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We are talking about "Appeal to law" fallacy. When following the law is assumed to be the morally correct thing to do, without justification, or when breaking the law is assumed to be the morally wrong thing to do, without justification. It could also be taken as special form of appeal to authority or argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy, in which the ...


25

How to think about "P ⊃ Q" in plain English In propositional logic, P ⊃ Q is what is called a material implication. It doesn't mean that P and Q mean the same thing (they might not have the same truth value); all that it is, is a claim that if P is true, then Q is also true — without making any more claims than this. An alternative ...


22

I think what you are looking for is called Legal Interpretivism, which, unlike Legal Positivism (which asserts that laws are distinct from morality), asserts that laws are based on morality, and that there is no separation between law and morality, so there must be an interpretation for why such and such is legal or illegal. In which case, the statement if ...


16

In the absence of context, this is definitely a semantic debate. Is anyone who ever played a note on a musical instrument a musician? Is anyone who has ever written a word on paper a writer? Clearly not, for most intended purposes of those terms. When we speak of someone as "a philosopher", we are usually intending someone whose dominant activity has ...


16

Quantifiers in connection to AND and OR In the most common forms of predicate logic, ∀ and ∃ act like a sort of logical conjunction (AND) across all objects, and logical disjunction (OR) across all objects, respectively. Connection between ∀ and 'AND' Consider an argument in which the only 'objects' are Scottish people, and let EPP(x) =...


13

The classification of a definition might refer to What is defined (an entity, a tangible thing, a word etc...) How is it defined In terms of what, in brief (since it's not directly relevant to the question but it's important in order to understand what follows) a definition may be: Realistic: When it defines a tangible being in the sense that the ...


13

These are all terms that one frequently reads in texts on Cognitive Science. I will try to find some exemplary definitions: Consciousness: Many philosophers have argued that consciousness is a unitary concept that is understood intuitively by the majority of people in spite of the difficulty in defining it. Others, though, have argued that the level of ...


13

The conditional/implication (→), as you said, is a function on statements/propositions (sentences that can be true or false). Consequence/entailment (⊨) is a relation between sets of statements and a statement. From the classical bivalent point of view, the distinction can be characterized as follows: Implication. (φ → ψ) is true iff (...


11

If they are wealthy then they don't worry about money they don't worry about money Then they are wealthy. This is "affirming the consequent" fallacy. 1) If P, then Q. 2) Q. 3) Therefore, P. An argument of this form is invalid, the conclusion can be false even when statements 1 and 2 are true. Since P was never asserted as the only sufficient condition for ...


11

An axiom is simply a primitive sentence of a language system. It's often used in two different contexts: Context 1. Sentence s is an axiom if and only if ∅ ⊢ s. Context 2. Sentence s is an axiom if and only if ∅ |= s. The first context is that of syntactical language systems (i.e. proof systems). There, the main logical ...


11

Attributes, for Aristotle, scholastics, Descartes, and Spinoza alike, are the non-accidental qualities/properties expressed in language by predicates, as substances are expressed in it by subjects, to which they are predicated. Taken together, they make a substance what it is, hence they are essential (unlike accidental properties), constitute its essence. ...


10

Philosophy comes from the Greek words philo (loving) and soph(ía) (wisdom). Philosophers are thus—in a very liberal sense—simply "lovers of wisdom". However, I would imagine virtually everyone loves wisdom; at least in some way we all want to be "wise", and thus the term would apply to everyone and not really be of any real value. In the modern sense, it is ...


10

The "intension" of a concept is its meaning, whereas the "extension" of the concept is the set of the things that fall under that concept. The most helpful way to see the distinction is with a pair of concepts that have the same extension, but different intensions. For instance "renate" (="having kidneys") and "cordate" (="having a heart"). Everything that ...


10

On the prevailing extensional interpretation of modality the difference between possibility and probability is the diffference between quality and quantity, possibility is the quality quantified by probability, see Probability Distributions Over Possible Worlds by Bacchus. This interpretation can be traced back to Leibniz's determinate possible worlds, but ...


9

Jostein Gaarder gave the explanation which I have found most satisfying in his book, Sophie’s World. I have pieced together several excerpts below. Existentialism is a collective term for several philosophical currents that take man’s existential situation as their point of departure. Sartre said that “existentialism is humanism”. Existentialists start ...


