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Objective   6/20/2016

a word about Activity  6/17/2016

Wikipedia Activity    Action (philosophy)

An action is something which is done by an agent.

In common speech, the term action is often used interchangeably with the term behavior.

In the philosophy of action, the behavioural sciences, and the social sciences, however, a distinction is made: behavior is defined as automatic and reflexive activity, while action is defined as intentional, purposive, conscious and subjectively meaningful activity.

Thus, throwing a ball is an instance of action; it involves an intention, a goal, and a bodily movement guided by the agent.

On the other hand, catching a cold is not considered an action because it is something which happens to a person, not something done by one.

Other events are less clearly defined as actions or not.

For instance, distractedly drumming ones fingers on the table seems to fall somewhere in the middle.

Deciding to do something might be considered a mental action by some.

However, others[who?] think it is not an action unless the decision is carried out.

Unsuccessfully trying to do something might also not be considered an action for similar reasons (for e.g. lack of bodily movement).

It is contentious whether believing, intending, and thinking are actions since they are mental events.

Some would prefer to define actions as requiring bodily movement (see behaviorism).

The side effects of actions are considered by some to be part of the action; in an example from Anscombe's manuscript Intention, pumping water can also be an instance of poisoning the inhabitants.

This introduces a moral dimension to the discussion (see also Moral agency).

If the poisoned water resulted in a death, that death might be considered part of the action of the agent that pumped the water.

Whether a side effect is considered part of an action is especially unclear in cases in which the agent isn't aware of the possible side effects.

For example, an agent that accidentally cures a person by administering a poison he was intending to kill him with.

A primary concern of philosophy of action is to analyze the nature of actions and distinguish them from similar phenomena.

Other concerns include individuating actions, explaining the relationship between actions and their effects, explaining how an action is related to the beliefs and desires which cause and/or justify it (see practical reason), as well as examining the nature of agency.

A primary concern is the nature of free will and whether actions are determined by the mental states that precede them (see determinism).

Some philosophers (e.g. Donald Davidson) have argued that the mental states the agent invokes as justifying his action are physical states that cause the action.

Problems have been raised for this view because the mental states seem to be reduce to mere physical causes.

Their mental properties don't seem to be doing any work.

If the reasons an agent cites as justifying his action, however, are not the cause of the action, they must explain the action in some other way or be causally impotent.

Determinism  6/17/2016

Wikipedia Determinism

Determinism is the philosophical doctrine that all events transpire in virtue of some necessity and are therefore inevitable.

Traditionally, the view relies on strict notions of causality, and most philosophical arguments in its favor have attempted at clear definitions of cause and effect as a basis for the belief that determinism is true.

Notably, the idea that the past choices of seemingly rational agents could have been performed differently - or even the idea that the future decisions of such agents will turn out to be other than what they will - is usually challenged under this view.

Thus, the "problem" of free will - or the idea of free will as being an "illusion" - often arises as a result of the main claim made by determinism, that is, that the past, present, and future is identifiable with an essentially unbreakable chain of circumstances of which no single link in such a chain could possibly be avoided or altered.

Some determinists deny the idea of any true "possibility" or "randomness" within reality altogether, even asserting that such ideas are only a creation of the mind and/or merely the result of imagination - ultimately a result of ignorance in the face of real explanations for such phenomena - which could otherwise, in principal, be discovered by either reason or empirical experimentation.

However, addressing free will is its own concern, and any discussion of determinism does not demand any discussion of free will.

In addition to these issues, the length to which language can actually capture what exactly is at stake, assuming that anything is at stake at all - or even what the true nature of reality really is in spite of how convincing the nature of the concept of determinism seems to be - is itself disputed.

This final note verges on - or fully engages in - the territory of the philosophy of language.

The truth of determinism is often acknowledged - at bottom - as a belief, rather than a fact or scientifically viable theory or law.

This implies that its supposed truth would always be restricted to philosophical speculation and argumentation rather than by scientific demonstration or formally proven within the mathematical basis of physics or even within theoretical physics.

