The Enlightened Mind Cafe
Are you intrested in discussions and maybe even debates with other enlightened minds? Warning: People who think, learn, and grow come here. Everyone welcome from all faiths, spiritualities, and even non-faith.
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Possible topics for discussion include:

1. Metaphysics (e.g. Cosmology, Ontology, Natural Theology, Free Will, & Determinism).

2. Ethics (e.g. Hedonism, Common Sense, Social Etiquette, Morality, & the Nature vs. Nurture Debate).

3. Epistemology (e.g. Belief, Truth, Internalism vs. Externalism, A Priori vs. A Posteriori Knowledge, Empiricism, Rationalism, Constructivism, & Skepticism).

4. Aesthetics (e.g. The Sublime, The Nature of Art, Expressionism, Abstract Art, & Aesthetic Universals).

5. Logic (e.g. Informal vs. Formal Logic, Symbolic Logic, Mathematical Logic, Logical Systems: Consistency, Soundness, Completeness, & Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning).

6. Philosophy of Mind (e.g. The Mind-Body Problem, Dualism, Identity Theory, Phenomenology, Analytic vs. Continental Philosophy, & The Self).

7. Philosophy of Language (e.g. Composition and Parts, The Nature of Meaning, Reference, Learning and Innateness, Language and Thought, Language and Social Interaction, Semiotics, Hermeneutics, Deconstruction, Etymology, & Translation and Interpretation).

8. Philosophers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Avicenna, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon, John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, George Berkeley, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, J.G. Fichte, G.W.F. Hegel, F.W.J. Schelling, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Karl Marx, Gottfried Leibniz, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Isaac Newton, L.A.V. Feuerbach, Friedrich Engels, Richard Rorty, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ferdinand de Saussure, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, B.A.W. Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Searle, Machiavelli, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Confucius, Heraclitus, Voltaire, et cetera.)

Isca and I are doing thread clean-ups now, so that is why the posts are gone. We are going to be doing this every six months to a year.

4/23/2009 . Edited by May Elizabeth, 7/15/2010 #1

The age-old question: if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

7/15/2010 #2

I think I'm going to go with layman's terms and say: heck yes it does. :P (More to come later).

7/15/2010 #3

Cyne: Lmao. Do you know what my philosophy professor's answer was? "Yes, it does, but who cares?" I'm like: erm, aren't YOU supposed to care since you're a PHILOSOPHY teacher? :P

7/16/2010 #4

I had a teacher in middle school who said it doesn't make a sound because things are only sound when someone is around to hear it, and something about how the brain is what makes the sound exist--that's about the best I can put it.

I had a substitute teacher once who said the dead can hear--as in, dead bodies--because the eardrum still processes sound. (He's really weird.) I thought that was quite funny.

7/16/2010 #5

WFW: So the teacher thinks it's all in our heads? XD That substitute teacher sounds pretty interesting.

Isky: Pft. Great professor you have there. :P I guess (s)he's just like, "Who gives a shat about trees falling down in a forest when we're trying to figure out the meaning of life?" Ahahaha.

I think of it like this: if a building blew up in a forest and no one was around, does it still make a sound?

LOL. I wonder. XD The way I see it, it's already been proven that we hear things by registering sound waves as they travel to our ear. These waves are produced whether someone's around or not. -Shrug-

Or sometimes instead of sound I think about light. If a light is on in my room an no one is there to see it, does it still emit light? Well, yeah. Obviously it does. If I turned on a light in my room and walked away to where I couldn't see it, it isn't going to stop producing light. Both light and sound are the result of waves (albeit different kinds). So if light is still created when no one's around, so is sound.

What do you guys think?

7/16/2010 #6

You have very good points. No one ever questions whether light is there when you're not around. If you leave the lights on when you're away, you're still going to have to pay for it. :P

Q: What came first: the chicken or the egg?

What do you guys think of that question?

7/16/2010 #7

Obviously the egg came first, unless you specify chicken egg, because then it gets tricky. But, there were like fish eggs before chickens even developed.

If we are talking about chicken eggs, the first thing that could be called a chicken must have evolved from something else and evolution usually occurs through mutations that occur when the embryo is forming so then the real qestion is the controversial "when does life start?" When can the chicken be called a chicken? As soon as the egg and sperm meet and result in the right mutation, or further along once the embryo is more developed and the egg has already hatched. For that matter, who soon can the egg be called an egg? When it's still inside the female as soon as the sperm reaches it, or only once it develops the hard protective outer coating and actually exits the chicken?

And that's probably more details than anybody wants to think about chicken eggs.

And a tree falling in a forest still makes sound, because the motion causes changes in pressure in the air, which are soundwaves even if no brain is around to process them.

7/27/2010 #8

Does anyone have any favourite philosophical quotes that they'd like to post/discuss?

7/27/2010 #9

Well i think the tree in the forest question basically translates to "Does reality exist outside of perception?" I think it does. Though everybody's individual reality is shaped by their perception. So, if I didnt hear the tree fall, then in my personal reality it made no sound. Everyone perceives reality differently.

7/28/2010 #10

Lyllyth: You just reminded me of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis in Psychology. Basically, Whorf said that the language you speak is the filter through which you perceive the world. Do you agree with him?

7/28/2010 #11

I've never thought of language that way before, but I guess that's kind of true. To really learn a different language you have to grow accustomed to a completely different way of thinking (or so I've heard).

7/29/2010 #12

I find that so interesting, though: the idea that we're all living in our own little 'worlds.' If that's true, then what is 'truth'? What is 'beauty'? Etc etc.

7/29/2010 #13

with regards to the language thing--I think the language we speak is only one of the many things that affect the way we perceive reality. It's also affected by our culture, our past experieces, the people around us, etc. Not to mention our own senses. I mean, obviously a blind person's reality is going to be totally different from yours. But even between two people who can see perfectly fine, I've read that each brain processes colors and stuff and different way. What I think is red, you might see as blue. But you would call it red and associate it with warm things and find it all perfectly normal because it's always been that way to you. (I dont know if it's quite that dramatic. I'd have to look more into the subject.)

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" lol

When it comes to abstract things like that, I dont think there is one single definition. Again, it would be different for everybody. Truth is a little trickier. I feel like there should be universal truths common to everyone's reality, but maybe there aren't. Hmmmm. So much to ponder. My, we're philosophical today.

8/1/2010 #14

Alright, my lovelies, time for some romantic idealism:

If you met your 'soulmate,' but they were older than you and married with children, what would you do? Would you have the strength to remain alone for the rest of your life and remain silently loyal to them? Or, would you eventually find someone else to love?

Isky's Answer: "Always." Isky's unrequited love: 3 years, 8 months, 28 days. 1366 days. 195 weeks. 32,784 hours. 1,967,040 minutes. 118,022,400 seconds. AND COUNTING. xD [And I used a date-to-date calculator on the internet. I am NOT that mathematically cool.]

8/1/2010 #15

I'm not sure I'd be as loyal as you, Isky. I'd still look for love on the offchance that maybe, just maybe, I'm wrong. And if I'm right, well...the universe will right its wrong eventually. Might as well just have fun in the meantime. ;)

8/1/2010 #16

Hmm I don't believe in soulmates. Or at least not that you only have one. I would try to look for love elsewhere, but I would still remain loyal to that person in a way. I mean, I suppose I'd always love them. But I need someone to love me back.

I'm the kind of person who craves physical affection, so being alone wouldnt work out all that well for me.

8/1/2010 #17

Do you think a soulmate has to be a romantic interest? I like to think of it that way, but a soulmate could just be someone you really click with, and you wind up loving each other in every way. I suppose in a way you could have more than one soulmates, because you can have a deep connection with more than one person.

