• Christoffer
    1.9k
    I think you should embrace the animal nature of our basic psychology and stop pretending to be something we’re not.praxis

    Is not all of our society based on us taming the animal nature of our basic psychology? Haven't we all introduced cultural restrictions so as to function past our instincts and desires in order to overcome the horrors of nature? We, of course, do this better or worse depending on the individual, but ascribing to a higher level of self-control does not equal me trying to be something that I'm not, I'm trying to achieve more control than just natural apathy since it is something I can actually achieve through self-control.

    Clearly it's you who's acting stupid. Gravity is not "a rock falling". We might say gravity is the cause of the rock falling, but since it always causes the rock to fall down instead of falling up, it cannot be said to be neutral. A cause, since it affects an object in a specific way, and never in the opposite way, cannot be said to be neutral.Metaphysician Undercover

    How are you ascribing "up" or "down" as non-neutral? You still don't seem to understand the difference between two different values and two arbitrary emotional different values. You say "good" or "bad", which means arbitrary values that we humans apply to something through our emotions, everything else is neutral since they don't have such arbitrary values. The thing itself is neutral, gravity is neutral, "up" and "down" is neutral, and there is no value of "good" or "bad" in of themselves for these systems. If you say something is "good", then you are emotionally describing the thing. If you say a falling rock is "bad", you are emotionally describing how you interpret it. A falling rock in itself is not "bad", there's no such description of reality outside your emotional interpretation of it. It is this distinction that I'm talking about and you just never get it, which is a basic descriptive understanding of language. If you cannot understand this, then you cannot produce a functional argument because you have confused together a neutral phenomenon with your emotional interpretation of it.

    I argued that if you premise that biases are bad, we must allow that some are good as well, or else we'd have to conclude that thinking is bad, since it employs biases as a base aspect.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, I said that bias is a natural phenomenon that is negative/bad for critical thinking.

    How many times do I need to say the same thing?

    negative/bad for critical thinking.

    bias is a natural phenomenon = bias is a neutral system in our cognition, it has not emotional value.

    negative/bad for critical thinking. = that this neutral and natural system is creating a negative and bad effect on the ability to conduct critical thinking.

    I've described this so many times that it is becoming a farce that you cannot understand this simple sentence. Seriously, it's like speaking to a child. Your entire argument is built upon you not understanding a simple sentence.

    Obviously, it's you who is not following the principles of logic. If the effects of a phenomenon are said to be negative, then that phenomenon cannot be said to be neutral in relation to those effects, without contradiction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Just stop it. A falling rock has no arbitrary value of "good" or "bad". If the rock is falling on you, then you can describe that effect on you as "bad" or "negative.

    This is a kindergarten level of interpreting things correctly.

    It is not a contradiction. If this is so hard for you to understand, no wonder you are so confused throughout everything you write. And the rest of your writing just hangs on this misinterpretation of simple things.

    Physics is a discipline, a field of study, therefore it is judged as good.Metaphysician Undercover

    What are you talking about? This is just delusional confused nonsense. I'm talking about the physics of gravity. You're simply unable to understand language it seems.

    You take gravity, which is not judged as being good or bad, and you compare it to a human property, "bias" which you do judge as being bad.Metaphysician Undercover

    And on and on and on you are misinterpreting the one simple sentence that your entire argument hangs on. I have never said bias is bad. Bias is neutral, and natural, just like gravity. Do you think your brain isn't part of reality? Just like gravity?

    Gravity causes a rock to fall, that is not "good" or "bad", that just is.

    Bias causes our cognition to focus our attention towards something, it helps us simplify our perception of reality in order to navigate through it. That is not "good" or "bad", that just is.

    Gravity can cause a rock to fall on you, that event can be described by you as being bad for you.

    The bias effect on our cognition helps us navigate reality, but when doing critical thinking it produces an unbalanced understanding of a concept due to how it steers our thought process. This effect on our ability to conduct critical thinking can be described as bad for it.

    If you are unable to understand the differences here, then you are ignoring simple language understanding.

    What you are arguing is to replace one bias (preference) "hamburgers" with another bias (preference) "salad"Metaphysician Undercover

    :rofl: No, a salad is objectively better for your physical health based on science, it is a fact, we know this and it is not up for debate, regardless of your inability to understand simple reality or language. That is the point. If the goal is to eat healthy, then your bias toward liking hamburgers can affect your ability to choose a salad instead of a hamburger. Bias affects your ability to reach a valid conclusion. But it is not bad for you if you try to navigate a forest away from the danger that you assess lurks in the bushes.

    The problem here, as I've already pointed out, is that you recognize bias as a "core", and therefore essential part of human cognition. This implies that it is a necessary aspect of all forms of thinkingMetaphysician Undercover

    No, no no no no no. You are constantly making slippery slope arguments in which you just continue from not understanding to a conclusion that follows that misunderstanding and it's getting tiresome.

    Bias is a core part of our thinking, it is essential for some uses of our cognition. Critical thinking is a method that we as humans have invented in order to think past our biases because biases aren't helpful when trying to assess complex concepts that do not relate to situations where bias has a positive function.

