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Wind In My Hair
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Philosophical musings

Postby Wind In My Hair » Sun, 21 May 2006 11:20 pm

this is meant to be a theory of everything kind of thread. we could discuss for example:


GAME THEORY

according to the prisoners' dilemma, two parties should co-operate for maximum benefit but usually end up protecting each one's own interest to the detriment of both. reminds me of the recent squabbles between mods and regulars. btw i think our mods are great and doing their job as best they can. so why does it happen? (nb: all whinging about mods can go into the other thread... this one is meant to discuss the logic or illogic of human behaviour using that merely as a pertinent example.)


MIND-BODY DIVIDE / DUALISM

most of us probably accept evolution as the best current explanation for human life. at which point then did we become different from the plants and other animals? how does a mind or consciousness or conscience come about where none existed before?


MORAL RELATIVITY

is there an objective good separate from our individual conceptions of what is good / right? if so, who determines it? if not, what basis is there of imposing our standards of right and wrong on others?


and just in case someone points out that we can go off on different tangents and should start a new thread for each issue, my intent is that sometimes when we juxtapose previously unassociated ideas some breakthrough happens. so yes, this topic is a free for all discussion within the bounds of philosophical thought.
Last edited by Wind In My Hair on Mon, 22 May 2006 1:21 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby ringo100 » Mon, 22 May 2006 6:32 pm

GAME THEORY

I think there are some parts of human nature which mean humans are not satisfied unless they have more than others or unless they win the contest (even if they lose overall). I think too many people do bite their nose off to spite there face. I’m not sure why, maybe greed, pride, envy.

Having said that, these cooperation situations occur in society and are abundant in nature.

MIND-BODY DIVIDE / DUALISM

I believe consciousness, memory, intelligence are all a products of evolution. I do not believe there is one defining moment where suddenly humans became conscious.

I think that as zoological studies increase we will find other animals are conscious; we already have evidence of chimps making tools, developing language, specific rituals, killing peers to build status within the group.

MORAL RELATIVITY

I was actually thinking about this the other day when traveling abroad and had some unusual experiences. While horrific from a western out look they were normal from a local perspective. I thought: what is wrong with these people? Then I realized they would probably have thought the same thing.

I am starting to think that there are a basic set of rules, which people should live by, but it should be as small as possible. I think it is inevitable that eventually most societies will finally settle on a liberal, secular morale framework.

It is important to protect cultural identity of minorities as long as the people in these minorities have the choice to opt out should they wish.

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Re: ...

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 22 May 2006 9:27 pm

ringo100 wrote:MIND-BODY DIVIDE / DUALISM

I believe consciousness, memory, intelligence are all a products of evolution. I do not believe there is one defining moment where suddenly humans became conscious.


i do not disagree. but once you allow an evolution from the purely material (say near-zero consciousness) to the emergence of mind (low to medium level consciousness), then you must also admit possibility of eventual evolution to a state of omniscience (full consciousness). and that beings with this level of evolution might already exist but we in our limited consciousness cannot yet comprehend nor even perceive.

ringo100 wrote:MORAL RELATIVITY

I am starting to think that there are a basic set of rules, which people should live by, but it should be as small as possible.


would natural law equate to this 'basic set of rules'?

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Postby ringo100 » Tue, 23 May 2006 1:26 pm

MIND-BODY DIVIDE / DUALISM

I personally believe humans are the most mentally advanced beings on Earth and while other species do display consciousness, they are not as advanced as humans (nor are they ever likely to be). I would also question the extent to which our consciousness will evolve going forward as in today’s world consciousness/ intelligence/creativity appear to give little advantage over other humans in terms of reproduction.

I think humans still have a long way to go before the full capacity of our brains is used, but I don't believe we will significantly evolve (unless through GM or other man-made methods).


MORAL RELATIVITY

By Natural law I am assuming you mean the strongest dominate. I don't think this can't work at the basic level (but obvious does take place at the country level). It is so difficult to define a set of rules because even the basics like the Ten Commandments can be picked apart.
A good start would be to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

Some of the US Bill of Rights is pretty good.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Sun, 28 May 2006 11:27 pm

well ringo, looks like it's just you and me here. i did wonder before posting the topic if anyone would respond at all, and one is infinitely better than none! :)

philosophy is one of those things that get you nowhere really, as most of us will end up where we began. the only difference, and an important one in my opinion, is that this time we know where we are.

ringo100 wrote:By Natural law I am assuming you mean the strongest dominate. I don't think this can't work at the basic level (but obvious does take place at the country level). It is so difficult to define a set of rules because even the basics like the Ten Commandments can be picked apart.
A good start would be to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

Some of the US Bill of Rights is pretty good.

no i don't mean the strongest dominate. i mean laws of nature which try as man might will not change just because he doesn't like them. for example every action has consequences and therefore it is a natural law that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions. or that any human being will fight to preserve his own life and hence the right to live is a natural law. or that given time any group of people who are oppressed will rise up to throw off their yoke and hence the inherent freedom of every person is a natural law. so you're right that the Bill of Rights is pretty good because it builds in that kind of thing.

i'm not talking about the catholic church's definition of natural law either as i alternate between understanding and not understanding that and right now i'm in a not-understanding phase.

treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

it's debatable whether that is merely a maxim or a natural law. i'm more and more inclined to think it's the latter. if you believe in karma that's easy to understand. what goes around comes around etc. but also on another plane, i don't know if this will make any sense but have you ever felt one with the universe? if so then whatever i do to another i am doing to me. by hurting another i am hurting me, whether i realise it or not, and whether it feels that way or not.

gosh this stuff twists my brain out of shape.

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Re: ...

Postby bushbride » Mon, 29 May 2006 3:36 pm

Hi WIMH and ringo,

This is a really interesting topic and one that I have been following since WIMH's first post. However, the academic nature of it does appear to be a little daunting on first read. I will join in, albeit with limited academic sighting.

ringo100 wrote:GAME THEORY

MIND-BODY DIVIDE / DUALISM

I believe consciousness, memory, intelligence are all a products of evolution. I do not believe there is one defining moment where suddenly humans became conscious.

I think that as zoological studies increase we will find other animals are conscious; we already have evidence of chimps making tools, developing language, specific rituals, killing peers to build status within the group.




I am not sure that consciousness, memory and intelligence are all evolutionary. I think that it is only that recently we put names to these things that may make it apear to be evolutionary.

Memory in it's purest form is instinct. There are patterns that have been learnt, like hunting, procreation, social group dynamics in all animals and this either learnt or subconsciously bred in all animal and plants. Based on a basic needs system.

Ancient Buddhism, believe in 5 levels of consciousness where as today psychology only sites 2 - consciousness and sub-consciousness. It, sometimes, almost appears that modern times are narrowing the scope of the mind and its capabilities – rather than evolving its concepts.

I also think that maybe the three concepts posed are not that different. Can be so courageous as to ask whether you are touching on the universal concept of ‘the meaning of life’ in the context of ancient and post modern philosophy?

BB
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Re: ...

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 29 May 2006 9:17 pm

hi BB, glad you've joined in the fray.

bushbride wrote:Memory in it's purest form is instinct. There are patterns that have been learnt, like hunting, procreation, social group dynamics in all animals and this either learnt or subconsciously bred in all animal and plants. Based on a basic needs system.


well said. never thought of it that way, and our school system sure makes it seem more like hard work than instinct. but you're right. every time we perform an action we build synapses or pathways in our brain without even trying. even with golf for example, the body remembers how to swing the club and that's why practice is the only way to become good at the game. muscular memory i think it's called.

bushbride wrote:Ancient Buddhism, believe in 5 levels of consciousness where as today psychology only sites 2 - consciousness and sub-consciousness.

this sounds fascinating. could you elaborate?

bushbride wrote:I also think that maybe the three concepts posed are not that different. Can be so courageous as to ask whether you are touching on the universal concept of ‘the meaning of life’ in the context of ancient and post modern philosophy?

i agree the three are not that different, which is why i wanted to include seemingly disparate trains of thought in the same thread. the modern day approach of categorising topics and analysing them individually is far different from the ancient and pre-renaissance approach to knowledge as a whole. we have bred generations of specialists but no one really knows how everything fits together anymore. bring back the generalists!

the 'meaning of life' is something i think about only when depressed or drunk :lol: but yes i'm touching here on what is 'the good life'. even what is life, and what makes me 'me'. of course the one sure way to get this thread going is to start on the philosophy of religion but that usually leads to emotions taking over and world war breaking out and so i'm staying away from that for now.

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Postby ringo100 » Mon, 29 May 2006 9:54 pm

I am not a spiritual person, I don’t believe in Karma or fate, I don’t believe in a God or Gods and I don’t believe there is a special like between humans (or nature) and the universe as a whole. I wish I could believe in some of these things. I do believe religion and other philosophies have been very important in the evolution of society and act as a good balance to our evolutionary “selfish”

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Re: ...

