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comment by rob05c
rob05c  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Not sure how this website works but here are todays thoughts

The vast majority of people don't operate on reason and logic. Most people don't even understand basic logic. Most people operate on preconceived notions, and seek to verify their existing beliefs, not to find the truth.

This applies to the religious and atheist, scientist and layperson, conservative and liberal, alike.

Even in the educated, scientific world, it's common to dismiss philosophy, and only subscribe to skepticism, which is only one narrow worldview. That is, just because you can't prove something doesn't mean it isn't true; or in logical terms, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

    Would you disregard these doors and decide to build your own door?

I dunno, I've seen a lot of people build their own doors. They don't really look any better than the mainstream doors. Which leads me to believe building my own door wouldn't, either.

    From the outside, each door looks the same

But they don't. Many of the doors are inscribed with fear, hatred, and violence. I tend to avoid those doors.

    Each door in front of you claims to have the true meaning to life.

Always We Begin Again, a modern reinterpretation of the Benedictine Rule, starts with:

    renounce the delusion that the meaning of life can be learned

In fact, for your questions, it seems like it might be right up your alley. It's a very small, short book, which mostly consists of advice for living. It reads a lot like a Buddhist text, in that way. I was first given it by someone whom I have an enormous spiritual respect for, who was in turn given it by a Benedictine nun. If you like, I'd be more than happy to send you a copy, if you have an address, or email for a Kindle copy.





bioemerl  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

One place I'd like to disagree with you here is the idea that people do not operate on reason and logic if they aren't following the rigorous definitions of logic and reason.

I want to clarify that I don't think you are saying that emotion and logic are really separate, I'm just kind of looking for a place to rant a bit.

Emotions, and our feelings about topics are very powerful things, and very intelligent things. A person who is not operating on logic, but instead trusts their emotions is going to be someone who will often be wrong where logic succeeds, but they will also be correct where it fails.

A big example of this, and I'm sorry for this, is eugenics. Reason, rationality, and so on can lead people to conclusions that make sense based on the scientific knowledge of the day. "We know evolution is a thing, and humans evolve, we have bred other species to be great, why not humanity?

This isn't to say their logic was valid, or necessarily scientific, but they were acting based on reason, and they were incorrect. A person who took the "heartbreak" emotional route in such a situation would have said "lets not kill people" and, despite abandoning all logic, would have been correct in the long run.

I think there is logic in the background in all our systems, even the emotional ones. The mind giving it's opinions may not be directly operating on logic, but the millions of years of evolution that set up those emotions that are being expressed, those have logic behind them. We'd be wise to not forget that fact, I think. This applies to religion as well.

rob05c  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You seem to assume reason demands Utilitarianism. I don't agree. People can rationally come to many ethical positions, depending on their value systems.

I don't agree with eugenics, and I think I came to that position rationality.

jadedog  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    People can rationally come to many ethical positions, depending on their value systems.

That's circular. Value systems are not rational. People can rationally come to ethical positions but it has to be based on value systems. The value system it's based on isn't objective, so it isn't logical and rational in the sense of meaning of the word that biomerl is applying.

Why value human life over other life? That's a value. It can't be logically derived except in relation to other values.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We're creatures of emotion who use rational decision-making to produce better outcome. One does not exclude the other. One can rationally come to a decision to disregard fear from one's decision-making just as much as one can value fear as a powerful factor in their decisions.

bioemerl  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean to say that you can use reason and logic to come to the correct conclusion, but in order to do so you need all information necessary to come to a decision. We do not, we didn't have enough knowledge on society to understand that eugenics was bad back when it was popular (Hitler and such). You don't know what we don't know today, so it's important to note where emotions and logic collide and try to sooth the differences.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  2405 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I don't agree with eugenics, and I think I came to that position rationality.

I'd like to hear your line of thought on the matter.

rob05c  ·  2404 days ago  ·  link  ·  

To clarify, we're using the colloquial definition, of involuntary sterilisation and "shower rooms". I've no objection to people getting together to voluntarily improve the gene pool.

As far as classic Ethics goes (Deontology vs Teleology), my general ethical position is an adaptation of Utilitarianism: greatest good for all. That is, each sentient being has infinite value. If it sounds like Deontology—it's not. If two people are tied on a track with a train coming, and you can pull a lever to switch it to a track with one person, ∞ + ∞ > ∞. Incidentally, I also disagree with Deontology, in that I believe inaction is an action.

I also believe life is greater than happiness. Call them different levels of infinity, say ℵ₀ and ℵ₁ if you like. So, Strict Utilitarianism says it's ok to kill someone if you provide enough happiness to enough other people, whatever that magic number is. I disagree, because ℵ₁ > n⋅ℵ₀ for any n. But you should still flip that train track, because ℵ₁ + ℵ₁ > ℵ₁ (by my prior declaration; I'm aware that isn't true in cardinal maths [let people be sets, if you like, so it's ordinal maths. People are complicated enough, I think]).

