• schopenhauer1
    7.7k

    I think there is an odd notion going on here. I'd like to know your thoughts. The notion is something like this:

    "I feel sad, lonely, uncomfortable (X negative feeling), THEREFORE another person MUST endure X for me".

    There are a couple scenarios one can make from this:

    1) Someone asks for help/favor.. If you deny it to them.. They can think you're a lousy unhelpful bastard, but it is not immoral per se.

    2) Someone wants something out of life so they will FORCE someone else to comply with their needs because it will fix their current negative feeling of not being fulfilled. THAT is unethical. Another person in a way, "pays the cost" of your unfulfillment by being imposed upon. Not only that if that imposition (definition A of simply forcing your will on another) also creates impositions (definition B of burdening someone), it has the double aspect of not only forcing your will without consent but creating negative outcomes for others in your strident decision on their behalf.

    3) Someone asks for help/favor.. you help them. They appreciate your decision. However, not helping was not unethical. Rather, helping was supererogatory. That is to say, one went above the ethical guidelines.

    I'm wondering if you can add your notion of non-interference to those three ideas and scenarios.

    @Cuthbert, perhaps you can add something as well as this is partially sparked by your last posts.
  • Tzeentch
    2.1k
    Unless one voluntarily took upon themselves the responsibility to take care of another's well-being, or is themselves the cause of another's suffering, non-interference is always a morally neutral option.

    Scenario 1 and 3 essentially portray that this idea about morality involves freedom of choice.

    The moral agent is free to involve themselves, or not. Involving oneself can give an opportunity to do good, however one may also pass up on an opportunity to do good.

    As for scenario 2, that one cannot simply force others to cater to one's needs should go without saying. If we were to consider that acceptable we'd be back in the jungle.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    As for scenario 2, that one cannot simply force others to cater to one's needs should go without saying. If we were to consider that acceptable we'd be back in the jungle.Tzeentch

    And the obvious retort is something like, "It's not bad to force people if X amount of people wouldn't have minded it". There's a whole slew of things I find wrong with this. The obvious one is your parachute response.. "If you were to push someone out of a plane and 90% of the time the parachute worked.."
    But also, even if there were a very high percentage of people who literally said: "I don't mind it.." There is something seemingly wrong with choosing for someone such significant conditions such as what choices one is exposed (like how to survive in this world, etc.) and what kinds of harms are acceptable. This isn't a trivial gift that can be gotten rid of.. We are talking a lifetime of having to do X, Y, Z here. These are not trite, arbitrary, and trivial. These are substantial things that one person is deciding for another.. And judging from the responses here.. All deemed as acceptable because the parents might be "sad" or "unfulfilled". Totally counter-intuitive when compared to any other weighty decision made on others' behalf. This gets a pass because if Joe, Bob, Sue, and Sam want to see X outcome (a new person), they will excuse it any which way..

    On top of this.. literally saying "I don't mind this".. Is just one consideration. The next minute, that same person can be trapped in a lot of unwanted tasks/harms/scenarios that they would definitely mind.. So is it the general statement or the "lived experience" of things they would rather not do that we pay attention to? Because in each of those moments you asked them, they would say.. "Well I don't want this" and "Yes, I very much do mind that".

    Also, should we even be basing such weighty decisions on post-facto responses in the first place? The only time we usually do such things and find it ethical is if someone has a greater harm that could be prevented and no consent could be had (comas, bad accidents, etc.). There is never another time it is usually deemed as acceptable to make life/death/weighty/SIGNIFICANT decisions for someone else "just because we would be sad if we didn't" or any excuse like that. No, even on the FACE OF IT, this kind of thinking is off. You don't need any contingencies attached like "X amount of people will probably like it" to get that making these kinds of decisions are always presumptuous to the extreme. Again, what I deem as "aggressively paternalistic".
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Do you want to provide some of those categories on the chance of conceiving me?Athena

    My dear lady, that was done long ago. Regardless of categories. :cool:

    Wikipedia Mathematics Articles
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    The Felicific Calculus (re Jeremy Bentham): The mathematization of ethics.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    I think in the past it may have been easier to be happy? I really am not sure about that. Aging chances our thinking soooo much! I grew up thinking happiness was a happy family. I didn't exactly grow up with that, but in Dick and Jane books family was the center of all happiness and that always made sense to me. It just is NOT what I experienced in my life. :lol:

    Early in life, I realized accomplishing something resulted in much more happiness than going to a party.
    I was chasing after happiness and it was always out of reach or ended as soon as the party ended, but gardening, hard work over a period of time, and then getting the results of that work, was experienced as a happiness that stayed with me. Kind the difference between eating empty calories or healthy food. Feeling satisfied by my own work was more satisfying than temporary, frivolous happiness. Few people have the land for gardening today.

