Critique My Philosophy of Life?
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25-11-2013, 11:20 PM (This post was last modified: 26-11-2013 12:07 AM by Chippy.)
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(25-11-2013 06:43 PM)Philosofer123 Wrote:  At first blush, it would appear that if Andrew donated to the charity because he is a generous person, then Andrew is indeed responsible for his act of generosity...

I'm not going to continue this discussion because you are merely repeating yourself with the implication being that I don't understand the regress argument. I understand it and it is irrelevant. I saw that on Atheist Forums you were ignored so this is going to be the best advice you are going to get so make good use of it.

Your "philosophy" is a patchwork bastard and a badly composed patchwork bastard. I am well aware of the origins of all of your arguments and they are each flawed. (I haven't looked at your atheism arguments so I'll assume they are sound.)

What you've managed to do is find a collection of arguments that are essentially theological but which omit a God. All of the philosophers you have borrowed from were all philosophising within a theological framework but one without God and they formed their conclusions on the basis of this absence of a God given the theological framework they unconsciously inherited.

Your ideas on free will are Aristotle/Aquinas' Prime Mover Argument without a God and soul to provide the necessary free will.

Mackie's moral skepticism is Divine Command Morality without a God.

Your existential skpeticism is the human condition in the absence of a Grand Narrative (supplied by a God).

Rather than re-think these philosophical issues from the ground-up in naturalistic terms you have instead gravitated to philosophers that have merely inverted Judaeo-Christian theological positions.

Your position on responsibility is literally absurd and incoherent and is nothing more than Aquinas' Prime Mover Argument minus Yahweh. The implication of your position re human agency is that the answer to all questions about responsibility is the initial singularity of the Big Bang:

Q: Why did the cake burn?
Your Answer: initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did the fuse burn?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bangy

Q: Why was JFK shot?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did Joe slip?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did Joe crash his car?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

So the notions of proximate, distal and ultimate cause all collapse into the notion of Ultimate Cause and hence no one is responsible for anything and the Big Bang is "responsible" for everything. That is plainly false. Responsibility is attributed to a human agent that willfully participated in a causal chain of events; responsibility doesn't vanish because there are prior antecedent causes. If I wanted to rob a bank and I did so then I am responsible for robbing the bank--I am responsible by virtue of my want to rob the bank. That my want has antecedent causes doesn't erase my responsibility. I explained to you that the attribution of responsibilty to human agents depends on determinism being true but you conveniently ignored that. Rather than eliminating the notion of responsibility determinism makes the notion of responsibility coherent. If my actions have no cause then I can't be held responsible for those.

By your account I would be responsible for robbing the bank if and only if my action of robbing the bank had no prior causation. Consider:

R = Chippy robbing the bank

If R has no antecdent causes then how/why would R occur? If R did somehow occur it would be a random occurrence in which case I can't be held responsible for a random occurrence. Responsibility can only be assigned because determinism is true, because actions are caused. For R to occur it must be caused to occur. The argument that at the moment a cause for R is invoked my responsibility for R vanishes (because of a regress that would extend to and stop at the initial singularity of the Big Bang) is a cheap philosophical trick predicated on the theological idea of contra-causal free will. The implied precondition for responsibility is impossible to satisfy; but the problem runs deeper than that. If it were somehow satisfied--if R was uncaused--then responsibility would still remain unattributable. Hence your (borrowed) conception of human responsibility is incoherent.

Pleas don't just repeat the regress argument to me and tell me that you are concerned with responsibility rather than free will. I understand the regress argument and the notion of responsibility is parasitic on the notion of free will.

You--by virtue of your injudicious borrowings--are reasoning about free will within an essentially theological framework. Same goes for your ideas about morality.

Prior to the contamination of Western philosophy by Jewish superstitions, morality and ethics were about human flourishing, e.g. Aristotle's virtue-ethics as explained in his Nichomachean Ethics. After Judaic influence morality became not about humanistic concerns but about appeasing a deity. Mackie's philosophising about morality occurs within a theological framework hence his argument from queerness and his concern with categoricality. Even though Mackie was an atheist he was essentially employing a theological framework in his moral reasoning; the realisation that punsihment does not necessarily follow a breach of morality is the kernel of Mackie's moral skepticism.

If morality and ethics are re-oriented to humanistic concerns moral values become objective and not so "queer", arbitrary or subjective. Although it is more of a prolegomenon to a philosophy rather than a complete philosophy and Harris is hypnotised by the theological notion of contra-causal free will--as you are-- Harris' book The Moral Landscape is a baby step in the right direction. There is much confused nonsense in Harris' book but he is correct in his attempt to re-orient ethical theory to human welfare and the contribution that neuroscience can make towards that. I would also recommend Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and McIntyre's After Virtue.

From what I have read of your "philosophy", even though you say you are an atheist you are intellectually trapped within a theological framework. You are accepting the theological conceptualisations of human agency, morality and meaning. You are at bottom repeating what theistic philosophers have said would happen if you removed God from their philosophies:

--No God and soul, no free will and no responsibility
--No God, no objective morality
--No God, no meaning to life
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26-11-2013, 12:17 AM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(25-11-2013 01:46 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  To me "Philosophy" is outdated.

If you think that philosophy is in competition with science then you don't know what philosophy is. At its most general level philosophy is the discipline that is devoted to conceptual analysis.

There are many scientists that are also philosophers. A book on the philosophy of biology such this is not proposing an alternate biology.

Quote:We now have the science of psychology and psychiatry on top of evolutionary biology.

We do but we still needed philosophical arguments to win cases in court against creationism.

Quote:Human behavior is NOT complicated.

Really? So why are there so many open problems in psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry?
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26-11-2013, 11:45 AM (This post was last modified: 26-11-2013 02:03 PM by Philosofer123.)
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(25-11-2013 11:20 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(25-11-2013 06:43 PM)Philosofer123 Wrote:  At first blush, it would appear that if Andrew donated to the charity because he is a generous person, then Andrew is indeed responsible for his act of generosity...

I'm not going to continue this discussion because you are merely repeating yourself with the implication being that I don't understand the regress argument. I understand it and it is irrelevant. I saw that on Atheist Forums you were ignored so this is going to be the best advice you are going to get so make good use of it.

Your "philosophy" is a patchwork bastard and a badly composed patchwork bastard. I am well aware of the origins of all of your arguments and they are each flawed. (I haven't looked at your atheism arguments so I'll assume they are sound.)

What you've managed to do is find a collection of arguments that are essentially theological but which omit a God. All of the philosophers you have borrowed from were all philosophising within a theological framework but one without God and they formed their conclusions on the basis of this absence of a God given the theological framework they unconsciously inherited.

Your ideas on free will are Aristotle/Aquinas' Prime Mover Argument without a God and soul to provide the necessary free will.

Mackie's moral skepticism is Divine Command Morality without a God.

Your existential skpeticism is the human condition in the absence of a Grand Narrative (supplied by a God).

Rather than re-think these philosophical issues from the ground-up in naturalistic terms you have instead gravitated to philosophers that have merely inverted Judaeo-Christian theological positions.

Your position on responsibility is literally absurd and incoherent and is nothing more than Aquinas' Prime Mover Argument minus Yahweh. The implication of your position re human agency is that the answer to all questions about responsibility is the initial singularity of the Big Bang:

Q: Why did the cake burn?
Your Answer: initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did the fuse burn?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bangy

Q: Why was JFK shot?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did Joe slip?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

Q: Why did Joe crash his car?
Your Answer: Initial singularity of the Big Bang

So the notions of proximate, distal and ultimate cause all collapse into the notion of Ultimate Cause and hence no one is responsible for anything and the Big Bang is "responsible" for everything. That is plainly false. Responsibility is attributed to a human agent that willfully participated in a causal chain of events; responsibility doesn't vanish because there are prior antecedent causes. If I wanted to rob a bank and I did so then I am responsible for robbing the bank--I am responsible by virtue of my want to rob the bank. That my want has antecedent causes doesn't erase my responsibility. I explained to you that the attribution of responsibilty to human agents depends on determinism being true but you conveniently ignored that. Rather than eliminating the notion of responsibility determinism makes the notion of responsibility coherent. If my actions have no cause then I can't be held responsible for those.

By your account I would be responsible for robbing the bank if and only if my action of robbing the bank had no prior causation. Consider:

R = Chippy robbing the bank

If R has no antecdent causes then how/why would R occur? If R did somehow occur it would be a random occurrence in which case I can't be held responsible for a random occurrence. Responsibility can only be assigned because determinism is true, because actions are caused. For R to occur it must be caused to occur. The argument that at the moment a cause for R is invoked my responsibility for R vanishes (because of a regress that would extend to and stop at the initial singularity of the Big Bang) is a cheap philosophical trick predicated on the theological idea of contra-causal free will. The implied precondition for responsibility is impossible to satisfy; but the problem runs deeper than that. If it were somehow satisfied--if R was uncaused--then responsibility would still remain unattributable. Hence your (borrowed) conception of human responsibility is incoherent.

Pleas don't just repeat the regress argument to me and tell me that you are concerned with responsibility rather than free will. I understand the regress argument and the notion of responsibility is parasitic on the notion of free will.

You--by virtue of your injudicious borrowings--are reasoning about free will within an essentially theological framework. Same goes for your ideas about morality.

Prior to the contamination of Western philosophy by Jewish superstitions, morality and ethics were about human flourishing, e.g. Aristotle's virtue-ethics as explained in his Nichomachean Ethics. After Judaic influence morality became not about humanistic concerns but about appeasing a deity. Mackie's philosophising about morality occurs within a theological framework hence his argument from queerness and his concern with categoricality. Even though Mackie was an atheist he was essentially employing a theological framework in his moral reasoning; the realisation that punsihment does not necessarily follow a breach of morality is the kernel of Mackie's moral skepticism.

If morality and ethics are re-oriented to humanistic concerns moral values become objective and not so "queer", arbitrary or subjective. Although it is more of a prolegomenon to a philosophy rather than a complete philosophy and Harris is hypnotised by the theological notion of contra-causal free will--as you are-- Harris' book The Moral Landscape is a baby step in the right direction. There is much confused nonsense in Harris' book but he is correct in his attempt to re-orient ethical theory to human welfare and the contribution that neuroscience can make towards that. I would also recommend Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and McIntyre's After Virtue.

From what I have read of your "philosophy", even though you say you are an atheist you are intellectually trapped within a theological framework. You are accepting the theological conceptualisations of human agency, morality and meaning. You are at bottom repeating what theistic philosophers have said would happen if you removed God from their philosophies:

--No God and soul, no free will and no responsibility
--No God, no objective morality
--No God, no meaning to life

Chippy, thanks again for your detailed comments. It is unfortunate that you do not wish to actually engage with the arguments in my philosophy. I appreciate your knowledge and intelligence, but not your attitude.

You have not even attempted to refute any of my arguments, but rather just made accusations (I am "trapped within a theological framework"), hurled insults (my philosophy is a "badly composed patchwork bastard"), and danced around the issues (quibbling with the definition of "free will") without directly addressing the arguments.

You have merely asserted that humanistic morality is objective without explaining how. You attempt to show that determinism is required for the concept of responsibility to be coherent, but you have not shown that determinism is sufficient for true responsibility (of the type that renders rational such emotions as anger and regret) to obtain. Related to this, you have said that one can be "responsible" for one's actions by merely wanting to perform the action, but you have not attempted to respond to the regress argument, which demonstrates that that type of "responsibility" is insufficient for the rationality of reactive attitudes such as anger and regret. And while you clearly disagree with existential skepticism, you have not shown how life can have inherent meaning, purpose or value.

If you would like to actually refute the arguments themselves, then I invite you to do so. And if not, then I look forward to more relevant (and more civil) critiques from others reading this thread.
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12-01-2014, 09:40 PM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
It's your philosophy. Why would I critique it?

I can only make one point I think is valid since the document is publicly available. The following statement is not gender neutral:

Quote:o For any agent S and intentional action A, S does A because of the way S is in certain mental respects. Therefore, to be ultimately responsible for A-ing, S must be responsible for being that way in the relevant respects. But to be responsible for being that way, S must have chosen to become (or intentionally brought it about that he would become) that way in the past. But if S chose to become that way, then his choice was a product of the way he was in certain mental respects. Therefore, to be responsible for that choice, he would need to be responsible for being that way. But this process results in a vicious regress. Therefore, S cannot be ultimately responsible for his A-ing, and thus cannot have free will.

You can take the egotistically-fathomed dogmatic moral system you call what "should be" and shove it up your asshole for thinking it's applicable to anyone but yourself.
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19-01-2014, 08:05 PM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(23-11-2013 05:45 PM)Philosofer123 Wrote:  I am posting my philosophy to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.
Enjoy!
It was a nice read,though i can't find anything to disagree on lol.Thumbsup
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20-01-2014, 12:07 AM (This post was last modified: 20-01-2014 12:36 AM by Dark Light.)
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
Wouldn't you say that atheism is a lack of belief that's the result of your skeptical philosophy and not really a philosophy in itself?

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20-01-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(20-01-2014 12:07 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  Wouldn't you say that atheism is a lack of belief that's the result of your skeptical philosophy and not really a philosophy in itself?

Atheism is a component of my philosophy, not a "result" of it. Nowhere do I claim that atheism is a "philosophy in itself". And as I define it in the document, atheism is at least in part a belief (with respect to the God of classical theism), not merely a "lack of belief".
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20-01-2014, 12:16 PM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
What the hell is 'classical theism'?

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20-01-2014, 12:25 PM (This post was last modified: 20-01-2014 12:32 PM by Philosofer123.)
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
(20-01-2014 12:16 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  What the hell is 'classical theism'?

Please see the following site:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-lancashi...n/A1113445
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20-01-2014, 12:32 PM
RE: Critique My Philosophy of Life?
What I meant was, the term is ambiguous and can be subjective. I want to hear what it means to you.

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