john42t

One true philosophy or not

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Tony, if these evasions are not done consciously, they are not chosen. If I get in an elevator, and the cable breaks, did I commit suicide?

The act of getting on the elevator was a conscious decision, the consequences were not. The same goes for these subconscious evasions.

If we assume we have free will, we should not be talking about subconscious right now, we should be talking about how we can choose within the boundaries of our awareness.

The choice we have is between what we're aware of and what we're not. Reality exists, yes, but nature did not just give us eyes and ears, but also emotions and curiosity. Those are not choices.

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Xray,

In that Wiki article you posted about epistemology :

"Some thinkers take the view that, beginning with the work of Descartes, epistemology

began to replace metaphysics as the most important area of philosophy."

That's telling: Descartes started the rot.

If you compare these,

"I think, therefore I am." [RD]

"I am, therefore I'll think." [AR]

you can see the distinction between a rationalist's philosophy, and a complete philosophy combining metaphysics and epistemology. Do you?

Descartes only knows he's alive because he has cognition. [edit: IOW, he identifies Man's

existence by the rationale of him having cognition.]

Rand presupposes her existence through self-awareness ( metaphysical) and follows up with volitionally, self-generated consciousness (again, metaphysical).

A glaring distinction that shows how hollow is epistemology without metaphysics.

(Right, "metaphysics" had different meanings. The Aristotle-Aquinas-Rand tradition is the relevant one here.)

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Tony, if these evasions are not done consciously, they are not chosen. If I get in an elevator, and the cable breaks, did I commit suicide? The act of getting on the elevator was a conscious decision, the consequences were not. The same goes for these subconscious evasions. If we assume we have free will, we should not be talking about subconscious right now, we should be talking about how we can choose within the boundaries of our awareness. The choice we have is between what we're aware of and what we're not. Reality exists, yes, but nature did not just give us eyes and ears, but also emotions and curiosity. Those are not choices.

OK. Though emotions and curiosity fall within consciousness, after all. As does the sub-conscious.

It's our business (in fact, self-duty) to know and understand everything pertaining to our lives, and Life.

I like that "choosing within the boundaries of our awareness" :- you can only know what you know, when you know it.

With rigorous introspection, it is quite amazing what we do know, actually. To act in contradiction to that 'inner' knowledge still constitutes evasion, I think. "Know thyself" is as important as (and subsumed by, I reckon) "know reality".

Something you don't know - and act upon - is certainly not evasion. In O'ism this is the minor fault of "ignorance".

But, a mind that is not constantly seeking further understanding has no excuse in ignorance.

Rationality necessitates always advancing the "boundaries of awareness."

Tony

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I can't see how the brain can lie - withold information, distort facts - to itself.

Really? If there's one sinlge piece of information I drew from Objectivism about how people are in a way I did never anticipate, then this.

It surprises me that you should say this. You're the one who said that for Objectivists, honesty firstly means "honesty to oneself".

It takes in everything via - and in range of - our senses, like any mechanical recorder, but it is consciousness that applies itself to that information.

Therefore, choice and volition.

Aahh, I think I get it: For you, "the brain" isn't actually the thing that makes the choices, right? We tripped over that one more than once already.

"Lie" is misleading here, since it is usually "other-people targeted".

That's exactly why I call it a lie: Because even the sub-conscious variant is "other-people targeted". Human beings lie to oneself, but only because it has an advantage in dealings with others.

To put it differently: The capacity of human beings to fool themselves exists to the end of fooling others in the same way that eyesight exists to the end of seeing. The driving engine that causes this purpose is natural selection.

I know you're not going to agree with me on this, but anyway, that's my theory of subcoscious lies - my next video will be about this, called: evolution, a theory for conservatives. :smile:

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I can't see how the brain can lie - withold information, distort facts - to itself.
Really? If there's one sinlge piece of information I drew from Objectivism about how people are in a way I did never anticipate, then this. It surprises me that you should say this. You're the one who said that for Objectivists, honesty firstly means "honesty to oneself".

Simply, the brain is a faithful instrument which takes in everything it perceives; the mind directs which neural pathways to 'pursue' and makes judgements about the information. (I seem to remember Rand making an analogy about computers.) There wasnt as much understood about the brain and its conscious selection (my words, I'm not expert on neuroscience) of neural paths, back then, but it is indicative of her inductive thinking being proved correct once more.

I'm not contradicting myself, therefore. The brain makes no judgements, but the mind does - or does not. Which is evasion, dishonesty to oneself. Brain and mind - crucial to distinguish.

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Xray, if I misunderstand your post I apologize, but morality does not need society to exist. For example, self-destruction or self-neglect may also be considered immoral. Wastefulness in general may be considered immoral.

