103 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Your reasoning would be sound if you picked any random human who ever lived and checked whether they would be alive today. This chance would indeed be rather low. (Because today's world population is ...
user avatar
96 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

If you shake the box, it rattles. If you measure its weight before you put in the pencil and after, it will have increased by exactly the weight of the pencil. That's how you know the pencil still ...
user avatar
67 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

I’m having a tough time explaining why the pencil ceases to exist once you close the box. Because you're trying to explain something which is wrong physically and wrong philosophically. Your friends ...
user avatar
  • 1,222
52 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

The assumption that the pencil continues to exist - even when the box is closed - is the most simple hypothesis which explains all relevant observations. E.g., the observation that the pencil exists ...
user avatar
  • 20.5k
43 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards and look at the arrangement you end up with. Assuming your sorting was completely random the probability of you getting that exact arrangement is about 1 in ...
user avatar
  • 531
27 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

You are assuming that existence is a phenomenon that can undergo sudden state changes. Or in simpler words: That things can cease to exist and came (back) into existence instantly and without ...
user avatar
  • 1,748
26 votes

An argument that everything exists

You're apparently defining "thing" as "something that exists", which makes the statement "everything exists" a simple tautology and thus not very meaningful.
user avatar
  • 589
22 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist? This is a Metaphysical question to which we do not know the correct answer. But here are some philosophical views ...
user avatar
  • 2,349
14 votes

What is objective morality?

A proposition is objective if its truth value is independent of the person uttering it. A fact is objective in the same way. For morality to be objective, moral propositions such as "Killing is bad",...
user avatar
12 votes

Why do things have a front and a back?

That's a nice question, but I don't think things can "have" front and back. A chair is just an object with its geometry and configuration. Front and back are concepts defined by us for matters of pure ...
user avatar
  • 420
11 votes

What arguments would support a secular pro-life position?

I think Shane captures the basic structure of the standard secular arguments, but there are a few more that can be offered -- some of which run contrary to the usual political divisions at least in ...
user avatar
  • 24.3k
11 votes
Accepted

Does anything you can think of exist?

This is an interesting question, there are several ways of looking at it. Here are two: Alexis Meinong looked at it from the point of view of intentionality. Intentionality is the fact that any ...
user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Death: A finite ending?

Under some assumptions about cosmology, you will exist an infinite number of times in the future as a Boltzmann brain. Indeed you could right now be a Boltzmann brain. This requires that the ...
user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of "meaning of life" and why do people seek it?

I actually would not say that One of the oldest questions is "What is the meaning of life?" It is true that people have been asking for a long time how they fit in and what they should do, but it ...
user avatar
  • 24.3k
10 votes

Could it be possible that the universe doesn't exist?

I believe it is impossible. I recommend you read (if you haven't already) Descartes' meditations where he famously concludes I think therefore I am - http://www.sacred-texts.com/phi/desc/med.txt: ...
user avatar
  • 4,475
10 votes

Is willful ignorance about one's own mortality escapism?

Actually the whole business of living other than the animalic part, is denying death. So the idealism you are seeking by not denying death is itself a denial of death. [I] The human animal is ...
user avatar
10 votes

If you place a pencil in an opaque box and close the box, does the pencil exist?

Simplicity is a criterion for theory or explanation selection. It can clash with other criteria such as explanatory reach. Also there is no agreement on the nature of simplicity. Intuitively, I ...
user avatar
  • 34.6k
10 votes
Accepted

If turtles see everything, and nothing seen can see, does it follow that non-turtles exist?

First, your premises are inconsistent: your second premise implies that turtles do not see other turtles, or themselves, yet, according to the first premise, they see everything. So, taking y=x, we ...
user avatar
  • 40.7k
10 votes
Accepted

An argument that everything exists

I recommend distinguishing between object and word (noun): on the one hand, objects exist; they are real. On the other hand, some words refer to objects while other words do not. Hence all objects ...
user avatar
  • 20.5k
9 votes

What are the counterexamples to Kant's argument that existence is not a predicate?

There are no counterexamples to Kant's "argument" because it is not an argument. It is a view of predication under which being/existence is not a "real" predicate discussed in ...
user avatar
  • 40.7k
9 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The first time I recall encountering this argument was in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, where the probability of what you describe is likened to “events with odds so astronomical they’re effectively ...
user avatar
8 votes

Why do things have a front and a back?

Every surface has a "front and back" locally. One way to answer the question "why?" is to prove that a plane in R^3 separates R^3 into two components (compare with the situation of a line in R^3). ...
user avatar
8 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The probability of an event X happening, GIVEN THAT IT HAS HAPPENED, is always 100%. I hear thinking like you give used in many flawed arguments. For example, I once got into a conversation with ...
user avatar
  • 259
8 votes
Accepted

How to disprove "I'm entitled to my opinion"

Welcome to this SE, Daniel. I think the problem with the argument is what you are trying to prove: how can I disprove that there exists an inherent privilege (an entitlement) to believe whatever ...
user avatar
  • 18.9k
8 votes
Accepted

How to denote the idea of nothingness in formal terms?

There's some recent formal work by Graham Priest on this topic, which can be found in his monograph One. Oxford 2016, p.99ff. Priest works in a non-standard mereology, where parthood is a non-well-...
user avatar
  • 1,388
8 votes
Accepted

Is reincarnation inevitable?

The scientific perspective I observe from other answers here that arguments invoking current science are acceptable. So from a scientific perspective, here are some questions: In your model, the ...
user avatar
  • 196
7 votes

What arguments would support a secular pro-life position?

You need an additional premise that destroying something inherently good is always wrong. This can be kind of hard to justify when there are tradeoffs of this sort: destroy X to save Y; destroy Y to ...
user avatar
  • 15.7k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible