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48

Marx, socialism and communism Neither Marx nor Engels provided a blueprint for the socialist state. There could in their view be no such thing as a communist state since under communism, with no class-rule or management needed, there would be no state because no classes. Even the Soviet Union described and understood itself as socialist, not communist : ...


18

A criticized exception to the rule that falls short of the rule makes for valid negation of criticism OK, that headline requires changing direction of the train of thought at least three times, so let me clarify: The statement "That is not a true Scotsman" is not necessarily a fallacy In order for "No True Scotsman fallacy!" to be a valid objection to an ...


17

"No True Scotsman" is one of those categories of fallacies that is rather subjective. If Person A says that X is not Y because it lacks Z, and Person B says that this is a No True Scotsman fallacy, then it comes down to whether Z is a valid requirement for Y. In the case of communism, claiming that the USSR didn't live up to Marx's ideal is a reasonable ...


12

In short, no. At least not under any falsifiable definition of an organism. When biologists refer to a superorganism or an extended phenotype, they aren't referring to a form of life, but the capacity of a species to propagate themselves. Human systems fail the sniff test for life as well. Societies and organizations cannot replicate themselves by way of ...


12

As a devout Catholic, I agree that basing decision making on credulity and group think is a bad idea. I cannot speak for all religious people, but at least in my own religious tradition, the understanding of faith is quite different from how you've characterized it. Specifically, it is different as the Catechism says: Faith seeks understanding - faith is ...


11

1) You are correct. Manu said caste is based on a person's own tendencies. Caste is a social custom, not a religious custom (Swami Vivekananda) Most parts of India follow local customs, not the laws of Manu (for example: brahmins in the south do not do animal sacrifice, Bengali brahmins do) 2) The Vedas are the eternal truths of God, not the written ...


11

Communication Compare your question: My understanding is that your native language is the one you are most comfortable with, even if society around you doesn't speak it. and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language: Language is the ability to acquire and use complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so, and a language is any ...


10

The question is how much well-informed citizens need to be to exercise their democratic rights. The answer depends on theories of democracy. The duty of citizens to be well-informed can be very demanding or not demanding at all. Some theories even require moral duty not to vote. I explain these three views in the following. J.S. Mill's theory can be argued ...


8

Slavoj Zizek makes a number of compelling arguments against the various paradoxes involved with neo-liberal 'tolerance'. But after all, there's a fundamental ambiguity in the term itself, right? It's not "celebrate," it's "tolerate." On the surface it expresses a cosmopolitan openness ("come on in,") but underneath it conceals social injustice, bigotry, ...


8

There is no escaping faith. There is some part of what you believe that you have accepted without proof. Ultimately, your underlying standard of proof is in that part. It cannot be based upon proof itself, or you would not know whether the supposed proof of it is to be accepted as proving things. So that proves this part of your thinking exists. I would ...


7

A straight answer is difficult as this is very open ended, I can give examples for one side (that philosophy matters in the 'real' world) and limited argument for the other (it doesn't matter). For the relevance/impact of philosophy: the study of ethics matters quite a bit. One source of jobs for a philosophy PhD grad (as limited as it might be) is direct ...


7

When one person is unethical and everyone else is ethical, that person gains an advantage. But when everyone is unethical, everyone suffers. It's the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma". From an evolutionary point of view (if you accept the concept of group fitness) an ethical population as a whole could outcompete an unethical population. I don't have a ...


6

If you find the Wikipedia article on Structural Functionalism too dense, I think the easiest links for you are going to be the Wikipedia articles on Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski; both of these explain the relationships between (Malinowski's) functionalism, (Lévi-Strauss's) structuralism, and (Radcliffe Brown's) structural functionalism quite concisely. ...


6

I am not terribly optimistic that the division will be overcome in any sort of principled way. After all, the analytic and continental divide is still alive and well, and to mend that one there isn't even a need to be versed in a second field. One problem is that science works. Scientists don't, therefore, have much incentive to mend anything with "...


