The teleological understanding of the world was the very cornerstone of Aristotelian metaphysics, which was the established philosophy of the time before 1600.
Descartes was very skeptical about the possibility of discovering final causes, or purposes, in nature. And so Descartes’ method was to doubt these ideas.
The major goal of Enlightenment thinkers was to give a foundation to philosophy that was independent of any particular tradition, culture, or religion: one that any rational person would accept.
Descartes made the rational person and his clear and distinct ideas the focus of philosophical analysis.
Instead of just being a product of a creator man became a product of nature, a subject of scientific analysis.
What is the natural state of man? How can we be as we are, when we try to give a natural and not theological explanation?
The first who answered this question were Hobbes and Locke.
Hobbes contends that human beings are motivated purely by self-interest, and that the state of nature,
which is the state of human beings without civil society, is the war of every person against every other.
Hobbes does say that while the state of nature may not have existed all over the world at one particular time, it is the condition in which humans would be if there were no sovereign.
Locke’s account of the state of nature is different in that it is an intellectual exercise to illustrate people’s obligations to one another.
These obligations are articulated in terms of natural rights, including rights to life, liberty, health and property.
In the mainstream of philosophical activities in those days emerged a new name: Jean Jaques Rousseau (1712 - 1778).
His starting point was in fact the opposite of Hobbes’s: namely, that human beings are good by nature but are rendered corrupt by society.
Rousseau not only analyses the state of nature in the political context, but adds a psychological context to the discourse too.
He attributes to all creatures an instinctual drive towards self-preservation. Human beings therefore have such a drive, which he terms “amour de soi “ - self love.
“Amour de soi” directs us first to attend to our most basic biological needs for things like food, shelter and warmth.
Alongside this basic drive for self-preservation, Rousseau posits another passion which he terms “pitié” - compassion.
“Pitié” directs us to attend to and relieve the suffering of others, including animals, where we can do so without danger to our own self-preservation.
In the “Discourse on the Origins of Inequality” (1755) Rousseau imagines a multi-stage evolution of humanity
from the most primitive condition to something like a modern complex society. An interesting idea: man as an evolving individual.
But when man is good by nature, how then can the evolving society be the corrupting factor, which is the total of all good men?
This is according to Rousseau due to what he calls an other type of self-interested drive: “amour propre”, which you could associate with pride or vanity
and which first emerges, when the male adolescent starts to think of himself as a sexual being with rivals for the favours of girls and women.
Although “amour propre” has its origins in sexual competition and comparison within small societies, it does not achieve its full toxicity
until it is combined with a growth in material interdependence among human beings. In other words, man tries to make a difference by gathering property.
If Rousseau would return today and look at what our society has achieved, I guess he would recognise his “amour propre” in our society easily.
Thank you… any questions or remarks?…the floor is yours….
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hmmmm
[13:18] herman Bergson: In Rousseau's ideas I hear Darwin and Maslow both..:-)
[13:18] CB Axel: I was thinking of Maslow as well.
[13:18] herman Bergson: And just imagine he is from 1740 or so
[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think his philosophy comes from his own life
[13:19] bombadail: This question is the problem...." when man is good by nature, how then can the evolving society be the corrupting factor, which is the total of all good men?" people are not good or bad...they just are
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:19] herman Bergson: Well, Gemma, his caring for others his pitié wasn’t that impressive....
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i know and i am not sure he ever grew out of his amour propre
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): as an adolescent
[13:20] Maya Phoenix (140726): . Exactly, the good man, the savage, lived before the concepts of good and bad were created.
[13:20] CB Axel: Do any men grow out of that?
[13:20] herman Bergson: Yes Bombadail, this idea that man is goob by nature is questionable
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:20] Maya Phoenix (140726): How could we therefore label him.
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:21] herman Bergson: Yet it is understandable that there is this idea that man is good by nature...
[13:22] herman Bergson: Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau were people of the Social Contract idea...
[13:22] theo Velde is online.
[13:22] CB Axel: Wishful thinking?
[13:22] herman Bergson: no no CB...not so pessimistic :-)
[13:23] herman Bergson: These philosophers SAW a working society.....
[13:23] herman Bergson: Like we do too
[13:23] CB Axel: I'm not so sure that our current society is working all that well.
[13:23] herman Bergson: The idea of man being bad by nature would be something like man only driven by self-preservation
[13:24] CB Axel: So perhaps I'm projecting my own pessimism onto Rousseau.
[13:24] herman Bergson: CB...Take randomly 100 citizens....
[13:24] Maya Phoenix (140726): To me Rousseau talked about goodness (for the man himself?) resulting from the lack of existential anguish, such as fear of death, disease, ability to reach full potential. All these did not exist before society emerged.
