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Patrick Baga
556

I am a student of International Relations and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. Interests include foreign affairs, classic fiction, and professional sports. Born and raised in the Greater Boston area--conveniently putting me in the sports capital of the world.

Recent Posts

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Beauty
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
The Effect of Hair Color on the Perceived Attractiveness of Women

In this study, our group aimed to determine whether there is a relationship between hair color and perceived attractiveness. Although other studies had suggested juxtaposing results, we hypothesized that blonde women would be rated most attractive due to the character traits that blondes are often associated with. Accordingly, we tested 20 voluntary female participants to rate 35 female faces with blonde, brunette, and red hair colors using CogDemos, Microsoft PowerPoint, and a simple Likert scale method to record the participants' ratings. The results yielded identical medians, ranges, and interquartile ranges for blondes and brunettes and, although more participants rated brunettes as slightly more attractive than blondes, the results were insignificant. Thus, our experiment revealed no significant relationship between hair color and perceived attractiveness.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
The Phaedo and the Immortality of the Soul

This article examines the effectiveness of the argument from recollection and the criticism of harmony in Plato's renowned dialogue the Phaedo. Although somewhat flawed, these arguments provide the philosophical platform for vital areas of research in areas including the relationship between perception and form acquisition and debates encompassing functionalist, epiphenomenalist, and emergentist interpretations of the relationship between body and soul. In short, while the Phaedo does not adequately prove that the soul is immortal it does not render it implausible, but more importantly the relationship between Socrates' Theory of Recollection and his criticism of the Harmonia Theory touches upon a multiplicity of integral philosophical and scientific topics that remain essential to man's yearning for knowledge of the Form of Perfection.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Persons are not Born, they are Made

Comparison between the West and the rest is vital in the sense that comparison invites social progression for persons of all backgrounds; neither side of the aisle may be completely right or wrong per se, but a global outlook on how reproduction is viewed from culture to culture can only help us answer questions relating to the human condition, nature vs. nurture, science, religion, gender roles, and the field of anthropology as a whole. Simply put, the West has science but is guilty of trying to find answers for processes that extend beyond human capability, and quite arguably, should remain openly ambiguous according to circumstance. In contrast, non-Western cultures are sometimes guilty of being too skeptical of science that would greatly benefit the welfare of their societies. Overall, in an age of heightened globalization, humanity has the potential to enlighten each other in the field of reproduction and beyond. If the global community can strive towards a common goal of knowledge for the sake of social improvement, comparison can only facilitate the cause.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Is Taxation Forced Labor?

According to philosopher Robert Nozick, taxation constitutes forced labor because it forces the worker to work longer than they should have to in order to satisfy their basic needs. Thus, taxation is unjustified since the state makes a claim of ownership over the self. This article argues against Nozick, for although Nozick rightfully notes that individuals have to work slightly longer to satisfy their needs when they are taxed, individuals do not have absolute ownership of the fruits of their labor. In consideration of the collective use of public services, the fact that many people have an abundance of wealth whilst others do not, and the recent success of the Scandinavian model, approaching taxation as forced labor is a rather extreme position.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
The New Wars Thesis

The 'new wars' thesis generally holds that there has been a gradual shift from interstate to intrastate conflict, conflict results from economic and political factors rather than based on ideology, and the distinctions between combatant and civilian and state and non-state have been severely blurred. This article examines how such shifts affect foreign affairs and the policy initiatives that are pursued.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Migration as a Security Threat

Migration is treated as a security threat because it is perceived to threaten the stable order of the respective nation-state. More specifically, migration threatens economic stability, social stability contributing to a rise in xenophobia or lack of integration, the homogenous welfare state philosophy, and internal security when migrants inevitably clash with natives. This article considers the socially constructed and often hyperbolic process of 'othering', the practical dilemmas that migration does indeed cause, and some possible solutions to effectively accommodating migration.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Locke's Argument Against Innate Ideas

For John Locke, innate ideas do not exist because there is nothing that all humans assent towards. Accordingly, we are blank slates who formulate our understanding through experience. However, this article aims to disprove Locke's argument against innate ideas, and this is realized through consideration of the interrelation between laws of nature as innate ideas. In sum, experience cannot account for all ideas because we only experience a fraction of potential experiences. Thus , we have the innate disposition to form generalizations that allow us to function without having necessarily experienced every possible 'life-scenario'.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Hume's Success in Establishing a Standard of Taste

