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Happiness
Posted: 31 July 2008 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM
John Brand - 30 July 2008 03:00 PM

Hi, Shane ...

A thesis I might propose is “Christ can only make you happy to the extent that you are involved in meaningful relationships with others and especially those from outside of your own comfort zone.”

If you don’t like the thesis, feel free to modify it.

John

Thanks for posting the link.  It was very interesting.  I went to their site, and took the happiness exam, I was a 2.88.
I would say that I see a little of my definition in each of the stages.  I would not say that the sum of all three parts is my definition, but I would not entirely rule it out either.  I would have to look into it more.

There is a text of the message at this link as a point of reference.

In order to take the advice of Jefe, I would like to look at Aristotle’s definition of happiness and compare this with the Christian conception.  A classic delineation of the Christian view would help us to outline the parish as a kind of benchmark so that we don’t lose our way in the comparison.

I would propose Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine.  He differs with Aristotle in that he posits that “The only object which ought to be enjoyed is the Triune God, who is our highest good and our true happiness.”  For Aristotle, the highest good is happiness which he sees as “an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue” (Nicomachean Ethics). Thus, while Aristotle would see happiness as a potentiality within the soul; Augustine sees it residing in God. The problem, from Augustine’s point of view, is that “we are prevented by our sins from enjoying God.”  Of course, our sins have to be taken away by the mediator, Christ Jesus.  However, we still have this problem, according to Augustine:  We’re not at home where our happiness lies:

suppose, then, that we were wanderers in a strange country, and could not live happily away from our fatherland, and that we felt wretched in our wandering, and wishing to put an end to our misery, determined to return home. We find, however, that we must make use of some mode of conveyance, either by land or water, in order to reach that fatherland where our enjoyment is to commence. But the beauty of the country through which we pass, and the very pleasure of the motion, charm our hearts, and turning these things which we ought to use into objects of enjoyment, we become unwilling to hasten the end of our journey; and becoming engrossed in a factitious delight, our thoughts are diverted from that home whose delights would make us truly happy.

Thus, in the classic christian sense, we can never be happy until we are home.

Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM

First, I want to check to make sure that you realize that you are not proposing a definition of a happy life, but simply a qualification for it.

Let me propose, then, as a definition of happiness that we consider Aristotle’s:  “happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue.”  But, to link it back to the scriptures which Augustine used as the basis for his own idea of happinesss, let’s consider the following quote from 2 Peter 1:3ff

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him ... through these he has given us his great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires

This definition is a better link to Aristotle than what we find in Augustine.  Happiness is a state of the soul where we ‘participate in the divine nature’ through the application of the truths found in scripture.

Does that sound alright, Shane?

Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM

Second I would say that a meaningful relationship with another person is a great value and therefore could make you happy. (BTW did you get that from this link, because I got something completely different from what he said?)

Seligman agrees with Aristotle that happiness comes from within “knowing what your strengths are” and in community:

The good life consists of the roots that lead to flow. It consists of first knowing what your signature strengths are and then recrafting your life to use them more — recrafting your work, your romance, your friendships, your leisure, and your parenting to deploy the things you’re best at. What you get out of that is not the propensity to giggle a lot; what you get is flow, and the more you deploy your highest strengths the more flow you get in life. (from Eudaemonia, the Good Life

Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM

Third, if happiness comes through meaningful relationships, why would a relationship with Christ be insufficient for providing happiness.

Note that I am making relationship a function of relationship: Christ can only make you happy to the extent that you are involved in meaningful relationships with others and especially those from outside of your own comfort zone.”

The other aspect of your question concerns the matter of who Christ is.  If we go with the early Christian view of Justin Martyr, for example, Christ is a great deal wider than a midiatorial role would imply:

We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably [i.e. ‘in accordance with reason’] are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists (First Apology.XLVI)

So, full enjoyment of Christ would be found in relationship with atheists, wouldn’t you agree?

Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM

(Please do not say because he does not exist.  I am pretty sure that you are an atheist, so I do not know why you put Christ in your thesis.  However, if it is to accuse me of making the suggestion that only Christ can bring happiness, I must insist that you reread this post, because I do not claim that).

