Tuesday, January 31, 2017

641: A way out of Nihilism.......?

If by nihilism one means a disbelief in the possibility of justifying moral judgments in some rational way 
and if philosophers reflect the intellectual climate of the times in which they live, then our age is truly nihilistic. 
At no period in Western history, with the possible exception of the Hellenistic age, have so many philosophers regarded moral statements as somehow arbitrary.
This is what you can read in the MacMillan Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, but I find the expression “somewhat arbitrary” questionable.
It interprets the human being as an organism of which its main control is its rationality and 
that moral standards if not rationally and logically deduced from whatever premisses, are somewhat arbitrary.
Here we get a kind of reasoning like, when life has no meaning or purpose, you never can know what to do.
You therefore have no standards for right and wrong. We have no stepping stones in our rationality, which show us the path.
To put it in a decent way, I strongly disagree with this view of man. After all project themes we have discussed here,
it might be clear that there is another interpretation possible.
To begin with, homo sapiens is not a rational being. That is, his existence, his life is NOT guided and controlled by his rationality.
Rationality is one of the assets in his behavioural repertoire, but there are many more elements.
At least one group of philosophers had  some understanding of this fact.
For many Continental philosophers, especially the atheistic existentialists, moral values are products of choices we make.
The most notable statement of this view is in “Being and Nothingness”  (1943) by Jean-Paul Sartre. 
We have no criteria to discern good choices from bad choices, but in our choices we establish our moral responsibility. 
This moral responsibility we create ourselves and is not based on external or supernatural sources.
Sartre explains it thus: Take a letter opener. It is created with a special purpose in mind. That is the meaning of this object.
In contrast, take a sharp object like a shard of flint, just a flint even though it could be used to cut. People discovered by accident, that it could be used for that purpose.
Sartre's point is that we assume that we are like letter openers and not like stone shards.
We believed, that we have some purpose serving an essential nature because God created us with a specific goal in mind.
But if God does not exist and the naturalistic interpretation of our existence is true, then the picture is not correct. 
We are like stone shards, which just are and nothing more. We may use ourselves for certain goals 
to the benefit of  ourselves and each other, but these goals can not be deduced from what we are in essence.
This all is reasoning in what I would call narrow minded philosophy. Narrow minded because it all focuses on our rationality as our essence only.
Next lecture I might offer you some alternative….
Thank you again for your attention… ^_^

