Thursday, January 12, 2017

634: Spinoza's mistake....

“If you ask a mathematician, a mineralogist, a historian, or any other man of learning, 
what definite body of truths has been ascertained by his science, his answer will last as long as you are willing to listen. 
But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences. 
It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, 
this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science.” -end quote
These are the words of Bertrand Russel in chapter 15 in  “The Problems of Philosophy” (1912) and with regard to morality we might have reached such a situation today.
According to most philosophers, we reason ourselves toward moral truths. Even if they don’t invoke God, 
they’re still proposing a top-down process in which we formulate the principles and then impose them on human conduct. 

Spinoza is a classic example with his “Ethica”. It even is composed “more geometrico”. You start with axioms and then deduce the rest.
But do moral deliberations really take place at such an elevated plane? Don’t they need to be anchored in who and what we are? 
Would it be realistic, for example, to urge people to be considerate of others if we didn’t already have a natural inclination to be so? 
Would it make sense to appeal to fairness and justice if we didn’t have powerful reactions to their absence?

Spinoza, just like Hobbes formulate a principle and impose it on human conduct and from there they reason top down.
Their principle is that human behaviour is driven by individual self-interest. At first sight you easily can be inclined to agree.
Aren’t humans  very selfish creatures. Aren’t they sinful and primarily inclined to do evil? Isn’t the rule of a god necessary to keep man in check?
This way of thinking mainly supported by religion, has now shown to be a serious misconception.
As Frans de Waal says: “I am a firm believer in David Hume’s position that reason is the slave of the passions. 
We started out with moral sentiments and intuitions, which is also where we find the greatest continuity with other primates. 
Rather than having developed morality from scratch through rational reflection, we received a huge push in the rear from our background as social animals.” 

Darwin already wrote in “The Descent of Man” (1871): “The social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, 
to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.” -end quote

It was a logical consequence of his evolution theory, but he had little hard data to corroborate his ideas.
It is more than a 100 years later, that we have empirical evidence, which supports Darwin’s ideas.
Spinoza was mistaken in emphasizing the basic self-interest of man as his driving power. You can not blame him for that.
Only in 2013 Frans de Waal published “The Bonobo and the Atheist” and in 2014 “Evolved Morality”,

as co-editor  together with Patricia Smith Churchland, Telmo Pievani and Stefano Parmigiani.
The full title of that publication is “Evolved Morality: The Biology and Philosophy of
Human Conscience”
More about this in the next lecture…Thank you ^_^