9

"Epistemic closure" is a term used in epistemology. An agent satisfies closure when she satisfies the following conditional: If the agent knows P and knows that P implies Q then the agent knows Q. Here's an example of an agent failing to satisfy closure: Sally knows that it is Tuesday. She also knows that "If it's Tuesday, then it isn't the weekend". ...


9

My sense is that you are referring to a form of relativism that takes the specific form of morality by convention. Or at least that the social attitude you describe can be set out in these terms. It is capable of development beyond the banalities of prevailing forms of relativism. I develop this below, just slightly, but it may be that this is not at all ...


8

Congratulations, you've found one of the major problems with Anselm's Ontological argument. We can easily say "Imagine a perfect circle", as we have a clear notion of what the essential properties of a circle are, and can recognize the actual circles we come across daily as approximations of some imputed ideal. If, on the other hand, we say "Imagine a ...


8

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_snobbery A logical argument (and usually when thus termed, considered an outright fallacy) describing the erroneous argument that the thinking, art, or science of an earlier time is inherently inferior to that of the present, simply by virtue of its temporal priority.


8

You ask a very intelligent question, and you ask it very well. The debate over 'outcome oriented ethics' and 'means oriented ethics' is not new - in fact, entire schools of philosophy exist about this within the meta-field Normative Ethics. For example: Consequentialism refers to moral theories that hold that the consequences of a particular action ...


8

This is a quotation from The Art of War 4.2. Here's the original: 故善戰者,立于不敗之地,而不失敵之敗也。是故勝兵先勝,而後求戰;敗兵先戰,而後求勝。 Here's my own translation that might help: (1) Hence a good military man puts himself in a place where he cannot lose to the enemy, because the enemy has already lost. (2) The winning warrior has the win [and knows that] before he takes on the ...


8

This question seems to be a companion to How can something non-physical exist? Some preliminary thoughts: acknowledging the existence of empirical, or even confining physical to empirical, does not presuppose empiricism. Even Parmenides and Plato acknowledged the "sensible", as they called it, even if only as "illusion" or "imitation". Later rationalists, ...


7

I know that every language must have undefinable/primitive notions/concepts* but aside from within formal systems in logic, set theory, and mathematics have I seen one. Has anyone been able to prove that a particular word is undefinable? You are using the word "language" to encompass very different kinds of languages, i.e. you are unduly mixing together ...


7

We use zero to represent a piece of information: that is, that there is zero of some collection. Nothing is not "a thing", but it is usually a state of affairs which is distinguishable from something. In the same vein, in computer science, we denote the value of a bit usually by either 0 or 1; but here '0' doesn't mean 'nothing' nor does 1 mean 'one thing', ...


7

Personally, I greatly dislike the (x) notation, as it invites confusion--when you place something other than x inside parentheses, is it universal quantification, or is it to show grouping? Therefore, I will use ∀(x){...} and ∃(x){...} to mean "for all" and "there exists" respectively so as to be perfectly clear what the variable is and what the predicate ...


7

I think that Catch-22s (Catches-22?) are different from paradoxes, contradictions, or circular reasoning, though they do resemble these things, and are interesting for this reason. It seems to me that a Catch-22 consists essentially of: a desideratum D: something that one would like to accomplish a necessary condition N for accomplishing D. This may often ...


7

Axiom is a statement taken to hold within a particular theory. One can combine the axioms to prove things within that theory. One may add or remove axioms to the theory to get another theory: Euclid: ... 5. If a line segment intersects two straight lines forming two interior angles on the same side that sum to less than two right angles, then the two ...


7

This is probably a misunderstanding. In German, "transcendent" and "transcendental" are not the same. Kant's philosophy is transcendental, not transcendent. In German, this really makes a difference. Transcendent philosophy is what Kant criticises, i.e. empty talk about things we can't know because they're beyond our reason. His philosophy, on the other hand,...


7

'Obtains' is used instead of 'is true' because states of affairs are not linguistic or abstract entities like sentences and propositions. The sentence "the cat is on the mat" can be true. The proposition expressed by "the cat is on the mat" can be true. But the cat's being on the mat is not the sort of thing that can be true. Instead, it can 'obtain', exist, ...


7

(new account, not enough rep to comment reply to Michael's follow up question) There are four apples and therefore the objectively correct answer is four. The third observer is wrong to claim there are 5 apples when there are four. Of course, it might be that there really are 5 apples and that the third person is correct and the first two wrong. Another ...


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