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What makes a philosopher?
Posted: 28 July 2008 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Salt Creek - 25 July 2008 07:40 PM
John Brand - 25 July 2008 06:47 PM

What epistemological basis do you have to support the idea that becoming what the ancients called a good (wo)man is merely showing off?

As far as I am concerned, one tautology is as good as another, epistemologically speaking. What tautology forms your basis for understanding the word “good”?

John Brand - 25 July 2008 06:47 PM

Are you saying that your epistemology is whatever the majority happen to think it is?

The universe is entirely indifferent to one’s choice of epistemology; if one’s epistemology takes one too far off the beaten path, reality will do away with one in short order. I think one needs to take some pains to prevent ethics from fouling epistemology.

Epistemology is foul enough as it is. The care you take in writing “(wo)man” is a sham. You appear to be “showing off”, yet all your other thinking is very careless.

You have said happen to think that questions which begin with “why” are already headed in a bad direction. Answering the question “how” is usually much more productive. As a scientist does.

As a scientist:  How do you know that ethics should be separated from epistemology?

“Universe” isn’t clear enough for purposes of discussion.  The question is ‘what does the human being want?”  The main questions of philosophy are the questions of knowledge, conduct and governance.  This has everything to do with how do human beings operate? and, more importantly, “how best to operate as a human being?”  You agree (it appears) that the human being (i.e. public opinion) should be central. 

We’ll have to scrap “the universe is entirely indifferent to epistemology” and ask “how do you know that human beings are entirely indifferent to one’s choice of epistemology?

You appear to be saying that you answer questions of conduct by looking to ‘the beaten path.’ That is you look to public opinion.  Scientific studies on human choices with regard to the question of conduct (how should I conduct myself so as to be happy?) are predictably wrong.  Do you have scientific data to back up your counter claim?

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 06:24 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

The question is ‘what does the human being want?”  The main questions of philosophy are the questions of knowledge, conduct and governance.  This has everything to do with how do human beings operate?

Scientists suggest that if you want to know how people “operate”, you observe them, rather than composing metaphysical theories about them in your head. So scientific epistemology, if you will, has a basis in not commenting on the unobserved, other than, for example, to make predictions within the confines of a theory in order to test them against experiment. Admittedly, predicting how people “operate” is very difficult, scientifically. That is not so bad, since it is impossible by any other means, given that no firm theoretical commitments of a kind that can be tested against observation are made by philosophers. In psychology, the typical data summary is “some do, some don’t”.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

We’ll have to scrap “the universe is entirely indifferent to epistemology” and ask “how do you know that human beings are entirely indifferent to one’s choice of epistemology?

As far as “what does the human being want” - I see you’ve stopped using your clumsy “(wo)man” locution - I continue to assert that the universe does not care what you want. Some people care what you want, and others don’t. Don’t ignore this. Usually, the people who care what you want are members of your own hunting-gathering expedition or other economic entity. Scientists are interested in whether or not their ideas are open to testing, and insist on throwing away ideas that do not survive testing or that are untestable.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

As a scientist:  How do you know that ethics should be separated from epistemology?

You want me to put on my ethicist hat just to decide whether or not ethics should be separated from epistemology? Scientists already address a number of ethical concerns in experimenting on human subjects. Most of the problems in ethics relate to technology rather than to the proper domain of science. As you know, engineering is driven by economic as well as epistemic concerns. Perhaps you’d like to address yourself to economics as well.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

“Universe” isn’t clear enough for purposes of discussion.

I meant in the thermodynamic sense.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

You appear to be saying that you answer questions of conduct by looking to ‘the beaten path.’ That is you look to public opinion.

No. I made no comment on questions of conduct, in the ethical or moral sense. I simply meant that if your (epistemic) model of reality is too much at variance with how things really are, you will find yourself walking into brick walls. Public opinion is not the determinant of reality, despite what your post-modernist teachers may have drugged you with.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 09:57 AM

Scientific studies on human choices with regard to the question of conduct (how should I conduct myself so as to be happy?) are predictably wrong.  Do you have scientific data to back up your counter claim?

I made no counter claim. The above challenge is nonsense based on a misinterpretation of my remarks on “reality”. But let’s address the question “how should I conduct myself so as to be happy?” I think you know what’s coming. I have no guess as to just how “happy” you wish to be, Johnny. If you want cosmic bliss 24/7, you should be institutionalized, or at least in therapy. If you cannot be happy unless you are constantly in the business of telling other people how to be happy, go find some people who can only be happy when someone else is telling them exactly what to do in order to be happy.

