All posts filed under: religion

Travel Pics: A Day At Tokyo DisneySea

While in Japan earlier this month, I finally made the journey to Tokyo DisneySea. I’ve been to Tokyo three times before and it’s so easy to get to, but not once did I visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea.  Time to see what it’s about!  As usual, critical thinking questions follow! Disney Sea is for Adults The first thing you’ll realize at Tokyo DisneySea is how popular it is with adults. Compared to Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, the ratio of adults to children is much higher here.   The atmosphere of DisneySea seems more adult themed: less cartoon-y, fewer venues with overly-cheerful music (not It’s a Small World!), less emphasis on animated characters and princesses.  Instead, the park is set up like a sailing adventure.  The architecture create fantasy scenes from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, South America, and early 20th century New York waterfront.  There are also make-believe locations such as Triton’s kingdom and the Mermaid Lagoon.  In the background to the right, you can see the Islamic architecture of Aladdin and Jasmine’s kingdom. Remember when you …

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 …