Religium!

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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Thu May 16, 2013 11:41 am

uatg wrote:
Why shouldn't it be neutral? In order to be universally applicable, the framework must consist of applying the natural onto the artificial. The scientific method (in my opinion - I know you disagree on this) is closely related to that as it tries to define something lose from anything artificial - BUT - I also want to keep science away from ethics, as the former (again, in my opinion!) doesn't need a reference to the transcendent/supernatural as ethics eventually has to 'consult' it in one way or the other (through a religious or non-religious construct). So the ethical framework I would like to define should be completely lose from any historic or cultural product but also from science. This does not have to lead to the philosophies that you mentioned. In fact I don't like to refer to existing definitions when I am defining my framework because it should be grounded onto something natural and thus not yet 'transformed' by former human interpretation.
I am not opposed to neutrality. My point is that insistence on neutrality beyond a certain point is a fool's errand. My point is that all systems created by man must, necessarily, exist within a cultural and historical framework. They must be "transformed" to use your words in order to be understood. In a sense the essence of the good, the true and the beautiful (to use Greek philosophic terminology) is closed to mankind and we must interpret and instantiate these truths. (Think the forms if you are familiar with Plato and Aristotle.)

Let me give an example.

2+2 = 4 Unless you are a solipsist or an extreme skeptic, which I assume you are not, this statement should be completely uncontroversial. My point is that even math, what is regarded as the pure, "universal language" must exist within historical and cultural constraints.

2+2 = 4 This exhibits a number of characteristics. The numerals were borrowed from ancient India and the symbols were developed in medieval Europe. The result can be expressed as either 4, IIII, IV, 100 (binary). The essence or form of "four" must be expressed using symbols. Likewise it is impossible to imagine "four" in its essence in our minds. We use either a symbol or four of something in particular. Four lines, four dots. Likewise "four" does not exist in the real world. There must be four of something instantiated, four apples, four cars. (The same can be said of other phenomena such as colors.)

Also, our system is base ten. If I say to you 13641 x 10 = 136410 you know instantly that this is true. In our system any number multiplied by "ten" (10) is made one order of magnitude larger. If I say 13641 x 6 = 81856 you will have to take my word for it or check the answer yourself. (The real answer is 81846 but I imagine you did not catch that.)

What I am illustrating here is that even mathematics has heavy cultural biases. We work with numerals and orders of magnitude which make calculations easy but distort our perception of size (to a degree). Base ten is rather anthropomorphic (ten fingers). Why not work in binary? Practically this would be very difficult. What is
327/3 = 109 in binary? It would be a mess. Conceiving of higher bases is difficult for not math majors. I simply cannot wrap my mind around hexadecimal.

More in line with the original point, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Mayans, Greeks and Indians all had radically different systems of mathematics. All of these systems were made particular within a given cultural framework. All would have expresses 2+2 = 4 in a different way and would have understood this truth in a slightly different manner. This does not mean that the essence or form of "two" and "four" were different for each culture. It should also be obvious that borrowing certain aspects of a culture does not entail an appraisal of other aspects. I am currently writing in Latin (alphabet) but I have never sacrificed a young lamb to Zeus. I am using Indian symbols to express my numbers yet I am not a fan of music played on the sitar. Those who believe in science are using a methodological approach dating from the early modern period in European history but scientists today do not wear wigs and frills.

The point of all this is that, again as expressed by Burke, everything is instantiated in the human experience, in culture and history to some extend. It is impossible to really escape from ourselves, to reach the forms so to speak. If mathematics is so rooted in particular experience imagine how much "worse" other disciplines are likely to be. Again 2+2 = 4 is an expression of a universal truth (I assume we can all agree on that) but this instantiation is in fact biased and carries with it certain prejudices.
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Mon May 20, 2013 2:17 pm

Edward Fox wrote: I am not opposed to neutrality. My point is that insistence on neutrality beyond a certain point is a fool's errand. My point is that all systems created by man must, necessarily, exist within a cultural and historical framework. They must be "transformed" to use your words in order to be understood. In a sense the essence of the good, the true and the beautiful (to use Greek philosophic terminology) is closed to mankind and we must interpret and instantiate these truths. (Think the forms if you are familiar with Plato and Aristotle.)
You may call it an 'obstacle' we encounter between our minds and what we see. We have to transform or process the experienced into a form that we can use/manipulate (share the experience with others for example). But that is something 'ubiquitous', so in my opinion it is unnecesarry to contemplate about. That's why I keep with the applied forms - something that can be of practical use - and do not mind metaphysics. It also does not justify why a religious reference frame is a necessity (or that it has a higher value then, lets say, an atheistic framework), nor that it can overcome this problem.