There are those who doubt this claim, and instead view the truth of determinism to follow suite with other revolutions throughout history, such as the theory of relativity or the theory of evolution.

Whether or not determinism poses a real threat to traditional notions of responsibility, morality, or legal process is disputed among philosophers.

As contentious as this is also whether the truth of determinism introduces any challenges to meaning and purposeful effort - or the value of decision making and seemingly important life choices - most notably in the form of nihilism or fatalism.

This perspective is represented by philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Noam Chomsky, among others.

Just the opposite is also argued, that determinism actually posits a more meaningful aspect to life, in the form of rational optimism, usually in the form of celebrating the idea that everything happens for a reason, as well as the idea that one need not fully regret one's past experience if it had to have been necessarily carried out as it was.

Proponents of this view include Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche, among others.

Also, many philosophers argue that determinism does not imply any kind of fatalism, as particular events hold no weight to its universality, and thus notions of "destiny" are irrelevant to its truth - which is that all events are inevitable, but not necessarily purposeful or toward a final cause.

The above description on the diverse nature of discussions on determinism, then, generally break into two categories of consideration - that of the truth or falsity of determinism proper, and that of its consequences for life.

The former usually involves argumentation within metaphysics, and the latter, that of its ethical, political, and existential relevance.

"There are many determinisms, depending on what pre-conditions are considered to be determinative of an event or action."

Deterministic theories throughout the history of philosophy have sprung from diverse and sometimes overlapping motives and considerations.

Some forms of determinism can be empirically tested with ideas from physics and the philosophy of physics.

The opposite of determinism is some kind of indeterminism (otherwise called nondeterminism).

Determinism is often contrasted with free will.

Determinism often is taken to mean causal determinism, which in physics is known as cause-and-effect.

It is the concept that events within a given paradigm are bound by causality in such a way that any state (of an object or event) is completely determined by prior states.

This meaning can be distinguished from other varieties of determinism mentioned below.

Other debates often concern the scope of determined systems, with some maintaining that the entire universe is a single determinate system and others identifying other more limited determinate systems (or multiverse).

Numerous historical debates involve many philosophical positions and varieties of determinism.

They include debates concerning determinism and free will, technically denoted as compatibilistic (allowing the two to coexist) and incompatibilistic (denying their coexistence is a possibility).

Entertainment  6/17/2016

Wikipedia Entertainment

Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight.

It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have developed over thousands of years specifically for the purpose of keeping an audience's attention.

Although people's attention is held by different things, because individuals have different preferences in entertainment, most forms are recognisable and familiar.

Storytelling, music, drama, dance, and different kinds of performance exist in all cultures, were supported in royal courts, developed into sophisticated forms and over time became available to all citizens.

The process has been accelerated in modern times by an entertainment industry which records and sells entertainment products.

Entertainment evolves and can be adapted to suit any scale, ranging from an individual who chooses a private entertainment from a now enormous array of pre-recorded products; to a banquet adapted for two; to any size or type of party, with appropriate music and dance; to performances intended for thousands; and even for a global audience.

The experience of being entertained has come to be strongly associated with amusement, so that one common understanding of the idea is fun and laughter, although many entertainments have a serious purpose.

This may be the case in the various forms of ceremony, celebration, religious festival, or satire for example.

Hence, there is the possibility that what appears as entertainment may also be a means of achieving insight or intellectual growth.

An important aspect of entertainment is the audience, which turns a private recreation or leisure activity into entertainment.

The audience may have a passive role, as in the case of persons watching a play, opera, television show, or film; or the audience role may be active, as in the case of games, where the participant/audience roles may be routinely reversed.

Entertainment can be public or private, involving formal, scripted performance, as in the case of theatre or concerts; or unscripted and spontaneous, as in the case of children's games.

Most forms of entertainment have persisted over many centuries, evolving due to changes in culture, technology, and fashion.

Films and video games, for example, although they use newer media, continue to tell stories, present drama, and play music.

Festivals devoted to music, film, or dance allow audiences to be entertained over a number of consecutive days.

Some activities that once were considered entertaining, particularly public punishments, have been removed from the public arena.

