Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Plans That Keep Me Going, Quite Frankly

There I sat, pondering John Keke's thoughts. "Happiness requires the satisfaction of many important wants," he said.

What do I want in my life? I focused on this question.

Well I do have plans... goals. 

What plans and goals?

To be... successful. 

That's what it seemed to come down to: I will be happy once I achieve the things I set out to achieve. 
The revelation must be true for every rational being, for what would we call such a person who achieves no product of intelligence process whatsoever? They cannot sustain happiness; this category of person leaves no trace of their personality to withstand time - he fails to induce any profound ripple upon the canvas of the universe. I find this quite depressing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Success and Attitudinal Happiness

Happiness is something that is the subject of many contemporary philosophers. A deeper understanding of the abstract concept results from different "blueprints" of its nature. John Kekes, in his paper boringly entitled Happiness provides a notable dichotomy between two fundamental aspects of happiness.

Firstly, happiness involves episodes of one's life. The episodes are "... satisfactions derived from what one does and has" (180). The second aspect, and the one that I want to address here, is the attitudinal portion of happiness. "The attitude," Kekes writes, "is satisfaction with one's life as a whole" (ibid). But the nature of the attitudinal conception reveals something that might be a bit controversial about the way he idealizes happiness.

In attempting to elaborate more thoroughly about attitudinal happiness, Kekes writes
The attitudinal aspect of happiness is more than a succession of satisfying episodes. For the attitude requires that the significance of the episodes be appraised in terms of one's whole life... The episodes may be goals achieved, obstacles overcome, experiences enjoyed, or just a seamless continuation of the approved pattern of one's life (ibid).
So, the attitudinal aspect involves observing attitudinal dispositions intermixing with episodic ones. However, this conception seems heavily based on the completion of personal successes (Kekes affirms this by discussing life plans further in the reading). This might be controversial in some circles of liberalism because many believe that people are so extremely diverse, and that all one has to do in order to be "successful" is to practice copious amounts of public individuality, which oftentimes comes off as foolishness.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Logic: God's Enemy

I am intrigued by the theistic/atheistic debate. I am planning on someday writing/publishing a logical proof that God does not exist. This is just one of my rough sketches of what is to come. Specifically, I want to address the invalid reasoning that goes into the intelligent design argument. The argument can be summarized by William Paley's assertion: 

. . . when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive. . . that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, or placed after any other manner or in any other order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it. . . . the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker -- that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use.¹

According to The Power of  Logic (2009), my textbook for formal logic, it describes formal fallacy as "... an error in reasoning that involves the explicit use of an invalid form" (147). The invalid form that Paley uses is known as the fallacy of affirming the consequent. This invalid argument form can be summarized thus:

      1. If A, then B.
      2. B.
So, 3. A. 

 This argument is fallacious because it asserts an unwarranted, unsupported conclusion merely because the person assumes that if the effect exists, the cause automatically exists. In order to understand this fallacy in respect to intelligent design, I will symbolize the argument as it is commonly seen in religious contexts:

N = Nature is designed by God, D = Things have design in nature,

      1. If N, then D.
      2. D.
So, 3. N. 

As we can see, saying that nature is designed by God is a fallacious assertion in this argument. The assertion comes out of thin air.

¹ Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature (1802).