Making iambiguous's day

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:43 pm

It appears to me that he has no idea what he wants. He cannot communicate it clearly. So it's up to us to interpret it.

Perhaps he has already found what he's looking for. Perhaps all he wants is to post what he's been posting on these boards and absolutely nothing more than that.

A very bizarre form of behavior, I must say.

What is more likely is that he's looking for universal and eternal agreement between people. Perhaps what's happening is that he realized that this is an impossible goal and now he's suffering due to his inability to give up on this impossible goal.

But he will never confirm this. In fact, he's going to deny it by claiming that agreement is not what he's after.

I guess he's quite simply uncooperative. In general, people without, or with very poor self-consciousness, are uncooperative.

As such, as eyes wide open said earlier, it's up to us to interpret him. We can't rely on his self-knowledge . . . he doesn't have one.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Is_Yde_opN » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:38 pm

My current theory is that iambiguous is part of a secret NSA program allegedly called Singulauous.
Its goal is to create a singularity of wasted time which will eventually swallow up all thinking in the universe.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:32 pm

Gib wrote:It means choosing the morally correct side.


Well, what you just did is you replaced one vague phrase with another. So I have to ask, repeating myself in a sense, what does "the morally correct side" mean?

These words either mean something or they mean nothing. They refer to some events that can be experienced or they do not.

It's not enough to simply regurgitate words and phrases. One must also understand them.

What kind of event, or a sequence of events, does he, I mean Biguous, want to bring about?
How do you experience being on "the morally correct side"?
That is the relevant question.

You didn't answer that question.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:45 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:Well, what you just did is you replaced one vague phrase with another. So I have to ask, repeating myself in a sense, what does "the morally correct side" mean?

These words either mean something or they mean nothing. They refer to some events that can be experienced or they do not.

It's not enough to simply regurgitate words and phrases. One must also understand them.

What kind of event, or a sequence of events, does he, I mean Biguous, want to bring about?
How do you experience being on "the morally correct side"?
That is the relevant question.

You didn't answer that question.


Magnus,

I'm not sure how else to answer your question.

Whatever answer you require is going to require shuffling around words--that's how one delivers answers or defines terms and phrases. How do you define X? Well, X = a, b, and c. <-- You substitute "X" with "a, b, and c". The key isn't to reach for something above and beyond a different set of words; the idea is to find the right set of words that satisfies the questioners requirements. Sometimes the right set of words is more than just a another sentence, sometimes it's a whole paragraph, sometimes several... the object is to put together some set of words whose effect is to trigger an idea in the questioner's mind such that he says: "Oh, that idea. Now I understand."

Obviously, my rephrasing above doesn't trigger such an idea in your mind, so I'll have to try something else (although at this point, it's like taking shots in the dark). How 'bout this:

You come across a child wounded in the ditch. What's the right thing to do: 1) leave the child to die, or 2) get the child to a hospital? Intuitively, most people would feel 2) is the morally correct thing to do. It's not something that necessarily requires elaborate rational thought--it's usually a gut feeling; furthermore, it's not something that's always right (ex. the child may grow up to be the next Hitler), but insofar as the feeling goes, it would probably seem to most people that 2) is the right choice.

Biggy is trying to find a method for determining which faction in a moral conflict is the one striving for what most people see (or feel) in the scenario above when they intuit 2) to be the morally right choice. That is to say, when most people intuit the "right thing to do" in the scenario above, they believe they are seeing (or feeling, or intuiting, or understanding) the correct moral choice to make--that is, that they are seeing reality, not just a personal preference. Biggy wants to be able to see that in any moral conflict--he wants to be able to determine what's the "right thing to do"--which faction in a moral conflict is striving for it--and to be guaranteed that he's seeing reality for what it is, not being deceived by his own prejudices and personal preferences--not just to feel that one side in the conflict is morally right, but to somehow know it.

Magnus Anderson wrote:What kind of event, or a sequence of events, does he, I mean Biguous, want to bring about?
How do you experience being on "the morally correct side"?
That is the relevant question.


Precisely! And it is the entire crux of Biggy's dilemma. Biggy doesn't even know what event or sequences of events would count as an objective demonstration of the morally right choice. He simply asks objectivists to present one if they can. He doesn't accept any answer that could conceivably be construed as yet another arbitrary outcome of dasein. But then I for one am at a loss to understand what else such an objective demonstration of the morally right choice would look like. That's what we're struggling with in this thread. How does one accept such a demonstration without being able to construe is as, in Biggy's words, an "existential contraption"?

