Category Archives: Monthly Conundrums

Try your philosophical skills on this philosophical conundrum

What is Existence?

  You can’t get a question more basic than: what is existence? Presumably existence isn’t a thing (an individual), so it must be a property of things. Surely indeed it must be a property of everything! But we can’t experience … Continue reading

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The Inconsistency of Science

Can a good scientific theory be logically inconsistent with itself? If you think not you’d be in good company: Karl Popper, the famous philosopher of science, believed that consistency was the sine qua non of a good scientific theory. It … Continue reading

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Drones, Robots and the Ethics of Armed Conflict in the 21st Century

Wow! Did you know there are machines out there capable, once programmed, of searching out their target, and delivering their lethal ‘payloads’ without further human intervention? In other words the ‘decision’ to kill belongs to the machine itself. Alex Leveringhaus … Continue reading

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Do YOU eat genetically modified foods?

In August 1998 the popular science programme World in Action featured a scientist who had been feeding genetically modified potatoes to rats. A researcher at the prestigious Rowett Institute, Arpad Pusztai , a world expert on plant lectins, said that as a … Continue reading

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Causation – a Philosophical Question

What do we mean when we say something like ‘the death of my cat caused me great sorrow’? How should we understand such a statement? And what sort of truth-maker makes such a statement true? The first question is a … Continue reading

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Possible Worlds Theory

We all think there are ways things might have been. I might now be sunning myself on a beach in Italy instead of slaving over a hot laptop. Or I might now be asleep in bed. In fact there are … Continue reading

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The Mind-Body Problem

This problem would be better named ‘the mind-brain problem’. It is the problem of whether the mind IS the brain, or to be more precise, the problem of whether mental states ARE neural states. The average modern person holds a … Continue reading

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The Meaning of ‘Red’ (and Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument)

I recently posted a question on my Facebook page (Marianne Talbot Philosophy – come and join us!) which triggered a lot of discussion. This was the question: Pillar boxes in the UK are red. So are strawberries and tomatoes. We … Continue reading

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The Principle of Charity

This piece is based on the section on The Principle of Charity in chapter one of my e-book Critical Reasoning: A Romp Through the Foothills of Logic Here is the philosopher Donald Davidson talking about what we do (or should do) … Continue reading

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Utilitarianism – the Final Word on Morality?

Consequentialism of some kind, usually Utilitarianism, is the ‘kneejerk’ moral theory of our time. It seems obvious to many people that the right – the moral – thing to do is whatever will produce the greatest happiness of the greatest … Continue reading

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