Friday, February 12, 2010

24 Ethics and Pragmatism: a conclusion

Let me position myself as a philosophical naturalist, one for whom the human journey is constitutive of its own meaning and is not to be rescued by any transcendent explanations, principles of accountability, or posthumous salvation.

Like Dewey stay close to nature and interpret knowledge as the product of the interaction between organism and environment, and knowledge as having practical instrumentality in the guidance and control of that interaction.

The organism interacts with the world through self-guided activity that coordinates and integrates sensory and motor responses.

The implication for the theory of knowledge is clear: the world is not passively perceived and thereby known; active manipulation of the environment is involved integrally in the process of learning from the start.

This means that knowledge is not a static given but a process and that any proposition accepted as an item of knowledge has this status only provisionally, in other worlds...just a coincidence that it works. It soon can be replaced by an better proposition.

These fundamental ideas we can also apply to moral behavior. In order to understand Dewey’s moral philosophy, we must again focus on his concept of the situation.

Man is a creature who by nature has values. There are things,states of affairs, and activities that he directly enjoys, prizes, or values.

Moral choices and decisions arise only in those situations in which there are competing desires or a conflict of values.

The problem that a man then confronts is to decide what he really wants and what course of action he ought to pursue. He cannot appeal to his immediate values to resolve the situation;

he must evaluate or appraise the situation and the different courses of action open to him. This process of deliberation that culminates in a decision to act is what Dewey calls “valuation.” But how do we engage in this process of valuation?

For this we need to accept a few basic assumptions. The first one is that as a species humans are basically the same all world with regard to physiology and neurobiology.

The second assumption is that the quality of life is achieved by reason and intelligence, These qualities give us the power of rationality, which means that education is essential and learning a lifetime activity.

The third assumption is what we find in virtue ethics which presupposes reasonable , positive qualities in man based on finding the mean between extremes, the virtue, or what Dewey would describe as the interaction of the organism with his environment.

In this interaction, which has an evolutionary origin, we learn to live together and are able to realize all virtues in ourselves.

I don't mean to say that we eventually will become all Saints, but this interaction with our environment began when man discovered himself.

And I think that we are maybe still at the beginning of this process, but if we are willing to accept that the human being is a learning and adaptive organism we will follow our virtues, guided by reason more and more to improve the human condition.

The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thus I conclude the project on Modern Theories of Ethics
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: very good some of it was very tough
[13:23] herman Bergson: I can hear you think..
[13:23] Repose Lionheart: hehe
[13:23] Repose Lionheart: i agree
[13:23] ZANICIA Chau: hehe
[13:23] Iboya Cortes: Can we comment?
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: the cat chasing its tail
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes please feel free.
[13:23] Iboya Cortes: or ask?
[13:23] herman Bergson: sure
[13:24] herman Bergson smiles
[13:24] CONNIE Eichel: thanks :)
[13:24] herman Bergson: wb CONNIE
[13:24] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:24] herman Bergson: feel free to ask or make comments
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: :_)
[13:25] ZANICIA Chau: I so thoroughly agree that it is difficult to add anything
[13:25] Repose Lionheart: yes, me too
[13:25] Iboya Cortes: well, im reading it again smiles
[13:25] herman Bergson: yes...that can happen
[13:25] Iboya Cortes: because during this I did wonder bout a few things
[13:26] Repose Lionheart: i have a different take on "nature" maybe, but that's beside the point here
[13:26] herman Bergson: When I started the project I didnt have a clear view on the outcome
[13:26] Repose Lionheart: it was amazingly productive
[13:26] oola Neruda: within the context of all this... is there a justification for war
[13:26] herman Bergson: I agree Repose
[13:26] Abraxas Nagy: never
[13:26] herman Bergson: That is the best answer I guess
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: i agree but there are those who can justify it
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: by their own insight
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: to their ethics
[13:27] Iboya Cortes: For this we need to accept a few basic assumptions. The first one is that as a species humans are basically the same all world with regard to physiology and neurobiology.
[13:27] Iboya Cortes: this part
[13:27] herman Bergson: Oh it is a special chapter in political philosophy.... the Justied war....nice for our next project!
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: ah yes
[13:27] Iboya Cortes: in the world people seem to evolve at a different pase
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: :_)
[13:27] herman Bergson: good question oola
[13:27] Iboya Cortes: different speed almost
[13:28] Iboya Cortes: why is that?
[13:28] Abraxas Nagy: are they?
[13:28] Repose Lionheart: oh, yes, just war is
[13:28] herman Bergson: There are differences indeed...
[13:28] herman Bergson: But I think they mainly are caused by nutrition…
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: and education
[13:29] herman Bergson: Japanese are not tall, but that isnt a fixed fact...
[13:29] Repose Lionheart: and culture
[13:29] Repose Lionheart: true
[13:29] herman Bergson: in the middle ages average length in Europe was 1.50 or 1.60m
[13:29] Repose Lionheart: oh
[13:29] Abraxas Nagy: that big?
[13:29] herman Bergson: better food changes the population
[13:29] oola Neruda: i can see a lot of individuals having their values... in a case like war, how can a political entity justifiably impose a set of values
[13:30] Repose Lionheart: that's why the doors always look so small in photos „ã°
[13:30] Abraxas Nagy: ha-bloody-ha
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes Repose...we bump our head there
[13:30] Abraxas Nagy: oops
[13:30] Repose Lionheart: hehe
[13:30] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:30] ZANICIA Chau: others retard their own growth
[13:31] herman Bergson: I think you are running ahead of us already in the next project oola
[13:31] oola Neruda: smiles... well i will consider it a carrot for myself to follow then until you begin
[13:31] herman Bergson: Your question contains a lot of other questions which have to answered first
[13:31] herman Bergson smiles
[13:32] Repose Lionheart: carrots are tasty
[13:32] herman Bergson: and healthy too
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well it is somewhat amazing that a whole group more or less agrees with me
[13:32] oola Neruda: micro / macro
[13:32] Abraxas Nagy: o.O Alarice crashed
[13:32] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: seems to be the case, though
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: still some problems
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: yep
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: what else is new
[13:33] Abraxas Nagy: lol
[13:33] Christianadreetje Dench: :)
[13:33] ZANICIA Chau: perhaps- as you mentioned- the word 'nature' may be questionable
[13:33] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:33] herman Bergson: My idea of nature...human nature is very basic
[13:34] herman Bergson: I see human nature as the functioning of the organism caused by the central nervous system
[13:34] herman Bergson: in that respect we dont differ from other primates for instance
[13:35] ZANICIA Chau: why do you think it seems that people do not wish to refine or reavaulate themselves these days?
[13:35] herman Bergson: However, we must conclude that we differ from other primates yet
[13:35] herman Bergson: do you think that that is the case Zanicia?
[13:36] ZANICIA Chau: certainly
[13:36] herman Bergson: You mean that people do not want to get educated and civilized?
[13:36] ZANICIA Chau: it seems to be worldwide as well
[13:36] ZANICIA Chau: yes
[13:37] oola Neruda: or cannot ... cannot is different from not wanting to
[13:37] ZANICIA Chau: there is so much complacency
[13:37] herman Bergson: The problem with such observations is that these are could call them even hypotheses
[13:38] herman Bergson: The difficulty is did this generalisation came into existence
[13:38] ZANICIA Chau: we see- we naturally judge
[13:38] herman Bergson: what data confirm the hypothesis
[13:38] Iboya Cortes: but that was a good point - not wanting to or cannot
[13:38] Christianadreetje Dench: thank you all, sorry have to leave early ! Cu **
[13:38] ZANICIA Chau: if the evidence was not there -we would not see
[13:38] Abraxas Nagy: bye Chris
[13:39] Repose Lionheart: Bye, Christian
[13:39] herman Bergson: Thnx for coming Christi
[13:39] herman Bergson: Well Zanicia this is a difficult subject.....
[13:40] oola Neruda: many people have lost hope that there is a good future
[13:40] Iboya Cortes: As Herman said, we keep evolving, that includes values too
[13:40] herman Bergson: You could say it is the tension between general public observation and scientific research and data gathering
[13:40] oola Neruda: some other people somehow find a way to believe and strive for their future
[13:40] herman Bergson: yes oola....
[13:40] herman Bergson: Just look at our behavior....
[13:41] Repose Lionheart: it is reasoned
[13:41] herman Bergson: many of use at least in the Netherlands dont dump garbage in one trashcan... anymore
[13:41] Iboya Cortes: accepting a virtual world is shifting values, just a small example
[13:41] Repose Lionheart: oh, here too
[13:41] herman Bergson: we seperate paper, plastic, graden trash and the remainder in our homes before it is collected
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: yes, sl does shift values!
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: here too
[13:42] herman Bergson: This means, that if it shows that we are willing to do so, we have learnt to care for our environment
[13:42] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:42] herman Bergson: in a way we deal better with our world in this respect than 50 years ago for instance
[13:43] herman Bergson: We still litter the world with our trash but nevertheless
[13:43] herman Bergson: the way we think about plants, rain forests , animals has changed into respect for nature
[13:44] herman Bergson: the insight of our mutual dependency
[13:44] herman Bergson: We also make better bombs and rockets and tanks...true
[13:44] ZANICIA Chau: better?
[13:44] herman Bergson: But if it is about human nature....this conflict is quintessential , part of human nature
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:45] herman Bergson: oh yes Zanicia...much more effective bombs
[13:45] herman Bergson: Not that I am happy with that, but we do
[13:46] ZANICIA Chau: that entirely depends on one's viewpoint
[13:46] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:46] herman Bergson: of course
[13:46] herman Bergson: but in Aristotelian sense...if it is the function of a bomb to kill human beings , Aristotle would agree that we now have better bombs
[13:47] herman Bergson: in the sense of more effective
[13:47] ZANICIA Chau: -which brings us back to 'valuation'
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: yes lol
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes....
[13:47] oola Neruda: and circumstances and opportunity
[13:47] herman Bergson: it brings us back to our interaction with our environment
[13:48] ZANICIA Chau: yes
[13:48] herman Bergson: and creating bombs is not contribution to the improvement of human wellfare
[13:48] ZANICIA Chau: -concur!
[13:48] Repose Lionheart: for sure
[13:48] herman Bergson: But as I said....
[13:49] herman Bergson: we tend to look at ourselves as completed products of evolution....we are complete....full grown
[13:49] Iboya Cortes: and we are not you say?
[13:50] ZANICIA Chau: people need to understand that we are yet babies
[13:50] herman Bergson: But how much time has past in this evolution in respect to the 4 billion years earth exists
[13:50] Iboya Cortes: I agree yes
[13:50] herman Bergson: Yes , maybe we are
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: slo going
[13:50] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:50] herman Bergson: At least we often stell tend to play with the wrong toys for instance „ã°
[13:51] Repose Lionheart: hehe
[13:51] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:51] herman Bergson: So if you look at mankind from a time perspective.... we are babies indeed
[13:52] Repose Lionheart: yes
[13:52] herman Bergson: When you look at science....hardly a day old in relation to earth history...
[13:52] Iboya Cortes: I think evaluation will never stop in us humans, in the same sense we might be wiped out within a splitsecond
[13:52] herman Bergson: irt only began iaround 1650
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:52] Repose Lionheart: yes, lots to discover
[13:52] herman Bergson: I would never have believed it of myself, but I dare to say there still is hope for mankind ^_^
[13:52] Repose Lionheart: :-)
[13:53] Repose Lionheart: agree!
[13:53] Iboya Cortes: I:-)
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: have to get going
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: ‚ô• Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ‚ô•
[13:53] Repose Lionheart: Bye, Gemma „ã°
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: class tuesday?
[13:53] Iboya Cortes: yes, im gonna let this sink in for a bit too :-)
[13:53] herman Bergson: Yesterday I watch the 24th century....
[13:53] Abraxas Nagy: sure
[13:53] herman Bergson: I can tell you things looked a little better there
[13:53] Iboya Cortes: Thank you everyone, Herman
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: great class :)
[13:54] herman Bergson: One announcement left: NEXT WEEK I AM ON VACATION IN RL!!!
[13:54] Iboya Cortes: yes it was great
[13:54] Iboya Cortes: hahahhaaa
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ahhhhhhaaaa glad i waited!!!!!
[13:54] Repose Lionheart: oh, nice „ã°
[13:54] Iboya Cortes: carnaval in holland
[13:54] CONNIE Eichel: woo hooo, proferssor
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: good
[13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you CONNIE, Iboya
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: enjoy
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: dat is waar
[13:54] ZANICIA Chau: thank you for today, professor
[13:55] Iboya Cortes: :-)))
[13:55] herman Bergson: My pleasure Zanicia
[13:55] Iboya Cortes: bye for now take care all :-)
[13:55] Justine Rhapsody: Thanks Professor :)
[13:55] Abraxas Nagy: I am going to friends.... thanks again herman
[13:55] ZANICIA Chau: have good holiday!!!!
[13:55] herman Bergson: After the vacation the new project!!
[13:55] Repose Lionheart: good
[13:55] Abraxas Nagy: w0oh0o!
[13:55] herman Bergson: Then oola gets all her questions aswered „ã°
[13:55] oola Neruda: :-)
[13:55] Repose Lionheart: Thank you, Professor!
[13:56] Hello: bergfrau Apfelbaum donated L$50. Thank you very much, it is much appreciated!
[13:56] CONNIE Eichel: jazz time for me, have a nice holidays professor :)
[13:56] CONNIE Eichel: bye everyone :)
[13:56] herman Bergson: And an applause for Bergie who became today manager of 13 sims ...
[13:56] herman Bergson: /////// APPLAUSE /////[13:56] Repose Lionheart: oh, wow
[13:56] CONNIE Eichel: wow, hard work, hehe
[13:56] Repose Lionheart: applause!!!!
[13:56] CONNIE Eichel: :)
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: danke herman!! für deine tolle arbeit!! es war wieder interessant und tiefgr√ºndig:-) sch√∂nes thema
[13:57] oola Neruda: wow bergie
[13:57] ZANICIA Chau: weel done
[13:57] bergfrau Apfelbaum: oola :-))
[13:57] CONNIE Eichel: :)
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