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7/25/12 questions and discussion

From: Jon A.
Sent on: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 2:31 PM
7/25/12 questions and discussion

1-how might we respond to the absolute confirmation of the non-existence of free will?4
2-what do you do when reason fails?6
3-what would it be like to live more simply?3
4-should we require picture ids for voting?2
5-statement: everything is either by design or random?4
6-where did embarrassment come from?6


what do you do when reason fails?

Art: I was responding to the effort to think one's way out of something problematic. It's happening to me. I once acted as if god existed. Then I learned that all cultures include posturing, or physical disciplines intended to align oneself with the divine. They put themselves in a position of putting one's ego in the right spot -- in proper perspective. Monkeys do it, other species do it. I think this is part of our reasoning, adapted from instincts. What are the instincts? Understand the instincts and one can change for the better. Reasoning can do this. When reasoning fails we ought to remember we're animals and bring our egos into line.

Lucy: what does failed reasoning look like?

Art: Michelle Bachman. For me it was trying (first failing then succeeding) to quit drinking.

Tor: when I used to get into arguments with people, I would think my reasoning would carry the day and they would see how correct I was. This usually makes people laugh when I talk about it now. Economists realize we act in non-reasonable ways. Feelings are more directly connected in our brains. Art says the scientific method is what is needed. Then he uses the method to tell himself to stop drinking. But reason is also used to justify drinking, or anything one wants to do. I'd be hard pressed to find anything decided by reason.

Mike: it's agreed there's not a lot of sound logic/reason around. Do we seem to be on track to become a computer/machine-dec­iding reality?

Danny: what is reason?

Art: logic. Emotionless thought. Evidence that can be repeated (scientific method).

Mike: reason can fail you if it doesn't get you where you want to go. Alcoholism as example.

Danny: I'm hearing reason can't fail because 1=1=2 every time.

Sean: this might help; in European history, after what is called The Enlightenment, reason was made supreme. Going forward we had a belief a trust in reason as an absolute; that via the use of reason everything would get better forever. Then WWI happened. WWI destroyed the idea that thinking clearly will get us where we want to go. 1=1=2, but that doesn't tell you how to run a society. Society includes the irrational.     Those philosophers asked "what went wrong?" They became nihilists, leading to an era of despair from which to some degree European intellectuals have never recovered.

Mike T: Nietzsche said a gentleman doesn't carry his reason on his hands. This means one can't explain one's life in strictly reasonable language. That living by reason alone can't be true to one's nature. Nietzsche is saying one can't live successfully via calculation. So reason often fails. One thereby learns one can't primarily run their lives via reason.

Art: if you're not using reason, what are you using?

Mike T.: use love, pleasure, loyalty, principle. Not calculations.

Jon: use feeling?

Sean: Gravity: Galileo discovered gravity but it's idea goes back to Aristotle. History is not so much a chasm followed by a great leap forward as it is a progression. Then there's the heart as the seat of decisions/will. Ultimately reason tells one what the choices are but ultimately the choice is made by the heart.

Danny: do you mean pleasure when you say heart?

Sean: it's something non-material.

Art: habits of mind are hard to break. It takes a generation(s) to change cultural habits. 

Lucy: many of you have said good things. One's knowledge base is important; one who lacks it can err for their ignorance. What is failure? Talking about emotions, I don't choose emotions. If you love someone, how much pain must they inflict on you before you stop loving them? Reasoning in my marriage was saying "I love him" but eventually I came to say "I am suffering, so I'm leaving." (Should have left 5 years earlier!)

Danny: are you implying your reasoning changed as your reasons changed?

Lucy: it's multi-faceted. Eventually I fell out of love, before that it wasn't clear. When all the reasons I used to stay married failed I thought just of what's best for me.

Mary: Mike touched on it; reason as a tool for problem solving. Thinking of it as a tool one must gather all the stuff needed to decide. Lucy is saying it's difficult to solve problems without enough data. As a tool reasoning can get me a long way. Reason might fail if one excludes important data.

Lucy: can this happen by accident?

Mary: yes. 

Tor: presently politically right-of-center economists claim things that aren't based in reality/reason This is how I define ideology.

Mary: secondly is the campaign currently being waged against the marriage amendment in Minnesota intended to limit marriage to something between one man and one woman. They looked at exit polling of other states and noticed that those campaigns were all based on rights -- a reasoned approach. Instead, what Minnesota's opponents of the amendment have done is avoid the rights discussion and instead emphasize talking about voters' experiences; the emotions they felt when they themselves married. All of a sudden same sex marriage has to be for the same positive emotional reasons. Instead of reason, they appealed to feeling. Appealing to beliefs.

Sean: it's not that logic breaks down. Logic is always working. It' the nature of reality. Something cant exist and not exist simultaneously. Alcoholics, like all of us are filled with multiple desires. 

Lucy: obsession leave the individual without control.

Sean: using the word failure is too strong. Reason is like a sword. A skilled reasoner won't do harm. thought and reason are the same thing. The man who killed his three daughters never stopped thinking. Artificial intelligence: computers calculate, they don't think, and they are accurate as long as the data input is good. Someday we might find a computer thinking. If it does it will then prove that thinking is completely materialistic. But the present best guess is that machines won't be able to do that.

Siva: reason is a tool unfortunately that doesn't work because the axioms we use are limited by our biases and perspectives. It's unfortunate. Obviously we can't trust ourselves, so who do we go to for help? I am very familiar with the failure of my own reason.

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