Hi there, and welcome to what is destined to become your new favourite blog. Unless, of course, you're not very cool. In which case, you probably won't like it very much.

My name is Lance.

I'm a Philosophy major using a philosopher's toolbox to investigate philosophy (that's so meta), politics, literature, nutrition & fitness, education, psychology, sociology, history, science, religion, technology, the general human condition, and more.

Activities that I enjoy include making bad jokes, playing chess, go, & other strategy games, solving puzzles, cooking, eating food drenched in hot sauce, exercising, reading, writing, socializing, taking long walks, and generally striving towards self-improvement and living a fulfilling, virtuous, happy life.

A thoughtful counter-argument is always more appealing to me than unthinking agreement.

 

When ill, while I was projectile vomiting into my toilet, I realized that vomiting is often perceived as a bad thing and that this is completely unjustified. In fact, vomiting is, as some more open-minded people already know, a wholesome and enjoyable activity. These clearly superior, open-minded people are high in the big five personality trait openness to experience, and this openness allows them to bypass societal stereotypes about what is and isn’t an enjoyable activity and find what is truly good in life. This is the precise reason why people binge-drink and develop bulimia nervosa—it’s because vomiting is a wonderful activity and they want to partake in and enjoy it.

goebel:

Confession: back in high school, on several occasions, I got into sometimes heated arguments with peers and in one instance a math teacher regarding whether you can ever divide by zero.

To think that you can NEVER do it is just absurd. There’s good reason that we don’t have answers to problems such as 1/0 and 2/0, because no matter what number we plug in, nothing multiplied by zero will ever be one or two. However, if we say that we can never divide by zero, then 0/0 becomes inert and thus we lose the ability to answer questions like 1*0 and 2*0 because they imply that 0/0 has one and two as solutions.

Confession: back in high school, on several occasions, I got into sometimes heated arguments with peers and in one instance a math teacher regarding whether you can ever divide by zero.

Anonymous asked
I read an article and it was abit confusing. It was about communists and specifically Trotskyists. It made a connection with "going against logos" and atheism being necessary to do this. Whats logos and is greek philosophy incompatible with communism

Based on what’s provided, it’s hard to tell whether “logos,” in context, meant the Greek word for reason or the word of God. Given the theological nature of the article, it seems the word of God is the more likely meaning; though “going against reason” also seems like a possible interpretation. I’d need to read the article to have a more definite answer. You can probably tell which of the two it was, though, having read it.

As for Greek philosophy, it as a whole probably isn’t incompatible with communism. But that’s because Greek philosophy was rather extensive and you can probably find some sort of Greek counterpart for just about every sort of modern belief system.

An example: there’s a section on the Plato’s Ethics page on the Stanford Encyclopedia oh Philosophy which discusses the communism within Plato’s Republic:

One of the most striking features of the ideal city is its abolition of private families and sharp limitation on private property in the two guardian classes. Starting with Aristotle, this communism in the Republic's ideal city has been the target of confusion and criticism. On the one hand, Aristotle (at Politics 1264a11–22) and others have expressed uncertainty about the extent of communism in the ideal city. On the other, they have argued against the provision of any communism in an ideal political community.

There should be no confusion about private property. When Socrates describes the living situation of the guardian classes in the ideal city (415d-417b), he is clear that private property will be sharply limited, and when he discusses the kinds of regulations the rulers need to have in place for the whole city (421c ff.), he is clear that the producers will have enough private property to make the regulation of wealth and poverty a concern. But confusion about the scope of communal living arrangements is possible, due to the casual way in which Socrates introduces this controversial proposal. The abolition of private families enters as an afterthought. Socrates says that there is no need to list everything that the rulers will do, for if they are well educated, they will see what is necessary, including the fact that “marriage, the having of wives, and the procreation of children must be governed as far as possible by the old proverb: friends possess everything in common” (423e6–424a2). It is not immediately clear whether this governance should extend over the whole city or just the guardian classes. Still, when he is pressed to defend the communal arrangements (449c ff.), Socrates focuses on the guardian classes (see, e.g., 461e and 464b), and it seems most reasonable to suppose that the communism about families extends just as far as the communism about property does, on the grounds that only the best people can live as friends with such things in common (cf. Laws 739c-740b).

To what extent the communism of the ideal city is problematic is a more complicated question. The critics either claim that communism is undesirable or impossible. The charge of impossibility essentially extends one of Plato’s insights: while Plato believes that most people are incapable of living without private property and private families, the critics argue that all people are incapable of living without private property. This criticism fails if there is clear evidence of people who live communally. But the critic can fall back on the charge of undesirability. Here the critic needs to identify what is lost by giving up on private property and private families, and the critic needs to show that this is more valuable than any unity and extended sense of family the communal arrangements offer. It is not clear how this debate should go. Plato’s position on this question is a stubbornly persistent ideal, despite the equally stubborn persistence of criticism.

Anonymous asked
Thank you for being such a nice person and helping people out with their asks. You seem like a really cool and interesting person. Can you tell us a little about your background? Such as when you started to get into philosophy and what prompted your interest. Would you say you have faced a far share of adversity, and if so did philosophy, specifically stoicism, help you overcome these difficulties?

No problem; when I help people, that essentially means that I think there’s a good chance that they’re capable of helping themselves but need a push in the right direction. It’s nothing to thank me for; it’s just what I do.

Thank you for your kind words.

My interest in philosophy probably started around 5th grade, though back then I didn’t know that I was interested in philosophy—I thought I was interested in science. Back then, it was mainly philosophy of religion, particularly really bad Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins type philosophy of religion, though it must be said that I’d never read those authors and for the most part, embarrassingly enough, came up with similar ideas to theirs on my own and only discovered them later on. It was only a few years later, around Junior year in high school, that I started to seriously investigate philosophical issues and think about them from more of an agnostic perspective; I learned an important lesson early on: that sometimes our certainty gets in the way of our learning new things.

As for adversity, I probably faced a rather average amount overall. When I was young, I was picked on a lot and that only stopped once I figured out that I didn’t need to let it happen and that I have a voice I can use to stand up for myself.

Stoicism has helped me in that it solidified many of my natural tendencies and thoughts. I’ve always tended to believe that we shouldn’t be concerned with how others perceive us, though I never, on my own, quite put it in the proper terms like the Stoics, Socrates, and the Cynics did. Particularly, we can see my natural tendencies when we look at my few near-death experiences over the years. Once when I was caught in an undertow and thought I was going to drown; I just calmly accepted my fate and was surprised to be let free (I think if I’d panicked instead, I probably would have died). When I was 18, a couple days before Christmas, I had a seizure and as I woke up with my head banging against my dryer, all I could think was “I’m having a seizure…Cool.” As you can tell, I’ve always had an inclination against putting too much stalk in things that I have no control over; I’ve always tended to accept such circumstances rather than getting upset in an attempt to fight against them because of some sense of deserving better from the world.

Anonymous asked
I'm sorry that happened to your family :( it seems so foreign but when it happens to your favorite blogger... <\3

It’s a part of life, I suppose. Events that we’d rather not have happen often do, and it’s our responsibility to deal with them and use them as tools to become better people.

Anonymous asked
Why are you fasting 'til the 22nd?

On September 17th of 2009, my father was murdered. And so I’m doing this to honour and remember him. Also, the 22nd is both the day of his wake and the day his murderer was apprehended.

Now is when I ordinarily have my meal on Wednesdays so the hunger just really hit me. But that’s not a reason to break my commitment. I told myself that I’d fast until the 22nd, so that’s what I’ll do. My impulses may tell me to do one thing, but I still have a choice in the matter; this is something that it’s important for us to remember: that we have choice in much of what we do.

What is White Privilege? Does White Privilege exist? White Privilege is the viral word of the month, schools are starting to teach it in the classroom. But there’s a larger issue at hand. It’s Asian Privilege.