• Vaskane
    643
    Yes, one too many versions of the same sentence clouding my head. I was deciding on you're not opposed vs you're unopposed. Regardless, my point still stands.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Biological determinism?180 Proof

    Is a fact of life. Its a shame that there are entire political discourses that think biology is not a determining factor in almost all behaviour, or that mentioning it is somehow counter-justice. The wiley attempt to dismiss biology as a technique for dismissing views is utterly absurd. Very hard to take seriously people who think that social hierarchies are "forceful" in nature.

    That didn't do anything for my question, unfortunately. Just illustrated that excess is in fact, excess. I wanted to know if the general thought here was that hierarchy is artificially instantiated.
  • unenlightened
    8.7k
    I wanted to know if the general thought here was that hierarchy is artificially instantiated.AmadeusD

    No the thought was more particular than that. Hierarchies are naturally occurring in many species, with nothing I can see of artifice or artificiality. That is uncontroversial. But they only happen in socially cooperating species. That sometimes gets neglected.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Fair enough - I guess i was Socratizing an enquiry as to why it appears a large number of posters here take HUmans to be somehow out of evolutionary matrix and just off on their own making up their impulses and desires as they go to service greed and bigotry.

    I assumed no one would own that, despite it being easily read into the posts around the topic. I agree with you, though. Social animals, such as primates, live in male-dominated hierarchies ;)
  • unenlightened
    8.7k
    Horses live in harems with a dominant male that kills all the male foals until he becomes too weak. But humans can and do make conscious choices and arrive at wildly diverging arrangements of their societies. I'd prefer you didn't imply I hold opinions that I don't hold. Patriarchy is more common than matriarchy in humans but it is not universal, and therefore not biologically determined.
  • Apustimelogist
    309
    Is a fact of life.AmadeusD

    Biology trivially determines behavior in the way that physics does. All our behaviours are the output of biological processes, scaffolded on processes of fundamental physics.

    Yes, but what does it mean in the context of a political or social topic like under this thread? Almost nothing imo. What is nature, what is biology... its just whatever happens to happen.

    When you take quotes like this:

    ... the biology of males [ ... ] Simply put, the necessity for governors, administrators, military, and more for a society to function calls upon the male biology of a hierarchical structure. The female biology of gathering and caring for children [ ... ] gender roles arise naturally ... and women are meant to be the homemakers and child caretakers, while men are meant to be the organizers [ ... ] Most women are simply not capable, by biologyButyDude

    With uses of words like 'meant' or 'necessity' in these quotes, I don't see them as justifiable. They assume or presume these things function in some preferrable way or even perfect way in the first place and could not be done in any other way. Moreover, they don't consider that when you get deviations from the norm, then surely those deviations or changes are too just natural, because its just the consequence of biology in exactly the same way - because biology is what caused them. So how can you use biology as a foundation for discussions about the social or political? You cannot. You can have arguments based on merit, but if certain merits happen to - or happen to not - be general common occurrence in nature, that should not be the point at all. Thats just completely incidental.

    Arguing the benefits of social norms or hierarchies should have nothing to do with biology. Yes, social hierarchies tend to happen in various ways and this is a consequence of biology in the trivial sense that any organism behavior must be an output of biology.

    But this is the interest of the biologist, not the concern of a politician.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    Biological determinism?
    — 180 Proof

    Is a fact of life.
    AmadeusD
    Evidence (i.e. a reputable scientific source)?
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    humans can and do make conscious choices and arrive at wildly diverging arrangements of their societiesunenlightened

    I disagree, and it seems pretty clear that almost every society shares some similar characteristics - even if you're going to take it by stages. Nomadism -> Tribal living-->larger societies->networks. We move in that direction until forced off the path. The conscious choices being subsequent to self-awareness isn't going to defeat a biological basis for whatever impulse is being over-ridden. I'm also not claiming these are the better attributes, but the biologically determined ones.

    but it is not universal, and therefore not biologically determined.unenlightened

    Rejecting this as the C does not follow P for any reason. Social hierarchies dominated by males are universal unless that conscious choice has been made. This is the reason we can infer that its biologically determined. It takes self-awareness to notice it and overcome it. We can also do that with eating, so the logic doesn't hold.

    I don't appreciate people who either don't get jokes, or reject their previous statements. So, meh.

    What? A "reputable scientific source"? Are you aware of biology?

