My Philosophy Blog

Twitter and the law

The first case (Woolwich) definitely caused harm to others, as the woman’s tweet was offensive and may well have hurt those who know someone in the army or even knew Lee Rigby himself.

The second case (Twitter Joke Trial) is less likely to cause harm to others as it is easier to understand as being a joke as it is unlikely that if he was actually going to blow up Robin Hood Airport it’s unlikely he would tweet about it prior to him doing so.

I think that we should be responsible for what we write on twitter, as it is being put into the public. However, I don’t think that it is acceptable for people to seek out tweets and use them to sue the author, as has been done in other cases.

The limits of individual freedom

I think that as long as you are not affecting others negatively then it is ok, as we have control over our own bodies (autonomy).You can do whatever you wish to until you reach the point where you start negatively affecting others.
What we do with our freedom should not affect others negatively. For example, it could be argued that bestiality is acceptable becasue it does not harm the animals.We have the freedom of speech but we should use this freedom in a positive way and not in a way that will offend other people. We are able to express our opinions, but we should be aware that these opinions may cause offence to some people so should not force it on them.  
However, with bestiality there is the problem that animals cannot consent to it, therefore how can it be ok? Also, it is disturbing. However things such as having our own opinions on things should be allowed as long as they are put across with respect.

Can we really distinguish between primary and secondary qualities?

Locke thinks yes.

Berkeley thinks that primary and secondary qualities are ideas in the mind, and neither are mind independent objects. This means he thinks they are both as ‘real’ as each other, unlike Locke who thinks that primary qualities are more ‘real’. Berkeley thinks that secondary qualities cannot resemble properties in the real object since they depend on the perceiver in SOME way e.g water seeming hot to one hand and cold to the other. He argues that the same is true for primary qualities as we can argue that shape and size are not resemblances of qualities existing in matter as different people see the same object in different ways (perceptual variation). Also, he thinks we can’t conceive of an object without primary qualities but neither can we imagine it without secondary qualities.

Does representative realism lead to skepticism about the world?

Representative realism could lead to skepticism about the world as if we have never seen the world directly, everything could be sense data. Russell thinks that this is true because if it didn’t exist then everything would be all jumbled up. He gives the example of if you leave a cat at home, it will still get hungry, independent of whether or not you are perceiving it.

Primary qualities of an object are properties which the object has independent of us. Secondary qualities of an object are the powers that object has to produce ideas in us such as colour, taste etc. 

Locke argues that only primary qualities are ‘real’ as we can never actually grasp what secondary qualities are. For example, the taste of something is going to be slightly different for everybody, whereas the mass of an object can be calculated, and is common no matter who is perceiving it.

Untitled: Essay Plan



Common sense realism is a concept which suggests we perceive mind-independent objects and their properties immediately.


One argument against this is the illusion argument: stick in water appears bent but the mind independent object is supposedly not bent. 2 things cannot be…

The Bridge of Khazad Dum - 4:40

  1. Music - it is in a minor key
  2. Composer - composed for the purpose of a sad moment in the film
  3. Performer - performed well so that we can access the emotion that we are supposed to
  4. You - upset, worried - in virtue of the film scene that goes with it (Gandalf falls)

Does art need to represent, imitate, illuminate or tell the truth?

One argument is that ‘great art imitates’. For example, photorealistic art is often considered great art because it requires great skill to imitate it to such accuracy. However, a counter example to this would be work by Jackson Pollock:


This piece of art is called ‘Number 8’. It is not intended to represent, imitate, illuminate or tell the truth. It is purely for aesthetic purposed. I think that this does stand alone as a piece of art as I would happily look at it or hang it in my house. It is interesting without having to represent something from reality.

Similarly, art which represents Mary Magdelene often portrays her as being the evil which Eve created, which we might not necessarily believe, but we can still appreciate the skill of the artwork: