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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?      Home login  
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 karma1160
Joined: 6/10/2008
Msg: 76
Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?Page 4 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
I do not know what the legality of leaving would be, but it seems like this situation would be comparable to leaving the scene of an accident.
Eventhough the accident has not occured, the chances of this child falling into the pond are great.
If a doctor comes along a situation where they realize that a patient needs extra care, and it is not provided, the doctor is held liable for negligence, because he did not provide the standard of care that was appropriate for the given situation.
No one argues with this?
There are laws to protect people who stop and try to help, they are called good samaritan laws look it up.
The only way these do not apply is if the person who stops is a medical provider and does not give what would be considered as the resonable standard of care for the given situation.

There has been a lot of research into why people do not stop to help and most of it involves fear, thinking that other people will do something or not looking the person directly in the eye so they feel desensitized to their plight.

If a child is in danger there is no time to stop and think. If someone acuses you of messing with their child so what! 10 years from the day the situation occured what are you going to remember most, the fact that you saved a childs life or the fact that you maybe ditched an angry parent?
Look at the big picture here, we are all connected we all have people, that we love in our life that we want to be safe.
I would not even give this a second thought.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 77
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/22/2011 12:51:09 AM

I do not know what the legality of leaving would be, but it seems like this situation would be comparable to leaving the scene of an accident. Even though the accident has not occured, the chances of this child falling into the pond are great.


Even if the child had been IN the pond, flopping and shrieking, its blond ringlets bobbing above the dark pool, and the man had been a swimming champion, he could have laughed and walked away, as the poor thing slipped beneath the surface. With no legal consequences at all, under the traditional rule in this country. (See my earlier post on this.)

Drowning-child hypotheticals (with even more lurid, pathos-evoking details than mine) are sometimes put in the torts section of the bar exam to trap the unwary. The classic comment on our law on the duty to rescue (or lack of any) was made--dryly as usual--by Oliver W. Holmes, the longtime Supreme Court justice.

I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like this: "Surely this is a wonderful country, where a man can sit calmly on a pier, having a smoke, while only a few yards away, in full view of him, a woman flounders in the water, screaming for help; and even if she should drown, the law will have required nothing of him." Holmes might have had the man practicing his knots on a long piece of rope, to make it even worse--or maybe he did, and I've left out that detail.

You've got the "good samaritan" rule pretty much right. No one will sue you for negligence --at least successfully--as long as you don't do something pretty boneheaded. Especially if you're saving a little kid, for Christ's sake! You have a duty to use the care a reasonable person would use in that situation--not to be perfect. (If you're a doctor, the standard's higher.)

Also, even though the law doesn't require you to do anything, once you start to help, you can't just quit, without some very good reason. Why? Because other potential rescuers might have seen you with the victim not long before you quit on him or her, and gone on their way, thinking you had things covered. How were they to know that five minutes later, you'd decide you just couldn't bring yourself to go on? When the paramedics, police, or other competent helpers arrive to take over, *then* your good deed's done.

The idea is to encourage people to help when someone's injured or in trouble--a policy that makes sense, when there's no legal obligation to do anything--while protecting the victim from having a rescuer injure him even worse by doing something completely reckless. "I'm gonna jest lay you down here for a minute, buddy, while I rest a little an' have a cigarette, OK? Don't worry none about that pavement bein' wet--it's jest a little gas from where the tank busted open. Now where's my lighter . . . "
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 78
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/22/2011 2:39:49 AM
Legally speaking... most states have what's called " good faith " laws.
This means that anyone who makes a " good faith " effort to try and save another from imminent death, that person cannot be held responsible if they fail.

If you find a person lying in the street, obviously on the verge of death and you try to save them, you wont be held legally responsible for them dying despite your efforts. Even if you didn't know what you were doing and actually made the situation worse. As long as your efforts to save them were in " good faith ".

Also legally, no person is responsible to try and save another.
If you find a person lying in the street, dying and you do nothing to save them, you are also not responsible for them, despite how morally uncomfortable this might be.
 Kardinal Offishall
Joined: 2/26/2010
Msg: 79
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/22/2011 7:00:26 AM
Appreciative:


Well...look who it is...


When, rarely, we can actually prevent them from doing what they like to, then we do so because of feelings, not because of theory.