But an indvidual's self-destruction and self-neglect will have an effect on this person's surroundings as well. The same goes for wastefulness.

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(btw, to avoid ambiguity, would you provide your definition of empathy?)

The Wikipedia definition is about the same as mine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.

Simply, if man possesses a brain which contains his consciousness, the mind - and that also possesses some fairly benign instincts for group cohabitation and co-operation... which is of higher importance and efficacy?

Having feelings of empathy does not contradict any of the above.

If you assiduously practise "empathy" (by which I assume you mean compassion) for people, what certainty is there that it will be returned equally by others?

I have never been the person who expects being given back from others. On the contrary, I'm more the type to become embarrassed at the thought that others might feel "indebted" to me in any form.

But this does not mean I'm a "selfless" being (such beings don't exist anyway). I'm motivated by self-interest like everyone else. I derive considerable satisfaction from being empathetic and acting on it.

From acting empathetically toward others, I get positive feedback both in private and in my job.

One can encounter acts based on empathy very frequently btw. Just think of the many people who spontaneoulsy donate money to victims of earthquakes, of tsunamis etc.

Action of that type are an example of pathocentric ethics: their goal is to reduce suffering.

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I do ask myself though how a catalog of moral values and virtues (accompanied by the requirement to "pronounce moral judgement") can do without the idea of moral duty. (?)

This is a different kind of duty. It's the kind in "Nature, to be commanded, is to be obeyed." It's the kind where the software developer *must* comply with the language rules or else his code won't compile. It's the "tyranny of reality".

This has nothing to do with duty-ethics.

I'm sure that there are some "Objectivists" who don't get this and are honest for honesty's sake, diligent for diligence's sake and condemn people as a sacrifice to Rand or Objectivism as an end in themselves. Rand was not promoting any of this and they are as mistaken as you are.

Actually I take that back - you are less mistaken because you only think Objectivism to be impractical rather than trying to live the impractical. That is much better.

I've lied, I've been lazy, I've been a coward, I betrayed values I held dear. And I should have known better.

I regret many things, but only because I see a connection between those things and my happiness.

To make that abundantly clear: I regret those things in exactly the same way that I regret programming errors I made. The intensity of the regret is proportional to the damage caused, but there is no conceptual difference. In both cases I appreciate what I learned from the mistake. And if there was no damange I have nothing to regret.

The catalog is justified point by point and each point stands and falls with the justification. Rand lied in her life (to get out of Russia, if that accusation is true). She accepted medicare, thereby jeopardizing independence (if this accusation is true). She often failed to pronounce judgement when she wanted to profit from people.

None of these "violations of the catalog" are in any way a contradiction to her philosophy and I have no reason to assume them to be anything but perfectly selfish.

That's why I don't work with the idea of selfishness as a virtue. Instead I work with the idea of selfishness as a given (I prefer the term "self-interest" because it sounds more neutral).

Ethical evaluation is about what the self-interest is.

Imo using this approach is clearer than applying uneccessarily confusing terms like "selflessness". (in opposition to "selfishness") .

According to the Objectivist ethics, a fraudster for example would be a "selfless" person. But I suppose not even an Objectivist lawyer defending the fraudster in court would presen his client as a "selfless" person there ...

Now one could argue that philosophical terminology is a subject of its own, and that it woud be inappropriate to apply it in real life. But then of what use is all that terminology if it is not applicable in real life, especially in practical ethics?

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The Wikipedia definition is about the same as mine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.

That's not the definition you are using, see below.

I derive considerable satisfaction from being empathetic and acting on it. One can encounter acts based on empathy very frequently btw. Just think of the many people who spontaneoulsy donate money to victims of earthquakes, of tsunamis etc.

You are telling me that you are able to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings of many people simultaneously, people you don't know, people you have never met?

In no case this is empathy, which would require direct contact to a human being who provides the feelings to recognize.

I donated to flood victims once, empathy had nothing to do with it.

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Rationality necessitates always advancing the "boundaries of awareness."

This is exactly what I was saying. There is a risk we take when we learn... the risk is that our beliefs and our perception of reality/ourselves may change.

Ignorance is chosen because people are happy with what they don't know. It usually isn't looked at as a risk of changing oneself, but rather a risk of wasting time. People generally think they are smarter than they are.. and they have to in order to settle on the petty amount of reality they expose themselves to. This is connected to what I said before: We are constantly forced to make choices we aren't prepared to make.

So, if we go out and learn a bunch of shit, we may just find out how bad our choices have been... and we can't take them back. So what's the point in discovering a new perspective?

Our motivation must be curiosity... To get as much out of our existence and existence itself as we can with the brain we've been given. We must choose to improve ourselves, and that's the choice people fail to make... Circumstances can push people toward self-improvement, and I think many people have felt lucky to experience challenges that have made them change against their will.

You are telling me that you are able to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings of many people simultaneously, people you don't know, people you have never met?

In no case this is empathy, which would require direct contact to a human being who provides the feelings to recognize.

I donated to flood victims once, empathy had nothing to do with it.

John, you don't have to meet someone in order to know that, between the two of you, there are more similarities than there are differences. As far as personality goes, sure. As far as your existence and the way you are affected by your experiences...? What Xray brings up isn't always a case of empathy, but for the most part, it comes from people that know enough about themselves to think, "If I saw what they were going through, I'd probably cry." And so they give some money, and now they don't have to think about it.

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This is exactly what I was saying. There is a risk we take when we learn... the risk is that our beliefs and our perception of reality/ourselves may change.

You bet! As long as there is One More Fact coming in from the world outside our most beloved theories with empirical content are in some degree of doubt. The Last Fact is not known and the Last Word has not been uttered. The radius of the expanding know cosmos increases by one light year per year. And technology progresses. Who knows what we will find out next year?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Well, that's what is amazing about self-improvement: there is no logical limit, and therefor, there is no limit to the amount of choices between what we are and what we could be.

Subjectivism inhibits self-improvement through the assumption that there is no real truth, and therefor, there is no real option to improve oneself. I'm really glad, and thanks to Tony especially, that my misconception was pointed out to me pertaining to this distorting approach.

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The Wikipedia definition is about the same as mine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion.

That's not the definition you are using, see below.

I derive considerable satisfaction from being empathetic and acting on it. One can encounter acts based on empathy very frequently btw. Just think of the many people who spontaneoulsy donate money to victims of earthquakes, of tsunamis etc.

My above elaborations cited by you are not my 'definition' of empathy. Instead they point out the personal satisfaction I draw from acting empathetically, and as for other people spontaneously donating money to victims of a catastrophe, it is not a stretch to assume that they primarily act out of empathy.
I donated to flood victims once, empathy had nothing to do with it.

What was your motive then?

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She [Rand] asked: "Are you in a universe which is ruled by natural laws, and therefore is stable, firm, absolute - and knowable?

And what philosophical discipline deals with "the knowable"? Epistemology.

Metaphysics. Epistemology deals with how to go about knowing it.

Here's a short overview of the somewhat confusing history of the term metaphysics:

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Metaphysics

Etymology

The word "metaphysics" derives from the Greek words μετά (metá) ("beyond" or "after") and φυσικά (physiká) ("physics").[7] It was first used as the title for several of Aristotle's works, because they were usually anthologized after the works on physics in complete editions. The prefix meta- ("beyond") indicates that these works come "after" the chapters on physics. However, Aristotle himself did not call the subject of these books "Metaphysics": he referred to it as "first philosophy." The editor of Aristotle's works, Andronicus of Rhodes, is thought to have placed the books on first philosophy right after another work, Physics, and called them τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικὰ βιβλία (ta meta ta physika biblia) or "the books that come after the [books on] physics". This was misread by Latin scholiasts, who thought it meant "the science of what is beyond the physical".

However, once the name was given, the commentators sought to find intrinsic reasons for its appropriateness. For instance, it was understood to mean "the science of the world beyond nature (phusis in Greek)," that is, the science of the immaterial. Again, it was understood to refer to the chronological or pedagogical order among our philosophical studies, so that the "metaphysical sciences would mean, those that we study after having mastered the sciences that deal with the physical world" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "In Lib, Boeth. de Trin.", V, 1).

There is a widespread use of the term in current popular literature, which replicates this error, i.e. that metaphysical means spiritual non-physical: thus, "metaphysical healing" means healing by means of remedies that are not physical.[8]

So one finds the term "metaphysics" as referring to "pertaining to reality", side by side with its precise opposite: "the supernatural, the spiritual".

Contradictions like the above are the reason why I steer clear of the term.

If metaphysics, as it has been said in a prior post (by Tony, I think) refers to "the given", then why not use "the given", or "reality" instead of the fudgy "metaphysics"?

Many philosophical terms were coined in a pre-scientific age - is there any need to cling to them for all time?

Who for example, would still use, in current philosophical dicussions, a term like "ontology" (except when referring to to the history of philosophy, and specific philosophers using it in former times)?

Even epistemological questions are often being dealt with, in our scientific age, by special branches of science, like neurology.

Or, to put it differently: which professor of philosophy who specializes in epistemology can get a foot on the ground in today's time without possessing profound knowledge in neurobiology, neuropsychology, etc.?