I can answer what the experience of being on "the morally correct side" is--it's the same as the experience of intuiting the morally correct choice in the scenario above (with the child in the ditch)--only Biggy wants more than just an intuitive experience--he wants something that proves even beyond experience that such an intuition is correct. But I don't know how he can get beyond experience, especially when it comes to morality.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby James S Saint » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:49 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:What is more likely is that he's looking for universal and eternal agreement between people. Perhaps what's happening is that he realized that this is an impossible goal and now he's suffering due to his inability to give up on this impossible goal.

But he will never confirm this. In fact, he's going to deny it by claiming that agreement is not what he's after.

I guess he's quite simply uncooperative. In general, people without, or with very poor self-consciousness, are uncooperative.

Quite astute.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:02 pm

Gib wrote:Whatever answer you require is going to require shuffling around words--that's how one delivers answers or defines terms and phrases. How do you define X? Well, X = a, b, and c. <-- You substitute "X" with "a, b, and c". The key isn't to reach for something above and beyond a different set of words; the idea is to find the right set of words that satisfies the questioners requirements. Sometimes the right set of words is more than just a another sentence, sometimes it's a whole paragraph, sometimes several... the object is to put together some set of words whose effect is to trigger an idea in the questioner's mind such that he says: "Oh, that idea. Now I understand."


That is true. What I am looking for is the right set of words that will help me identify the exact event, or the sequence of events, that you're speaking of when you say “choosing the morally correct side”.

But in the case that you do not understand what these words mean, no amount of elaboration on your part will help me identify what you mean -- because you mean nothing.

And this is what I suspect. You are using Biggy’s words without understanding them. Biggy is using other people's words without understanding them. These other people are using other people's words without understanding them. And so on.

In social systems with centralized authority, I might be able to trace the origin of these words and then determine whether they mean anything at all, but in social systems with decentralized authority, such as the ones we have today, I will end up running in circles, each person referring me to some other person, and then only if they are honest enough to admit they are using other people's words.

Obviously, my rephrasing above doesn't trigger such an idea in your mind, so I'll have to try something else (although at this point, it's like taking shots in the dark). How 'bout this:

You come across a child wounded in the ditch. What's the right thing to do: 1) leave the child to die, or 2) get the child to a hospital? Intuitively, most people would feel 2) is the morally correct thing to do. It's not something that necessarily requires elaborate rational thought--it's usually a gut feeling; furthermore, it's not something that's always right (ex. the child may grow up to be the next Hitler), but insofar as the feeling goes, it would probably seem to most people that 2) is the right choice.


That question simply asks what would you do in such a situation. Additionally, it might also be asking what do you want others to do in such a situation.

As such, there is no guarantee that people will come to agreement. They may or may not agree. If they don't, each one will have their own answer to the question.

Is that what “the morally correct side” means?
I don't think so.

Biggy doesn't even know what event or sequences of events would count as an objective demonstration of the morally right choice. He simply asks objectivists to present one if they can.


If you want others to do something, then you must have a clear idea of what you want them to do. Otherwise, you cannot say it is YOU who want them to do something. And even if we ignore this, and assume that it is YOU who wants them to do something, then you wouldn't be able to measure whether they did what you supposedly wanted them to do or not.

In other words, if you're asking others to demonstrate that their side is “the morally correct side” then you must know what this means otherwise you won't be able to measure their performance.

It's akin to people asking for proof of God without knowing what that entails (because they don't understand what the word “God” means.)

They are simply asking to be manipulated -- to be “swept off by their feet”.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:27 pm

Gib wrote:I can answer what the experience of being on "the morally correct side" is--it's the same as the experience of intuiting the morally correct choice in the scenario above (with the child in the ditch)--only Biggy wants more than just an intuitive experience--he wants something that proves even beyond experience that such an intuition is correct. But I don't know how he can get beyond experience, especially when it comes to morality.


I understand what this means. Your "intuiting the morally correct choice" would be my "doing what you're most comfortable with".

However, I will disagree this is what these people mean by "the morally correct side". As you say, Biggy wants more than this, which is to say, something else, but without ever bothering to define what that is.

He's skipping an important step: he has to define what he's asking others to prove. And because this is not his word, this means he has to try to understand how others are using it.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:11 pm

Biggy doesn't even know what event or sequences of events would count as an objective demonstration of the morally right choice. He simply asks objectivists to present one if they can.



If you want others to do something, then you must have a clear idea of what you want them to do. Otherwise, you cannot say it is YOU who want them to do something. And even if we ignore this, and assume that it is YOU who wants them to do something, then you wouldn't be able to measure whether they did what you supposedly wanted them to do or not.

