Individualism vs. Collectivism

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Skepdick
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Skepdick » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:22 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
That's exactly right and exactly what I mean.
Notice how you ignored the other parts..

Was the baker a subordinate of the milkman or vice versa in a bartering society?
Is a doctor a subordinate to a lawyer in today's society?
Are you my subordinate? Am I yours?
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
If it were really trade between all 8 billion people it would be as close to perfect as one could get, in my view. The prerequisite to being a trader is being a producer. Before one has something to trade, they must produce something of value, a product or a service, others are willing to trade what they produce to acquire, only then does everyone gain.
Everybody has something of value! At the very least they can sell their time. That is what 'earning a salary' is all about.
That is what I am paying YOU for when I buy YOUR products

It's not that I can't make my own bread. It's not that I can't make my own electricity, or my car, or my own computer. It's not that I can't learn how to be a doctor or a lawyer or a plumber. I just don't have the resources. Time, money, materials.

It's called "specialization and division of labour". If everybody is a generalist then nobody is a specialist.

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
The actual case is that of all 8 billion people, a tiny fraction actually produce anything of value, but expect to enjoy the fruits of other's productive efforts just because they exist.
Bullshit. If your employees offered no value you wouldn't pay them a salary. You wouldn't be buying their time.
Secondly - In a free society, nobody is obliged to trade with anybody.

I can concern myself with my satisfying my own consumption and be content about it. Food, shelter, water, safety. Done.
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
They are not producers and not traders, they are parasites claiming a right to what others have produced just because they are, "part of society," or "a member of humanity."
When did you produce your computer?
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
Trading is the only relationship I have with others, whether in business or socially, all my relationships are to the mutual benefit of those who individually choose to participate.
Great! What value did you offer the first time you traded something? Where did you steal that skill from?
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:10 am
Who is this, "we," with the hubris to believe it is up to them to enforce policies for how individuals choose to trade and interact with each other, and what makes them think they know how individuals ought trade and interact better than those individuals?
Who is "them"? "We" is "them".
Skepdick wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:37 pm
If you want to call all the individuals who choose to produce, trade, and interact with each other for each individual's own benefit, "society," you are right. But that is seldom what any actual society is. Actual societies are almost always made up of a few true producer traders and a mass of individuals who produce nothing, or very little, of value, but for who's the sake the producers that make a prosperous society possible are required, or at least expected, to sacrifice their well-earned wealth. Such societies benefit the least valuable members of society at the expense and sacrifice of the most valuable.
2nd time - same question. What did you produce the first time you got paid for anything?

If you had nothing of value to offer, what did you sell?
If you had something of value - what was it and where did you learn how to make it?

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:50 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:31 pm
I hope you don't mean this as a general principle. If you do, it is a very bad mistake, probably based on the belief that science is, "inductive," in nature, a huge lie put over originally by Hume.
Mathematics can be deductive, once the basic mathematical axioms are taken for granted, RC. But empirical science is not deductive but inductive. And it's not Hume we can blame for this observation; it just happens to be true.
I don't blame you for believing that, it's what is taught in all colleges and universities and almost every philosopher has swallowed it.

First of all, it is not "empirical" science. That mistake is based on the false dichotomy set up by philosophers implying knowledge is either based on physical evidence alone (empiricism) or on reason alone (idealism). True science is discovering the nature of material existence by means of reason about the evidence of that existence.

Material existence is all that exists and has the nature it has independent of anyone's consciousness or knowledge of that existence. "Independent of," means, whether or not anyone is aware of or knows what exists or what its nature is. Another way of saying it is, reality is all that is, the way it is, independent of anyone's lnowledge, beliefs, desires, or wishes. Physical existence is a subset of material existence and is all that can be consciously perceived, that is seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted, including the perception of our physiological states by interoception. It is the physical that is the object of the physical sciences.

The object of science is not logical proof, but discovery. What the sciences study is determined by what exists, and it is the object of science to discover what exists and what its nature is. There is no pre-determined method for making that discovery. Any method that successfully identifies anything that exists (existents), the nature of those existents and their relationships to each other is the appropriate scientific method.

