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Old 07-13-2016   #41
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false.
Well, perhaps. And certainly in the case of the example you describe, James;
I'm not James.

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
but comfort & discomfort aren't so much philosophical ideas as knowable physical realities, upon which it is that much easier to base a choice. In the realm of philosophical world-views however, we may or may not be in Plato's cave, so to speak...
Given an understanding of the potential conscious realities of the options in the example I gave, only one of the options would be a rational choice. If a philosophical world-view suggests that the other choice is better, or that it makes no difference, then there's a problem with the philosophy.
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Old 07-13-2016   #42
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Terribly sorry about that; scrolling thru this on a mobile device, small screen, reading diagonally it seems.

"If you choose the least rational of two options, your philosophy is wrong" ( if i may thus paraphrase your statement)- that does not explain what makes the one choice more rational, only repeats the claim that it is.

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Old 07-13-2016   #43
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
"If you choose the least rational of two options, your philosophy is wrong" ( if i may thus paraphrase your statement)- that does not explain what makes the one choice more rational, only repeats the claim that it is.
"Given an understanding of the potential conscious realities" does explain what makes one choice rational. Reasons to act are dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience. A philosophy that claimed it's not rational to prevent unnecessary suffering would be denying what suffering is, or denying the reality of how there are reasons to act.
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Old 07-14-2016   #44
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false. It is possible to avoid being hopelessly subjective and fallible. If, hypothetically, you were given a description of the worst suffering that happened in the world on a given day, and a description of the most enjoyable experience that happened in the world on a given day, and you were told either you could experience both consecutively for an hour each, or you could experience neither, aversion to the "both experiences" option would not be out of irrational subjective bias. The aversion would be a result of recognizing the comparative qualities of the degree to which something can be horrible, and the degree to which something can be enjoyable. That is one example of knowledge that's supportive to some world-views and unsupportive to others.
One can center an ethics -- and a general evaluative view of life -- on the bad reality of pain for sentient beings. Whether ethics should be so simply pain-centered is another argument. But, in any case, there is more to a philosophical world-view (in that it is a world-view) than an evaluative view of life based on conscious experience. I assume that there is a reality outside our consciousness, and that the nature of that reality, as we understand it, would have much to do with whatever our philosophical world-view would be. And I do not assume that the qualities of our conscious experience itself necessarily tell us much about the nature of cosmic reality. Obviously cosmic reality is such that it can contain such conscious beings as ourselves and other animals. But aside from that, what can the qualities of our conscious experience necessarily tell us about the cosmos? That our knowledge of the pain/pleasure qualities of our own conscious experience is not something we'd likely suspect to be fallible indicates little about how fallible our overall philosophical world-view might be. The cosmos is much harder to have reasonably certain knowledge of.

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
but comfort & discomfort aren't so much philosophical ideas as knowable physical realities, upon which it is that much easier to base a choice. In the realm of philosophical world-views however, we may or may not be in Plato's cave, so to speak...
Given an understanding of the potential conscious realities of the options in the example I gave, only one of the options would be a rational choice. If a philosophical world-view suggests that the other choice is better, or that it makes no difference, then there's a problem with the philosophy.
Our overall philosophical world-view might or might not be relevant to our ethical decisions about pain/pleasure (there is much in the cosmos, and hence much in our ideas about the cosmos, that has nothing to do with such decisions), so that one wouldn't necessarily be able to use the ethics of decisions about pain to judge whether "there's a problem with the philosophy."

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
"If you choose the least rational of two options, your philosophy is wrong" ( if i may thus paraphrase your statement)- that does not explain what makes the one choice more rational, only repeats the claim that it is.
"Given an understanding of the potential conscious realities" does explain what makes one choice rational. Reasons to act are dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience. A philosophy that claimed it's not rational to prevent unnecessary suffering would be denying what suffering is, or denying the reality of how there are reasons to act.
Your notion of rationality appears to be simply derived from your ethics. This makes it easy for you to argue that your ethics are rational; of course your ethics are rational by the definition of rationality you have derived from those very same ethics.
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Old 07-14-2016   #45
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post

"Given an understanding of the potential conscious realities" does explain what makes one choice rational. Reasons to act are dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience. A philosophy that claimed it's not rational to prevent unnecessary suffering would be denying what suffering is, or denying the reality of how there are reasons to act.
Unecessary suffering is not a quality of conscious experience. If it were, we'd all know it simply by existing, making the hypothetical choice you offer a moot point, while at the same time proving my assertion that acting on that particular knowledge means acting on knowledge of practical reality & not on (necessarily imperfect) speculation.

Not to mention that, although it is quite absurd to think we can know all potentential conscious realities ( which in summary is my original point), if we did know them, and came to have understanding of them, there is the potentiality that we would also understand the conscious reality of the denial of how there are reasons to act.

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Old 07-14-2016   #46
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
One can center an ethics -- and a general evaluative view of life -- on the bad reality of pain for sentient beings. Whether ethics should be so simply pain-centered is another argument.
I gave the example comparing suffering to enjoyment for the purpose of supporting a view of what ethics should be based on.

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
But, in any case, there is more to a philosophical world-view (in that it is a world-view) than an evaluative view of life based on conscious experience. I assume that there is a reality outside our consciousness, and that the nature of that reality, as we understand it, would have much to do with whatever our philosophical world-view would be. And I do not assume that the qualities of our conscious experience itself necessarily tell us much about the nature of cosmic reality. Obviously cosmic reality is such that it can contain such conscious beings as ourselves and other animals. But aside from that, what can the qualities of our conscious experience necessarily tell us about the cosmos? That our knowledge of the pain/pleasure qualities of our own conscious experience is not something we'd likely suspect to be fallible indicates little about how fallible our overall philosophical world-view might be. The cosmos is much harder to have reasonably certain knowledge of.
There are questions about which it is difficult or impossible to be certain about the answers.

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Our overall philosophical world-view might or might not be relevant to our ethical decisions about pain/pleasure (there is much in the cosmos, and hence much in our ideas about the cosmos, that has nothing to do with such decisions),
Philosophical pessimism was one of the world-views that was mentioned, which is an evaluative world-view. The other world-view that was mentioned was theism. The probability would be very low that something arbitrarily imagined would by chance match anything in reality, which means if a world-view is based on a belief in something without a rational reason to believe it, the world-view is most likely false. That is reason to be an atheist rather than an agnostic.

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
so that one wouldn't necessarily be able to use the ethics of decisions about pain to judge whether "there's a problem with the philosophy."
One would be able to judge that there would be a problem with the evaluative part of the world-view, and that would indicate that there would probably be unjustified beliefs that the evaluative part is built on.

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Your notion of rationality appears to be simply derived from your ethics. This makes it easy for you to argue that your ethics are rational; of course your ethics are rational by the definition of rationality you have derived from those very same ethics.
My notion of rationality applies to ethics, but it does not derive from ethics. Subjects other than ethics can also be thought about rationally. Rational thinking can be a means of discovering a truth. Our reasons to try to discover a truth (or to try to do anything else) are dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience.

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Unecessary suffering is not a quality of conscious experience.
Suffering is a quality of conscious experience. The suffering is unnecessary if it's caused without justification, and a justification is dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience (causing a lesser harm could be justified if doing so prevents a greater harm).

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Not to mention that, although it is quite absurd to think we can know all potentential conscious realities ( which in summary is my original point), if we did know them, and came to have understanding of them, there is the potentiality that we would also understand the conscious reality of the denial of how there are reasons to act.
I don't see the relevance of that.
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Old 07-14-2016   #47
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post



Suffering is a quality of conscious experience. The suffering is unnecessary if it's caused without justification, and a justification is dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience (causing a lesser harm could be justified if doing so prevents a greater harm).
So if i torture you, i do not cause you unnecessary suffering as long as the justification for my acts is "dependent upon knowledge of qualities of conscious experience?"

What is this "knowledge of qualities of conscious experience" you seem to end most sentences with, anyway?

Because you argumentation always seems to contain an iteration of your first position (if not wholly to consist of it), i am forced to restate mine; if suffering is a qualitative property of conscious existence, then knowledge of suffering is also inherent in existence, hence the choice between your options would not be made on the basis of any reasoning or extrapolation but on practical knowledge of physical reality. It remains my contention there may be considerations which extend beyond the materially knowable.

