LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby bh on Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:12 am

Kraftster wrote:
doublem wrote:"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth." - Umberto Eco


I knew this would draw the lgp nihilist out.
I think that there is an underlying truth, but that it is beyond our capacity to ever understand it.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:32 am

I guess the best that I can come up with is this:

The very premise that there is no knowledge that is anything more or less than a five would also be subject to that same rule. I can't know with level 10 certainty that all knowledge can only be a 5. Just like with everything else, with that concept I should say - all knowledge might only be a five, but, there could just as easily be level 1-4 and 6-10 knowledge out there too. If that's the case, then I guess I can get on board with choosing to pursue knowledge since it might be possible to have level 1-4 or 6-10 knowledge.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby doublem on Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:05 pm

I think there is knowledge but objective knowledge. The 1 truth, 100%, it's tough for most things to say that. I trust science and science doesn't deal with things like that, morals and judgements, the opposite is true actually. I also don't think all values are equal or the same. I'm fine with just saying, we just don't know some stuff.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby bh on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:06 pm

Kraftster wrote:I guess the best that I can come up with is this:

The very premise that there is no knowledge that is anything more or less than a five would also be subject to that same rule. I can't know with level 10 certainty that all knowledge can only be a 5. Just like with everything else, with that concept I should say - all knowledge might only be a five, but, there could just as easily be level 1-4 and 6-10 knowledge out there too. If that's the case, then I guess I can get on board with choosing to pursue knowledge since it might be possible to have level 1-4 or 6-10 knowledge.

So all you know, is that you do not know. :wink:
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby bh on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:07 pm

doublem wrote:I think there is knowledge but objective knowledge. The 1 truth, 100%, it's tough for most things to say that. I trust science and science doesn't deal with things like that, morals and judgements, the opposite is true actually. I also don't think all values are equal or the same. I'm fine with just saying, we just don't know some stuff.

But even science takes leaps of faith. There are a lot of assumptions in all of science.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby doublem on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:10 pm

bh wrote:
doublem wrote:I think there is knowledge but objective knowledge. The 1 truth, 100%, it's tough for most things to say that. I trust science and science doesn't deal with things like that, morals and judgements, the opposite is true actually. I also don't think all values are equal or the same. I'm fine with just saying, we just don't know some stuff.

But even science takes leaps of faith. There are a lot of assumptions in all of science.


Correct, my point was that science doesn't claim to know the "truth". Science doesn't say this is the truth and that is that. When new evidence comes along things change.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:18 pm

bh wrote:
Kraftster wrote:I guess the best that I can come up with is this:

The very premise that there is no knowledge that is anything more or less than a five would also be subject to that same rule. I can't know with level 10 certainty that all knowledge can only be a 5. Just like with everything else, with that concept I should say - all knowledge might only be a five, but, there could just as easily be level 1-4 and 6-10 knowledge out there too. If that's the case, then I guess I can get on board with choosing to pursue knowledge since it might be possible to have level 1-4 or 6-10 knowledge.

So all you know, is that you do not know. :wink:


And then I don't know that I know that I don't know (infinite regress of "fives"). :P
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:24 pm

What about Richard Dawkins saying something like, "Surely the universe is queerer than we can suppose." Do you think there is a point where the human brain will max out and we won't be able to go any further in terms of understanding how the universe works?
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Benny Fitz on Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:23 pm

Kraftster wrote:What about Richard Dawkins saying something like, "Surely the universe is queerer than we can suppose." Do you think there is a point where the human brain will max out and we won't be able to go any further in terms of understanding how the universe works?


For us the only universe that exsist is the one we can comprehend. Whereby really being the "universe". This kinda comes back to lables/ness'. The infinite nature of the universe is already something that most of us cant grasp, yet it exsist beyond our understanding (whether we get it or not). So arent we in some way already maxed out? or at least temporarily "maxed out"?
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby columbia on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:38 pm

Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

If you don’t know who these authors are, you’d be forgiven for thinking these books came from the Bible Studies section of the bookstore. But in fact, these are science books, most of them written by the foremost thinkers in their respective fields, and many of them proud atheists. All of these books are about pure science. They are not about creationism, intelligent design, or even the relationship between science and religion generally. They do not attempt some religio-scientific synthesis. These books are not about the common ground. They are about science pure and simple, and specifically science’s answers to the great questions: what is the universe made of, where did the universe come from, where do we come from? They are some of the best-selling pop science books about physics, math, and evolution. And all of them inexplicably invoke God and the divine in their titles.


http://partialobjects.com/2011/04/is-sc ... -of-faith/
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby DocEmrick on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:51 pm

Kraftster wrote:What about Richard Dawkins saying something like, "Surely the universe is queerer than we can suppose." Do you think there is a point where the human brain will max out and we won't be able to go any further in terms of understanding how the universe works?


That's interesting Krafter. I am an avid reader of Richard Dawkins, though I rarely agree with him.

As to the question;

In various spiritual teachings of Buddhists, Hindus, and other ancient civilizations, it is taught that the universe is a construct of the human mind. Separating the mind from the brain is tough. Theoretically, if the mind (herein referred to as consciousness) creates the universe, then consciousness creates the brain.

Therefore there is a principle of rules that are followed in creation.

??? > Consciousness > Energy > Physical Manfiestation

The ??? I'll leave up to everyone for their own interpretation, be it God, Allah, Buddah, the Universe, the Source, etc. For our purposes, we'll call it the creator. The Creator creates consciousness, or consciousness is born out of creation. In theory, consciousness is not us on an individual level, but a collective of thought. Consciousness is a form of energy, which manifests the physical universe we live in, thus consciousness manifests the brain.

But, let's plug in "the Universe" for ???, assuming for a moment the Universe is an entity, itself. The Universe would thus manifest our consciousness. Say our lives are lived out to learn lessons about the Universe. Would the Universe allow us to understand how it works while in a physical form? No, because then we'd have all the answers and there would be no reason for existence.

In-so-far as the physics and mechanics of the Universe; that's questionable. If the Universe's properties are always changing, then the brain would never fully understand how the Universe works. If the Universe's properties stay constant, then forseeably there would be a time when the last mystery would be discovered. But again, what point would there be to existence? :wink:
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:45 am

DocEmrick wrote:
Kraftster wrote:What about Richard Dawkins saying something like, "Surely the universe is queerer than we can suppose." Do you think there is a point where the human brain will max out and we won't be able to go any further in terms of understanding how the universe works?


That's interesting Krafter. I am an avid reader of Richard Dawkins, though I rarely agree with him.

As to the question;

In various spiritual teachings of Buddhists, Hindus, and other ancient civilizations, it is taught that the universe is a construct of the human mind. Separating the mind from the brain is tough. Theoretically, if the mind (herein referred to as consciousness) creates the universe, then consciousness creates the brain.

Therefore there is a principle of rules that are followed in creation.

??? > Consciousness > Energy > Physical Manfiestation

The ??? I'll leave up to everyone for their own interpretation, be it God, Allah, Buddah, the Universe, the Source, etc. For our purposes, we'll call it the creator. The Creator creates consciousness, or consciousness is born out of creation. In theory, consciousness is not us on an individual level, but a collective of thought. Consciousness is a form of energy, which manifests the physical universe we live in, thus consciousness manifests the brain.

But, let's plug in "the Universe" for ???, assuming for a moment the Universe is an entity, itself. The Universe would thus manifest our consciousness. Say our lives are lived out to learn lessons about the Universe. Would the Universe allow us to understand how it works while in a physical form? No, because then we'd have all the answers and there would be no reason for existence.

In-so-far as the physics and mechanics of the Universe; that's questionable. If the Universe's properties are always changing, then the brain would never fully understand how the Universe works. If the Universe's properties stay constant, then forseeably there would be a time when the last mystery would be discovered. But again, what point would there be to existence? :wink:


If one could understand the causes of the changes, theoretically it should be possible to predict any changes, thus "know" those changes.

DocEmrick wrote:Would the Universe allow us to understand how it works while in a physical form? No, because then we'd have all the answers and there would be no reason for existence.
If the Universe's properties stay constant, then forseeably there would be a time when the last mystery would be discovered. But again, what point would there be to existence?


So, I'm guessing you believe that the purpose of life is to pursue answers/Truth (with a capital 'T')?
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby DocEmrick on Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:53 pm

Kraftster wrote:
If one could understand the causes of the changes, theoretically it should be possible to predict any changes, thus "know" those changes.


In-so-far as changes, I'm talking about the actual properties of physics. Say in one section of the universe, the properties change constantly. We could make an educated prediction, or guess, on how the properties will change, but given the scope and size of the universe, it's doubtful those predictions would be 100% accurate or lead to the understanding.

I'd say too little is known to backup my theory at this time, but that's my opinion on how the universe works, especially if the expansion theory holds true. Also, I remember reading recently about a galaxy discovered that allegedly was dated before the big bang. In essence, we know nothing ;)

Kraftster wrote:So, I'm guessing you believe that the purpose of life is to pursue answers/Truth (with a capital 'T')?


This is one of the purposes I believe in. In a spiritual sense, I believe we're a part of the Universe, experiencing itself. In the physical sense we learn things, touch, smell, sight, taste, etc. In an emotional sense we learn how to treat others. That's getting a little deep into my own personal beliefs, and no doubt they differ or conflict with 99.9% of people reading this.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:52 am

Inspired by all the math talk lately - anyone ever read Peter Lynds? Sort of came out of no where a few years ago challenging some pretty fundamental math/physics tenets with his proposed answer to Zeno's paradox.

Zeno's paradox took many forms. Basically, how can a sprinter ever reach the finish line in a race if he first has to go half way from the start to the finish, then half way from half way to the finish then halfway from half way of half way, etc. ad inifinitum? This, I think, is the basic paradox (paradox because we observe them crossing the finish line).

Per the abstract of Lynds' paper:
It is postulated there is not a precise static instant in time underlying a dynamical physical process at which the relative position of a body in relative motion or a specific physical magnitude would theoretically be precisely determined. It is concluded it is exactly because of this that time (relative interval as indicated by a clock) and the continuity of a physical process is possible, with there being a necessary trade off of all precisely determined physical values at a time, for their continuity through time. This explanation is also shown to be the correct solution to the motion and infinity paradoxes, excluding the Stadium, originally conceived by the ancient Greek mathematician Zeno of Elea.


Its a pretty interesting read and concept. I will try to find a link to the paper -- its tough to find it online sometimes. Lynds is interesting. He stopped his formal education before graduating college (New Zealand equivalent of stopping short of a Bachelor's, I believe). Originally the response from within the physics community was that this guy was some fraud or that he was a pseudonym for another scholar.

He's written some other papers since and I think he's working on a book.

Thoughts?
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Wed May 04, 2011 11:05 am

Rail against Rand here, please.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Dostoevsky on Wed May 04, 2011 11:42 am

Kraftster wrote:Rail against Rand here, please.



What do you find ridiculous about objectivism?


Almost every important point. I'll just give a quick rundown.

Economics: In a vacuum, yes, perhaps laissez-faire capitalism and unregulated markets would be ideal. However, as we have recently seen, no oversight equates to no rules to board members and politicians. I know that what these individuals were doing were not in their rational self-interest, e.g. Bernie Madoff, but people will continue to act against their rational self-interest regardless of circumstances. No matter the system that is put in place, there are fools who will take advantage of it for themselves and ruin it for others. Laissez-faire capitalism is an ideal, a utopian premise that looks awesome on paper, but doesn't account for the reality of the situation, which is that everyone has an agenda, especially in the financial sectors and on Capitol Hill.

Metaphysics, Epistimology, etc.: I'm a perspectivist, so the axiom that all reality and knowledge is independent to consciousness, which her system of thought is based upon, is in complete contradiction of that. No budging there. I can't convince you that Nietzschean perspectivism holds true, because there is no objective truth. I cannot prove it. Our two axioms just will never allow us to agree on this. As I said in another thread, the actual truth of a story is relative to a given era of time we currently live in, especially where information is constantly becoming known or retracted, and cultural ethics (whether murder is right or wrong- as fact) change to suit a political/religious climate.

Ethics: Finally, I do agree with rational self-interest to an extent, but her absolutism in regard to it is laughable. There are times where yes, I will consciously engage in my natural compassion and sacrifice myself for the sake of someone else. Sacrifice isn't inherently bad, but her axiom doesn't allow this to be debated. Sacrifice, objectively, in spite of my own consciousness, is bad. It's an objective truth whether I choose to accept it or not.

When it comes to this I like to bend Aristotle's golden mean for my own purposes; sacrifice can be good, it can also be a terrible thing. It's not necessarily one or the other. It needs to be balanced. For example, private charities cannot be the only monetary source for leukemia research. Donations (sacrifice) from wealthy organizations and philanthropists (no matter their own motives) and some form of socialized medicine are needed (this is where objectivists give a collective shudder).

When I was a child standing in the welfare line, and gathering food at a local pantry, the last thing on my mind was rational self-interest. I needed to survive. I wouldn't turn down money from someone because I would offend someone's rational self-interest, or that I would be shaming myself. Sometimes no matter the circumstances, individuals need more than what they can do for themselves, especially in the case of the mentally disabled and severely impoverished.
Last edited by Dostoevsky on Wed May 04, 2011 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby doublem on Wed May 04, 2011 12:41 pm

I been waiting to rail on Ayn Rand for a while. :pop: No pun. Esp. since that movie came out. I will make it short and sweet. Everyone is selfish, I'm selfish, but I don't try and intellectualize it and make it a philosophy becasue it's not, it's just selfishness. Not to mention she is a big fat hypocrite, she took S.S. and medicare. Remember, we can never compromise our morals. :face:

Edit: forgot to add. her justification for cheating. Man I wish I could get people to follow me like a cult that would be sweet.

Edit 2: I feel that Rand followers picked up that philosophy after being depressed in college. It's def. a philosophy that a certain type of personality would follow, I guess all absolute philosophies are.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Wed May 04, 2011 1:08 pm

Dostoevsky wrote:
Kraftster wrote:Rail against Rand here, please.



What do you find ridiculous about objectivism?


Almost every important point. I'll just give a quick rundown.

Economics: In a vacuum, yes, perhaps laissez-faire capitalism and unregulated markets would be ideal. However, as we have recently seen, no oversight equates to no rules to board members and politicians. I know that what these individuals were doing were not in their rational self-interest, e.g. Bernie Madoff, but people will continue to act against their rational self-interest regardless of circumstances. No matter the system that is put in place, there are fools who will take advantage of it for themselves and ruin it for others. Laissez-faire capitalism is an ideal, a utopian premise that looks awesome on paper, but doesn't account for the reality of the situation, which is that everyone has an agenda, especially in the financial sectors and on Capitol Hill.

Metaphysics, Epistimology, etc.: I'm a perspectivist, so the axiom that all reality and knowledge is independent to consciousness, which her system of thought is based upon, is in complete contradiction of that. No budging there. I can't convince you that Nietzschean perspectivism holds true, because there is no objective truth. I cannot prove it. Our two axioms just will never allow us to agree on this. As I said in another thread, the actual truth of a story is relative to a given era of time we currently live in, especially where information is constantly becoming known or retracted, and cultural ethics (whether murder is right or wrong- as fact) change to suit a political/religious climate.

Ethics: Finally, I do agree with rational self-interest to an extent, but her absolutism in regard to it is laughable. There are times where yes, I will consciously engage in my natural compassion and sacrifice myself for the sake of someone else. Sacrifice isn't inherently bad, but her axiom doesn't allow this to be debated. Sacrifice, objectively, in spite of my own consciousness, is bad. It's an objective truth whether I choose to accept it or not.

When it comes to this I like to bend Aristotle's golden mean for my own purposes; sacrifice can be good, it can also be a terrible thing. It's not necessarily one or the other. It needs to be balanced. For example, private charities cannot be the only monetary source for leukemia research. Donations (sacrifice) from wealthy organizations and philanthropists (no matter their own motives) are needed (this is where objectivists give a collective shudder).

When I was a child standing in the welfare line, and gathering food at a local pantry, the last thing on my mind was rational self-interest. I needed to survive. I wouldn't turn down money from someone because I would offend someone's rational self-interest, or that I would be shaming myself. Sometimes no matter the circumstances, individuals need more than what they can do for themselves, especially in the case of the mentally disabled and severely impoverished.


Good stuff. Please come play in this thread more often.

It's been a bit too long since I've sincerely read Rand's actual philosophical writings, but I'd still like to discuss.

Economics: I basically agree with you, though I generally take less of an issue with things because they are impractical. I'd rather determine the best course of action in a vacuum then try to apply that to our current situation than allow our current situation to seep into our thought about what is the best course.

Metaphysics/Epistemology: I just started reading Neitzsche again. I think I picked up Genealogy of Morals. An acquaintance recommended that I give Phenomenology a shot to cure some of my epistemological ills and I wanted to get my mind oriented toward those kinds of thinkers.

I'm not familiar with perspectivism, though it makes clear enough sense that I think I have the idea. In general things like perspectivism (at least how I understand it) and relativism just leave me with a frustrating feeling of epistemological nihilism. I did see your post in the other thread, but I don't really find it to be that good of an example. I don't know that I think truth (or Truth) concerns itself with characterization of events. Its a lot harder for me to understand perspectivism when dealing with something like -- what atoms make up a hydrogen molecule?
Does perspectivism allow for one perspective to be the perspective of independent reality? If so, I would be curious for a little bit more elaboration on how you believe the two (objectivism, perspectivism) are so completely at odds considering the fact that the independent reality perspective would just be one of the many perspectives on the truth of a particular matter. I don't know that I see existence of objective truth (as independent reality) as closing the door on perspectivism -- at least insofar as I don't understand perspectivism to say that all perspectives are equal.

Ethics: I don't recall the absolutism you are talking about. I thought the only thing Rand completely rejected was a moral obligation to engage in self-sacrifice. Hers is a very relativist morality and if one's life is fulfilled by helping others, I don't think that would be wrong.

I'm not sure where Rand stood on it, but I don't believe altruism is self-sacrifice. Its only self-sacrifice relative to the other possible decisions available to the one engaging in an altruistic act, but no more so than there is self-sacrifice in engaging in any of the other possible (non-altruistic) acts. All acts are selfish (using the word in its non-pejorative form). That's just biology -- pleasure seeking, pain avoiding, self-preservation. Rand and I differ in that I don't believe we have free will, but I agree that the only true moral code can be a selfish one.

What is the impact of perspectivism on ethics?
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Wed May 04, 2011 1:18 pm

doublem wrote:I been waiting to rail on Ayn Rand for a while. :pop: No pun. Esp. since that movie came out. I will make it short and sweet. Everyone is selfish, I'm selfish, but I don't try and intellectualize it and make it a philosophy becasue it's not, it's just selfishness. Not to mention she is a big fat hypocrite, she took S.S. and medicare. Remember, we can never compromise our morals. :face:

Edit: forgot to add. her justification for cheating. Man I wish I could get people to follow me like a cult that would be sweet.

Edit 2: I feel that Rand followers picked up that philosophy after being depressed in college. It's def. a philosophy that a certain type of personality would follow, I guess all absolute philosophies are.


I knew this was a party you would be down for!

I think there is definitely a group of people who enjoy behaving hedonistically who want to sound like they have some reason for acting that way.

There's another group who enjoy being contrarians.

There's another group who want to sound intellectual.

Then there's plenty who actually believe in the fundamental philosophical ideas. I don't think she's guilty of intellectualizing something unnecessarily. My feelings about developing a personal morality have always been about trying to observe and understand how we act naturally and develop a system based upon that. I think that's all she's doing.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Dostoevsky on Wed May 04, 2011 3:59 pm

Kraftster wrote:
Economics: I basically agree with you, though I generally take less of an issue with things because they are impractical. I'd rather determine the best course of action in a vacuum then try to apply that to our current situation than allow our current situation to seep into our thought about what is the best course.


I can see it both ways. Though, creating some sort of social model and testing theories within that is vastly different than trying to apply band-aids on our current situation. Real change is hard to come by sometimes. I think things can backfire on a society when in theory they seemed so fool proof, e.g. the declaration that Iraqis would welcome us as liberators, according to Dick Cheney. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:fOZU0jy_jfMJ:www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/bush/cheneymeetthepress.htm+iraqis+will+welcome+us+as+liberators+cheney&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

Metaphysics/Epistemology: I just started reading Neitzsche again. I think I picked up Genealogy of Morals. An acquaintance recommended that I give Phenomenology a shot to cure some of my epistemological ills and I wanted to get my mind oriented toward those kinds of thinkers.

I'm not familiar with perspectivism, though it makes clear enough sense that I think I have the idea. In general things like perspectivism (at least how I understand it) and relativism just leave me with a frustrating feeling of epistemological nihilism. I did see your post in the other thread, but I don't really find it to be that good of an example. I don't know that I think truth (or Truth) concerns itself with characterization of events. Its a lot harder for me to understand perspectivism when dealing with something like -- what atoms make up a hydrogen molecule?
Does perspectivism allow for one perspective to be the perspective of independent reality? If so, I would be curious for a little bit more elaboration on how you believe the two (objectivism, perspectivism) are so completely at odds considering the fact that the independent reality perspective would just be one of the many perspectives on the truth of a particular matter. I don't know that I see existence of objective truth (as independent reality) as closing the door on perspectivism -- at least insofar as I don't understand perspectivism to say that all perspectives are equal.


Nietzsche was the main literary opponent against nihilism, but recommended that we must acknowledge and even embrace it in order to overcome it. So, I may be misinterpreting your words, but if you feel even a vague sense of nihilism, it is not necessarily a bad thing, insofar as it prompts you to revaluate life negating values that relativism and perspectivism seems to have put in place.

In regards to the hydrogen molecule, Nietzschean perspectivism may be more radical than you think, at least in my opinion (and this seems to be a main reason why biologists, physicists, etc. scoff at philosophers, especially postmodern thinkers). Part of the reason why Nietzsche is associated with postmodernism is due to the fact that he doesn't allow things such as science or religion to become meta-narratives, dictating one's life and how to determine morality and such. Also, he is a sceptic, doesn't take anything for granted, questions every angle. He would argue that from your perspective as a decently educated person, with a scientific background, you see that a+b=c, when perhaps we may very well find out 2,000 years from now that a+b does not equal c, but equals or x, or 3.14 blah blah blah. There are no truths, absolutely none. Only interpretations. a+b=c is only an interpretation from one's perspective upon the experiment or theory. Two people may agree that a+b=c, but only from their given perspectives, not from some shared magical pot of truths. It is impossible for me to come across an objective truth, something that is the same from all angles. Even if 10,000 evolutionary biologists agree out of 10,000 that evolution is true, it is impossible for them to see the other's perspective because one cannot relive the experiences that the other has gone through to arrive at such a conclusion, cannot slip into the other's body and consciousness. They can only estimate based on their own interpretation. There are an infinite amount of angles by which to view something.

However,

This does not mean that all interpretations are equal. This should be clear. I may think that my interpretation is more valid, but it's only an interpretation, and it is not natural law. Objectivism is an interpretation, stating that truths are to be found, but by perspectivist standards, there are no truths at all, rendering Rand's philosophy pointless (this is a generalization used for message board purposes). One thing isn't inherently wrong (Objectivism), but I make a judgement, stating that it is wrong, BUT IS IS NOT UNIVERSAL. It is only based upon my own knowledge and experiences. So it's okay for me to say something sucks, but insofar as I acknowledge that it may be bliss for another. But that's just like my opinion, man.

And to complicate things, Nietzsche claimed that we shouldn't even take what he says as true. So in a way, he leaves us on our own, to make our own judgments. I think it's a great mental and psychological exercise, and allows us to explore why certain individuals such as German citizens during the rule of the Third Reich supported the Nazis, other than the explanations shoved down our throats. It's important to break down our own judgments as mere perspectives, allowing us to perhaps view things in a new light, even if we arrive at the same destination. He believed that the more perspectives we gain upon a given situation, the better we are at making a judgement, and the more validity one's opinion will hold. I think perspectivism allows us to become more rigorous in our studies, become better readers, and see through people's bullcrap. If we constantly consider everything we have heard about a subject, it becomes a habit, and we are better off making an educated judgment about something, and better off dismissing things we see are bullcrap. In short, we became better as individuals if we acknowledge not only flaws in other people's beliefs, but also in our own. But that's only my perspective. Lulz.

Ethics: I don't recall the absolutism you are talking about. I thought the only thing Rand completely rejected was a moral obligation to engage in self-sacrifice. Hers is a very relativist morality and if one's life is fulfilled by helping others, I don't think that would be wrong.

I'm not sure where Rand stood on it, but I don't believe altruism is self-sacrifice. Its only self-sacrifice relative to the other possible decisions available to the one engaging in an altruistic act, but no more so than there is self-sacrifice in engaging in any of the other possible (non-altruistic) acts. All acts are selfish (using the word in its non-pejorative form). That's just biology -- pleasure seeking, pain avoiding, self-preservation. Rand and I differ in that I don't believe we have free will, but I agree that the only true moral code can be a selfish one.

What is the impact of perspectivism on ethics?


As I read Rand, I found that much of her rhetoric relied on certain terms such as altruism and collectivism to be inherently bad. we can commit an act of selflessness and if is in our rational self-interest, then it is not really selfless. It is impossible to have a selfish act of altruism or vice versa.

Perspectivist ethics make theologians, especially evangelicals, cringe. The ultimate example of inscribed, natural law, that is the greatest "the buck stops here" moment where nothing will ever change no matter what, is with the ten commandments. Murder is always wrong no matter what. Taking the Lord's name in vain is wrong, no matter what. A perspectivist on the other hand, will admit that these declarations cannot hold, because murder in one time period may be looked upon as a positive ritual in another. The way society views law and order is relative to where it is in history. The best example for a perspectivist to dubunk this religious absolutism, and to show that we really are truly perspectivists, is finding passages in the Bible where it claims we must stone individuals who gather sticks on the Sabbath. This would be absurd in America, because times have changed. Law is relative, in accordance to an infinite amount of situations.

Nietzsche himself was an immoralist, because he viewed the Christian values that were prevalent in his life were decadent and nihilistic, and we must revaluate them in order to overcome them: "I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!" Here we can go into the Will to Power.

Ethically, a perspectivist will consider why murder may be right or wrong, and ultimately make a judgement based upon that. This scares theologians, because things such as murder should not be questioned in the first place. This is why his philosophy was so shocking back in the days before reality television, where nihilism is pretty much embraced. Nothing is inherently good or bad, not even rape, but I will say that it is through my own perspective. This is good for perspectivism because it is ultimately consistent (and you will find that most intelligent perspectivists believe rape is wrong). Rape is not an ideal situation for a productive society to say the least, whether or not I think it is wrong because God said so. But believing these things are evil does not make them universal. In an alternate dimension they may be looked upon as divine, and not doing so is wrong. How can you favor one over the other, or state that one is right or one is wrong without a perspective? In short, ethical judgements are relative, based on the period in history in which a society is, and the experiences of that society, and also what is in its best interests.

For a hilarious example of a religious view on perspectivism/relativism/postmodernism, watch this video subtly titled The Lies Called "Post-Modernism"/Relativism and Tolerance

Last edited by Dostoevsky on Wed May 04, 2011 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Shyster on Wed May 04, 2011 4:38 pm

Personally, I apply a philosophical view I call youwantfrieswiththatism. Namely, if a college degree in a subject will prepare you for gainful employment only in a job teaching that very same subject to a new wave of students, then the subject is useless to society and may be safely ignored as irrelevant to the real world.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby largegarlic on Wed May 04, 2011 7:38 pm

I've only read Atlas Shrugged and that was many years ago. I did check out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Phil. entry on Rand (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/).

I don't think her philosophy is totally without merit (as most academics do), but it doesn't seem to me that she says anything that hasn't been said better and with more substance by other philosophers. For example, Adam Smith provides a more sophisticated discussion of economics, Nietzsche provides a more nuanced critique of collectivist ("herd") morality, and from the little I know of her epistemology from Encyclopedia article, it doesn't seem as well-worked-out as what one would find in someone like Kant or Aristotle.