    Look at your body's functions, 180. Look at them. It requires nothing more than this simple act of non-rejection of one's reality to determine that biology is determining of many, many facets of your life and inescapably so. Wanting a study for that is ridiculous and beneath you.

    If, on the other hand, you want to narrow it to dominance hierarchies and their explanation, it's in it's infancy and so that wouldn't be available at this time, though it seems clear to researchers that a genetic component to dominance hierarchies in humans is worth pursing - Largely because of the total silliness of pretending humans are somehow not going to be highly influenced by the 98% of DNA we inherit from species with inarguably biologically determined dominance hierarchies (higher primates). However, I did not claim that. I merely rejected your abjectly stupid claim that biological determinism is somehow worthy of derision as a concept in humans. Risible.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Biology trivially determines behavior in the way that physics does.Apustimelogist

    Trivially? I can't get on that train, unfortunately.

    Yes, but what does it mean in the context of a political or social topic like under this thread?Apustimelogist

    Well, its the fundamental question we need to asnwer before building policy, so its actually extremely important here. Particularly as people do suffer from policies that are ill-fitting for their reality (assuming a higher importance of bio determinism than being painted here).

    With uses of words like 'meant' or 'necessity' in these quotes, I don't see them as justifiable.Apustimelogist

    I agree, as it's a choice (noted by unenlightened above). But that says nothing about hte biological basis for the impulse which the choice has to be made around. People group in very predictable ways cross-culturally.

    They assume or presume these things function in some preferrable way or even perfect way in the first place and could not be done in any other way.Apustimelogist

    Yes, and that is silly, I agree.
    Arguing the benefits of social norms or hierarchies should have nothing to do with biologyApustimelogist

    I think this is highly misguided and is a symptom of exactly why politics is such an absolute shit show. No one wants to accept reality and work from there. Its all about ideals.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    :ok: Gotcha. So you cannot cite a single reputable scientific source to warrant acceptance of 'biological determinism of patriarchical hierarchies'.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Hi 180,

    Am very over pretending you deserve politeness.

    Either you cannot read, or you're the most obtuse, dishonest person on this forum. Pretending to quote me in such a patently dishonest way is, apparently not beneath you, and absolutely fits with your character.

    If, on the other hand, you want to narrow it to dominance hierarchies and their explanationAmadeusD

    However, I did not claim that. I merely rejected your abjectly stupid claim that biological determinism is somehow worthy of derision as a concept in humans. Risible.AmadeusD

    So, again.. risible. Going to be really hard to take someone who chooses to either not read, or lie about another's posts very seriously. Particularly one who is afraid of biology. Have fun out there pretending.
  • ButyDude
    45
    @Banno

    I have a proposition for a clean and fair argument.

    I propose the topic “To what extent do differences in biological gender affect society’s hierarchical structures, and what is the reason for biology’s effects on those power structures?”

    Each of us will write two posts.

    The first post will consist of an opening statement (3 sentences max), an argument paragraph discussing the extent (7 sentences max), and an explanation of the reason for it (5 sentences max) citing a tertiary source.

    The second post will consist of a rebuttal (10 sentences max) and a closing statement (3 sentences max).

    I am proposing this to you because our first argument had an unsatisfying end. I would like to finish our argument, giving both of us an equal and fair chance to voice our own arguments, keeping focus on the main ideas and having productive discussion.

    I am open to amendments and additions to the rules. As the rules are written now, they are meant to give each of us a fair chance; however, fair also means giving you equal say on the rules. Let’s discuss and do this right.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    you lie, you get called out. MO it seems. If you hadn’t lied, you’d have nothing to say.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    :ok: :rofl:
  • unenlightened
    8.7k
    Well I think I understand a distinction between physical, biological, and social determination, roughly like this.
    Physics decrees that everything falls towards the ground with a terminal velocity dependent on size and density such that it cannot move further from its place of origin further than the average horizontal wind speed at the time takes it.

    Biology overcomes or rather exploits physics in the Dandelion by producing a seed with long 'fingers that trap a large volume of air producing a seed with a terminal velocity due to gravity so slight that the mildest turbulence in a gentle zephyr will propel it upwards to such an extent that it can travel the whole globe. Just one of many ways that biology attains heavier than air flight. Spiders manage the same thing by spinning a kite-string of silk into the breeze until it is long enough to pull them into the air.

