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Sand
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08 Feb 2009, 6:56 am

As much as I found Plato inlaid with a good deal of nonsense he did the best he could under his cultural circumstances and yet he wrestled with the concept of justice as a universal to little if any success. In his day it was just to own slaves and mistreat women. In our day both of these things are ostensibly out of style (at least in Western culture) but it still is very prevalent even here. It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.



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08 Feb 2009, 8:19 am

Sand wrote:
As much as I found Plato inlaid with a good deal of nonsense he did the best he could under his cultural circumstances and yet he wrestled with the concept of justice as a universal to little if any success. In his day it was just to own slaves and mistreat women. In our day both of these things are ostensibly out of style (at least in Western culture) but it still is very prevalent even here. It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.


Even so, Plato's dialectical excursions (featuring Socrates as the protagonist) laid the ground work for Aristotle's more worldly perspective. Without Plato there would be no Aristotle as we have come to know him.

Ironically it is the Platonic-Pythagorean program which puts abstract principle first (especially mathematics) that has prevailed in modern physics. Aristotle's more common sense based approach to physics was deconstructed thoroughly by Galileo, Kopernic, Kepler and Newton.

Aristotelian biologogy (which was devoid of evolution) was pretty well canceled out after Darwin.

ruveyn



Sand
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08 Feb 2009, 8:44 am

ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
As much as I found Plato inlaid with a good deal of nonsense he did the best he could under his cultural circumstances and yet he wrestled with the concept of justice as a universal to little if any success. In his day it was just to own slaves and mistreat women. In our day both of these things are ostensibly out of style (at least in Western culture) but it still is very prevalent even here. It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.


Even so, Plato's dialectical excursions (featuring Socrates as the protagonist) laid the ground work for Aristotle's more worldly perspective. Without Plato there would be no Aristotle as we have come to know him.

Ironically it is the Platonic-Pythagorean program which puts abstract principle first (especially mathematics) that has prevailed in modern physics. Aristotle's more common sense based approach to physics was deconstructed thoroughly by Galileo, Kopernic, Kepler and Newton.

Aristotelian biologogy (which was devoid of evolution) was pretty well canceled out after Darwin.

ruveyn


Philosophers in general should be treated with a good deal of cautionary analysis. Russell pointed out that Aristotle proclaimed that women were genetically lacking as many teeth as men whereas it only was necessary for him to look into his wife's mouth to discover his error. Although may seem trivial it is indicative of the habit of philosophers to construct elaborate mental models of reality with no reference to data to back up their suppositions, no matter how coherent they might appear. Science, of course, always begins with philosophical speculation but it is considered useless unless backed by precise references to investigation of actual phenomena and these references must be confirmed by a community of scientists before they are taken seriously. This again is where science and theology part company since theology almost always resides in pure unconfirmed speculation which may have emotionl appeal but has little possibility of realistic confirmation.

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.
Richard P. Feynman



ruveyn
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08 Feb 2009, 8:49 am

Sand wrote:

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.
Richard P. Feynman


Bang on. Beauty is not Truth no matter how much we would like it to be. I do miss Feynman's plain talk approach. He was one in a zillion.

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08 Feb 2009, 10:54 am

Sand wrote:
It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.

If you really believed that, why would you have a problem with other people disagreeing with you?

If there is no such thing as justice, but some deluded people in the world who think that there is; that would mean that you could lie to them but they can't lie to you, you could steal from them but they can't steal from you, you could cheat them but they can't cheat you.

Isn't that a win-win situation?


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08 Feb 2009, 11:13 am

NobelCynic wrote:
Sand wrote:
It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.

If you really believed that, why would you have a problem with other people disagreeing with you?

If there is no such thing as justice, but some deluded people in the world who think that there is; that would mean that you could lie to them but they can't lie to you, you could steal from them but they can't steal from you, you could cheat them but they can't cheat you.

Isn't that a win-win situation?


Humans have an intuitive notion of what is right and fair. This is because we have evolved using a system of reciprocal altruism to survive. The Chimps also have this but to a lesser degree.

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08 Feb 2009, 11:31 am

NobelCynic wrote:
Sand wrote:
It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.

If you really believed that, why would you have a problem with other people disagreeing with you?

If there is no such thing as justice, but some deluded people in the world who think that there is; that would mean that you could lie to them but they can't lie to you, you could steal from them but they can't steal from you, you could cheat them but they can't cheat you.

Isn't that a win-win situation?


It depends upon what you mean as win-win. Madoff and a good many congressmen and a huge number of businessmen do feel that way and a good many of them seem to be getting away with it. The internet is full of people with that philosophy. But don't want to live in a world that permits that so I act differently. I make very little difference in the world but it's all I can do. There are cultures that feel fine about punishing women who have been raped and children born out of wedlock and cutting the hands off thieves and putting people in prison for a few grains of pot in their pockets. That's not my idea of justice and I behave according to my own standards.



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08 Feb 2009, 11:36 am

ruveyn wrote:
NobelCynic wrote:
Sand wrote:
It's totally obvious that justice is a cultural concept and no all powerful God mandates any regulations in the matter. That people think otherwise is an obvious delusion.

If you really believed that, why would you have a problem with other people disagreeing with you?

If there is no such thing as justice, but some deluded people in the world who think that there is; that would mean that you could lie to them but they can't lie to you, you could steal from them but they can't steal from you, you could cheat them but they can't cheat you.

Isn't that a win-win situation?


Humans have an intuitive notion of what is right and fair. This is because we have evolved using a system of reciprocal altruism to survive. The Chimps also have this but to a lesser degree.

ruveyn


Human cultures existed for centuries where it was considered the right thing to punish Jews just for being Jews. Gypsies are still mostly in that status. In many cultures men beat their wives and treat them horribly and that is considered OK. There are cultures within cultures where the murder of innocents is accepted and ignored as "collateral damage". There is nothing inherent about decent behavior. It must be taught. Kant is full of crap.



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08 Feb 2009, 6:27 pm

NobelCynic wrote:
If I am reading this correctly, the currency you are placing this bet with is you are willing to give up the pleasure injustice could bring you, in this life, in the hope of gaining entrance into this just afterlife. Have you considered the possibility that if you are not willing to do that anyway, without promise of reward, you don't qualify?


You are reading it correctly. Thank you for a response that actually helps me clarify my position.
A very long time ago I noticed that the only reason I refrained from doing unjust acts was because I didn’t like the way I felt afterward. I also noticed that for every righteous act I did, I always had a selfish motive somewhere behind it. Not necessarily my primary motive, but at least an auxiliary motive. I disliked this about myself, but was unable to do anything about it. Try as I may, I became forced to admit that I was all I cared about. The only reason I care about other people is because I need to in order to get what I want for myself. But upon examining other persons who appeared (and often claimed) to be doing righteous things for unselfish motives, I noticed that they also had the same auxiliary motives. I soon concluded that everyone is like this, which made me very proud of myself for having seen it, and more so for admitting it. I felt like the smartest and noblest person in the world, until I found others who saw and admitted the same.

The fact is, I want the big rewards. If I have to change my motives in order to get those rewards, I’m S.O.L. I also want to deserve the big rewards, because I noticed that when I had good stuff that I didn’t deserve, I didn’t feel right about it.

So, in order for me to get to worthwhile life, there must be an afterlife in which people are rewarded or punished for their willful actions independently of their motivation. If that doesn’t exist, again I’m S.O.L.

So the possibilities are these:
  1. No afterlife, and I’m S.O.L.
  2. Afterlife where you need to do righteous stuff without selfish motivation, and I’m S.O.L.
  3. Afterlife where you get rewarded or punished independently of motivation, and I have a chance of getting to worthwhile life.

Therefore, #3 is my only sensible bet.


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08 Feb 2009, 7:21 pm

If the guilt that follows an unjust act neutralizes the pleasure obtained from it, you are not betting anything by giving them up. What do your theological opinions have to do with it? Wouldn't an Atheist who behaved the same way be judged the same.

It sounds like you are simply choosing to believe what is most comfortable for you to believe; and you call this truth seaking? 8O


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08 Feb 2009, 7:33 pm

Honestly, if I had to put forward your options, here's what they'd be.

1) No afterlife
2) Afterlife based upon theory of justice A
3) Afterlife based upon theory of justice B
4) Afterlife based upon theory of justice C
....
N+1) Afterlife based upon theory of justice ?

Some of the theories of justice will be impossible options, as you will never be able to sate them, this includes NobelCynic's view of justice, as that which is done unselfishly. It also includes some religious afterlife options, which might be what you would consider subsets of "God is an arbitrary tyrant", but with which some people might disagree with you. In any case, given N possible theories of justice, some conflicting, and no epistemic right to distinguish between them, the postulate becomes meaningless.

The only thing that can salvage your Pascalian wager is to create a metaethic stand in which makes the plausible stands on ethics extremely limited, which seems as if it would be very difficult given your high level of ethical relativism, as you would have to argue for an overarching standard while denying it at the same time.

Because of the problems, I would argue that your position reduces to absurdity. You have to make a number of arbitrary assumptions before you get to the point of a plausible choice, and in doing so, you end up being absurd. And thus, I would argue that even if your stance is accepted, it has fallen into the irrationality and nihilism you were so afraid of from atheism.



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08 Feb 2009, 7:36 pm

NobelCynic wrote:
It sounds like you are simply choosing to believe what is most comfortable for you to believe; and you call this truth seaking? 8O

I would already argue that he has no epistemic right to believe his own position, AKA he is not truth-seeking at all but rather has blatantly transgressed this line already.



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08 Feb 2009, 8:56 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
The only thing that can salvage your Pascalian wager is to create a metaethic stand in which makes the plausible stands on ethics extremely limited

The OP has done this AG, reducing the choices down to this:

1) No afterlife
2) Afterlife baised upon a theory of justice that corresponds with my own
3) Afterlife baised upon some other theory of justice

Analyzing the situation like that, his choice becomes a no-brainer. The only thing I am having trouble understanding is why he wants to discuss it.


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08 Feb 2009, 9:01 pm

NobelCynic wrote:
If the guilt that follows an unjust act neutralizes the pleasure obtained from it, you are not betting anything by giving them up.

True, but if I had chosen to, I doubt that I would have had any more trouble annihilating my conscience than those who have obviously succeeded at it. The first decade or so it was very difficult to bypass opportunities. But after passing the point of no return, those opportunities became less and less tempting.

NobelCynic wrote:
What do your theological opinions have to do with it?

Not much any more. Though I arrived at this location via Christianity, I don’t think Christianity is necessary to arrive at this location. A just afterlife would imply all necessary preconditions of its existence, and that would imply just beings in charge of it. Such a system would be unstable without a just being in charge, so I’m committed to monotheism.

NobelCynic wrote:
Wouldn't an Atheist who behaved the same way be judged the same.

Yes! He definitely would. We would all be judged by what we did with the data we found. An honest atheist would do better than a dishonest theist, and an ethical atheist better than an unethical theist.

NobelCynic wrote:
It sounds like you are simply choosing to believe what is most comfortable for you to believe;

I can’t deny that. It has been very uncomfortable getting here, but now that I’m here, it would be uncomfortable moving out of here.

NobelCynic wrote:
and you call this truth seeking?

The bet itself is not truth seeking; it’s simply a bet. The truth seeking preceded it. Still, I want to talk to truth seekers, because I’ve found a lot of truth that I can help them see, and they can help me see flaws in my position. Non-truth seekers waste my time.


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08 Feb 2009, 9:18 pm

NobelCynic wrote:
The OP has done this AG, reducing the choices down to this:

1) No afterlife
2) Afterlife baised upon a theory of justice that corresponds with my own
3) Afterlife baised upon some other theory of justice

Analyzing the situation like that, his choice becomes a no-brainer. The only thing I am having trouble understanding is why he wants to discuss it.

Well, the big issue is that this seems relatively absurd to me. I mean, he is basically saying that 2 is the solution without any good or valid reason for it. You are right, there is no reason for him to talk about it. Like, an assertion is an assertion, and this is an arbitrary one. It is hard to say that one is making an arbitrary assumption and assert that in doing so one is avoiding irrationality.