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Old 07-14-2016   #48
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post

I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false. It is possible to avoid being hopelessly subjective and fallible. If, hypothetically, you were given a description of the worst suffering that happened in the world on a given day, and a description of the most enjoyable experience that happened in the world on a given day, and you were told either you could experience both consecutively for an hour each, or you could experience neither, aversion to the "both experiences" option would not be out of irrational subjective bias. The aversion would be a result of recognizing the comparative qualities of the degree to which something can be horrible, and the degree to which something can be enjoyable.
However, the opposite choice, aversion to the "no experience" option, would also not be out of irrational subjective bias; it would be a result of recognizing the degree to which the comparative qualities of these degrees of horror or enjoyment may outweigh one another relative to one's temperament or disposition. A disposition may be irrational and subjective, but a rational assessment of what is more appropriate to this disposition is not.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 07-14-2016   #49
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
One can center an ethics -- and a general evaluative view of life -- on the bad reality of pain for sentient beings. Whether ethics should be so simply pain-centered is another argument.
I gave the example comparing suffering to enjoyment for the purpose of supporting a view of what ethics should be based on.
Your example followed immediately after you said, "I also think there can be reasonable certainty about whether a philosophical world-view is true or false. It is possible to avoid being hopelessly subjective and fallible." For that reason, it seemed that you gave your example for the purpose of arguing against fallibilism about philosophical world-views.

One could agree entirely with your analysis of our knowledge of pain and still not agree that ethics should be centered on suffering. There are other possible criteria for ethics, and there are other possible criteria for even a pessimistic ethics. Your focus on pain enables you to display an axiomatic rigor in your arguments, but this will not necessarily be persuasive to those (even other pessimists) who think that other ethical criteria are important as well.

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Our overall philosophical world-view might or might not be relevant to our ethical decisions about pain/pleasure (there is much in the cosmos, and hence much in our ideas about the cosmos, that has nothing to do with such decisions),
Philosophical pessimism was one of the world-views that was mentioned, which is an evaluative world-view. The other world-view that was mentioned was theism. The probability would be very low that something arbitrarily imagined would by chance match anything in reality, which means if a world-view is based on a belief in something without a rational reason to believe it, the world-view is most likely false. That is reason to be an atheist rather than an agnostic.
Mystical approaches to theism are just as focused on careful discernment of qualities of experience as your ethic of suffering is. I'm not a mystical theist because I don't think internal states tell us much about the world. But all thinking about theism is not "arbitrarily imagined" or "without a rational reason to believe it."

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
so that one wouldn't necessarily be able to use the ethics of decisions about pain to judge whether "there's a problem with the philosophy."
One would be able to judge that there would be a problem with the evaluative part of the world-view, and that would indicate that there would probably be unjustified beliefs that the evaluative part is built on.
For the same reason that I'm not a mystical theist (I don't think internal states tell us much about the world), I don't think ethics based on evaluation of qualities of our experience would have to be "built on" our beliefs about the world or would indicate that our beliefs about the world are unjustified. The hermetic formula "As above, so below" is not necessarily true of a secular world-view, either.

Quote Originally Posted by Gray House View Post
Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Your notion of rationality appears to be simply derived from your ethics. This makes it easy for you to argue that your ethics are rational; of course your ethics are rational by the definition of rationality you have derived from those very same ethics.
My notion of rationality applies to ethics, but it does not derive from ethics. Subjects other than ethics can also be thought about rationally. Rational thinking can be a means of discovering a truth. Our reasons to try to discover a truth (or to try to do anything else) are dependent on knowledge of qualities of conscious experience.
So our reasons to be rational are dependent on the same thing your ethics is dependent on, and you carefully describe both in the same words: "knowledge of qualities of conscious experience." If such knowledge of qualities of conscious experience is the criterion by which we are to judge whether we are using our rationality reasonably, then you have assumed your ethics in your description of rationality.

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
What is this "knowledge of qualities of conscious experience" you seem to end most sentences with, anyway?
It's the basis for both his ethics and his notion of rationality simultaneously!

Last edited by gveranon; 07-14-2016 at 07:52 PM.. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 07-14-2016   #50
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Re: Pessimists - What Keeps You Going?

What keeps my wetback pessimism going is that I am waiting to be proven right, which is another way to anticipate Godot.Your Vladimir for my Estragon.
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