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If metaphysics, as it has been said in a prior post (by Tony, I think) refer sto "the given", then why not use "the given", or "reality" instead of the fudgy "metaphysics"?

Strictly speaking "metaphysics": is a term pertaining to works of Aristotle that appeared after his "Physics". Meta means after or beyond in Greek. Aristotle intended his "metaphysics" to be a work pertaining to being or existence. Metaphysics is considered by Aristoteleans to be First Philosophy or Baseline Philosophy. Philosophy is about that which is or could be and what is not. Existence is at the core of it.

His book should have been named "Existence" or "Being"

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If metaphysics, as it has been said in a prior post (by Tony, I think) refer sto "the given", then why not use "the given", or "reality" instead of the fudgy "metaphysics"?
Strictly speaking "metaphysics": is a term pertaining to works of Aristotle that appeared after his "Physics". Meta means after or beyond in Greek. Aristotle intended his "metaphysics" to be a work pertaining to being or existence. Metaphysics is considered by Aristoteleans to be First Philosophy or Baseline Philosophy. Philosophy is about that which is or could be and what is not. Existence is at the core of it. His book should have been name "Existence". Ba'al Chatzaf

Useful perspective on this. Which goes to show the "fudging" of 'metaphysics' was done by others, namely spiritualists.

Just for a change, it cannot be argued that O'ism makes up its own semantics, its own insider meanings.

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I donated to flood victims once, empathy had nothing to do with it.

What was your motive then?

Altruism.

Altruism in the "Objectivist" sense?

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What was your motive then?

Altruism.

Altruism in the "Objectivist" sense?

Is there another?

I did it out of a belief that my purpose was to make the world better / help others / etc.

I thought it would make me a good person.

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Is there another?

I did it out of a belief that my purpose was to make the world better / help others / etc.

I thought it would make me a good person.

Long range self interest sometime looks like self sacrifice. It is more like a long term investment in that which one values.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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What was your motive then?

Altruism.

Altruism in the "Objectivist" sense?

Is there another?

Sure. Sometimes people use it to describe acts of empathy. Even biologists occasionally use it to describe what e. g. worker ants are doing. "Altruism" is another of these fudgy terms that cause more confusion than clarity.

I did it out of a belief that my purpose was to make the world better /help others / etc.?

What (or who) caused you to believe your purpose was to make the world better/help others / etc.?

I thought it would make me a good person.

How did you feel about yourself after donating the money?

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Sure. Sometimes people use it to describe acts of empathy. Even biologists occasionally use it to describe what e. g. worker ants are doing. "Altruism" is another of these fudgy terms that cause more confusion than clarity.

Few people call mothers who care for their young altruistic, which would be the human case of the kin selection you're referring to.

So no, I can't see that term to be particularly fudgy.

What (or who) caused you to believe your purpose was to make the world better/help others / etc.?

The altruist Zeitgeist that was particularly strong in the social structures I was raised in.

How did you feel about yourself after donating the money?

Moderatly satisfied for a short while.

Like a fraud today.

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What (or who) caused you to believe your purpose was to make the world better/help others / etc.?

The altruist Zeitgeist that was particularly strong in the social structures I was raised in.

How did you feel about yourself after donating the money?

Moderatly satisfied for a short while.

Like a fraud today.

You pronounce harsh moral judgement on yourself. What standards are these, by which you would feel like a fraud today for having helped others in need, I ask myself.

But it could of course have been that you, back then, felt somewhat put under moral pressure by your sourroundings, in that you had the feeling you "ought to" donate the money while not really wanting to do so?

John, you have to look at what a lie is; it's a conscious act. If our brains are withholding information from us in order to protect us, it is not a lie.

Yes it is. A lie can be subconscious.

If you restrict the definition of the word lie to the conscious plane, you lack a word for the subconscious variant. Also, there would be few liars left - most people are deluded rather than conscious liars. Therefore, I must apply the word to both.

Being deluded is something else than lying. For as opposed to the liar who has fully conscious knowledge of a truth (a truth hat he/she wants to keep hidden from others), the deluded person has not yet reached the stage where s/he fully accepts something to be true.

The deluded person's psyche rejects (or has blocked out) a truth about something, whereas the liar knows about a truth, but consciously conceals it.

Paradoxical as it may sound, one could say that the liar's epistemological relationship to the truth is excellent. For the liar is not in doubt about a truth. He/she knows what the truth about an issue is.

One cannot lie to oneself because one cannot know something and not know it.

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Long range self interest sometime looks like self sacrifice. It is more like a long term investment in that which one values.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Well said.

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Will the One True Philosophy (in and of itself) tell a baker how long she should keep her cake in the oven and at what temperature? I doubt it.

One True Philosophies are of dubious value.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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