Various philosophical musings
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14-11-2017, 02:45 AM
RE: Various philosophical musings
I think it's pretty obvious that morality, on an individual level, is subjective. I've also always argued that the idea of some sort of objective morality that has any practical purpose is an absurd concept. It would just be the fixing of one of these subjective moralities as "the standard", and anyone who disagreed with it would ignore it. I go into more detail in my video below.

I would highly recommend the YouTube channel Noel Plum. He has given me quite a few new ideas about a range of topics. I've also found his social commentary to be well thought out, and his arguments always strong and evidenced.

One thing I picked up from him is that we all happily use descriptive words that aren't objective, without anyone kicking up a fuss: large, tasty, pleasant, silly, shiny, and so on. No one tries to say that calling something shiny is meaningless if you don't have an objective standard (given to you in a book). Morality isn't much different. Almost everyone has a decent idea what you mean by a moral or immoral act, even if everyone would draw their lines in different places. It is probably one of the descriptors with the most deviation between people, but it still serves as a meaningful concept without having to have an objective standard. It's not completely arbitrary, as the false dichotomy suggests. I would say that our subjective moralities, on the whole, overlap enough for it to have common ground in general usage.




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22-11-2017, 01:07 AM
RE: Various philosophical musings
I've struggled with a contradiction for a while, and I think I finally had a brainwave which resolves it.

Religion seems to be taking reality and saying, "This isn't enough, that's just boring, we need lots of extra magical stuff going on". This indicates imagination. But then I've found that many theists I've engaged with seem to have extremely stunted imaginations. For example, they have claimed that this is the "best possible world", whereas I can imagine a better one without even trying. They also can't imagine any alternatives to their narrative without reducing them to ridiculous strawmen. They can't imagine the scope of reality outside our planet.

So which is it? I've concluded that, in these cases at least, it is a lack of imagination that is winning out. Introducing religious ideas isn't adding mystery, it's taking it away. It reduces all the wondrous complexity and possibilities to very simple narratives. It takes all the difficult fundamental questions and slaps simple answers onto them. This all then reduces the amount of thinking and imagination that is needed, because everything is neatly resolved and packaged away.

For some people, I expect this is actually desirable. I've often seen how people can feel so uncomfortable with not having all the answers. For others, they probably just don't realize, and indoctrination has cut off the supply to their imagination and curiosity. I see so many theists who convince themselves they are "challenging their beliefs", while simply preaching and repeating themselves, seemingly for reassurance.

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22-11-2017, 04:26 AM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(23-10-2017 12:38 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I wonder... could you have a situation where being B has the knowledge of whether or not being A is missing any knowledge, and vice versa? Could they then become omnipotent by sharing that knowledge with each other?

Wow, I'll have to think about that one. Sounds suspicious. Kudos to anyone who finds the flaw before I do Tongue

Yeah, dude, there's a magical place where beings of higher learning guide and assist those suffering in ignorance, called schools. They're not called teachers for nothing.
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22-11-2017, 03:39 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
Not sure what's going on there but...

I'll add the answer to that problem as I see it.

No, two beings cannot help each other become omniscient. It's pretty much the same reason as for one.

Consider the set of things both beings don't know that they don't know. Clearly neither can fill each other in on any missing information here. And to each of them, that set being empty would present the same as being non-empty. They could believe all they want that the set is empty, but they can't know it or demonstrate it.

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01-12-2017, 05:58 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(23-10-2017 12:31 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Overthinking things is my forte, as my wife will tell you! I can't help it. That's why it's good to get some of it out. Sorry to splurge all over you guys Tongue

The next thing is an interesting argument I heard from Noel Plum, who I've recently become very interested in. I find I tend to agree with his points on most issues, and he covers a wide range.

Anyhow. It's about the impossibility of omnipotence. It's a stupid concept to begin with, but he found what seems like a knock-down argument which shows it can't happen:

How can anyone (God included) distinguish between a situation where they know everything there is to know, and a situation where they just think they do? In the latter, they would know the answer to every question that they can think of, but then there are questions that never occur to them.

The answer seems to be that you can't know the difference. So the best you can be is omnipotent minus the knowledge that you are omnipotent; crucially this means that you can only claim it but can't demonstrate it. Someone could prove you wrong, but they couldn't prove you right.

The only being who could potentially validate omnipotence is another being that knows everything the previous being knows, and also whether or not there are questions it cannot think of. So it could tell it that it's omnipotent. c


Maybe so, but why would knowing what can't be known be excluded as a feature
of Omnipotence ?

There's a strong whiff of Omnipotence in Hegel and yet the basics of the Power of Positive thinking are interred in escrow...
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02-12-2017, 12:15 AM
RE: Various philosophical musings
Sure, you can define omnipotence as knowing what can logically be known.

But still, a being, even God, claiming to be omnipotent is a dud claim. It's only saying what it feels/believes. It can't even be sure itself that it is remotely true.

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02-12-2017, 05:42 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2017 11:53 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Various philosophical musings
(22-11-2017 01:07 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I've struggled with a contradiction for a while, and I think I finally had a brainwave which resolves it.

I've concluded that, in these cases at least, it is a lack of imagination that is winning out. Introducing religious ideas isn't adding mystery, it's taking it away. It reduces all the wondrous complexity and possibilities to very simple narratives. It takes all the difficult fundamental questions and slaps simple answers onto them. This all then reduces the amount of thinking and imagination that is needed, because everything is neatly resolved and packaged away."

Perhaps that is sometimes or even often the case, but many exceptions immediately come to mind - especially in the literary realm , chaps like Swift
{ Gullivers Travels } Blake, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis ,G.K Chesterton, Milton, Dante, Donne, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Merton.... none of whom could be fairly depicted as being either unimaginative or overinvested in a simple narrative.

I might be wrong but my impression is that you're confounding " religion" with
dogma- which is kind of like claiming that ice cream and apple pie are the same because they frequently appear in combination.

And consider that the whole business of Theodicy has engulfed some of the finest and most imaginative minds that ever appeared on this planet: think Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler , Galilei, Descartes, Bacon, Newton, Pascal Boyle, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Plank, Einstein - even given that Albert was a sly Spinozian waffler...

Granted, many of the above are pre-Darwinian Old Timers that took in fragments of the Pentateuch or Ol rugged cross with their Mamas milk - but there's no sidestepping the fact that reconciling an ALL Mighty and Omniscient spiritual Being ; Creator of Heaven and earth , with a serpent who uses epistemology to screw the whole project up requires a tremendous effort of imagination!
Goodevil

Edited to add /quote tag
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02-12-2017, 07:23 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2017 11:54 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Various philosophical musings
(02-12-2017 05:42 AM)Willey Jeff Wrote:  
(22-11-2017 01:07 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I've struggled with a contradiction for a while, and I think I finally had a brainwave which resolves it.

I've concluded that, in these cases at least, it is a lack of imagination that is winning out. Introducing religious ideas isn't adding mystery, it's taking it away. It reduces all the wondrous complexity and possibilities to very simple narratives. It takes all the difficult fundamental questions and slaps simple answers onto them. This all then reduces the amount of thinking and imagination that is needed, because everything is neatly resolved and packaged away."

Perhaps that is sometimes or even often the case, but many exceptions immediately come to mind - especially in the literary realm , chaps like Swift
{ Gullivers Travels } Blake, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis ,G.K Chesterton, Milton, Dante, Donne, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Merton.... none of whom could be fairly depicted as being either unimaginative or overinvested in a simple narrative.

I might be wrong but my impression is that you're confounding " religion" with
dogma- which is kind of like claiming that ice cream and apple pie are the same because they frequently appear in combination.

And consider that the whole business of Theodicy has engulfed some of the finest and most imaginative minds that ever appeared on this planet: think Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler , Galilei, Descartes, Bacon, Newton, Pascal Boyle, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Plank, Einstein - even given that Albert was a sly Spinozian waffler...

Granted many of the above are pre-Darwinian Old Timers that took in fragments of the Pentateuch or Ol rugged cross with their Mamas milk - but there's no sidestepping the fact that reconciling an ALL Mighty and Omniscient spiritual Being ; Creator of Heaven and earth , with a serpent who uses epistemology to screw the whole project up requires a tremendous effort of imagination!
Goodevil

Edited to move /quote tag
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03-12-2017, 01:32 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(08-11-2017 10:15 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'm not sure if Dr H is arguing for inherent rights or not, so I'll put it out as a general challenge to anyone who would. Clearly my definition cannot be inherent, but I think it is practical and says something real.

1) What is a right?
2) In what way can it be inherent?
3) How do we determine what is and isn't an inherent right?
4) What practical use does this have?
5) Do other animals have inherent rights? If so, how do they differ?

We insist that others have rights so we can ourselves have rights. If we start trying to decide who has rights and who has not, we ourselves run the risk of being on the no rights side of the equation. One reason our founding fathers insisted that in America, there is no nobility. No class that has rights that the lesser classes do not enjoy.

How do we determine any of this? For example many people do not bother much with rights of animals because they are not animals.

Of course as usual, ideologies enter into it. We do not like dictatorships, such as Stalin's USSR because of its lack of rights to many. But in the US, many people buy into some version of Ayn Rand's nonsense. Do Americans have a right to decent health care? The right then shrieks about bad old entitlements and blares nonsense about socialism.

The Scandinavian model works well and guarantees a good measure of basic rights and opportunists. The question now is, why do so many people ignore the fact that our current systems does not see health care as a right?

β€œIt is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit

Cheerful Charlie
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03-12-2017, 06:55 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(03-12-2017 01:32 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  
(08-11-2017 10:15 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'm not sure if Dr H is arguing for inherent rights or not, so I'll put it out as a general challenge to anyone who would. Clearly my definition cannot be inherent, but I think it is practical and says something real.

1) What is a right?
2) In what way can it be inherent?
3) How do we determine what is and isn't an inherent right?
4) What practical use does this have?
5) Do other animals have inherent rights? If so, how do they differ?

We insist that others have rights so we can ourselves have rights. If we start trying to decide who has rights and who has not, we ourselves run the risk of being on the no rights side of the equation. One reason our founding fathers insisted that in America, there is no nobility. No class that has rights that the lesser classes do not enjoy.

How do we determine any of this? For example many people do not bother much with rights of animals because they are not animals.

Of course as usual, ideologies enter into it. We do not like dictatorships, such as Stalin's USSR because of its lack of rights to many. But in the US, many people buy into some version of Ayn Rand's nonsense. Do Americans have a right to decent health care? The right then shrieks about bad old entitlements and blares nonsense about socialism.

The Scandinavian model works well and guarantees a good measure of basic rights and opportunists. The question now is, why do so many people ignore the fact that our current systems does not see health care as a right?

I'm confused, are you arguing that rights are inherent, or talking about rights generally?

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