might. But the only person who has the right to answer that question is the lady involved. No one else, and especially not the doctor, has any moral basis from which to deny the patient this critical information about her health and future. The only basis from which one could expect to deny the lady this key information would be either pragmatic financial concerns, or emotionalism. Neither of these are sound ethical reasons.

I would immediately suspect the doctor of suffering from a severe case of conflict of interest. Is the doctor working for her patient (who needs to know), or is she working for the owner/ manager of the residence (who perhaps does not want to incur the expense of medical treatment)? Is the doctor confusing an emotional response to a patient she has grown attached to? Or is she perhaps expecting to inherit something from the lady's early demise? Under the specified circumstances (admittedly minimal), I would treat the doctor as guilty until proved innocent.

I have been reading Bertrand Russell's The Problems of Philosophy, and it has been puzzling me. I don't like his doctrine of sense-data, but I can't figure out quite why. Is he right? I've tried to think of ordinary experience in this way, but it just doesn't seem to fit. If sense-data are so 'immediate' to us then why does there need to be a separation at all?

I too do not like the sense-data theory. I think you will find an excellent response to Russell's analysis in "The Evidence of the Senses" by David Kelley.

Very briefly, Kelley's thesis is that "perception" is not the mind's receipt and processing of "Sense-data" transmitted by the senses to the mind. Perception is instead the brains receipt of nerve signals from the sensory organs. Kelley moves the "line" between the mind's act of perception and the body's act of sensing outwards to the act of sensing. Thus, there is no place for any intervening concept of "Sense-data", and no requirement for some centralized place where "Sense-data" is presented to a perceiver to be interpreted and understood. Sensory interaction with the environment IS perception. Kelley says it much better than I.

In what ways should a Christian political thinker's faith influence his or her political writings?

Not being a Christian, I really should not attempt such impudence. But I do, however, have a return question for you -- Why would you choose to post such a question to a philosophy web site? Having lurked in the area for some time, I would have thought (perhaps erroneously) that the "Ask a Philosopher" site is rather obviously not into Theistic Philosophy. Or is it possible that, despite the tone of your question, you are not really seeking a Theistic answer?

The only non-answer I can offer to you, is that a Christian political thinker's writings should reflect the "Word of God" as exemplified in the Gospels. In other words, if as a political thinker, one is intending to be a "Good Christian", then one should expound in one's political writings no thoughts that have not been previously expounded in the Scriptures.

Of course, if your expectation as a political thinker is that one should think for oneself, and reach your own conclusions based on the preponderance of the best evidence available, then one must put Christian Faith aside as emotionally significant for many people, but not really relevant to one's understanding of how Reality (and politics) actually works on a day to day basis.

I am doing an extra credit project in which I can get help and answers from any source as long as I give them (you) credit. Please help me answer the following question groups:

1) Do human beings have a natural tendency to good, a natural tendency to evil, or some combination of tendencies? What are the implications of your answers for ethics?

2) What conditions must be present before we can say a person is truly happy? Which of these conditions are most important? What is the best expression of the relationship between ethics and happiness?

3) Is the preserving of one's dignity or the serving of a principle other than self-interest ever a higher good than personal happiness?

4) Is there any action that is good in itself, without reference to the consequences it brings about? Or does every good derive its value from its consequences?

5) Whose interest should be paramount in ethical judgment? One's own? Those of the people directly affected by the action? The interests of all humanity ? Is the answer necessarily the same in all situations?

6) Are some acts morally obligatory regardless of the consequences for human benefit or harm?

7) How important is objectivity in moral judgment? To what extent can the process of moral judgment be objective?

8) Is there a single universal moral code that is binding on all people at all times and in all places? If so, how are the difference sin moral perspective to be accounted for? If not, how can people with different moral perspectives be expected to live in harmony and how si the notion of progress in ethics to be understood?

The challenge one faces in answering any of these questions you have posed, is to understand the system of Ethics that underlies the answers offered. How one defines "good" and "evil" will determine how one views the various alternatives you have raised. Different philosophers define these concepts in different ways, and would provide vastly different answers to your questions. From the perspective of the Catholic Church for example, humans are naturally evil and happiness is the consequence of doing as God commands. If you are a Utilitarian, you will hold that human beings have no tendencies in either direction (good or evil). So it is not that answers to these questions have implications for Ethics, it is that one's system of Ethics dictates how one answers these questions.

(1) Myself, being an Evolutionary Pragmatist at an intellectual level, I maintain that by nature human beings are fundamentally neither good nor evil, merely capable of choosing to be either. On the other hand, by personal character I am a pessimistic cynic about the extent of human stupidity, so emotionally I feel that most human beings are essentially evil by default. To me, most people appear to choose to avoid choosing, and thus do and become evil by default. I believe that being "good" requires some minimal amount of intelligent attention to one's choices - something that I feel most people fail miserably at.

