17 August 2013



Find the arguments. Identify the premises and the conclusions. Are they valid? Are the arguments sound? What assumptions do the participants share? Where do they disagree? Who has the stronger arguments? Does anyone win this debate?

John: Come on!!! Those are air raid sirens and we have to get into the shelter.

Jake: Not today, no point.

John: What is it this time?

Jake: Well I in the metaphysics class learned that every claim about the future is right now either true or false even though we may not know which.

John: Ok I was in the class too. I get it, every sentence about the future is right now either true or false. So it’s true right now that you’ll live to 80 or it is not. So?

Jake: Well, look, either I’m going to get hurt in this air raid or not.

John: Well the bombs are falling, that might have something to do with it but yes that is right. However we don’t know which yet. Right?

Jake: Ok but look: Suppose I will get hurt today. Well, I’d rather be hurt on the surface than hurt deep in a smelly air raid shelter. So if I will get hurt, I should stay on the surface. Ok? Now suppose I don’t get hurt. Then going into shelter will have been a waste of time and I may as well stay on the surface. So either way, I should stay out of the shelter.

John: That can’t be right. It is a bit distracting with all the noise going on but aren’t you assuming that what happens is fixed independently of what you do?

Jake: Am I? No! All I am assuming is that whatever will be, will be!!! If something is going to happen then it’s going to happen; and if it’s not going to happen then it’s not going to happen. Isn’t it as simple as that?

John: I accept that much, what happens happens and what won’t won’t. But surely you are more likely to survive and not be hurt in the shelter, whether you like being in there or not.

Jake: “Likely” I don’t even know what that means anymore. Isn’t that just about what we know? I can’t see how likelihood has any relevance. Look there are only two options: I get hurt or I don’t get hurt. In both cases I would prefer to be on the surface. So I should stay right here on the surface. So that’s where I’ll stay.

John: Well, see you later… I hope.