Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Determinism

Don’t Hate Trump Voters–Hate the System that Creates Them

I’ve been disappointed in my side over the last 48 hours. On social media aggressive posts are circulating personally blaming and shaming Trump supporters for Trump’s victory and for criminal acts motivated by hate. Columnists are lashing out, reductively attributing Trump’s victory to racism and sexism alone on the basis of exit polls which show the same kinds of gaps in support among the races and the sexes that we’ve long seen in previous races dating all the way back to the 70s and beyond. The last time women were more likely to vote for a Republican was 1960 (when they skewed slightly toward Nixon) and black voters haven’t gone for a Republican since before the New Deal. Too many people are doubling down on the same failed strategy that brought us to this pass. But just as importantly, by blaming the voters as individual agents, these people are contradicting fundamental left wing principles.

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Michio Kaku is Demonstrably Wrong about Free Will

The other day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video featuring Michio Kaku, the famous theoretical physicist and public intellectual. I usually appreciate his ability to explain complex scientific concepts in ways that are comprehensible for a lay audience, but in this video (entitled “Why Quantum Physics Ends the Free Will Debate“), Kaku stepped well outside his area of expertise and delivered a breathtakingly facile argument that any person with elementary academic training in philosophy can easily and demonstrably disprove.

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What Kind of God Do Monotheists Believe In?

Yesterday, I did some writing about the conflict between secular moral theory and theistic religious moral theory. Today, this has me thinking in greater theoretical detail about the monotheistic position specifically and what it might entail. In the course of this thinking, I have run into something of a dilemma.

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Why Developed Countries Deny God

I ran across a fascinating Pew survey today about the extent to which people in different parts of the world believe that belief in god is necessary to justify moral views. It is a rare thing to get such a comprehensive look at the philosophical and theological views of people all around the world. Even more interestingly, the Pew survey reveals important relationships between the kind of society we have and the way we think about moral philosophy.

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How Babies Learn Philosophy

Often, when subjectivists and nihilists claim that human beings construct their own conceptions of morality, they ignore the manner in which those constructions arise in the first place. How do people develop their moral beliefs? I argue that we acquire our initial beliefs through a process of social learning that all babies in all times and social contexts participate in. This kind of learning implies an inherent belief in the primacy of the objective, of the external world, and is inconsistent with the subjectivist view.

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