    Nature has always been a source of happiness for me, but I grew up in LA county in California and witnessed concrete and blacktop covering the ground from mountain to mountain. I am extremely thankful that where I live now the banks of the river have been preserved as natural areas with parks along the way and within half an hour I can out of town and in nature. I would swear, much insanity is caused by the loss of nature.

    There have been times in history when music was considered essential to a good frame of mind. The Greeks, god bless them, thought music and beauty quite essential to a good life. So to defend my opinion line, modern living can deprive us of family, beauty, good music, and nature. And may god have mercy on the person who thinks happiness is using a credit card.
  • DA671
    626
    Money is a key, but not the central, cause of happiness. I agree with much of what you have written. I think that a major issue in our modern society is that people intentionally create unnecessary desires in order to acquire superficial pleasures instead of focusing on the subtle yet more potent good of contentment. I hope that our perspectives will change. Music, family, beauty, and the pursuit of knowledge can be sources of indelible fulfilment. May people get the happiness they deserve! I hope that you have an amazing day!
  • Athena
    2.3k
    My dear lady, that was done long ago. Regardless of categories. :cool:jgill

    OH come on. I was looking forward to a better answer. One that might help me understand what you are talking about. When it comes to math, I am an idiot, but an idiot who delights in the subject. To me math is perhaps the best magic wand we can have. What we can know and do with math is totally awesome and my point is we do not teach math as needs to be taught. Instead of trying to "program" little minds with math that our high-tech society demands, excite them with the history of math and the wonders of math such as the magic pi. I swear, few math teachers truly love math so the best they can is "program" the little brains that are programable, but they can pass on a love of math and they turn children off.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    ↪Athena Money is a key, but not the central, cause of happiness. I agree with much of what you have written. I think that a major issue in our modern society is that people intentionally create unnecessary desires in order to acquire superficial pleasures instead of focusing on the subtle yet more potent good of contentment. I hope that our perspectives will change. Music, family, beauty, and the pursuit of knowledge can be sources of indelible fulfilment. May people get the happiness they deserve! I hope that you have an amazing day!DA671

    I like your words "intentionally create unnecessary desires in order to acquire superficial pleasures". This seems very much the focus of our consumer society, and this is worrying. For one thing, it is very bad for our planet and it leads to believing happiness is what is outside of who we are, leaving us dependent on an external world for our happiness, instead of developing our inner world.

    My favorite math professor loves math and he gets so excited when he talks about it. He makes comments such as "cry for the joy" of the math principle he is talking about. I don't think he needs anything else in life other than his joy of math and sharing it. That is not "a superficial pleasure" and wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone had such an internal pleasure? I know when someone expands my understanding of a concept, I feel extreme joy. Nothing makes me happier than the enlightenment feeling of getting a better sense of meaning. Except I am dependent on all of you for this pleasure. Reading is very beneficial but it is much more fun when I know I am going to share my new ideas with all of you. There is a social component to my sense of pleasure.
  • DA671
    626
    Thank you for agreeing with me ,(it's rare to see that on a forum like this one!). Yes, the fundamental issue with unmitigated consumerism is that it is a road to nowhere. Instead of enjoying the good, it always tries to needlessly dig holes when the ground was already filled up. We should have a balanced approach.

    Sharing knowledge is undoubtedly a great way to obtain happiness!
  • Athena
    2.3k
    Thank you for agreeing with me ,(it's rare to see that on a forum like this one!). Yes, the fundamental issue with unmitigated consumerism is that it is a road to nowhere. Instead of enjoying the good, it always tries to needlessly dig holes when the ground was already filled up. We should have a balanced approach.

    Sharing knowledge is undoubtedly a great way to obtain happiness!
    DA671

    You have soothed a painful wound. I was expressing my joy of learning and how I what others to interact with me in another forum and a mod closed thread. This is not unusual. I made many enemies several years ago by answering a professor's question by saying "I am a seeker of knowledge." What is up with that intense anger towards someone who delights in learning? :worry: What has gone wrong with our society, people feeling anger towards those who enjoy
    ? That resentment goes against a love of democracy. And when I spoke of being poor, it is my understanding that Socrates was poor. There should be no shame for pursuing knowledge instead of wealth and I think in a democracy that pursuit of knowledge should be free. Can you help me with this- what is the virtue/moral of what knowledge for the sake of knowledge?

    And for darn sure, good manners are essential to our intellectual development and the progression of our civilization. When people come to a forum they should feel safe to express what they think and they should never have to fear being attacked. Challenging their idea is wonderful because that is one way to develop our thinking and moves a discussion forward, but keeping these 3 rules in mind is helpful.