    Positive and negative in this context have to do with what bias is as a function. For fast navigation through reality, avoiding dangers; being able to go down a street and not constantly getting hit by other people, or cars; or being able to reach a destination on that street because your mind summarizes information in a way that helps you find what you are looking for. For this, bias has a positive effect on your function as a human with cognition.

    But when you are conducting critical thinking, that same bias process that helps you on the street will be negative on your ability to objectively reach conclusions that are valid outside of your subjective preferences (which is the entire point of critical thinking to reach past). Critical thinking requires you to not summarize information based on your unconscious preferences or pattern recognition systems. So for critical thinking to function, you need methods of bypassing biases in your conceptualization. It is the entire point of unbiased critical thinking.

    It sounds more like you don't know what bias actually is, or understand these concepts of psychology. You mix together arbitrary values with neutral systems, seemingly without understanding that just because we are humans doesn't mean that we don't function on neutral systems like the rest of nature.

    What you fail to understand is that all forms of so-called "critical thinking" proceed from biases, and these biases are essential and therefore good for that critical thinking.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is objectively wrong about what critical thinking is and you have so far not demonstrated any such "good biases".

    You simply don't know what you are talking about because I don't think you have read enough on any of these topics, but you continue to insist on interpretations based on such uneducated foundations.

    Interesting how nature, once 'the created', is now imbued with the power of creating itself.Wayfarer

    So far, nothing in science says it is impossible that nature formed on its own. If organic matter can form and lead to life, so could the initial form of matter and energy have formed from something else. The something else might even exist as an infinite loop of raw never-ending energy in which the probability of fluctuations is always a given, in which case the probability of something forming from it is always given. And as such, something is not forming from nothing, but from an absolute constant something and there's no such thing as nothing throughout all forms of existence.

    This is similar to the problem which I see with Christoffer's approach to bias. Christoffer sees that critical thinking can be very effective for detecting biases which inhere within logical arguments. But then Christoffer has the audacity to insist that the effect which biases have on critical thinking is necessarily negative, without recognizing that this is itself, just a bias.Metaphysician Undercover

    Just stop with your constant misunderstandings and misinterpretations of my argument. You don't understand what bias is in our cognition and you ignore that critical thinking in its very definition of the method is including You simply don't know what you're talking about and thus cannot interpret what I write based on such a faulty understanding of these topics. I have raised many objections and you've just moved goalposts and ignored the problems raised.

    This made me consider abiogenesis and natural selection from the notion of bias.
    I don't think it's logical to assign bias of any kind to such processes, even through it seems personally intuitive to me, to assign a positive bias to both because I would not be here if such happenstance had not occurred. I asked chat GPT, "Is natural selection biased?"
    universeness

    There are different types of bias definitions. We can use it as a statistical pull towards certain things like increased mass makes matter biased towards each other forming a celestial body.

    Bias is an inclination toward something, or a predisposition, partiality, prejudice, preference, or predilection.

    Or something like cognitive bias, which is the one that's negative for critical thinking.

    A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment.

    So, in abiogenesis or any form of physical process in physics, there are biases that function, by the definition of the word, to focus together matter so that it forms something else. Think of molecular structures that have a bias between their molecular bonds holding them together.

    Natural selection is also functioning as a form of bias. It has a bias toward what functions best in the environment and what needs the smallest deviations to function better. That's why we don't see wild strange and big mutations, but smaller changes that over hundreds of thousands or millions of years reshape the biosphere.

    Cognitive bias, however, is a cognitive system that helps us navigate through reality. It is the reason we don't get overwhelmed by our surroundings. It's part of our pattern recognition system which speeds up our ability to interpret our surroundings. This bias has formed to make us adaptive and cognitively fast at evaluating dangers and opportunities in nature, it's why we structure together a knowledge base of knowing that a part of a forest usually has more berries that are good for us and that certain parts of the savanna feature dangerous animals.

    So when we face new information, we always process it through our biases. In order for us to be able to conduct critical thinking, we need to actively notice the biases at play in our interpretation. If we prefer something, that's because we've learned through chemical processes like dopamine or serotonin that we had a good experience with it and we unconsciously form a bias towards that good experience. It's our internal Pavlov's dog, basically.

    This means that when we face that new information and we start to interpret it and if we are educated in methods of critical thinking, we actively spot our biases that unconsciously play mind tricks on our interpretation and analysis of that new information. We use it in order to not let our natural instincts come in the way of forming a valid conclusion. Just like we don't go around and have sex with everyone we meet or eat anything that could be food, we have overcome our natural instincts through critical thinking.

    That this process of critical thinking is not a common practice in everyday life in our modern culture is precisely the argument I've been making in this thread. It is just in these past 100 to 150 years that we've been discovering just how problematic bias is on our ability to be rational beings. So it's harder for us to make critical thinking a common practice, compared to eating food at a table and not screwing everything that could make us experience pleasure. With those things, we have nurtured our instincts to function better as a society, and my argument is that so too can we do with critical thinking. People just don't seem to fully understand the psychology of bias on a broader scale yet. And yet we've had things like critical thinking for a long time... it is just now that we know more about why it functions so well.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    Is not all of our society based on us taming the animal nature of our basic psychology? Haven't we all introduced cultural restrictions so as to function past our instincts and desires in order to overcome the horrors of nature?Christoffer

    No, not at all, broadly speaking we've organized and cooperated essentially in order to gain power (by conquest and eliminating competitors). Of course, that power is not distributed evenly so it's hard to claim that everyone has always been onboard with the basic plan. Religion has proven handy for the endeavor by having the power to bind tightly-knit groups of people through shared narratives, values, and purpose across wide regions.

