The sky will fall if you keep religion out of philosophy. Seriously!

By Eric Bright

When I suggested that we ought to keep philosophy and philosophy communities and forums clear of religious discussions, I was greeted by comments similar to the following comment.

Kierkegaard is often considered to be a “Christian Existentialist.” How is one to discuss Kierkegaard without drawing on Christianity? One of his most famous books (Fear and Trembling) is about Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac. How can ‘Fear and Trembling’ be discussed without “appealing to religion to prove a point” [he’s citing me saying that somewhere else]? read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) The sky will fall if you keep religion out of philosophy. Seriously!. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/11/the-sky-will-fall-if-you-keep-religion-out-of-philosophy-seriously/

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/

What is the point of engaging in a philosophical dialogue?

By Eric Bright

My answer to the question that, ‘What is the point of engaging in a philosophical conversation?’ has always been “None!” At least to me. Most questions that make any difference to me are asked outside of philosophy, mostly in different sciences that, themselves, are born out of philosophy.

Given that, I have always been curious as for why people ask questions in a philosophy community. What do you want to know?

If it matters, it is most probably being investigated in sciences. If it is not, it most probably does not matter. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2015) What is the point of engaging in a philosophical dialogue?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2015/04/what-is-the-point-of-engaging-in-a-philosophical-dialogue/

Defining “GOD”

Front cover of Eric Bright’s book called Defining “GOD”

The book I have worked on for the past three years is finally finished and ready for order. You can find it here.

It was a journey! From start to finish, everything is done by myself and my partner (she created the gorgeous cover and the logo for Bright Press. She also proofread the book for me).

A similar work has always been on my mind for many years. With ignosticism turning to my main focus for the past three years, I found myself in need of a reference framework for the concepts discussed in
ignosticism. However, there were none. Nothing philosophical enough at least. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2015) Defining “GOD”. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2015/02/defining-god/

“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/

Religion corrupts morality

by Eric Bright

Pope holding on a golden staff while saluting an audience. The captions reads: Pray for the starving children while I hold this gold cross.
Pope holding a golden staff while saluting an audience. The caption
reads:
“Pray for the starving children while I hold this gold cross.”
Note: This is written by an atheist for other atheists. You can rarely (if at all) convince a believer by an approach like this. Please don’t use this tone when conversing with your believer friends. It will not work.

Any believer I have ever seen so far, without a single exception, have had a moral standard that has been at best equal to the lowest moral standards I keep seeing in non-believers, and at worse a degree of magnitude lower.

That does not prove anything of course. That is a personal observation and can be biased. Although the number of believers and non-believers I have seen is large, still someone can object to the sample being non-representative of the actual population. That can very well be the case. read more...

Please cite this article as: Eric Bright (2014) Religion corrupts morality. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2014/03/religion-corrupts-morality/

Should we include the study of religions in the discipline of philosophy?

Epicurus’ Paradox
Epicurus’ Paradox

Someone said yes and this was her reason:

Mythology, astrology, humanity’s spiritual relationship to the stars
, the soul, and God’s judgment on the soul, reincarnation, supernatural beings such as angels and demons, Plato wrote about all of those things.

An anonymous forum user. Edited for grammar and style.

Plato is particularly one of the worst examples one could have come up with to justify a position against my stance. If by that example she means that we have to study poetry, astrology, music, mathematics, mythology, reincarnation, demonology, the judgment day and the like because Plato has done so, then that’s not reasonable. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Should we include the study of religions in the discipline of philosophy?. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/11/should-we-include-the-study-of-religions-in-the-discipline-of-philosophy/

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/

Religious Mind – A Horror Story

By Eric Bright

“They call them extremists. We have our own names. We call them senators, congressman, governors, mayors, state legislators.” [Ralph Reed, Christian Coalition Executive Director]

It’s a disturbing observation that some people discuss matters not to learn or to investigate them but merely to convert you. I am talking about mystical minds, supers, and those who believe in things beyond the natural world or outside of the Universe, whatever that might mean.

There is a nice saying, attributed to Socrates by no one less than Plato, “I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.” And this is what the horror story I am going to tell you is formed around. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) Religious Mind – A Horror Story. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/04/religious-mind-a-horror-story/

How not to write in philosophy – Against obscurantism

Saint Jerome Writing
Saint Jerome Writing by Caravaggio (1573-1610)

By Eric Bright

[Updated on 2014-12-01]
[Updated on 2014-02-20]

Note:
If the reason why you write in philosophy is to confuse your potential readers, or to mislead them, or to obscure your point, or make it harder for the reader to understand you, or to make it impossible for the reader to get your point, then you don’t need to read this article. You can skip it and move on with your own style. You would do just fine.

Now, I am talking to the rest of us, those writers who write for readers to be understood. Believe me, not everyone writes in order to be understood. As it happens in philosophy, actually the opposite is true: many pseudo-philosophers have actually wrote books in order to confuse their hapless readers and fellow philosophers. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2013) How not to write in philosophy – Against obscurantism. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2013/03/how-not-to-write-in-philosophy/