(2) For most systems of Ethics, being "good" and being "happy" are two separate and unconnected domains. Although all maintain that one "ought" to be happy when one is doing what one "ought", they do not guarantee that if you are appropriately "good", you will inevitably be happy. Personally, I disagree. Evolutionary Pragmatism maintains that we are an evolved species. Therefore, for Evolutionary Pragmatism, "happiness" is an emotional reaction that people experience when they are achieving the purposes for which evolutionary processes have evolved that particular emotional response. And as such, they are evolved behavioral responses to those circumstances which have in the past proved most proficient at ensuring the survival and proliferation of our genetic heritage. I believe, therefore, that we are happiest when we are being "good" (effective and efficient) at doing what evolution has designed us to do - ensure the survival and proliferation of our genetic heritage.

(3) From the perspective of Evolutionary Pragmatism, the answer is a qualified no. The qualification comes from the importance to ethical evaluation of the time factor. It is often the ethical thing to do to postpone immediate happiness for future greater benefits. A bird in the hand is not always worth more than the pair in the bush. And sometimes, serving one's dignity or someone else's best interests (and by presumption being unhappy) in the short run, can return greater rewards of happiness in the longer run.

(4) Many philosophers would say yes - though they would differ on the actions they consider "good in themselves". Me - I say no. Good derives from consequences.

(5) Again, many philosophers would offer differing answers. But I would argue that the only point of view that has any merit in ethical evaluation is your own. The only happiness you can measure is your own. The only happiness you can control is your own. Therefore, you must value things according to how much they contribute (or will probably contribute) to your own happiness - no one else's. (With all due attention to the long run consequences - no point in enjoying the short term thrill at the cost of the long run pain.)

(6) No. Consequences are the only measure.

(7) Valuation (how much contribution to your long term happiness) is necessarily a subjective act - it is after all your own individual happiness at issue, no one else's. No two people will value the same potential consequences in the same way. But objectivity comes into play when one considers the likely consequences of one's actions. Reality is more or less predictable, and that predictability can be studied objectively. Besides the value that you place on the consequences, is the objectively determinable question of the consequences that will likely result from your choice.

(8) Despite the protestations of a myriad of philosophers, politicians, and social scientists - there is. And that universal moral code - binding on all people at all times and in all places - is that in the long run we are all dead, and the only thing that you will leave behind you is your genetic heritage. In the long run, the only thing that will matter is whether the future is owned by your descendants or other people's descendants. No matter how "good" you are according to the ethics of Catholicism, Kantianism, Utilitarianism, Socialism, or what-have-you-ism - the only thing that will matter for the future is who will occupy that future.

The differences in moral perspectives result, in my opinion, from an ignorance of the information from the modern sciences of evolution. Progress in ethics, also in my opinion, comes from a growing familiarity by Philosophers of the latest science. It may be true that Mankind is the first species that can choose its own goals. But the future will be owned by those whose parents chose the goal of ensuring their own genetic heritage survived and proliferated. Ethics is survival behavior - above the self, and beyond the now. Everything else is a waste of effort - entertaining when one has the luxury to explore fantasies, but to be junked as less than useless when the crunch comes.

Why would humans want to live without certainty?

A very interesting question, that tells me far more about you and your beliefs than you might expect.

It is not that humans want to live without certainty. I am sure that almost everyone would love to be absolutely certain of all of the consequences of each of their possible actions. It would certainly make choosing the proper course of action (the "right thing to do") an awful lot easier.

Instead, it is that humans have to live with uncertainty, because Reality is only approximately predictable even in principle. And is even more uncertainly predictable given our starting position of only partial information (and many simply erroneous notions). Thus the consequences of our actions are only very approximately predictable under the best of circumstances, and are frequently only roughly guessable. Uncertainty is a fact of life. No want about it.

With reference to the logical status of the following statement as well as your understanding of philosophy, critically assess the third statement:

1. God is wisdom.

2. Philosophers are lovers of wisdom.

3. Philosophers say that God does not exist.

(1) OK. This seems to be establishing a definition. You are establishing that the symbol "G-o-d" is to be considered semantically equivalent to the symbol "w-i-s-d-o-m", and when the symbol "God" is used, it should hereafter be understood to refer to the concept also referred to by the symbol "wisdom". A little unconventional, as it is not generally considered "clean" logic to radically redefine the meaning of commonly employed symbols (ask a thousand people what the symbol "God" means, and I would be surprised if any mention "wisdom"). But it is a technically acceptable logical move.

(2) OK. A reasonable interpolation from the Greek. The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek word "philosophein", which literally means "lover of wisdom". It is believed that this term was first coined by the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, in referring to himself as a seeker after wisdom, as opposed to an already wise man (sophia). So philosophers can, by definition, be assumed to be lovers of wisdom.

(3) Not-OK. The problem arises from an intended confusion over the meaning of the symbol "God". If you mean for this statement to be interpreted in light of your redefinition of the symbol "God" in statement (1), then your statement (3) is simply wrong. Philosophers do not say that wisdom does not exist. On the other hand, if you intend to confuse the reader by meaning in (3) the standard Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept usually referred to by the symbol "God", then there is no conflict with your statement (1). The symbol "God" is being used to refer to two separate and unequal concepts in (1) and (3). Thus Philosophers (and specifically the realist/materialist sort) can maintain that the "God" of standard Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept does not exist, without maintaining that wisdom does not exist.

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