[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Brett Abrahamsen

First, we can establish that being conscious of something is not necessary to be it: I am not conscious of myself when I am asleep, for example, but I am still myself. With this in mind, we can say that I was myself before I was conscious of it. I was me before my brain developed. We can then ask: before the sperm and egg came together to form me, was I the sperm, or the egg? There are four options: 1. I was neither, 2. I was both, 3. the sperm, 4. the egg. 1. is clearly absurd: if I was neither, I would not have been myself when they came together. I would have had no connection with them whatsoever. 2. is equally absurd. There is no reason that I would have been both the sperm and egg when they were at that point completely separate and in the bodies of different people. And to pick 3 over 4 seems arbitrary. So which option is the most sensible?

Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Jeff Holcomb

Does the presence of hypocrisy in a religious adherent automatically invalidate the belief system he/ she professes to follow?

Answer by David Robjant

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Maricar Nuevas

Under Athenian law, one could not be prosecuted for a crime if it could be shown that the action was done unwillingly, under duress, by threat of force, or from ignorance. If Socrates' view is correct, how could anyone be responsible for his or her actions? If one acts under the influence of passion or other non-rational motives, is one morally responsible? Can one be "willfully ignorant" of the law?

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Clara Nehls

Do analogies aid understanding or do they also provide justification?

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Jordan Tank

How do Socrates and Plato arrive at the requirements for what we have well-founded knowledge of, as opposed to what we merely assume or are convinced of?

I know they came to an "agreement" in Plato's Theaetetus, that knowledge is "justified true belief." But I have a difficulty in understanding how they came to those requirements.

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Sebastian Vielledent

What did Thomas Hobbes meant when he wrote "Just words, if they are of the time to come, and contain a bare promise, are an insufficient sign of a free-gift and therefore are not obligatory. For if they are about the time to come, as 'tomorrow I will give,' they are a sign I have not given yet. And consequently that my right has not been transferred, but it remains until I transfer it by some other act."?

Why exactly am I relieved from the responsibility of a promise if that promise happens to be the giving of a free gift? Yes, it is true that I would be talking about a future time, but If were to make that assertion, how am I not bound to make sure that the next day I actually give the other person the thing I was talking about?

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Frank Earnest

How would a philosopher define 'bigotry'?

Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Emran Salam

I have a question regarding Plato's Ideas or Forms. I wanted to understand where Plato believes the existence of these forms are. So I'm looking for their location for the lack of a better term.

And regarding morality, I'm assuming "good" and "evil" are real forms/ ideas according to Plato. Would this be an accurate statement? If they're not, where would they exist?

My hypothesis is because they espouse Emanationism, the ideas or Forms originated involuntarily from the Divine along with the cosmos, in which case they would be a part of the cosmos.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Any reading material would also be helpful. Thank you.

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Umberto Mattia

Is the past infinite? Is there any good argument for "temporal infinitism"?

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Andrew Tulloch

What are your thoughts on anti-theory regarding ethics? Specifically Bernard Williams' anti-theory.

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Wayne Wasserman

Typically all expositions of the 1st Godel incompleteness theorem start with an instance of the diagonal lemma with the Godel sentence on the left side of a biconditional and an abbreviated version of a horribly complex sentence one the right side.

The expositions continue with an argument by constructive dilemma. If the right hand side, which written out in basic syntax not abbreviated, is inconsistent with the Peano Axioms, you can never get the Godel sentence from the instance of the diagonal lemma.

I am incapable of even imagining the full unabbreviated version of the right side of the instance of the diagonal lemma. So why should I assume it's not inconsistent with PA? So why should I accept standard expositions of the 1st Godel incompleteness theorem?

Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Bilyaminu Hassan

What have Socrates, Plato and Aristotle contributed to the idea of a nation's wealth creation?

Answer by Graham Hackett 

Answer by Georgios Tsagdis

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Andrew Tulloch

Are thought experiments a legitimate philosophical method?

Answer by Geoffrey Klempner

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Val Sokol

"If X might exist but we have no reason to suppose that it actually does exist, then as metaphysicians we should not concern ourselves with X."

-- Is this true? Why or why not?

Answer by Hubertus Fremerey

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Siobhan Walter

How has taosim (Lao-Tzu) influenced western cultures? I'm writing an extended essay for the International Baccalaureate (IB) and am finding it hard to find resources. Could you also link websites or books if you have any to help answer the question?

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Alex

1. What would you say our universal/ global existence is for?

2. Would you say humans are naturally inclined towards being good? or is being good just a social construct?

3. Why do we see difference?

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Paul M Winchel

If someone must get somewhere good and valuable, even fully required, but must pass through a forest that travelling through it will leave that person twisted and broken, does that mean that the completed, good location itself is evil?

[AAP] Ask a Philosopher - Question from Yolanda

What does Thomas Nagel mean by "moral assessment?" specifically in his piece 'Moral Luck'?