[13:24] herman Bergson: I guarantee you, that among them are at least 5 assholes
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I remember them from the first project
[13:25] herman Bergson: and I guarantee you that among them are 95 persons who just want to liive a pleasant life
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sounds normal
[13:25] CB Axel: wouldn't Darwin say that man, being a product of nature, would be driven by preservation of his progeny?
[13:26] CB Axel: I like your point, Maya.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Maybe there these philosophers add something.....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: maybee
[13:26] Kimmy Jannings : maybe
[13:26] Maya Phoenix (140726): Hmm... CB, we are surely not doing this now...Are we devolving?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Since the Enlightenment man is also regarded to be a rational being...
[13:26] Maya Phoenix (140726): lol
[13:26] CB Axel: I'm afraid we are, Maya.
[13:26] herman Bergson: this rationality you should add to the Darwinian view
[13:27] bombadail: what he missed was that scarcity is the issue...if human society produces enough and distributes it fairly then there is no "conflict" we can get along just fine.....it's not that people are fundamentally self interested versus social minded fairness. ...scarcity and fear of scarcity drives behavior....eliminate that mindset and the way we organise ourselves that lead to scarcity and problem solved.
[13:27] Kimmy Jannings (kim1987.wirefly): man we kill the earth we live on
[13:27] Maya Phoenix (140726): LOL Kimmy
[13:27] CB Axel: I think you're right, bombadail.
[13:27] herman Bergson: Some do KImmy, not all
[13:28] Maya Phoenix (140726): Like G. Carlin said, don't try to save the planet, it's been doing just fine, until we arrived lol
[13:28] CB Axel: LOL
[13:28] CB Axel: I tend to think of mankind as being a virus that has infected the Earth.
[13:28] Maya Phoenix (140726): I like what Bombadail said, the thing is HOW?
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes distribution of resources is a main issue today
[13:29] bombadail: the how is not a mystery ....it's simple....we know how technically
[13:29] bombadail: the issue is the mindset of scarcity
[13:29] bombadail: that prevents it from happening
[13:29] herman Bergson: the main problem is our idea of private property
[13:29] Maya Phoenix (140726): Yeah Herman, to distribute them, we'd have to own them
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: sort of
[13:30] herman Bergson: Who owns the earth...in fact nobody....
[13:30] herman Bergson: and look what we do ....call it property
[13:31] bombadail: as it stands today the control of the rules and regulations is by a plutocracy who is rich and is afraid of giving that up ...we play a mad game where everyone wants to be on the top of a pyramid scheme .....not realising not everyone can be...so instead of a pyramid scheme let's play another game
[13:32] herman Bergson smiles
[13:32] Maya Phoenix (140726): Hmm.. interesting. Is there a healthy "in between" of communism and capitalism?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Bombadaill...just read the rules of play at the bottom of my lectern :-)
[13:32] bombadail: but everyone is too afraid of what might happen otherwise so the system keeps on until one day enough people don't have it and it blows up with fighting
[13:32] Maya Phoenix (140726): haha
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:33] herman Bergson: What is most interesting is that already in 1730 someone pointed at our present day problems :-)
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that's already happening Bombadail
[13:34] herman Bergson: amour propre :-)
[13:34] CB Axel: I think we'd be revolting right now except Survivor is on TV. We wouldn't want to miss that now, would we?
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nothing under the sun is really new
[13:34] herman Bergson: You are new Gemma ^_^
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not necessarily
[13:35] herman Bergson: no no...just accidentally :-))
[13:35] bombadail: How is typing more than 17 word counterproductive to a discussion?
[13:35] Maya Phoenix (140726): This is man evolving, life in the jungle was no longer challenging, so he invented society and lots of problems for everyone to be neurotic about.
[13:35] Maya Phoenix (140726): And here we are, beautiful and complex.
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i guss so ㋡
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some people used to type tomes
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): years back
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so it became a rule
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what are tomes gemma?
[13:36] herman Bergson: long long texts Beertje
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): long long paragraphs
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ah, thank you
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or books
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): even
[13:36] herman Bergson: dropped complete notecards in chat :-))
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes\
[13:37] herman Bergson: Yes Maya , I agree..here we are...
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so we try to condense
[13:37] bombadail: Rules should substitute for the spirit of things....that's my comment
[13:37] herman Bergson: and tho some people are rather pessimistic....we are not doing that bad at all...
[13:38] herman Bergson: There was that ozon layer problem....is no more
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think rousseau would have enjoyed life today
[13:38] Maya Phoenix (140726): I see a lot of individualism nowadays, rise of "experts", entrepreneurs, looking to get a piece of pie. We have lots of social networking, but it is neither social, nor it brings people together to work on solving important issues.
