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Discussion #09 to Define Some Common Terms for Future Debates

  • Aug 30, 2012 · 7:00 PM
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Having made faster progress going through the list in the previous meeting (August 23), we want to continue the pace with another crop or two of ethical terms.

We will use the format of the first meeting of this series to find common grounds for any future debates.

Come to the meeting with your definitions to the following terms:

  • ...
  • Objectivity, subjectivity, bias, balance, neutrality, interest, disinterest, indifference
  • Value, morality, judgment, principle, conviction, character, moral agent, happiness, eudaimonia, phronesis
  • [CURRENT BOOKMARK] Ought, duty, obligation, authority, imperative, dictum, command, rule, policy
  • Good, bad, evil, ideal, sacred, virtue, vice, sin, holiness, heinous, wicked
  • Decision, deliberation, purpose, motive, responsibility, self-determination
  • Justice, equality, fairness, sacrifice, benevolence, humility, pride, hope, greed, envy
  • Society, culture, civilization, nation, state, progress, country

Post a comment below if there are other terms you care to discuss.

Join or login to comment.

  • Tom O.

    A key element in the pleasure of discussing definitions is the collaborative process of condensing distinctions into one concept. For example, before one could talk about moral principles, one had to broaden the discussion to principles as such, which led to the narrower division of first principles. And here, philosophical conversations have identified four distinctions to which they refer. First principles have referred to principles in the priority of time, in the priority of logic, in the priority of nature, and in the priority of intention. An axiom is a first principle in the order of time. A thesis that is lastly achieved at the summit of a science is a first principle in the order of logic. A conceptual distinction to an ontological unity is a first principle in the order of nature. And the last end, whatever it is, is a first principle in the order of intention. All four distinctions are condensed into the meaning of "principle."

    September 2, 2012

  • Mark G.

    I have a question. In the meetups, we have discussed the concept of materialism and how it has led to the view of determinism, i.e., people really don't have free will, since their behavior and "choices" are always predetermined based on a chain of causes and effects within their own beings. My question is whether science should use the materialistic model in its pursuit of discovery. If not, then what model should it use?

    August 31, 2012

    • Tom O.

      Materialism is a passable view for doing certain special sciences. The only limitation I see with it in this context is the cross-disciplining problem of relating such scientific findings to and from the humanities, where the principle of mechanistic causation is inoperative. In other words, in order for all the sciences to interrelate coherently and with respect to reality, what is needed is a different conception of causality so as to encompass all forms of causation.

      August 31, 2012

  • Tom O.

    We had a good discussion on morality, oughts, duties, and obligations while indoors. Outdoors, we talked another ninety minutes on liberty, free will, necessity, determinism, and indeterminism.

    August 31, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I suppose we should add "- {Name here} at the end of our posts in case we decide to drop out. Or is there a philosophical question here about the possibility of a number of individual people becoming one in the person of "former member"?

    August 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    It is too bad about people dropping out. I wish they had found a constructive way to participate. I like different points of view and people to question my "posed answers" that I apparently just construct to validate my pre-existing opinion. I really liked Fabianne's succinct description of existentialism, especially regarding being vs. becoming. What other gems might we now miss?

    1 · August 29, 2012

  • Tom O.

    Whether or not you choose to answer my arguments or to believe them mere opinions and thus beneath your consideration are your choices to make, Derek. I am simply presenting an alternate view that has been hitherto forgotten or deliberately neglected by contemporary philosophers. Since his name was mentioned as your foil, I had in mind Mike's perspective when I wrote the previous comment, but it is for anyone else also to consider. (Acknowledging Mike's interest in realism, I wanted to offer him a distinction I briefly mentioned at the "-ism" meeting on Aug. 16.) I do not present this view from the position of authority, which you seem to be doing--your deeming one approach philosophical while another not.

    You don't have to acknowledge this comment either. Let the evidence speak.

    August 29, 2012

  • Tom O.

    What you call "build," I call "construct." What you call "construct," I call "discover." All the groups you cited fall into my groups of either representationalists or naive realists, but both groups cleave the relational property of consciouness. Those in the former take consciousness to be transcendently self-sufficient, while those in the latter take reality revelatorily without conscious processing. Only direct realists discover what reality is from the relational fact of awareness.

    Is math a construction or a discovery? Is politics? Is cosmology? If the answer to all is the former, then reality is literally model-dependent and theory-laden. If the latter, then models and theories simply describe and explain what is.

    It's instructive that you use the term "doctrine" to denote a discovery. We examined that term before. See the enlarged list in "Discussion #08..." http://www.meetup.com/The-San-Diego-Philosophers-Roundtable/events/73172032/ And then read Mark's assessment there.

