PHILOS 2 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Definition

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Published on 11 Sep 2017
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1. Is there a first beginning of everything?
if anything happens or exits, it has to be a reason or a cause. Like event A is caused by B,
ad eet B is aused  eet C… so o ad so o. It seems like it can go on forever.
But if the past is infinite, then it would take an infinite amount of time to reach the
current moment. Since we are at the current moment, therefore, the past must have a
beginning. However, what puzzling is that it seems arbitrary when we try to locate a
beginning. No matter what point we choose as the beginning, what makes that point
qualified as a beginning and what makes it better than the other? And we can always ask
the same question (what is the cause) for that point?
One response for the puzzle is that infinite sequence of negative integers implies the
possibility of an infinity past. There are infinitely many numbers before 0 but it does not
raise a question about how 0 was reached, therefore an infinite past should not be any
more puzzling that. This response is trying target at the argument that there must be a
beginning. Another response that target at the problem that we cannot locate the first
beginning by arguing it is not a problem of the world, but the problem out ourselves. We
cannot figure out which point is the first beginning, does not mean there is no first
beginning but just our lack of abilities.
2. Can we speak about what is not?
This puzzle is about where a negative existential statement could be true. For example,
the stateet Pegasus does ot eist is aout Pegasus, ut if soethig does ot
exist, how can it be an augment about it. It is paradoxical because the statement seems
to be true and is indeed about Pegasus, but it cannot be both.
One response to this puzzle suggest that things do not need to be exist in order to have
something about it. There can be something that have a kind of general being other
existent, such as a subject of discourse or subsistence.
Another solutio for the puzzle argues that the stateet Pegasus does ot eist is
true as long as everything existed is not a Pegasus, which there is no need to refer to
nonexistent objects.
3. Can one and the same thing change over time?
the issue is about identity, a very universal relation that very being has with itself. When
two things are identical, they are the same things having the exactly the same qualities.
Yet, with things like a person, a tree, things that can be called space-time continuants
that change overtime (such as cell renewing), we still consider them to be the same
while continue changing qualities overtime, which seems to be puzzling.
Three main ways to go about it: 1. As long as the core of being stay the same, the other
qualities changes does not matter. But the question would be what would be the
core/essence, and answer would be vague that makes more things identical while they
are not. 2. Memory is the core/essence to human identity. As long as one maintain the
unity of its memory, it is the same person. But problems could be same memories
different entity, and memories could be faulty. 3. We are just not identical as changing
space-time continuants, identity in that way is not what should be taking about! What
should be talking about is space-time slices that exist instantly. Very slice is self-
identical, and all those slices made up me, there so no identify over time, and no
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problem of changes. But the problem would be what would be the principle of
aggregation of slices.
4. Can there be only finitely many things?
Taking two distinct things from many things, there is must be a separator between the
two things to distinct and separate them. But between that separator and one of the
thing, there is another separator separates the two. So, it is puzzling because it seems
like there are infinite separations of the things. Therefore, there are infinitely many
things.
5. Can I reach a destination? (Chapter 4)
Before anyone reach the destination, he or she has to reach the mid-point and the
destination, and before that he or she has to reach the mid-point of me and the mid-
poit….ad o ad o, foreer. “o it sees he or she has to reach infinitely many points,
before reach the destination.
6. Can Achilles overtake the tortoise?
When tortoise run first, in order to reach tortoise, Achilles must make up for the
distance of the head start. But during the time Achilles reach there, tortoise has moved
ahead further, and Achilles has to make up for that distance. So on and so on. It seems
like Achilles can never overtake tortoise.
It is puzzling because it is obvious that Achilles will reach certain destination earlier that
tortoise because of a higher speed, and to do that Achilles must overtake tortoise at
some point. But when the problem change from reaching a destination to reaching a
moving target, it seems like Achilles can never overtake the moving target because
when Achilles reach where the moving target was, the moving target has moved away.
7. Can a flying arrow move?
When we say something is moving we mean that it is at where it is not. When we divide
the motion of a flying arrow into instants, for every instant, the arrow is at where it is
at, it is in a place equal to itself. Therefore, it is at rest and is not moving at all.
A response to this puzzle challenges that time cannot be divided into instants. Time,
which is continuality moving, should not be made up with still instances, because
instances are frozen point that is out of time. Time should be made up of times, which
are small sections of time that are moving instead of frozen.
8. Can anything be learned by asking a question?
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Document Summary

Is there a first beginning of everything? if anything happens or exits, it has to be a reason or a cause. Like event a is caused by b, a(cid:374)d e(cid:448)e(cid:374)t b is (cid:272)aused (cid:271)(cid:455) e(cid:448)e(cid:374)t c so o(cid:374) a(cid:374)d so o(cid:374). It seems like it can go on forever. But if the past is infinite, then it would take an infinite amount of time to reach the current moment. Since we are at the current moment, therefore, the past must have a beginning. However, what puzzling is that it seems arbitrary when we try to locate a beginning. One response for the puzzle is that infinite sequence of negative integers implies the possibility of an infinity past. There are infinitely many numbers before 0 but it does not raise a question about how 0 was reached, therefore an infinite past should not be any more puzzling that.

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