In other words, if you're asking others to demonstrate that their side is “the morally correct side” then you must know what this means otherwise you won't be able to measure their performance.

It's akin to people asking for proof of God without knowing what that entails (because they don't understand what the word “God” means.)

They are simply asking to be manipulated -- to be “swept off by their feet”.

As long as spouts the dasein stuff, he is king of the mountain - unassailable. Only his thoughts about everything are right for him. He can accept or reject any argument on the basis of any whim. Total control.

I'm sure that he enjoys sitting in bed and passing judgement on the arguments :

"No."
"You have not convinced me."
"You have not demonstrated it to me."
"Try again."

And as long as he does it, people keep coming back and talking to him. If he was ever convinced by an argument, then the conversations might end and then what would he do.

He's got a sweet situation here. :D
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:13 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:

I think you're changing the subject.

If I understood you correctly, your point was that the distinction between reasonable and unreasonable makes no sense in the case that "everything that happened in the past could not have happened any other way".


No, my point is that it is unreasonable to argue that the Republicans in the Senate did not use the "nuclear option" to put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court.

This is either in fact true or it is in fact false.

My point further is that whether the nuclear option was reasonable here is rooted in the manner in which I construe the meaning of political economy rooted in conflicted goods rooted [largely] in dasein. And that there does not appear to be a way in which mere mortals can demonstrate that this is either in fact true or in fact false.

I certainly cannot. I acknowledge over and again that this is but one more existential contraption. No less so than yours.

Again, assuming of course that men and women have the capacity to make decisions like this with some measure of autonomy.

What the moral/political objectivists assume is that just as we can distinguish between rational and irrational with respect to the fact of the Gorsuch nomination and confirmation, we can, in turn, distinguish between fact and fiction with respect to the question "ought he have been nominated and confirmed"?

Go ahead, ask them.

Magnus Anderson wrote: One must be capable of improvement. If one is not, one will forever be unreasonable.


Okay, choose a behavior in which actual flesh and blood human beings have [historically, culturally] been at odds, and note for us what it means to "improve" ones behavior.

Magnus Anderson wrote: The only relevant question is the meaning of reasonable/unreasonable.


Again...

1] What does it mean to be reasonable when someone asks you, "is Donald Trump the president of the United States"?

2] What does it mean to reasonable when someone asks you, "is Donald Trump's presidency [so far] a success?"
Last edited by iambiguous on Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:25 pm

phyllo wrote:
If I understood you correctly, your point was that the distinction between reasonable and unreasonable makes no sense in the case that "everything that happened in the past could not have happened any other way".

This phrase simply means that we cannot go back in time. Because we cannot go back in time, we cannot change our past decisions. It does not mean that if we COULD go back in time and attempt to change our past decisions that the outcome would be the same.


No. He's saying that he did not have the option of choosing between reasonable and unreasonable actions. The configuration of the universe made him act in a certain way.

The definitions of reasonable and unreasonable are irrelevant.


For someone who understands me so well why do you always misunderstand me even more?

You know, with respect to all that prong #2 stuff.

You know, assuming some measure of autonomy. :wink:
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:51 pm

Why did you bring up the subject of free-will versus determinism then?

You often do. I assume it's because you think that if there is no free-will, understood as the ability to change past decisions, then there can be no distinction between reasonable and unreasonable.

Because I know he has no interest in philosophy, I know he won't be tackling this question, so this question is meant for other people trying to interpret his behavior.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:46 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Again: If "I" was never not going to feel this guilt, what counts then is that the guilt felt is inherently part and parcel of my own particular existence unfolding only as it ever could have.

In other words, in terms of how events actually unfold, how is the existence of mindful matter really any different from the existence of mindless matter other than in producing this illusion that the events unfold because I willed them to unfold one way rather than another?

That's the part I can't wrap my head around here.


Are you referring to the fact that if we are just mindful matter, then we can't be responsible for any of our actions? Or be obligated to act in any particular way?


No, my point is this: What does it mean to speak of "just mindful matter"? Mindful matter is this absolutely extraordinary -- astounding -- thing. It is the first matter [going back billions of year] that we suspect is able to ponder itself as matter existing in a universe that may or may not be propelled by immutable material laws. And, if it is propelled by the very same immutable laws that propel mindless matter, what then does that mean?

What does it mean to be "responsible" for something in a wholly determined universe? What does it mean to speak of "obligation" in a wholly determined universe?

iambiguous wrote:First of all, to the extent that mind is just more matter embedded in immutable laws, whatever I choose to do is only as it ever could have been.


gib wrote: There are other ways of defining "choice" than "violating the laws of nature".