I would also tend to raise questions about her assumption of the absolute metaphysical primacy of the individual (i.e. the assumption that society is simply the composition of many individuals), but I don't really have a well-articulated alternative to that.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Wed May 04, 2011 10:05 pm

Dostoevsky wrote:
Kraftster wrote:
Metaphysics/Epistemology: I just started reading Neitzsche again. I think I picked up Genealogy of Morals. An acquaintance recommended that I give Phenomenology a shot to cure some of my epistemological ills and I wanted to get my mind oriented toward those kinds of thinkers.

I'm not familiar with perspectivism, though it makes clear enough sense that I think I have the idea. In general things like perspectivism (at least how I understand it) and relativism just leave me with a frustrating feeling of epistemological nihilism. I did see your post in the other thread, but I don't really find it to be that good of an example. I don't know that I think truth (or Truth) concerns itself with characterization of events. Its a lot harder for me to understand perspectivism when dealing with something like -- what atoms make up a hydrogen molecule?
Does perspectivism allow for one perspective to be the perspective of independent reality? If so, I would be curious for a little bit more elaboration on how you believe the two (objectivism, perspectivism) are so completely at odds considering the fact that the independent reality perspective would just be one of the many perspectives on the truth of a particular matter. I don't know that I see existence of objective truth (as independent reality) as closing the door on perspectivism -- at least insofar as I don't understand perspectivism to say that all perspectives are equal.


Nietzsche was the main literary opponent against nihilism, but recommended that we must acknowledge and even embrace it in order to overcome it. So, I may be misinterpreting your words, but if you feel even a vague sense of nihilism, it is not necessarily a bad thing, insofar as it prompts you to revaluate life negating values that relativism and perspectivism seems to have put in place.


I agree its not necessarily a bad thing, but I have just always had a compulsion to avoid nihilism, particularly epistemological nihilism. Of course, I used to say that about free will and now I'm a determinist, so...

In regards to the hydrogen molecule, Nietzschean perspectivism may be more radical than you think, at least in my opinion (and this seems to be a main reason why biologists, physicists, etc. scoff at philosophers, especially postmodern thinkers). Part of the reason why Nietzsche is associated with postmodernism is due to the fact that he doesn't allow things such as science or religion to become meta-narratives, dictating one's life and how to determine morality and such. Also, he is a sceptic, doesn't take anything for granted, questions every angle. He would argue that from your perspective as a decently educated person, with a scientific background, you see that a+b=c, when perhaps we may very well find out 2,000 years from now that a+b does not equal c, but equals or x, or 3.14 blah blah blah. There are no truths, absolutely none. Only interpretations. a+b=c is only an interpretation from one's perspective upon the experiment or theory. Two people may agree that a+b=c, but only from their given perspectives, not from some shared magical pot of truths. It is impossible for me to come across an objective truth, something that is the same from all angles. Even if 10,000 evolutionary biologists agree out of 10,000 that evolution is true, it is impossible for them to see the other's perspective because one cannot relive the experiences that the other has gone through to arrive at such a conclusion, cannot slip into the other's body and consciousness. They can only estimate based on their own interpretation. There are an infinite amount of angles by which to view something.


That all makes sense. I don't know that I'd agree with characterizing objective truth as something that is "the same from all angles", though. Even something that is objectively true, I imagine there could be an infinite number of perspectives on the issue, they would just all be wrong ("Wrong"?). That everyone has their own experiential perspective does not depend on there not being objective truth as far as I can tell.

However,

This does not mean that all interpretations are equal. This should be clear. I may think that my interpretation is more valid, but it's only an interpretation, and it is not natural law. Objectivism is an interpretation, stating that truths are to be found, but by perspectivist standards, there are no truths at all, rendering Rand's philosophy pointless (this is a generalization used for message board purposes). One thing isn't inherently wrong (Objectivism), but I make a judgement, stating that it is wrong, BUT IS IS NOT UNIVERSAL. It is only based upon my own knowledge and experiences. So it's okay for me to say something sucks, but insofar as I acknowledge that it may be bliss for another. But that's just like my opinion, man.


I struggle to see how perspectivism can allow for one interpretation being better than others. As far as I can tell the only measure by which this could be the case would be if there was some objective standard of evaluation, which I am sure there are not. From whose perspective is one opinion better than another? I suppose I can say, from my perspective, my opinion is better than yours because my opinion is based upon my perspective, but that doesn't seem to be a very informative statement.

I feel compelled, as a human being, to strive for better and better perspective on things, but without some objective measure of how I'm doing, it can feel like a worthless effort at times. And I guess this is the point of phenomenology and why it as recommened to me, right? The pursuit of objective truth is utterly fruitless if viewing things from a relativist or perspectivist perspective, so phenomenology concerns itself with individual conscious experience rather than discovering some external reality. Well, I'm willing to give it a shot, so, I'll check back in as I start to review some of Heidegger.

And to complicate things, Nietzsche claimed that we shouldn't even take what he says as true. So in a way, he leaves us on our own, to make our own judgments. I think it's a great mental and psychological exercise, and allows us to explore why certain individuals such as German citizens during the rule of the Third Reich supported the Nazis, other than the explanations shoved down our throats. It's important to break down our own judgments as mere perspectives, allowing us to perhaps view things in a new light, even if we arrive at the same destination. He believed that the more perspectives we gain upon a given situation, the better we are at making a judgement, and the more validity one's opinion will hold. I think perspectivism allows us to become more rigorous in our studies, become better readers, and see through people's bullcrap. If we constantly consider everything we have heard about a subject, it becomes a habit, and we are better off making an educated judgment about something, and better off dismissing things we see are bullcrap. In short, we became better as individuals if we acknowledge not only flaws in other people's beliefs, but also in our own. But that's only my perspective. Lulz.


Unquestioned life is not worth living. Skepticism and self-questioning is critical and human. :thumb:

Ethics: I don't recall the absolutism you are talking about. I thought the only thing Rand completely rejected was a moral obligation to engage in self-sacrifice. Hers is a very relativist morality and if one's life is fulfilled by helping others, I don't think that would be wrong.

I'm not sure where Rand stood on it, but I don't believe altruism is self-sacrifice. Its only self-sacrifice relative to the other possible decisions available to the one engaging in an altruistic act, but no more so than there is self-sacrifice in engaging in any of the other possible (non-altruistic) acts. All acts are selfish (using the word in its non-pejorative form). That's just biology -- pleasure seeking, pain avoiding, self-preservation. Rand and I differ in that I don't believe we have free will, but I agree that the only true moral code can be a selfish one.

What is the impact of perspectivism on ethics?


As I read Rand, I found that much of her rhetoric relied on certain terms such as altruism and collectivism to be inherently bad. we can commit an act of selflessness and if is in our rational self-interest, then it is not really selfless. It is impossible to have a selfish act of altruism or vice versa.


If that is her position then I differ from her, but I think she can maintain consistency and accept selfish "altruistic" acts. All acts are selfish. Thats an axiom I am certainly comfortable with, and one that I don't think is particularly profound. An individual who engages in acts of what we would call "altruism" has simply decided that such conduct is what will fulfill him/her as a person and make her feel good. Doesn't make it any less praiseworthy, but it is, indeed, selfish.

Perspectivist ethics make theologians, especially evangelicals, cringe. The ultimate example of inscribed, natural law, that is the greatest "the buck stops here" moment where nothing will ever change no matter what, is with the ten commandments. Murder is always wrong no matter what. Taking the Lord's name in vain is wrong, no matter what. A perspectivist on the other hand, will admit that these declarations cannot hold, because murder in one time period may be looked upon as a positive ritual in another. The way society views law and order is relative to where it is in history. The best example for a perspectivist to dubunk this religious absolutism, and to show that we really are truly perspectivists, is finding passages in the Bible where it claims we must stone individuals who gather sticks on the Sabbath. This would be absurd in America, because times have changed. Law is relative, in accordance to an infinite amount of situations.

Nietzsche himself was an immoralist, because he viewed the Christian values that were prevalent in his life were decadent and nihilistic, and we must revaluate them in order to overcome them: "I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism's] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!" Here we can go into the Will to Power.

Ethically, a perspectivist will consider why murder may be right or wrong, and ultimately make a judgement based upon that. This scares theologians, because things such as murder should not be questioned in the first place. This is why his philosophy was so shocking back in the days before reality television, where nihilism is pretty much embraced. Nothing is inherently good or bad, not even rape, but I will say that it is through my own perspective. This is good for perspectivism because it is ultimately consistent (and you will find that most intelligent perspectivists believe rape is wrong). Rape is not an ideal situation for a productive society to say the least, whether or not I think it is wrong because God said so. But believing these things are evil does not make them universal. In an alternate dimension they may be looked upon as divine, and not doing so is wrong. How can you favor one over the other, or state that one is right or one is wrong without a perspective? In short, ethical judgements are relative, based on the period in history in which a society is, and the experiences of that society, and also what is in its best interests.

For a hilarious example of a religious view on perspectivism/relativism/postmodernism, watch this video subtly titled The Lies Called "Post-Modernism"/Relativism and Tolerance


I understand relativist ethics, and I don't necessarily disagree in many respects. Just gives me that same nihilistic frustration.
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby ulf on Wed May 04, 2011 10:09 pm

man i just clicked this for the first time. flashbacks to ethics freshman year. need to get something off doc before i click it again :pop:
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Re: LGP Philosophy Discussion Thread

Postby Kraftster on Wed May 04, 2011 10:09 pm

Also, great video.
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