Comments

  • Receiving help from those who do not care
    The care offered by a professional is like being friendly without being a friend. It's an important distinction that probably needs to go with a lengthy dissertation on professional boundaries and the like. A professional offers care in the sense of a duty to provide a quality service that meets the person's needs, just as a reputable mechanic provides a quality service to a car that ensures it is safe to driver regardless of who the drive is. All very general I know.Tom Storm

    I don't disagree with this, although my engineering work experience was a bit different. I worked for one company my whole career. It was fairly small when I started - 500 people in 8 offices. I used to eat lunch with the president. Over the years, the company grew, was sold, was resold, and eventually became part of a large engineering company with 100,000 employees. One of the first things I was taught, and what made our company so good when it was young, was loyalty and dedication to our clients. We fought for them. There was passion. It was important to me that they trusted me, that they could trust me.

    This was tempered by my understanding of my professional responsibilities as a licensed engineer. An engineer has specific responsibilities to society, the public, and the law that override those to our clients. In 30 years I never did anything for a client that I thought was illegal, unethical, or dishonorable.

    I've never met a competent person - mechanic, doctor, engineer, cook, cashier, dentist... - who didn't care about providing good service to their client, customer, patient. This is from an Emerson essay I love - "Compensation."

    Labor is watched over by the same pitiless laws. Cheapest, say the prudent, is the dearest labor. What we buy in a broom, a mat, a wagon, a knife, is some application of good sense to a common want. It is best to pay in your land a skillful gardener, or to buy good sense applied to gardening; in your sailor, good sense applied to navigation; in the house, good sense applied to cooking, sewing, serving; in your agent, good sense applied to accounts and affairs. So do you multiply your presence, or spread yourself throughout your estate. But because of the dual constitution of things, in labor as in life there can be no cheating. The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself.

    For the real price of labor is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen. These ends of labor cannot be answered but by real exertions of the mind, and in obedience to pure motives. The cheat, the defaulter, the gambler, cannot extort the knowledge of material and moral nature which his honest care and pains yield to the operative. The law of nature is, Do the thing, and you shall have the power: but they who do not the thing have not the power.
  • The Shoutbox
    Sounds disgusting at a distance of 2 millennia -- imagine what it was like up close and personal.Bitter Crank

    Just north of Boston is a famous Superfund site where hides were tanned using chromium compounds. The chemicals leaked and contaminated groundwater for several miles around. They had to bring in John Travolta to clean it up. I actually worked on that site a bit. Imagine what that was like up close and personal. Apparently tanning is a very unpleasant business - 2,000 or 50 years ago.
  • Philosphical Poems
    Why would it have been better had a pagan said it?Bitter Crank

    Love is the love of Jesus, God. Takes away blame, easy peasy. It would just be more interesting, psychologically, philosophically if the love of each other, the love of other people, the love of other people for you, could take away blame. That would take some thought.
  • Philosphical Poems
    ‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
    Go where it doth deserve.’
    ‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
    ‘My dear, then I will serve.’
    ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
    So I did sit and eat.
    Bitter Crank

    I assume this is an explicitly Christian sentiment, but it would be more interesting if it weren't.
  • The Shoutbox
    Waterfowl SweaterBitter Crank

    No, no. It's made from waterfowl, mostly flightless birds from Ireland and Scotland called "sheep."
  • The Shoutbox
    What else you want to know about religion?Hanover

    The infield fly rule. What's up with that?
  • Philosphical Poems
    Who can dislike an epic poem which is yet endearing?Michael Zwingli

    I'm glad you like it.
  • The Shoutbox
    To get in the spirit, here's a pig limerick.

    Pig pig pig pig pig pig pig pig
    Pig pig pig pig pig pig pig pig
    Pig pig pig pig pig
    Pig pig pig pig pig
    Pig pig pig pig pig pig pig hog

    If you like this, I'll do a sonnet next.
  • The Shoutbox
    You are permitted to accept a heart pig transplant, but you are forbidden to donate your heart to a pig.Hanover

    Is "Hebrewism" a word?
  • Philosphical Poems


    When I started this thread, I should have specified that posters should not include more than a limited number of personally written poems. Alas. Because I didn't, you have filled it with, by my count, 18 self-indulgent, poorly written poems.

    I really like this thread. Lots of good interesting poetry and people with interesting ideas. What I've really liked is that it hangs around or a while, then goes away, then comes back again. Whenever it pops back up, it gives me pleasure. You have taken this nice, pleasing little thread and turned it into a dumping ground for your failed attempts at profundity to the extent that you've almost drowned out the good poetry out there. What I fear is that you have dozens more poems hidden away on your computer that you will continue to place here.

    Please stop. There are plenty of poetry forums out there. Please stop damaging one of my favorite discussions.
  • Can we live in doubt
    I was wondering what are the thoughts of the community about this, let me know:)Lea

    I'm an engineer. When we design a structure, we calculate all the loads on it - gravity, wind, seismic, snow. Then we estimate material properties - steel, soil, wood, bolts.... Then we increase the calculated and estimated values by what we call a factor of safety. Then we run calculations to see if the structure will stand up.

    The factor of safety is the engineering way of dealing with doubt.
  • The Shoutbox
    The genetically modified hog was interviewed for the article and said "Of course, I hope that when I need a kidney transplant, a decent and healthy human will step forward and donate one of their organs. After all, under the skin we're all just swine."Bitter Crank

    I don't believe this is true.
  • Philosphical Poems
    I tend towards sentimentality in poetryMichael Zwingli

    This made me want to ask - do you like "Song of Hiawatha?" Maybe more romantic than sentimental. I don't know if it's a good poem, but I love it.
  • Philosphical Poems
    Cue the doleful violas.Bitter Crank

    Or perhaps more like this:

  • Philosphical Poems
    don't know if you have ever read this one (I'd be surprised, since it is fairly well known), but it's long been a favorite of mine. It is a statement about human nature thought processes, and interactions.Michael Zwingli

    Realized I hadn't responded to this one. Yes, it seems familiar. It doesn't move me like some of his other poems. What is it you like about it? Is it the content or do you find the form pleasing?
  • Philosphical Poems
    How hopeless under ground
    Falls the remorseful day.
    Bitter Crank

    Ah, yes. The story of my life.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    There are sensations unknowable to science. We only know the human ones because we have them. Otherwise, humans would be like bats, to an alien or AI science lacking those sensations.Marchesk

    I'm not sure what you mean by "unknowable to science." Unknown, sure. We know about some senses that other organisms have that we do not. As I noted, there are animals who can sense magnetic and electrical fields.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    Isn't that a problem for physicalism?Marchesk

    How so?
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    But bats may experience sonar in a way that's entirely different from any of our sensations. It's just an example.Marchesk

    Some philosophers also believe that people may not experience common human sensory input the same way others humans do. In the case of bat vs. human perception, there certainly is a stronger argument to be made. I'll go back to what I wrote first - if I can observe and study how a bat uses sound waves to sense the world, it is possible that I can share some of its experience.

    Surely there are sensations we have no idea about.Marchesk

    I'm sure there are. How could we have any idea about what an organism is experiencing if we don't even know the experience exists?
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    So you think learning bat language would give us sonar sensations?Marchesk

    No, but I think that learning bat language and being able to detect bat sonar signals might allow us to understand what bats are saying and how they think and see the world. As for "giving us sonar sensations," some thoughts. First, I don't know how different echolocation is from hearing, so I don't know how different the experience is. Also, humans use sound waves to understand the world in ways beyond hearing. We use sonar to detect underwater objects and seismic sensing to detect underground objects. Both these methods provide visual records of what the sound has detected. As for the experience of echolocation, as I wrote before, if we know how it works well enough, to some people, including me, that means we can know what the experience is like.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    So you're saying if a bat could talk sonar, we would understand it?Marchesk

    I'm not sure what you mean by "talk sonar." If you mean without any device to allow us to detect and interpret the sounds, then no. If you mean can we understand bat language, I don't think there is one. If you mean if a bat could talk sonar that we could pick up on our equipment in an actual language expressing concepts, perceptions, and feelings, I don't see why not.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    The controversy would be over color sensation, not the physics of EM radiation. Same problem we have when discussing bat sonar sensation, except bats have no language to name it for us.