Yes, this may well be that important point I keep missing. But if I can only define "choice" here as I was ever going to define it, then that either is or is not in sync with the laws of nature.

iambiguous wrote:But, assuming some level of autonomy, there does not appear to be a way for philosophers to establish a frame of mind such that the manner in which I root morality in dasein and conflicting goods is obviated -- subsumed in a moral narrative that all rational men and women are in fact obligated to embody.


gib wrote: There doesn't have to be. Intelligent men and women all around the world subject themselves to being persuaded by one or another objective-sounding arguments for this or that morality all the time. Unless your brain suffers some kind of critical defect, so can you.


That's why I always focus the beam here on conflicts in which a "consensus" [the irresistible force in one community] makes contact with another "consensus" [the immovable object in another community].

Take for example the practice of clitorectomies. How do we determine objectively whether this practice is or is not in sync with that which all intelligent men and women are obligated to either embrace or eschew. How do we derive the essential argument that unequivocally transcends historical, cultural and experiential context?

iambiguous wrote:We invented the word "chicken" in the English language because chickens actually do exist. And we invented numbers because sometimes there are more than one of them. So if I say, "take my 2 chickens, put them with your 2 chickens and then you'll have the 4 chickens needed to pay your debt" that can be understood as objectively true for all of us.

The words exactly correspond to the context. It can never be blatantly false if in fact it is unequivocally true. And it is true in either a wholly detrmined world or in a world where I could have freely chosen not to give you my chickens.

Back then to the part where you are making some important point here that I keep missing.

I merely shift gears to prong 2 and speculate on an exchange in which one of us argues that eating chickens is immoral in a world where we do in fact have some capacity to freely choose not to eat them.


gib wrote: Yes, I see your point that a line is drawn between "is" and "ought"--but when you bring in the argument that we cannot do anything, feeling anything, be convinced of anything, given that it could not have been any other way, I don't see how the is/ought line is relevant.


But my point is that "is/ought" in a determined universe is but the illusion of "right" and "wrong", "good" and "bad". Imagine for example [in a multiverse], entities somehow detached from our own determined suniverse. One observes that some of us choose to eat chickens while others choose not to. But then the other quickly points out that this was never, ever able to be any other way.

All I can return to then is this: I am just not "getting" your point here.

gib wrote: The only difference I see is that when it comes to "ought" questions, the determining laws of nature that operate on our brains seem to force us to arrive at radically different conclusion--we ought to eat chickens vs. we ought to be vegetarians, we ought to allow a woman her free choice to abort her unborn baby vs. we ought to defend the life of that unborn baby--whereas when it comes to "is" questions, the determining laws of nature that operate on our brains seem to force us (with the exception of a few abberations and occasional brain farts) to arrive at the same conclusion.


Still, either way it was never going to be anything other than what, ontologically, per the laws of nature, it was always propelled/compelled to be.

And that is when we probe the extent to which there is a teleological element -- which most call God -- "behind" it. That's when we reach the part where a real choice is being made -- in the sense that another actual choice was able to be made instead.

Or so it seems to me.

gib wrote: But as I see it, they are still laws of nature that could just as well force us to to arrive at fallacious and delusional conclusions, shared among us all as they may be. This is why I say that the argument about being stuck in a deterministic universe applies even to mathematical logic and concrete sensory experience.


This makes sense to you. But it makes sense to you only because there was never any possibility that it would not make sense to you. So, what does it mean for another to suggest that it is fallacious and delusional when there was never any possibility in turn that they would not say this?

What does that actually mean "in reality"?

iambiguous wrote:Okay, you take that leap to an "objectivism that speaks to you" and you either permit women to choose abortion or you don't.

Me, I cannot just not believe that both sides make reasonable arguments. I cannot just not be tugged and pulled in both directions.

So, what do you do? You take that same leap but somehow in your head you convince yourself that it was the right one. But it's the right one only because that is the particular leap that you took.

The part about dasein, conflicting goods and political economy doesn't go away, but at least you are able to shove them away far eoungh to feel less fractured and fragmented than someone like me. You have been able to construct a psychological scaffold in your head such that it all feels a little less unbearable to you.


gib wrote: My point is that insofar as you are able to do this too (and you are), you are not "stuck" in your dilemma.


Then we understand the meaning of "stuck" in different ways. My meaning revolves around a universe in which I was never, ever going to not be stuck in it. All I can then imagine is this universe unfolding in such a way that "in my head" I come to think/believe that I am not stuck in it. But even that is only as it ever could have been.