    We, of course, do this better or worse depending on the individual, but ascribing to a higher level of self-control does not equal me trying to be something that I'm not, I'm trying to achieve more control than just natural apathy since it is something I can actually achieve through self-control.

    You wrote "everything in modern life is a forced behavior to act against basic instincts of our animal self". Not sure how you distinguish what is animal and what is... human? but in any case, the animal is there and will always be there.
  • Christoffer
    1.9k
    No, not at all, broadly speaking we've organized and cooperated essentially in order to gain power (by conquest and eliminating competitors). Of course, that power is not distributed evenly so it's hard to claim that everyone has always been onboard with the basic plan. Religion has proven handy for the endeavor by having the power to bind tightly-knit groups of people through shared narratives, values, and purpose across wide regions.praxis

    That's just the narrative of the elites. Society is more than that, it is all people included. Do you see many killings on your street? Fights for money? Do you see people getting it on at the supermarket? We have cultural restrictions for a society that people follow and most of them without them really being a written law. People act today in accordance with societal norms and those norms are partly formed by us taming the basic instincts and drives we have deep down.

    I wouldn't say anything of that comes from religion or such power structures, not in anthropological looks at history. People have always formed society before religions formed. Groups gathering larger groups, initiating trade, collaborations etc. Those came before a collective of village stories formed larger religions that then took power. Society forms out of a group's need to function as a collective and such collaboration requires a suppression of the individual's desires and subjective will, not by force but by their own will to be part of the group.

    You wrote "everything in modern life is a forced behavior to act against basic instincts of our animal self". Not sure how you distinguish what is animal and what is... human? but in any case, the animal is there and will always be there.praxis

    Maybe a poor choice of words, by animal I simply mean acting on just our instincts and desires, like apes before we formed culture and social groups. The animal is always there, yes, but we have suppressed it so much that we don't nurture our children into anything other than that suppressed state. Otherwise, we wouldn't have society as it functions today. And looking at how many actually break these cultural agreements in society, I'd say we're barely able to. We even have fiction where people can live out their fantasies of being the bad person, breaking all norms. People like characters like Walter White in Breaking Bad because he cuts through the mundane suppressed norms.

    In my opinion, being able to act against my own instincts and desires, my pure animal self is part of me reaching a little higher as a human. I aspire to think more clearly than my biological state wants to allow me, and more advanced than my nurtured programming has formed me. It doesn't mean I'm no longer an animal, only that I'm not held back by biological systems that I don't really need to follow.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    That's just the narrative of the elites.Christoffer

    Elites don't want it known how people are manipulated.

    Do you see many killings on your street?Christoffer

    No, but it's estimated that there are over a thousand homicides daily across the globe.

    Fights for money?

    About two months ago someone stole my wallet from the car parked outside. Not sure if I would have bothered to fight them for it.

    People act today in accordance with societal norms and those norms are partly formed by us taming the basic instincts and drives we have deep down.Christoffer

    For just one example, industrial food producers exploit our 'basic instincts and drives' for profit, dishing out unhealthy foods that lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. People eat it up anyway. This has been going on since the beginning of civilization and is only getting worse as time goes on. This is completely normal. It is also completely irrational.

    Society forms out of a group's need to function as a collective and such collaboration requires a suppression of the individual's desires and subjective will, not by force but by their own will to be part of the group.Christoffer

    Actually, there's evidence that states were only initially successful in forming where people could not easily escape, because of geography or other local conditions. A lifestyle of agricultural work, disease, and war wasn't so attractive, as one might imagine.

    In my opinion, being able to act against my own instincts and desires, my pure animal self is part of me reaching a little higher as a human.Christoffer

    I just don't get the dichotomy. It's also odd because animals aren't capable of heinous acts that humans knowingly perform every day.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    You still don't seem to understand the difference between two different values and two arbitrary emotional different valuesChristoffer

    This is a false distinction. All values are derived from subjects, therefore fundamentally subjective. There is no base difference here, that's why they are both called "values". Quantitative values, like 2, 4, 6, are no different in principle from moral values. The fact that quantitative values have a wider range of acceptability than most moral values is not sufficient to warrant a separate category. What would be arbitrary would be any proposed to principle of separation.

    Just stop it. A falling rock has no arbitrary value of "good" or "bad". If the rock is falling on you, then you can describe that effect on you as "bad" or "negative.Christoffer

    Christoffer, nothing has any inherent value of good or bad, these are all judgements that we make. So this is irrelevant. What is relevant is that to judge something as neutral, and then also judge it as bad, is to contradict yourself.

    I think I see the root of our misunderstanding, it is in the difference between the way that we each use the word "neutral". There is ambiguity here, and ambiguity supports equivocation, so I'm going to propose a way to avoid the ambiguity with a good clean definition of "neutral".

