My philosophical views

The answers shown here are not necessarily the same provided as part of the 2009 PhilPapers Survey. These answers can be updated at any time.

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A priori knowledge: yes or no?Accept: yesThrough the evolutionary process, human beings come equipped with set parameters of perception which help as survival mechanisms. Kant seems to have it right when considering the categories that drive human beings to see the world in a set way, especially the notion of space/time.
Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism?Lean toward: PlatonismForms are a helpful way to get one's head around the abstract universe. Plato seems to be on to something here.
Aesthetic value: objective or subjective?Lean toward: subjectiveThe likes and dislikes of particular forms of art depend mostly on the culture of which one is exposed to. Granted, some aversions to particular colors may be genetically encoded; but for the most part, the overall effect of artistic appreciation is determined through personal preference guided by cultural influences.
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?Lean toward: yesAlthough analytic propositions appear to be tautologies, they are distinct from a posteriori propositions, and are still helpful to understand the underlying structure of language.
Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism?Lean toward: externalismIn the case of knowledge, external evidence seems to always be required, but this leaves the issue of humanity as truthmakers.
External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism?Lean toward: non-skeptical realismVarious assumptions are made concerning the way the world is. Reasonably from an evolutionary standpoint, human beings would develop ways of mapping their surroundings based upon how the world is from a macro-view. Although quantum physics provides counter-intuitive evidence regarding the way the world is, the practical perceptions of daily existence seem to reflect how the world works without appealing to any insubstantial mindset.
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?Lean toward: compatibilismCompatibilism is perhaps another term for soft determinism, a position which seems the most tenable. Consider the Borges' analogy of "The Garden of Forking Paths." Agents can choose to go down one path rather than another, but ultimately the destination is the same. Because free will is difficult to define from the outset, the problem of free will continues to pose challenges for a general solution. However, at present the compatibilist position seems to preserve the notion of personal responsibility as well as to maintain the deterministic causal chain of events.
God: theism or atheism?Lean toward: theismI do not discount the possibility of intelligent design. Science is always in a tentative state of providing knowledge. We must not allow ourselves to become complacent in its endeavor. Truths may be revealed in religion that science fails to provide.
Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism?Accept an intermediate viewEmpiricism seems to be the safest position to hold since from a pragmatic point of view, it can be confirmed through observation. Yet the equipment that we use to interpret empirical data seems to have some pre-built notions that guide the interpretation. Nevertheless, the dichotomy may need to be revised all together, depending upon if one ascribes to a phenomenological viewpoint.
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism?Lean toward: relativismIn the case of moral theory, relativism is the most tenable position. As the only constant is change, one must leave open the flux in refining or even reshaping knowledge altogether.
Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean?Lean toward: HumeanThe Laws of Nature may be devoid of causal chains as the human mind interprets these events solely as a way to organize the world. This seems to be currently substantiated on the micro level of quantum mechanics.
Logic: classical or non-classical?Lean toward: non-classicalExtended awareness of logical connections either grounded in abstract or empirical content leads to systems of thinking that go beyond classical logic. Classical logic may be too restrictive to handle certain issues of paradox and alternative logic could provide the key to solving formal problems otherwise seen as intractable.
Mental content: internalism or externalism?Accept: internalismThe mind represents the world through internal workings. Although most of mind can be considered transparent through observable behaviors, people cannot in the strictest sense, share thoughts. Internal representational content seems to be a reasonable approach to understanding mind.
Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism?Lean toward: moral realismMorality is the set of laws that reflect the expression of interests, desires, and attitudes based upon a given culture. The Humean position seems the most tenable, but because of the expression of morality can be just as powerful as any observable fact, moral realism is a reasonable position to hold.
Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism?Lean toward: non-naturalismIf non-naturalism refers to issues of morality outside of the natural sciences, then non-naturalism is certainly in a category of its own within the realm of meta-ethics. Ethical issues cannot be reduced completely to quantified scientific explanations.
Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism?Lean toward: physicalismThere is no substantial evidence that the body exists beyond death. If one looks at the facts, it is likely that materialism is true. Yet this leaves the touchy issue of consciousness which has not been fully explained solely through physical processes.
Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism?Lean toward: cognitivismCognitivism is the theory that accepts the existence of mental states in addition to behavioral conditioning from external forces. While a large part of moral decision-making depends upon cultural conditioning, cognitive processes are at work to modify one's judgments as based on autonomous reasoning despite past experience. The complexity of moral decisions keeps the notion of internal reformulated thought processes alive and which remain the architect to control the deliberate modification of external behaviors.
Moral motivation: internalism or externalism?Accept bothConditioned responses from external influences prompt the agent to behave a certain moral way. Likewise internal processes are at work to compel one toward a set of moral alternatives entertained within the mind's eye. Acceptance of an internal world seems reasonable based upon introspection, and the fact that others are not privy to or directly accessible to an individual's thoughts.
Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes?Lean toward: two boxesNewcomb's paradox as defined by Nozick, is set up as a decision making game where a Predictor, some very successful (but not always) forecaster can determine the actions of a person in choice situations. Box A can contain $1000 dollars while Box B can contain either nothing or one million dollars. One can either choose both boxes and guarantee at least a payout of a thousand dollars, or take the risk and only choose Box B and hope to get more money. However, the Predictor likely knows ahead of time what box one would choose, so the chances of getting more money are slim. Yet another option is to choose both boxes, but no payout of one million plus a thousand dollars is guaranteed. The rational choice would be to choose both boxes to at least guarantee some money in the end. Yet others would disagree, mentioning that the risk is worth it to pick only one box. Newcomb's problem has difficulty for solving in that the idea that the past can somehow be changed leads to an insoluble outcome due to unnatural circumstances. It is mostly a thought experiment that perhaps confuses more than one decision making model.
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics?Accept more than onePeople often determine the consequences of their actions in the general scheme of moral happiness (consequentialism). They also rely upon rules to tell them how to act morally (deontology). Yet they generally also want often to be ethical and consider the benefits of certain acts to themselves and to others (virtue ethics). Normative ethics is not reducible to any single position, but must account for moral situations as they arise by one employing all of the positions mentioned, giving emphasis to one over the other moreso depending upon the unique moral situation.
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory?Lean toward: representationalismThe world appears to be a miniature representation of the world within the mind that is constantly being reinterpreted and reformed throughout the lifespan. Although there are common threads of experience, the representations get revamped and reconstituted both by past experience and new experiences that are incorporated into memory.
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view?Lean toward: psychological viewThe popular view is that wherever one's brain goes, so does the person. That is, personal identity is defined as the repository of memories, propensities, and gathered perceptions uniquely constructed through brain processes. Technically, mental events need to be present for the person to have a sense of self. Thus, zombies do not have personal identity, nor do automatons in the strictest sense. Yet the biological view has merits which allow for essence to be maintained for personhood.
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?Lean toward: egalitarianismAlthough much of who we are is developed through and beholden to family and community (communitarianism), the optimistic view is preferred (egalitarianism). Allowing for individuals to flourish productively without the hindrance of rules and to provide equal opportunity for citizens is commendable. Libertarianism is too extreme since human beings share common space, no longer allowing for unbridled freedom, especially when considering property rights in an ever densely populated planet. Thus, egalitarianism is (simplistically put) the middle ground that still has practical application.
Proper names: Fregean or Millian?Accept bothFrege and Mill's theories of proper names both suggest that they have nonconnotative senses, and that statements such as "Hesperus is Phospherus" still have referential meaning as containing factual content.
Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism?Lean toward: scientific realism "Anti-realism applies chiefly to claims about the non-reality of "unobservable" entities such as electrons or DNA, which are not detectable with human senses." Scientists will ultimately revamp the structural notions of these "unobservables." However, this does not mean that there is nothing out there, and thus whether or not we completely understand the multiplicity of operations connected with such unseen phenomena still suggests that something exists in a pattern that has an implied connection with human cognition.
Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?Lean toward: survivalThis issue of teletransporting is related to issues in personal identity. It can be viewed as an old question related to the "Ship of Theseus" paradox. Let's suppose a teleporter exists and that one gets rematerialized to another location with a completely new set of atoms. One still survives conceptually as a result of the process. Although the analogy of carbon copying or cloning is loosely connected to explanation of this position, it is easy to see how one can survive death through a cloning process if one can live with an alternate form of defining one's own life. Even if the process of rematerializing takes millions of years, one still remains encased in some personhood, much the same as in the case of kryogenics.
Time: A-theory or B-theory?Accept: B-theoryThe past, present and future are equally real, and so the B-theory has more argumentative force. In addition, current research in quantum mechanics provides corroborating evidence. Although the future does not seem as real as the past and present, the difference is related to issues of epistemology and not metaphysics. We simply know less about the future than anything else.
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch?Accept: switchBecause one would value the life of more people instead of a single person, morally speaking one would be compelled to pull the switch.
Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic?Lean toward: correspondenceEven though there is counter-intuitive evidence suggesting that the world is very different from our perception of it, there is common sense evidence to support that what we see is actually the way things are in a given slice of time. As science makes progressive strides in physics, more correspondence evidence will mount--at least this is a reasonable prediction. Statements about the world, such as "the cat is on the mat," have direct relationship to the state of affairs at any given point in time. Although the correspondence theory has problems with circularity, the logical inconsistencies may be reworked at some time using alternative logic.
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible?Lean toward: conceivable but not metaphysically possibleZombies that can appear human but lack the ability to feel pain, but nevertheless give outward mimicry of feeling pain, still can be imagined. Yet because of the limitations of human reason, we cannot grasp the nature of this stimulus-response relationship. We simply lack the fundamental equipment to analyze such phenomena.