The other day I got into a debate on twitter about the morality of sharing ebooks. Someone was posting free copies of Roger Zelazny’s books on kindle, and I replied that I was entitled to ebooks of the printed books I own. This writer challenged that assertion and asked for an argument. I refused to engage in his Empire-inflected moralizing, that the writer owned the medium his story is printed on, and used the Ship of Theseus example to deconstruct the notion of ownership.
Every ‘why’ question is a subset of the ultimate question: Why is there Something and not Nothing instead? If you can think yourself and the world away, if you can say no, then you are acting in the dimension of the nothing. There is such a thing – the Nothing. We are, Heidegger says, “a placeholder of the nothing.” (What is Metaphysics, p. 38) The transcendence of human beings is therefore Nothing. Continue reading Nothing.
Hypocrisy is the respect vice pays virtue. – La Rochefoucauld
Hypocrisy is essentially an action where one pretends to hold clear and recognized set of values or attitudes but actually doesn’t. Despite choosing vice, the hypocrite understands that virtue is superior and assumes its facade. Therefore, the hypocrite is not being dishonest about good or evil, but rather himself. Continue reading Master Vice: Hypocrisy
“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves from other people that in the end we disguise ourselves from ourselves.” La Rochefoucauld
After 7 years, I was burned out by philosophy, yet I continued to haunt the philosophy section in search for anything radical and profound. Amidst the expected titles commonly found at any bookstore, sat A Short History of Decay. I pulled it off the shelf in the faint hopes of killing time until the cigar shop opened in 20 minutes. After a couple of hours disappeared savoring the salacious prose, I begrudgingly closed the book and hurried to the checkout counter, cackling in glee in the wonderful fortune of uncovering a new thinker that spoke blasphemous music to my eyes.
In passing, I made the argument that because an individual’s life project was closed, we no longer have any right to vilify him for his shortcomings – that we should be honoring his contributions of society instead, especially if we (media and public) have been vilifying him the entire time until his death.
Before death, an individual’s life is an open book, a project to be completed. That’s when we have free reign to disparage and criticize for the wrongdoings or failures. After death, the meaning of the individual’s life is complete, a closed book, and finished.
Michael Jackson’s death has closed off all his possibilities, and puts him at the mercy of others – us. As long as he was alive, he could, through his actions, change the meaning of his future, and his past as well. Continue reading Do you praise or condemn the dead?
I am a contingent being; that which is not logically necessary, i.e., something doesn’t have to be that way. This contingency is the fundamental ontological feature of existence.
The objectification of women is generally a problem of the Other in philosophy. Many philosophers, idealists and realists both, attempt to generate the Other from the self or began their analysis by assuming the existence of the alter ego. The former tries to erect an epistemological bridge from consciousness to consciousness, and the latter tries to assert that one consciousness is already “in touch” with another within the social reality of human existence.
But either way leads to an impasse because they are limited by the assumption that knowledge is the sole means to the discovery of the other. Rather, there is a third alternative: instead of knowledge, being is the ground of our relationships to others. Ontology, not epistemology is the appropriate level of discourse regarding the Other. Continue reading We are all objectified by the Other
Typically, a person does not believe that her belief is a belief. If she does come to believe that a belief is a belief, she will recognize it for what it is, a mere belief, and no longer wholeheartedly believe in it. “To believe is to know that one believes, and to know that one believes is no longer to believe… every belief is a belief that falls short, one never wholly believes what one believes.” (Being and Nothingness, p. 69) A person is able to suspend disbelief in a belief because she fails to spell out to herself the fact that a belief is merely a belief. Spelling out the policy of not spelling out undermines the policy. Coming to believe that a belief is merely a belief undermines the belief. If a person comes to believe that a belief is a belief, then she ceases to be convinced by it and loses faith in it, because by its very nature, belief implies doubt. Continue reading Belief
Do you think there must be a human nature? If such a thing exists, at least a relatively fixed one, then true scientific understanding is possible. Because people, with a very limited amount or set of experiences, are capable of learning their own language, as well as use it creatively, then there must be some sort of “bio-physical structure” within the mind that enables individuals to deduce a unified language from the multiplicity of individual experiences. Continue reading Human Nature: True, False, or merely a construct?