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Is There Any Hope For Morals In A Non-Religious World?
Posted: 17 March 2007 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 166 ]  
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[quote author=“SaulOhio”]Whats the difference between “an illusion that works” and a lie? As far as I see it, social contract seems like a way for some people to get others to go along with what they want, to persuade them to accept what are often very unjust laws and policies.

Good luck with A Life of One’s own. I thought I recommended Kelley’s Unrugged Individualism, which is also very good. It goes more into what was being done by the private sector before the welfare state took over the work of private charities and private worker’s associations.

I can’t remember whether your recommended book was too expensive, or unavailable. It often happens, as I’m a cheapskate.

As for illusion being necessary, the mind itself is an illusion, Saul. That’s a fact that used to bother me until I came to terms with it and embraced the illusion. Some illusions are unnecessary, some are crucially important, some are dangerous and some are downright harmful. I see Mind and Social Contract as being necessary. Just my opinion.

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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.
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Posted: 17 March 2007 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 167 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”]
As for illusion being necessary, the mind itself is an illusion, Saul. That’s a fact that used to bother me until I came to terms with it and embraced the illusion. Some illusions are unnecessary, some are crucially important, some are dangerous and some are downright harmful. I see Mind and Social Contract as being necessary. Just my opinion.

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the argument that an illusion is a thing of the mind, so the very existence of the concept of illusion is proof that the mind itself is NOT an illusion. The very act of claiming that the mind is an illusion is self-refuting. The very real existence of the mind is a precondition for the existence of illusions.

If you have heard this argument, and don’t accept it—why not? (Of course the very act of considering this argument means you have a conscious mind with which to consider it.)

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“Capitalism without failure is like religion without sin. It doesn’t work.”—Alan Metzer

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Posted: 17 March 2007 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 168 ]  
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[quote author=“SaulOhio”]I’m sure you’ve probably heard the argument that an illusion is a thing of the mind, so the very existence of the concept of illusion is proof that the mind itself is NOT an illusion. The very act of claiming that the mind is an illusion is self-refuting. The very real existence of the mind is a precondition for the existence of illusions.

If you have heard this argument, and don’t accept it—why not? (Of course the very act of considering this argument means you have a conscious mind with which to consider it.)

What I’m claiming is that “mind” doesn’t exist. No mind particles or waves have ever been seen, touched, measured, etc. Something certainly exists which people have over the millennia termed “mind,” but that term was founded in complete ignorance (in my opinion) of what it was they were trying to describe. In other words, “mind” refers to something that doesn’t exist, since the word was coined before mental processing was understood, at least in Western culture. Maybe the word for “mind” in other cultures is in fact accurately descriptive, but I unfortunately have no idea.

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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: 17 March 2007 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 169 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“SaulOhio”]I’m sure you’ve probably heard the argument that an illusion is a thing of the mind, so the very existence of the concept of illusion is proof that the mind itself is NOT an illusion. The very act of claiming that the mind is an illusion is self-refuting. The very real existence of the mind is a precondition for the existence of illusions.

If you have heard this argument, and don’t accept it—why not? (Of course the very act of considering this argument means you have a conscious mind with which to consider it.)

What I’m claiming is that “mind” doesn’t exist. No mind particles or waves have ever been seen, touched, measured, etc. Something certainly exists which people have over the millennia termed “mind,” but that term was founded in complete ignorance (in my opinion) of what it was they were trying to describe. In other words, “mind” refers to something that doesn’t exist, since the word was coined before mental processing was understood, at least in Western culture. Maybe the word for “mind” in other cultures is in fact accurately descriptive, but I unfortunately have no idea.

Something that exists doesn’t have to be a physical object. It can be an action, or a process. Thats what the mind is.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 170 ]  
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I agree completely, Saul.

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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: 17 March 2007 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 171 ]  
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What I’m claiming, Saul, is that “mind” as a thing does not exist. I tend not even to use the word, and when I do, my intention is to use it as being highly metaphorical. This whole subject may or may not be important to anyone but me, but I do know that CanZen has written much more insightfully about it than I have, and I completely agree with his take on things. In fact, I think he and Burt are in a related discussion right now, which you may want to enter.

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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: 17 March 2007 03:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 172 ]  
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Having taught kindergarten for eight plus years, I have to agree with this.

[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
Actually, by “state of nature” Hobbes was not referring to any concept of human evil. He was simply describing the chaos that naturally arises when there is no governing political authority - anarchy was in view, not any concept of original sin.