Your claim that mythical, philosophical, and religious literature instructs one in conduct necessary to happiness is based on tradition, rather than effectiveness. It is delivering the claim itself that makes you happy, and you are unconcened with whether or not the claim can be substantiated. On the balance of the evidence, much misery is delivered in its name.

I have answered your question involving the “car analogy” by reminding you that people are not “designed”. This is the principal reason that “good” and “bad” are such failures at providing guides for human conduct. I reminded you that all you have provided are tautological connections between “good” and “happy”, without defining either one except in terms of the other. I remind you that “reliability” is an appropriate standard when evaluating a piece of technology. Reliable conduct in human beings is popular, and most people treat others in such a way as to minimize threats to their own self-interest, in a game-theoretic sense. This has come about, not through design, and not through a written prescription, but via an evolution by natural selection. So, to return to your point about “public opinion”, it has nothing to do with any written opinions, which are always grinding some sort of axe. A scientist is never wedded emotionally, as you seem so clearly to be, to his or her ideas. I suggest you engage in some introspection and try to determine why you are so focused on preaching.

You are probably familiar by now with my conjecture that, as the world becomes crowded with too many human beings, altruism is going to become costly, and self-interest will dictate that less and less of it be tossed around, at least until the human population stabilizes.

The true Masochist begs to be beaten. The true Sadist refuses to administer the beating.
Anton Szandor LaVey

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Posted: 28 July 2008 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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This is getting very interesting ... you are raising some excellent counter-arguments, SC!  Due to time, I’ll just concentrate on a couple of matters for the present (assuming your approval in this regard).

Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 11:24 AM

I made no counter claim. The above challenge is nonsense based on a misinterpretation of my remarks on “reality”. But let’s address the question “how should I conduct myself so as to be happy?” I think you know what’s coming. I have no guess as to just how “happy” you wish to be, Johnny. If you want cosmic bliss 24/7, you should be institutionalized, or at least in therapy.

No, we are not talking about 24/7 bliss.  Scientific studies demonstrate that happiness depends largely on the cortical lottery.  And this is where people tend to make mistakes regarding what will make them happy.  For example, studies show that people who win the lottery (no pun intended) very quickly move back to the level of happiness they had before their win.  Conversely, people who become parapalegic very quickly return to the level of happiness they had before the tragedy. 

But to return to the question re: 24/7 bliss:  People tend to know that a kick in the head is not as much fun as a weeekend in Paris with all expenses paid.  Where people make mistakes is in the matter of just how much time in Paris with all expenses paid will continue make them more happy.  In other words, we are good at linear relationships but not so good at the curvilinear (i.e. we don’t notice that we are not getting that much more happiness out of activiites we thought would make us ecstatic).

Reliable conduct in human beings is popular, and most people treat others in such a way as to minimize threats to their own self-interest, in a game-theoretic sense. This has come about, not through design, and not through a written prescription, but via an evolution by natural selection.

Here is the crux of the argument:  You are going to argue that people are motivated by self-interest whereas I am going to argue that people tend to be wrong about what their interest is in reality.  I am going to argue that there is such a thing as pathology when it comes to being human.  You are going to argue that what the human being isn’t realted to any constant.  Yet, we know what a healthy foot looks like and what happens when the foot is not healthy, etc..

The difference between us is a classic in philosophy:  What is justice?  There are two sides to debate:

(1)  Justice is self-interest.  Those who are the strongest tend to be happier than those who are weaker. 

(2)  Justice is a constant:  The relationship between the parts of a group.  In this argument, people tend to be happy as a result of their connectedness to other people in a group.  Their are constants that if violated will reduce one’s overall happiness.

Thus, my philosophical qleanings can be validated and/or falsified ... be my guest in your refutation.

John

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Posted: 28 July 2008 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

. . . [W]e are not talking about 24/7 bliss.  Scientific studies demonstrate that happiness depends largely on the cortical lottery.  And this is where people tend to make mistakes regarding what will make them happy. . . .

John, until my software-driven Happiness Systemtm is in place, observation and data collection of a certain specific handful of human ways are, as Salt Creek implies, all there is. It does seem as though lots of people are able to gain happiness-meaning via ancient religious and philosophical writings. But my System will abolish any perceived need for such nonsense. It will cost about what a satellite radio subscription goes for, other than the payments you’ll need to make to a neuro-surgeon, unless you can convince your insurance company to cover the expense of installation. My System will whisper sweet everythings in your ear, so privately that your sexual partners will never be aware of their presence. Not only will it guide your every word, but every deed, as well. It will instruct you as to what precisely you need to say and do during each waking—and even an occasional sleeping—moment, in order to allow you to maintain constant and occasionally intense bliss. For the shy few, social interaction will no longer be a hazardous minefield; for the talkative many, whispered advice will be constant and it will be the best advice available, as it will be based on software instructions containing analysis covering every corner of human ways. It will expertly uncover all manner of debris lying beneath a person’s (to use your imagery) highly polished, outwardly attractive veneer surface, and it will assist you, step-by-step, through any difficulty that’s ever been imagined in history, keeping the customer happy the entire time, unless he stubs his toe, of course.

Actually, I don’t doubt that something like this will eventually become available. I think I’ll just stick with my satellite-radio subscription.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 28 July 2008 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

And this is where people tend to make mistakes regarding what will make them happy.

Well, then, John, just let people make their own mistakes. If you persisted in this kind of busy-bodying face to face, you would eventually get a punch in the nose for your trouble. We know you are interested in what people “should” do. You yourself would be happier were you simply to locate people who actually enjoy being told what they “should” do. Either that, or find yourself another hobby.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

For example, studies show that people who win the lottery (no pun intended) very quickly move back to the level of happiness they had before their win.  Conversely, people who become parapalegic very quickly return to the level of happiness they had before the tragedy.

These studies have their own definitions of “happy”. One hopes it is simply the testimony of individuals as to whether or not they are “happy”. Please cite the studies, if they appear in any refereed journal and publish their methodology. Let’s give it a definition, first, as we would with “consciousness”. You seem to be avoiding this point, not unexpectedly, and I conclude that you do not have a coherent definition of “happiness”, although you do seem obsessed by the subject.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

Where people make mistakes is in the matter of just how much time in Paris with all expenses paid will continue make them more happy.

Is this the extent of your deep wisdom, John? I’m glad I haven’t hired you as my “happiness’ consultant. I still advise letting people make their own mistakes. Hang up a shingle and advertise your services. Let us know how your bottom line is working out on any counseling gig you get yourself. Seventy-five bucks an hour for the kind of advice you can find in the pulp self-help literature? You do believe there’s a sucker born every minute, and you are right! You’re looking more and more to me like a vulture or parasite with every new post you make here. To make yourself less of a parasite, try to deepen your understanding of other human beings. So far, you’re just squatting and peeing in human nature’s kiddie pool.

I could hang up a New-Agey shingle, myself, but I have certain problems simply telling people only what they want to hear.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

In other words, we are good at linear relationships but not so good at the curvilinear (i.e. we don’t notice that we are not getting that much more happiness out of activiites we thought would make us ecstatic).

This is simply a word salad, Johnny, and pretends that “linear” and “curvilinear” have some direct applicability to human relationships. This is the kind of phony science lingo that has gotten post-structuralist and social-constructivist psychology such a filthy reputation. You fake all sorts of insight into human beings, but this has been obvious since your very first post.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

You are going to argue that people are motivated by self-interest whereas I am going to argue that people tend to be wrong about what their interest is in reality.

Bzzzt. Wrong. Next contestant. What I wrote was “most people treat others in such a way as to minimize threats to their own self-interest, in a game-theoretic sense.” Note the delicate difference. Perhaps I should have said “perceived threats”. My conjecture is that people are motivated by perceived threats to what they are already familiar with. People are a mess of contradictions, however, and the term “self-interest” is meaningless in an absolute sense. People like you manufacture a market for it by telling people what you think is in their “self-interest”. In other words, “self-interest” is what busy-bodies try to tell other people it is.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

I am going to argue that there is such a thing as pathology when it comes to being human.  You are going to argue that what the human being isn’t realted to any constant.  Yet, we know what a healthy foot looks like and what happens when the foot is not healthy

John, we agree on what a healthy foot looks like. You seek to prescribe what a “healthy human being” looks like. You are asking for trouble. You are a closet autocrat, and your definition of “healthy human being” is simply that prescribed in a set of texts you have chosen. You claim authority in a bunch of literature filled with bone-crushing mistakes, and dating from a time when people knew diddly-squat about the natural evolution of human behavior. This is dick-polishing of brobdingnagian scope.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

There are two sides to debate:

(1)  Justice is self-interest.  Those who are the strongest tend to be happier than those who are weaker. 

(2)  Justice is a constant:  The relationship between the parts of a group.  In this argument, people tend to be happy as a result of their connectedness to other people in a group.  Their are constants that if violated will reduce one’s overall happiness.

I’m not going to argue about gross over-simplifications of stuff you got out of an ancient philosophy textbook. I suspect you recognize the difference between you, with your doctrinaire fearfulness and authoritarianism and people who have confidence in their capacity to look squarely at the world as it is. Your writing displays a quivering jello-mold of philosophical confusion that attempts to substitute pop psychology and rote learning of ancient texts for scientific curiosity and vision.

You seem to believe that simply repackaging a failed argument is equivalent to winning it. I guess we are to see a great deal more dick-polishing from you going forward. Don’t worry, we’ll have our sunglasses on. You are quite a skilled dick-polisher, Johnny. One more application of wax won’t hurt, will it? It’s just your dick, though, and you are much more impressed by it than we are, apparently.

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 10:39 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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homunculus - 28 July 2008 12:22 PM
John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

. . . [W]e are not talking about 24/7 bliss.  Scientific studies demonstrate that happiness depends largely on the cortical lottery.  And this is where people tend to make mistakes regarding what will make them happy. . . .

John, until my software-driven Happiness Systemtm is in place, observation and data collection of a certain specific handful of human ways are, as Salt Creek implies, all there is. It does seem as though lots of people are able to gain happiness-meaning via ancient religious and philosophical writings. But my System will abolish any perceived need for such nonsense. It will cost about what a satellite radio subscription goes for, other than the payments you’ll need to make to a neuro-surgeon, unless you can convince your insurance company to cover the expense of installation. My System will whisper sweet everythings in your ear, so privately that your sexual partners will never be aware of their presence. Not only will it guide your every word, but every deed, as well. It will instruct you as to what precisely you need to say and do during each waking—and even an occasional sleeping—moment, in order to allow you to maintain constant and occasionally intense bliss. For the shy few, social interaction will no longer be a hazardous minefield; for the talkative many, whispered advice will be constant and it will be the best advice available, as it will be based on software instructions containing analysis covering every corner of human ways. It will expertly uncover all manner of debris lying beneath a person’s (to use your imagery) highly polished, outwardly attractive veneer surface, and it will assist you, step-by-step, through any difficulty that’s ever been imagined in history, keeping the customer happy the entire time, unless he stubs his toe, of course.

Actually, I don’t doubt that something like this will eventually become available. I think I’ll just stick with my satellite-radio subscription.

Your argument is very similar to the classic Brain in a Vat argument.  It is parodied in Huxley’s Brave New World.  The only real human being in Huxley’s story is John Savage.  He is free from all artificial stimulii and automated processes.  Because he is the one who lives in reality, he is the one who is most fulfilled as a human being.

But seeing as you have joined in the discussion of this thread, let me pull in another comment you made in Post #65 of the Excluded Middle thread:

homunculus - 24 July 2008 10:37 PM

So what does that tell us? Perhaps that such word use is emotion-based, not to be looked at as being anything resembling reliably repeatable description. Such word choices amount to idiosyncrasies. Words such as good, bad, decent, pure-hearted, beautiful, ugly share something in this category, wouldn’t you say?

Let me quote from Plato whom Sander regards as a fuckwit bearing Rules #1 and 2 in mind that we shouldNEVER take anything Sander posts seriously, no matter how realistic, erudite or intelligent it sounds.:  “opinions without knowledge are shameful and ugly things” (Republic.506c).  What he means by this is that words like beauty, etc. do have a response in the emotions (Plato would have said the psyche or soul) of the human being but they get into the soul because of the soul’s participation in the forms.