OK, but that's just a descriptive explanation of why many people may act to prevent certain others from perpetrating the examples I gave.

There is a fundamental distinction to be drawn between what may impel one to act in a moral way, on the one hand, and the justifications for moral action, on the other.

Deferring to psychological and neurobiological facts only addresses the descriptive aspect. What we're asking here is of a prescriptive (as opposed to descriptive nature): “What ought one do, morally speaking?”

Indeed, I'm personally very much interested in the psychological, cognitive, evolutionary and neurobiological underpinnings of moral reasoning, and we could discuss those matters, but for the present purposes I was more specifically focused on the prescriptive aspect -- the topic of the thread, incidentally.



Irrelevant, my friend. Regardless of what is (said to be) prized, authority is what you follow. Yes, I admit that maybe you don't know that.


I'm not sure what that was in reference to. Are you talking about that other consciousness hokum you were on about before?



I refer to your belief in the legitimacy, the validity of it.


So are you saying that it's OK to throw puppies against the wall and torture babies?

Or do you think there are good reasons that can be marshalled against such acts? If you agree that good reasons can be made against those acts, then yes you actually do think moral philosophy has validity.

That, after all, is what it is to be a rational human being: to believe that one must justify their beliefs according to reason and evidence.



Yes, so, as I said, you're basically telling us what you've read.


My, you're awfully cranky.

I see our other exchanges have made you sour to at least trying to engage objectively with what I'm saying in earnest here. That's a shame: I thought maybe you were one of the more intelligent people around here.

I'll repeat what I said about Singer's paper one more time: It wasn't on any so-called authoritative grounds that I acceded to his argument; I came to my own conclusion based on a rational appraisal of the ethical argument he gave.

It's really that simple, and it's sad that you still have sour grapes about my disagreeing with your unjustified metaphysical beliefs. A more mature person would engage with these separate matters without the spill-over hostility.



But if Big can't be prevented from hurting Small, then all your moral philosophy doesn't help either.


I take it as essentially a truism that moral philosophy cannot in and of itself “prevent” an immoral act, no differently than that the concept of a chair can build a skyscraper or keep a hurricane from forming.

But that much I take anyone would agree with, and thus really isn't at all interesting.

Moral philosophy -- the very activity of engaging in rational deliberations about what we ought to do, which is what moral philosophy is -- is something that can greatly contribute to many situations, on a personal level, an interpersonal level, a local level, even a global level.

Insofar as you are a rational human I don't take it you disagree with this basic notion. It isn't really controversial.

What we need -- particularly as the world becomes increasingly globalized, interconnected -- is more rational thought about prescriptive matters, not less, and certainly not unrestrained “feelings,” which will just lead us back to tribalistic endarkenment.



No doubt the Nazis, the enquisitors, the Flat Earthers, etc., would all salys that they're fair and unbiased too.


No doubt. But they didn't have peer-review.



You mean its implausibility to the adherents of the current fad in Western Philosophy.

When you say "modern discussion", does that include modern discussion in India, by Indian philosophers?

Is the current fashion necessarily what is the most valid?


While I'll allow for whatever some individuals in contemporary India might be engaging in to qualify under the umbrella term “philosophy,” they must nonetheless subject themselves to scrutiny, and ideally to the most modern analytical methods of current philosophy.

To insist otherwise would quite simply be to hermetically seal themselves, and by all accounts -- rationally speaking -- would forfeit any pretensions they might have to be saying anything meaningful about the nature of reality.

Why should we take anyone seriously that would insist on cordoning their beliefs from external scrutiny?

This is really no different than a hypothetical community of “fishicists” that spend their days fishing and contriving grand explanations for how the nature of physical reality works -- over a few fresh lagers -- and then saying that what those other people calling themselves physicists do and claim is all wrong.

The problem is that there is only one reality, and there is such a thing as true and false. Philosophy is no different. Logic is logic.



No, not really.


That's a shame. Those books I recommended are by authors who are considered to be leaders in the area of consciousness. I'm sure you'd find them greatly illuminating -- something that would contribute, at minimum, to your own intellectual advancement.
 Appreciative9809
Joined: 9/8/2009
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/24/2011 5:13:08 PM
OffIShall:




When, rarely, we can actually prevent them from doing what they like to, then we do so because of feelings, not because of theory.


