Probability

The concept of other universes has been proposed to explain why our universe seems to be fine-tuned for conscious life as we experience it. If there were a infinite number of different physical laws in as many universes, some of these would have laws that were suitable for stars, planets and life to exist.

The weak anthropic principle could then be applied to conclude that we would only consciously exist in those universes which were finely tuned for our conscious existence. Thus, while the probability might be extremely small that there is life in most of the universes, this scarcity of life-supporting universes does not imply intelligent design as the only explanation of our existence.

We must be prepared to take account of the fact that our location in time as well as space is necessarily privileged to the extent of being compatible with our existence as observers. The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve.

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Hiking

Swampman is the subject of a philosophical thought experiment introduced by Donald Davidson, in his 1987 paper “Knowing One’s Own Mind”. The experiment runs as follows:

Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bolt spontaneously rearranges a bunch of molecules such that, entirely by coincidence, they take on exactly the same form that Davidson’s body had at the moment of his untimely death.

This being, whom Davidson terms ‘Swampman’, has, of course, a brain which is structurally identical to that which Davidson had, and will thus, presumably, behave exactly as Davidson would have. He will walk out of the swamp, return to Davidson’s office, and write the same essays he would have written. He will interact like an amicable person with all of Davidson’s friends and family, and so forth.

Davidson holds that there would nevertheless be a difference, though no one would notice it. Swampman will appear to recognize Davidson’s friends, but it is impossible for him to actually recognize them, as he has never seen them before. As Davidson puts it, “it can’t recognize anything, because it never cognized anything in the first place.”

Harmonization

Peak experience is a term used to describe certain transpersonal and ecstatic states, particularly ones tinged with themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness. Participants characterize these experiences, and the revelations imparted therein, as possessing an ineffably mystical quality or essence.

They usually come on suddenly and are often inspired by deep meditation, intense feelings of love, exposure to great art or music, or the overwhelming beauty of nature. Peak experiences are described as especially joyous and exciting moments in life, involving sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, wonder and awe, and possibly also involving an awareness of transcendental unity or knowledge of higher truth.

Peak experience tends to be uplifting and ego-transcending; it releases creative energies; it affirms the meaning and value of existence; it gives a sense of purpose to the individual; it gives a feeling of integration; it leaves a permanent mark on the individual, evidently changing them for the better.

Virtually everyone has a number of peak experiences in the course of their life, but often such experiences are taken for granted. In so-called “non-peakers”, peak experiences are somehow resisted and suppressed. Peak experiences should be studied and cultivated, so that they can be introduced to those who have never had them or who resist them, providing them a route to achieve personal growth, integration, and fulfillment.

Nothing

Sense data are supposed representation of real objects in the world outside the mind, about whose existence and properties we often can be mistaken.

According to the theory, sense data objects appear to us exactly as they are. For example, when we turn a coin it appears to us as elliptical. This appearance is not identical with the coin, since the coin is perfectly round. Therefore it is sense data, which somehow represents the round coin to us.

Another example is the reflection which appears to us in a mirror. There is nothing corresponding to the reflection in the world external to the mind, for our reflection appears to us as the image of a human being apparently located inside a wall or a wardrobe. The appearance is therefore a mental object, a sense data object.

From a subjective experience of perceiving something, it is theoretically impossible to distinguish something which exists independently of oneself from an hallucination or mirage. Thus, we do not have any direct access to the outside world that allows us to distinguish it from an illusion based on identical sense data.

Inaccuracy

A double-barreled question is an informal fallacy. It is committed when someone asks a question that touches upon more than one issue, yet allows for only one answer. This may result in inaccuracies in the attitudes being measured for the question, as the respondent can answer only one of the two questions, and cannot indicate which one is being answered.

Many double-barreled questions can be detected by the existence of the word “and” in them. This is not a foolproof test, as the word “and” can exist in properly constructed questions. A question asking about three items is known as triple-barreled question. In legal proceedings, double-barreled question are known as compound questions.

An example of some double-barreled questions would be the following:

“Please agree or disagree with the following statement: cars should be faster and safer.”

“Should the government spend less money on military and more on education?”

The same considerations apply to questions with fixed choice answers, as an answer can also be double-barreled. For example, if a question asks: “What motivates you to work?”, the answer “Pleasant work and nice co-workers” is double-barreled.

Some questions may not be double-barreled but confusingly similar enough to a double-barreled question to result in similar issues. For example, the question “Should the organization reduce paperwork required of employees by hiring more administrators?” can be interpreted as composed of two questions. Double-barreled questions have been asked by professionals, resulting in notable skewed media reports and research pieces.

Assessment

Perspectivism is the view that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes or perspectives which determine any possible judgment of truth or value that may be made. This implies that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively true, but does not necessarily propose that all perspectives are equally valid.

It claims that there are no objective evaluations which transcend cultural formations or subjective designations. This means that there are no objective facts, and that there can be no knowledge of a thing in itself. This separates truth from a single vantage point and means that there are no absolutes. This leads to a constant reassessment of rules according to the circumstances of individual perspectives. Truth is thus formalized as a whole that is created by integrating different vantage points together.

We always adopt perspectives by default, whether we are aware of it or not, and the individual concepts of existence are defined by the circumstances surrounding that individual. Truth is made by and for individuals and people. This view differs from many types of relativism which consider the truth of a particular proposition as something that cannot be evaluated with respect to an absolute truth without taking into consideration culture and context.

It is our needs that interpret the world, our drives and their for and against. Every drive is a kind of lust to rule, and each has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm. This can be expanded into a revised form of objectivity in relation to subjectivity as an aggregate of singular viewpoints that illuminate a particular idea in seemingly self-contradictory ways, but upon closer inspection reveal a difference of contextuality by which such an idea can be validated.

Being

Essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident, a property that the object or substance has contingently without which the substance can still retain its identity.

Essence has often served as a vehicle for doctrines that tend to individuate different forms of existence as well as different identity conditions for objects and properties. In this eminently logical meaning, the concept has given a strong theoretical and common sense basis to the whole family of logical theories.

In existentialist discourse, essence can refer to physical aspect or attribute, to the ongoing being of a person (the character or internally determined goals), or to the infinite inbound within the human (which can be lost, can atrophy, or can be developed into an equal part with the finite), depending upon the type of existentialist discourse.

In metaphysics, essence is often synonymous with the soul, and some existentialists argue that individuals gain their souls and spirits after they exist, and that they develop their souls and spirits during their lifetimes.

The English word “essence” comes from the Latin essentia, which was coined from the Latin esse, “to be” by ancient Roman scholars in order to translate the Ancient Greek phrase “to ti en einai” (literally, “what it is for a thing to be”), coined by Aristotle to denote a thing’s essence.

Quantification

In the philosophy of metaphysics, an ontological commitment is said to be necessary in order to make a proposition in which the existence of one thing is presupposed or implied by asserting the existence of another. We are committed to the existence of the second thing, even though we may not have expected it, and may have intended to assert only the existence of the first. The kind of secondary entities in question are typically abstract objects such as universals, sets, classes, or fictional objects.

The sentence “Napoleon is one of my ancestors” asserts only the existence of two individuals and a line of ancestry between them. The fact that no other people or objects are mentioned seems to limit the commitment of the sentence. However, it is well known that sentences of this kind cannot be interpreted in first order logic, where individual variables stand for individual things. Instead, they must be represented in some second-order form.

For example, the sentence can be rewritten as “any group of people that includes me and the parents of each person in the group must also include Napoleon” which is easily interpreted as a statement in second order logic. Since these variables do not stand for individual objects, it seems we are ontologically committed to entities other than individuals, sets, classes, and so on.

Many philosophers dispute whether we are committed to such associated entities at all. They argue that all assertions are committed only to the existence of the entities which they actually assert. There is a considerable and growing body of literature on plural reference and plural quantification, and it seems counter-intuitive that a sentence commits us to the existence of anything other than what it states. Some see in the grammatical plural simply another way to refer to exactly the same things that the singular form commits us to.

Necessity

Summum bonum is an expression used in medieval philosophy to describe the ultimate importance, the singular and most ultimate end which human beings are to pursue. The summum bonum is generally thought of as being an end in itself, and at the same time containing all other good. In Hinduism and other Eastern Religions, Summum bonum is cognate with such concepts as Dharma, Tao, Shreyas, Moksha, Liberation, Jeevan Mukti, and Self Realization.

The concept, as well as the philosophical and theological consequences drawn from the purported existence of a more or less clearly defined summum bonum, could be traced back to the earliest forms of monotheism. In the Western world, the concept was introduced by the neoplatonic philosophers, and described as a feature of the Christian God by Saint Augustine in On the Nature of Good, written circa 399. Augustine denies the positive existence of absolute evil, describing a world with God as the supreme good at the center, and defining different grades of evil as different stages of remoteness from that center.

Experience soon teaches that all desires cannot be satisfied, that they are conflicting, and that some good must be foregone in order to secure another. Hence the necessity of weighing the relative value of good, of classifying it, and of ascertaining which good must be procured at the loss of another. The result is the division of good into two great classes, the physical and the moral, happiness and virtue. Within either class it is comparatively easy to determine the relation of particular good things to one another, but it has proven far more difficult to fix the relative excellence of the two classes of virtue and happiness. If happiness and virtue are mutually exclusive, we have to choose between the two, and this choice is a momentous one. But their incompatibility may be only on the surface. Indeed, the hope is ever recurring that the sovereign good includes both, and that there is some way of reconciling them.

Inseparability

The endless knot is an ancient symbol representing the interweaving of the spiritual path, the flowing of time, and movement within that which is eternal. All existence, it says, is bound by time and change, yet ultimately rests serenely within the divine and the eternal.

It is a symbolic knot and an important cultural marker in places significantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism such as Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Kalmykia, and Buryatia. It is also sometimes found in Chinese art and used in Chinese knots. The endless knot is known as one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

Various interpretations of the symbol include the endless cycle of suffering or birth, death and rebirth within Tibetan Buddhism, the inter-twining of wisdom and compassion, and the interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their union, and ultimately to harmony in the universe.

It represents the union of wisdom and method, the inseparability of emptiness and the underlying reality of existence, and is also symbolic of the linking of ancestors and omnipresence in the magical ritual and meta-process of binding.

Since the knot has no beginning or end it also symbolizes the infinite wisdom of the Buddha. Endless knots appearing as mystic and mythological symbols have developed independently in various cultures. A well-known example is the various Celtic knots.

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