Det finnes lite som er mer givende enn å la hjernen leke med intrikate filosofiske spørsmål. Slik filosofering gjør at man kan se på verden og seg selv fra en helt annen vinkel enn den man vanligvis er fastlåst i.
Her er fire filosofiske spørsmål du kan leke deg med:
(Dette er bare små utdrag for å pirre din interesse. Les for all del hele teksten her.)
1. SHOULD WE KILL HEALTHY PEOPLE FOR THEIR ORGANS?
Suppose Bill is a healthy man without family or loved ones. Would it be ok painlessly to kill him if his organs would save five people, one of whom needs a heart, another a kidney, and so on? If not, why not?
2. ARE YOU THE SAME PERSON WHO STARTED READING THIS ARTICLE?
Consider a photo of someone you think is you eight years ago. What makes that person you? You might say he she was composed of the same cells as you now. But most of your cells are replaced every seven years. You might instead say you're an organism, a particular human being, and that organisms can survive cell replacement - this oak being the same tree as the sapling I planted last year.
But are you really an entire human being? If surgeons swapped George Bush's brain for yours, surely the Bush look-alike, recovering from the operation in the White House, would be you. Hence it is tempting to say that you are a human brain, not a human being.
3. IS THAT REALLY A COMPUTER SCREEN IN FRONT OF YOU?
What reason do you have to believe there's a computer screen in front of you? Presumably that you see it, or seem to. But our senses occasionally mislead us. A straight stick half-submerged in water sometimes look bent; two equally long lines sometimes look different lengths.
4. DID YOU REALLY CHOOSE TO READ THIS ARTICLE?
Suppose that Fred existed shortly after the Big Bang. He had unlimited intelligence and memory, and knew all the scientific laws governing the universe and all the properties of every particle that then existed. Thus equipped, billions of years ago, he could have worked out that, eventually, planet Earth would come to exist, that you would too, and that right now you would be reading this article.
After all, even back then he could have worked out all the facts about the location and state of every particle that now exists.
And once those facts are fixed, so is the fact that you are now reading this article. No one's denying you chose to read this. But your choice had causes (certain events in your brain, for example), which in turn had causes, and so on right back to the Big Bang. So your reading this was predictable by Fred long before you existed. Once you came along, it was already far too late for you to do anything about it.