Submitted by BernardJOrtcutt t3_1177dsz in philosophy

Welcome to this week's Open Discussion Thread. This thread is a place for posts/comments which are related to philosophy but wouldn't necessarily meet our posting rules (especially posting rule 2). For example, these threads are great places for:

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Owen_Philos123 t1_j9baylf wrote

Determinism vs Free will relating to the rest of philosophy

If you believe in determinism, doesn’t this kind of ruin all other philosphical thoughts and theories? As in this case all of your life is pre determined anyway?


apatheticmugen t1_j9cl35o wrote

I believe free will is an emergent property/illusion. I personally subscribe to hard determinism. I don’t think there’s nothing stopping up from feeling we have free will, but how we feel about the universe and how the universe actually is can be different.

Similar to what the other person said, I believe the free will we feel is past oriented free will. If you took a moment in your life and you made a save point, in hard determinism, the event that occur after that point will always be the same even if you loaded that moment an infinite amount of times.

Let’s say you wanna go to the past to change something. You failed your math test. If you went back to that moment without any recollection of the present, the events would always be same. But if you could go back to the past with new knowledge, then sure you can finally change that. But that wouldn’t happen since you have didn’t experience failing the test which would force you to add/change your methods.

Let’s now say you have another chaise to take the test. What do you do? You learn from your experience and change. If you didn’t change, you be in the same position when you took the test the first time.

There’s benefits to believe you have free will, but your free will is compromised of past experiences. If you want to change your path, experience more or simulate experiences.

Some people subscribe to the idea that subatomic particles add a level of randomness which potentially create a different permutation, but I personally still think there’s no randomness. There appears to be randomness to us, but it’s also possible these particles are still following a predetermined path which we currently cannot fully observe and understand.


Owen_Philos123 t1_j9cm0nn wrote

Great point, i understand what you mean in terms of your ‘free will’ will always be dictated on the past events and actions so in term it can’t be free will.

What about from the moment you were born? Do you believe you had free will at that point?


apatheticmugen t1_j9cmr26 wrote

I believe free will is a gradient that increases with awareness, experience, power, and control. At what point when you die do you lose your free will?

If you compared a baby to a rock, that baby has more free will. If you compare a baby to an adult, some would probably say the baby has none. Just depends what you compare it to.


[deleted] t1_j9bg0rz wrote



Owen_Philos123 t1_j9bh11l wrote

Thanks for that explanaition, i am still new to the idea of determinism. I just find it interesting the whole idea of determinism and once i found out about it it made me rethink many aspects of life.

As a rule for myself i have found not to get too obssessed with the idea of determinism as it can feel pretty negative and consuming of your life.

I feel like free-will is a more natural human feeling to have however that doesnt mean it’s correct.

Thanks for your insight, pretty new to philosophy as a whole


nicdunz t1_j9dflq7 wrote

My main philosophy in life is a variant of optimistic nihilism. What I mean by that, it that I make decisions in life based on the idea that when I am laying on my deathbed, I want to be able to reflect on my life and be satisfied. I believe that life is pointless and meaningless, but we are here anyways, so we might as well do what will make us satisfied when our lives come to an end.


SvetlanaButosky t1_j9eah3r wrote

According to some pro death and extinction philosophies, these are their arguments that cannot be countered, because its perfectly logical and moral (they claim):


  1. Nobody asked to be born into a risky world with suffering, since consent is an absolute moral code, this means nobody should procreate because this violates consent that cannot be given (by the unborn).
  2. Since the world is a perpetual trolley problem with guaranteed victims of great suffering, then it is morally wrong for us to continue existing at the expense of these victims. The moral thing to do would be to not exist at all and prevent any and all possible future victims, meaning we should blow up the earth or something similar.
  3. Animals suffer from the same problem, so they should be blown up together with the planet, to prevent future suffering.
  4. A suffering free utopia of the future is very unlikely and even if we could achieve it, it would take many generations of sufferers, so its morally unjustifiable.
  5. There are no greater moral value than 100% prevention of all suffering, life exist just to avoid suffering, thus to go extinct, blow up earth or go full Thanos would be the best goal to achieve for all living things.

What is your counters to these "uncounterable" arguments? lol


Would like your input as well.


HeinrichWolfman t1_j9g308v wrote

I seem to remember you were preoccupied with issues surrounding anti-natalism. In any case, in regards to your questions, I'll bite.

  1. 'Nobody asked to be born into a risky world with suffering', too late. No refunds.

  2. Did you (as in, the person making these arguments) obtain consent to blow up earth?

  3. I'll take a leaf from Peter Singer's book, by which he suggests we ought to consider the interests of animals. I don't think it is in their interests to be blown up, as is the case with being made into hamburgers either.

  4. Suffering is a part of the human condition, along with happiness. Although, I would say, there is an onus to prevent foreseeable suffering, the kind of utopia you describe is not possible, in my opinion.

  5. Did Thanos obtain consent when he killed half the world's population?


xxxmercylll t1_j9ioiyj wrote

I like this rebuttal, but you can go back and forth on both sides for eternity. Humans are selfish in nature. We birth (mostly) at our own convenience. The babe didn't ask to be a product of convenience, but it happened any way. Suffering is the cause of growth. If the world was to be erased of all suffering. Everyone would be objectively the same.


HeinrichWolfman t1_j9jtak4 wrote

Many thanks for the reply. Don't get me wrong, I like philosophical pessimism, and believe there is some merit to the ideas. On the other hand there are criticisms too. For instance, you can't objectively make the claim that there is more suffering in the world than there is happiness (as Schopenhauer seems to suggest). We have no metric to measure these things, even though I am sympathetic to Schopenhauer's ideas.

Needless to say, in usual fashion, I will list my views on the subject at hand. I feel there is some scope here for discussion.

A) Humans are selfish in nature, but also compassionate. If we are to make statements from observations, we must make honest and clear observations.

B) A foetus cannot give consent to be born. I feel this is a fallacy of the whole argument. Only when an individual becomes an adult are they able to assess the issues at hand in a serious fashion. In order for consent to be given, they need to have grown into an adult, and have developed faculties. This requires them to be born.

C) A great deal of suffering can also be caused when an individual isn't given the opportunity to have children.

D) I also feel there is a distinction to be made from advocating people to not have children, and killing people (in the example given, of blowing up earth). Indeed both actions may be deemed callous and are achieving similar ends, it must be noted they are simply not the same thing.


AnUntimelyGuy t1_j9j526y wrote

I consider myself an anti-natalist but also an amoralist. I do not use any moral argument to defend my anti-natalist position, but instead put forward what I care about and what this entails. In this way, I care most about strangers whose suffering is so extreme, prolonged and awful that their lives might be considered fates worse than death; subjectively so, from both their own and my own point of view. I still care about other people, almost universally, but the top of my priorities are people (and animals) in extreme suffering whose existences I would rather see prevented.

I do not know if this is a unique psychological quirk I have, or if other people can be convinced of the same, but I really cannot stand the thought of even a single individual leading a life of extreme suffering and mostly tearful existence; each life of predominant suffering can be considered a universe of horrors on its own. But consider the scale of suffering on Earth: this planet is estimated to be able to sustain life for a maximum of another billion years. This undeniably means at least billions, but realistically trillions, of humans and animals who will need to endure horrifying lives, even according to most standards. Even if most individuals lead happy lives, these billions or trillions of predominantly miserable lives are what I would like to prevent at their very root.

That said, I value the lives of myself, my friends and family higher than mere strangers. But if I was completely selfless and had no friends and family, I would want the erasure of all life on this planet out of simple altruism. The reason I can consider myself an anti-natalist despite being partially selfish, as well as not willing to sacrifice my friends and family, is that the lifeless world I want would likely take centuries to achieve. And even then, a small retinue of humanity would likely need to continue existing, only to prevent the undeniable horrors of Darwinian evolution to kick-start once again.


Saadiqfhs t1_j9fa5dd wrote

Can you tackle things at a micro level if they are caused by a macro level problem?

Say I am a serf and the Czar’s men come to collect my owed yields else they take my wife, is my issue hoe many cabbages I have or the fact I live over a serfdom where the Czar believes God gave him command of the world?

I came to this thought as I I live in Jersey and rent is skyrocketing. My choices are work more and or negotiate wage increases, or flee the state. Now I wonder; is the problem by the middle class for not preparing for this crisis or the landlords for becoming robber barons?


Ok-Lavishness-349 t1_j9lsxf6 wrote

There are possible causes for the high cost of rent other than the landlords becoming robber barons:

  1. Insufficient supply of housing. In some parts of the country, zoning laws and permitting processes discourage developers from building affordable housing.
  2. High value of houses. If a house has a high market value, landlords will charge a high rent to ensure that they are earning a decent return on their equity in the house.
  3. High property taxes. If the property owner is paying high taxes, he/she will need to charge more for rent to ensure that property taxes can be paid.

Obviously these causes can work together - an insufficient supply of housing will drive up the value of houses, and these two causes together will cause rents to increase.

I have no idea which (if any) of the above apply to New Jersey - you might want to research zoning laws, building permit policies, and real estate taxes in your area.


Saadiqfhs t1_j9o8ito wrote

  1. Yeah one isn’t a factor at all, they constantly destroying greeny to build new apartments.

  2. We are talking a 3 year jump

  3. I don’t think taxes went up that much like at all

Most of it is just landlords hearing inflation in the news and raising rent just because. It’s been happening but post covid they are just doing what they want be damned who can afford it because a New Yorker will pay it if a Jersey citizen won’t


Ok-Lavishness-349 t1_j9owbq4 wrote

I think you hit upon a big part of the problem when you said "a New Yorker will pay it if a Jersey citizen won't". Your proximity to NYC and the high cost of rentals in NYC is means that Jersey citizens are competing with NYC residents for housing, and this drives prices up.

I wonder if the pandemic and so many business allowing employees to work from home increased the number of people who work in NYC who were willing to move to New Jersey in order to save money on housing. This would have caused an increase in demand for rentals in New Jersey and resulted in higher rental fees.


Saadiqfhs t1_j9owwuk wrote

It is but I think the agency of the landlords can still be at play; they do not have to price out their tenants, but because a fatter cow has hit the market they cooked Besty. Back to my original thought: is it the common man’s fault for not having the money, or the fact a class can just change the rules in a year and basically banish them from their homes.


Ok-Lavishness-349 t1_j9ozxs5 wrote

Yes, you are right. I own several rental houses myself (not in New Jersey). Rents are increasing in my area too. If I have a good renter, I try not to increase his/her rent or, if I do, I only do so gradually, even if this means getting below-market rates. But, when someone moves out, I charge market rates to the next renter. This makes sense ethically (I don't want to price anyone out of his/her house if I can avoid it) and business-wise (a below-market renter who pays his/her rent every month is better than taking a risk on a new renter that might not be a reliable payer). The problem is, many rental properties are owned by large corporations (hedge funds, etc.), that prioritize ROI over all else.


Saadiqfhs t1_j9p0iig wrote

Oh everything is a chain now, when I was 21 I talked to a realtor and landlord, now I talk to a sells person at a front desk


MikeGelato t1_j9gy1g6 wrote

I think the extrovert/introvert model is flawed. I think most people need to socialize, and get energized being around people, and the same people need alone time to recharge. I think that's just human nature. I know many people who spend all day on their computer, like myself, will say they're introverted because they're not out socializing, but the truth of the matter is, they do take part of online communities. They either socialize through social media, games, or they develop para social relationships. Take away their internet and you'll see how introverted they are once the withdrawals kick in.

I believe more and more people gravitate towards online interaction, because it's easier. You don't have to put yourself out there. You don't have to be vulnerable. It's safe and easy. You're satisfying a need, which neglects the growth of offline social interaction. Which is why so many people believe they're introverted, when in reality, imo, they just never developed the skills to make offline social connections.


Live-Market7576 t1_j9hoytn wrote

> You don't have to be vulnerable. It's safe and easy. You're satisfying a need, which neglects the growth of offline social interaction. Which is why so many

The logic of being energized by being around people and then needing to be alone to recharge is flawed.

I do agree that most people are not simply defined as one or the other. For example I get energized hanging out with my friends in person for a certain amount of time but after a while it becomes a strain. I need a break after hanging out with them before doing it again.

Social media is not actually replacing interaction between people. It is a separate entity (algorithm) to interact with that partially fills the role of other people. Instagram is where people make up their dream lives and pretend it is reality. Facebook used to show your friends activities but it is not just algorithm feeding you whatever you want just like tik tok. Snapchat is the only one that has interaction between people.

I think it is a major societal problem that people aren't forced to be socially uncomfortable for brief periods. I believe that is what solidifies people as who they are and creates confidence.


xxxmercylll t1_j9io6fl wrote

Friedrich Nietzsche was right. For those who may not know who Friedrich Nietzsche is, he was a German philosopher and author from 1844-1900. His primary philosophical foundation was Nihilism. However, he went on to create the philosophy of "Übermech" (also known as "overman" or "superman") which can be rougly defined as an idealized version of ones self. Übermech has an insatiable lust for power. Not in the normal way we see power presented through lust, but power in growth. Power in ones self. Power in your mind. To achieve this power, Nietzsche came up with an endless system to reach it. Self dissatisfaction> self improvement> self rediscovery> self dissatisfaction> self improvement.. etc etc. This is the circle of self-overcoming. If we have our own "why" in life, we'll get along just fine. The most significant of his teachings (which I will draw back to later) is his theory of suffering. Life is full of suffering, this is a lesson all of us learn. However, it's not a matter of "if", but "for what". In the words of Nietzsche, "The meaningless of suffering, not suffering itself, was the curse that layover mankind so far." Arguably, Nietzsche is one of the most significant philosophers history has gave us. Point being, his beliefs will never become quixotic. While humanity and science and economy and society and the minds evolve, I doubt there will be a time where we find ourselves without need for self improvement. To push that, I doubt there will be a time where we find ourselves without need for suffering. To suffer is to grow, and to grow is to suffer. Point of foreshadowing and explanation of his teachings, it is important that we as people, especially in the state of our world right now, reflect on our own growth. Are we dissatisfied with ourselves? Are we improving? Are we rediscovering? One can't rely heavily on an outside source to give them a sense of fulfillment, because we can only receive what we give ourselves. Thank you for your time.


Birot_Conjard t1_j9jy3a7 wrote

Kripke logic is mind fuck, I just wanna throw it at people who say philosophy is easy, Hegel's convoluteness isn't even comparable


andreasdagen t1_j9xs9yq wrote

is the common consensus that logic requires emotion or a goal?


BikeFree50 t1_j9jtjpl wrote

Does anyone use sauna to better focus on philosophical values like reflection, introspection, intentional acts? My hypothesis is that there`s something about taking sauna that makes one have a different way of thinking, or a different way relating/dealing with ones thoughts. I would argue one does have a "clearer" mind and thoughts that is not so coloured by positive or negative emotions or mindset, which results in a more focused and clearer line of thougts. Which is not so common these days with social media capturing and flooding our attention.
So kinda using sauna as a tool to philosophize on either daily/normal stuff, or more complex philosophical or abstract issues.

Writing a philosopical paper on taking sauna, so any input with personal experiences would be appreciated. (English is not my first language, so sorry for any vague or unclear terms).


SurmountByScorn t1_j9rhamp wrote

Choosing between Free Will and Nihilism:

The implicit message in the title is not lost on me, it represents a fundamental problem I continuously run into. Many of the arguments against free will explain why you should not believe in it, ironically enough as if it’s a choice. Perhaps this is just a remark on our language’s limitations, but I think this contradiction connects to a deeper problem. I have yet to determine whether I logically should believe in free will, yet I feel an unbearable need to. Other than the crushing despair I feel upon finding a reasonable argument against free will, I find that I am incapable of living my life without believing it, and I wonder if others feel the same. Choice is a fundamental part of my experience and I believe that this is the reason:

The lack of free will necessitates meaninglessness—our existence serves no purpose, our experience is worthless, our interpretations are figments of the universe’s own imaginings.