    Intelligence evolved as a way of speeding up adaptation to an unstable world by the preservation of social learning, such that if one monkey learns to fish for ants with a stick, or crack open an oyster with a rock, the tribe will copy them without biological evolution occurring, and the behaviour will be preserved as long as it benefits the tribe. And thus the limits of biological determination are likewise circumvented.

    Biology does not break the laws of physics, and intelligence does not break the laws of of biology. Nevertheless much different shit goes down in the city from what goes down in the wilderness., and what goes down in sterile conditions. Humans are biologically flightless, but have learned to fly round the world.
  • Apustimelogist
    309


    I think I have to ask for an elaboration on what your view is exactly to answer any of this because I am not sure of the direction you are coming from.
  • Apustimelogist
    309
    I disagree, and it seems pretty clear that almost every society shares some similar characteristics - even if you're going to take it by stages. Nomadism -> Tribal living-->larger societies->networks. We move in that direction until forced off the path. The conscious choices being subsequent to self-awareness isn't going to defeat a biological basis for whatever impulse is being over-ridden. I'm also not claiming these are the better attributes, but the biologically determined ones.AmadeusD

    But wouldn't you say that all these examples are very different and societies can live in many different ways? Sometimes its more egalitarian, sometimes more strictly hierarchical. So what is biological determinism helping here if there is still a broad range of ways people can live and people can change the way they choose to live and the hierarchies they live in? How does that apply to policy when policies are based on specific situations, cultures, socio-economic climates, not the generality of human biology which itself is diverse and results in a diverse range of societies. The fact that some kinds of societies are more common than others too is somewhat incidental. You can imagine some kind of novel or different society developed the way it did based on specific kinds of rare conditions, but is it not incidental that those conditions may be rare? Is there really an "overriding of impulse" if such conditions naturally led to that kind of society? Just as say the conditions that change with a progressed humankind have led our hierarchies to change since 1100 AD "naturally"?
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    But wouldn't you say that all these examples are very different and societies can live in many different ways?Apustimelogist

    I don't think 'very' is justified here. They only seem to be different by virtue of volume, and not really behaviour. That's an entire study on it's own, though, so understand if that comes across as a bold unsupported claim. I take that on the chin.

    Sometimes its more egalitarian, sometimes more strictly hierarchical.Apustimelogist

    Again, agree empirically, but I can't see that there's any appreciable difference in aim (which would be the determined feature, i guess). I think forcefully overcoming a biologically determined state would appear this way, regardless. It's, then, a problem for which situation has required an 'overcoming' of biology, as it were. Though, I'm not really trying to support that, and I'm not arguing that all non-hierachy-driven societies would fail by that light - but I would argue they fail unless constantly maintained from without (and usually, that's a form of hierarchies of society, rather than individuals). That often requires far more force than is typically seen in a hierarchical structure, as positions are accepted, ideally the latter, and in the former they are demanded, or assumed or whatever else is required to make decisions that don't seem obvious.

    How does that apply to policy when policies are based on specific situations, cultures, socio-economic climates, not the generality of human biology which itself is diverse and results in a diverse range of societies.Apustimelogist

    I think this is a half-good point. There are plenty of laws that are intended to be universal, and biologically-derived (protections for females in law tend to be universal in absence of an ideological principle that precludes it, but yes, all societies differ in various degrees as to policy - but most policies aren't relevant to anything that would be biologically determined. I've mentioned that some are - so, you make a point worth noting but I think it doesn't do a lot. At best it gets us to the question, again, of which laws are 'counter' to biological factors, and which are 'in line' with them. Couldn't know, on current data. I think either assumption is reasonable, as I can see both arguments fairly clearly.

    The fact that some kinds of societies are more common than others too is somewhat incidental.Apustimelogist

    I think its more incidental when societies aren't aligned. Usually, incidental to a prevailing non-empirical ideology (religious, for instance). Most societies develop in the same direction in lieu of over-riding principle-driven resistance. There aren't multiple strains of secular social development, from what I can tell. Just triffling differences in detail - probbaly based on geography, largely.

    Is there really an "overriding of impulse" if such conditions naturally led to that kind of society?Apustimelogist

    My argument, in a given case, would be that if the supporting conditions are that of social enforcement, it would hard to argue it was 'natural' versus something more general. A society of homosexuals would be an example (ignoring hte problem of sustenance lol) where the overarching nature of the society is artificial as no where in nature has that ever occurred without the express intention for that novel situation to satisfy specific, individual sensibilities. So, only in humans. That's a very rough example, but I hope the approach is clear, even if the detail is shaky.

    Just as say the conditions that change with a progressed humankind have led our hierarchies to change since 1100 AD "naturally"?Apustimelogist

    Could you outline how you feel they have? I don't see a significant difference between 2000BC and now, frankly. Tinkering, and some rights-based progress - but a reduction in intensity of the biological determining factors wouldn't negate them (on an account that accepts them).
  • Apustimelogist
    309
    They only seem to be different by virtue of volume, and not really behaviour.AmadeusD

    Volume?
    but I can't see that there's any appreciable difference in aim (which would be the determined feature, i guess).AmadeusD

    What do you mean?

    At best it gets us to the question, again, of which laws are 'counter' to biological factors, and which are 'in line' with them.AmadeusD

    What should matter is empirical facts about the actual scenario? There is no need to ask "what is in line with biological factors" because what you want is just what is empirically best for that situation. There is no fact of the matter about biological factors since they are context-depenxent. You are asking about the genetic factors that are related to strict hierarchies in feudal japan to egalitarian hunter gatherer societies to modern democracies. Biological factors behind the structure of a university rugby club compared to a knitting group. All you will get from studying the biology is generality which cannot possibly be compared to any individual situation. I mean, this kind of generality is so general it probably applies to many social animals in some way. I don't think there is some kind of foxed constrained way humans are meant to be, novel behaviors may emerge that adapt in novel situations and humans are probably especially good at this because of their intelligence. The finding that humans may commonly behave in a certain kind of way doesn't entail that that is like an essential inherent thing given that it depends on an environmental context. Saying that laws are some how in or out of line with this is then tantamount to saying there is a certain way humans should be which I disagree with. Nor does the idea of laws being in or out of line with that kind of thing can make any sense without a goal for the law. I'm not sure what that even means. Is murder being illegal out of line or in line? Given that murder is a common human behavior. Are our laws just going against people's impulse to murder? I think the false assumption is that there is such a thing as a policy that is "in line with biology".

    I think its more incidental when societies aren't aligned.AmadeusD

    Its incidental both ways because the context could have been otherwise and it often is in different times in history. You may amhave heavily hierarchical restrictive feudal or even slave driven societies in the first millenia as opposed to more egalitarian kinds of small societies much earlier in history. You have completely different norms in different times and place.

    Most societies develop in the same direction in lieu of over-riding principle-driven resistance. There aren't multiple strains of secular social development, from what I can tell. Just triffling differences in detail - probbaly based on geography, largely.AmadeusD

    You don't think there are big differences between western society now, medieval europe and maybe some prehistoric hunter-gatherer tribe? Sure they may all have some kind of hierarchy in some sense but thats so general its trivial and it isn't even restricted to humans so I don't see how that is useful for anything.

    My argument, in a given case, would be that if the supporting conditions are that of social enforcement, it would hard to argue it was 'natural' versus something more general.AmadeusD

    But social enforcement is ubiquitious. Most social behaviors are enforced by ideas of norms and deviance in society, to differing extents of stringency.

    where the overarching nature of the society is artificial as no where in nature has that ever occurred without the express intention for that novel situation to satisfy specific, individual sensibilities.AmadeusD

    But everything in biology is artificial in the sense that at some point it was once novel. How do you think evolution occurs? The precise nature of biological adaptation is degeneracy in that biological systems re-purpose and re-organize themselves in novel ways depending on the context. Wings evolved from limbs. Sex is diffeeent for humans compared to a butterfly. The idea of "natural" makes no sense because biology is in flux, biology is always context-dependent on the environment. Biology isn't even perfectly optimized. Just look at a human body. No human can survive outside of the tropics without clothes, a completely "artificial" yet now ubiquitious aspect of human society. Same with things like fire. Tools. We couldn't survive without these things that are not parts of us, especially in a place like Norway or Canada. All of these things were novel at some point. The idea of artificiality is very thin I think in a biological context.

    Could you outline how you feel they have?AmadeusD

    Well we no longer have serfs or slaves who are controlled by lords and barons. We have much better laws and rights for workers now. Thats totally different. If you went and traveled back in time there do you really think you would just have the attitude that it was more or less the same? Especially if you were a serf?
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Really appreciate the full, thoughtful and in some ways crushing response :lol:

    Volume?Apustimelogist

    Explanation by implication being that its a different requirement to feed a million than ten thousand. That type of volume-driven difference.

    What do you mean?Apustimelogist

    I mean to say that the aim of the (different) behaviours does not seem appreciably different to me, in these various scenarios, unless purposefully ignored/changed to the societies detriment (noted elsewhere in the comment you quote). And, where that is the case, I don't really understand Humans to be askance from the determining factor simply because it was ignored (on this account.. Im not tied to it).

    There is no need to ask "what is in line with biological factors" because what you want is just what is empirically best for that situationApustimelogist

    "best" reads, to me, on this account, as "what is in line with biological factors(goes to the above response too). The food example was a good one to illustrate that. Hunger Strikes are fine, and have an aim that isn't biological, while over-riding, to the individual's ultimate detriment, the biologically-determined factor of needing sustenance.

    You don't think there are big differences between western society now, medieval europe and maybe some prehistoric hunter-gatherer tribe? Sure they may all have some kind of hierarchy in some sense but thats so general its trivial and it isn't even restricted to humans so I don't see how that is useful for anything.Apustimelogist

    Hm, good. I think I disagree that its general, trivial or avoidable in discussion of social development. There are no societies I'm aware of that have developed in contrary forms, and survived (which is where the "determined" would come in, if this ends up holding any water). I see differences of detail, but no appreciable differences of type or kind. The results, in aggregate, are roughly the same. Though, this is an empirical argument, so im stepping on my own toes now..

    Most social behaviors are enforced by ideas of norms and deviance in society, to differing extents of stringency.Apustimelogist

    I agree, as enforcement goes - but I would have to bite the bullet that 'hierarchy' (if this view holds any water) is not a purely social phenomenon. I think it would be very hard to argue that co-operation in obtaining food isn't driven by biological need and state-of-affairs (chemical bonding), even though different systems are clearly social in their contrasts. "socially enforced" isnt to imply that there's a conscious intention but that a norm is enforced by the natural (on this view, biologically determined), required behaviour of humans based on their biology in concert with one another toward the organisms aim. Whether that holds weight, who knows. But I'm just wanting to be careful that 'socially enforced' doesn't mean the mechanisms origins are social, but manifest in social relations.

    novelApustimelogist

    Not the type of novelty I was expressing there. Conscious choice v natural development due to biological factors. I think you're describing the latter. But this likely just speaks to my inability to be precise and articulate in my thoughts yet.

    The idea of "natural" makes no sense because biology is in fluxApustimelogist

    This is precisely how I make sense of it. Biology being in flux accounts for differences across time, traced to evolutionary origins. The fundamental driving force is the same, in that their is am aim to our organism (though, this is up in the air, i take survival/propagation to be safe assumptions), but the required behaviour may be changing (epigenetics is a spanner in the works) and biology implores us to meet its requirements, regardless. That's the beauty of evolution!

    No human can survive outside of the tropics without clothes, a completely "artificial" yet now ubiquitious aspect of human society.Apustimelogist

    So then, to me, it's biologically determined that a lack of clothes outside the tropics would, given enough time, extinct the species. Therefore, its biologically determined that we wear clothes outside the tropics to achieve (or,maintain) the overarching aim of the species (non-extinction, plainly put).

    The idea of artificiality is very thin I think in a biological context.Apustimelogist

    I do agree with this, and it presents problems for my language, but I would just, if pushed, define my own terms to delineate between true artificiality and something required by biological function, such as clothes in the example. Although, fire, being a totally natural product, would do the work with the right organisation.
    more or less the sameApustimelogist

    Yes. I am in a pretty privileged position, as were many people at that time. But, we absolutely still have serfdom the world over, and in fact more slaves than we've had since the dark ages. Maybe we use the term 'pirate' or 'king' now. But they are ubiquitous, anywhere but the West - and that is arguable. Many believe the working class is in fact a class of serfs. Not entirely dismissable, i think.

    Thats totally different.Apustimelogist

    Only in detail. The aim is hte same.
  • Apustimelogist
    309
    Explanation by implication being that its a different requirement to feed a million than ten thousand. That type of volume-driven difference.AmadeusD

    I mean to say that the aim of the (different) behaviours does not seem appreciably different to me, in these various scenarios, unless purposefully ignored/changed to the societies detriment (noted elsewhere in the comment you quote). And, where that is the case, I don't really understand Humans to be askance from the determining factor simply because it was ignored (on this account.. Im not tied to it).AmadeusD

    Sorry, I'm finding it hard to follow what you mean on either of these but nevermind.

    "best" reads, to me, on this account, as "what is in line with biological factors(goes to the above response too). The food example was a good one to illustrate that. Hunger Strikes are fine, and have an aim that isn't biological, while over-riding, to the individual's ultimate detriment, the biologically-determined factor of needing sustenance.AmadeusD

    This seems redundant to me. I find it hard to believe what is best is anything other than what brings benefit to people and reduces harm, regardless of biological context. There's absolutely no reason to bring biology into it. The fact that someone wants to eat to survive in order to survive is something that has value or should be respected because of the desire of that person, not because of some set of biological facts. Honestly, do we really care about the biological facts beyond them being a possible means to an end which is ultimately in people's wants and desires? Are we compelled to behave in accordance to what some people believe might be a kind of biological imperative? I don't see any reason for this personally.

    Hm, good. I think I disagree that its general, trivial or avoidable in discussion of social development.AmadeusD

    I don't think you understand the point. My point is that if you are not talking about the kinds of differences that I am delineating then you are talking about a phenomena so universal, even in other animals, that it doesn't really have any implication for anything. It might even be that social hierarchies of some kind are unavoidable purely on a basis of things like optimization or game theory or selectionism... in other words, if you have groups of organisms which compete and are capable of certain kinds of basic biologically based capabilities, then maybe hierarchical kinds of behavior are inevitably emergent in how they interact. But if you are talking about something so general as that then it has no political implication. Political or social implication is arguments about things like the nuclear family or whether children need fathers and stuff like that, or whether aociety needs to be authoritarian or egalitarian etc etc. Things that are more specific.

    I agree, as enforcement goes - but I would have to bite the bullet that 'hierarchy' (if this view holds any water) is not a purely social phenomenon. I think it would be very hard to argue that co-operation in obtaining food isn't driven by biological need and state-of-affairs (chemical bonding), even though different systems are clearly social in their contrasts.AmadeusD

    I just want to emphasize that its not that I don'tthink that there is a biological, genetic basis in behavior. There obviously is, though generally quite complicated I would say. My issue with the idea is that biology should be seen as implying what people should do. My point about variety in societies shouldn't be taken as a point about social behavior not being biologically influenced but about about the flexibility and context-dependence of behavior. It is possible for peopleto thrive in many different ways and in ways that we have not even foreseen. If people can exist happily in a way that seems to contradict something we have learned about our biological past or present then it makes the idea that biology should inform how we behave utterly pointless. Again, as I said earlier, biology can inform the means to our ends. Like in the sense that may be I am hungry and want food because I biologically require food. But I don't take the food because of I think I should abide by biology, I take the food because I want it. If someone wanted to not eat, maybe like Bobby Sands on hunger strike, then that is up to them and their desires. Maybe we wouldn't want them to do that because it would harm them. But is my concern because of some biological imperative that I think they should abide by or is it because I am concerned about someone's subjective suffering? I think the latter. I think we don't want others to die because we think they would want to live or we want them in our lives. Seems pointless to add some kind of biological prescription or "aim" onto that. Redundant. Who cares.

    On the contrary, there's absolutely no reason for me to care about biology if it isn't in line with what I or other people want.

    "socially enforced" isnt to imply that there's a conscious intention but that a norm is enforced by the natural (on this view, biologically determined), required behaviour of humans based on their biology in concert with one another toward the organisms aim. Whether that holds weight, who knows. But I'm just wanting to be careful that 'socially enforced' doesn't mean the mechanisms origins are social, but manifest in social relations.AmadeusD

    I don't think its easy to make this distinction when it comes to behavior. I am not sure I would say it exists in the same way that genes and environmental influences are inextricably entwined.

    Not the type of novelty I was expressing there. Conscious choice v natural development due to biological factors.AmadeusD

    No, I think am including both; afterall, tools are not biological.

    The fundamental driving force is the same, in that their is am aim to our organism (though, this is up in the air, i take survival/propagation to be safe assumptions), but the required behaviour may be changing (epigenetics is a spanner in the works) and biology implores us to meet its requirements, regardless. That's the beauty of evolution!AmadeusD

    I disagree. We use notions of goals and teleology in biology all the time as a kind of convenience but I don't see how we can say that about nature. There are no pre-determined goals that biological orgamisms are evolving towards. Its pure selectionism, what happens to survive passes on its genes regardless of how or why it survived. Its just blind physical interactions.

    So then, to me, it's biologically determined that a lack of clothes outside the tropics would, given enough time, extinct the species. Therefore, its biologically determined that we wear clothes outside the tropics to achieve (or,maintain) the overarching aim of the species (non-extinction, plainly put).AmadeusD

    Well it isn't biologically determined that we wear clothes outside the tropics, its just required that we keep warm or we will die. That isn't biological determinism. I don't think you could even conceptualize that as something we evolved to do. At the same time, the fact I may want to keep clothes on me and stay warm has everything to do with my desires and nothing about biology. There is no overarching aim of a species and there is nothing thay compels people to behave in accord to such a thing if they did not wish to. The desires of people are the immediate concern.

    true artificiality and something required by biological function, such as clothes in the exampleAmadeusD

    I just don't see why you need the distinction or how any fact can uphold that distinction. Its arbitrary and incidental on what happened to happen based on luck.

    Although, fire, being a totally natural product, would do the work with the right organisation.AmadeusD

    Another arbitrary distinction. All human technology is "natural" in a similar way.

    But, we absolutely still have serfdom the world over, and in fact more slaves than we've had since the dark ages.AmadeusD

    Just means the difference I was talking about is also spatial as well as temporal.

    Many believe the working class is in fact a class of serfs. Not entirely dismissable, i think.AmadeusD

    Well it's about where you choose to ignore the differences isn't it.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Sorry, I'm finding it hard to follow what you mean on either of these but nevermind.Apustimelogist

    Its crucial, so I'm not going to nevermind it.

    If you do not understand what im saying, you wont udnerstand anything im saying. if the aim of the behaviour is the same in both cases, its determining factor hasn't changed (that being, on whatever account, Biology of some kind). Can you outline why this isn't hitting? I'll try to respond to all else, but if this hasn't become clear, I think the rest may be redundant (as you seem to note hehe).

    There's absolutely no reason to bring biology into it.Apustimelogist

    I don't think you're really engaging with the account, which presupposes (and then argues for) biology actually being the reason. If they are causally related then bringing Biology in is the only way to explain it. This seems like a bit of hand waving, to my mind.

    Honestly, do we really care about the biological facts beyond them being a possible means to an end which is ultimately in people's wants and desires?Apustimelogist

    Preface: I do understand the point. My account doesn't entail it, so it's left off. Those facts are directly causative of those wants and desires in effect, and so as above, saying this isn't determining of behaviour, and important to note just seems bizarre to me.

    it has no political implication.Apustimelogist

    Particularly this type of claim. I fail to see how the basis for human decision making toward determined goals (if they be all biologically determined, in an extreme example) isn't politically relevant. Could you explain?

    On the contrary, there's absolutely no reason for me to care about biology if it isn't in line with what I or other people want.Apustimelogist

    Again, you're not actually engaging my account here (whether it holds water or not)... On my account, the bolded is a direct result of the underlined. Call it wrong, sure, if that's your position, but if taken seriously you cannot engage with it while claiming a different set of circumstances applies other than the one the account requires. However, in this way, its entirely possible you're actually talking about biologically determined desires without noting that that's the case because you're trying to remove your conscious intent from determined aims. I'm unsure that can be done, particularly if you reject libertarian free will.

    I am not sure I would say it exists in the same way that genes and environmental influences are inextricably entwined.Apustimelogist

    I'm not sure either, but it seems entirely plausible to me. Maybe not highly.

    tools are not biologicalApustimelogist

    No, but their use may be biologically required to fulfil the organism's aim. But at this point, I would agree, my account gets very weak at any rate at all.

    I disagree.... There are no pre-determined goals that biological orgamisms are evolving towards.Apustimelogist

    to survive passes on its genes regardless of how or why it survivedApustimelogist

    Ok. But the 'how or why' is actually what we're discussing, surely. The fact that that is what happens seems inarguable, but how that happens seems determined by hte biology of the organism. I can't really understand how this isn't the case - plenty of behaviours just aren't open to humans, or dogs, or horses respectively, if they are to survive and propagate.

    the fact I may want to keep clothes on me and stay warm has everything to do with my desires and nothing about biologyApustimelogist

    This is seems very much unserious to me, and akin to saying "I don't drink water because of biology, i drink water because I want to stay alive". I just can't really take that claim seriously.

    The desires of people are the immediate concern.Apustimelogist

    Those desires are biologically informed on this account, and so the behaviours toward them are the same. Again, not sure you're necessarily getting that this is a stark difference, and not a difference in detail between your notion and mine.

    I just don't see why you need the distinctionApustimelogist

    Because it is there - something not required to maintain life, or to propagate(again, accepting that those axioms hold) versus something which is. But, i do concede entirely that this maay not actually be relevant to what we're discussing and was more illustrative poetically than anything else, in hindsight.

    Another arbitrary distinction. All human technology is "natural" in a similar way.Apustimelogist

    Fire exists without humans. Human technology does not, by definition. There is a patent and inarguable distinction here. Whether you see it as relevant, or whether i could defend as relevant is separate imo.
    Just means the difference I was talking about is also spatial as well as temporal.Apustimelogist

    It is empirically a different situation to the one you implied, though? We, in fact, do still have those institutions you relied on no longer being around.

    Well it's about where you choose to ignore the differences isn't it.Apustimelogist

    Not to my mind. I think its more important where you arbitrarily assert there are any meaningful ones. If its only a difference of detail, and not of kind, I think this becomes your
    something so general as that then it has no political implicationApustimelogist
  • Apustimelogist
    309
    No, but their use may be biologically required to fulfil the organism's aim.AmadeusD

    Well I said both.

    Can you outline why this isn't hitting?AmadeusD

    I just don't understand the context of what you have said, you'll have to explain the entire context.

    Particularly this type of claim. I fail to see how the basis for human decision making toward determined goals (if they be all biologically determined, in an extreme example) isn't politically relevant. Could you explain?AmadeusD

    The point is that biology is redundant as a prescription of what people should do. Saying "humans are like this so people should do this" I don't think makes any sense. Biological facts can obviously be useful if you have a goal in mind where there is biological relevance, but prescribing directly from biology is redundant. We should prescribe based on pebut how that happens seems determined by hte biology of the organism. I can't really understand how this isn't the case - plenty of behaviours just aren't open to humans, or dogs, or horses respectively, if they are to survive and propagate.[/quote]

    The point is there is no objective goal, no intention, no notion that things are meant to be one way or another. Its not fate, its just physical chains of events.

    Ok. But the 'how or why' is actually what we're discussing, surely.AmadeusD

    No, what I have been discussing is whether an 'is' means an 'ought' or whether a 'how' entails a 'meant'

    This is seems very much unserious to me, and akin to saying "I don't drink water because of biology, i drink water because I want to stay alive". I just can't really take that claim seriously.AmadeusD

    Obviously people drink water becaaause of biology. The point is that we don't prescribe rules because biology says we need water. We prescribe rules because we have desires we want to fulfill.

    Because it is thereAmadeusD

    Well I don't think it is.

    Fire exists without humansAmadeusD

    Well on one hand, what is "natural" is incidental on what happens to happen in the world and the context. Fire could be natural under some purview in that it may occur without human intervention in places. It may seem unnatural in many contexts where it will never occur without human intervention. And obviously these contexts are incidental to how the world happened to pan out. You can then also zoom out and then say surely all human interventions are natural... why not... because its rare? There are also many rare events we would call natural. We can make as many arbitrary distinctions as we like about what is natural or not. Thats why I think its pointless. "naturalness" is a construct we have created which relates us to the rest of the world. It isn't an objective scientific category.

    It is empirically a different situation to the one you implied, though? We, in fact, do still have those institutions you relied on no longer being around.AmadeusD

    My point was we have different ways of living in different times. Implying that those differences exist now just in different places is still making the same point i was trying to make.

    If its only a difference of detail, and not of kindAmadeusD

    there is no inherent difference. there are just differences and similarities. you can zoom in or out as much as you want. my point of bringing up this whole discussion was about how biological findings can be used to prescribe politics. if the meaningful similarities are far too general to have any actual significance on a political level then how is it going to be useful. the differences are the important things because it is the details on how one country differs from another which informs useful policy, not general broad brushstrokes. the general claim that people live in hierarchies isnt very interesting. the claim that people live in specific kinds of structures is.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    No, what I have been discussing is whether an 'is' means an 'ought' or whether a 'how' entails a 'meant'Apustimelogist

    In this case you’ll need to let me know whether I should reply.

    We are clearly discussing biological determinism and not ethics
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