David Hume, in his writings on aesthetics, sought to bridge the gap between extreme relativism and extreme universalism in relation to beauty. Thus, Hume argued in favor of a standard of taste which relies upon the idea that, although "all sentiment is right" according to Hume, humans also naturally approve and disapprove of the same things. Hume goes on to argue in favor of the idea of an 'ideal critic' that serve as society's 'true judges', and the majority of us who sometimes err in judgment simply have defects in our perception. Ultimately, his position on a standard of taste is moderately successful.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Hume's Distinction Between National and Artificial Virtues

This article considers David Hume's distinction between natural and artificial virtues. In spite of receiving notable objections from the likes of Thomas Reid, J.L. Mackie, and Alfred Glathe, Hume's overall account is defendable--albeit certainly open to some criticism as well. Namely, natural and artificial virtues do seem to exist as Hume ascertains, but the specific ways in which they interact with the human mind and how they interact with each other remains open to debate.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Freedom in a Hobbesian State

Thomas Hobbes' ideology has been very influential in political and philosophical circles alike, and one common topic of debate is whether a subject is actually free in a Hobbesian state in which the state, the sovereign, has absolute power. Hobbes claims that the agents would maintain having freedom because the sovereign is empowered to serve the will of the people. However, in choosing to leave the natural state of affairs in favor of submiting to the sovereign, there is an underlying presupposition that man is innately rational--something that Hobbes would deny. For if man were innately rational then there would be no need to sign a social contract and submit to a sovereign. Thus, an irrational man must be coerced into, most likely out of fear, signing the social contract and in that act man voluntary relinquishes at least some of his or her freedom.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
On the Justification of Belief in God

Contrary to the positions of the likes of Locke and Hume who hold that belief is involuntary because belief, belief in God is a free and voluntary choice due to the theist's private relationship with God that does not rely upon the traditional empirical approach to belief. In the Christian faith, rationality is relative to the individual, and people freely and rationality come to accept Christ. Alas, for the theist, knowledge of the Spirit is a direct intuition of truth rather than a process of reasoning and weighting philosophical argumentation.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Free Will: Comparing Determinism and Indeterminism

One of the most prominent debates in philosophy revolves around the question of whether humans have free will. Since we clearly feel free to make various choices, it is widely held that some form of free will exists. The two main camps are libertarianism, the idea that there is free will in an indeterministic world, and compatibilism, the idea that there is free will in a deterministic world. Ultimately, this article argues in favor of a weak compatibilist position; although our actions are predetermined, we still have the ability to freely will one's will without disrupting the causal chain of nature.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
On the Existence of an Explanatory Gap

This article examines whether it is plausible to claim that an 'explanatory gap' exists between human consciousness and physical processes. Because of the presence of qualia--the 'what it feels like' experience--an explanatory gap does seem to exist. For one can understand the physical processes of any given thing, but still be unable to comprehend 'what it feels like' to have that particular experience. Since it is established that there is an 'explanatory gap,' a form of ontological dualism trumps any materialist position.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
Decision-Making in Foreign Policy

The decision-making process in foreign policy is beholden to several different factors including domestic and foreign political context, the political structure of the respective nation-state, social influences, and subjectivity. However, in spite of the fact that decision-making agents fall victim to the same biases that all people do when making decisions, evidence suggests that decision-makers consider domestic political factors prior to anything else when making foreign policy decisions

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
On Aristotle's Comparison Between the Nature of a Natural Substance and Craft-Expertise

This article considers the strengths and weaknesses of Aristotle's comparison between the nature of a natural substance and craft-expertise. Aristotle sees nature as an agent 'crafting' her products for an end--just as humans do when crafting anything on a daily basis. In holding that craft imitates nature, Aristotle presents an argument that is too strict. Whilst craft and nature certainly have similarities, it is their differences that ultimately divide the line between man and nature.

Lifestyle
by Patrick Baga
7 years ago
On the Relationship Between Action and Causality

This article examines the relationship between action and causality. If it is assumed that actions are either caused or uncaused, then caused actions are not free and uncaused actions are not within the agent's control. In order to salvage the existence of free responsible actions, the deliberative process must be considered as the beginning of the causal chain that consists in deliberative process, biological cause, and action.

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