Empty Nouns

In Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein puts forward what could only be called a radical idea about how language works. There, he states that the meaning of a word is not its referent but its applicability criteria (he didn’t really use the term “applicability criteria”, but this sums up his thoughts about how nouns should be applied. See Büttner, 2016). But while perhaps this can easily be accepted that for concepts that are not objects, such as verbs and adjectives etc., for nouns, this might be a bit tricky. This is so because nouns are no other than words used to talk…


Our Necessarily Blood-Soaked Hands

“Conditional Justifications”

And thus, we have seen that to see what is special of a human being could lead to two outcomes, both equally justified: to save or to eliminate. And yet, where do we draw the line? Where should we say that in this case, it is justifiable to save this person, and in that case, it is justifiable to eliminate that person? But to assume such different justifications to be possible, there have to be differing characteristics, either in circumstances that could lead to either of those two outcomes, or perhaps in the justifications that could justify either of those…


The Replaceability of Human Life

Human Replaceability?

But now we are living in a world which tries its best, at least in some countries, to never take someone’s lives away. A lot of countries today are trying to abolish death penalty because of its perceived needless cruelty in exchange for life imprisonment. Other than that, a lot of countries today are trying to be less dependent on societal norms and instead rely more and more on laws based on reason and equality. Less and less countries are willing to use physical punishments that could be considered to be somewhat messy, like flagellation. More and more countries are…


The Wickedness of Human Life

When Killing is Actually Encouraged

But is it true that a person’s death is always seen as a tragedy? Is it true that, by recognizing the humanity in another person, the other person will always be seen as an equal, and that harming that person will therefore always be morally objectionable? I will argue that at certain times, it is almost as if it doesn’t matter whether the other person is considered to be a human or not. In fact, in some other time, it is precisely because the other person is recognized as a human being like you and me that he is seen…


The Sanctity of Human Life

Case Study: If a Fetus is a Person, Is It Moral to Kill It?

Abortion was, in some countries, and still is, in Indonesia, a contentious issue. Generally speaking, the debate can be divided into two camps, one supporting abortion based on the freedom of choice, or the “pro-choice” argument, and those supporting the sanctity of life, or the “pro-life” argument. …


In order for us to understand more clearly how it works, let us see the relationship between the directionality of argumentation and meaning at work in an argument about God and the origin of the universe. The reason why this particular case is chosen is not to necessarily disprove it and show that the universe doesn’t need any God to come into existence. …


The directionality of argumentation is another phenomenon other than the “elucidation problem” that we can see in the act of drawing conclusions. While we have discussed the “elucidation problem” in one of my previous essays, the directionality of argumentation still remains to be discussed. Here, I wish to discuss at length what it is and how it affects our way of thinking without us explicitly being aware of it. …


It might be a lot simpler if it were the case that every proposition, every argument, can stand on itself without regard to the greater picture of the world. It is indeed the basic assumption that we sometimes hold when examining whether an argument is sound or not, or even whether an argument is rational or not. However, as we have seen in my previous writings, even the soundness of an argument, or whether it is considered to be rational or not, depends in part on whether the whole picture of reality a person holds allows it to be thought…


In this essay I’d like to talk about what I think to be the peculiar way we use language to refer to ideas and objects, and also to try to explore what I think to be the reason why at times it is easy to mistake what’s supposedly just ideas/hypothetical as something that is real as in “it is how nature is” and to think what’s supposedly real/the case to be just ideas as in “it is less real/weaker in substance, mere ideas and therefore more susceptible to doubt”. For example, some people mistake scientific theories such as the theory…


The acts of drawing conclusions are something that we do every day. We usually do this by taking a premise, then by using a series of processes we arrive at a conclusion on what things are. We create conclusions all the time, either to solve some problems or to understand the world better. However, like all things in philosophy, things are rarely so simple. …

Gabu

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