Thursday, February 7, 2013

455: The Art Not to Be an Egoist 20

At this point, of course , I could continue with showing you all kinds of examples and scientific results regarding our desire to feel good as a basic of human nature.

But I think it is more to the point to show you, that already from the beginning of its philosophical adulthood man knew about what now is offered as new insights derived from biology and neurosciences.

In other words, there is nothing new under the sun, except that we now have all kinds of empirical evidence from a number of sciences, that tell that those from the past were on the right track regarding understanding human nature.

Who were they? Democritus (c.460 - c.370 BC), Aristippus (c. 435 – c. 356 BC), Epicurus (c. 341–c. 270 BC) representing hedonism and Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) as a representative of eudiamonism.

Hedonism assumes that man naturally seeks pleasure, which in Greek  is called "hedone" , hence the name. 

This commitment is reflected negatively in avoiding pain and positively in the pursuit of all that can generate a feeling of wellbeing. 

Hedonism recognizes not only the psychological fact, but also assumes that indeed enjoying is the most valuable or the highest good for man, and that he therefore does well when he seeks pleasure. 

A person is acting good who lets his behavior be determined by the question, how he himself can obtain the most pleasure, in this way he not only lives according to his nature, but he also fulfills his destiny.

The word is derived from the Greek word "eudaimonia" which Iiterally means a good demon or spirit, that means being fortunate or lucky. 

Originally it so relates in the first place to the external conditions. Later, the emphasis shifted to the inner state and therefore the meaning of happiness in the sense of happiness or bliss. 

It indicates a feeling of well-being, resulting from knowing a harmony both with himself and with his environment. 

The man, who has reached the eudemonia, enjoys a sense of complete satisfaction, not only physically but also mentally. 

The latter distinguishes eudemonisme from hedonism. It is however clear that the boundaries between the two systems are fluid.

Although the word is in different cases is shallow, we still can best translated eudemonia by "feeling good". 

Eudemonism now wants like hedonism  start from experience and believes that it teaches that man naturally seeks for "feeling good", while it adds, that this is morally good. 

The aim of human activity, according to the eudemonism is always "feeling good". It thus regards "feeling good" as the greatest good. It is now up to the people to learn, to find true "feeling good". Thus eudemonisme  therefore is a life doctrine.

Then it is fascinaitng to notice, that interest in the concept of eudaimonia and ancient ethical theory more generally enjoyed a revival in the twentieth century.

 Elizabeth Anscombe, one of our female philosophers, in her article "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958) argued that duty based conceptions of morality are conceptually incoherent for they are based on the idea of a "law without a lawgiver". 

She claims a system of morality conceived along the lines of the Ten Commandments depends on someone having made these rules.

Anscombe recommends a return to the eudaimonistic ethical theories of the ancients, particularly Aristotle, 

which ground morality in the interests and well being of human moral agents, and can do so without appealing to any such lawgiver.

As you see, what is now presented to us as insights derived from evolutionary psychology, biology and neurosciences, have been known to the homo sapiens for centuries.

And now I also have an announcement to make ..^_^
Next class will be on February 19, because in between I gonna spend my time on the Dutch island Schiermonnikoog. Use Google Earth to wave at me ^_^

The Discussion

[13:24] Britta Exonar: yes quite fascinating
[13:24] herman Bergson: thank you..:-))
[13:25] herman Bergson: The floor is yours...:-)
[13:25] Oceane (oceane.madrigal): cool :)
[13:25] herman Bergson: Have a seat Muan :-)
[13:25] Muon Yiyuan: Giving up smoking while you are there, Herman?
[13:25] Debbie DJ (framdor): Eudaiimonism - what a lovely concept - maximising the feeling of well being.
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:25] Debbie DJ (framdor): fits in with your holiday herman
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: right now I'm trying to do all kind of stuff that make me feel good, right now try a lot of dance styles and similar
[13:26] Debbie DJ (framdor): I read a set of ten atheist commandments earlier today...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: awesome fun amd make me feel great
[13:26] herman Bergson: it struck me that all what the neuroscientist say today was already said by the Greek
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well those ancients were well informed on philosophy and religion
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is why I presented you today with classic hedonism and eudaimonism
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: already the old greeks
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: a classic saying
[13:28] herman Bergson: I would say they were well informed on human nature Merlin...
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Religion was about the only thing they had to think about all day
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, that too Herman
[13:28] herman Bergson: They already understood what it was all about...
[13:28] Britta Exonar considering teh fact that relatively ancient times being less complex than our times which in fact should require even more to ponder over issues fo feeling good
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: seems so
[13:28] Britta Exonar our times being more complex relatively
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Britta....
[13:29] herman Bergson: and they didn't have any scientific insights we have now...!
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: a bit fascinating for sure
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): scientific distractions
[13:29] Britta Exonar that's why is so fascinating....they had developed abstract thinking to the utmost then
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: but i guess its because feeling good is a such basic drive
[13:29] herman Bergson: Yes Britta....
[13:30] Britta Exonar: ı agree Bejita
[13:30] herman Bergson: Like their atomism....
[13:30] herman Bergson: the idea that reality is in fact constructed out of small identical particles...
[13:30] Laila Schuman: the common man worked extremely hard all day just to survive and died young
[13:30] herman Bergson: Why would you get such an idea living in ancient Greece???
[13:31] Muon Yiyuan: The Aristotle particle!
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I have heard something different Laila
[13:31] Britta Exonar: ah!
[13:31] Muon Yiyuan: a forerunner to the Higgs
[13:31] herman Bergson: Ye Laila philosophy was for the wealthy part of the population but never the less
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): It was the industrial revolution which caused people to have a heavy workload
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): We touched on this once before here
[13:32] Debbie DJ (framdor): Ha - found the link to ten commandments for atheists...It is a bit eudaemonistic
[13:32] Debbie DJ (framdor):
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:32] Laila Schuman: not if you lived off the land, had raids coming and going and did all the work yourself... have you been to africa... they have similar situations yet today
[13:32] Britta Exonar but imaigne the construction fo heavy building all day carving stones and breaking them to shape and carry under teh hot sun of the mediterranean that was quite hard work ...
[13:32] herman Bergson: What I didn't mention is Buddhism....
[13:33] herman Bergson: I guess that is a life doctrine close to eudaimonism as well
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Well they were poor Laila, but they had a lot of leisure time in the Elizabethan times etc
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): so I have heard anyway
[13:34] herman Bergson: So also in eastern philosophy this eudaimonist idea emerged
[13:34] Laila Schuman: hmm
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I thought eudemonism sounded Buddhist
[13:34] herman Bergson: Yes Merlin....
[13:34] Debbie DJ (framdor): I am surprised we work so hard, if pleasure is our main drive. we should take more holidays....
[13:34] herman Bergson: that is what I was thinking of...
[13:34] herman Bergson: So I do Debbie ^_^
[13:34] Britta Exonar: /em but hard work can be pleasurable for some...
[13:35] herman Bergson: Next class February 19 :-))
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): When computers were being developed they predicted we would all have more leisure time
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: true but now we have money coming in our way for that
[13:35] Debbie DJ (framdor): So you do Herman!!!!
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): (and use less paper too hahaha)
[13:35] herman Bergson: lol...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:35] Britta Exonar also for soem leisure activity can be work like..
[13:35] herman Bergson: and what did we get....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: or u use a tablet or smartphone instead of papers
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: so do i
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: i just loose papers
[13:36] herman Bergson: a constant mood of irritation because the bloody computer is screwing up again
[13:36] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): The software company I worked for would print everything four times over for people
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hahaha that happens to one of my work buddies all time
[13:36] Debbie DJ (framdor): I put a shredder onto the output of the high printer to promote a paperless office ;)
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: lool
[13:36] Britta Exonar loves shredders makes good confetti
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hahaha but then u still waste paper and for no use at all this time
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:37] Debbie DJ (framdor): and beds for hamsters
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:37] Britta Exonar: shredders work for fun
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well...I guess we are becoming all eudaimonistic now talking about our fun subjects :-)
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hahahaha yes
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: I once heard the japanese had invented a reverse photocopier
[13:37] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yeah we are off topic again... sorry
[13:37] Debbie DJ (framdor): Yes. How does second life rate on the eudaimonistic scale?
[13:37] herman Bergson: I wont put you all through the shredder but just thank you for your particiaption:-)
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: a purely eudemonistic idea
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hahaha
[13:37] Muon Yiyuan: you feed in the photo copies
[13:38] Muon Yiyuan: and the paper comes out blank
[13:38] Britta Exonar: thank you Herman..that was informative and quite entertaining...
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: for sure
[13:38] Britta Exonar: lol Muon
[13:38] Muon Yiyuan: just like my mind does with new ideas
[13:38] Debbie DJ (framdor): Great lecture thanks Prof Herman...
[13:38] Oceane (oceane.madrigal): thanks herman :)
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: and was in a great mod from start
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well at least I hope you noticed that the ancient Greek already knew what we are trying to proof now by neuroscience and evolutionary psychology...
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: time to continue with all this nice dancing i did before that got me into this nice state
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: this week will be great for sure
[13:39] bergfrau Apfelbaum: afk :-/
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he Greek were very smart..
[13:39] herman Bergson: Plenty of time for dancing Bejiita :-)
[13:39] Debbie DJ (framdor): The greeks were very hedonistic it seems.
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes, im getting better and better too
[13:40] Debbie DJ (framdor): Their legend lives on
[13:40] Bejiita Imako:
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes...emphasizing WERE :-)
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a nice vacation to Schiermonnikoog Herman
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well now they are smart in tax evasion :-)
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: yes have a good time there
[13:40] Britta Exonar yes enjoy your vacation please....thank you again .))
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: ill look up what this place is
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thank you Beertje :-)
[13:41] herman Bergson: Thank you all
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): Have a tan when you get back herman....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): and enjoy at least one pina collada on the beach
[13:41] Britta Exonar waves to her class well
[13:41] herman Bergson: I guess it wil be more like a frost Debbie
[13:41] Debbie DJ (framdor): bye britta
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hugs all
[13:41] Britta Exonar: Byee
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: try to feel good now everyone
[13:41] herman Bergson: Bye Britta
[13:41] Oceane (oceane.madrigal) wishes everybody a nice and pleasant day... bye bye :)
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: I will
[13:41] Bejiita Imako:
[13:41] Britta Exonar: Bye prof.
[13:42] Muon Yiyuan: Always a pleasure and an education, Herman
[13:42] Debbie DJ (framdor): bye bye friends...
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): CU Debbie
[13:43] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Herman, and everyone still here
[13:43] herman Bergson: Bye Merlin :-)