    1 · August 29, 2012

  • Patricia

    One more thing Dr. Fabianne, I can understand your frustration with the format we all have chosen for our meetings, but I don't understand why Tom became the target of criticism here. We all decide the topics to discuss and how we are going to approach them. Tom is the one that takes the time to post things and manage the Meetup invitations but that is on his own detriment since he does not get paid for his time and frankly, I find critics to him to harsh and out of place. He is not herding us for sure. I learn from anyone and everyone that participates on the meetings. I would have loved to learn from you as well. No, wait! I am learning from your comments! No everyone understands philosophy in the same way. And I agree with you: "anything to keep us away from Fox news" is a 100 times better...love and peace sis!

    August 28, 2012

    • Will

      That's funny that you'd ask "what is happiness," we discussed that last Thursday and it has been rolling around in my head since.

      August 28, 2012

    • Tom O.

      Since I am neither a skeptic nor a nihilist, I am willing to assert an answer to the philosophical question: What is happiness? However, my understanding of happiness depends on my prior understanding of emotion, desire, value, action, judgment, being, causality. If we are not in synch with any of the prior ideas, I contend that any answer of mine about happiness will not be understood. So I would prefer we first discern what these simpler ideas are that comprise its structural context before attempting to answer the more complex idea of happiness.

      August 28, 2012

  • Mark G.

    Dr. Fabianne, in prior meetings you've been brief, although outspoken, about some of your political views. Can you explain how your political beliefs are rooted or grounded in your philosophical views?

    August 28, 2012

  • Patricia

    Dr. Fabianne,

    It looks like this group is not what you are looking for. With all your credentials and knowledge on the topic of philosophy you are probably looking for a group in which their members can challenge you and contribute to your knowledge. In our group we are purposely building from a more rudimentary level. With other members of the group we decided that we all need some "common" ground in the sense of understanding the meaning of some words. I can see how that upsets you since philosophy probably is here to challenge the common meaning of the world! And I personally love contradictions, so I learn.

    August 28, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    By the way I am slowly working through many philosophical classics with a reading list picked by none other than...
    ... me!

    August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Please read from the bottom up since I had to post in pieces to fit the character limit.

    August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Finding some movement toward universal common ground is a good thing, even if everyone doesn't agree on what it is. We inhabit the same reality, albeit from our unique standpoint of our life having been lived and being lived now. Why can't repeating patterns and similarities be found even among constantly a constantly changing world? I often disagree with Tom and we are on opposite poles politically, yet I keep coming back to the group because I am BECOMING... something better. :) And that is because of Tom, in spite of Tom, because of all the great diverse members of the group and in spite of them. - this is a ramble - pardon me.

    2 · August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have read a lot of philosophy by a lot of professional philosophers. I don't find them to just ask questions with no answers. Many of them also pose answers to questions, but they critique each other and question each other, even question their own answers. Great! Thinking critically is good. That doesn't mean you have deconstruct everything and end up with nothing. I believe in questioning everything but, you don't really say anything or do anything until you at least pose some answers. I also find the everyone-is-an-island relativistic purely subjective approach alienating.

    1 · August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had a beer with a few friends and mentioned I was in a couple of philosophy meetups. They said "What? why would you possibly be interested in meeting about philosophy. They went on to say they hate philosophy. For some it was the "Philosophy" professors and the way it was taught - as only questions, no answers - depressing. Who wants to be depressed, especially if you don't have to be.

    August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm doing my own thinking thank you. If I even smell cult I get myself as far away as I can get. I've had enough of even mainstream religion, let alone cults. Realize that if you define philosophy as only questioning and deconstructing you have just closed another door - it is your own definition set in stone, not to be questioned.

    August 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Posting in pieces because it was over the 1000 character limit...

    August 27, 2012

  • Tom O.

    I'll be bringing a pack of Peach-Mango Kool-Aid. My philosophical approach is, Seeing becomes believing. With ontology, the main question is, What is it that I see? With epistemology, the question is, Do I trust my perception? With ethics, it is, Do I trust my emotion? And I take philosophy to be everybody's business.

    For years, I followed a program started in 1952 with books entitled Great Books of the Western World, whose 72 authors span from Homer to Freud. Its two-volume, 2,400-page syntopicon indexes 102 ideas; among which are animal, beauty, being, cause, citizen, definition, desire, emotion, government, happiness, induction, judgment, knowledge, language, man, nature, one, philosophy, rhetoric, soul, truth, virtue, world. They are discussed in original sources adjudged to be both infinitely rereadable and "bestsellers" of centuries.

    So, that's my approach and "credential" for organizing these philosophical meetings. Attend a few more times before you pass final judgment.

    August 27, 2012

  • Will

    Thanks for explaining the rules of philosophy, Doc. I was under the impression (as per Derek) that this was more of a cult than a philosophy meeting though. I'm bringing the purple Kool-Aid mix this week. This is already a fun week.

    I enjoy the discussions in this group, but I'm a casual member here and even though I'm not really interested in arguing over what the truest methods for philosophy are, if you ever decide to start your own group I'd be happy to join that one as well.

    August 27, 2012

  • Tom O.

    A summary of the prior #08 meeting is available on request for anyone new who wishes to attend this meeting.

    August 27, 2012

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