From an early age, humans need some sort of guidance. Has any one watched the movie Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwartzenager? Its Arnold’s first day, he is talking to the children who are all sitting in their seats hands folded with innocent smiles on their little faces. He is asked to step out of the classroom to talk to a fellow teacher. The two converse for approximately two or three minutes. In leaving, the other teacher turns to tell him, “A little warning…don’t turn your back on them for even five minuets.” Arnold says, “Oh their fine, I told them to stay in their seats while I was out”. (paraphrased) Arnold smiles and turns toward the window of the classroom to see the little angles. To his shock, he finds total ciaos. Let me tell you from experience, this is a real situation for all new kindergarten teachers. Without a teacher in the classroom, life is a free for all. I believe we can relate this to human nature.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 173 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]welcome back Saul,

Humans can be good or evil

Humans can only be human. Superman and Lex Luthor can be good and evil.

Bruce,

He was simply describing the chaos that naturally arises when there is no governing political authority

That is chaotic for the governing authority. It may be quite orderly for everyone else.

‘Don’t Steal’ is fine for the haves..not so good for the have-nots.

A Social contract is only worthwhile if it serves some other purpose. Otherwise it just becomes a formula for stagnation.

You can form a socially stable society. Then what? If I check back in 100 years, will anything have changed?

Come on Joad - we live in a relatively stable society, compared to the dark ages before Hobbes.  You are sitting at a computer writing your thoughts and reading others.  You probably do not have to worry about barbarians riding up on horses and sacking your town.  Sure, there are breakdowns - but that is simply because there is no stable social contract in those particular communities, or it is still developing.  We have nation states because of social contract.  We have generally accepted mores and codes of conduct, in both theistic and atheistic communities, because of social contract.  Since we make the decision on the terms of the contract, it can change, and is usually in a state of flux. But it’s there - and generally speaking, it has made life better.  When you come back in a 100 years, if civilization has broken down totally, then it will be because we could not agree on the social contract.  If it is still going on, then it’s because we agreed on a contract.  The terms may be completely different, but there will be some basic agreement on both a political level and a moral level.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 03:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 174 ]  
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[quote author=“OpenMind”] “Oh their fine, I told them to stay in their seats while I was out”. (paraphrased) Arnold smiles and turns toward the window of the classroom to see the little angles. To his shock, he finds total ciaos. Let me tell you from experience, this is a real situation for all new kindergarten teachers. Without a teacher in the classroom, life is a free for all. I believe we can relate this to human nature.

It’s similar to “Lord of the Flies.” The choir boys turn to barbarians on the island. It’s not necessarily related to any defect in humans.  It’s simply that without some set of rules, some governing authority, there is no protection whatsoever for the weak and vulnerable. Life becomes solitary, nasty, brutish and short.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 175 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”]What I’m claiming, Saul, is that “mind” as a thing does not exist. I tend not even to use the word, and when I do, my intention is to use it as being highly metaphorical. This whole subject may or may not be important to anyone but me, but I do know that CanZen has written much more insightfully about it than I have, and I completely agree with his take on things. In fact, I think he and Burt are in a related discussion right now, which you may want to enter.

I agree homulculus, mind is a process.  I’d take it further and say that ego and self-consciousness are also processes.  Where CanZen and I disagree (although he would have to clarify this if I’m mistaken) is that I think there is a universal consciousness beyond this process and that the ego falsely identifies with this when it calls itself “I”.  The idea of a social contract, from my point of view, has several aspects.  First off, there is the idea of “consideration” which is usually taken as a good thing, but in this context is just an agreement between egos: “I’ll pretent to buy your story if you will pretend to buy mine.”  Getting beyond that, is the general social contract where we all agree on certain rules to govern our interpersonal interactions.  Within these agree rules, we can interact with relative confidence.  The fear of strangers is reduced to the point where, on meeting another, we might be able to contact the real consciousness behind the ego and recognize our identity with it.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 176 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]I agree homulculus, mind is a process.  I’d take it further and say that ego and self-consciousness are also processes.  Where CanZen and I disagree (although he would have to clarify this if I’m mistaken) is that I think there is a universal consciousness beyond this process and that the ego falsely identifies with this when it calls itself “I”.  The idea of a social contract, from my point of view, has several aspects.  First off, there is the idea of “consideration” which is usually taken as a good thing, but in this context is just an agreement between egos: “I’ll pretent to buy your story if you will pretend to buy mine.”  Getting beyond that, is the general social contract where we all agree on certain rules to govern our interpersonal interactions.  Within these agree rules, we can interact with relative confidence.  The fear of strangers is reduced to the point where, on meeting another, we might be able to contact the real consciousness behind the ego and recognize our identity with it.

If there is such a universal consciousness (UC), are we progressing toward it in our collective political and moral experience? Or is it purely an individual issue?  Can we say that our political institutions and moral codes today represent a clearer reflection (on the whole) of UC, or are they random and arbitrary?  Do you understand the UC to itself be developing and progressing, or is it static and complete?

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