Posts tagged ‘philosophy’

Jewish history and culture have affected many aspects of Western civilization: it literature, its art, its philosophy. One small measure of this is the use of traditionally Jewish names. Abraham Lincoln was named for a Jewish patriarch. So was Noah Webster. Many people today have traditionally Jewish names, such as Adam, Luke, Joshua, Rachel, Sarah, Deborah, Naomi, and Nathan.

List as many well-known people as you can who carry Jewish names.

from Philosophy for Dummies

  1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
  2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
    1. unintelligible or
    2. has an explanation
  3. No rational person should accept premise (2.1) by definition of rationality
  4. A rational person should accept (2.2), that the universe has some explanation for its being.
  5. There are only three kinds of explanations:
    1. Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
    2. Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.
    3. Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.
  6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Even the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.
  7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
  8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
  9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
  10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.

When he was 160, Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, left China so that he could pursue a natural life somewhere else. He mounted a water buffalo and rode toward the boundaries of China.

A warden at the boundary had dreamed that a sage would come. When Lao Tzu arrived, he recognized him as the sage from his dream. The warden begged him to write down the principles of his philosophy.

Lao Tzu sat down and composed the Tao Te Ching (pronounced “dow dir jing”). He then remounted his water buffalo and rode off. No one ever heard of him again. Translated as “The Way and its Power,” the Tao Te Ching is the central scripture of Taoism.


No one knows whether or not this story of the Tao Te Ching is true. If it happened at all, it was about 2,500 years ago. Do you think it matters whether or not the story of writing the Tao Te Ching is true?

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