    Mary's species wouldn't know anything about color the same way we don't know anything about whatever sensation bats have when experiencing sonar.
    Marchesk

    Some philosophers would say that if she studied and observed enough to be able to use terms of color and seeing appropriately then she would know what it means to see and to see color. Is that pragmatism? It makes sense to me.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    Everyone should go up the river at least once in their life.James Riley

    Also - anything with "Heart of Darkness" references get's my vote.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    Everyone should go up the river at least once in their life.James Riley

    Very interesting and well written story. I don't know what it means, but that's ok.
  • Alien Sonar Mary
    Some experts back home dispute whether color could actually be a conscious sensation.Marchesk

    Alien scientists certainly know about electromagnetic radiation. I doubt there would be any controversy about animals being able to sense different frequencies. Some animals can echolocate or sense magnetic or electric fields and we don't think that's hard to believe.

    Also - sight has evolved at least twice on earth. It's a very valuable sense. It could be a fairly universal sense among organisms who evolve on worlds where light and color are a major characteristic of the environment. Some biologists think that convergent evolution will mean that life evolving in similar environments on different worlds will be very similar in structure and function.
  • The Shoutbox
    Geez. I turn my back for a few hours and the Shoutbox gets taken over by pigs. Shawn is one thing, but when normally porcine-responsible members like Jamalrob and @Bitter Crank get started... I'm glad to see, at least, that we are finally talking about evil pigs instead of cute ones.

    I can imagine the writer's pleasure when opting for that word.jamalrob

    In third world countries, busses always plunge off winding mountain roads. I think it must be in the journalism style manual.

    It seems strange to imagine that a pig can do that. But it ain't a fantasy. Never forget to feed your pig or pigs, they become voracious and angry.Shawn

    Did you ever see "Snatch?" Good movie. Great evil pig scenes.
  • The Shoutbox
    Finally NBC broke the spell of dead gray with living color, and everyone lived happily ever after -- in color!Bitter Crank

    Oz was in color in 1939, although I didn't know it till we got a color TV sometime in the late 60s.

    A movie I really like - Pleasantville - when Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon were at their cutest. It was the last thing I saw Don Knotts in.

    Maybe it has something to say about the old philosophical question about whether color blind people can understand color.

  • Currently Reading
    Cannot read it right now, the copy I got has so many notes on every page that it's impossible to focus on the story.darthbarracuda

    If you like to listen, LibraVox has a reading I really enjoyed. Free.
  • Mary vs physicalism
    I don't understand how that has anything to do with it? I can describe colours to congenially blind people by way of referring to others senses.I like sushi

    I agree. It has always seemed to me the idea that a blind or color blind person could not have a concept of color is wrong.
  • Philosphical Poems
    Can't quite pin that down. Ah well, I'm easily entertained by the lyricism :)the affirmation of strife

    I like the poem too. I'd never read it before. I should read some Stevens. It's very sensual, visual, olfactory. I sense some darkness in it though.
  • The Shoutbox
    in the time of the beats I was about as far from cool and hip as one could get.Bitter Crank

    In the time of the beats, I was very cool, as are all babies. I grew out of it though.