OK, but that's just a descriptive explanation of why many people may act to prevent certain others from perpetrating the examples I gave.

There is a fundamental distinction to be drawn between what may impel one to act in a moral way, on the one hand, and the justifications for moral action, on the other.

Deferring to psychological and neurobiological facts only addresses the descriptive aspect. What we're asking here is of a prescriptive (as opposed to descriptive nature): “What ought one do, morally speaking?”


For one thing, your "prescriptive" suggestions will reliably be ignored by anyone who benefits monetarily from hurting babies. Will you convince others to tell them to stop? Good luck. When are you going to start trying? You already have? How are you doing then?

People are going to do what they want to. And how many people do you know who listen to philosophers regarding the matter of what is right to do? People have their opinions about that. They don't get them from philosophical journals.

More to the point, though, the main fact that you're missing is that morality isn't provable. Murdering babies? There is a religious denomination, which I won't name, whose members often come to my house. When they cite the Bible as authority, I remind them of the Book of Joshua, which certainly doesn't qualify as something that could have been devinely-inspired. That book says that God not only condoned the murder of lots of babies, children, and actually everyone, in lots of Caananite cities, but it also claims that God commanded and assisted that massacre of babies.

Those churchpeople then tell me that it was ok to murder those kids. They give several "justification". One is that the babies would have grown up to be evil if they weren't murdered before having a chance to grow up. Another is that they would have been enslaved by their society. So then, Jushua saved them from that by killing them with swords. I doubt that he asked their opinion on that.

(Don't worry--it probably didn't happen anyway. Archeological evidence suggests that the Hebrew people assimilated peacefully into Caanan, and there was no conquest or massacre).

So, if you want to believe that God commanded and assisted baby-murder, then you need to convince yourself that baby-murder can be moral and right, given a few further assumptions that you have make, like the assumption that they should be murdered to save them from their evil society, or to save them from being evil when they grow up. Of course, when someone kills their kids with those "justifications" nowadays, they're convicted of murder. Oh, but it was different in those earlier days, the door-to-door churchpeople will tell you.

I mention them as an example of people's ability to believe whatever they want to, about what's morally right. Regrettably, moralilty isn't provable. That's the fact that you're missing. The door-to-door churchpeople are just one example. Relatively harmless, because their bizarre moral beliefs are only about the distant past. But you can't prove to them that it wasn't right to murder those babies in Caanan. No philosophical argument will do that.



Indeed, I'm personally very much interested in the psychological, cognitive, evolutionary and neurobiological underpinnings of moral reasoning, and we could discuss those matters, but for the present purposes I was more specifically focused on the prescriptive aspect -- the topic of the thread, incidentally.


Prescribe all you want, especially if you agree with what I prefer that people do or don't do.

Is there anything that we can say about what should or shouldn't be done? Sure. People and other animals shouldn't be harmed without a good reason. Aye, there's the rub: Your good reason might not be convincing to me.




Irrelevant, my friend. Regardless of what is (said to be) prized, authority is what you follow. Yes, I admit that maybe you don't know that.


I'm not sure what that was in reference to.


Then let's refresh your memory. You tried to deny that, on metaphysical topics, you depend completely on invoking authority. I pointed out that invoking authority is what you're all about.


Are you talking about that other consciousness hokum you were on about before?


As usual, you're unclear about what you're referring to. All that is clear in that sentence is your usual poor manners.

I've talked about Physicalism's problems. I've, at least twice, laid Physicalism to rest in this forum. I asked you to clarify what you meant by some vague statements you made. You didn't have an answer. In a brief posting, not in direct reply to another posting, I explaind the simple and obvious confusion of our Physicalists, regarding what they mean.

Your only response, on that topic, has been namecalling, and invoking of authority.

I mentioned Indian Metaphysics when people said that, if I criticize Physicalism, I should show that there's another metaphysics that doesn' t share Physicalism's validity problems. Also, more recently, I've always been willing to answer your questions about it. But let's not pursue that topic anymore in this discussion, because, for one thing, you can't benefit from the discussion, and, with your manners as they are, you don't really deserve my time discussing it with you.

It's possible to discuss the validity (or lack of) of Physicalism without getting into the subject of Indian Metaphysics.



That, after all, is what it is to be a rational human being: to believe that one must justify their beliefs according to reason and evidence.