    Let me explain the two different ways "neutral" seems to be being used. In the first sense, "neutral" is a judgement which implies that the thing judged, as neutral, can be neither good nor bad. In the second sense, the thing judged as "neutral" might be either good or bad, depending on the situation, or the person making the judgement, or something like that. For example, doing what you are told to do is sometimes bad, and sometimes good, so it's "neutral" in the second sense of potentially either good or bad, but not neutral in the first sense of neither good nor bad.

    So to take your example of gravity, if we call it "neutral" in the first sense, then in whatever situation we find it, we say that it is neither good nor bad. And if gravity causes a rock to fall on your head, or some other bad thing to occur, we don't blame the rock falling as being bad, nor gravity as being bad, we might blame the person who set up the situation as bad, or even you yourself as being bad for getting yourself into that situation where you got hit on the head.

    If gravity is "neutral" in the second sense though, we allow that gravity itself is either good or bad, depending on the judgement. Then when gravity causes the rock to fall on your head, you might say that gravity was bad in this situation, because the rock falling was bad, yet your enemy might say that gravity was good in this situation, because the rock falling was good..

    Further, we can apply this distinction between the two senses of "neutral" to our judgements concerning bias. In the first sense of the word, bias is always neither bad nor good, no matter what the situation is. It is the type of thing which cannot be judged as bad or good. In the second sense of "neutral", we'd say that bias is sometimes good and sometimes bad, depending on the situation, and depending on the mode of judgement.

    What I propose is that we restrict "neutral" to the first sense, as the true sense of neutral, meaning neither bad nor good, and always fulfilling that condition. The other sense, is a flimsy sense, and we ought not use "neutral" here, but some other words. We could say for example that whether the thing is bad or good is unclear, or contingent on context or other factors, or simply not objective. But this is not to say that the thing is "neutral", if we remove the ambiguity from "neutral", and restrict the definition.

    Now, I'd like you to make a choice. What is the nature of "bias" in your mind? Is it "neutral" in the first sense, such that we can never judge bias as bad or good? We'd have to judge the actions of the person using the bias, as bad or good, but the bias itself would be truly neutral. We would never blame the bias, just like we would never blame gravity, we would blame the actions of the people involved with the biases instead Or do you think that bias is the type of thing which could be either bad or good, the judgement being contingent on context. This would mean that the same bias might be good in some situations but bad in other situations. And it might even be the case that the one bias, in one situation, might be good from one person's perspective, and bad from another's.

    I want you to give proper consideration to these two possibilities, and choose what you truly believe. Then, I think we can make some progress in this discussion, by adhering to whatever characterization of "bias" you choose.


    A falling rock in itself is not "bad", there's no such description of reality outside your emotional interpretation of it.Christoffer

    So this would be an example of the first sense, what I called the true sense of neutral. If we say a falling rock is neither good nor bad, and it could never be bad or good, no matter what it happens to do in this act, and so we have a true neutrality.

    The bias effect on our cognition helps us navigate reality, but when doing critical thinking it produces an unbalanced understanding of a concept due to how it steers our thought process. This effect on our ability to conduct critical thinking can be described as bad for it.Christoffer

    This is an example of the second sense of "neutral", the flimsy sense. You are saying that bias sometimes has a good effect, and some times a bad effect. In your gravity example, this would be like saying gravity caused something bad, when the rock fell on your head, or your enemy would say that it caused something good. So you'd be saying that the effect of gravity, the rock falling is not truly neutral (#1), but neutral in the flimsy sense (#2), because sometimes the rock falling (or what the bias causes) is judged as good and sometimes it's judged as bad.

    Positive and negative in this context have to do with what bias is as a function. For fast navigation through reality, avoiding dangers; being able to go down a street and not constantly getting hit by other people, or cars; or being able to reach a destination on that street because your mind summarizes information in a way that helps you find what you are looking for. For this, bias has a positive effect on your function as a human with cognition.

    But when you are conducting critical thinking, that same bias process that helps you on the street will be negative on your ability to objectively reach conclusions that are valid outside of your subjective preferences (which is the entire point of critical thinking to reach past). Critical thinking requires you to not summarize information based on your unconscious preferences or pattern recognition systems. So for critical thinking to function, you need methods of bypassing biases in your conceptualization. It is the entire point of unbiased critical thinking.
    Christoffer

    And again, this is the flimsy sense (#2). You have now replaced "good" and "bad" with "positive" and "negative", but that makes no difference. If the effect of gravity (the rock falling) is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, then we cannot say that the gravity is truly neutral (#1) because whether gravity is good or bad in specific instances is contingent on how we judge its effects as good or bad. If gravity is truly neutral (#1) then the rock falling is always neither good nor bad, and only a person's actions relative to this event are judged as good or bad.

    So, think about it please Christoffer, and let me know in which of these two senses do you think bias is neutral, the true sense, or the flimsy sense. I believe that this discussion is pointless unless you provide me with some clarity on this. Then we can proceed to look at what bias is, from that clarified perspective. Either bias is a truly neutral thing, neither bad nor good, like we might commonly say of gravity, and only the activities of human beings relative to the bias can be judged as bad or good, or bias is a type of thing, which in some situations is good, and others bad, like doing what you are told to do.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    . This goes back to the discussion about the erosion of the idea of an animating cosmic purpose.Wayfarer

    Many different cosmic purposes have been imagined; they are as diverse as the cultures that have imagined them; they each tell different stories.

    Say there is a cosmic purpose; how could we ever discover it; then all of humanity decide what it is and agree?

    If that would be impossible then what use to a global humanity beyond being perhaps interesting fictions could the diverse stories that are recorded or that might still exist in certain enclaves be?
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    Say there is a cosmic purpose; how could we ever discover it;Janus

    By doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing, I would hope.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    You seem to be putting the cart before the horse; how could we be doing "what we are supposed to" if that should be according to a cosmic purpose no one seems to be able to discover and reveal to the satisfaction of all reasonable people?
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    It might be something engrained in life. It might be like 'fulfilling your destiny' or carrying out the role you have in the grand scheme, even if it appears insignificant to others.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Right, we all follow our instincts or intuitions and in some cases our intellects if what to do is a concern at all for us.

    Personally I remain unconvinced that there is a grand scheme, but I think that how to live is an important issue, and that any one who cares about it just has to muddle through and hope for the best.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Two questions I can ask myself about cosmic purpose:

    1. Is it possible that there is no cosmic purpose?
    2. Would life be worth living, or would human existence have value, if there were no cosmic purpose?

    I answer yes to both. I think it follows that there wouldn't be much point in arguing for a cosmic purpose even if I personally felt there was one, since I would still admit that I could be wrong. Unless I wanted to advocate a myth, i.e., a noble lie.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    I had in mind something like dharma - which is at once ‘purpose’, ‘law’ and ‘duty’. If described as ‘cosmic’, it is on the basis that human beings are microcosms - the universe in miniature. So individuals realising their purpose - if they do it truly, in accordance with moral principles - just is a way in which the cosmos realises its purpose.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    "Cosmic purpose?"

    If there is one, I think it's an inexorable and ubiquitous process like gravity: whether or not we "know" it, we cannot not fulfill this "purpose" because we are infinitesmal, ephemeral constituents of the cosmos. As the cosmos goes, so we go necessarily. :point:
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    I had in mind something like dharma - which is at once ‘purpose’, ‘law’ and ‘duty’. If described as ‘cosmic’, it is on the basis that human beings are microcosms - the universe in miniature. So individuals realising their purpose - if they do it truly, in accordance with moral principles - just is a way in which the cosmos realises its purpose.Wayfarer

    Well, I can certainly see the attraction.
  • Christoffer
    1.9k
    Elites don't want it known how people are manipulated.praxis

    Most of us who see the mechanics of capitalism already know how. It's the brilliant system of making slaves that want to be slaves. Hijack their desires, manipulate their needs, build a dream. Then send them an invoice and accumulate wealth until you have control over the market and so much market power that politicians come to you rather than the other way around.

    Regardless of that, how do you treat your neighbors? The point is, society is also how we treat each other, and even if I'm Baudrillardian in my view of society holistically, not all interactions are purely controlled, many are a fundament to society in the way we do simple interactions.

    For just one example, industrial food producers exploit our 'basic instincts and drives' for profit, dishing out unhealthy foods that lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. People eat it up anyway. This has been going on since the beginning of civilization and is only getting worse as time goes on. This is completely normal. It is also completely irrational.praxis

    That's just capitalism and the market manipulating and hijacking people's sense of reality. I'm not talking about the market, I'm talking about how people act towards each other on a day-to-day basis, interactions with eye contact. We manage to suppress ourselves to be better people toward others. If that weren't true, then you are just as bad as any other who exploits people, you are then the same as the ones you criticize. But I hope you are not, and that's my point. Just because some exploit and use people for their own ends doesn't mean that all are doing it. Some may be gullible enough to be controlled, but some aren't.

    Actually, there's evidence that states were only initially successful in forming where people could not easily escape, because of geography or other local conditions. A lifestyle of agricultural work, disease, and war wasn't so attractive, as one might imagine.praxis

    Rome didn't, it formed out of trade. A hill on which all gathered to trade grew larger and larger and then a village formed around the market and the village grew to the city of Rome. In this place, if people didn't suppress their inner desires and instincts, they wouldn't have grown. They grew on the untold social contract of civilized behavior. People didn't follow it because of others in power oppressing them or under threat of violence. That came much later. They followed it because they understood the benefits for everyone.

    I just don't get the dichotomy. It's also odd because animals aren't capable of heinous acts that humans knowingly perform every day.praxis

    Dolphins rape other fish as a form of masturbation. Higher cognitive functions seem to make an animal able to plan advanced forms of searches for desires and pleasure. It simply looks like there's a need for even higher cognitive abilities in order to suppress the advanced forms of heinous acts that are mostly found in higher cognitive animals. The kind of heinous acts you speak of are mostly seen among humans who are acting purely on their desires and emotions. Essentially, even highly intelligent people can act on pure animal drives. Some even have the funding to bypass social contracts by owning the rules of society, so they just surrender to their instincts and drives because they're untouchable and are able to. But even if they are highly intelligent, they're not the high level of cognition that I'm speaking of.