    Never read much of the beats. For some reason they were not on our required reading lists in the 1960s.
  • Logic is evil. Change my mind!
    A new discovery in the science of evolution has shown that a logic developed through evolution will never seek to understand the truth, it just learns to maipulate it's environment without a deeper understanding of what it is manipulating:FalseIdentity

    Two thoughts 1) Learning to manipulate the environment is what truth is all about. That's all it is. That's not news. 2) Never trust any insight you get from a TED Talk. TED is the People Magazine of the intellect.
  • Simulation reality
    What if our experience in life were a simulation and not reality directly, but reality is 100% identical to the simulation. When we interact with the simulation it has the same effects on reality, and when reality gives feedback it is through the simulation. Is the simulation as real as reality even as an in-between with reality, or must it be fake?TiredThinker

    If there is no way for us to know that we are in a simulation as opposed to what we call reality, then they are the same thing. If there is no difference, there is no difference.

    In that regard, I recommend a good science fiction book - "NPC" by Jeremy Robinson. Good story. Good writing. Good philosophy.
  • The Shoutbox
    the unbearable spinning cosmosBitter Crank

    That just comes from drinking too many cosmos. If you substitute Metamucil for the vodka, you should be fine. If you get orange flavor, you can leave out the Cointreau also.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Right, but what's in our minds almost always gets "let out" in what we say or in how we behave -- i.e., in our actions. Which has an impact on the world around us, including others.Xtrix

    I try to be aware of how I behave toward other people. I try to treat them with kindness and respect, with some, imperfect, success. At the same time, my mind is full of dark emotions, prejudices, and lust and what's worse... philosophy. By which I mean, no, you're wrong. Even if you were right, it would only be what gets let out I would be responsible for, not what's kept inside.
  • What's the reason most people have difficulty engaging with ideas that challange their views?
    What do you think is the reason why most people, even very educated people, seem to have difficulty engaging with ideas that challenge their views?thesmartman23

    I'm 69 and I have some strong beliefs. Actually, it's more accurate to say I have a strong system of beliefs. All my beliefs are connected to each other. If you change one, you're likely to have to change some others. The more important the belief, the more others it is connected to. I think that's true of other people as well. Except for simple or superficial beliefs, it takes intellectual and emotional effort to change things. Alternatively, it takes a strong crow bar to pry things apart. Crafting effective crow bar arguments is not easy, even when the underlying idea is a good one.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    It's not possible to meaningfully and without hostility address this while thinking in the above-mentioned polarized terms.baker

    Well put.
  • Epistemic Responsibility
    Do we not have an epistemic responsibility in life? If our actions have ripple effects, and our actions are largely an outgrowth of our beliefs, then isn't it irresponsible to believe in things that lead to harmful actions? Shouldn't we be more careful about what we believe in?Xtrix

    We are not responsible for what's in our minds, only for what we let out. And that's a good thing, for me at least. Being aware of what is going on inside us is another good thing. That includes what we know and believe, how we know know it, how certain we are of it, and what the consequences are if we are wrong. But, again, we are only responsible for our behavior.
  • Accusations of Obscurity
    Conceptual clarification is what philosophy consists in, yes. And further, if you have an honest think about it, you will agree. And this even despite your penchant for threads that are merely making lists.

    Consider:
    What is mysticism?
    What does "consciousness" mean
    Is introspection a valid type of knowledge
    What knowing feels like
    Determinism vs. Predictability
    What are our values?
    ,,,and so on. Your own threads. What are these if not quests for clarity?
    Banno

    This seems like typical Banno snarky insulting bullshit, which is much more common than any search for clarity. So, in the interests of clarity, am I right about that?
  • Languages; doing, being and possessing
    I personally do research on humor, cross-linguistically. Now there's carrying water in a basket!Kermode

    I took French in high school and one year of German in college decades and decades ago. When my brother and I went to Europe a few years ago, I studied up on my German. My brother is fluent in French. We traveled around in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany. I loved trying to make myself understood in my creaky French and Germany. Every time I tried to tell a joke, it went nowhere. I had a philosophical discussion with a friend of my brother's in French. It was difficult but lots of fun.