The Discussion

[13:23] herman Bergson: as CB already discovered....the two videos under the blackboard are illustrating my point
[13:23] CB Axel: °͜°
[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah
[13:23] CB Axel: I haven't started watching them yet.
[13:23] herman Bergson smiles
[13:23] CB Axel: I just saved the URL's so I can watch later.
[13:24] herman Bergson: You definitely should watch them....
[13:24] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by Beertje Beaumont!
[13:24] CB Axel: I will before Tuesday. °͜°
[13:24] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i have watched that 60 mins one
[13:24] herman Bergson: Yes...they will support the lecture of next Tuesday indeed CB
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:24] CB Axel: So, we have homework this week.
[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes we did watch that baby one a couple years ago for some philosopher
[13:25] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by Gemma Cleanslate!
[13:25] herman Bergson: These videos are eyeopeners....
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki
[13:25] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by Ciska Riverstone!
[13:26] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by CB Axel!
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i agree withe the babies
[13:26] herman Bergson: Long time we have been dominated by this idea of the selfish man....
[13:26] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by Beertje Beaumont!
[13:26] herman Bergson: Dawkins even expanded it to the selfish gene....
[13:26] CB Axel: I've seen a video of a chimp, I believe, who got very upset when treated unfairly.
[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i saw that too i think
[13:26] herman Bergson: that is the de Waal video with bonobos, CB :-))
[13:27] herman Bergson: So funny too
[13:27] Frans de Waal link:  Frans de Waal has just been used by bergfrau Apfelbaum!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): babies are actually smarter than adults i think
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): for a while anyway
[13:27] herman Bergson: one gets grapes as reward and he gets just cucumber pieces!
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right
[13:27] CB Axel: Then we hit puberty, Gemma.
[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i remember that !!
[13:27] CB Axel: Yes. That is the video I've seen.
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:28] CB Axel: I think puberty is when our brains quit working.
[13:28] herman Bergson: The fellow even throws the cucumber at the scientist :-))))
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i have seen something like this too I think
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): looll CB
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we have had homework before
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybe, at least for some
[13:28] herman Bergson: But think.....HOW can an ANIMAL behave like this????
[13:29] herman Bergson: That is the big issue here
[13:29] herman Bergson: We have monopolized morality for ourselves
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): well i think some animals have much more sense than we give them credit for
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because i think it have learned whats taste better and so wants the same as the others
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a built in desire
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): instinct
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like when a baby cries for candy in a store
[13:29] herman Bergson: And that, Gemma, is emerging in scientific research these days...
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because it knows it taste good
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and so wants it
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes it is
[13:30] CB Axel: But it's still one animal wanting something another is getting. That's not morality.
[13:30] herman Bergson: No it is not indeed CB.....
[13:30] CB Axel: What I don't remember from the video is how the bonobo getting the grapes reacted.
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some do have moral responses to what is going on around them
[13:30] herman Bergson: But it shows a feeling for fairness
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:31] CB Axel: Did it feel bad? Did it offer grapes to the other?
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): watch it
[13:31] herman Bergson: the one anamal can "feel" what the other animal experiences.....sweet tasts...and he is NOT!
[13:32] herman Bergson: Morality begins with empathy...
[13:32] Ciska Riverstone: in munich one of the orang ladies got depressed after giving birth and the older female elder who already has one now raises the her kid too showing her how to do it
[13:32] herman Bergson: and we are not the only animals capable of empathy
[13:32] CB Axel: Yes, but did the one getting the grapes feel empathetic toward the one getting the cucumber?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Ciska...
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes CB.....
[13:33] herman Bergson: There was another test.....
[13:34] herman Bergson: two bonobos had to pick colored objects from a stack....
[13:34] herman Bergson: there were red and green balls...
[13:34] herman Bergson: if one picked up a green balland gave it to the scientist he AND his mate got a grape as reward...
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that was nice
[13:35] herman Bergson: did he pick  a red ball and give it to the scientist only th egiver received a reward...
[13:35] herman Bergson: the out come was that they both preferred to give green balls sothat both got rewarded each time
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): smart!!!!
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:36] herman Bergson: there are other examples of this kind
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes i have seen others too
[13:36] CB Axel: That experiment wouldn't work with a friend of mine. He has red/green color blindness. °͜°
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): blue and green balls then
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yellow i mean
[13:37] herman Bergson: It could work with your friend too CB, if that person still can see different shades of grey....doesnt need to be 50 tho
[13:37] CB Axel: lol
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): grins
[13:38] herman Bergson: this new development in primatology shed a complete new light on morality and its origins...
[13:39] herman Bergson: It doesn’t answer all questions...we'll deal with that next tuesday...
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its right inside us from start¨
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as i get it
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): until overwritten by "bad behaviour ideas"
[13:39] herman Bergson: But it puts philosophers to some extend pleasantly out of work
[13:39] CB Axel: The bonobo god could have told them to be nice to each other. °͜°
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): gotten from the surroindings
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): interesting concept indeed
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita....something like that
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: the problem seems to be the "becoming conscious"
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its like we are born with a good working OS and then later on someone installs viruses making bad behaviour
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): something like that
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bad influences
