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Questions tagged [reference-request]

This tag should be used when the question is asking for specific references.

92
votes
24answers
28k views

How does one know one is not dreaming?

How does one know one is not dreaming? How could one logically demonstrate to a skeptic that one is "really" there, awake and not just dreaming the entire situation/world around him? Specifically ...
47
votes
6answers
17k views

What are the major branches of philosophy?

What are the major branches of philosophy? (For instance, as a first-order approximation, mathematics can be sub-divided into three main categories at the first level: Analysis, Algebra, and Geometry....
46
votes
12answers
19k views

Does Pascal's Wager contain any logical flaws or fallacies?

Blaise Pascal's famous wager was that even if the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a rational person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has ...
40
votes
16answers
10k views

How to get started with philosophy without getting overwhelmed quickly?

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find how to get started with philosophy but I can’t. It seems that getting started with computer programming is nothing in comparison - with computer programming it’...
33
votes
11answers
7k views

Where and how can I get started in contemporary philosophy?

We are living in an unprecedented era of philosophical research and development where "big thought" is once again everywhere. And yet I feel like I hear this question so often: Where to begin ...
29
votes
16answers
26k views

What are some good introductions to philosophy?

I've been searching the questions posed here, and don't seem to find one that gives the answers I am looking for. I've proposed to start a list on meta but no one proposed anything, so I feel I must ...
26
votes
7answers
1k views

What are some works that apply an axiomatic method to something other than mathematics?

The axiomatic method is today mostly associated with mathematics. However, historically there have been some works, as for example Spinoza's Ethics, that have applied axiomatic method to philosophy, ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the major research programmes in contemporary logic?

As an interested outsider who is prone to reading about different formulations of logic, I've become interested in better understanding the big picture of what people are trying to accomplish as they ...
21
votes
6answers
8k views

Did the Ancient Greek Philosophers actually believe in their Gods and Myths?

Is there any historical proof that shows what attitude the Ancient Greeks, specially the philosophers, had towards their Gods?
21
votes
11answers
22k views

What are some criticisms of Epicurus' “death is nothing to us”?

Epicurus famously asserted that death should not be feared, with roughly the following argument: When we die, we no longer exist; Since we no longer exist, we can feel neither pain nor pleasure. ...
18
votes
6answers
958 views

What is the origin of the Continental vs. Analytic divide?

There's been much ado about the divisiveness between Heidegger and Husserl fans on the one side, with Frege and Russell stalwarts on the other. I'm mostly amused by accounts of name-calling between ...
18
votes
5answers
890 views

What responses are there to Singer's “Should this be the last generation?”?

The article can be found here. It deals with many issues, but what I would really like to see a response to is the following paragraph: [W]hy don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? ...
16
votes
2answers
8k views

Where did Machiavelli say that “the ends justify the means”?

I have read The Prince, Discourses on Livy and The Art of War. In none of these books did I find the quote oft-attributed to Machiavelli that “the ends justify the means”. Did he say it? If so, where? ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

Are all paradoxes reducible to one “fundamental” paradox?

I may need to refine this question, since I am mostly grappling with a murky intuition and haven't yet done the real work. When I encounter many of the well-known paradoxes, such as Zeno's dichotomy, ...
16
votes
4answers
690 views

What are some good books about the philosophy of quantum mechanics?

I am fascinated about the implications of quantum mechanics to philosophy. Where can I find good references to the philosophy of quantum mechanics, and its implications for realism/antirealism, holism,...
16
votes
1answer
297 views

What are some good books about computational ethics?

Gert-Jan C. Lokhorst has written a paper on "computational metaethics" (Computational Meta-Ethics: Towards the Meta-Ethical Robot), which explores the ability of formal systems (i.e. computers/robots) ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Does Aristotle ever explicitly refer to man as a “rational animal”?

Did Aristotle every explicitly refer to man as a "rational animal" (ζῷον λόγον ἔχον)? The internet is riddled with uncited claims to this effect: that "rational animal" was an explicitly stated ...
15
votes
7answers
876 views

Why is it so difficult to write good Philosophy textbooks?

Why is it so difficult to write good Philosophy textbooks (exempting textbooks on logic)? There are plenty of useful and introductory textbooks to Mathematics, Economics, Physics, Psychology and ...
15
votes
1answer
11k views

Difference between implication/conditional and logical entailment?

What is the difference between the implication/conditional truth function and the notion of logical entailment? My naive understanding as a computer programmer is that the conditional is a function ...
15
votes
1answer
748 views

What sources discuss Russell's response to Gödel's incompleteness theorems?

In his book My Philosophical Development Russell writes, In my introduction to the Tractatus, I suggested that, although in any given language there are things which that language cannot express, ...
14
votes
6answers
534 views

Do Kierkegaard's non-pseudonymous writings enable one to understand Kierkegaard's philosophy much?

As I read them, Kierkegaard's writings can be split into two groups: the mostly philosophical psuedonymous, and more theological non-pseudonymous works. I have read primarily the pseudonymous works (...
14
votes
4answers
846 views

What are the most significant responses to Lewis' “On the Plurality of Worlds”?

What are the most significant responses to David Lewis' book On the Plurality of Worlds (1986)? In particular, are there any good critical readings of Lewis' views on modal realism?
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What did Kant say on the invention of new terms?

I remember I once read in Kant's "Kritik der Reinen Vernunft" about the tendency to come up with or invent new terms/words, about which he was quite "critical" (pun intended). I need the exact quote, ...
13
votes
2answers
336 views

Quine on higher set theory

In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic, Stewart Shapiro states in his introductory section: Quine himself accepts mathematics (as true) only to the extent that it is applied ...
13
votes
2answers
702 views

What are the current topics in philosophy of logic?

I'm contemplating another attempt at completing my long delayed MA in Philosophy, and I need a new thesis topic. As a student I excelled in advanced symbolic logic, but my connection with academic ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What responses have there been to Popper's idea of theory-laden observation?

One of the most appealing parts of Karl Popper's philosophy for me is the idea of theory-laden observation. To provide an unjust summary: whenever you are making an observation-statement to question ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

What ethical problems might be involved in time travel?

Has anyone addressed the ethics of time travel? Time travel looks like a gold mine for moral dilemmas, but I don't know of anyone who addresses these issues. For example: Am I morally obligated to ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the main points of criticism of the ancient Stoic school vis-a-vis the system of philosophy of the Epicureans?

What was the main criticism of the ancient Stoic school of philosophy with respect to the system of philosophy of the Epicureans?
12
votes
3answers
716 views

Did Malebranche believe both the idea in the mind and the movement in the body are caused by God?

My senior thesis explored the notion of action under George Berkeley's system, and one claim I tried to address was that Berkeley contradicts himself when discussing will. In his Philosophical ...
11
votes
4answers
299 views

How can we take the ontologies of our best physical theories seriously?

It seems to me that numerous features of our best physical theories thus far (most notably in my humble and near-meaningless opinion: the whole notion of renormalization in quantum field theory) ...
11
votes
5answers
7k views

Which of Kant's writings would be a good introduction to his work?

I've been planning to read some of Kant's work for a while, but have no idea where to start. Which of his writings would be a good initial introduction to his philosophical views?
11
votes
1answer
576 views

Are there any philosophical writings/works about Fourier transforms?

I am interested in reading about possible meaning and implications of the time-frequency duality in Fourier transforms and the uncertainty principle (not necessarily the usually discussed Heisenberg ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

The eternal return, as thought experiment: what are the consequences?

Nietsche, as others before and after him (its roots, I am told, are in the West Asian tradition) , espoused the idea of an ever repeating clockwork universe, in which all lives are led over and over; ...
11
votes
1answer
228 views

Are there any philosophical works consisting entirely in conditional propositions?

Related, I suppose, to this question. In mathematics most theorems are of the form: If we have a [type of object] with [property 1] then it also has [property 2] That is, they are conditional ...
10
votes
4answers
194 views

Has anyone suggested a modern substitute for mythology?

Several authors have mentioned that mythology play a central role in human societies, satisfying various social and psychological needs and giving meaning and a spiritual dimension to people's lives. (...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between ethics and morals?

I am currently writing an essay on artificial moral agents, and I need to explain the difference between ethics and morals. However, I am finding it really hard to find a good book or research paper ...
10
votes
4answers
286 views

Are You Blameworthy for “reasoning incorrectly”

Moral judgements are a certain species of normative judgement that people make about the actions of others. However, there are instances where I am tempted to say that you can be judged as "wrong" in ...
10
votes
3answers
871 views

What are some good resources for learning Indian philosophy?

I am a science student. During my free time, I study philosophy and occasionally do courses in philosophy in my university. I've noticed that in academia, "Philosophy" means "Western Philosophy". ...
10
votes
4answers
285 views

Does languange somehow filter what we can know?

I've read a proposition somewhere: That our languange acts as a filter, allowing us to know certain things while making it impossible to know the rest(1). It seems that mathematics has some things ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

What hierarchies exist in different branches of Philosophy?

If you were to map out different branches of Philosophy in a hierarchical nature on multiple levels in order to compare them what would some look like or could you point me to a reference that sorts ...
10
votes
3answers
718 views

How might studying philosophy impact your mental health?

According to wikipedia on Pessimism and Pragmatic Criticism ...Al-Ghazali and William James rejected their pessimism after suffering psychological, or even psychosomatic illness... Other authors ...
10
votes
1answer
190 views

Is there any literature on the relationship between responsibility and probability?

If A causes B and I am doing A (willingly, knowingly, ...), then I can be held responsible for B. But what if probabilities are involved? Thought experiment: If you roll a 1 on a die you win. You ...
10
votes
5answers
280 views

Is there a philosophical conception of not necessarily biological life?

Biologists usually think of life in terms of the ability of a system to harness energy from the environment to grow and to reproduce. However in Stanislav Lem's book 'Solaris' there is a vivid ...
10
votes
4answers
250 views

Are there any good non-technical discussions of what a scientific theory is?

So, I'm teaching a course on Scientific Realism in the fall. I wanted to start off with a unit titled "What is a theory?" to make sure all of my students are on the same page and to prepare them for ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What are some good books on critical theory for analytic philosophers?

As far as I understand, there are two broad branches of critical theory: one is based on social theory, and the other on literary criticism and hermeneutics. I am more interested in the latter, of the ...
9
votes
6answers
628 views

Which authors have discussed death in philosophy?

Could anyone point me to some authors who have discussed the ideas surrounding death in western Philosophy? (Not whether we know we exist but rather the concept of mortality and immortality).
9
votes
6answers
913 views

What are some good books on phenomenology for a mathematician?

I have a background in Mathematics, and am starting to wander into the complex realm of Philosophy. I'm interested in trying to understand what is the meaning of the scientific investigation in ...
9
votes
9answers
6k views

Which of Nietzsche writing would be a good introduction to his work?

Similar to Which of Kant's writings would be a good introduction to his work? I've been planning to read some of Nietzsche's work for a while, but have no idea where to start. Which of his ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Did Plato believe in reincarnation?

I have read in some philosophy forums that Plato believed that death was not the end and he most likely believed in reincarnation. Are there any texts that confirm that Plato actually believed in ...
9
votes
5answers
796 views

What are some good books on the philosophy of economics?

I'm a college student of physics, and I'm looking to expand my horizon in the field of philosophy of economics, so, what books would you recommend for newbies like me? I was thinking in history of ...