8/1/2010 #18

[My apologies in advance if anything I say seems argumentative or abnormal. Just picture Isky with a Snape-esque level of devotion, and you will understand, and perhaps forgive her. :P]

Do you think a soulmate has to be a romantic interest? No, I do not. That's like saying you're looking for a sex-soulmate. But, I *do* believe that you're 'connected' to your 'soulmate' in ways that you're not to other people/family/friends. Yes, you can have more than one 'deep connection,' but in my opinion, there is only one other out there in the universe that your soul 'recognizes' as its mate.

I'd still look for love on the offchance that maybe, just maybe, I'm wrong. How would you know if you're wrong or right regarding your soulmate? Personally, I would say you just 'know,' but I realize that's not exactly tangible proof.

Might as well just have fun in the meantime. But is that the 'right' thing to do? Sure, you can look for love elsewhere, but why? Why would you want to have a relationship with someone else if they'd never compare to 'The One'? Is 'fun' really as important as 'loyalty'? That's like saying: "Oh, my husband went off to war a few years ago, but I've had 'fun' in his absence."

Hmm I don't believe in soulmates. Why don't you believe in 'soulmates,' Lyllyth? I'm just curious.

But I need someone to love me back. I'm the kind of person who craves physical affection, so being alone wouldnt work out all that well for me. Believe me, I like affection, as well, but do you think there's a certain kind of quiet strength in not giving into that need by remaining 'loyal'?

8/2/2010 #19

I admire your loyalty Isca, but personally i dont see how trying to move on would be "unloyal". You never promised anything to that man. Being loyal wont necessarily increase your chances of being with him. If you are never going to be with him there is no reason to remain loyal. the only person you' be betraying is yourself, and you wouldnt even be betraying yourself if you could convince yourself that there was nothing wrong with ceasing to pine over an unavailable man and trying to find happiness elsewhere.

Not that your situation doesn't sound tragically romantic. It just doesn't sound like a very good way to bring happiness into your life, and to me, happiness is one of my main goals in life.

I dont believe in soul mates either, and i'll tell you why i think i'm like that. I've never been in love before. I've never thought i was in love or experienced anything close to it. So i just cant imagine the feeling of being with a person and knowing they were your other half, the only one who could complete your life. Also, while i feel lonely without someone to love in my life, i dont feel incomplete like only half of a whole, so i dont think there is one person out there who is my perfect other half. I think there are a number of people out there that i could love and build a life with and that could make me happy, and i just have to find one of those people. It's when you know two of those people at the same time that things get complicated.

If there were only one person out there who was perfect for me, how would i ever find him? I mean, what are the chances: one in seven billion?

8/9/2010 #20

I too don't really believe in soulmates. I do believe, however, in finding a person that you can happily share the rest of your life with. But I don't think there's only one. Maybe your loyalty toward each will waver sometimes, and it probably will, but I think part of what truly makes a relationship is the ability to overcome your doubts and remain faithful.

To me, the concept of soulmates is more tragic than romantic. I mean, the idea of being born essentially missing half of yourself is bad enough, but in all likelihood you will never find that other part. So you'll be incomplete and never "truly" in love for your entire life. If you don't find that one person, you can never know true happiness. -Shrug- I don't know. It just seems sad.

But Isky, I do want you to be happy, so do what's best for you. If you truly are happy to love from a distance, then that's your choice to make. If you don't think you can just go out there and search for someone else to love, then that's also your choice. But I think that if you find someone who you believe can make you happy, you shouldn't let the unrequited love hold you back from trying to be with them.

I just want the best for you, love. :) You deserve it.

Edit: My apologies, Cyne, for the "edit," but I don't want everyone on the internet knowing about Arise.

8/9/2010 . Edited by Isca, 8/11/2010 #21

As for why I dont believe in soulmates, it's much the same as what DE said. Also, the idea just doesn't seem practical. Why should there be only one person out there who would be your "soul mate"? What purpose does that serve? Especially when most people never find theirs. And it seems like more trouble than it's worth. I mean, you can spend your whole life looking for this person, but if they don't happen to be available when you find them, than you've just made yourself even more miserable. Seriously, what are the chances of not only finding that one person in 7 billion but finding that person at a time when both of you are available for a just sounds much too complicated.

