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I was puzzled not to find any mention of "emptiness" (as expounded upon by

I was puzzled not to find any mention of "emptiness" (as expounded upon by Nagarjuna and Chadrakirti, not the feeling one blogger has when his relationships end.) Is that not an issue that our learned philosophical crowd seriously contemplates these days?

I have to say I think about nothing all the time, both in the sense of not thinking about anything, and in the sense of contemplating the concept nothing. P.L. Heath has a very fine piece on "Nothing" in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

On the other hand I suspect that śūnyatā is not really emptiness or literally nothing - śūnyatā is a kind of non-substantiality, certainly, but in Western metaphysics that does not mean a non-entity. The point is that śūnyatā is emptiness, but of the detritus of external influence, or void or outside dependence. It has its own quality. It is also like a kind of expectant fulness, empty as the rich expectation of a joyous future event is in an obvious sense empty (of the event) compared with the experience of the event itself. A quality however is an entity, though not a substance.

I have to say I think about nothing all the time, both in the sense of not thinking about anything, and in the sense of contemplating the concept nothing . P.L. Heath has a very fine piece on "Nothing" in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy . On the other hand I suspect that śūnyatā is not really emptiness or literally nothing - śūnyatā is a kind of non-substantiality, certainly, but in Western metaphysics that does not mean a non-entity. The point is that śūnyatā is emptiness, but of the detritus of external influence, or void or outside dependence. It has its own quality. It is also like a kind of expectant fulness, empty as the rich expectation of a joyous future event is in an obvious sense empty (of the event) compared with the experience of the event itself. A quality however is an entity, though not a substance.

I am a humanities teacher teaching Philosophy around the question of what does

I am a humanities teacher teaching Philosophy around the question of what does it mean to be human? I am hoping to find some age appropriate readings/ videos that discuss the basics of the philosophical movement. Can anyone help me? Thanks

How about Leslie Stevenson's Ten Theories of Human Nature ? I have had good luck teaching freshmen with this, doing a course called "Human Nature". It's on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Theories-Human-Nature-ebook/dp/B003F3PN1K Good luck with the class!

I believe it was Hume who made the point that reason cannot motivate us, only

I believe it was Hume who made the point that reason cannot motivate us, only our feelings can. Supposing that's true, I have a far-flung conclusion that seems to follow from that: when the panelists on this site choose which questions to answer, they're motivated by some emotion, not by reason. But doesn't this corrupt the purity of the logic of the answer? Perhaps not necessarily so, but isn't it likely that of the 2,600+ questions a good number have been tainted? How is it not the case?

A mathematician might find his feelings engaged by certain questions. Sir Andrew Wiles was passionate about Fermat's Last Theorem from the age of about ten, I believe. (Say, by contrast, that he took little interest in statistics. Perhaps statistics even disgusts him.) Does any of this "corrupt the purity of the logic" of his (rather long) answer to the question how to prove Fermat's Theorem? No, it just powered his interest in mathematics. Besides, why isn't it possible to be inspired and motivated by a thought or an ideal? The ten-year old Wiles had the thought, 'I will prove the Theorem', and this motivated him and engaged his feelings - and the grown-up Wiles did prove the Theorem. The purity of his logic was perhaps even assisted by his passion.

A mathematician might find his feelings engaged by certain questions. Sir Andrew Wiles was passionate about Fermat's Last Theorem from the age of about ten, I believe. (Say, by contrast, that he took little interest in statistics. Perhaps statistics even disgusts him.) Does any of this "corrupt the purity of the logic" of his (rather long) answer to the question how to prove Fermat's Theorem? No, it just powered his interest in mathematics. Besides, why isn't it possible to be inspired and motivated by a thought or an ideal? The ten-year old Wiles had the thought, 'I will prove the Theorem', and this motivated him and engaged his feelings - and the grown-up Wiles did prove the Theorem. The purity of his logic was perhaps even assisted by his passion.

I am a philosophy student that doubts philosophers; I can't write papers, or at

I am a philosophy student that doubts philosophers; I can't write papers, or at least trying to make the connections emerge from details is damn near the hardest thing I've ever done. I have the right ideas (that I am sure of) and I can talk philosophy (intersbujective exp. confirms this) but my papers fall into detail etc. (No one has ever said, WOAH this paper should be published). But even when, one night, I curse the very subject matter and damn it all to hell, I wake up the next morning prepared to try again. But still, at night I try to cast the dead weight from my shoulders in despair. Question: if one's temperament is philosophic should they steer away from academic philosophy? Question 2: Should the person who falls in love with wisdom only to damn her at night continue to make the effort, indeed, should one rule out a life-long marriage with the enticing specimen?

Answer to Q1: Why should a person who loves philosophy not steer towards academic philosophy? The better one knows her the more she has to offer, such as fascinating arguments. Answer to Question 2: If you are in love with someone, you really should marry that person, other things equal, no? Philosophy can be difficult sometimes, even temperamental, but she is not mad.

Answer to Q1: Why should a person who loves philosophy not steer towards academic philosophy? The better one knows her the more she has to offer, such as fascinating arguments. Answer to Question 2: If you are in love with someone, you really should marry that person, other things equal, no? Philosophy can be difficult sometimes, even temperamental, but she is not mad .

Although they cannot pretend to have "solved" the problem of induction,

Although they cannot pretend to have "solved" the problem of induction, scientists have no qualms whatsoever about making inductive inferences in their work. Likewise, I take it that judges and lawyers agree that murder is a terrible crime, even if they are at a loss to explain why one's death is a harm to one. Why is it that we feel totally comfortable in going about the various activities of human life, even when there are (seemingly) gaping holes in the philosophical theories which are supposed to underwrite or justify those activities?

It is not obvious to me that we - we philosophers, that is - do feel totally comfortable about the activities of human life. We worry about induction, whether death is an evil because it deprives us of some good, and so on. But there is no absolute requirement to worry, and most people don't. And that is perfectly rational. In just the same way, I am not worried at all about the fact that I have no idea why gravity works. I can walk happily about on the surface of the earth without really understanding why I don't fly off it. Physics is a specialist activity that most people don't need. We don't have to understand too much of it to go about our daily lives without a lot of intellectual discomfort. But we can if we want, or we can try to!

It is not obvious to me that we - we philosophers, that is - do feel totally comfortable about the activities of human life. We worry about induction, whether death is an evil because it deprives us of some good, and so on. But there is no absolute requirement to worry, and most people don't. And that is perfectly rational. In just the same way, I am not worried at all about the fact that I have no idea why gravity works. I can walk happily about on the surface of the earth without really understanding why I don't fly off it. Physics is a specialist activity that most people don't need. We don't have to understand too much of it to go about our daily lives without a lot of intellectual discomfort. But we can if we want, or we can try to!