Please note that I do not mean to discuss the validity of free will nor it’s moral implications in this post—in fact I think the exercise may be rife with fallacies and biases until we figure out how to fully comprehend or speak of a world without it, something I fearfully hope to move towards with this post.

To further elaborate with examples, my relationship with another person is not the result of our choices, but a result of the past. The future does not depend on whether I choose to keep my values, but on whether the laws of nature determine that I will. In fact, the future may already exist and my experience of my life’s sequence of moments is an accidental and ultimately arbitrary result of matter interacting. In this sense, time lacks any meaning other than the current location of our consciousness—according to the material universe, none of it is changeable, it has all already happened. Deterministic fate seems to offer no meaning, it’s simply what is, was, and will be. Our experience is an accident and our interpretation of it has no consequence on it; in fact, our apparent “interpretation” is just another accidental consequence of it, it doesn’t even come from our experience.

In the “present moment” as I designate it, the post I am making doesn’t mean what I think it does. Rather than starting a discussion or introducing others to my opinions and new information, I am simply experiencing something I was always going to do. Without my agency, this post effectively has the same meaning as something I’ve already done. My experience of this writing won’t affect what is being written—even writing this I find it hard to remove myself from the picture completely. Surely feeling a need to write that last sentence was caused by my conscious experience of these feelings. Yet, then again, here I am describing a cause and effect relationship. My experience didn’t actually have anything to do with writing, I was just experiencing the bit of cognitive dissonance my neurons went through when my body was writing.

To put it more clearly/succinctly, nothing my consciousness “does,” in that it is something that experiences a sequence of feelings and thoughts, can ever affect itself or it’s surroundings. I feel it necessary to note here that I have not (nor have I tried to) disprove either free will or nihilism. As far as I can tell upon rereading this, I don’t see any contradictions or arguments against either side. I think this discussion may have rather lead to a nihilistic definition of identity: we are not the script writers, I neglect to say we are even the actors; rather, we are a captive audience without even hands to applaud or tears to cry. The audience does not have their own opinions, nor are the actors aware of their existence. The actors may believe in free will or not, but the audience simply just watches their reasonings unfold. Even Camus’s Sisyphus is actually just an actor, with his audience just feeling it’s predetermined scorn against fate. Perhaps “my” actor just happened to look at its audience and was influenced to believe that it was one and the same with itself… As far as I can tell, this seems to be a perfectly valid view of the experiential self.

Personally, I much prefer the identity given by free will. Even a restrained free will, influenced by biology and the intricate web of causality, allows much more meaning than existence in a superdeterminate block universe. This utter lack of meaning is the reason that I am more willing to accept an illusion if that is the truth, even though such an act goes against nearly all of my values. Furthermore, I find myself simply incapable of separating my experience from the world’s happenings even in the language I use, though I made an attempt through metaphor.


Exileri t1_j9sjnxj wrote

Is hunger a state of being, a possession or an emotion/feeling?

“I feel hungry (emotion)” “I am hungry (state)” “I have hunger (possession)”

Just a thought - other languages may distinguish it differently (e.g. Spanish’s “tengo hambre” (I have hunger)), technically English will express it in all those ways, but which is correct?


Cold-Shine-4601 t1_j9vmr9h wrote

Maupertius - Where exactly is his decision of the princip of least action, in french?


Alexander556 t1_j9w96c7 wrote

If we had a device which could reliably (and painlessly) read peoples minds, without their consent, and could be used to pull specific informations from some ones brain, should we restrict it's use*?
Should we use this device at all?

-Would it be unethical to search the brain of a criminal to find information on a crime?
-Should such information be used in court, or would it be considered as having to witness against oneself?
-Would it be unethical to search the mind of a convicted murderer, to find the locations where s/he hid some of the victims, to give the families closure?
-Would it be a war crime to extract vital knowledge from a POW?

*For example, only to be used by psychiatrists etc. to help consenting patients, research purposes etc.


Fuyoc t1_ja05e3b wrote

Would they know it's happening? Sounds quite traumatic. The permissibility would come down to what they had done to deserve it, or the consequentialist likely outcome of not doing it vs choosing to read their mind for some justified reason. I intuitively find the idea an extremely significant violation of someone's personhood.


