We often do, to be sure, excuse
people for what they have done
when they tell us (and we believe them)
that they could not have done otherwise
(Harry Frankfurt “Alternate Possibilities & Moral Responsibility”)
Harry Frankfurt’s work “Alternate Possibilities & Moral Responsibility, ” is a philosophical paper on determinism and moral responsibility and their compatibility with the “principle of alternate possibilities” and freedom of choice.
The paper is only one example of the great amount of “freedom and determinism” debate papers.
The free-will problem, as the author calls it, is, in his opinion, closely related to the principle of alternate possibilities, which states that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise.
Mr. Frankfurt in his work completely disagrees with such a wording of the principle and offers his own, more relevant one: a person is not morally responsible for what he has done if he did it only because he could not have done otherwise.
The author is particularly disturbed with the correlation of this formulation with the idea of the compatibility of moral responsibility and determinism. According to Frankfurt, anyone who accepts it is thereby committed to believing that these principles are incompatible. He, on the other hand, is an advocate of the Compatibilist ideas that state the opposite. Frankfurt and other followers of the Compatibility concept believe that there is a correlation between the determinism and the moral responsibility, depending on the circumstances which advocate for the individual’s actions. Continue reading
They made love,
they made money, and they made a little history.
– E. Tiber
It’s hard to find a person who wouldn’t know the name, Woodstock. It may mean different things to different people, but everybody knows about it. For the participants and those who wanted to get there, Woodstock became the holiday of freedom and love. For opponents of the hippie movement, it was a noise meeting of drunk and drug addict youth. Some people regard it as a culmination of the “hippie era” and the celebration of the counterculture. Arnold Skolnick, an artist who designed the symbol of Woodstock, described this event as “something was tapped, a nerve, in this country. And everybody just came.”(Tiber, http://www.woodstock69.com/wsrprnt2.htm).
Officially Woodstock is remembered as the most prominent rock-festival, which place in August 1969. Continue reading
Booker Taliaferro Washington was a remarkable figure in American history. Usually, this phrase states that he was an icon of the history of Blacks in American, but I firmly deem that we shouldn’t underestimate his role in the national history of the United States.
Booker T. Washington began his life as a slave in slavery, in Virginia, on April 5, 1856. After the abolition of slavery, he had to work in salt and coal mines since early teens to earn his living and support his family. He was a promising child of outstanding intellectual abilities.
Unfortunately, he encountered many problems while trying to receive school education. It was only when he turned sixteen that he was allowed to leave work to go to school. Booker’s parents could afford education for his son, but the boy became independent and self-sufficient very early. His lust for knowledge was so intense that he walked 200 miles on foot to take classes at the Hampton Institute in Virginia. He had to work as a janitor to pay for his studies and board. Continue reading
Anybody leaving on a dangerous assignment to a foreign land needs to realize that there are two possible routes to take in foreign policy. Teddy Roosevelt insisted that one should carry a big stick to intimidate one’s adversaries. Mahatma Gandhi, in contrast, advised a more peaceful policy that will carry no stick.
Today’s reality convincingly proves that the time when sticks were taken out and brandished for every conceivable purpose is gone. Today, a politician has to act wisely, speak softly, and use negotiations wherever possible to prevent the use of force.
Negotiations often seem a pure waste of time to someone with a military background. It can be a waste indeed when people do not know how to do it properly. Trying to resolve the conflict peacefully is a challenge to one’s abilities, brains, and experience. To meet this challenge head-on, it is helpful to adopt a few necessary tactics.
First of all, an excellent point to start is to find out what the other party wants. These wishes should not be taken for granted from their demands, since speeches may be masking something else. Quite a lot of people believe today, for instance, that North Korea is merely manipulating the West to extort financial assistance for the abandonment of nuclear weapons and may not, in fact, have any to dismantle. Looking carefully into the situation of the opponent and trying to understand the inner drives enables one to use the power of persuasion more effectively. Continue reading
Only the educated are free, – goes a famous quote of Epictetus, an ancient Roman philosopher. I totally agree with this expression. I would only add that to be free the one needs to be healthy as well. I think anybody will share my opinion. Indeed, ill or poorly educated people will hardly feel themselves free and happy. Therefore, as a result many educated and healthy people can make strong, happy, and free nation. A large number of developed countries have already realized and embodied this thesis. However, in most of developing countries the situation is drastically different.
The distinctions between developed countries and the ones that are still developing are often very significant. The causes of such differences include diverse factors, such as historical, economical, political, social, and many more. Continue reading
The issue of home cooking and fast food is considered to be controversial, and many-sided one. It can not be called a problem, but there are a lot of opinions and statements, and there are a lot of false ones as well.
For example, people are used to believing the fast food restaurants are the signs of the modern world, but in reality, some of them are not much younger than the cities themselves. Here Ancient Roman towns with their bread-and-olive stands or about East Asian noodle shops should be mentioned. Later on appeared the famous hamburgers as the earliest fast food products in America.
Nowadays the term fast food is usually associated with the chain McDonalds.
One could often hear about the fast food damaging health of people; there is an opinion that the fast food manufacturers should warn their consumers that their food could make them fat. The fact is even if it is done, there is little guarantee that all people will follow this piece of advice. Continue reading
“…once you know what the question actually is,
you’ll know what the answer means”.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a book discovered by alien researcher Ford Prefect during his researches on the planet of the Earth. It took him fifty years to compose the wisdom of Galaxy in the form of a small book. It’s a book in the book as Prefect’s Guide gave the name to the famous comic fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Adams expressed his ideas with peculiar wit and ambiguity and made the readers laugh and think about important issues simultaneously. The book can serve a useful service to anybody who reads it. It can be a good entertainment for teenagers, good cosmic saga for the admires of fiction novels, influential work for those, who are tired of primitive fiction. As it was written in the School Library Journal “As parody, it’s marvelous: It contains just about every science fiction cliche you can think of. As humor, it’s, well, hysterical.” (1). Also, the book contains political criticism and touches a lot of questions, which go far beyond the limits of merely entertaining reading. Continue reading
The Faerie Queene is probably one of the most noteworthy works written by Edmund Spenser. It is characterized by the hidden sense that even the slightest details within the book may possess.
At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the book is highly allegorical and many images are very symbolic. This is why often a reader has to carefully look beyond what he/she sees in the images and characters, which are quite simple at first glance. Probably one of the most interesting things in the Faerie Queene book 1 is the allegoric image of the Anglican church and its struggle with other churches depicted symbolically in the traits, actions, and relations of the main characters of the book, notably in the image of Redcrosse Knight of Holiness.
In fact, it is quite difficult to trace an analogy between the main character of the book and any of the churches, which existed in Europe. Taking into considerations the historical background that naturally influenced Edmund Spenser, while he had been writing his book, it is possible to reveal what the Redcrosse Knight of Holiness symbolise. In general, the main character of the book may be referred to as an allegoric symbol of the Anglican church. The reason why Redcrosse Knight of Holiness is preferably a symbol of Anglican Church, i.e., the Protestant Church of England may be seen in his name and actions. Continue reading
Humans are social beings and exist as members of social groups that rely on a particular structure that reflects hierarchies, formal and informal networks, and can at times overlap. In communication, people seek for these overlapping structures to facilitate their navigation across human systems. Thus, we aim to find who are the friends and acquaintances of our friends, trying to establish their social location, including their connections, their strength, and features, their relative position in the status hierarchy. In the process of socialization, people learn to find information about each other’s social location and to manipulate the impression of the social location they produce themselves. Continue reading
‘I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Perhaps unless the billboard fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.’
To my opinion, one of the most considerable problems of the world is the ecological one.
All of us face it every day, and no one can find the solution of it. We pay the price for the benefits of our industrial society. The risk of a nuclear accident, a waste train derailed, a chemical works explosion, a poisoned water supply, lead dust in the playground or asbestos in the home, are hazards we face daily. Cancer deaths increase our concern. Official secrecy makes matters worse.
Poor control of pesticides on the farm, the sites of dangerous factories, land disposal plans for nuclear waste – facts hidden from nearby communities. We suffer the accidents, noise, and stress of cities choked by traffic. Every day we waste energy and live in a throw-away dreamland. Continue reading