I am a theist; however, the atheist would define what the NT means by Christ as a number of quarks and gluons subject to various laws of nature.  Does this mean that he cannot enjoy the benefit of living in harmony with those laws even though he may reject the notion of the quarks and gluons having personality?

Shane - 31 July 2008 05:41 AM

Fourth.  Many have separated from the world, and have lived without establishing any meaningful relationships, but would still consider their lives to be happy.  Therefore, your qualification is not a necessary qualification.

Yet, Jesus said that the law is fulfilled as we love one another.  And, the law claimed that fulfillment of its precepts would lead to shalom or peace. Again, note that enjoyment of Christ is a function of relationship in my definition.  An individual may enjoy solitude (and I enjoy taking a quiet walk in the woods to be alone with my thoughts) but this joy is enhanced to the degree that I avail myself of meaningful relationship with others.

If you are entirely consistent with the classic Christian view, Shane, full enjoyment of Christ can only happen when we ‘see him as he is’ (1 John); that is, when we are in heaven.  Or, do you not take the classic christian view?

[ Edited: 31 July 2008 10:58 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 31 July 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Jefe - 31 July 2008 04:11 PM

Interesting TED talk.

I took the Authentic Happiness quiz at Penn also, and this was my result.
(Take from it what you will.)

Thanks for listening to the talk ... I’m not surprised that your results were in the higher percentile given your comprehension of what it takes to be happy (i.e. flow).

I experience this kind of happiness when I work in a team of guys who know what needs to be done and how it is to be done.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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John Brand - 31 July 2008 02:56 PM

Let me propose, then, as a definition of happiness that we consider Aristotle’s:  “happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue.”  But, to link it back to the scriptures which Augustine used as the basis for his own idea of happinesss, let’s consider the following quote from 2 Peter 1:3ff

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him ... through these he has given us his great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires

This definition is a better link to Aristotle than what we find in Augustine.  Happiness is a state of the soul where we ‘participate in the divine nature’ through the application of the truths found in scripture.

Does that sound alright, Shane?

For some reason all this stuff about happiness reminds me of the fable about the goose that laid the golden egg.

The problem with the academic approach to understanding happiness is that it goes even beyond dissecting the goose in hopes of finding the golden egg factory thing-in-itself. The academic approach to “divinity” goes so far as to stuff the goose into a blender and set the speed on “purée”.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Jefe - 31 July 2008 07:10 PM

One thing I notice about this ‘manufacturing definitions for happiness’ is that the process seems to remove the individual will for self determination from the question.

What’s the difference between thinking that one is happy as opposed to actually being happy? Really the reason that people like John and Shane are so interested in whether or not they can define you as happy or unhappy is because the degree to which you are happy or unhappy with them (i.e., their belief systems) is the key to their own happiness or unhappiness.

The motivations for “manufacturing definitions for happiness” fall roughly into two categories:

1) Marketing. A consumer who thinks he is happy is a busy consumer. There is a sizable score to be made simply in convincing people that they could actually be happier than they are. It’s ambiguous though. It transfers the quest for happiness from the acquisition of things to purchases of sage counsel from wise students of philosophy, divinity, or social psychology.

2) Justifying the existence of people with philosophy, divinity, or social psychology degrees. This guy Seligman is glib, fatuous, and in the end, just another cog in the global feelgood machine. His online surveys are a joke, especially as far as John and Shane are concerned, because they are purely self-assessments. What is to be gained by comparing oneself with the average in a population of online test-takers? The sample bias inherent in the population of online test-takers is nothing to sneeze at. In other words, John and Shane are interested in teasing out the essence of “happy-ness”, and your assessment of your own level of happy-ness is meaningless to them.

John finds Seligman’s work to be apt because Seligman’s definitions and metrics accord with John’s own.

See also:

Jefe - 30 July 2008 03:59 PM

self-engendered scholarly solipsistic tendencies.

[ Edited: 31 July 2008 03:39 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Hi, SC ... I am glad that you’ve finally rejoined the debate!

Salt Creek - 31 July 2008 07:06 PM
John Brand - 31 July 2008 02:56 PM

Let me propose, then, as a definition of happiness that we consider Aristotle’s:  “happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue.”  But, to link it back to the scriptures which Augustine used as the basis for his own idea of happinesss, let’s consider the following quote from 2 Peter 1:3ff

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him ... through these he has given us his great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires

This definition is a better link to Aristotle than what we find in Augustine.  Happiness is a state of the soul where we ‘participate in the divine nature’ through the application of the truths found in scripture.

Does that sound alright, Shane?

For some reason all this stuff about happiness reminds me of the fable about the goose that laid the golden egg.

The problem with the academic approach to understanding happiness is that it goes even beyond dissecting the goose in hopes of finding the golden egg factory thing-in-itself. The academic approach to “divinity” goes so far as to stuff the goose into a blender and set the speed on “purée”.

Correct me if I’m wrong, however, it is my understanding that in order for a scientific inquiry to make any progress at all (and this would begin before what Kuhn calls normal science) there are a few things that are needed:

(1) There should be some sort of paradigm (i.e. a defin(e)ition) or a group of paradigms who are competing for dominance within a given community of scientists (thus, even though phlogeston was proven to be a sham in the end, it was an attempt at definition). This implies the need for disagreement (Popper:  “Progress depends entirely upon disagreement”)

(2) The paradigm should contain a method of inquiry

The subject matter of psychology is the thinking patterns of the human being which Dennett says has some sort of intentionality or direction.  The current paradigm for the goal or the intention is the construct happiness.

Your metaphors are difficult to unravel but I think that you are saying that if the concept of divinity is nothing (i.e. nihilo) more than a group of quarks and gluons, then the intentionality of the human organism is an illusion.

How do you know that this is the case?  And, why shouldn’t the human being be consulted regarding his own perceived goals?

Just a couple of examples of attempts made to talk about what is happening in the human brain in terms of goals, etc:

(1) Chaos Theory

(2) Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

(3) Carl Jung’s principle of Synchronicity

The point here is to say that there may come a time when what has been called divinity may be understood in scientific terms.  In the past, the formation of the rain drop was an enigma but it still rained. And, the ability of the honey bee to fly eluded the scientist’s understanding but the honey bee flew anyway.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 07:38 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Jefe - 31 July 2008 07:10 PM

One thing I notice about this ‘manufacturing definitions for happiness’ is that the process seems to remove the individual will for self determination from the question.

Please enlarge on your criticism, Jefe.

On the definition thing:  In my conversation with Shane I am assuming that he will be working with what has been called the Augustinian Soteriological Framework which is a long way of saying: A paradigm developed to explain happiness in Christian terms.  Thus, this creates a theological domain from which he and I can draw in our discussion of human intentionality.  However, he and I will not agree on the authority of the Augustinian paradigm.  To avoid solipsism, I have gone back to the biblical texts which is an authority I would recognize as a domain from which to draw.  I have taken the 2 Peter quote as a point of reference for Shane and myself.  We will have to look at the interpretation of Peter against the Pauline concept which was used primarily by Augustine.  And, of course, I have gone back to Aristotle because this provides a bridge to Saligman and has a point of correspondence with Augustine.

Is there a means by which we can include “the individual will for self determination [in] the question”?  You may find William James’ discussion on The Will helpful as a point of reference for your interest.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

Correct me if I’m wrong…

Not possible. You’ve composed no falsifiable propositions. You’ve read about the philosophy of science, but know nothing of science itself. In fact, it appears that your philosophy of science is heavily biased to view the scientific enterprise only as a cultural construct.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

...it is my understanding…

This is a euphemism; try to distinguish the “feeling of understanding” (empathy) from scientific understanding. You understand the point that Kuhn was trying to make, but your biases have caused you to do a great deal more with it than is justified. It doesn’t matter, because Kuhn did not produce any “understanding” of the scientific enterprise that was very useful to anyone but postmodernists.

I’ve read Kuhn’s monograph The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.. A foundation for criticizing it is located at the link given. I think an honest discussion of the details of your philosophy of science is necessary before discussing what you believe are the further implications of it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you have the responsibility of making your case here. I’m not arguing for any particular slant on human behavior, and make no claims about any “purpose” to human existence.

You seem most concerned that viewing human beings as complex agglomerations of fundamental particles leaves no room for any predetermined meaning to it all. That is your problem to solve, not mine.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

a group of paradigms who are competing for dominance within a given community of scientists

You need to delve into this concept a little deeper. There’s more to the philosophy of science than that, but it is evidently what you have chosen to focus on. Are you heading in the direction of establishing normative prescriptions from the loci of sample means? You had best be assured that if you do, you will be leaving far behind you the delights of argumentum ad verulam.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

(Popper:  “Progress depends entirely upon disagreement”

It might be profitable to discuss falisfiability. I can refer you to a thread over at the Dawkins forum on just that subject to get us started.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

(2) The paradigm should contain a method of inquiry

Are you sure that you cannot begin more vaguely than this? The words “method” and “inquiry” are redundant in the above statement. For all I know, a “method” might simply involve sitting on your thumbs and contemplating. You know damn well what the deficiencies of research methodology in social psychology are at present. If any of it is conducted in contact with any of the findings of the field of human biology, you haven’t mentioned it yet.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

the thinking patterns of the human being which Dennett says has some sort of intentionality or direction.

There are plenty of interesting aspects to human behavior that do not involve an a priori bias toward “purpose”, which is a sop to your theistic philosophy. Let’s try not to assume our conclusions, shall we?

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

(given a scientific study of nature) the intentionality of the human organism is an illusion

Your use of the word “intentionality” is yoked to your theistic philosophy. The scientific study of nature has nothing to do with theistic philosophy. It makes no a priori commitments to theism, and has no teleology to force it in that direction.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

How do you know that this is the case?

You’d best read that thread over at the Dawkins forum, and try a little harder to develop a rudimentary understanding of the scientific enterprise. You are asking the wrong question here, because you’ve become used to the philosophical approach to “knowing”. Science is interested in propositions that may be falsified by application of the scientific method. “Intentionality” is not defined in such a way that an experiment may be designed to identify it as a phenomenon of neurophysiology or falsify it as an aspect of a theory of human psychology.

John, you will not find it productive to engage in dialogue with scientists if you cannot set aside your very obvious biases in the direction of theistic philosophy, and if you cannot admit that your understanding of science is woefully deficient. The subject of “happiness” cannot be discussed scientifically at the present time. We can discuss the neurochemistry of endorphins, for example, but the babblings of the “human potential movement” are philosophical, and not psychological at all.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

The point here is to say that there may come a time when what has been called divinity may be understood in scientific terms.  In the past, the formation of the rain drop was an enigma but it still rained. And, the ability of the honey bee to fly eluded the scientist’s understanding but the honey bee flew anyway.

And there may not come such a time. If it does come, we will talk about it as an artifact of neurophysiology. Now is not the time to be talking about it. The only reason to talk about it now is as a theist. What I wonder is whether you think that your being able to use the word “divinity” indicates that you have some special ingredient in your neurophysiology over and above that which was granted to me by my genes. Perhaps your propensity to use the word “divinity” is mainly a product of your upbringing, such that it is simply a nonsense word you learned to use without ever defining it.

Sure, you can cite all the references you want from ancient literature about “divinity”, but then you are just off-loading the problem onto other thinkers, other authorities, and have still left the word otherwise undefined. Since you don’t really expect that a quote from Aristotle is going to evoke in me the same meanings it evokes in you, why bother quoting it? It wouldn’t just be to show off the erudition gathered in obtaining your Master’s degree, would it?

I do understand the urge for “shared experience”, but so far, the only reliable method for obtaining shared experience with enough detail intact is via the scientific method. Paintings and symphonies go a long way toward communicating experience of other kinds in such a way that it may be shared, but the hope to have experience identical to that of another is a vain hope, for the time being. Simply compelling other people to use the word “divinity” in conversations with you is a hollow reward.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 09:06 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 12:40 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 10:20 AM

The point here is to say that there may come a time when what has been called divinity may be understood in scientific terms.  In the past, the formation of the rain drop was an enigma but it still rained. And, the ability of the honey bee to fly eluded the scientist’s understanding but the honey bee flew anyway.

And there may not come such a time. If it does come, we will talk about it as an artifact of neurophysiology. Now is not the time to be talking about it. The only reason to talk about it now is as a theist. What I wonder is whether you think that your being able to use the word “divinity” indicates that you have some special ingredient in your neurophysiology over and above that which was granted to me by my genes. Perhaps your propensity to use the word “divinity” is mainly a product of your upbringing, such that it is simply a nonsense word you learned to use without ever defining it.

Sure, you can cite all the references you want from ancient literature about “divinity”, but then you are just off-loading the problem onto other thinkers, other authorities, and have still left the word otherwise undefined. Since you don’t really expect that a quote from Aristotle is going to evoke in me the same meanings it evokes in you, why bother quoting it? It wouldn’t just be to show off the erudition gathered in obtaining your Master’s degree, would it?

I do understand the urge for “shared experience”, but so far, the only reliable method for obtaining shared experience with enough detail intact is via the scientific method. Paintings and symphonies go a long way toward communicating experience of other kinds in such a way that it may be shared, but the hope to have experience identical to that of another is a vain hope, for the time being. Simply compelling other people to use the word “divinity” in conversations with you is a hollow reward.

I have to agree with you at first reading, SC.  The term divinity points to something that has been a part of my experience since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Even before my birth my mother was fully immersed in a concept of hope and will that ran around the what has been called divinity.

Our Venn diagrams don’t appear to have any overlap at this point but Shane and I do have such overlap. Perhaps you might want to turn the volume down on your computer screen wink.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Jefe - 01 August 2008 01:26 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:23 PM


Our Venn diagrams don’t appear to have any overlap at this point but Shane and I do have such overlap. Perhaps you might want to turn the volume down on your computer screen wink.

So if yours (and Shane’s) crop-circles of “constructed definitions of happiness” do not overlap with SC’s (or a variety of other people’s personal crop-circles) and you acknowledge this exclusion at the outset, what possible benefit is there to a discussion of arbitrary definitions for happiness, unless its just a private philisophical love-in for divin-o-centric crop maintenance?

I just don’t know where to go when it comes to SC’s nihilism ... he doesn’t recognize anything outside of biological science.

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Posted: 01 August 2008 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Jefe - 01 August 2008 01:48 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:29 PM

I just don’t know where to go when it comes to SC’s nihilism ... he doesn’t recognize anything outside of biological science.

Are you sure you’re using nihilism correctly?

John is using “nihilism” as a synonym for “atheism”.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:29 PM

I just don’t know where to go when it comes to SC’s nihilism ... he doesn’t recognize anything outside of biological science.

Are you saying that what is contained within your particular crop circle doesn’t assist you in any way in dealing with nihilism? Could it be that part of what is contained within theism is inadequate for dealing with some or all aspects of the world, and is only a state of your neurophysiology idiosyncratic to you? Or did you simply not wish to answer Jefe’s question directly? The question again:

Jefe - 01 August 2008 01:26 PM

what possible benefit is there to a discussion of arbitrary definitions for happiness, unless its just a private philisophical love-in for divin-o-centric crop maintenance?

Jefe’s question addresses directly an inquiry into what motivates people to speak about god to atheists. It could be that atheism is not “missing a piece” but simply lacks the “thick coat of paint” that theism claims “brings out the natural grain of the wood” as if it was a kind of varnish. Perhaps there is a weakness in your theism if it cannot withstand rejection, or worse yet, a critique that identifies the duplicity in your representation of it.

John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:23 PM

Our Venn diagrams don’t appear to have any overlap at this point but Shane and I do have such overlap. Perhaps you might want to turn the volume down on your computer screen.

Then conduct your conversation with Shane by private message. If you put this stuff out in public, I will critique it. I comprehend your motivation for conducting the conversation in public view, and some of it displays exhibitionistic tendencies that you might think you can deny having.

What I mean, John, is that one can be skeptical about the motives behind a person’s use of the word “soteriological” outside the scope of an “academic” convocation of theologians (god-botherers with advanced degrees in philosophy).

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 10:14 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 01:49 PM
Jefe - 01 August 2008 01:48 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:29 PM

I just don’t know where to go when it comes to SC’s nihilism ... he doesn’t recognize anything outside of biological science.

Are you sure you’re using nihilism correctly?

John is using “nihilism” as a synonym for “atheism”.

There is Daniel Dennett atheism which enables him to work within the context of psychological research.  For example, see Dennett’s article on Intentionality in the Oxford Companion to the Mind.

Then, there is Jonathon Haidt atheism which, more particularly, allows him to work within the sphere of Seligman.

And the list is endless ... are you saying that you are working within the same sphere as these men are?

Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 01:49 PM

Jefe’s question addresses directly an inquiry into what motivates people to speak about god to atheists. It could be that atheism is not “missing a piece” but simply lacks the “thick coat of paint” that theism claims “brings out the natural grain of the wood” as if it was a kind of varnish. Perhaps there is a weakness in your theism if it cannot withstand rejection, or worse yet, a critique that identifies the duplicity in your representation of it.

You can critique my argument at several points in the Venn diagram:  For example, you can critique the theory of Heisenberg which I proposed as a theory which attempts to deal with concepts which have traditionally been associated with Theism.  You are welcome to mount an argument at any point during any of my conversations.

Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 01:49 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 01:23 PM

Our Venn diagrams don’t appear to have any overlap at this point but Shane and I do have such overlap. Perhaps you might want to turn the volume down on your computer screen.

Then conduct your conversation with Shane by private message. If you put this stuff out in public, I will critique it. I comprehend your motivation for conducting the conversation in public view, and some of it displays exhibitionistic tendencies that you might think you can deny having.

Are you saying that exihibitionism should not be a part of a public discussion?  How would you rate your own performance as per Post #115 in our Meme for the Object of Faith discussion:

Salt Creek - 01 December 2007 01:45 PM

Now, I do enjoy washing and massaging someone’s tired feet. I even like sucking on someone’s (properly washed) toes, provided they derive some sexual satisfaction from it. There seems little motivation to do so otherwise, since, in that, I derive pleasure only from her pleasure. If she tells me I am the greatest while I am doing this, she gets little argument from me. Personally, the nipples , the skin anterior of the knee, ankles, the nape of the neck, eyelids and earlobes, the insides of the thighs, and certain other regions of skin are even more appealing to me personally.

I think your own propensity for exhibitionism makes you see it where it does not exist.  Also, if you are unable to address the argument at the points where it does intersect with scientific studies, then how are you able to assure me that you are not enmeshed in your own particular scientistic solipsism?

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 10:47 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Jefe - 01 August 2008 01:48 PM

Are you sure you’re using nihilism correctly?

How are you defining the term?  My use of the term pretty much describes SC’s position:

Nihilism (from the Latin nihil, nothing) a philosophical position which argues that existence is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Nihilists generally assert some or all of the following:

(1) Objective morality does not exist.
(2) No action is logically preferable to any other in regard to the moral value of one action over another.
(3) In the absence of morality, existence has no intrinsic higher meaning or goal.
(4) There is no reasonable proof or argument for the existence of a higher ruler or creator.
(5) Even if a higher ruler or creator exists, mankind has no moral obligation to worship them.

On points #4 and 5, SC, is in agreement with Jonathon Haidt (and Seligman as Haidt is part of this school of thought) and Daniel Dennett. But on points 1-3 he diverges from each of these.  Dennett doesn’t believe in such ‘fuzzy notions’ as intentionality (see The Intentional Stance) but he uses the term in order to contribute to the process of understanding what is now contained under the construct of intentionality.  SC by his own admission doesn’t recognize any studies within the spheres that Dennett and Seligman are working.  He is in a solipsism of his own. Consider the following comment:

Sure, but can you propose an experiment that distinguishes “hate” from “non-hate”? No, I do not think you can, but you are welcome to try. If not, then the only recourse is to “read about non-hatefulness”. Pick a teacher. Take a number.  I do not know enough about “hate” to practice it. What I do know about is science, and I can become impatient with those who do not quite have the hang of it. Doing science experiments helps one to become familiar with it.

Is this stance synonymous with atheism?

Salt Creek still has not addressed my response to his comment:

Post #47 in the What is a Philosopher? thread:

John Brand - 29 July 2008 11:37 AM
Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 08:45 PM

I do not know enough about “hate” to practice it. What I do know about is science, and I can become impatient with those who do not quite have the hang of it. Doing science experiments helps one to become familiar with it.

I’ll return to your first question later.  In the meanwhile:  Did quarks and gluons exist before science discovered them?  Was oxygen ever phlogeston?

My point is that until science discovers hate to the degree that will satisfy you, it remains what it is just as oxygen, quarks and gluons remained what they are.

In the meanwhile, a science that you do not recognize (i.e. psychology) does have some names for hate and non-hate: For hate it uses the construct Ego boundaries.  As you have said “that is where I have been all along”. For non-hate it talks about permeable ego boundaries

In my limited view of the matter, I have done a great deal to work with SC’s while he has proven to be less than cordial from the outset (see Post #18 in the Meme for the Object of Faith thread for the beginning of our interaction).

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 02:53 PM by John Brand]
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Posted: 01 August 2008 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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John Brand - 01 August 2008 02:25 PM

I think your own propensity for exhibitionism makes you see it where it does not exist.  Also, if you are unable to address the argument at the points where it does intersect with scientific studies, then how are you able to assure me that you are not enmeshed a scientistic solipsism?

Am I to assume you feel exhibitionism is a “bad thing”? You seem to imply that it is. You are duplicitous, then, because you engage in it unashamedly, while denying that you do.

Claiming a connection between quantum mechanics and theism is just the beginning. One thing this does not do for you is produce an “intersection” with scientific studies. It means you can use the words “quantum mechanics” in your writing. It does not mean that you can use them correctly, or, indeed, even meaningfully.

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 10:50 AM by Traces Elk]
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INVEST in cynicism!

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Posted: 01 August 2008 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 02:46 PM
John Brand - 01 August 2008 02:25 PM

I think your own propensity for exhibitionism makes you see it where it does not exist.  Also, if you are unable to address the argument at the points where it does intersect with scientific studies, then how are you able to assure me that you are not enmeshed a scientistic solipsism?

Am I to assume you feel exhibitionism is a “bad thing”? You seem to imply that it is. You are duplicitous, then, because you engage in it unashamedly, while denying that you do.

I enjoy these discussions.  I have never objected to the viewpoint that another individual brings to the discussion.  But I am not convinced that your bringing in your sexual pleasure is appropriate.

Salt Creek - 01 August 2008 02:46 PM

Claiming a connection between quantum mechanics and theism is just the beginning. One thing this does not do for you is produce an “intersection” with scientific studies. It means you can use the words “quantum mechanics” in your writing. It does not mean that you can use them correctly.

Those who do use it in their writings do use it correctly.  For example,

The concept of synchronicity was born from the meeting in 1928 and subsequent friendship of the renowned psychologist Carl Jung with the famous physicist Wolfgang Pauli. Pauli had been a great force in the formulation with Werner Heisenberg of quantum mechanics. Jung had studied Eastern and ancient philosophies where, for example, people would cast lots to determine who should perform a task or who was the guilty party (compare 1 Nephi 3:11, Jonah 1:7). Jung noticed that such practices were often more accurate than chance would predict, and Pauli was able to provide partial physical explanations of how that could be possible. It took them years to have the courage to publish a jointly authored book on such a controversial topic, but they finally did so in 1952.[see C. G. Jung and W. Pauli, The Interpretation and Nature of the Psyche, trans. R.F.C. Hull and P. Silz (New York: Pantheon, 1955).] It was Jung who coined the word “synchronicity,” which he defined as “the coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning.” He also noted that synchronicity “is the prejudice of the East, causality is the modern prejudice of the West.”[3] He also proposed that an absolute “meaning” for such coincidences might be provided by a “collective unconscious” mind of all mankind. (see Synchronicity as a Sign)

[ Edited: 01 August 2008 10:57 AM by John Brand]
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