11 Sep

Aikido techniques

Aikido techniques

I wanted to use this post to write a little about my thoughts concerning the role of techniques in aikido and to try to tackle the question: how many techniques are there in aikido?1

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  1. I’ve since discovered an interview in which Ueshiba is quoted answering this exact question. Needless to say, my answer given in this article conflicts with his. According to Ueshiba, there are approximately 48,000 techniques in aikido. 

04 Sep

Two reasons why I don’t believe in free will

Free will

I suppose that a post on free will has been a long time coming so I felt perhaps I ought to get round to finally writing it.  In this essay I want to make two points: 1., that claims of free will are faith-based, being made without the burden of proof we would normally require, and 2., that choices seemingly invoking free will are in fact a product of competing desires.

I’ll begin by saying it: I don’t believe in free will.  I used to – in fact I used to think it was one of the most self-evident things in the world – but a few years ago when I examined the situation, I came to the conclusion that I hold now: There appears to be no acceptable evidence to support a belief in it.  None at all.

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29 Aug

Truth and lies

Truth

On my way to work today I was thinking about abstract things, and I came across the interesting question of whether a statement is truthful if, only by the fact of saying it, it becomes true.  The example I was thinking of was the following: Imagine a person, me, and I want to go swimming with two beautiful girls (philosophy can be so enjoyable sometimes).  I ask one of them, Jane, “will you go swimming with me?” She replies, “I will, but only if Sarah comes with us.” So I go to Sarah and ask her the same question, and she replies, “I will, but only if Jane is coming too.”

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26 Jun

Time travel

Time travel

In this article I want to explore the idea of using time travel to affect the course of history, to right wrongs, and otherwise impose one’s own wants and wishes onto the past in order to shape the course of historical events. Righting the wrongs of the past is a common theme in time travel fiction, and it represents an attractive proposition to us: Can we save the unsavable? Supposing we had access to a classical time machine,1 could we do it? My answer is… Well, probably not.

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  1. The technical term for what the layman would consider a ‘time machine’ is a ‘Wellsian’ time machine – where a brave adventurer straps himself in, flips a switch and catapults himself forwards or backwards in time. It’s named after H.G. Wells, author of the sci-fi classic The Time Machine

25 Jan

Towards an objective morality

Objective morality

This morning I was involved in a debate in which a person noted that some atheists condemned the actions of God as immoral, and so he pushed them to give him the moral standard against which they were judging his God. He argued that without objective morality, there is no set-in-stone standard to make any meaningful judgements – and I’m inclined to agree with him. As soon as one admits that morality is subjective, then any one definition of it becomes as valid as any other, and being that they are all mutually exclusive, they each become valid and invalid in equal measure, and we can go nowhere. It seems imperative to me therefore that we be able to find an objective means to determine whether a given action is ethical or not, and to this end I set about approximately two years ago to establish for myself a theory of ethics1 based on the principles of compassion and rationality.

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  1. A theory of ethics is a long project; unfortunately there are still many questions I need to find the answers to, but I stand by the conviction that I will be a better person for my pursuit of them.