Monday, December 10, 2012

Freewill is Illusory


Manuel Velasquez introduces various ideas in his book, Philosophy: A Text with Readings, that compels disgust from the reader, however, it is Velasquez's presentation on Metaphysical stances like Determinism, Libertarianism, and Compatibilism that paint a stark reality. Determinism is the belief that events are out of humans control due to "pre-existing conditions," such as health and social class (12; 189); Libertarianism is the approach that combines deterministic aspects with free-will (191); and Compatibilism is the view that redefines freedom---which in the process takes the best aspects from Determinism and Libertarianism (193). Not only does Velasquez introduce the aforementioned philosophies, but he also showcases what leading people were saying in their respective realms. For example, Velasquez points out people such as Paul Henri d'Holbach and Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace advocate Determinism; Viktor Frankl and Jean-Paul Sartre promote Libertarianism; and Thomas Hobbes and Immanuel Kant argue on behalf of Compatibilism. What is amusing about how Velasquez discusses the aforementioned philosophies is the manner in which he describes them because even though he is impartial, the approach Velasquez uses to present criticisms to the mentioned philosophies implies that he does not agree with everything that each philosophy posits.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Manuel Velasquez's Philosophy: A Text with Readings (Book Review Part 6)


The manner in which Velasquez discusses Metaphysics is interesting because he uses a dialectal approach that is reminiscent of Socrates' dialogues, yet falls short of being Hegelian dialectals because Velasquez does not synthesize his thesis and anti-thesis. In fact, when discussing Metaphysics the good author is diplomatic because he is being impartial about whether he agrees with the new philosophies he introduces including: Idealism, the view that ideas explain how humans perceive reality; Pragmatism, the view that there is no "absolute view" on reality; Logical Positivism, the stance that language limits how reality is described; Phenomenology and Existentialism, perspectives that seek to describe nature through consciousness; Determinism, the belief that events are out of humans' control due to "pre-existing conditions" such as health and social class; and Libertarianism, the approach that combines deterministic aspects with free-will. What is amusing about how Velasquez discusses the aforementioned philosophies is the manner in which he describes them because even though he is impartial, the language Velasquez uses to present criticisms to the mentioned philosophies implies that he does not agree with everything that each philosophy posits.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Manuel Velasquez's Philosophy: A Text with Readings (Book Review Part 5)


What is amusing about the way that Velasquez started discussing human nature is that Velasquez cited the infamous Sigmund Freud. Perhaps Velasquez used the Austrian neurologist as a way to segue into what he wanted to discuss, that is, Traditional Rationalism, the Traditional Judeo-Christian View, and the Darwinian Perspective. Yet, what is more interesting is that Velasquez also discusses figures like the Buddha and Confucius to contrast Western and Eastern thought because, in doing so, Velasquez is addressing the Western bias that philosophy courses tended to have. By including non-Western figures in his discussion on what humans are, Velasquez is paying homage to the rest of humankind. From a pedagogical standpoint, Velasquez is doing well on reporting non-Western philosophies.