8/10/2010 #22

I have a depressing thought:

Is there any such thing as a truly selfless deed? They say that doing something good for someone makes you feel good, so if this is your goal, you have some sort of ulterior motive in helping people out. When you discover that a grudge you have against someone that is causing you to treat them horribly is making you feel terrible, you let go of it so that you will stop feeling bad, and not necessarily to make the person feel good. Does it really matter? If it does, then how can you possibly be completely selfless in all you do, if you know in advance that you're going to feel great for doing it?

8/10/2010 #23

at wFw: does it really matter that there is no unselfish deed? Taking care of one's own needs is natural and essential to survival. And a little bit of selfishness can actually be a good thing. It's when it is in excess that it's a problem

8/10/2010 #24

DE: Just because love is unrequited, why must one "move on" from it? Does love need to be reciprocated for it to be "true"? "Being loyal won't necessarily increase your chances of being with him." That is not my intention; said person does not believe in divorce and will not remarry. "If you are never going to be with him, there is no reason to remain loyal." Why not? It may not be the "logical" thing to do, but since when is love logical? Just because we are not destined to be together in this life, does not mean that we are not "soulmates" or kindred spirits. Perhaps we are simply star-crossed lovers--destined to always be out of each other's reach, yet meant for so much more. "I don't feel incomplete like only half of a whole." Personally, I don't really think like that. I think of soulmates more as a soul who was with you in 'the time before' this life/place. In some capacity, you "remember" them. "If there were only one person out there who was perfect for me, how would i ever find him?" Perhaps that is the point of life: to travel through the universe, as a soul, looking for the home your heart has built in another.

Cyne: "And remain faithful." This brings up a new question on my end: if I am to remain loyal, does that subsequently mean that in order to remain 'faithful,' I must refrain from ever having sex with someone? Somehow this entire 'vow' on my part reminds me of a nunnery. Of course I'm not happy 'loving from a distance.' I'd give my soul for Arise, but it shall not happen. You mentioned that if I found someone else to love, I shouldn't let my previous love stop me from persuing the new relationship. But, how could this second person ever compare to the first? If they're not 'The One,' what's the point of courting them?

WFW: While many acts are not selfless, I would say that there are still some people out there who commit selfless acts; if you watch children, for example, they will, at some point, do something simply out of the kindness of their hearts, because they have not yet been taught the guile of society.

8/11/2010 #25

But, how could this second person ever compare to the first? If they're not 'The One,' what's the point of courting them?

You can't know if you haven't met them yet, I think. :) I don't mean to say you'll "let go" of Arise or stop loving her, but perhaps you could find another person you can also truly love. I don't believe there's only one person out there that can make you happy. Your love for her might not ever fade, but you could meet another love in your life that can overcome that one with time. It might seem "wrong" to be with someone else if you still love Arise, but I don't see it that way. However, you'd probably want to explain to them about her before it becomes really serious. I just don't want you to spend the rest of your life staying out of relationships because you love someone you can never be with and being unhappy as a result of it.

This brings up a new question on my end: if I am to remain loyal, does that subsequently mean that in order to remain 'faithful,' I must refrain from ever having sex with someone?

To me, one can only be faithful or unfaithful if they are in a mutual relationship. If you aren't, then like DE said, you have no commitment to the person other than what you perceive. So I guess it's moot.

8/11/2010 #26

"I just don't want you to spend the rest of your life staying out of relationships because you love someone you can never be with and being unhappy as a result of it." Isky = Snape. Prepare yourselves for a future full of a middle-aged, snarky bastard of an Iskinator. xD

8/12/2010 #27

Isca, I don't think you should have to live a lonely life simply because the person you feel is your soul mate isnt available. Although you will probably never stop loving her , i think you can eventually find someone you love greatly in a slightly different way. So even if no one can compare to your "true" love, maybe you shouldnt compare them. I believe there is room in people's hearts to love two people at once and if only one of them is available, then that is the one you should pursue.

8/14/2010 #28
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