[13:41] herman Bergson: YEs Ciska that still remains the biggest riddle of th euniverse...
[13:41] CB Axel: I'm not bad. I've been hacked.
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): antivirus installed
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:41] CB Axel: lol
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:41] herman Bergson: No no..Bejiita...we are not all good and become bad due to exterior influences...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but personality is key too
[13:42] CB Axel: That's why we invented gods. Antivirus god.
[13:42] herman Bergson: We are both....good and bad....that is the reasong of the existence of morality
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its really complex
[13:42] herman Bergson: We are this duality
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): external influences mixed with the individuals personalyty determines it
[13:43] herman Bergson: Something like that, isn’t mathematics....
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): external influences can be heavy, but we still can think for ourselves
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pretty logical
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we have a choice
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:45] herman Bergson: But most important here is to notice that there is the beginning of a scientific explanation of morality as part of our behavior
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): what would Spinoza have said to all that hah
[13:45] herman Bergson: But we'll get to the position of science in this matter in the next lecture
[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): he would have said...ik zie jullie de volgende keer :)
[13:46] herman Bergson: Well...I wonder Gemma....
[13:47] herman Bergson: What does a person who lived all  his life in the jungle say when you drop him in the middle of New York?
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): omg
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): OMG!!!
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): mámááá
[13:47] herman Bergson: SOmething like that , I guess
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:47] CB Axel: New York is a jungle. LOL
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there are people who have done that
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a concrete jungle
[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): from the amazon
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): still people down there with NO outside contact
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:48] herman Bergson: yes
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): deep in the jungle
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and they are trying to protect them from ever seeing
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i cant imagine how
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): with planes flying over
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and other oddities
[13:48] herman Bergson: oh that is no rpoblem.....
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe they can't see the planes because they never seen one and don't know what it is
[13:49] herman Bergson: what you do not understand becomes some kind of spirit or god...
[13:49] CB Axel: I doubt that they see the planes as man-made things.
[13:49] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true
[13:49] herman Bergson: They do not see planes at all....
[13:49] Ciska Riverstone: well it starts when u have to express it
[13:50] herman Bergson: they see amgic white lines in the sky appear.....
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: means
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: when you have to consciously name it
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they are so high above also they cant hear the engine noise
[13:50] herman Bergson: the gods are drawing their future pathways
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: thats the source of any religion
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so they probably think they are birds
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: or godbirds
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least for commercial airliners, but low flying helicopters and similar might be different
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and speed boats
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: dragons, monsters, devils, Bejiita...that they are
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): maybee
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bejiita...just a personal request :-)))
[13:52] herman Bergson: Could you stop typing maybe with two ee-s :-)
[13:52] herman Bergson: I always have to correct them in post editing our discussions ^_^
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe, its cause thats the way i pronounce it, i pull it out
[13:52] herman Bergson: Maybe is enough :-))
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when i say it
[13:53] herman Bergson grins
[13:53] CB Axel: It's not a typo. It's personal expression. °͜°
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:53] herman Bergson: ok...I cant make you stop typing with an accent :-))
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i would post it as it is
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:53] CB Axel: lol
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i guess you can call it that
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol, typing with an accent:)
[13:54] herman Bergson laughs
[13:54] herman Bergson: ok I can live with that :-))
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): time to go over to the expo
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a thing i have done a while indeed, started as a fun thing
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then became routine sort of
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:54] herman Bergson: Ahh you do it on purpose......! :-)
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[13:55] herman Bergson: ok ^_^
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but routine mostly now, since ive done it so many times
[13:55] herman Bergson: Thnx Bejiita ^_^
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it goes for all things i do a lot
[13:55] herman Bergson: Let me thank you all again today for your participation....
[13:55] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: thanx
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well was interesting again herman
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): dankjewel Herman
[13:56] herman Bergson: If there aren't any questions left.....?
[13:56] CB Axel: Thanks you. Tuesday should be very interesting.
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now!!!
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: have a great rest of the day everyone
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu then
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: funny class :-) thank you
[13:56] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): will watch the videos again
[13:56] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten beertje
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): goodnight everyone
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me to
[13:56] herman Bergson: Yes wath the videos!
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): weltrusten Ciska
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[[13:56] CB Axel: I'm looking forward to watching those.
[13:56] CB Axel: See you all Tuesday. °͜°
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs all
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: hugs+
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we do
[13:57] Ciska Riverstone: