The Philosophy of Music

Introduction from Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Oliver Sacks, 2007)

Existentialism as the Complement to a Scientific Worldview

On the possibility of an existentialism, which is just the complement of a scientific world-view

I have: [existentialism]:n. A philosophy that emphasises the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. Whilst the word 'existentialism' was obviously coined within the Continental Philosophical tradition ;

A World Without Evil?

1.0 What is "evil"? Is there a common language or philosophical definition that is secular, or must it rely on religious and metaphysical attachments?
1.1 A religious-metaphysical notion of evil is that it is associated as a supernatural moral position, commonly associated with extreme forms of blasphemy, heresy etc. In a secular context, where moral norms are not derived from supernatural assertions, moral evil can be described in the context of extreme actions contrary to normative positions.

The Metaphysics of Physicalism and Idealism

"The great basic question of all philosophy, especially of more recent philosophy, is that concerning the relation of thinking and being.... the question of the relation of thinking to being, the relation of the spirit to nature - the paramount question of the whole of philosophy ... The answers which the philosophers gave to this question split them into two great camps. Those who asserted the primacy of spirit to nature... comprised the camp of idealism.

Ontology of Space and Time

1.0 Traditional religious views

1.1 The Hindu Vedas describe a cyclical cosmology of time, in which the universe goes through repeated cycles of creation, destruction, and rebirth, with each cycle lasting 4,320,000 years. Hindu comsology also argues "There are innumerable universes besides this one ... they are unlimitedly large (Bhagavata Purana c750 CE).

Small Gods on the Pale Blue Dot


This address brings together some of the ideas of two great thinkers of our time; Terry Pratchett and Carl Sagan. It is from Terry Pratchett's satirical fantasy novel "Small Gods" that themes of religious oppression, false belief, and sincerity is addressed. It is from Carl Sagan's scientific humanism, espoused in "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space" that a better sense of perspective, our relative importance, and a hope for our future, can be derived. On an abstract level, combining the two could initially be seen as a difficult or even foolish project. One is fantasy fiction, the other is hard science with a humanist angle. But of course, it is not abstract genres that are being discussed here, but rather the thematic content.

Terry Pratchett is an English author of fantasy fiction, most well known for the Discworld series which now spans over forty novels in its own right. The Discworld In the 1990s he was the UK's best-selling author, and has sold over 85 million books in 37 languages. In 1998 he was awarded an OBE and in 2009 in he was knighted for his services to literature, which I am sure he took with comic humour to the pomp and ceremony. Perhaps more to his liking, he received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010. In late 2007 he announced that he was suffering from early onset Alzheimer's disease, and just a few days ago he had to pull out from his planned attendance as guest to the International Discworld Convention, stating "the Embuggerance is finally catching up with me".

Carl Sagan was an American astrophysicist and science communicator, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, and the the author of over six hundred scientific papers and author, co-author, or editor of over twenty books. Whilst his scientific research contributed enormously to the discovering the surface temperatures of Venus, he is most famous as the co-author and presented of the television series Cosmos in the 1980s, broadcast to over 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people. Sagan was also an advocate of the Search for Extra-Terristerial Intelligence (SETI), a view expressed in his best-selling science fiction novel, Contact, published in 1985, and made into a film in 1997. Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62 on December 20, 1996.

Philosophy of Language Roundtable Discussion

1.0 Definition and Interests

1.1 Language is the structured means of communication. Communication is the activity where expressions (ideas, feelings, etc) are expressed symbolically (through speech, writing, gestures) through a medium between two or more participants. In order for communication to be successful it is necessary for the language utilised to be meaningful and mutually understood.

Unitarians and Astrology Debate

Yesterday evening, while attending a meeting at the Melbourne Unitarian Church, I picked up the latest (Autumn) issue of the ANZUUA Quest. It includes a transcript of the address given by the Rev. Bill Darlison at the 2013 ANZUUA Conference in Auckland. (I believe it has also been posted on the Internet.)

[Article is available on Bill Darlison's 'blog.]

Radical Self-responsibility as an Existential Ethical-end

What is intended by the title : "Radical Self-responsibility as an existential ethical-end "

A Militant Atheit's Viewpoint On Agnosticism

Thank you all for coming to hear me this afternoon. I must also thank David Miller, not only for inviting me to speak today, but for suggesting the title of the talk.

I think it makes sense to begin by defining the terms used in my title.

First, atheism and atheist. In a restricted and rather obsolete sense an atheist is someone who does not believe in a particular god or goddess; but in the modern and normal sense an atheist does not believe in the god of Abrahamic monotheism, Yahweh, Jehovah, El, Allah or God with a capital G, and almost always does not believe in gods and goddesses in general.

In my case I do not believe in the religious sense. I do not have religious faith or a faith. I do not believe in an entity or non-entity called "no God" or accept straw-man definitions by people seeking to discredit atheism. In short, my answer to the question "Do you believe in God?" is no.

Pages

Subscribe to Lightbringers RSS