So, actually being "stuck" in a universe is just another frame of mind that matter has propelled me to ponder in different --- but no less determined -- ways.

iambiguous wrote:It would be like someone in, say, North Korea who, at a domino toppling event, created a design that depicted Kim Jong-un as an immoral monster. Now, in a world where human autonomy is a factor, what can we say about his aim such that the manner in which we react to his value judgment is different from the manner in which our senses react to the design itself.


gib wrote: I would simply say that there is a wide diversity of different configurations according to which our brains are wired, configurations that determine how we react to such value judgements. Comparing this to how our brains are configured to process visual information such as the pattern of dominoes depicting Jong-un, there seems to be very little diversity.


But how is this perceived diversity -- in either sense -- any less entangled in what it/they was/were only ever going to be?

iambiguous wrote:If what I do feel is only as I ever could have felt it, then to speak of that as reasonable is only to further what could only have ever been.


gib wrote: What you are doing here is, at one moment, allowing yourself to see the reasoning of your own views (your nihilism, your arguments about dasein, the reality of your dilemma), and then in the next moment, withdrawing from those views and looking at them as existential contraptions of a brain that could never have not had those views.


From my frame of mind, what I am doing [in a wholly determined universe] is disengaging from one point of view and then engaging another point of view while recognizing that I must recognize that both moments are ever in sync with the only way they ever could have been.

gib wrote: My point is that you can withdraw yourself into this skeptical frame of mind with anything, and that if you ever want to be convinced of something, stop this habit of withdrawing. You know I'm right because, with the exception of these moments when you withdraw, you are convinced of the reasoning of your own views. <-- And further, I'm saying that it's no different with anyone else and their views.


What, in a wholly determined universe, does it mean -- really mean -- to start and to stop anything?

And if I know you're right [here and now] then I could never have known anything other than that.

Even if, down the road, the lightbulb goes off, and I finally "get" you, it is only because I was never going to not get you.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:15 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:
From what I've gathered so far, Biggy wants a way of knowing that when he picks one side of a moral conflict over another--say pro-life over pro-choice--he's made the right decision. <-- I think it goes deeper than this, but that seems to be what he's willing to discuss on the surface.


And what does "the right decision" mean?

What exactly does he want? Does he even know what he wants?


Look, we can go into great "technical" depth here regarding what "philosophically" it means to "make the right decision".

In other words, taking into account human sense perception and cognition. Taking into account nature and nurture. Taking into account the tools of logic and epistemology. Taking into account the role of language. Taking into account the speculations of ethicists down through the ages.

But sooner or later we have to take our conclusions about that out into the world and plug them into an actual context in which what we choose to do comes into conflict with what others choose to do instead.

And, thus, generate actual consequences which others will react to in terms of a particular set of customs and folkways and mores and laws. All of which are embedded out in a particular world rooted in a particular historical and cultural context.

Really, how difficult is it to understand the distinction between discussing choices here in a philosophy venue and making choices out in a world where the consequences of what we do choose can be, among other things, profoundly problematic, precarious and [even] perilous.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:20 pm

phyllo wrote:
Once again: what does Biguous really want?
He wants confirmation that he did nothing wrong in his life, that he made no mistakes and that he could not have done anything in any other way. He wants to feel that he cannot be criticized by others and he need not criticize himself. That is what brings him peace.


It's sad when I am able to reduce you down to this sort of Satyrean retort.

Or, sure, I can give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just poking me here with the irony stick. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:30 pm

iambiguous wrote:
phyllo wrote:
Once again: what does Biguous really want?
He wants confirmation that he did nothing wrong in his life, that he made no mistakes and that he could not have done anything in any other way. He wants to feel that he cannot be criticized by others and he need not criticize himself. That is what brings him peace.


It's sad when I am able to reduce you down to this sort of Satyrean retort.

Or, sure, I can give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just poking me here with the irony stick. :wink:
Ironically, I may be describing your motivation perfectly ... and you don't even realize it.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:37 pm

gib wrote:
Magnus Anderson wrote:And what does "the right decision" mean?


It means choosing the morally correct side. Biggy is disillusioned to the fact that everyone who argues one side or another of a morally controversial subject has their own rendition of a "rational justification" for that side. Because of this, he has given up simply weighing the arguments of each side and coming to the most rational conclusion he can on that basis. Instead, he wants something beyond this, something above rational-sounding arguments. He wants something on the order of a mathematical proof that demonstrates which side is right and which side is wrong.


Admittedly, this is the part that gets particularly tricky: What do I want?

And, more to the point, to what extent can I ever really know this?

For example, given the manner in which I construe the meaning of "I" here. The part embedded in nature and in nurture. The part embedded in a particular sequence of experiences over many, many years. The parts embedded in the subconscious and the unconscious mind.

Though [I think] if I had really "given up" I wouldn't be wasting my time exploring the renditions of others. After all, there are plenty of other more gratifying [sure-fire] ways in which to wait for godot --- music, film, feasting, imbibing.

And then there is the part where I am really, really curious to know if anyone actually can yank me up from my dilemma. In other words, before I drag them down into it instead.

But that of course is just my own rendition of this:

gib wrote: This is difficult for me to explain not only to Biggy but to anyone because it hinges on my theory of consciousness and meaning, on all subjective experience being rooted in its own unique brand of "justification".


I still have no clear idea how "for all practical purposes" this might actually be useful. Pertaining to, among other things, human social, political and economic interactions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:56 pm

Biggy wrote:Look, we can go into great "technical" depth here regarding what "philosophically" it means to "make the right decision".


If you come on a philosophy board in order to ask us to demonstrate that our decisions are "the right decisions" only to get a negative response in the form of "we don't know what you want us to do" isn't it natural, provided you still want us to do whatever you want us to do, to help us, and thus get closer to achieving your goal, by explaining in more detail what you want us to do?

I have absolutely no idea what you want me to do. As far as I am concerned, you are merely bombarding me with words.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:46 pm

phyllo wrote:As long as spouts the dasein stuff, he is king of the mountain - unassailable. Only his thoughts about everything are right for him. He can accept or reject any argument on the basis of any whim. Total control.

I'm sure that he enjoys sitting in bed and passing judgement on the arguments :

"No."
"You have not convinced me."
"You have not demonstrated it to me."
"Try again."

And as long as he does it, people keep coming back and talking to him. If he was ever convinced by an argument, then the conversations might end and then what would he do.

He's got a sweet situation here. :D


He craves external stimulation. Instead of being in control of the environment, he wants to be controlled by the environment. But in a positive, i.e. pleasant, way. He wants someone to come along and to "take his breath away". In plain terms, to be impressed. Because he's impressionable. The only problem is he's old and the old drugs no longer work on him. He needs something stronger.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:29 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:But in the case that you do not understand what these words mean, no amount of elaboration on your part will help me identify what you mean -- because you mean nothing.


I can assure you, I mean something by those words; there is definitely a thought in my mind which I'm trying to convey with those words. You might say I have the wrong thought, or that I've misread Biggy. You might say the thought I have in my head is incoherent or riddle with paradox, but there's definitely something there.

Magnus Anderson wrote:And this is what I suspect. You are using Biggy’s words without understanding them. Biggy is using other people's words without understanding them. These other people are using other people's words without understanding them. And so on.

In social systems with centralized authority, I might be able to trace the origin of these words and then determine whether they mean anything at all, but in social systems with decentralized authority, such as the ones we have today, I will end up running in circles, each person referring me to some other person, and then only if they are honest enough to admit they are using other people's words.


It's true that we learn the words from others--that's how language is learned--but the phrase we are discussing--"choosing the morally correct side"--is a phrase I whipped up myself--I didn't borrow it from anyone. That's not to say I'm the first person to say it, but I can guarantee I didn't go to them first to get the phrase--I just put a handful of words together in order to express what I wanted to say. <-- That's how speach works.

And let's be honest: the phrase isn't really that cryptic--"choosing the morally correct side"--is patently clear in its meaning. It's not like learning a new expression in a foreign language. What I suspect you're getting at is not whether I understand the meaning of the phrase but whether I understand the nature of morality. The phrase "choosing the morally correct side" does indeed hint at an objectivist point of view--as if there will always be a correct side, objectively, to any moral controversy--and that does seem naive to me, and I would expect others like yourself to question it. Again, however, I must stress that this is what Biggy seems to be after, not me--I'm a subjectivist, I don't believe in an ultimate objectively correct moral position, but I can certainly understand the idea, and I can certainly convey the idea using a phrase such as "choosing the morally correct side".

Magnus Anderson wrote:That question simply asks what would you do in such a situation. Additionally, it might also be asking what do you want others to do in such a situation.


You could construe it that way, but it was intended to give a picture of what the "morally correct choice" looks like--it looks like the decision you're compelled to make when one option out of many stands out as obviously the right choice. It doesn't have to be the right choice objectively, but what Biggy is looking for is something that looks just like that coupled with a method for proving whether it really is objectively right or not.

Magnus Anderson wrote:As such, there is no guarantee that people will come to agreement. They may or may not agree. If they don't, each one will have their own answer to the question.

Is that what “the morally correct side” means?
I don't think so.


I think you're thinking of this too narrowly--you're thinking of this only in the context of the example I gave--it was meant to be generalized. I could come up with another scenario: a man is being attacked by a wild dog. You have a gun. What do you do? For any example I come up with, the answer to the question: what is the "morally correct thing to do" is what they all have in common. Which I'm saying is an intuitive feeling that X is the right thing to do rather than Y.

It's true that different people may have different intuitive feelings on any moral scenario, but that, to me, is the nature of the beast--the nature of morality. I don't think of morality as a set of overarching rules that all men and women are obliged to follow. I think of it as a personal calling, something one has to decide for one's self, the voice of one's inner conscience. What may be morally right for one person may be a terrible transgression for another.

Magnus Anderson wrote:If you want others to do something, then you must have a clear idea of what you want them to do. Otherwise, you cannot say it is YOU who want them to do something. And even if we ignore this, and assume that it is YOU who wants them to do something, then you wouldn't be able to measure whether they did what you supposedly wanted them to do or not.

In other words, if you're asking others to demonstrate that their side is “the morally correct side” then you must know what this means otherwise you won't be able to measure their performance.

It's akin to people asking for proof of God without knowing what that entails (because they don't understand what the word “God” means.)

They are simply asking to be manipulated -- to be “swept off by their feet”.


Sure, and this is roughly the same criticism I'm leveling against Biggy. I'm arguing, among other things, that Biggy needs to at least understand what an "objective/rational demonstration of the morally correct thing to do" is before he can expect to be persuaded by it should someone actually follow through with his challenge. Right now, it seems to me, the only thing one can offer Biggy in response to this challenge is something which would only qualify as what Biggy calls an "existential contraption".

In short: I know what I mean by the "morally correct choice" or the "morally correct side", but I agree with you that such a notion is incoherent unless one is able to clearly define what it is for such a choice or such a side to be objectively correct (i.e. something above and beyond an existential contraption). <-- But that's something I'm charging Biggy with, not something I'm guilty of myself.

Magnus Anderson wrote:I understand what this means. Your "intuiting the morally correct choice" would be my "doing what you're most comfortable with".


Well, not always. It sometimes feels comfortable, but other times it's a really gruelling decision to make. For me, morality is always the voice of the conscience, which is to be distinguished from what feels good in the moment, and also from rationalizations (for example, the way a nihilist might rationalize that morality doesn't exist though he might have to fight feelings of guilt and remorse over harming others).

Let me give you an example from my own life; I have a nephew who was born with a kidney defect. The doctor's said his kidneys only had a 25% chance of developping normally, and that if they were not developping normally by age 2, he would need a transplant. Neither his mother nor his father could do it because they were too genetically similar. This got me thinking: the kid will need a kidney from someone not immediately related to him. I'm his uncle so maybe I'd be a better candidate. I don't see anyone else stepping up to the plate. Therefore, I'm in a position to do the morally right thing. <-- I felt I was faced with a choice, and I recognized it as one of those moments when one's morality is put to the test. So I offered to donate one of my kidneys. It's not something I wanted to do--I like my kidneys and I'd rather keep them--and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable giving them up (although I guess I would feel comfortable knowing that I did the right thing, but that at an extremely high cost, a cost that does not make me feel comfortable). But I knew that if I wanted to consider myself a moral person, The choice was clear: offer to donate one of your kidneys. Luckily, my nephew grew to be 2 years old and his kedneys are doing surprisingly well. They aren't 100% and he will always need medical attention, but the doctors finally said that he was not in need of a transplant. So I get to keep my kidneys! Yeay! :D <-- Getting off the hook is what feels most comfortable to me, but I know that at the time, I was committed. I was ready to give up one of my kidneys, and it was a decision I was not looking forward to.

^ The point is, that's what morality is. It's listening to your inner voice speak of "right" and "wrong", not "comfort" or "discomfort", not "I came up with a good argument" or "I failed to come up with a good argument", but "right" and "wrong" whether you like it or not.

Magnus Anderson wrote:However, I will disagree this is what these people mean by "the morally correct side". As you say, Biggy wants more than this, which is to say, something else, but without ever bothering to define what that is.

He's skipping an important step: he has to define what he's asking others to prove. And because this is not his word, this means he has to try to understand how others are using it.


I think Biggy's question is more of a rhetorical one. I think he knows that people can't delivery on a demand for something that doesn't make sense or is incoherent (what you're probably calling "meaningless"), and hence his inquiries are more of a challenge than a genuine request for answers.

Biggy, I'll respond to your post later...
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby James S Saint » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:40 am

phyllo wrote:
Once again: what does Biguous really want?
He wants confirmation that he did nothing wrong in his life, that he made no mistakes and that he could not have done anything in any other way. He wants to feel that he cannot be criticized by others and he need not criticize himself. That is what brings him peace.

Yep.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:34 pm

Gib wrote:Well, not always. It sometimes feels comfortable, but other times it's a really gruelling decision to make. For me, morality is always the voice of the conscience, which is to be distinguished from what feels good in the moment, and also from rationalizations (for example, the way a nihilist might rationalize that morality doesn't exist though he might have to fight feelings of guilt and remorse over harming others).

[..]

^ The point is, that's what morality is. It's listening to your inner voice speak of "right" and "wrong", not "comfort" or "discomfort", not "I came up with a good argument" or "I failed to come up with a good argument", but "right" and "wrong" whether you like it or not.


Good conscience is nothing other than absence of discomfort -- tension, stiffness, etc -- within the body.

Discomfort is created when some impulses are over-expressed and others are under-expressed. It is resolved by weakening the over-expressed impulses and strengthening the under-expressed ones.

The path towards good conscience can be uncomfortable -- not because it is what we want, but quite simply because the path itself is rocky, making it very likely for us to stumble into discomfort -- but the conscience itself when it is clean is comfortable, far more than bad conscience can ever be.

Also, when you "feel good" about something that does not mean there is no discomfort inside your body. Hedonism refers to this kind of pleasure. This is why it is considered "dirty" and "guilty".
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:10 pm

Do "intellectual contraptions" ever end?

Let's say that a man is taken away in the middle of the night by the secret police. He is tortured, killed and his body is "dumped".

Is it an intellectual contraption if he thinks that his treatment is immoral?

If he was a loyal "party member" would be believe that his torture and death are morally correct?

Ought he be concerned that he cannot demonstrate the immorality of his torture to the sociopath who is torturing him?

It seems that at some point the "intellectual contraptions" are no longer just "intellectual contraptions".
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:11 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:Good conscience is nothing other than absence of discomfort -- tension, stiffness, etc -- within the body.


Huh? So if I do what's right according to my conscience, I will be free of bodily pain? If I take a bullet in a war, feeling that I'm serving my country, the wound won't hurt? If I'm dying of cancer and I bequeath my estate to my children in my will, the pain from the cancer will no longer hurt?

Magnus Anderson wrote:Discomfort is created when some impulses are over-expressed and others are under-expressed. It is resolved by weakening the over-expressed impulses and strengthening the under-expressed ones.

The path towards good conscience can be uncomfortable -- not because it is what we want, but quite simply because the path itself is rocky, making it very likely for us to stumble into discomfort -- but the conscience itself when it is clean is comfortable, far more than bad conscience can ever be.


I can buy that. A good conscience comes with the feeling of "I'm a good person" or "everything is right with the world", and it's true that the road there can be painful, but I don't think the good feeling that comes from a clean conscience wipes away all pain a person could feel. Doing the right thing often requires sacrifice, and that sacrifice doesn't always go away once you're satisfied that you've done the right thing.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby James S Saint » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:55 am

"Conscience" is the sense of (whether delusion or not) innocence or guilt (aka "right or wrong").

The sense of guilt can, and often does, bring with it a feeling of discomfort (threat of retribution). But "conscience" is not about the discomfort but rather about the awareness of innocence or guilt.
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:24 am

Gib wrote:Huh? So if I do what's right according to my conscience, I will be free of bodily pain? If I take a bullet in a war, feeling that I'm serving my country, the wound won't hurt? If I'm dying of cancer and I bequeath my estate to my children in my will, the pain from the cancer will no longer hurt?


You won't be free of pain for the simple reason that noone has total control over the universe.

Pain is an unwanted consequence. It's what happens but what we never want to happen.

To tolerate pain, for example, does not mean to feel pain. It means to be comfortable with what used to be uncomfortable.

When I put my hand in a tub full of hot water my aim isn't to feel pain -- what would be the point of that? -- but to make sure that I do not pull my hand out of it. In order to do so, I must desensitize myself, which is to say, I must switch off impulses that are unnecessary, that distract from what I want to do. This process makes the experience, not more uncomfortable, but less.

Pain is always avoided. The only question is how. You can avoid it by evading the external stimulus (e.g. pulling your hand out of hot water) or by desensitizing yourself (e.g. restraining your impulses.)

Conscience is not about discomfort, I would agree with James, but what is often referred to as "intuitive right and wrong" is.
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