Funny that you mention Plato and Aristotle, I'm reading Nicomachean Ethics from Aristotle and the next book in line is The Republic from Plato :-). I'm familiar with the concept of the 'Truth' that is only accessible by the 'Gods' and not by the mortals but I cannot make any final conclusions about their views yet - I will have to read all his works sometime in the future for that to happen (and multiple times as Aritotles' way of reasoning is not easy to follow!).
Edward Fox wrote:The point of all this is that, again as expressed by Burke, everything is instantiated in the human experience, in culture and history to some extend. It is impossible to really escape from ourselves, to reach the forms so to speak. If mathematics is so rooted in particular experience imagine how much "worse" other disciplines are likely to be. Again 2+2 = 4 is an expression of a universal truth (I assume we can all agree on that) but this instantiation is in fact biased and carries with it certain prejudices.
Your example tells us indeed that even the most 'neutral' way humans have to express themselves has a cultural and historical 'part'. But that part is only the shell, not the meaning. I believe that mathematics (as science) is a tool completely lose from any artificial intrusion but the form we use to manipulate it does not (like you proved with your example). At least that is how I see it. The 'Truth' is accessible with these tools but will always have an artifical shell around it (that has - in my opinion - no practical consequences).

In my process of using the neutral as a universal framework I cannot leave out the 'interpretation' part and so you can argue that I will never have access to the neutral because the shell is inpenetrable (like you say). But we are drifting away from what is essential: which framework do we have to use? It seems that all frameworks will suffer from this famous 'interpretion' error and thus it cannot be used as an argument in this inquiry. What are the other arguments we can use? The one - with all your respect - with the wamest story or with the longest history? The argument I use in my process is that I refer to the most neutral references left (logic, observation of nature, human experience, ...). Yes, in order to use these I already transformed them - as it is the case with all things we experience.

So I think I see what you mean here but I don't see how it can function as an obstruction to the process of shaping the 'most neutral framework' possible. I'm also convinced that it is of no use to contemplate about the metaphysical when you want to define an ethical reference frame. I'm aware of the interpretation error but as I said earlier I think it has no practical consequences for our reasoning.
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Re: Religium!

Post by Edward Fox » Tue May 21, 2013 11:58 am

First off, I would like to thank you (and any observers) for being so civil. Usually such discussions break down. The moment this one starts to break down (which I seriously doubt would be your fault) I plan to leave as I have more productive things to do than engage in shouting matches.

I think it would be helpful to break this discussion into two issues.

-----

Issue One:
uatg wrote:
Your example tells us indeed that even the most 'neutral' way humans have to express themselves has a cultural and historical 'part'. But that part is only the shell, not the meaning. I believe that mathematics (as science) is a tool completely lose from any artificial intrusion but the form we use to manipulate it does not (like you proved with your example). At least that is how I see it. The 'Truth' is accessible with these tools but will always have an artifical shell around it (that has - in my opinion - no practical consequences).
This is precisely the area where I think you are mistaken. Even mathematics, as used by man, must be instantiated in a particular way. This does not make human mathematics false or impoverished (there are bridges built by the Romans which are still in use 2,000 or so years later) but it does make it less-than-universal (once we start using it).

There are practical consequences in that we can devise better or worse systems. Science is not inherently the be-all end-all of knowledge. It was developed at a particular time in a particular intellectual climate. There were no scientists among the ancient Greeks. The term "science" is less than 500 years old. Before science there was natural philosophy in the West. The East and the New World had their own "scientific" traditions.