[13:38] CB Axel: Pessimistic? Why is everyone looking at me?
[13:39] Maya Phoenix (140726): Hmm.. CB, I'll share the blame with you lol
[13:39] CB Axel: LOL
[13:39] CB Axel: Thanks.
[13:39] Maya Phoenix (140726): ;)
[13:39] herman Bergson: I wasn't looking CB :-)
[13:39] herman Bergson: or maybe only for other reasons ^_^
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i was listening to a radio station last night where the speaker believed it is the end days
[13:39] CB Axel: My friends were joking about that on FB.
[13:40] herman Bergson: People love that Gemma :-)
[13:40] CB Axel: We've lived through the end of the world about 8 times now.
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i know
[13:40] herman Bergson: at least :-)
[13:40] herman Bergson: But that was not the spirit of the Enlightenment...:-)
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): no
[13:41] Maya Phoenix (140726): Hmm... Gemma, you said something about condensing
[13:41] Maya Phoenix (140726): Can you expand on this?
[13:41] herman Bergson: There they believed that man was able to create a society by scial contract.....by following his ratio
[13:42] herman Bergson: In fact it was a rather optimistic period in history, I think
[13:42] herman Bergson: The individual freeing himself from the chains of religions...
[13:42] herman Bergson: heading for scientific understanding of his world
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: and no the LHC will also not be end of the world,
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:43] herman Bergson: And here I want to point at another thought....the starting point of this project...
[13:43] Maya Phoenix (140726): Yes, maybe that was the problem. Man was escaping what he didn't want, but did not specify what shall we aim for.
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: science is the way to go
[13:43] herman Bergson: Why did this not happen in other cultures on this globe?
[13:44] CB Axel: Superstition?
[13:44] herman Bergson: Yes Maya...that is a real question.....
[13:45] Maya Phoenix (140726): Maybe if we aimed at sustainability rather than focusing on what's wrong, we could all work towards common goal?
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes CB...many reasons....but I try to look from the other side.....what triggered this emergence of the individual here in our culture?
[13:46] CB Axel: Scientific discovery? The opposite of superstition.
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: i would say that
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: at least partly
[13:46] herman Bergson: Oh yes, science is a main force in this process
[13:46] bombadail: Good bye, Thank you
[13:47] herman Bergson: But then...what triggered the brains in Europe to focus on science as a way to approach reality?
[13:47] Maya Phoenix (140726): Was this the egoistic challenge of improving himself and having something to toy with or was is the need to create structures to improve the life of families and get closer to others... Maybe both.
[13:47] Maya Phoenix (140726): Wasn't it religion?
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: we maybe realised there is no god and there must be some other explanation and thus shifted to science
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: unlike other cultures
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: still stuck in religious belief
[13:48] CB Axel: I'm trying to remember my European history to think of what was going on back then.
[13:48] herman Bergson: you may have some point there Bejiita..
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: defying scientific explanations all they can
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe we were able to ask questions, other religions don't allow that
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: they would blow up CERN and NASA if they could
[13:49] Maya Phoenix (140726): CB JJ Rousseau's work triggered French Revolution
[13:49] herman Bergson: That is a fact, Beertje...indeed
[13:49] CB Axel: Yes, but I'm trying to think of what triggered Rousseau.
[13:50] herman Bergson: good question CB
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i still say his own life
[13:50] herman Bergson: Well...he knew of the English philosophers....
[13:50] CB Axel: And what triggered them?
[13:50] herman Bergson: even met Hume
[13:51] Maya Phoenix (140726): hmmm... he was friends with Hume
[13:51] herman Bergson: to some extend only Maya :-)
[13:51] Maya Phoenix (140726): Yes, it didn't last
[13:51] Maya Phoenix (140726): :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: Well..I think we have shaken our brains enough for today :-)
[13:52] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:52] Guestboook van tipjar stand: Gemma Cleanslate donated L$50. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:52] herman Bergson: SO, thank you all for this interesting conversation again.....
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: this was something to bite on for sure
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:52] Maya Phoenix (140726): :)
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: nice
[13:52] herman Bergson: Class dismissed :-)
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: cu next time
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: great time :)
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not sure about tuesday
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but will try
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:53] Maya Phoenix (140726): Thanks everyone for a lively discussion:)
[13:53] herman Bergson: ok Gemma :-)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: bye all for now
[13:53] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman and everyone.
[13:53] CONNIE Eichel: ya, i cant on Tuesdays, but i will try next Thursday again
[13:53] herman Bergson: Bye Bejiita
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman,
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a goodnight everyone:)
[13:54] CB Axel: Bye, all, and see you Tuesday and Connie next week.