Tuesday, April 11, 2017

656: An interesting conceptual issue.....

As I pointed out in the previous lecture altruism is really about helping others, 
the well-being of individuals should be the ultimate objective, which means that the altruist interests are as valuable as the interests of those he helps. 
This equivalence is created between the helper and those who are helped, making it essentially being something that is composed of individual good things and not something different from it.
It is all about the relation between individuals. But how relates altruism to for instance family or state.
We can do good to individuals, but we also can do good to a family as a whole and it may even be the case
that one of the members of the family isn’t pleased at all with our altruism. Yet the family as a whole seems to benefit from it.
For instance, a family is offered a new place to live, although one of the members actually hates to live in this new home.
How can we make sense of this peculiar situation? 

When Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of Great Britain she once said: "There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. " 
Given that she is not exactly known as a philosopher, this was a confident foray into the field 
strewn with thorny problems of ontology: the philosophical study of what it means when something exists.
Maybe she tried to say that only concrete observable, individual objects exist and that society is just some abstract term, that has no tangible existence.
Something like that, perhaps, but unfortunately she took a wrong turn by mentioning families too, for aren’t families just a group of individual persons?
This is a classic philosophical problem also old as philosophy itself. And we still run into this problem every day.
Suppose I meet someone here in SL and tell him (I guess you expected me to say “her” :-)), but I tell him, that I got a home here in SL.
Please can I see it, he  asks me. Sure and I teleport him to Wainscot. I show him my house, the lighthouse, the lecture hall, everything….
Then my guest says… wow cool…. but where is your HOME? I saw your house, lighthouse and so on, but your home, where is it?
Maybe my guest gets angry about it and begins taking apart everything here. Yet when he is finished,
I say: “You can do whatever you like, but this just is and will always be MY HOME.”
When a family has a lot of children and one of the children dies, the family still exists, we would say.
As I said in the beginning, what is good for the family, might be bad for one of its members. Yet we primarily (want to) do good to the family .
Like altruism, the helping of individuals in need, is a value in life, can make it meaningful, helping  a family has to be too.
But to understand the difference of altruism towards individuals and something abstract like a family or society,
we have to entangle this ontological conceptual riddle and solve it first……..
Thank you for your attention… ^_^

The Discussion

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I agree with Bejiita :)
[13:22] herman Bergson: The problem here is, that it seems that a family or a state seems to be something "more" than just a collection of individuals
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's the connection I guess
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): might be
[13:23] herman Bergson: put in other words.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: individual persons are real tangible and observable "objects"
[13:24] herman Bergson: IS a family too?
[13:24] herman Bergson: And if it is...WHAT do we see as an object?
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yet we all take care of a family in need
[13:25] CB Axel: It can be real and observable, but it can also change, like when one member dies.
[13:25] herman Bergson: yes...
[13:25] herman Bergson: and when only one is left...is it still a family?
[13:25] CB Axel: In memory only
[13:25] herman Bergson: or just a single person who lost his family
[13:27] herman Bergson: so what we have to find out is in what sense a family or state is more than a collection of individuals
[13:27] herman Bergson: DOn't worry...I'll reveal the solution next Tuesday :-)
[13:27] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:28] CB Axel: Oh, good.
[13:28] herman Bergson: but this is a very old philosophical problem.....
[13:28] CB Axel: It seems to me that a state is a collection of individuals who identify with the state.
[13:28] herman Bergson: that iis an interesting stement CB.....
[13:29] herman Bergson: it implies that the state is something different than a collection of individuals
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the Turkish identify themselves with turkey, even if they are born in the Netherlands
[13:30] herman Bergson: and that is what we tryto grasp now....what is this "extra"
[13:31] herman Bergson: Well just wait till next Tuesday and I'll come up with a reasonable explanation :-)
[13:31] CB Axel: The state is a group of individuals with the same goals, which is why we have conflict. The individuals don't always have the same goals.
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess thats the case
[13:31] herman Bergson: indeed CB...
[13:32] CB Axel: I don't, and never have, understood nationalism.
[13:32] Joseph Bard (science24): same principles doesn't mean same goals
[13:32] CB Axel: I'm legally an American, but I had nothing to do with being American.
[13:33] CB Axel: I had no choice in where I was born.
[13:33] herman Bergson: Maybe as soon as you are threatened in your way of life, you will CB?
[13:33] CB Axel: And you're right, Joseph, but I don't think I have the same principles as many Americans.
[13:34] Joseph Bard (science24): yea, many :)
[13:34] Joseph Bard (science24): the majority makes the identity
[13:34] herman Bergson: well..Joseph...that could be questionable
[13:35] herman Bergson: I read an article in my newspaper about the increasing number of foreigners in our big cities....
[13:35] CB Axel: Herman, I think the world won't learn to get along until we're threatened by an outside force such as an alien invasion. :_
[13:35] CB Axel: :)
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:35] herman Bergson: even so much that the "whites" ....the Dutch become a minority in that city
[13:36] herman Bergson: I am still waiting for that too CB :-)
[13:36] herman Bergson: But it is a Dutch city and the Dutch are a minority.....
[13:36] CB Axel: Then we will realize that we are all human and not Dutch or American or whatever.
[13:37] herman Bergson: what creates the identity?
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we are all the same
[13:37] herman Bergson: No we are not unfortunately Bejiita :-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: ahh thus we get so such another abstract term......
[13:38] herman Bergson: mankind
[13:38] CB Axel: We are the same in that we need food, shelter, and safety.
[13:38] herman Bergson: I guess that is true CB
[13:38] herman Bergson: but the war already starts on how to get the shelter, food and safety
[13:39] Joseph Bard (science24): then, what makes us different ?
[13:39] herman Bergson: well....just look around Joseph....
[13:39] herman Bergson: we try to save mankind from a climate change.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: and yet we are not in agreement on it
[13:40] herman Bergson: We even have a Trump who cancels any actions to save us
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he thinks its all a bluff
[13:40] Joseph Bard (science24): in our heart of hearts  , we are
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that you can pollute as much you want without anything happening
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats really problematic way of thinking
[13:41] herman Bergson: It sounds nice Joseph, but it sounds like poetry to a philosopher too
[13:41] Joseph Bard (science24): he is brainless
[13:42] CB Axel: He is greedy.
[13:42] herman Bergson: Amazing what you can achieve without brains :-))
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agree Joseph, at least he would be better off at an asylum then in the white house
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i just don’t get his crazy ideas at all
[13:43] herman Bergson: Ok...before we sail off again into  these issues....
[13:43] herman Bergson: Let's postpone it to next Tuesday whenI will clarify our conceptual problem
[13:44] Joseph Bard (science24): :)
[13:44] CB Axel: That sounds good.
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:44] herman Bergson: So....thank you all again for your participation...:-)
[13:44] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:44] Joseph Bard (science24): thank you Herman :)
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[13:44] herman Bergson: Class dismissed.....
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time

[13:44] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you

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