    If humanity wants to view themselves as in control over their own nature, transcending past our pure animal selves, then that requires self-control and suppression of our animal desires to a higher point than people are currently reaching for. I think I'm talking about a form of stoicism that isn't really stoicism in the way of stepping back from emotion. I think what I'm aiming for is being able to have a high range of emotions that never overwhelm control. Through understanding them with great insight and accepting them and knowing how these emotions act on your thinking, it is possible to suppress them when the thinking process requires higher complexity.

    The point being, if I can act according to a social contract through self-control with the intent of having interactions that create a beneficial atmosphere in a group, then I should be able to step up the game and act on more self-control in thinking about complex concepts through bypassing my biological shortcomings in cognition. The key is high-level introspection.

    This is a false distinction. All values are derived from subjects, therefore fundamentally subjective. There is no base difference here, that's why they are both called "values". Quantitative values, like 2, 4, 6, are no different in principle from moral values. The fact that quantitative values have a wider range of acceptability than most moral values is not sufficient to warrant a separate category. What would be arbitrary would be any proposed to principle of separation.Metaphysician Undercover

    This is confused nonsense. Arbitrary values of "good" and "bad" are not the same as mathematical values. If you think that, then you should be able to apply this to evaluating moral acts in terms of "good" or "bad", but you can't. Otherwise, we would have solved all questions in moral philosophy through math. Maybe you don't know what "arbitrary values" mean or maybe you just play out a deep confirmation bias, which would be ironic.

    nothing has any inherent value of good or bad, these are all judgements that we make. So this is irrelevant. What is relevant is that to judge something as neutral, and then also judge it as bad, is to contradict yourself.Metaphysician Undercover

    You still don't understand the difference between a neutral thing and how a neutral thing can generate bad outcomes in specific circumstances. Even when I try to explain it like if I did so to a child, you still just continue your confirmation bias on this topic. I've said enough, you simply just don't care and always just retreat back to your faulty interpretation and write out from that. That is textbook confirmation bias and you seem unable to understand this even when I'm pointing at it with thousands of arrows.

    So this would be an example of the first sense, what I called the true sense of neutral. If we say a falling rock is neither good nor bad, and it could never be bad or good, no matter what it happens to do in this act, and so we have a true neutrality.Metaphysician Undercover

    A rock falling on you is not neutral for your well-being. The rock falling is neutral, the rock falling ON YOU is the specific case in which it is bad FOR YOU. The same goes for bias and critical thinking. Bias is neutral. But bias IN CRITICAL THINKING is bad FOR CRITICAL THINKING.

    You just can't seem to understand that linguistic difference or your confirmation bias is too strong for you to see past this blindness.

    If the effect of gravity (the rock falling) is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, then we cannot say that the gravity is truly neutral (#1) because whether gravity is good or bad in specific instances is contingent on how we judge its effects as good or bad. If gravity is truly neutral (#1) then the rock falling is always neither good nor bad, and only a person's actions relative to this event are judged as good or bad.Metaphysician Undercover

    Further confused nonsense. This is about the difference between human arbitrary values and non-human values of something. Because you try to apply arbitrary human values to something that has none.

    The force of gravity is neutral because it does not have any arbitrary human values of "good" or "bad". A rock falling because of gravity does also not have any arbitrary human values of "good" or "bad".
    The event of a rock falling on you does in itself not have any arbitrary human values of "good" or "bad".

    However... and here is the difference that you never seem to understand:

    A rock falling ON YOU, means that your well-being, your emotions, and your entity as a human being has become part of an event and IN THIS CONTEXT, the rock falling on you is "bad" for you because the arbitrary value is applicable for the human involved.

    A tree falling in the woods that no one knows about is neutral in terms of human values of "good" and "bad". A tree falling on you is bad for you.

    Hot coffee is a neutral state of physics for that liquid. It is not neutral in terms of equilibrium in the math equations of its physics... butit is neutral in comparison to human values of it. No human can objectively say that this state of physics for the coffee is objectively "good" or "bad" because there are no such arbitrary values that can objectively be describing the fact that it is hot. You cannot say that hot coffee in terms of physics is "good" or "bad", because those values are based on human emotions, subjective judgments that cannot be objective.

    We can however conclude that if you burn your tongue on that hot coffee, that level of heat was bad for your tongue, for you. That you mix together the pure physical description of hot coffee with how you would react if you burned yourself on it is why you are confused.

    You don't seem to understand how language works here. Or you don't understand the difference between a neutral phenomenon and how humans use values of "good" and "bad". We should just hope that you don't stand under a falling rock like a deer in headlights just because you cannot comprehend the difference between a falling rock being neutral in itself and bad for you if it falls specifically on you.

    Two questions I can ask myself about cosmic purpose:

    1. Is it possible that there is no cosmic purpose?
    2. Would life be worth living, or would human existence have value, if there were no cosmic purpose?