-----

Issue Two:
uatg wrote: I'm also convinced that it is of no use to contemplate about the metaphysical when you want to define an ethical reference frame. I'm aware of the interpretation error but as I said earlier I think it has no practical consequences for our reasoning.
But if we cannot consult the metaphysical what are we to consult? You said yourself that you are not a moral relativist. I take this to mean that you believe in some sort of moral system. If this is true then from where does this system originate? Again it must be the supernatural (that which is outside of nature). The physical world cannot inform us of what is good, true, beautiful or right.

An analogy might be helpful here. Color means noting to a blind man. Light is comprehensible only to those with eyes. Likewise the good the true and the beautiful (a Greek term) is only comprehensible to those with a moral imagination (this is not the best sounding term but it is the technical term in use by those like Claes Ryn). Color is an empirical phenomenon reducible to the concrete (in light waves). The good the true and the beautiful exist on another plane (a horrible term but useful nonetheless). To even consider the ethical such phenomena we must turn to the transcendent and the metaphysical. Ethics does not exist in the concrete.
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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Wed May 22, 2013 4:52 pm

Edward Fox wrote:First off, I would like to thank you (and any observers) for being so civil. Usually such discussions break down. The moment this one starts to break down (which I seriously doubt would be your fault) I plan to leave as I have more productive things to do than engage in shouting matches.
I wanted to say the same thing to you (and any passive audience...). Thanks for the time you are putting into this, even with the knowledge (I assume) that I'm not convertible :-). I always want to try to find out how other convinced peoples (you are a good example) think and which arguments they use and the best way of doing this is in a civil way.
Edward Fox wrote:This is precisely the area where I think you are mistaken. Even mathematics, as used by man, must be instantiated in a particular way. This does not make human mathematics false or impoverished (there are bridges built by the Romans which are still in use 2,000 or so years later) but it does make it less-than-universal (once we start using it).
It may not be universal if you consider the fact that everything we absorb cannot be universal. But it is the closest we can get.
Edward Fox wrote:There are practical consequences in that we can devise better or worse systems. Science is not inherently the be-all end-all of knowledge. It was developed at a particular time in a particular intellectual climate. There were no scientists among the ancient Greeks. The term "science" is less than 500 years old. Before science there was natural philosophy in the West. The East and the New World had their own "scientific" traditions.
I do agree that science is a method that has evolved from a cultural basis but it has become a powerful tool and - such as mathematics - it is one that enables us to come as close as possible to revealing that 'Truth' we are so fond of.
Edward Fox wrote:But if we cannot consult the metaphysical what are we to consult? You said yourself that you are not a moral relativist. I take this to mean that you believe in some sort of moral system. If this is true then from where does this system originate? Again it must be the supernatural (that which is outside of nature). The physical world cannot inform us of what is good, true, beautiful or right.
By consulting the Natural world and logic I am in some way consulting the supernatural because we give something a meaning that has in fact no meaning (Nature did not create something because it is good or bad etc...). The moral system I want to use originates from the supernatural interpretation of the natural (I think that sentence says it all). So in that sense we can agree.
Edward Fox wrote:Color is an empirical phenomenon reducible to the concrete (in light waves). The good the true and the beautiful exist on another plane (a horrible term but useful nonetheless). To even consider the ethical such phenomena we must turn to the transcendent and the metaphysical. Ethics does not exist in the concrete.
Yes, Science and mathematics can explain or justify the concrete. Indeed, ethics is in that sense something abstract. The point you want to make is that we have no tools to explain or justify the abstract (especially ethics)? Well I must admit that we do not have such tools and never will have any that are as powerful as science and mathemtics for the concrete. So again, in that sense we agree.

So yes, I come to the same point I made earlier: that we cannot justify ethics with a science-like tool (but for abstract things) and therefore never say that a certain frame is truly universal. BUT what we CAN create is a moral system that uses arguments that come as close as POSSIBLE to the universal. I don't know if following example is a good one but it illustrates my point: you can explain why vices such as murder or rape are bad because it says so in religious literature (= one moral system that tries to come close to the universal) or you can explain it because it disrepsects life in general (= another moral system that tries to be 'universal'). The former is a religious approach while the latter is a more humanistic approach. Both are supernatural interpretations (because Nature cannot judge actions) but I choose for the latter because that argument is based on less cultural/historical constructs and more on universal/neutral constructs (but not truly universal yet because there is no universal).

Am I closing in on our different way we interprete ethics?
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Re: Religium!

Post by fabriciovic2 » Wed May 22, 2013 7:43 pm

the chat is good,but,my religion was the Marimoonism,the other guy here in forum practices Heathermorrisizm,i ved practiced years before the Rachelweizism,the Emilybrowninsm,The AmandaSeifriedciszm,but in true,my nowadays girlfriend is my godess...euphoria is the guilt
LOVE could be the universal religion among the people...we cant be anarchists because we are not civilization enough to not receive orders by governments and laws,when the hate will fade out on earth s minds(utopic stuff,because they,the humans dont stop the hate),anarchy doesnt mean the end of religion,but the respect to follow any creed you want IF you dont hurt anyone,as civilization,but without a single lider saying orders for you...Freedom,i think is the first capital civil right that everbody in the world MUST have...cheers..
ps:If you know American/European girls?,introduce some of them to me,i can introduce you Brazilian Gilrs(no is not for obscure purposes,is for pure dating)
Bye Galera(Fellows)

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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Thu May 23, 2013 6:54 pm

@fabriciovic2: the problem with using 'love' as a moral guide is that good men can only love what is good. So in order to truly love you must first define what is good and what is bad. To have the ability to judge what is good or bad you need an ethical system of some kind. If every person can identify the other as 'good' then everybody will love each other and then your dream would be a reality. The problem with today's world is that there are not many people that can identify the good in others (or the bad) and so you have lots of peoples that cannot love as you cannot love something that is bad (except if you are bad too)...

Anarchism and freedom are different - yet very interesting - debates. I agree with what you say, the moral culture of the average person is too limited for an anarchistic society. But it must be said that a society comprised of perfect individuals could function perfectly fine without any form of state so in that sense anarchism is not bad at all. I believe that on small scale an anarchistic society could be much more succesful then any existing state-systems. The more freedom a person has the less responsabilities he must have. It's about finding the golden middle way I guess...

Regarding your request I'm afraid I cannot be of any help :? .
You either taste, feel, and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt, or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. You are either a rebel or a slave. - Chris Hedges

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Re: Religium!

Post by fabriciovic2 » Fri May 24, 2013 6:32 pm

uatg,dont be afraid with this,my town(vitoria) is not rio,we dont sell others people bodyparts,or attack tourists(foreingners could have firearms and make"war tourism"in rio and kill all that rio s thug mtfkrs),so...but,i was very simple about,love vs hate stuff(sounds that im i kind of hippie or something,im not so pacifist at this point),but as human,thats the problem with us as humans,Violence,other humans acting like animals and hurting other people or trying to take social control.If we wasnt violent human beeings we could be in harmony with earth,thats a utopic dream,the"anarchy"concept yes,can change to Freedom concept,because i dont follow toughts from guys like Bakunin,but Stiner and Proudon(in theory)but we are not prepared for that yet,or forever,because we are not civilized enough to not kill our other humans around us.
yes im not against religion im againist the sociopats that using any excuses(include politics)to have power against other people

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Re: Religium!

Post by uatg » Sat May 25, 2013 9:32 am

fabriciovic2,
Don't worry I did not want to insinuate that :-)! It's just that you brought up a totally different topic so that I did not know how to answer it, that's why I was bit confused :-).

Yes I agree with what you say about freedom and love and I wish it was that simple too. But there are so many things in this insane world that peoples cannot love so in that sense we cannot (directly) contribute to world peace. We thus should first 'neutralize' (=violence) the things we cannot love in order to achieve that utopic world.

The largest mass of peoples will never achieve a 'civilized' state so with current population sizes I think that it will remain an impossibility...
You either taste, feel, and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt, or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. You are either a rebel or a slave. - Chris Hedges

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