Philosophy Thread

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Mufasa
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Post #51 by Mufasa » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:17 pm

dempsey_k wrote:In the context of all of his work, the eternal return concept isn't the subtext to everything so much as the aspiration of a lot of it. The will to power, the blond beasts, slave and master morality undergird most of our daily lives and give us the language to overcome Transmigratory bullocks.


Yes but the eternal return is his answer to God, with the eternal return we dont need the idea of God to guide our choices anymore.
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Post #52 by Dr_Chimera » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:11 pm

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Post #53 by Dr_Chimera » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:21 pm

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Post #54 by Dr_Chimera » Wed May 13, 2015 11:25 pm

Dr. Oz of philosophy Sam Harris "sealioning" Chomsky in a 4-day email exchange: http://www.alternet.org/belief/sam-harris-made-himself-look-idiot-email-exchange-chomsky-and-has-shared-it-world
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Post #55 by jester » Thu May 14, 2015 8:53 am

Harris' devotion to intention making everything okay is deeply disturbing.
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Post #56 by jester » Thu May 14, 2015 9:14 am

Tom Foolery wrote:Indeed, though I bet if you said that Muslims performing clitorectomies on their daughters had "good intentions" he'd tell a different story.

And his insistence that intentions are the best predictors of future actions? I mean...I just...what?!?


As to the first point, no doubt. He even sets that up in that exchange when he discusses the fact that there is a narrow set of acceptable practices. I understand the point, but he seems oblivious to the cultural hegemony aspects inherent to that position.

As to the latter, there is obviously some truth to the claim... what someone intends to do does predict how they will behave. The problem is that by putting so much weight on intention, he ignores consequence (which is Chomsky's point in dismissing the value of stated intention). Even if you want to establish a difference based on premeditation, you cannot so easily disregard consequence. If I irresponsibly use a weapon that can kill 10,000 people, then I am far more dangerous than an asshole with a knife. My only defense is ignorance at that point, but as Chomsky's rightly argues, ignorance is not an acceptable defense in the cases discussed.

All of this reads very similar to Harris' defense of the Israelis lobbing artillery on the Palestinian kids on the beach.
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Post #57 by jester » Thu May 14, 2015 9:49 am

Tom Foolery wrote:Sorry, forgot to add, I'm not so sure I buy the intentions => actions connection. This assumes a unitary consciousness and identity in people that I think doesn't hold up to objective observation. The same "I" that intends to eat less calories at 8am isn't always the same "I" that orders a basket of Buffalo Wings and a pitcher of beer in the evening.

We have to assume a kind of continuity in order to have a judicial/punishment regime in society, of course.


Well, that's an issue of follow through. I'm not sure that dismisses the importance of intention, particularly in the specific cases under discussion. AQ's stated intentions matter, and they predict what things they might attempt going forward. The US' foreign policy intentions, broadly speaking, predict what actions and consequences we can possibly expect.

Just to go all Godwin's Law here, how different is the world if folks read Mein Kampf and took it seriously?
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Post #58 by NyQuil » Thu May 14, 2015 3:48 pm

I can't believe Chomsky kept responding.
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Post #59 by jester » Fri May 15, 2015 10:27 am

Tom Foolery wrote:It all hinges on "might", doesn't it? :)

Well, what you call a lack of follow through I call a misapprehension of how we really function. Our general view of ourselves based on psychology, psychiatry (to a lesser degree) and philosophy relies heavily on the concept of a unitary individual consciousness or personality. I say psychiatry to a lesser degree because they do admit - albeit only in what they see as pathological cases - that unitary personalities are not necessarily the case in all of us. But, anyway, that's probably best left for another day.

As for intentions, I agree they have something to tell us but I don't think they're as predictive as you seem to. Not to get too Hume-ian about it, but there's no logical or necessary connection between what I might want to do and what I can do. That's all down to means and circumstances. I can intend to fly to Jupiter on a broomstick all I like, afterall. When matching means to ends there's always the possibility that the means end up perverting the ends, sometimes even becoming their opposites.

Though above you seemed to agree with Chomsky's position regarding stated intentions, and yet seem to pull back here in your examples. I think Chomsky is right to declare stated intentions on the part of political actors to be usually quite empty of meaningful information. In fact, in Harris' case this is a key part of what Chomsky calls his religious fanaticism for the state. "They said their intentions are good, so they must be." Moreover, someone with your understanding of history and politics knows that it's very much part of the game to say one thing and do another quite deliberately.


I think this is a bit wide of the mark here ... largely because I think you are a bit too focused on the individual. Chomsky is right to hold skepticism of stated intentions, particularly when those stated intentions are used to justify "bad" behavior. Thus, why someone did something is not nearly as important as Harris makes it out to be. Beyond that, no matter how good intentions may be, they should not excuse horrific consequence no matter what ... which is often the case with Harris, it seems.

Harris, however, does have a point when he states that stated intent is important insofar as it helps us predict future behavior. I, for example, have a good idea of how a neoconservative ideologue would prosecute US foreign policy ... I have a good idea how Netanyahu and his current government will behave relative to Palestine ... I have a good idea how Islamic terrorists are likely to behave in the future ... It's important to recognize that this is a conversation not about actors wishing to fly to Jupiter on a broomstick, but actors with the means to follow through on most, if not all of their stated intentions. Indeed, that's a key element to Chomsky's dismissal of Harris' example in the email chain, it is simple not plausible that Clinton and his WH team were unaware of the consequences of bombing the factory. They did it anyway.

As for the last paragraph, I'm not sure I believe that. The unpredictability of the future plays a large role in the actions of political actors. George W. Bush intended to have a much different presidency than the one he did, for example. That being said, political actors often carry with them--and within the institutions they control--paradigms that to a large extent define the decisions that they make. [Note: I literally wrote a dissertation chapter entirely focused on how the career and cultural background of a British minister from the 1760s-80s primed him to prefer imperial strategy in the 1790s.] To take matters to a less morally troublesome arena, political actors (in the US, at least) tend to follow through on campaign promises to a large degree ... so, stated intent matters in that sense.

As a final point, I would have to read more of Chomsky's thoughts on this, but I'm not sure he would equate his critique of "benign intentions" to your phrasing of "quite empty of meaningful information." As I read him, that's a critique of using stated intentions to justify horrific consequence, but I'm not sure that is the same thing as an outright dismissal of intentions ... just an acknowledgment that CYA rhetoric operates at all levels.
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Post #60 by Dr_Chimera » Sun May 17, 2015 2:16 am

Do religious suicide bombers not have good intentions?
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Post #61 by Mufasa » Mon May 18, 2015 1:14 am

Harris clearly contact Chmské to troll him and get him into arguments about Chomské own morale (regarding terrorism mainly). But Chomské relentlessly comes back to the basics to try to force Harris to have an honnest discussion, since Harris doesn't have the tools he becomes very passive aggressive and still try to get into an argument about Chmské's morale as the old mens "belittles" him.

I dont get how people like Harris find the energy to spew lies and hypocrisy like that all the time. Why are those people doing this?
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Post #62 by Mufasa » Mon May 18, 2015 1:58 am

dempsey_k wrote:There's a lot of money to be made in having a ton of confidence and telling people what they want to hear while bashing dinosaurs.


Sure, still, but it's still a lot of energy and lies to gather. I just don't get how someone can do it all the time : biologicaly and psychologicly speaking. Is the human body/mind fit for so much bullshit? I'm not talking about Harris spécificaly, just his kind in general.
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Re: Philosophy Thread

Post #63 by Dr_Chimera » Mon Dec 07, 2015 2:18 pm

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Re: Philosophy Thread

Post #64 by Dr_Chimera » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:05 pm



Amazing replies to this.
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Re: Philosophy Thread

Post #65 by Dr_Chimera » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:04 pm

Interesting, long, cerebral takedown of the present-day Sillicon Valley: https://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/20 ... be-beaten/

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