Mapping the world's opinions

Welcome to Philosophy

This is a place to read about and contribute to discussions about philosophy. Discover the controversies surrounding the world of ideas, questions around the perception of self and issues of the mind and body divide.
Welcome to Philosophy
Welcome to Philosophy
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What are the best research philosophies in academia?

The term research philosophy refers to a system of beliefs and assumptions about the development of knowledge. In layman’s terms, a research philosophy is the choice a researcher makes on how to pursue his research, consciously or subconsciously. Scholars have identified five of the most prominent research philosophies in academia, however, choosing one is a matter of debate.

Is Thanos really a villain?

One of the latest villains in the esteemed and massively popular Marvel Cinematic universe is an alien named Thanos. Far above other beings, he believes that half of the world needs to be exterminated in order to save the planet. This may sound terrible, but Thanos has surprisingly understandable logic. Is Thanos evil, or justified in his claims?

What defines the word "love"?

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Are rationalism and idealism compatible?

Idealism is the belief in mind over matter; the conviction that matter itself has no existence apart from mind (one-directional). "Objects" and "matter" exist only in being perceived. However, several of the most prominent idealist philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Schopenhauer, are also classified as rationalists. Is this possible? Or is it a fundamental contradictio...

Do human beings have free will?

Do we have control over our actions? If we do, what sort of control and to what extent? Free will is the power to act without the constraint of necessity or fate. It is the ability to act at one's own discretion. For centuries, people have wondered how freedom is possible in a world ruled by physical determinism. Reflections on free will have been confined to philosophy until half a century ago, w...

Can someone be transracial?

With the outrage following Rachel Dolezal's falsified claims of being African American in 2015, the question of racial identity has been raised. Should we have the right to identify as a different race than the one assigned at birth? And is transracial identity legitimate, or another means of cultural appropriation?

Mapping the world's opinions.

Does the marketplace of ideas work?

It is said that truth is found where opinions intersect. The marketplace of ideas is the figurative town thoroughfare where zealots and intellectuals barter, subjecting their ideas to the gauntlet of public debate. Much how the best goods and services may rise to the top in a free market economy through innovation and competition, truth and the soundest ideas and philosophies may rise to promin...

Who is the most powerful person of all time?

Throughout history, many people have lived their lives pursuing power. While many fail, some become successful beyond their wildest dreams and wield levels of power unimaginable to most people. From heads of state to business leaders, religious leaders, and intellectual leaders, who was the most powerful person of all time?

Is socialism ethical?

Socialism is the political belief the government should redistribute wealth to close the economic gap in society. Many argue that this is a far better way to live, as all citizens can life with the secure knowledge that they will be protected by the state. But is it ethical for this to happen because the state took money away from another citizen?

Do theodicies explain why God allows evil in the world?

A theodicy is a story that attempts to demonstrate that the presence of evil in the world does not disprove the existence of a perfectly good, almighty, and all-knowing God. Theodicies and defences are two forms of response to this conundrum. Evil can be classified into natural evil such as disease and physical catastrophes or moral evil, which can be summed up as "man's inhumanity to man."

What do we know about Sigmund Freud's theories?

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), commonly referred to as "the father of psychoanalysis" was an Austrian neurologist and is generally recognized as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. He remains a well-recognised figure and he and his ideas are still frequently referenced in pop culture. Freud has been influential in two related but distinct ways. He simultane...

Is Paul McCartney dead?

Rumours that Paul McCartney died on 9 November 1966 in a car crash and was secretly replaced by a lookalike have persisted for 50 years. Is Paul really still around? Or has he been replaced by Billy Shears?

Is political correctness detrimental to society?

Although founded on the idea that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, political correctness is frequently used to dismiss opinions as racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic. What is the real impact of political correctness? Does it foster harmony, or is it a weapon to stifle debate and dismiss controversial opinions as invalid?

What is society?

Societies have been a core part of human interaction since the beginning of mankind. But what is society? A shared geography? A shared culture? Coming together to work towards a shared goal? Do they even exist?

Should abortion be legal?

Throughout the world, abortions and a woman's right to have them remain taboo. As abortion is illegal in many countries, women sometimes going to extreme and dangerous lengths to obtain them. Going beyond whether or not terminating a pregnancy is right or wrong, what are the pros and cons of abortion? And should abortion as a medical procedure be legal?

What is the Mind-Body problem?

What is the mind? Since the beginning of civilization, we have grappled with the idea of consciousness. Could the study of our brain and nervous system account for conscious thought? If not, what are the relationships between the non-physical processes and the physical ones?

Is Salafi Islam compatible with secular Western cultures?

If you have read Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations or listened to Slavoj Žižek’s commentary on coexistence of cultures in the postmodern world (mainly the West); and reviewed the rhetoric of some Salafi Muslim clerics and European ecclesiastical leaders, you will be able to draw parallels in the sometimes subtle references to exhalation of “self” and denigration of the “other”.

Is western liberalism obsolete?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times that western liberalism is obsolete. Its obituary is being written by everyone from former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and journalists like Edward Luce and James Traub. Authoritarian China is ascendant. Free trade, the rule of law, freedom of movement and toleration are in troub...

Are dream interpretations accurate?

Understanding dream meanings has fascinated mankind for millennia. In ancient Greece, physicians believed dreams conveyed indications of diseases present in the body. Sigmund Freud thought dreams revealed repressed desires. Since then, pop psychologists, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts have all begun offering interpretations of clients' dreams. But are dream interpretations accurate?

Is social media outrage a positive force in society?

The age-old maxim goes, "if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention". This has never been more applicable. Nothing drives social media engagement like outrage and social media platforms have embraced models designed to inflame and spark anger. The success of positive social and political movements like #MeToo and the Arab Spring largely stem from social media outrage but is it a positive ...

Does God exist?

For much of time people have questioned the existence of God. This question understands God as ‘Supreme Being and Creator of the Universe’, not a specific God (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or other), and explores the various positions and arguments for and against the existence.

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