Monday, June 27, 2011


Probability is a way of expressing knowledge or belief that an event will occur or has occurred. The concept has an exact mathematical meaning in probability theory, which is used extensively in such areas of study as mathematics, statistics, finance, gambling, science, artificial intelligence/machine learning and philosophy to draw conclusions about the likelihood of potential events and the underlying mechanics of complex systems.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Modern Analytical Empiricism

"Modern analytical empiricism [...] differs from that of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume by its incorporation of mathematics and its development of a powerful logical technique. It is thus able, in regard to certain problems, to achieve definite answers, which have the quality of science rather than of philosophy. It has the advantage, as compared with the philosophies of the system-builders, of being able to tackle its problems one at a time, instead of having to invent at one stroke a block theory of the whole universe. Its methods, in this respect, resemble those of science. I have no doubt that, in so far as philosophical knowledge is possible, it is by such methods that it must be sought; I have also no doubt that, by these methods, many ancient problems are completely soluble."

Legal Positivism

Legal positivism is a school of thought of philosophy of law and jurisprudence, largely developed by nineteenth-century legal thinkers like Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. The principal claims of modern legal positivism are that:

There is not any inherent or necessary association between the validity conditions of law and ethics or morality.

Laws are rules made, whether deliberately or unintentionally, by human beings.


Positivism, a philosophy which states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, in opposition to pure empiricism and central to the foundation of academic sociology.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Individual Rights- Michael Sandel

"First, individual rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the general good, and second, the principles of justice that specify these rights cannot be premised on any particular vision of the good life. What justifies the rights is not that they maximize the general welfare or otherwise promote the good, but rather that they comprise a fair framework within which individuals and groups can choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others."
— Michael J. Sandel (Liberalism and Its Critics)

The Philosophy Craze

Did you read this New York Times article by Thomas Friedman:

Should David Letterman be paid 700 times more than a school teacher?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Most People Lack Any Serious Set of Philosophical Beliefs

...Quite possibly many would like a 21st century Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs with an additional need at the apex: recreational drugs. The absence in much modern society of religious faith, patriotism or any serious set of philosophical beliefs leaves a vacuum that is often filled by sheer self-indulgence, escapism and nihilism – and frequently fuelled by drink and drugs.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Legal Precedent and Kant's Categorical Imperative

In common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a legal case establishing a principle or rule that a court or other judicial body may utilize when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Black's Law Dictionary defines "precedent" as a "rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases."

The categorical imperative is the central philosophical concept in the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant, as well as modern deontological ethics. Introduced in Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action.

According to Kant, human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in one ultimate commandment of reason, or imperative, from which all duties and obligations derive. He defined an imperative as any proposition that declares a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ethical Dilemma

Ethical dilemma is a complex situation that will often involve an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another. This is also called an ethical paradox since in moral philosophy,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dating for Money?

I met a woman this week who has a boyfriend but goes out with other men because she has no money. How does everyone react to this? #Ethics

Sent Jun 04, 04:51 AM
From @PhilosophyTweet