Thus, removing the immediate freedom and liberty of one person by sterilising or killing them, in order to theoretically improve the overall happiness of some number of future people, is wrong. ∴

Less traditionally, I really like Rawl's Theory of Justice. In a nutshell, one should act and make laws such that, if there were a birth lottery and you didn't know how you'd be born—black, white, rich, poor—you'd want to live in that world. So, you wouldn't want eugenics because you might end up born disabled or 'genetically inferior'.

To address jadedog's comment

    That's circular. Value systems are not rational.

Value systems may or may not be rational, but my argument is not circular. If no value system is rational, then if one picks an arbitrary value system, and builds a rational ethical position based on it, their ethical framework itself is still rational. Which is important, because a great many people believe in ethical systems which aren't rational, and filled with cognitive dissonance.

If you believe no Ethics is rational, which it kind of sounds like, that's a different argument. Which I've countered before, and I'm not terribly interested in making again. Deconstructionism tires me. So we'll have to agree to disagree there, sorry.

    Why value human life over other life?

Greater intelligence. Yes, intelligence is an arbitrary value. But it does seem to make life marginally less nasty, brutish, and short.

LazarusRevives  ·  2404 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If you have read it, what is your opinion on the book, Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky? If you haven't read it. You might enjoy it...it is an interesting perspective and is fairly thought provoking.

https://www.amazon.com/Nonviolence-History-Dangerous-Library-Chronicles/dp/0812974476

I asked because of your rejection of deontology, which I can support. Sorry for the tangent...and thanks for the new vocabulary word: denotology.

unique_username  ·  2402 days ago  ·  link  ·  

>A person who is not operating on logic, but instead trusts their emotions is going to be someone who will often be wrong where logic succeeds, but they will also be correct where it fails.

The definition of logic is "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity", which means according to the validity. From the term itself logic is impossible to fail in the search for truth and proper reasoning evaluation.

>A big example of this, and I'm sorry for this, is eugenics

Your example is illogical and invalid, and doesn't imply a fail in logic as a tool of derision making (a possible reason for this, could be the fact that you might act directly affected act by emotion). Through empirical knowledge it was proven how to change human characteristics wiyh the proccess of breeding. If we institutionalized using logical a system where "X" characteristics are better for "Y" reason, we can act n a possible way to accomplish it. If some people have a (meaningless) cynical negative emotional reaction to it and therefore such an act becomes social unaccepted and therefore doesn't be let to happen. Then is not a fail of logic but fail in a procedure cause by illogical acts, namely the absence of logic. The fact that X number of humans do not have a positive emotional approach to the idea of eugenics isn't a logical reason for it not to happen.

bioemerl  ·  2402 days ago  ·  link  ·  

if you want to quote something on hubski, you have to use | around each quoted phrase, reddit's '>' doesn't work.

    From the term itself logic is impossible to fail in the search for truth and proper reasoning evaluation.

Then logic is practically impossible. As well, just operating under strict principles of validity does not make something valid. It is impossible for any set of principles to not let some lies or falsehoods slip past them.

    If some people have a (meaningless) cynical negative emotional reaction to it and therefore such an act becomes social unaccepted and therefore doesn't be let to happen.

See, the "i'm sorry about this" part was because I was indirectly bringing up Nazis.

It is well proven that eugenics is not a positive action for mankind. It reduces genetic diversity, and requires a top-down system where governments and bureaucrats get to determine how people want to act. It does not align with any free society, and the mindsets that allow people to justify eugenics also allowed people to justify the actions of the Nazis.

You state that people have a "meaningless" negative reaction to eugenics. You have to back that up with something, what indicates that the way people act to things emotionally is ever meaningless? Clearly, there is a reason people act the way they do, and that reason almost certainly has some meaning behind it.

    Then is not a fail of logic but fail in a procedure cause by illogical acts, namely the absence of logic.

The local failure was in the fact that those who wanted eugenics back in the day were not aware of the consequences such action would have on human society. What I am proposing is that emotions, through the course of evolution, have been primed to deal with situations like this. These instincts are there to inform us where we do not have "conscious" knowledge of the thing, and they have a lot of knowledge in them that we are not aware of.

When out modern logic conflicts with our primal emotions then there is something almost certainly off about our modern logic, and we need to wait for there to be more information so that we fully understand the situation.

    The fact that X number of humans do not have a positive emotional approach to the idea of eugenics isn't a logical reason for it not to happen.|

    Did I say this was true?

LazarusRevives  ·  2404 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Found this on Benedictine philosophy for free...thought I'd add it to the conversation.

http://site.paracletepress.com/samples/exc-How-to-be-a-Monastic-1-20.pdf