* a discovery of Zeno’s paradoxes and their assessement from a Bergsonian point of view
Beings are changing, things are changing, we, as human beings, are changing. Everything is under the pressure of time, under its infinite power. Time is changing things, so time is changing us too. We can all see the change, we are completely aware of it, we feel it on our own skin. We see people dying around us, we ourselves are growing up and getting older, we see change in nature, from the first day of spring to the last day of winter, even a slice of bread left for too long in the cupboard reminds us of change. But is this change real? Or, in fact, is it just an illusion? Is ‘what is changing’ real or the things through the changing process are illusions too? If we were in the Ancient Greece, so under the influence of the Greek wisdom, we would believe that only eternal things are genuine, while what is changing is just illusion. So did Zeno: what is truly is necessarily eternal, but everything that is changing – therefore, it is under the influence of time – does not actually exist. By his claim, Zeno creates the paradox of time, so we ask ourselves if time is really passing. On the other hand, change seems so close to us, close enough that it belongs to us, that we can feel its real character. As Bergson is answering, there is no paradox, because it is not the reality that is changing, but the change is reality in itself. Bergson’s answer to Zeno’s paradoxes brings a new and revolutionary view on time: time is real, it is not just an illusion as we are tend to believe. In this essay, I will explain and assess both Zeno’s paradoxes and Bergson’s arguments against the Greek philosopher’s thesis. Also, I will show why time and change are realities in themselves and how this claim should change our whole outlook on life, on freedom and the relation between past, present and future.
* short attempt at understanding Socrates’ thoughs about wisdom in front of his own death
What is virtue? What is justice? What is wisdom? What is good? These were some of the strange questions Socrates kept asking people around the city. A role model for every human being he seemed to know both how to live and how to die. In this essay, I will explain and find a clue for the puzzle about Socrates’ wisdom. This puzzle arises when we try to understand his defense from Plato’s Apology.
The main problem that strikes us after we read Plato’s Apology is Socrates’ wisdom or ignorance. At first, we start wondering if Socrates was wise or not. On the one hand, he claims his own ignorance, on the other the Oracle portraits him as the wisest from all men. Moreover, sometimes he himself asserts that he knows something, that is in power of some knowledge. But also, from the way he builds his speech, we can easily conclude that he definitely knows more than everyone else. For example, he starts by stating that he will speak the truth (line 18a6), so he knows how to say it. Then, why does Socrates esteem his ignorance? Continue reading
As long as determinism is true, free will is impossible. As long as indeterminism is true, the problem of free will remains unsolved. If free will is impossible, then moral responsibility should not be brought in our everyday life, so in the way we are judging different situations. This incompatibility that appears when we use moral responsibility in a deterministic world is what concerns Peter Strawson in the essay “Freedom and Resentment”. Hence, if the relation between free will and moral responsibility in a deterministic context leads to incompatibilism, Strawson claims to find an answer to this debatable topic, focusing on human’s reactive attitudes, like resentment or gratitude. His main claim is that we cannot change our common belief in free will, even though it might be just an illusion. But how reasonable is Strawson’s claim? And also, how good are his arguments in reaching this claim? Continue reading
Human life is trapped between birth and death. As every being we come into the world, live for an unknown amount of time and then face death. But things are not that simple. This sentence rises a lot of philosophical questions: ‘Why are we coming into this world?’, ‘What is the meaning of human life?’, ‘Is there any meaning or in fact is life meaningless?’, ‘If there is a meaning, is it a universal one or does it depend on every individual?’, ‘What happens after we die?’, ‘Is this life just a transition to an absolute world or is this our only life?’. In “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Albert Camus gives unbearable answer to all these questions: life has no meaning because life is absurd. But this judgment also raises the question of whether life is worth living or not. Giving a modern interpretation to the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus concludes that even in an absurd context, life is still worth living. In this essay, I will explain and assess Camus’ response to the philosophical questions that concern the meaning of life.
Even though 2 millennia have passed since Socrates first addressed “The Meno Problem”, there is still a heated debate on the issue, the question whether knowledge is of more value than mere true belief is still lacking an irrefutable and satisfactory answer.
The skeptics argue that there is nothing more valuable to knowledge than to mere true belief, and so try to refute the idea that knowledge should be desired, instead of only true belief. They often draw the analogy of the coffee machine, which goes as follows: If one gets two identical cups of coffee from two coffee machines, one working properly and one being broken, why should the cup obtained from the working machine be of more value than the one obtained from the broken one, since there is no qualitative difference between the two? This argument may seem legitimate, but only if one regards the value of knowledge consisting in its final value, the instrumental one, equivocating the value of knowledge with the value of the results its application produces. But this kind of approach to knowledge is lax, for one ignores the processes involved in acquiring the final true belief that has an instrumental value.