What’s this about? Life, the universe and everything, as I see and explore it… typical stuff for a blog I guess.

Who am I? Ron Murphy. I have a wife; two kids who have flown the nest, and two cats who haven’t.

What do I do? Sit on my rear all day. Developing software. And when I want a break I route around the net, sometimes commenting on other blogs, occasionally gathering my thoughts on here, spending too much time on Twitter … where the “someone was wrong on the internet” is the most apt cartoon:

Duty Calls – xkcd

What do I believe in? I try not to believe in anything, but instead try to figure out what it is I’ve stumbled across.

So what way do I lean? Liberal, humanist, atheist, indeterminate determinist – all contingent.

Oh, and Man City – I think this is what might be filling up my ‘God module’ and preventing me falling for that old black magic that we know so well.


Some other bits …

My Twitter Etiquette


15 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Ron,

    This is one of the Steve’s from WEIT. I have a reply to Tom’s Huemer argument to vaporize determinism. (Well he’d try to couch that as philosophic determinism, which for him means non-free willism…. but as you know he is pretty undisciplined about his use of the term determinism, and apparently his understanding of determinism.)

    Anyway, before I post my reply, I wanted to ask you if you have time to give my reply a sanity check.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Not sure where his definition of determinism comes from; and I can’t make sense of the Huemer stuff. I’ve even gone back a Huemer page and found no correspondence there. You might be best off first asking him for links to his definition of determinism and Huemer.

    But by all means post here.

  3. Ron,

    Here is what I am ready to post.

    Tom constructs this argument:

    If we ought to have true beliefs, then we can have true beliefs. And if determinism is true, then if we can have true beliefs, we do have true beliefs. So if determinism is true, then if I’m a libertarian about free will, my belief in libertarianism is true.

    But in his usage Tom is implying “If we ought to always only have true beliefs, then we can always only have true beliefs”?
    Which then would lead to, “And if determinism is true, then if we can always only have true beliefs, we do always only have true beliefs”.
    Non-free willists do not necessarily support the first leg of the argument, because of the determination that it is not possible for us to always only have true beliefs. (Remember it is not reasonable to expect someone to ought do something that they are incapable of doing.)
    The conclusion therefore does not stand.

    Do you think I have uncovered the flaw in his argument?

  4. The real flaw is his ‘ought implies can’, and the problem with that is the ‘ought’. He (and Huemer) is trying to use modal logic where it doesn’t fit – in particular deontic modal logic, which presupposes morality. Under determinism there is no morality. I’ve tried to explain that to him, but he doesn’t seem to get it. I suspect he believes in the objectivity of morality.

    He also has a problem with his definition of determinism.

    So, these two points need to before he can get any further. True beliefs is a complete red herring. I’d avoid it.

  5. Sure it is tricky, but I want to undo his argument on his own level.

    It is an insult to think that any argument that includes “determinism says all beliefs are true” passes what one would call a sanity check. He is in big trouble the day he is doing his check book and he calculates his bank balance to 10,000,000 so he runs out and buys a yacht based on a math error.

    Thanks for the link to what you think might be where he got his OIC argument. I think it is in Step 3 that that case falls down. “If determinism is true, then whatever can be done, is done.” This simply is not the case, and this is not what determinism says. Determinism is saying that whatever has been done was the only thing that could have been done… which is a different thing than whatever can be done, is done.

    1. I know it’s frustrating. But patience is crucial in getting to the bottom of such a problem. If you try to tackle too much in one go he won’t be able to take it in. Until he accepts the proper definition of determinism, and understands the problem with ‘ought implies can’ then he is stuck with his belief that they are right.

      From a logic point of view the ‘ought implies can’ proposition contains two elements from model logic: deontic logic on the one hand and possibility/necessity on the other. But it doesn’t make sense to combine them

      The inference is also from Kant, but assumes some binding nature of ‘ought’, as if objectively real, or given by God.

      An evil god could insist, as part of his divine morality, that you ought to do something even though you can’t possibly do it. The usual objection, that it doesn’t make sense to insist someone do something they can’t, doesn’t apply because an evil god not only doesn’t care that you can’t, it’s part of the kick he gets out of insisting you ought to. Of course we don’t have to accept divine or objective morality at all, and without such ‘oughts’ there’s no inference to make.

      The ‘ought implies can’ is a reasonable human maxim, in business and economics, because if you’re the boss and insist that such and such *must* be done, and it can’t be, then you’re going to be disappointed.

      But as philosophical logic it’s bollocks.

  6. You are a fucking cunt. A smarmy, longwinded, fucking cunt filled with arrogance and bile. Your blog sucks. You suck. Fuck you.

    1. Some of your sentiments are undoubtedly true. But ‘You suck’? – Not usually, but for the right price I’ll consider it. Thank you for dropping by.

  7. s klein

    Cummins just did the same to me for questioning her “mindless” parroting of psychological bromides. Her approach — do not address the issues; rather note that I rant, am unknowledgable, etc.

    Maybe I do rant — but it is respec to her avoidance of serious discourse in favor of spouting platitudes and then attempting to educate me.

    Our discussion is at psychology today (that esteemed publication) and concerns psychological science. i do not know or care if you share my concerns — but it is entertaining to see her again in action.

  8. Hi Ron,
    Nice site. I stumbled on this site through your comments http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/philosophy/thomas-nagel-mind-and-cosmos-review-leiter-nation
    Happy to find a person with similar outlook to life. As you have mentioned “…I try not to believe in anything, but instead try to figure out what it is I’ve stumbled across…..” , I figured out that at least we are in same page on many things. Thank you for creating such awareness among humankind , which i am not doing much, being a lazy cat.

    BTW you have mentioned 2 children….flew away from nest….What about your wife? Still in nest? Sorry for asking personal questions, but just curious, because in my nest, ALL might be tolerating my presence till I fly away 🙂

  9. Humanist, atheist, based on reading philosophy & science, evidence and reason. A contingent materialist; a determinist. They’re probably the main points.

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