    I answer yes to both. I think it follows that there wouldn't be much point in arguing for a cosmic purpose even if I personally felt there was one, since I would still admit that I could be wrong. Unless I wanted to advocate a myth, i.e., a noble lie.
    Jamal

    Yes to both. My personal take on applying some grand purpose to everything is that it is an act of desperation. It's a cognitive fight or flight mechanism in front of the fact that there isn't any grand meaning or purpose because there are zero hints at any of it anywhere other than in people's pattern-seeking minds' delusionary dreaming-up fantasies wherever they can find a pattern confirming their beliefs. Essentially confirmation bias for existential needs.

    But why care about there being some meaning or purpose? Why is that important? I have never understood why there has to be something grander beyond what already is in order for things to have a sense of meaning.

    Even just with basic nature, even though concepts like abiogenesis and everything we know about the universe and physics, even just with the sense of being something that is capable of feeling and experiencing this reality is in of itself a grand wonder. Why can't people just accept things for what they seemingly are and be in awe of such grandness?

    Many who lose their faith and religion seem to falsely believe that atheism means that everything becomes pointless. Many go into depression because of it. But I think all of that is just a form of religious propaganda. There are such wonders in just accepting things as they are and no one seems to even talk in those terms anywhere.

    It is also risky to focus the mind's eye on some grand purpose or meaning beyond everything because it loses track of the ball. It makes people apathetic about caring about the things that are right in front of them. Like trying to solve the problems in this world that threaten this world and the well-being of its inhabitants. If people stopped dreaming about some grander purpose, we might just find that we have a purpose in caring for what we can care for, for the sake of us and the world we live in.
  • praxis
    6.2k
    The point being, if I can act according to a social contract through self-control with the intent of having interactions that create a beneficial atmosphere in a group, then I should be able to step up the game and act on more self-control in thinking about complex concepts through bypassing my biological shortcomings in cognition. The key is high-level introspection.Christoffer

    I'm curious about what the ultimate goal is. Is it being as clear-headed and rational as possible or is it about well-being?
  • universeness
    6.3k
    There are such wonders in just accepting things as they are and no one seems to even talk in those terms anywhere.

    It is also risky to focus the mind's eye on some grand purpose or meaning beyond everything because it loses track of the ball. It makes people apathetic about caring about the things that are right in front of them. Like trying to solve the problems in this world that threaten this world and the well-being of its inhabitants. If people stopped dreaming about some grander purpose, we might just find that we have a purpose in caring for what we can care for, for the sake of us and the world we live in.
    Christoffer

    I am forever harping on about the need for each of us to OWN our OWN notions of awe and wonderment and stop crediting theistic or theosophist sources for GIFTING us such.

    Many scientists, free thinkers, cooperative people who work with each other in benevolent common cause, now, and in the past have demonstrated, almost every day of their lives, care for life outside of their own life and care for the world we live in. But for me, I love the idea of a 'grand purpose,' but I view it as a 'totality' of all the 'purpose' that lifeforms such as humans generate.
    WE create purpose and meaning and WE are OF the universe.

    Carl Sagan said so many great quotes about the idea of human purpose and potential.

    "I don't want to believe I want to know!"
    "No such thing as a stupid question"
    "We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."
    "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."
    "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."
    "The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous."
    "For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
    "The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent."
    "The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition."
    "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena."
    "We embarked on our journey to the stars with a question first framed in the childhood of our species and in each generation asked anew with undiminished wonder: What are the stars? Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars"

    What's wrong with suggesting that such 'encouragements,' from the legacy of folks like Carl are MY personal 'grand purpose?' It need not, mean that I am forever deserving of the 'you are a dreamer' and 'you need to take off your romantic goggles and see the REAL world, for the first time.'
    Holding on to my notion of 'grand purpose' does not mean I don't constantly scream at how horrible life can be for soooooooo many. I can only try my best to be part of the solution!
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    So, is a persons claim that they are a religious philosopher, the inevitable beginning of losing/rationalising away, their [own] religion?
    — universeness

    Maybe. I think it's more likely, however, that a "religious philosopher" is an apologetic critic of naturalism, irreligion and/or religions (or sects) other than her own.


    I've spent the past 15 years as a regular atheist poster on William Lane Craig's "Reasonable Faith" forum. (17k posts)

    In my experience theists are more apt to use philosophy to maintain their own religious beliefs and the religious beliefs of others than they are to get themselves out of the psychological trap of their religion via philosophy. (Although it can be hard to gauge, since I don't know how many might have deconverted after they stopped participating on that forum and I know of a couple who stopped posting on the forum for a long time, and when they returned they were agnostics or atheists.)

    In any case, while I would say philosophy played a significant role in me personally losing my religion, I'm skeptical towards the idea that philosophy plays more of a role in undermining religious belief than it does in sustaining religious beliefs.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    :up:

    For the religious, IME, philosophy is a rope around their necks more often than a way to pull themselves out of themselves. Thinking for oneself, like courage, is much much harder for most than ritualized make-believe (i.e. false hope).
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    In any case, while I would say philosophy played a significant role in me personally losing my religion, I'm skeptical towards the idea that philosophy plays more of a role in undermining religious belief than it does in sustaining religious beliefs.wonderer1

    Maybe this is because most philosophy is bad philosophy.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Maybe this is because most philosophy is bad philosophy.Jamal

    Nice idea for a thread...
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Maybe this is because most philosophy is bad philosophy.