    1. We are respectful because we are respectful people.
    2. We protect the dignity of others.
    3. We do everything with integrity.

    Seems to me if we follow those rules, it pretty much handles most human problems.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Do you want to provide some of those categories on the chance of conceiving me?Athena

    My dear lady, that was done long ago. Regardless of categories. :cool:jgill

    OH come on. I was looking forward to a better answer.Athena

    :smile: :smile: :smile:

    My favorite math professor loves math and he gets so excited when he talks about it. He makes comments such as "cry for the joy" of the math principle he is talking about. I don't think he needs anything else in life other than his joy of math and sharing itAthena

    I'm not sure I've known a colleague becoming that euphoric, but it is a really good feeling when understanding dawns. It's mostly a game of exploring concepts. But I only taught at the college level and know little of techniques used in K-12. However, the modern math movement supported by university mathematicians during the 1960s and 1970s was a failure - I ventured into it when I taught a freshman algebra course. For a few very motivated students it worked well.

    As to motivation, part if not most may have to come with genetics, like musical talent.
  • ssu
    6.5k
    At the very least we've established the utility of probability in philosophy; other subdisciplines of math may also aid in finding solutions to different philosophical problems.Agent Smith

    This discussion has gone for 7 pages. Hence it is probable that Leibniz and his views have come up.

    Or should have come up. (If not, in my disgusting laziness I didn't check it)

    The idea that philosophy freed from its verbal limitations is mathematics, the real lingua universalis. So let's just compute! Or in the modern way, let's make a mathematical model of reality.

    Thus we should look at what has been the critique of the Leibnizian view. Perhaps the most famous is Professor Pangloss in Candide by Voltaire. Even if Voltaire's main critique is the Leibnizian optimism, that this is the best of all possible worlds, this still relates to mathematics and mathematical modelling.

    How?

    Well, we usually seek maximums (or minimums) in our mathematical models, to see what would be the best possible outcome. That is rather easy to do with math, even if you have many, many variables in the equation. Computers can crunch the numbers...if you have data to use. And usually the mathematical formulas don't open up to the common man (or a philosophy major who hasn't studied math), so that's something positive. So learn math before trying to make any counterarguments to my mathematical model!

    Yet mathematics, being based in logic, demands many things when making a mathematical model. The first thing that comes to mind is that we have to make the correct assumptions, picked out the correct variables in order for our model to work. Otherwise our model simply doesn't give us an answer as it doesn't depict reality. In philosophy these primary assumptions are even more important and philosophers can end up really quickly asking questions that basically are part of metaphysics. Just ask why a couple of times and your down to true philosophy that natural sciences don't care about.

    So I would argue that the philosopher can and will rather quickly face the limitations of mathematics. Even if mathematics can be said to be a language, so is English.
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    There's nothing I disagree on in your post. My only fear/worry is that what looks doable from only a general outline may turn out to be impossibe when we get down to the details à la the famed felicific calculus, kind courtesy of Jeremy Bentham.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    I'm not sure I've known a colleague becoming that euphoric, but it is a really good feeling when understanding dawns. It's mostly a game of exploring concepts. But I only taught at the college level and know little of techniques used in K-12. However, the modern math movement supported by university mathematicians during the 1960s and 1970s was a failure - I ventured into it when I taught a freshman algebra course. For a few very motivated students it worked well.

    As to motivation, part if not most may have to come with genetics, like musical talent.
    jgill

    Oh dear! What can you tell me about the 1960s-1970s math education failure? :broken: I really care. I consider my failure to understand higher math as my worst disability. I so wish my school had put geometry before algebra. I am drawn to geometry as it is explained by Michael S. Schneider in "A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe- The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science".

    Dropping art and music as unnecessary liberal education is so wrong because they go with understanding math. And if we had a good understanding of these things we would have a better understanding of science and then a better understanding of life. And we would use such understanding for philosophical discussions and live happily ever after. Then we would have good moral judgment and a strong democracy. :heart: I write to repair my broken heart.

    Here is a video of Professor Satyan L. Devadiss, the professor who gets very emotional about math. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR6saOaGXNg
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Oh dear! What can you tell me about the 1960s-1970s math education failure?Athena
    New Math

    As an Asst Prof in the early 1970s, I had a colleague whose office was a couple of doors down the hall. He was a retired Army colonel with an MA in math, and he taught some of the remedial and freshman courses. One day, early in the semester, he burst into the department chair's office, red in the face and clearly angry,"What is this shit!? Why prove a*0=0???" We were using Vance for College Algebra and there it was in chapter one. I was less vocal, but I too found it ridiculous to toss bits of math foundations into a more or less utilitarian course.

    Proof: a*0=0

    Note in the Wiki piece that Time magazine called New Math one of the 100 worst ideas of the twentieth century. :cool:
  • Agent Smith
    8.1k
    Math one of the 100 worst ideas of the twentieth century. — jgill

    Imagine that! Perhaps human history can be retold in terms of how many and how big our failures were/are rather than as it's usually told to us, a sequence of successes. I wish I had the time and resources to do that; no worries, some are already on the job (re History's Biggest Mistakes, a book by....).
  • Athena
    2.3k
    Imagine that! Perhaps human history can be retold in terms of how many and how big our failures were/are rather than as it's usually told to us, a sequence of successes. I wish I had the time and resources to do that; no worries, some are already on the job (re History's Biggest Mistakes, a book by....).Agent Smith

    I love that idea! Maybe that would give us a much better perspective on the meaning of being human.
  • Athena
    2.3k
    New Math

    As an Asst Prof in the early 1970s, I had a colleague whose office was a couple of doors down the hall. He was a retired Army colonel with an MA in math, and he taught some of the remedial and freshman courses. One day, early in the semester, he burst into the department chair's office, red in the face and clearly angry,"What is this shit!? Why prove a*0=0???" We were using Vance for College Algebra and there it was in chapter one. I was less vocal, but I too found it ridiculous to toss bits of math foundations into a more or less utilitarian course.

    Proof: a*0=0

    Note in the Wiki piece that Time magazine called New Math one of the 100 worst ideas of the twentieth century. :cool:
    jgill

    I don't know if this is relevant but- The education controllers did the same thing with teaching reading. I could not learn to read because when I was that age the school was using the "look and say method", not phonics. Many of us could not read without learning phonics and fortunately for me my grandmother was a teacher and spent a summer teaching me to read and spell.

    It would be interesting to do MRI's of learning brains. What happens in the brain when it absorbs the lesson and what happens in the brain when there is no learning?

    "The four core learning styles in the VARK model include visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic." https://sphero.com/blogs/news/learning-styles-for-kids#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20four%20learning,reading%20and%20writing%2C%20and%20kinesthetic.

    I find, that when I can not see it, I may have trouble thinking it. Phonics has a mechanical nature to it. It is slower but it is also closer to seeing how the symbols work together. Take that away and reading is like the explanation of proof. A jumble of symbols that do not make sense. My brain does not cross that gap. A picture of one apple and a picture of no apple make sense. What is seen with the explanation of proof? We teach math with pictures. How many apples are in the box? But a prove? If all I see is symbols, the me that is trying to learn, screams and runs away. Does that make sense? I would like to break through that barrier and be able to understand the language of symbols.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    If all I see is symbols, the me that is trying to learn, screams and runs away. Does that make sense? I would like to break through that barrier and be able to understand the language of symbols.Athena

    Interesting you should say that. I still do minor research and write short notes. Just last night I was dabbling with my current project and the thought came to me, All I'm doing is moving symbols around. The create/discover part of the process was missing. :chin:

    Later: An idea came to me and now the symbols have meaning. :cool:
  • Athena
    2.3k
    Interesting you should say that. I still do minor research and write short notes. Just last night I was dabbling with my current project and the thought came to me, All I'm doing is moving symbols around. The create/discover part of the process was missing. :chin:

    Later: An idea came to me and now the symbols have meaning. :cool:
    jgill

    What you said is very exciting. I just spent the morning with a deceased friend's daughter and carried over the discussion we are having here with her. She has one of those super high-paying jobs as a computer chip engineer. What you said perfectly fits in the discussion we were having, the difference between manipulating the symbols and understanding their meaning. You expressed that very well.

    Logical thinking is far more disciplined than what most of our thinking is. Math must be logical but can be devoid of meaning. Blending the logical with a sense of meaning is uniquely human don't you think?
    Animals may have a concept of 4 wolves and distance and the best escape route. That would happen instantaneously without much deliberation. But figuring out the best design for a computer chip or the knots in DNA is a whole different ball game.

    :chin: Does our understanding of such matters require better words for explaining? Do our thoughts become none existent when we stop thinking them, or might they infect others and grow and become more permanent and yet changing?
  • Athena
    2.3k
    I'm wondering if you can add your notion of non-interference to those three ideas and scenarios.schopenhauer1

    The math has no meaning until we give it meaning. I don't think there is any empirical evidence of your ethical considerations. Exactly how do we come to a consensus on the best reasoning? Like I didn't mean to be insensitive. I was just very busy and had to stay focused on my goal.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.