No one should harm people or other animals without justification. The door-to-door chuchpeople I mentioned are an example of people who think that there can be good justification to murder babies and children. They're wrong, but no one can prove it to them.

Besides, though no one should harm people or other animals without justification, they'll make up justification whenever they want to harm people or animals, including babies and children.




Yes, so, as I said, you're basically telling us what you've read.



My, you're awfully cranky.


What? That was a polite statement, quite unlike most of what you say.



I see our other exchanges have made you sour to at least trying to engage objectively with what I'm saying in earnest here.


I've been reply to you politely, in spite of your long history of gratituitous, unprovoked, uncalled-for bad manners.



It's really that simple, and it's sad that you still have sour grapes about my disagreeing with your unjustified metaphysical beliefs.


As I said, I've remained polite, despite your consistent poor manners.

You say that my metaphysical statements are unjustified, though you've failed to justify that statement, or your support for your own metaphysical beliefs. Talking about what's justified isn't a substitute for answering questions about what you mean.




A more mature person would engage with these separate matters without the spill-over hostility.


I'm not the one with the habitual hostility.







Moral philosophy -- the very activity of engaging in rational deliberations about what we ought to do, which is what moral philosophy is -- is something that can greatly contribute to many situations, on a personal level, an interpersonal level, a local level, even a global level.


What planet do you live on. Though I no longer pay attention to news, even I know that the topic of what we ought to do is continually discussed in the media. Does it contribute to situations? Sure, but does it contribute positively?

Oh wait, that's right--you deliberate rationally :-) Are you aware that everyone we hear from, about what is right and what we ought or ought not do, likewise believes that they deliberate rationally?

I don't mean to be rude, but is your moral deliberation more rational than your metaphysical discussion?


What we need -- particularly as the world becomes increasingly globalized, interconnected -- is more rational thought about prescriptive matters, not less, and certainly not unrestrained “feelings,” which will just lead us back to tribalistic endarkenment.


Turn on your radio or TV. There is ample (some would say more than ample) talk about prescriptive matters. And yes, it all claims to be rational. Just as you do, in moralilty and in metaphysics.




No doubt the Nazis, the enquisitors, the Flat Earthers, etc., would all salys that they're fair and unbiased too.



No doubt. But they didn't have peer-review.



Actually, of course they did. They reviewed eachother, disagreeing on some things, supporting eachother on other things. Flat Earthers are peer-reviewed by other Flat-Earthers.

That's another thing that you're missing: Similar people "peer-reviewing" eachother, don't mean diddly-squat.


While I'll allow for whatever some individuals in contemporary India might be engaging in to qualify under the umbrella term “philosophy,” they must nonetheless subject themselves to scrutiny, and ideally to the most modern analytical methods of current philosophy.


If you're implying that the philosphers of India haven't been subject to scrutiny, then perhaps you can justify such a claim.

"...modern analytical methods of current philosophy"? Do you mean pretentious, pseudoscientific current fad?


To insist otherwise would quite simply be to hermetically seal themselves, and by all accounts -- rationally speaking -- would forfeit any pretensions they might have to be saying anything meaningful about the nature of reality.


Only you have suggested that Indian Metaphysics is being protected from scrutiny.
I suggest that it has done better under scrutiny, in this forum, than has your own metaphysical belief in Physicalism.

I haven't tried to isolate Indian Metaphysics from scrutiny. I've freely answered your questions about it, at the basic level at least.


That's a shame [...that I haven't read your pseudoscientific philosophers]. Those books I recommended are by authors who are considered to be leaders in the area of consciousness. I'm sure you'd find them greatly illuminating -- something that would contribute, at minimum, to your own intellectual advancement.


Every door-to-door churchperson will say the same thing about _their_ scriptures too.

In these discussions, I don't challenge scientists' statments about scientific matters. But you have a tendency to confuse science with metaphysics, and believe that you can apply science to metaphysics.

You said, again, that I'm an Idealist. At no time did I say that the Self is mind.

You are to be forgiven, because Western philosophers in general (probably including your teachers) seem to believe that all metaphysics consists of Physicalism, Dualism or Idealism.
 Kardinal Offishall
Joined: 2/26/2010
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/24/2011 10:15:55 PM
Appreciative:



For one thing, your "prescriptive" suggestions will reliably be ignored by anyone who benefits monetarily from hurting babies. Will you convince others to tell them to stop? Good luck. When are you going to start trying? You already have? How are you doing then?


But this still misses the point. Whether we convince others is irrelevant. The importance of engaging in rational moral deliberation is because of the emphasis on reasoned out views. Insofar as you agree that one ought to provide reasons for their moral decisions, you agree that moral philosophizing has a place. That was my main point. And you find this controversial? Just how sheltered are you, exactly?



Those churchpeople then tell me that it was ok to murder those kids. They give several "justification". One is that the babies would have grown up to be evil if they weren't murdered before having a chance to grow up. Another is that they would have been enslaved by their society.


But again, religious nuts like these are precisely why you should prize rational moral argument. If a lack of rationally thought out moral precepts leads to such beliefs, promoting the widespread inculcation of moral reasoning skills in society can only be a good thing.

For instance, if nuts like those ever came to my door, I would explicitly question their premise (among others) regarding the whole business of “being enslaved by their society.” Since that is a rather explicit endorsement of utilitarian morality, I would ask them whether they were utilitarians universally, across-the-board, or rather selectively applying it to certain cases. If it were the latter, I would ask on what grounds do they justify the application of it to the current situation, etc., etc.

This is what it is to engage in moral philosophy. It doesn't really matter whether you convince them otherwise or not. If you believe that reasons should be adduced to justify one's moral beliefs, then you should have no problem with this, irregardless of whether you think “no good can come from it,” which itself is a rather naive claim.

(You mean to say that promoting high standards of logical thinking in moral matters can never yield positive outcomes?)



Regrettably, moralilty isn't provable.


Oddly enough, neither is a lack of objective morality strictly speaking provable. But my discussion of moral philosophy wasn't even concerned with meta-ethical foundations (viz. the whole moral subjectivism vs. moral realism debate). I was discussing a more pragmatic aspect of morality: giving reasons for one's moral beliefs, and holding others to the same standard.

Notice that this actually turns out to be very applicable to the “real world.”



Is there anything that we can say about what should or shouldn't be done? Sure. People and other animals shouldn't be harmed without a good reason. Aye, there's the rub: Your good reason might not be convincing to me.


But of course. But here's a follow-up to that: Would you rather live in a society where people thought about morality in rational terms, and which such skills were inculcated as part of the public educational curriculum (mind you, not explicit ethical tenets, but rather critical thinking skills, fallacies of reasoning, and the like), or would you rather live in a society where people always -- and I do mean always -- acted according to their raw gut feels?

Note that I'm not even concerned about how people actually behave in reality for the purposes of this question. I'm asking this hypothetically (which helps to guard against people's pre-reflective biases in answering these types of questions).



Though I no longer pay attention to news, even I know that the topic of what we ought to do is continually discussed in the media. Does it contribute to situations? Sure, but does it contribute positively?


Insofar as you pay no attention to mainstream media outlets like CNN and Fox News, that much is commendable. But you should really take a couple of days to tune in to various news media, just for experimental purposes, so you can see how routinely they fall short of the elementary standards of rationality found in, say, an introductory textbook in even applied ethics or informal reasoning.

While you're at it, you might also want to pick up Noam Chomsky and Ed Hermann's book “Manufacturing Consent,” a classic treatise on just how badly mainstream media perverts the public discourse.



Are you aware that everyone we hear from, about what is right and what we ought or ought not do, likewise believes that they deliberate rationally?


Just because someone like Glenn Beck thinks he deliberates rationally doesn't mean that he actually does. (Google him.) I believe that the better equipped people become at critical thinking and moral reasoning the easier it becomes to spot poor thinking.



Turn on your radio or TV. There is ample (some would say more than ample) talk about prescriptive matters. And yes, it all claims to be rational. Just as you do, in moralilty and in metaphysics.


One hour of Fox News will make you wonder why critical thinking isn't a mandatory high school subject (if not even earlier than that).



"...modern analytical methods of current philosophy"? Do you mean pretentious, pseudoscientific current fad?


It's called clear and rigorous thinking. I'm not sure where you get “pseudoscientific” from. Cite one analytical philosophy paper and describe how you think the author was being “pseudoscientific.” You make it sound as if it's rampant, if not inevitable.

I'm being completely serious.



Every door-to-door churchperson will say the same thing about _their_ scriptures too.

In these discussions, I don't challenge scientists' statments about scientific matters. But you have a tendency to confuse science with metaphysics, and believe that you can apply science to metaphysics.


Of course you can bring science to bear on metaphysical questions. This is just an ignorant statement.

For instance, one perennial question in metaphysics is the question of free will. And it is because of our modern scientific worldview that we no longer think about nor frame the issue in the same way it was, say, before the putative Scientific Revolution.

Moreover, we no longer think like Cartesian dualists when it comes to free will, talking about numinous soul entities with wholly non-physical magical properties; rather we now think about and frame the question of free will as neuroscientists, as physicists, as philosophers of mind, as evolutionary biologists, etc.

This is a clear example of science speaking to metaphysical questions.

The philosophical question of “natural kinds” in metaphysics is another. Do you doubt that the sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, etc.) have anything important to add to that question? Again, this is just an ignorant statement.

Or how about another set of perennial philosophical questions, that of “essentialism” and “nominalism,” (among other things): Do you doubt that, say, evolutionary biology is relevant to them?

If you answered no to any of the above, you'd be wrong.

Such examples can be multiplied. You've made too many assumptions.

Oh, and by the way, those books that I recommended to you? They're written by leading academics with both scientific and philosophical backgrounds, whom know more about consciousness and the relevant sciences than you ever will. Nothing in either of those books is “psuedoscientific.” (I don't think you know what pseudoscience is.)

Of course, you wouldn't know either way since you ostensibly are too close-minded to even check them out. Your loss.
 Kardinal Offishall
Joined: 2/26/2010
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/24/2011 10:25:17 PM
Appreciative:


By the way, if you want a great example of why rigorous standards of rationality are vital when discussing ethical issues, take a look at this clip -- what I call an “epic fail of gargantuan proportions.” (Apparently basic critical thinking and awareness of fallacies of reasoning are not a requirement for obtaining an MD these days.)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Lm396q8KA
 Appreciative9809
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/25/2011 4:57:19 PM
OffIShall:

I have respect for the Don Quixotes who make the effort to state their moral/ethical standards, and their reasons for them, and try to hold people to those standards. Maybe sometimes it's possible to shame someone into ethical behavior. Rarely, on a small local scale. Ok, from what you said, you seem to understand that the vast majority of people are not going to particapate in or gain from moral philosophical discussion, or any attempt to bring rationality into social discussion.

I admit that I haven't read Huxley's Brave New World, but I've heard and read about it often, and I know what it's about. And, from what I've heard and read, it describes a society remarkably, uncannily, like existing human society. But the _actual_ "brave new world" isn't new at all, and it isn't achieved by drugs. It was achieved by evolution.

You see, that's why you can't significantly change society's situation. People are bred for it. Bred, by evolution, to be the way they are. You aren't going to educate them. You aren't going to "wake them up".


But you should really take a couple of days to tune in to various news media, just for experimental purposes, so you can see how routinely they fall short of the elementary standards of rationality found in, say, an introductory textbook in even applied ethics or informal reasoning.


I've done that. And, once you find that out, there's no need to keep finding it out every day, to keep rubbing your nose in it.

You mention "Manufacturing Consent". I've heard of the book, and have heard quotes from it, and I've heard a college public radio station that played some of Chomsky's lectures. I have no doubt that the media are as Chomsky describes. He gives examples. But you're in error if you think that media control is the reason why
people are as they are. Evolution is why they're as they are. It's as if you were saying that if someone is leading a sheep, then that instance of leading, today, is enough to explain why the sheep is a sheep. No, there were many thousands of generations of breeding.

But I salute you if you tilt windmills.


Would you rather live in a society where people thought about morality in rational terms, and which such skills were inculcated as part of the public educational curriculum (mind you, not explicit ethical tenets, but rather critical thinking skills, fallacies of reasoning, and the like)


What people and society are, and always will be, has nothing to do with what I'd like.


...and which such skills were inculcated as part of the public educational curriculum (mind you, not explicit ethical tenets, but rather critical thinking skills, fallacies of reasoning, and the like)


That's like "belling the cat". In a story, the mice decided that the cat problem would be solved if somone fastened a bell around the cat's neck so that it couldn't sneak up on them. Problem: Because it's cat, they can't go up to it and fasten a bell to it. Yes, it would be nice if the powers that be would, in the public schools, (at least try to) teach people to respond critically to what they hear. But why should they? Dream on.

Anyway, you're wanting to change something that's been going on for, and evolving over, millions of years.

But I assure you that it isn't as bad as it might seem. In fact, ultimately, it isn't bad at all. This physical world in which we live is only one of infinitely many possiblility worlds, and they're all equally real, or unreal. And, in any case, what happens in the physical worlds isn't everything. Of course it might seem so to us, in our human role as physical-world inhabitants.

I'm not telling you not to help someone when you can. I'm merely pointing out that you aren't going to change the world. And, even if you could, it would soon change right back, due to evolutionally-made human nature.

In general, we obviously want to, and should, do our best in this life. For ourselves and others. I'm just saying, don't give this phyiscal world, this possibility-story, metaphysical standing that it doesn't have.

Let me skip to the metaphysics topic, and then maybe return to morality later.




"...modern analytical methods of current philosophy"? Do you mean pretentious, pseudoscientific current fad?



It's called clear and rigorous thinking. I'm not sure where you get “pseudoscientific” from.



Modern academic Western philosphy writers tend to immitate the wording-style of science, seemingly pretending to be scientists, even to the point of borrowing words from science.

Of course you can't blame them. Science has had such great successes and triumphs (in its legimate domain) that it's easy to start worshipping it or want to immitate it.

Then, additionally, your belief that science informs metaphysics isn't something that you came up with yourself. You got it from your philosophy teachers. It's pseudoscience. That effort to apply science outside of its legitimate range of applicability is a type of pseudoscience.

You don't know it, but you're religious, OffIShall. Your religion is Scientificism. And no, I'm not saying that science is a religion. It's a religion to those who worhship it as a religion.

You imply that someone is trying to shield Indian Metaphysics from scrutiny. That's funny, because of your consistent failure to answer a few simple questions about what you mean. And your failure to explain how science supports Physicalism.

Must quit for the moment. More on another day.
 Appreciative9809
Joined: 9/8/2009
Msg: 84
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/27/2011 8:12:12 AM
OffIShall:

(part 2 of 2)




"...modern analytical methods of current philosophy"? Do you mean pretentious, pseudoscientific current fad?


It's called clear and rigorous thinking. I'm not sure where you get “pseudoscientific” from. Cite one analytical philosophy paper and describe how you think the author was being “pseudoscientific.” You make it sound as if it's rampant, if not inevitable.


Your attempt to use science to justify a metaphysical position is enough to justsify my claim about pseudoscience. But are your fallacies rampant in Western philosophy? Sure. You've implied that you're championing the prevailing position of academic Western philosophers, and that they agree with you. In other words, it's rampant.

You said that you're being serious, but you're not seriously willing to examine your assumptions. All your namecalling demonstrates that you're so sure that you're right, that you're making it impossible for you to question your assumptions and beliefs. You must choose between arrogant self-assurance and serious, honest inquiry. Judging by your previous postings, you've chosen the former.



Of course you can bring science to bear on metaphysical questions. This is just an ignorant statement.

For instance, one perennial question in metaphysics is the question of free will. And it is because of our modern scientific worldview that we no longer think about nor frame the issue in the same way it was, say, before the putative Scientific Revolution.

Moreover, we no longer think like Cartesian dualists when it comes to free will, talking about numinous soul entities with wholly non-physical magical properties; rather we now think about and frame the question of free will as neuroscientists, as physicists, as philosophers of mind, as evolutionary biologists, etc.


Earlier, I asked you how science supports Physicalism. You never answered. Now you're repeating that claim, saying that the scientific worldview has given information about the question of free will; and that neurscientists, physicists and evolutionary biologists have somehow re-framed the question; and therefore, presumably, that neuroscience, physics and evolutionary biology have answered or informed a metaphysical question.

How? You see, that's what you never say.

In any case, I asked you specifically how you think science has supported Physicalism.

You aren't going to answer that, because you can't cite any specific particular way that science supports Physicalism.

You're saying that those sciences have done so, but you're being entirely vague. Give a specific example of it, and tell how.


This is a clear example of science speaking to metaphysical questions


No, it isn't. It's a clear example of you making vague and unsupported statements. Tell us, specifically, how you think those sciences, or any physical science, has provided information or answers about the matter of whether the physical world is what fundamentally is.

Neuroscientists, physicists and evolutionary biologists have studied and described certain physical processeses associated with life and conscious biological organisms. How the physical world operates. How conscious biological organisms have evolved, and what structures they contain and how they operate. The structure and operation of the brain.

As I've said so many times, I don't deny any of that. In the possibility story that is this physical world, and this life, of course there is a physical explanation for physical biological organisms. They're physical. Science studies the physical world. The life sciences study the physical structure, origin and operation of biological organisms. But science doesn't tell us whether the physical world is fundamentally existent, whether the physical world is the fundamental reality. That matter is outside of science's purvue.

I've already told, you many times that, that Newton, Einstein, and Schroedinger were nonPhysicalists. In fact, Schroedinger was an exponent of what I call Indian Metaphysics, the metaphysics of Vedanta.

If you believe that science supports Physicalism, then you must believe that you understand science better than those three scientists did :-)



The philosophical question of “natural kinds” in metaphysics is another. Do you doubt that the sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, etc.) have anything important to add to that question? Again, this is just an ignorant statement.

Or how about another set of perennial philosophical questions, that of “essentialism” and “nominalism,” (among other things): Do you doubt that, say, evolutionary biology is relevant to them?


Ok, if you think that physics, chemistry, etc., have something important to say about the matter of what the fundamental reality is, or what exists fundamentally, or whether or not the physical world is what fundamentally exists, then why don't you tell us what they have to say about that? :-)


If you answered no to any of the above, you'd be wrong.


Callling eachother "wrong" isn't discussion. You never answer questions about the specifics of what you mean.


Such examples can be multiplied. You've made too many assumptions.


Such as...? Anything in particular?


Oh, and by the way, those books that I recommended to you? They're written by leading academics with both scientific and philosophical backgrounds


Science studies the physical world, its operation, the interaction and inter-relation of its physical parts. If you want to claim that scientists have demonstrated something to us about the question of whether the physical world is the fundamantal reality, what fundamentally is, then you need to specifically tell us how they've shown that.

Western philosophical fashion has been changing throughout history. To the extent that your academics agree with eachother, they support eachother. So what? Co-members of a philosophical school generally do. That doesn't mean that they're correct. Are you saying that all Western academic philosophers are Physicalists? If so, then they're a philosophical school, but there's no particular reason to believe that they're the one philosophical school that is right. If not, what's the point of mentioning them?

You continually and habitually depend on invoking authority, when I ask you to be specific about what you mean, or when I ask you to justify your claims that science speaks to the question of what is the fundamental reality.

It's important to you to identify yourself with what you perceive as the currently prevailing Western academic philosophical school. Being on the side of authority.
I'm not criticizing you for that. It's the common herd instinct of the common human animal.
 Mountainlovin
Joined: 12/31/2010
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Ethically Speaking, Are We Responsible For What We Fail to Prevent?
Posted: 1/27/2011 9:32:52 AM
The laws vary based on the state as well as the level of training and position held. Where I work I'm a paid First Responder. I have legal duty to act. I'm trained in fire, rescue and EMS. I can't be forced to put myself in harms way but otherwise I must make an attempt to help people that have an emergency. I must try to help them to my level of training until a person with a higher level of training relieves me. If I leave without proper relief then I'm legally guilty of abandonment. When I'm off duty, even though I am a volunteer fire, rescue and EMS unit I do not have duty to act. I can walk right past you bleeding on the street. However, since I am a certified First Responder by the state, if I lay hands on that person then I'm still legally bound to help and stay till properly relieved.
A few weeks ago I held the hand of a young lady that was lying in a ditch after being hit by a car. Three police officers were on scene before me. They weren't even near her when I arrived. They were only providing scene safety and gathering evidence. They were doing what they were trained to do. They realize that moving a person can cause more harm so they waited on EMS. The next day the girl died. No one can fault the responders because they all acted to their level of training as the scene progressed. From the time bystanders called 911, to when we loaded her on a helicopter flight to the hospital. By the way the hit and run driver has been caught and charged. So even though the police on the scene could do little to help her they did their job in catching the criminal. Some law enforcement officers are trained EMS responders and I'm sure they in that case would act to their level of training. Their main job however is to make the scene safe for EMS.
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