Resources in the Right to Die


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Oregon’s Suicide Law

Some additional resources on Oregon’s law:

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Holland’s Euthanasia Law

You might be aware that the nation of the Netherlands has–for the last four years or so–had a law making voluntary and active euthanasia legal.

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Descartes’ Meditations: The Translation

I neglected to insert the link we’ll be using to read the Meditations:


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Descartes Resources

There are some good sites seeking to explain Descartes’ arguments in the Meditations as well as other works. Begin here for a summary of the Meditation arguments:

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Relativity Theory

Check out Einstein’s explanation of relativity in the following web-book:

“Relativity: The Special and General Theory” — http://www.bartleby.com/173/

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Overviews of Existentialism

The last section of chapter seven introduces the philosophy of existentialism, if indeed it can even be called a philosophy. While there are many ways to describe it, existentialists have often advanced the following theses:

  1. Existence precedes essence: the world’s existence comes before the world’s meaning.
  2. Meaning is introduced by human existence: it is human beings that lend meaning to the world, which in itself lacks all meaningfulness.
  3. Absurdity: in keeping with the world’s meaninglessness and the human being’s need for meaningfulness, the quest for knowledge and meaning is absurd. This absurdity is an essential aspect of human life.
  4. Responsibility: given that we ourselves give the world its meaning, we ourselves are wholly responsible for said meaning as well as our own lives. There is no way to escape our essential responsibility.
  5. The Death of God: God is dead, and we have killed him/her/it. Hence, we are forced to create ourselves anew in accordance with our own wishes.
  6. Nausea: life sucks.

Those are just a few of the major themes. Here are some sites and literary references (much of existentialism is communicated through fiction rather than non-fiction philosophy).

  1. A primer on existentialism: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/exist.html
  2. Jean-Paul Sartre (perhaps the most famous existentialist)–A biography: http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/sart.htm.
  3. Friedrich Nietzsche (one of the major precursors to existentialism)–A biography: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/.
  4. “Notes from the Underground”–Perhaps the clearest fiction introduction to existentialism ever written (by Dostoevsky): http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DosNote.html.
  5. A resource page for Albert Camus, another great existentialist fiction writer (author of “The Stranger,” “The Plague,” “The Fall,” and other major texts: http://www.levity.com/corduroy/camus.htm.

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Angels v Yankees

Here’s my argument. I couldn’t work the boxes into the diagram, so it might look like it’s hanging loose.


Conclusion: The Yankees will lose to the Angels tonight.


Premise 1: The Angels have a better bullpen.

Premise 2: The Angels have a better defense.

Premise 3: In the playoffs, teams with better bullpens and defense always win.


1.      The Angels have a better bullpen.

a.       The quality of a bullpen is measured by the number of quality innings it can deliver.

b.      The Yankees can deliver up to three quality innings in any one game if Gordon and Rivera are available.

c.       The Angels can deliver up to four quality innings if Shields and Escobar are available.

d.      Shields and Escobar are available tonight for the Angels.

2.      The Angels have a better defense.

a.       The quality of a defense is measured by the number of errors it commits. The smaller the number of errors, the better the defense.

b.      The Angels committed 87 errors this season.

c.       The Yankees committed 95 errors this season.

3.      In the playoffs, teams with better bullpens and defense always win.

a.       Good pitching and good defense beat good hitting; therefore, even teams with good hitting will be beaten by those with good pitching and defense.

b.      The playoffs feature teams with the best pitching and defense.


The Angels will defeat the Yankees tonight.

The Angels have a better bullpen.

The Angels have a better defense.

Teams with better defenses and bullpens win in the playoffs.







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Free Will and Determinism Arguments

Here are a few (brief) argument outlines on free will and determinism. I think you’ll notice that the essential point of difference between the two positions lies in the definition of freedom.

Determinism Argument:  

  1. P1: All events have causes.
  2. P2: Decisions are events.
  3. P3: Decisions have causes.
  4. P4: That which is caused cannot be freely chosen.
  5. P5: Free will depends on the ability of individuals to choose freely.
  6. C: There is no free will.

Free Will Argument:  

  1. P1: Free will depends on the ability of individuals to choose between alternatives.
  2. P2: The ability to choose between alternatives requires the existence of at least two alternatives at all times.
  3. P3: Individuals are always able to choose between at least two alternatives.
  4. C: There is free will.

For additional resources on FW and Determinism, check out the following:

There are tons of additional offline resources as well. Let me know if you’re interested in reading some papers on these issues.

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John Conway’s Game of Life

I mentioned this in class today: http://www.tech.org/~stuart/life/life.html.

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