The Discussion

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will wait for the alternative
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not a nihilist
[13:27] herman Bergson: Neither am I , I think, Gemma :-))
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): think?
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not really sure I am either
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I think I have a purpose in some way at least
[13:27] herman Bergson: That's what philosopher do....think :-)
[13:27] CB Axel: It sounds to me that people use God as an excuse to not choose a goal or purpose in life.
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh wow
[13:28] CB Axel: God has made that decision, so the individual doesn't have to make a choice.
[13:28] herman Bergson: That is too much, CB…..
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is really cynical
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): really even
[13:28] herman Bergson: Lots of people are educated within a religious environment....
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:29] CB Axel: Yeah, well, I've very cynical.
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ahha
[13:29] CB Axel: *I'm
[13:29] herman Bergson: YEt you have a point CB....
[13:29] herman Bergson: It has been a serious debate....
[13:30] herman Bergson: if god knows EVERYTHING....then he knows what I will do next....
[13:30] herman Bergson: where is my free will in this???
[13:30] herman Bergson: And in islamic culture you so often hear the words...IF ALLAH wants it...
[13:31] herman Bergson: This IS a serious issue in human behavior
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed, we let something that does not exist decide what we should do
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's easy to say that Allah wants things..blame it allon Allah
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita...
[13:31] herman Bergson: the biggest point is....
[13:32] herman Bergson: that this SOMETHING that never has told us that it KNOWS everything is referred to as the one who knows everything
[13:32] herman Bergson: it is humans who say that this is the case....
[13:33] herman Bergson: very weird situation actually
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a bit indeed
[13:33] herman Bergson: So..nihilism is still FUN ^_^
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its an interesting subject anyway
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:34] herman Bergson: it is nihil Bejiita ^_^
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): good thing there are so many other philosophies to look at and like
[13:35] herman Bergson: But  the one issue is that is that when there is no external source humans can have no moral standards
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that makes no sense either
[13:36] herman Bergson: the second thing is, that consequently moral standards are arbitrary.....
[13:36] herman Bergson: To me..both statements are nonsense....
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is a little easier to understand tho if you look at different cultures
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): having different standards
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): understand not like
[13:37] CB Axel: Moral standards evolved like we did.
[13:37] herman Bergson: to kill your friend will be a crime in any culture, I guess Gemma
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not sure about that!!!!!
[13:38] herman Bergson: To steal your neighbours pots and pans too
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: been to Samoa herman? ;)
[13:39] herman Bergson: I agree Gemma..when your friend has an affair with your wife....well...you might change your mind about it ^_^
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): correct
[13:39] herman Bergson: but if he does so he was not your friend GEmma
[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): who knew
[13:39] herman Bergson: so you kill an ****
[13:40] herman Bergson: What is in Samoa Ciska?
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: they used to have no concept for owning
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): an island with a culture that is very different
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sharing is part of life
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: not sure if thats still the case
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: but in the late 90ties it still was
[13:40] herman Bergson: If they haven’t then there can not be theft either...so problem solved
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: yes
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: exactly
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so if i buy myself a new car its ok for someone else to just take it and drive away
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not sure id be very happy then
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: I met one of them in australia living with my sister-in-laws sister
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope not bej
[13:41] herman Bergson: no no Bejiita....
[13:41] CB Axel: That wouldn't work in a capitalist society.
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: he really did live it still there hahah
[13:41] herman Bergson: Premise ONE is....
[13:42] herman Bergson: There exists a concept of private property
[13:42] herman Bergson: only then you can have theft
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): unless its ok for me to take another car and so, like sharing in general
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the important thing is i have one so i can get around
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but never heard about a such culture
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: yes  that is practised in Australia’s outback too
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: when you leave the car in the outback you leave the keys in
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): car sharing i know about though
[13:43] herman Bergson: there could be a society where dozens of cars are standing around and where anyone can take one and use it, yes
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: in case someone is in need to get a doc
[13:43] CB Axel: Some cities do that with bicycles.
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): NY city has bikes anyone can ride
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:43] herman Bergson: YEs CB...
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats another thing indeed, a good thing
[13:43] herman Bergson: also with cars
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and leave at a bike station
[13:43] Ciska Riverstone: munich too but u have to pay for it
[13:43] herman Bergson: We have Green Cars here....
[13:44] herman Bergson: You can rent them when you need them....and then leave them
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): heard of that too
[13:44] Ciska Riverstone: we use that here in Munich too
[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: we own no car any longer
[13:45] herman Bergson: We have this system with bikes and cars...in Amsterdam
[13:45] herman Bergson: an dwith women too...:-)
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:45] herman Bergson: oops...sorry
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hahahha
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:45] Ciska Riverstone: heheeh old school  - women are objects and can be owned ,)
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:45] herman Bergson: no Ciska....just rented
[13:46] herman Bergson: you have to pay for it :-)
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: well if you want to rent then the one u rent from must own
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): just rent them for a short period of time Ciska..on the the "Wallen"red light district
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: otherweise the whole concept does not work
[13:46] herman Bergson: System existed already before Green Cars :-)
[13:46] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and here it is against the law
[13:47] herman Bergson: to rent a car, Gemma????
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): except in one state
[13:47] CB Axel: lol
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): no
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   ,.·^*'´|'\            ,.·^*'´¯¯¯'`*^·,  ,/ |'`*^·-, 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '|         |  \       ,·'       ,.·:*:·,        '`i      | 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '|         |   |      ;          ':,:::,:·         ;      | 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '|         |   :i - ·;i'`:,         ¯¯         ·´|  '   | 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):  '|         '´         '|'i   `*:~· - ~^*'´    |   |       '`*·-, 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '|          ,.-:^:':'\:'`:;                   :;·:i  /`':^·.,     `'i 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '|..,.:'´              '\| '`*^~·:-:·~^*'´'|/            '`::.., | 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):   '´:           ;:-·^*'´                              `'*^·:;-     :;·' 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate):       `·;:·'´                                                 '`^·:;·´ 
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): woman
[13:48] herman Bergson: What state are you talking about Gemma?
[13:48] CB Axel: OMG! I've rented cars. I feel so dirty now. LOL
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hahaha
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nevada
[13:48] Ciska Riverstone: lol cb
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there are brothels
[13:48] herman Bergson: interesting...
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): renting cars in red light district?
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): controlled by state law
[13:48] herman Bergson: but against the law???
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): loool
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now I’m confused
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): in all othr states yes
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): women bej
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): forget teh cars
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you can rent a car in the red light district Bejiita, but it's ofte too crowded to drive there:)))
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the police spend a lot of time arresting the renters and the rentees
[13:49] herman Bergson: Ok...enough...lol
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: hahahah beertje
[13:49] herman Bergson: let us conclude for today...
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:49] herman Bergson: that nihilism is fun
[13:50] CB Axel: Well, that discussion took an odd turn today.
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:50] herman Bergson: because renting a car can be a sexy business :-)
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but was fun
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i was thinking that too
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it is supposed to do that
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles
[13:50] CB Axel: LOL, Herman.
[13:50] herman Bergson: especially in Nevada :-)
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:50] herman Bergson: SO let's all go to Nevada renting a car....who knows...
[13:50] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hope to be here Tuesday but is sort of hard
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu next time then
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha ok
[13:51] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation...^_^
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:51] CB Axel: OK. See you all Tuesday. °͜°
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman:)
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ^_^
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: thank you hermann
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): will see if tuesday i maybee have dinner with work, kickoff event
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not sure what day it was
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:51] herman Bergson: ok Bejiita :-)
[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman & Class!
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu all
[13:52] Alina Gabilondo: thanks :)) good night !!
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Sleep well
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[13:52] bergfrau Apfelbaum: gute nacht beertje .-))
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten Ciska en Gute Nacht Bergie
[13:53] herman Bergson: Bussi Bergie :-)

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