How to make better arguments in philosophy

By Eric Bright

Two birds screaming at each other as if they are arguing.

I cannot remember reading any serious philosophy article or book, either by authors of antiquity or contemporary writers, in which the author engages in a fist-fight. I frequently see such fist-fights in some on-line philosophy communities. One reason might be because there is usually a monologue in those texts and no opponent’s voice can be heard. Yet, Plato’s dialogues do not suggest too many fist-fights between their participants either.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) How to make better arguments in philosophy. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/02/how-to-make-better-arguments-in-philosophy/

Is it possible to prove a negative?

there does not exists symbol
there does not exists symbol

Note: words in italic are technical terms with clear definitions in logic, which I’m going to omit explaining. Words in bold are substitutes for logical symbols with clear definitions and functions, which I’m going to omit explaining.

There are different kinds of impossibilities. One is physical. Another one is logical. Logical impossibilities are impossible, no matter what, no matter where, no matter the circumstances, no matter the universe, no matter the laws of nature, and no matter anything else. They are impossible and that’s the end of story. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2017) Is it possible to prove a negative?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2017/12/is-it-possible-to-prove-a-negative/

“I am going to follow my heart for a change.”

By Eric Bright

A red heart emoji.

Recently, a friend of mine wrote me this:

[…] My entire life and work
has been based on logic, analysis
and systems.  Everything was centered around processes in my head.  Got me and the World nowhere. For the last part of my
journey I am going to follow my heart for a change and see what happens. […] Scientific belief is a nice crutch to hang on to but […].

Based on what he said, let us do a little thought experiment

Here is Mr. Johns (an imaginary character of course). He recently realized something interesting and said: read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2015) “I am going to follow my heart for a change.”. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2015/01/i-am-going-to-follow-my-heart-for-a-change/

The case against religions: Why the Law of Noncontradiction matters

By Eric Bright

Spock - a fictional character in the Star Trek.
Spock – a fictional character in the Star Trek.

Don’t have faith in logic

I am sure the reason you accept the validity of the Law of Noncontradiction (I would call it the law from now on) is not that you have faith in it. It does not even make sense to say that one has faith in the law.

Also, the law is not like physical laws or language laws, or social laws. Certainly, we all understand it. But, I have to emphasize this reality a bit further for my sake.

Laws of physics are called “law” and they are known to be established facts about the universe. However, they are contingent. There is nothing in the fabric of the universe that necessitates this set of laws over any other conceivable laws. Not a thing. They just happened to be how they are. They very well could have been different and no violation of anything would have happened had they been different. So, the laws of physics are contingent. One way to know it is to imagine universes with different laws and see if such imaginations ask for assumptions that might be inconceivable to be true. People have done so, and they have discovered that all of “the laws of physics” can be different without talking about anything inconceivable. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) The case against religions: Why the Law of Noncontradiction matters. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/08/the-case-against-religions-why-the-law-of-noncontradiction-matters/

Law of Noncontradiction: a black hole that traps bullshit

By Eric Bright

Black Hole

Religions are false alright,
but why can’t believers see it?

My point was rather that you seem settled on the fact that God doesn’t exist. Fine. We can debate that for years and probably not get anywhere (but who knows?). What I find surprising though is that, given that there are so many intelligent and thinking people who do believe in God, why you would trust your conclusion that they are all insane (famous or otherwise) uncritically. You might be right (I am not the guardian of truth) but we aren’t insane because we hold wrong beliefs. I read your posts with interest and I don’t find them convincing at all. This is not because I am insane! read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Law of Noncontradiction: a black hole that traps bullshit. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/04/law-of-noncontradiction-a-black-hole-that-traps-bullshit/

Science and religion are similarly invalid; or are they?

By Eric Bright

Science versus Religion

[Note to the reader: (1) This is not an ad hominem attack on the people mentioned in the post (the names are not real names). I don’t know them in person and I also don’t care who they are so far as this post is concerned. You should be able to change the names to anything else and the arguments should still hold valid. (2) If you prefer, you can download an ODT or a PDF version of this article from here: http://goo.gl/AEHOc]

Science versus Religion

When someone starts asking questions about his fundamental convictions, he does not necessarily go all the way down the rabbit hole to derive the implications of what he believes as true. Most of us stop early in our search. Most of us never even reach the threshold for understanding the territory in which we plan to dwell. An example would make it more clear. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Science and religion are similarly invalid; or are they?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/03/science-and-religion-are-similarly-invalid-or-are-they/

Wittgenstein, Language, and Logic

By Eric Bright

Ludwig Wittgenstein

A few days ago, David Harvey asked the following question in my Google+ Philosophy Community:

Can anyone help me with Wittgenstein’s thoughts on language? I find his ideas mad, but I can’t help but wonder whether my teacher is twisting what his ideas are slightly (I never feel I can rely on them for correct information…) We’re doing Religious Language in class and my teacher has said that Wittgenstein said that like the rules of a game of chess cannot be used for a game of basketball, the rules of language cannot be used for another. Then, and this part I’m a bit
sceptical of, my teacher said that, for example, he would argue that an atheist cannot critique the theist’s view as they are talking with different base ideas (or
in different “languages”). read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Wittgenstein, Language, and Logic. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/01/wittgenstein-language-and-logic/