Others, such as fencing or archery, once necessary skills for some, have become serious sports and even professions for the participants, at the same time developing into entertainment with wider appeal for bigger audiences.

In the same way, other necessary skills, such as cooking, have developed into performances among professionals, staged as global competitions and then broadcast for entertainment.

What is entertainment for one group or individual may be regarded as work by another.

The familiar forms of entertainment have the capacity to cross over different media and have demonstrated a seemingly unlimited potential for creative remix.

This has ensured the continuity and longevity of many themes, images, and structures.

Ethics  9/4/2016

Wikipedia Ethics

Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.

The term ethics derives from the Ancient Greek word ethikos, which is derived from the word ethos (habit, "custom").

The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values.

As a branch of philosophy, ethics investigates the questions "What is the best way for people to live?" and "What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances?"

In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality, by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime.

As a field of intellectual enquiry, moral philosophy also is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory.

Three major areas of study within ethics recognised today are:

  1. Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined
  2. Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action
  3. Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action

Free will  6/17/2016

Wikipedia Free will

Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action.

It is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgments which apply only to actions that are freely chosen.

It is also connected with the concepts of advice, persuasion, deliberation, and prohibition.

Traditionally, only actions that are freely willed are seen as deserving credit or blame.

There are numerous different concerns about threats to the possibility of free will, varying by how exactly it is conceived, which is a matter of some debate.

Some conceive free will to be the capacity for an agent to make choices in which the outcome has not been determined by past events.

Determinism suggests that only one course of events is possible, which is inconsistent with the existence of such free will.

This problem has been identified in ancient Greek philosophy, and remains a major focus of philosophical debate.

This view that conceives free will to be incompatible with determinism is called incompatibilism, and encompasses both metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false and thus free will is at least possible, and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true and thus free will is not possible.

It also encompasses hard incompatibilism, which holds not only determinism but also its negation to be incompatible with free will, and thus free will to be impossible whatever the case may be regarding determinism.

In contrast, compatibilists hold that free will is compatible with determinism.

Some compatibilists even hold that determinism is necessary for free will, arguing that choice involves preference for one course of action over another, requiring a sense of how choices will turn out.

Compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarians and hard determinists over free will vs determinism a false dilemma.

Different compatibilists offer very different definitions of what "free will" even means, and consequently find different types of constraints to be relevant to the issue.

Classical compatiblists considered free will nothing more than freedom of action, considering one free of will simply if, had one counterfactually wanted to do otherwise, one could have done otherwise without physical impediment.

Contemporary compatibilists instead identify free will as a psychological capacity, such as to direct one's behavior in a way responsive to reason.

And there are still further different conceptions of free will, each with their own concerns, sharing only the common feature of not finding the possibility of determinism a threat to the possibility of free will.

Teleology    (from Greek telos, meaning end or purpose)  9/4/2016

Wikipedia (from Greek telos, meaning end or purpose)

Teleology (from Greek telos, meaning end or purpose) is the philosophical study of nature by attempting to describe things in terms of their apparent purpose, directive principle, or goal.

A purpose that is imposed by a human use, such as that of a fork, is called extrinsic.

Natural teleology, common in classical philosophy but controversial today, contends that natural entities also have intrinsic purposes, irrespective of human use or opinion.

For instance, Aristotle claimed that an acorn's intrinsic telos is to become a fully grown oak tree.

Though ancient atomists rejected the notion of natural teleology, teleological accounts of non-personal or non-human nature were explored and often endorsed in ancient and medieval philosophies, but fell into disfavor during the modern era (1600-1900).

In the late 18th century, Immanuel Kant used the concept of telos as a regulative principle in his Critique of Judgment.

Teleology was also fundamental to the speculative philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Contemporary philosophers and scientists are still actively discussing whether teleological talk is useful or accurate in doing modern philosophy and science.

For instance, in 2012, Thomas Nagel proposed a neo-Darwinian account of evolution that incorporates impersonal, natural teleological laws to explain the existence of life, consciousness, rationality, and objective value.


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