    Sturgeon's law does seem applicable.
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    Go for it!Jamal

    I don't know enough about the subject to make that case.
  • Jamal
    9.2k
    Not sure I do either.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k
    You still don't understand the difference between a neutral thing and how a neutral thing can generate bad outcomes in specific circumstances. Even when I try to explain it like if I did so to a child, you still just continue your confirmation bias on this topic..Christoffer

    Right, I still do not understand, because as I've told you, your attempts to explain are incoherent. Unlike a child though, I am quite able to demonstrate the incoherency of those attempts.

    Now, I've laid out very clearly the ambiguity of your use of "neutral", and the resulting equivocation in your attempts to explain your usage. This equivocation is what allows you to persist in pretending that what you say makes sense.

    The rock falling is neutral, the rock falling ON YOU is the specific case in which it is bad FOR YOU.Christoffer

    Obviously, if you judge the rock falling on you as bad for you, then you cannot without contradiction judge the rock falling as neutral. You have judged it as bad for you. I mean come on Christoffer, get over this bullshit contradiction and get on with something reasonable.

    I made a proposal last post to resolve the ambiguity in your use of "neutral" so that you can rid yourself of the consequential fallacious equivocation. Are you prepared to narrow your use of "neutral"? Does neutral mean that the subject which "neutral" is predicated of, is neither good nor bad, or does it mean that the subject might be either good or bad depending on the circumstantial specifics?

    By this passage here, you appear to choose the latter, the rock falling is either good or bad, depending on the specific case. Do you agree, and accept this as your choice for use of "neutral". This would mean that the same bias might be good in some situations, like helpful in rapid decision making, but it might be bad in the case of critical thinking. Do you agree with this? And do you also agree that the same bias might be bad for one person, yet good for another person, like the rock falling on your head is bad for you, but good for your enemy?

    This is about the difference between human arbitrary values and non-human values of something.Christoffer

    "Non-human values"? What are you talking about? "Value" is the worth, or desirability of something. By "non-human values" are you referring to the desirability of something to another type of animal, or to God or something like that?

    A rock falling ON YOU, means that your well-being, your emotions, and your entity as a human being has become part of an event and IN THIS CONTEXT, the rock falling on you is "bad" for you because the arbitrary value is applicable for the human involved.Christoffer

    You are not making any sense Christoffer. What is your proposed difference between "human arbitrary values", and "the arbitrary value is applicable for the human"? First you say that the falling rock has no human arbitrary value. Then you say that it does have arbitrary value in relation to the human involved. What I see is that you are saying it does not have arbitrary value, yet it does have arbitrary value. That is contradiction.

    Please address the issue of my last post Christoffer, and answer my question so we can rid ourselves of the ambiguity in relation to the word "neutral". If you do not, I will assume that your refusal to address this matter of ambiguity is an indication that equivocation is your intent.
  • Christoffer
    1.9k
    attempts to explain are incoherent.Metaphysician Undercover

    No, they're not, they are many different attempts to explain since you never understand simple language semantics.

    Obviously, if you judge the rock falling on you as bad for you, then you cannot without contradiction judge the rock falling as neutral.Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes I can, a rock falling has no human value in itself. The event of it falling is not the same as the event of it falling on you.

    A car traveling on a road and then hitting you is bad. But according to your nonsense logic, that means a car traveling on the road is bad as well.

    Pouring boiling water on your hand is bad. But according to your nonsense logic, that means pouring boiling water is bad as well.

    A rock falling on you is bad. But according to you nonsense logic, that means a rock falling is bad as well.

    I can on and on with such examples of simple english descriptions of events and show how something in different context are either neutral or bad. But it doesn't seem to matter since you simply just don't understand these simple basics. And understanding these basic terminologies is the most basic essential requirement for understanding what I wrote. Since you don't understand it you structure long slippery slope arguments out of this total misunderstanding of these basics. Which means there's no point in going further in this discussion.

    The simple point you don't understand, maybe because you simply don't know what bias actually is and refuse to research on the matter, is that bias in of itself is a neutral function of human cognition. But in the context of critical thinking, it is bad for any valid conclusions out of that process. This simple fact is a known fact, it's within the definition of the purpose of critical thinking, it's part of the basics of what critical thinking is all about. But you are just stubbornly trying to make your faulty arguments conclusions true that critical thinking includes "good" and "bad" biases, which is simply not correct. It is simply a wrong interpretation of what critical thinking is about. If you are unable to understand this, then you are in fact just a perfect example of what I'm talking about, the inability to adjust and adapt thinking when faced with new facts. You can look up these facts yourself, but I doubt you will do it or you will simple cherry pick out of confirmation bias.

    This is why I focus so much on the importance of mitigating and fighting bias in philosophy because the knowledge of what bias is seems to be so low in the world that science magazines constantly put out articles about how it affects our ability and yet no one seem to know what it is or how it actually functions and affects critical thinking.

    For some it seems to just be a word about some error in arguments, but it is a fundamental part of our cognition that, without awareness of how it functions, renders the ability to do critical thinking impossible.

    Your interpretation of bias is plain wrong. It is like arguing that our visual cortex is working on either "good" or "bad" seeing, which is just nonsense.
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