Reviews, Reflections, Recollections

Just a blog filled with my usual irreverent observations about life and all that.

Location: Singapore, Singapore

enjoys reading and is perpetually trying to find space for all of the books he owns in his room. He also enjoys films, and in particular, going to the cinema. Although a self-confessed trivia buff, reports that he is an insufferable know-it-all are completely unfounded. He enjoys a nice glass of tipple now and then, be it a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a single malt whisky.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Big Questions

Part of my coming to Oxford, and choosing to do Philosophy was to find answers to the big questions or at least examine my fundamental beliefs in them. Far from finding any answers, the more I delve into them, the more I realize how little I know, how far away a fixed answer seems. Still, after a vigorous evening of debating with some friends, I realize now that I don't even have a consistent view on many of these questions, a consistent stance that I can take. This list is a result.

  • Is there a meaning to life?
  • Is there a God? What is the nature of faith and belief?
  • Can we really know anything?
  • How can we live a good and moral life?
  • What is justice and equality, which conception is best for society?
  • What is the basis for rights? Are there any that are inalienable?
  • What freedoms are intrinsic to mankind? On what basis can we restrict these freedoms?
  • What is a democracy, must we safeguard ourselves against some aspects of it?
  • Should we allow abortions to occur? Should the state allow it?
  • What rights if any do animals have? How does this affect our own behaviour?
  • Is the death penalty ever justified? If so, on what grounds and in what circumstances?
  • Is conscription justified?
  • On what grounds is civil disobedience justified?
  • What is consciousness? How can it exist?
  • When should censorship be allowed and to what degree?
  • What leads to the growth of a democracy and its attendant values?
  • To what extent is absolute free trade possible and subsidies/trade barriers be allowed?
  • Should we legalise drugs?
  • Should we legalise prostiution?
  • Should individuals be allowed to choose to die and doctors carry out their wishes? How is the witholding of treatment related to this?
  • How objective can History be? Are there limits to interpretation within History?
  • Can we know that we exist, that we are not dreaming or a brain in a vat?
  • Do we have free will or are out lives determined in some sense?
  • Should be support affirmative action and other equal opportunity policies?
  • Should a state be secular and to what limits? Does this entail restricting certain freedoms (such as the freedom to wear religious attire)
  • Is fair trade really effective, and is it really 'fair'?
Any comments/discussions/opinions are greatly welcome.


Blogger Ms Drumknott said...

Caleb, this is an extremely ambitious post!... have you ever visited the Edge? If not, you might enjoy it - it makes fascinating reading, and you'll probably be able to add another couple of dozen "big questions" to your list... I'll be interested to see what your regular readers make of this, should they choose to comment.

23 January, 2006  
Blogger Caleb said...

Thank you very much for your recommendation. The Edge does look like a very fascinating site indeed and it will definitely go some way to finding, if not answers, then further questions to those I already have. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

24 January, 2006  
Blogger Ms Drumknott said...

No problem. I like your blog a great deal, and have been reading it on and off since last May when I was Googling the CCO University Challenge team (you mentioned meeting Mariani on your old blog). In many ways, yours is a typical student blog - slightly pretentious, a little self-conscious, but always enthusiastic and engaging. I salute you! Keep it up :-)

24 January, 2006  

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