Now hold onto your hat, Homunculus, I know you want objectivity here but let’s here the old boy out first.  A rectilinear triangle is a relationship between three lines which corresponds to the mathematical equation a2+b2=c2.  The relationship is absolute (aka objective rather than subjective).  If the triangle does not correspond to the a2+b2=c2 formula, it is not rectilinear.  Plato gets this idea of the forms from the pre-Socratic Pythagoras and this is what he is developing in his theory of the human soul.  Just as there is an absolute relationship between the lines of the rectilinear triangle, so there is an absolute relationship among the parts of the soul and between the soul and the forms.

To return to your Brain in a Vat argument:  To be truly human in the early Greek’s sense is to conduct oneself according to the forms rather than according to emotions or to human opinion. Happiness is the result of doing this to an ever increasing extent: “True wisdom is to know that we know nothing about the beautiful and the good” (Apology).  This means that a true opinion will participate in knowledge but is more a journey in knowledge than a final destination.  We have true opinions as a result of our cultivation of the virtues (justice, temperance, courage and wisdom).

All of this is getting complicated but can be simplified by looking at your own experience.  Through the eyes of the early Greeks, when you determined that it was not desirable to hate you had gained a knowledge of the forms.  By overcoming hate, you began to participate in the forms.  If you were to continue to pursue this course (by for example learning to understand people you may think are fuckwits  wink ), you would increase in your happiness.  Why?  Because you would be learning that your full humanity (and, therefore, your happiness) is realized in connection with all other human beings.

Let me return to your main objection to one of my former statements:

homunculus - 24 July 2008 10:37 PM

I can think of no more dramatically subjective a thing to say than to claim that The west has managed to quash the truth about what it means to be human.

This is easy to back up through a historical argument.  If we begin with the pre-Socratic Orpheus (900 BCE), we can see that the dominate view of what it means to be human is found in (wo)man’s relationship to the gods ...

btw SC doesn’t like the (wo)man thing but I am always aware of the fact that there are women on this forum who may be reading some of the conversations.

... primarily the gods require care and feeding in order for the human beings to enjoy fruitfulness, etc..  The sacrificial rituals, etc. were atonements to the gods to guarantee the ritualist with pleasure in this life and in the next.

When we come to someone like Pythagoras, this view changes.  There is a skepticism about the existence of gods who marry and cheat and lie and kill for no reason, etc..  Pythagoras (and others such as Heraclietus) developed the idea of the forms and began to act on these ideas (just as you acted on the idea that it is better not to hate).  This conception meant that a human being has freedom and dignity on his own and in relation to other human beings.  It became the dominant idea after Plato and Aristotle especially among the Stoics and became the basis for Roman law.  But, as I have said, the idea was already being compromised in Aristotle when the forms began to be confused with the older idea of god.

By the time of Augustine, the west is back to the ideas of Orpheus:  Christ is the sacrifice and human happiness is a matter of the afterlife.  To quote the satirist SC:  Post #2 in the happiness thread:

Salt Creek - 18 July 2008 08:50 AM
Shane - 18 July 2008 07:49 AM

What is your definition of the happy life?

Having a personal relationship with Jesus, and loving my fellow man as He loved us?

What it means to be human is quashed.  Scientific studies do verify that people are happier when they do what they do from conviction rather than because it is what is expected of them.

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 10:58 AM by John Brand]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 02:26 PM
John Brand - 28 July 2008 11:48 AM

And this is where people tend to make mistakes regarding what will make them happy.

Well, then, John, just let people make their own mistakes. If you persisted in this kind of busy-bodying face to face, you would eventually get a punch in the nose for your trouble. We know you are interested in what people “should” do. You yourself would be happier were you simply to locate people who actually enjoy being told what they “should” do. Either that, or find yourself another hobby.

You appear to be evading the argument:  Why do you think that philosophy is just showing off?  Now you are turning it back onto me and saying “John you are ...”.  This is not about me its about your validation of your own assertions.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 02:56 PM

Your argument is very similar to the classic Brain in a Vat argument.

Oh well. I’m still hoping some day to write a short story focusing on my System, but I’ll need to learn quite a few new words, first. No argument was intended, by the way. Just having a little fun.

As for rectilinear triangles, Forms, etc., I guess my forms are no less mathematical than yours, just less generalizable. That is, I attribute fewer potential outside connections to any given “form” than you seem to.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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homunculus - 28 July 2008 04:09 PM
John Brand - 28 July 2008 02:56 PM

Your argument is very similar to the classic Brain in a Vat argument.

Oh well. I’m still hoping some day to write a short story focusing on my System, but I’ll need to learn quite a few new words, first. No argument was intended, by the way. Just having a little fun.

As for rectilinear triangles, Forms, etc., I guess my forms are no less mathematical than yours, just less generalizable. That is, I attribute fewer potential outside connections to any given “form” than you seem to.

As I said in a previous conversation:  There is no certainty outside of our knowledge of the elephant.  What I meant by this is that neither you nor I can attribute ‘outside connections’ to any given form.  I think the difference between you and me is that I start with the same subjectivity and then try to move away from it by looking at what ‘the wise’ have said about what I am experiencing.  From here I think we are, then, the same:  We both move out existentially based on our opinion.  Whether we are correct in our musing is determined by what happens in terms of our experience.  This is very much what happens in the hypothetical-deductive method.

btw I’d like to read your short story when you have finished.  I still have to get to the story you have as a link in your profile.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 03:01 PM

You appear to be evading the argument:  Why do you think that philosophy is just showing off?  Now you are turning it back onto me and saying “John you are ...”.  This is not about me its about your validation of your own assertions.

You have not named a single problem that philosophy has ever solved. Philosophy consists entirely of recycling the same arguments over and over again, and nobody learns anything from that. Nobody cares whether or not all swans are white.

Now, about “showing off”. Here and there, some name-dropping, without a point to make, other than a failure of philosophy:

By the time of Augustine, the west is back to the ideas of Orpheus:  Christ is the sacrifice and human happiness is a matter of the afterlife.

Another failure of philosophy:

But, as I have said, the idea was already being compromised in Aristotle when the forms began to be confused with the older idea of god.

Say it ain’t so! These suckers come along thick and fast. To recite philosophy is to recite its failures. Fill out the requisite Forms. Platonic idealism solves no known problem. Instead, it makes up a problem and then makes up an answer. Don’t waste my time on Platonic idealism.

If we begin with the pre-Socratic Orpheus (900 BCE), we can see that the dominate view of what it means to be human is found in (wo)man’s relationship to the gods ...

What? A bone-crushing mistake, right from the very beginning! Who would have expected so much pure shit from so humble a beginning? The remainder of Philosophy consists of nothing but bloated rationalizations purporting to correct the mistake, in something like the following:

All of this is getting complicated but can be simplified by looking at your own experience. Through the eyes of the early Greeks, when you determined that it was not desirable to hate you had gained a knowledge of the forms. By overcoming hate, you began to participate in the forms. If you were to continue to pursue this course (by for example learning to understand people you may think are fuckwits), you would increase in your happiness. Why? Because you would be learning that your full humanity (and, therefore, your happiness) is realized in connection with all other human beings.

How does looking at one’s experience through the eyes of the early Greeks lead anywhere but toward the same mistakes they made?

We can see that there is somebody here being considered a “fuckwit” (and it ain’t Socrates, though some consider Socrates to be a fuckwit, as well). Oddly enough, that same somebody is trying desperately to persuade somebody else that happiness can be enhanced by trying to understand fuckwits, when it is only the fuckwits who will be happier upon seeing others attempt to simulate an understanding of the aforementioned fuckwits.

Plato gets this idea of the forms from the pre-Socratic Pythagoras and this is what he is developing in his theory of the human soul.  Just as there is an absolute relationship between the lines of the rectilinear triangle, so there is an absolute relationship among the parts of the soul and between the soul and the forms.

Now the above is some maximum-overdrive fuckwitticism, and my or H’s simulation of understanding it may make some philosopher who thinks that showing off his highly-polished, um, er, argument, may make said philosopher “happier”, but this need have nothing to do with the happiness of the interlocutor who has to pretend to understand more dreary word-salad.

People still disagree on what people “should” do. The mistakes and recovery-oriented arguments of philosophy have not accomplished what they aim at. That happiness and harmony (the absence of conflict) cannot be distinguished is almost beside the point. People clearly do not want harmony, and those who are still attempting to sell it are ignoring the later lessons learned from biology. Philosophy is incapable of correcting its own mistakes, because its only tool is argument, and it can learn nothing from its mistakes.

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 12:58 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 04:50 PM
John Brand - 28 July 2008 03:01 PM

You appear to be evading the argument:  Why do you think that philosophy is just showing off?  Now you are turning it back onto me and saying “John you are ...”.  This is not about me its about your validation of your own assertions.

You have not named a single problem that philosophy has ever solved. Philosophy consists entirely of recycling the same arguments over and over again, and nobody learns anything from that. Nobody cares whether or not all swans are white.

Now, about “showing off”. Here and there, some name-dropping, without a point to make, other than a failure of philosophy:

By the time of Augustine, the west is back to the ideas of Orpheus:  Christ is the sacrifice and human happiness is a matter of the afterlife.

Another failure of philosophy:

But, as I have said, the idea was already being compromised in Aristotle when the forms began to be confused with the older idea of god.

Say it ain’t so! These suckers come along thick and fast. To recite philosophy is to recite its failures. Fill out the requisite Forms. Platonic idealism solves no known problem. Instead, it makes up a problem and then makes up an answer. Don’t waste my time on Platonic idealism.

If we begin with the pre-Socratic Orpheus (900 BCE), we can see that the dominate view of what it means to be human is found in (wo)man’s relationship to the gods ...

What? A bone-crushing mistake, right from the very beginning! Who would have expected so much pure shit from so humble a beginning? The remainder of Philosophy consists of nothing but bloated rationalizations purporting to correct the mistake, in something like the following:

All of this is getting complicated but can be simplified by looking at your own experience. Through the eyes of the early Greeks, when you determined that it was not desirable to hate you had gained a knowledge of the forms. By overcoming hate, you began to participate in the forms. If you were to continue to pursue this course (by for example learning to understand people you may think are fuckwits), you would increase in your happiness. Why? Because you would be learning that your full humanity (and, therefore, your happiness) is realized in connection with all other human beings.

We can see that there is somebody here being considered a “fuckwit” (and it ain’t Socrates, though some consider Socrates to be a fuckwit, as well). Oddly enough, that same somebody is trying desperately to persuade somebody else that happiness can be enhanced by trying to understand fuckwits, when it is only the fuckwits who will be happier upon seeing others attempt to simulate understanding said fuckwits.

Plato gets this idea of the forms from the pre-Socratic Pythagoras and this is what he is developing in his theory of the human soul.  Just as there is an absolute relationship between the lines of the rectilinear triangle, so there is an absolute relationship among the parts of the soul and between the soul and the forms.

Now the above is some maximum-overdrive fuckwitticism, and my or H’s simulation of understanding it may make some philosopher who thinks that showing off his highly-polished, um, er, argument, may make said philosopher “happier”, but this need have nothing to do with the happiness of the interlocutor who has to pretend to understand more dreary word-salad.

People still disagree on what people “should” do. The mistakes and recovery-oriented arguments of philosophy have not accomplished what they aim at. That happiness and harmony (the absence of conflict) cannot be distinguished is almost beside the point. People clearly do not want harmony, and those who are still attempting to sell it are ignoring the later lessons learned from biology. Philosophy is incapable of correcting its own mistakes, because its only tool is argument, and it can learn nothing from its mistakes.

When you have something other than an ex cathedra, I’ll be sure to tune in ... for the present you are only trying to make the argument about me because you are not familiar enough with the subject matter to posit anything of real import.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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John Brand - 28 July 2008 04:58 PM

When you have something other than an ex cathedra, I’ll be sure to tune in ... for the present you are only trying to make the argument about me because you are not familiar enough with the subject matter to posit anything of real import.

You asked me why I think philosophy is just “showing off”, and I told you. In turn, you quoted my entire post in lieu of addressing any of its points, because you cannot. One of the show-off-y aspects of philosophy is using Latin to name what it considers fallacies. This is one more aspect of the way philosophy tries to isolate itself until it becomes nothing but an intellectual hobby. You cannot name any problem that philosophy has solved. So, once again:

Salt Creek - 22 July 2008 11:51 PM
JETurnbull - 22 July 2008 02:44 PM

Must one write at great length in order to be considered a philosopher?

Sallltttyyy??  Oh Salty??  Where are you Mr. Creek?  Here’s another reason for you to live yet one more day.

Must one write at great length? Not at all. One must, however, be willing to polish one’s dick with jeweler’s rouge until the sparkle can be seen for miles. Not to mention the length.

So: No progress in nearly a week. Philosophers travel in their own circles. C = 2?r.

Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 04:50 PM

We can see that there is somebody here being considered a “fuckwit” (and it ain’t Socrates, though some consider Socrates to be a fuckwit, as well). Oddly enough, that same somebody is trying desperately to persuade somebody else that happiness can be enhanced by trying to understand fuckwits, when it is only the fuckwits who will be happier upon seeing others attempt to simulate an understanding of the aforementioned fuckwits.

John Brand - 28 July 2008 02:56 PM

All of this is getting complicated but can be simplified by looking at your own experience.  Through the eyes of the early Greeks, when you determined that it was not desirable to hate you had gained a knowledge of the forms.  By overcoming hate, you began to participate in the forms.  If you were to continue to pursue this course (by for example learning to understand people you may think are fuckwits), you would increase in your happiness.  Why?  Because you would be learning that your full humanity (and, therefore, your happiness) is realized in connection with all other human beings.

Salt Creek - 28 July 2008 04:50 PM

Now the above is some maximum-overdrive fuckwitticism, and my or H’s simulation of understanding it may make some philosopher who thinks that showing off his highly-polished, um, er, argument, may make said philosopher “happier”, but this need have nothing to do with the happiness of the interlocutor who has to pretend to understand more dreary word-salad.

The great boon that philosophy has bestowed on me today is that my argument comes ex cathedra. Yes, indeed, in the house that science built are many mentions. Philosophy, on the other hand, has a long list of names for fallacies which take place in philosophical arguments, but no list of conjectures known to be incorrect.

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 01:39 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Zen Philosophy

“To learn to be a Zen philosopher, first you should break through the seeds of habit with great determination, and then be aware of cause and effect so that you fear to do wrong.  Transcend all mental objects, stop all rumination.  Don’t let either good or bad thoughts enter into your thinking, forget about both philosophy and things of the world.  Let go of body and mind, like letting go over a cliff.  Be like space, not producing subjective thoughts of life and death, or any signs of discrimination.  If you have any views at all, cut them right off and don’t let them continue.”

Adapted from the writings of Zen Master Xiatang, circa 1050 A.D. - quoted in ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’, translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.

(In the above quote, Unsmoked has replaced the word ‘Buddha’ with ‘Zen philosopher’ and the word Buddhism with the word ‘philosophy’).

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 28 July 2008 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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unsmoked - 28 July 2008 05:23 PM

Zen Philosophy

“To learn to be a Zen philosopher, first you should break through the seeds of habit with great determination, and then be aware of cause and effect so that you fear to do wrong.  Transcend all mental objects, stop all rumination.  Don’t let either good or bad thoughts enter into your thinking, forget about both philosophy and things of the world.  Let go of body and mind, like letting go over a cliff.  Be like space, not producing subjective thoughts of life and death, or any signs of discrimination.  If you have any views at all, cut them right off and don’t let them continue.”

Adapted from the writings of Zen Master Xiatang, circa 1050 A.D. - quoted in ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’, translated and edited by Thomas Cleary.

(In the above quote, Unsmoked has replaced the word ‘Buddha’ with ‘Zen philosopher’ and the word Buddhism with the word ‘philosophy’).

This is probably the optimum sort of philosophy. Start with no premises. Make no conclusions. Where you have not traveled, write no Baedeker.

unsmoked - 28 July 2008 05:23 PM

be aware of cause and effect

Oooops. Looks like a premise. Nil nisi bonum.

[ Edited: 28 July 2008 01:34 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 28 July 2008 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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unsmoked - 28 July 2008 05:23 PM

“To learn to be a Zen philosopher, first you should break through the seeds of habit with great determination, and then be aware of cause and effect so that you fear to do wrong.  Transcend all mental objects, stop all rumination.  Don’t let either good or bad thoughts enter into your thinking, forget about both philosophy and things of the world.  Let go of body and mind, like letting go over a cliff.  Be like space, not producing subjective thoughts of life and death, or any signs of discrimination.  If you have any views at all, cut them right off and don’t let them continue.”

If the writer followed his own advice and cut off any views that he had, how would he have ever written this paragraph, which constitutes “a view” about something? If he became aware of cause and effect, he would have “a view” about it, which he would then have to “cut right off,” at which point he would no longer have a view about it. How can he follow his own advice and still have any advice to give? This is why Zen Buddhism is BS - it travels in never-ending circles and goes nowhere.  At least Christianity has a particular view and direction, whether you agree with it or not.

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