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 29 May 2006 10:41 pm

[quote="ringo100"]I wish I could believe in some of these things. I do believe religion and other philosophies have been very important in the evolution of society and act as a good balance to our evolutionary “selfish”

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Postby ringo100 » Tue, 30 May 2006 12:54 am

My use of "selfish" was more of a link to the idea that evolution occurs though "selfish genes". A mother’s love for her child can be completely explained in terms of "Selfish genes". However, this is discussion about philosophy and not evolution.

I don't agree that we are responsible for all the actions we make. If we take the argument to its extremes (like most philosophers do): am I responsible for the action of allowing my heart to beat? Or the action of my body growing hair?

These are physical actions that do effect my environment but I have no control over these things.

I know this sounds extreme and ridiculous; but if it is truly a "law" we have to play it out to the most extreme scenarios and see if it still works. We quickly find there are very few universal laws.

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Re: ...

Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 30 May 2006 3:42 am

ringo100 wrote:I don't agree that we are responsible for all the actions we make. If we take the argument to its extremes (like most philosophers do): am I responsible for the action of allowing my heart to beat? Or the action of my body growing hair?

yes, some people need to jolly well shave! :lol:

ok seriously now. that's where the division between conscious and subconscious comes in useful. we are responsible for our conscious actions. having said that, let's push the envelope, as you're right that philosophically an argument has to hold at its extreme to hold at all.

there are instances where people seem to have been able to gain control over their 'subconscious' bodily actions like slowing down the beating of their hearts. ever heard the story of the man who thought he was trapped in a freezer and his body went into hypothermia and they found him dead and frozen stiff next morning. turns out the freezer wasn't even working. the mind is more powerful than we realise.

also, ask anyone who's committed suicide whether they were responsible for not allowing their heart to beat? surely the answer is yes. and if so, then by choosing not to commit suicide, they would have been responsible for allowing their heart to beat.

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Postby Oriental » Tue, 30 May 2006 11:22 am

Dear WIMH,

...and the Law is mankind’s desperate and imperfect attempt to achieve but the slightest sense of justice....
Impossible is nothing!

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Re: ...

Postby bushbride » Tue, 30 May 2006 12:18 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
ringo100 wrote:I don't agree that we are responsible for all the actions we make. If we take the argument to its extremes (like most philosophers do): am I responsible for the action of allowing my heart to beat? Or the action of my body growing hair?

yes, some people need to jolly well shave! :lol:



Ok, so I find this a very interesting concept. We can control our emotions to some extent and therefore be responsible for actions and impact of these emotions.

Take for example stress, as an emotion. The symptoms of stress can be hair loss and hair gain - depending on which way our hormones work. So, the brain can have the ability to control the levels of stress we feel. We can increase stressful thoughts to increase hair loss, or reduce stressful thoughts to encourage hair retention. Same way we can increase and decrease our blood pressure and strain on the heart. Therefore, we can be responsible for actions.

So I like how you put this WHIM
Wind In My Hair wrote:also, ask anyone who's committed suicide whether they were responsible for not allowing their heart to beat? surely the answer is yes. and if so, then by choosing not to commit suicide, they would have been responsible for allowing their heart to beat.


But we do get into the area of mental illness here. If you are mentally disadvantaged and do not have full use of your brain, then are you immune to the 'consious justice circle'?

Further more, The Law (Oriental) is based on religon. The 10 commandments and Islam, Buddism etc depending on where you are from. This is selective in nature. Man selects the stories or bits of a teaching that they feel is 'acceptable' for the society we choose to have. But I find it interesting that in Christianty, "he without sin cast the first stone' and justice is only served at gods hand. Yet we play the control game of taking power into our own hands to form a social norm/ social existance.... selective survival
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Postby ringo100 » Tue, 30 May 2006 1:05 pm

I don't believe we have any serious control of the two examples I gave about. Two slow ones heart is not the same stopping it or say reversing the flow of blood of in your veins and arteries. I think the clearer argument would be to draw the distinction between subconscious and conscious action.

But does the subconscious influence the conscious mind?

Are you responsible for consequences or your actions if you had no way in knowing what the out come would be? For example when people say a butterfly flapping its wings in Europe could cause a hurricane in Florida. Should the butterfly really be held accountable for all those deaths?

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Postby Cheekybeek » Tue, 30 May 2006 1:09 pm

Aren't you talking the sympathetic nervous system here? I don't believe that we can stop the sympathetic nervous system from doing its' job.

One cannot hold one's breath until he dies.


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