Alexander556 t1_ja9iscw wrote

Something like that was called "mind rape" in another context.


Maximus_En_Minimus t1_ja4y8sp wrote

If I was to take a consequentialist point of view, but also use common sense, such a devise would likely lead to a capitalistic fascism of the likes of an Ultra-China. Who needs cameras? - just put a mind-reader 2000 on every block and monitor your populations every thought.

It is ironic, on the above post I take a pure-empathy devise would positively transform the world - which I agree with. However, as soon as you remove both consent and reduce the thought / experience to just information, not shared sensation of understanding, it quickly devolves for malicious usage.


Alexander556 t1_ja9jvjk wrote

I personally think that, if something like this would exist, we should only use it to prevent harm. If someone has planted a bomb somewhere, i have no problems with violating his privacy and reading his mind.


CapIndividual8784 t1_j9x233t wrote

I’ve always thought if there was a machine that could make other people feel your pain.especially people that have not experienced it. But not only for sympathetic and comparison reasons for people that do not have chronic pain make them feel better about their own condition. Sorry to get off topic but being in chronic pain for so many years. I’ve always thought this and wanted to put it out there.


Maximus_En_Minimus t1_ja4xch7 wrote

A devise, in general, which would allow another to experience your experience - that being, a perfect empathy devise - I hope, would essentially transform civilisation for the better.


CapIndividual8784 t1_ja4ycdx wrote

Exactly, especially for pain .they could put pain on universal scale, and they could actually see if some people tolerate pain more than others but you could never call out of work again your boss would be like OK let me feel it


Maximus_En_Minimus t1_ja5bvrv wrote

Well, more than that: your boss would experience the reason why you didn’t want to work, the set of circumstances that were making you need a day off to recharge and recover, or perhaps just enjoy yourself as humans do. Those automatons which we call bosses and managers - although not all are - would gain more than a sensibility of empathy for their employees, but actually experience their needs and desires.


CapIndividual8784 t1_ja5e6k9 wrote

Yes, I believe it will definitely make a more honest and empathetic world


Significant-Factor-9 t1_j9xbwth wrote

Hey guys, I need some help finding a good book by Karl Jaspers. I'm interested in reading his 'great philosophers' books, especially those on the presocratic philosophers, but I'm worried about the authenticity of them. Most articles about Jaspers don't say much about the great philosophers, mostly focusing on his psychopathology and his book on 'german guilt' but one description I found of the book says that he didn't even write the great philosophers. Rather that the books are just a specially curated collection of his lecture prompts. Does anyone know about Jaspers? And can anyone second that these books as they are available are not really his?


BillBoyButcher t1_ja4py7u wrote


Is it just me or has this subreddit lack of thoughts and more focus on other thinks?


[deleted] t1_ja2h42w wrote



Maximus_En_Minimus t1_ja4wvm2 wrote

It sounds like you are anthropomorphising these beings: an ant has no conception of the wider colony as we would; the ‘non-subservience’ of a spider to another being does not make it more aware of death; a worm is not more intelligent thank a spider.

If you want the closest experience to what one of these beings ‘feel’ - go pee and tap your foot on the floor, their level of experience probably surmounts to no more than an fraction, perhaps an equivalent, of these sensations combined - without the emerging hierarchy of confluent memories, heuristics, ego impressions, saliences, considerations and sensations which constitute a few moments of your conscious experience, that would ever allow for the word ‘understanding’ to be used for such existential concepts as meaning, life and death, and survival. The brain in a single second is capable of firing hundred billion neurones; it can take a genuine while to actually understand any existential concept properly.

Any three of these is probably as equal in their intelligence as one of those hoovers which automatically responds to dirt in the house. I have met people of thirty and forty years of age, who have yet to fully come to terms with the reality of their eventual demise; some of the most intelligent animals - dogs, pigs, cats, apes, dolphins - are certainly not actually aware of it. I thoroughly doubts an ant, worm or spider have even the slightest clue what any of your worms are referring to, other than reacting to light signals which illicit certain responses.