All posts filed under: philosophy

Why Critical Thinking Is SO IMPORTANT

Some people tell me they don’t understand critical thinking & philosophy.  Or at least they don’t know why I love it so much and spent $$$ money on a university diploma in philosophy.  They’ll agree that it’s good and we should teach it to children.  But then, they still can’t tell me why. So let me tell all of you. Critical thinking makes you aware of your thought patterns and feelings about topics in life. Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings is self-knowledge.  Critical thinking tells you who you are right now. Even if you don’t like yourself right now, you can try to understand yourself.  But why should you bother trying to understand yourself? Because there is no use hiding from yourself. You can try to hide from yourself by distracting yourself with hobbies, travel, drugs, alcohol, friends, reading, gambling, eating, watching television, fitness, and more travel, etc.  But when the money runs out and when the fun stops… there you are.  The hide-and-seek game always ends with you being found, and then …

Travel Blog: Food in Japan is Too Perfect?

The first time you travel to Japan, you’ll be blown away by intricate handicrafts, perfectly folded origami, manicured gardens, clean streets, and meal sets. Indeed, this attention to detail shows high regard for quality and order, which the Japanese are now known for.  In my parents’ time, “Made In Japan” meant shoddy, but now “Made In Japan” is a mark of quality and innovation.  Today, I’m talking about “perfect” meal sets. Attention to detail is showcased especially the meal sets, even at casual restaurants. They are the stuff of an obsessive compulsive person’s dreams, each item delicately placed just-so, to ensure the best presentation of each small portion… one tomato sits gently on a single lettuce leaf, a few sheets of seaweed peek out of the ramen broth, and the slices of chaashuu pork are perfectly round, made of alternating ribbons of fat and meat. Even Japan Airlines economy class meals were served to us like this, complemented by a “Thank you for waiting. Here is your meal.”   Air Canada really has nothing on …

Do we always need evidence for our beliefs? William James, “The Will to Believe” v.s. WK Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief”

These two articles begin an argument that is still pertinent to epistemology today! In his paper, “The Will To Believe”, William James potently responds to William Kingdon Clifford’s famous statement that, “it is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything on the basis of insufficient evidence.”  Clifford’s piece, called “The Ethics of Belief,”  was written in the 1876, and although Clifford does not explicitly direct his arguments to religion, the tone of the paper suggests that his target was religion and believers.  Clifford was a Christian-turned-mathematician and adopted strict scientific protocols to ensure hygiene of his beliefs.  James took heart in Christianity and it was an integral part of his mental life, having saved him from feelings of despair that overtook him during his study of psychology, especially after witnessing the suffering of an epileptic. Regarding the question of whether to believe in religious hypotheses especially, James wants to show that it is sometimes rational to believe in the absence of conclusive evidence. James draws attention to the point that Clifford and skeptics …

Nietzsche, Art, Illusion & Truth

This post was written in response to an article by R. Anderson published in 2005 in the European Journal of Philosophy, entitled “Nietzsche on Truth, Illusion, and Redemption.”  doi/abs/10.1111/j.0966-8373.2005.00227.x In “Nietzsche on Truth, Illusion, and Redemption,” Anderson addresses the Nietzsche’s apparent inconsistency in regards to truth and its value. Anderson explains Nietzsche’s rejection of things in themselves and a ‘true world’ in favour of an epistemology that speaks of truly unknowable chaos given shape and organized by human perception. Still, Nietzsche is committed to truth of a phenomenal world despite our cognitive distortions and perspective and honesty as a correct moral aim. Anderson, having established Nietzsche’s position on truth, shifts the focus to the value of truth in a human life, from which point he addresses Nietzsche’s puzzling indignance for illusion, religion, and self-deception, yet concurrent endorsement of illusion in art. Since honesty and artistry act as regulative drives, they are not incompatible but rather require a balance in the tension between them. Both drives are necessary to fulfill the moral imperative of redeeming our …

Is it Immoral to have Faith?

This post concerns the work Concluding Unscientific Postscript (of pseudonymous author Johannes Climacus) written by existentialist Soren Kierkegaard and the discussion by Robert Adams in “Kierkegaard’s Arguments against Objective Reasoning in Religion”. It also touches on some ideas raised by Lara Buchak in her paper “Can it be Rational to have Faith?” Kierkegaard holds that faith is an intense psychological state of religiosity (i.e., conviction in some sort of religious proposition) that cannot be justified by objective reasoning. Furthermore, as characterized by Adams, it must be significantly likely that at least one of the person’s beliefs absurd, or that there is no certainty provided by historical evidence. The faith must exclude possibility of doubt, and faith must be a continually repeated and decisive act of will. Moreover, the person must feel a great deal of risk in his decision to have faith and also believe it is the morally thing to do, thereby making it a courageous act. In regards to this, I would point out that the person must have a great deal of …