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Philosophy/real/actual change


if a fresh apple becomes a rotten apple, is the apple still an apple?  if this is the case, is change illusory in the material world?  

when does actual/real change occur?  if existence becomes nothingness or vice versa, does this reflect real change?  thank you for reading .

An "ordinary language" philosopher -- the main variety of the breed not to long ago --- would answer, "Of course a rotten apple is still an apple. Otherwise, we wouldn't call it a rotten APPLE." There answer to the question about whether the change was illusory or not would be, "We evolved to detect changes in the real world; if the change weren't real, we couldn't detect it."

Some of the ancient Greek philosophers would say. "Of course it's a change in the material world. There is ONLY change in the material world. You can't even step in the same river ONCE."

My own position is that of the "ordinary language" philosopher, with the added note that if we feel we can't trust our senses, we can do chemical tests on the apples to see if there is any difference between the rotten one and the fresh one.

Similarly, and ordinary language philosopher would say, "Existence can't become nothingness, otherwise it wouldn't be existence. Nothingness can't become existence, otherwise it wouldn't be nothingness." In general, categories can't change, the things that fall into those categories can. (This is essentially the position of many Greek philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle.

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Charles K. MacKay


I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)



BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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