6

I would suggest that our salvation from this dilemma may come from exactly the sciences it deprives of a decent footing. Classical psychology contains places where it is still possible to study humanities from a skeptical and systematizing perspective with testable implications. The leading light in this kind of endeavor was Jung, who clearly saw his work ...


6

It's called Chesterton's Fence. Chesterton's point is that ignorance of the purpose of a law is not a good reason to change it. His point isn't that laws can't be changed; it's that we should know what the original purpose of the law was before we change it. It's just a general injunction about not acting in ignorance.


5

There is in fact definite textual support for the Republic being a meritocracy, and indeed through the noble lie of metals. However, I do not think this gives it even a tinge of democracy, as Socrates makes it clear that all the power ultimately lies in the guardians, a small and exclusive group of virtuous people. When he is describing the noble lie of ...


5

You should read In Praise of Idleness, an essay by Bertrand Russell which examines your question. If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This is the gist of Russell's argument. Indeed, he argues that "individual human ...


5

This is a lovely paradox. If one is truly tolerant, then one must by definition be tolerant towards the intolerant, and therefore to promote a society of tolerance one must allow the intolerant to behave as their nature dictates. That would mean then that issues of intolerance based on race/colour, breeding, education, height, weight, money, etc., must be ...


5

I think you have to be careful with metaphors. Very careful. Some writers get carried away with their ideas and comparisons and end up committing the error of treating metaphors as if they had formal import per se. This question is, of course, metaphysical at bottom. For example, one metaphysical position may render the distinction between things is ...


5

"Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν "together" and βίωσις "living") is close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis Assuming these married people belong to the same species, their pair-bond is not an example of symbiosis, by definition. In order for your idea to work, you ...


5

you write: He sees a black hat on the man in front of him: His should be able to conclude that his hat is white because there is a hat of each color, so if the one in front of him is black, his must be white That is wrong; assuming the first (to answer) prisoner gave the correct answer, the second prisoner can only conclude there can't be two white ...


5

Marxism has many aspects to it; the main difference appears to be as a political movement, and as a school of thought. As a political movement, it is as political and legal theorist Roberto Unger put it: no longer a live option; as a school of thought its influence is still apparent. The collapse of the Soviet Union ... signalled the defeat of Marxism ...


5

I'd first question your use of the term "moral" in this context. Most modern concepts of "morality" entail universality. They attempt to transcend the historical and conditional. The "nation-state," democratic or not, is not, by definition, a universal state... and thus not in itself a source of "moral" obligation. I would also question your rationale, "...


5

I would suggest that IME it functions to consolidate capitalism not just by division or distraction, but by disempowering the white / male / etc. working class; relative to the capitalist class of course. Hmmmm, porbably not. Marx and Engels saw women as the original oppressed group and marriage and monogamy as instruments of capitalism. See the SEP article ...


5

You are asking several questions here. Firstly, what kind of questions is philosophy of science concerned with? Here are some of the most important: How does scientific knowledge advance? Is there a distinctive scientific method, and if so how does it work? Is there a clear difference between what counts as science and what does not? Is there a clear way ...


5

The traditional role of a taboo is prohibition of an action, not of discussion, but the two are often mixed when the term is used loosely, see e.g. Gao's study of English "taboo" words. Taboos against homicide or incest had obvious biological/social benefits. Volume 3 of a classical comparative study of mythology and religion, Frazer's Golden Bough, is ...


4

It seems like you've already answered your own question, except I'm not sure it's typically called "symbiosis". The term is usually used in biological contexts; I think you're interested in more basically the idea of a social contract where you agree to give up certain freedoms for greater security in society. So, is there such a thing as enforced symbiosis?...


4

If you interact with people anywhere else on the planet, knowing the basic configuration of the earth and the sun makes it much easier to understand time zones, different seasons in the northern and southern hemisphere, and so on. If you care at all about weather and live outside the tropics, it's a helpful organizing principle to understand the progression ...


4

The answer is simpler than you think. "Fashion" is the effect, not the cause. Combine two separate concepts: First, that pleasure resulting from a certain aesthetic fades over time. So yes to your first question, it is the aesthetic value that changes. You can only eat ice cream so long until you get tired of eating it, even though nothing changed about ...


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