The first and most important aspect of science is the identification of the existents which are existence. Everything that exists has a specific nature (epistemologically call it's identity). Every existent is whatever its qualities (attributes, characteristics, or properties) are. When the qualities of any existent are identified, the existent is identified. There is nothing else to identify.

When chemists identified sulfur as a solid yellow substance with no odor, that burns in air with a blue flame producing an acrid smell (later identified as the compound sulfur dioxide), and a chemical element, because it could not be broken down into any simpler elements, having an atomic weight of 32.06, a melting point of 235° F (113° C) and a boiling point of 832° F (444° C), sulfur was identified absolutely, not statistically and not inductively.

Of course experiments had to be made to establish some of these qualities of sulfur, but those experiments were only to discover what qualities the substance had. There was no hypothesis (guess about what might be so), merely careful observation of what was so.

The epistemological identification of any class of existents can never be wrong. The epistemological identification of a thing are all those qualities of an existent that are what it is. If there is a pile of yellow powder suspected of being sulfur any test that will reveal that it does not have the qualities of sulfur, (or has qualities sulfur does not have), will prove it is not sulfur, but if it does have the qualities of sulfur, it is sulfur absolutely, because its qualities are what sulfur is.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
But all physical science is probabilistic, not absolute. It deals with the empirical world; and in the empirical world, we never have more than probability calculations.
I'm not sure what you mean by, "the empirical world," unless you mean physical existence, but I find anything described in terms of bad philosophy (empiricism) suspect. I'll assume you mean the physical world we directly perceive.

Nothing about physical existence can be established statistically, because statistics cannot be applied to any actual existent. Statistics only pertain to collections of diverse data for calculation of statistical probability, but that probability only pertains to the collection, not to any of the individual items of data, which are assumed to all be different. (If they were all the same, no statistical analysis would be required.)

While much in the physical sciences uses the method of mathematics to describe its discoveries, much of science, perhaps most of science is not mathematical at all. This is most obvious in the field of medicine. The circulation of the blood, the existence and function of the endocrine system, the relationship between insulin and diabetes, the existence and function of the autonomic nervous system required no mathematics at all to discover and describe. None of these were determined statistically or by induction, but by observation of the actual existence and function of the organs and systems. And of course any physical phenomenon that involves incommensurable relationships or mathematically chaotic behavior (such as the heartbeat and structure of the circulatory system) cannot be described mathematically, except as approximations or by analogy.

In all of the physical sciences, before any phenomenon can be described or explained, the phenomenon itself must be observed and identified. Before the nature of a pendulum's period could be explained, that such phenomenon existed had to be observed and identified. Before the motion of the planets could be explained, planets had to be observed and identified. Before bacterial infection could be studied, the existence of microscopic organisms had to be observed and identified. Do you think it is only "probable" that pendulums, planets, and bacteria exist?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
To call any phenomenon "evidence" is already to say that the phenomenon has been processed by human interpretation. A rock falling off a cliff is not "evidence" for anything, in and of itself.
....
..."Evidence" is a human attribution made upon the phenomenon; it is not the phenomenon itself.
If you mean an event or phenomena that is unobserved by anyone is not evidence, it is true, because a thing can only be evidence to an observer. Seeing something is not processing or interpreting it, it is simply being conscious of it. Until there is evidence one perceives there is nothing to process or interpret.

Of course, "a rock falling off a cliff is not 'evidence' for anything, in and of itself,' if no one sees it or is aware of it in any other way. For anyone who observes, "the phenomenon," of the rock falling, the falling rock is evidence indicating there is some reason why the rock fell.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
I suspect your idea of "cause" is also not correct, but the one commonly accepted and frequently referred to as, "same cause, same effect."
I have no idea where you got this idea, RC. It certainly wasn't from me. In fact, the axiom you offer there looks manifestly incorrect to me. You would have to explain it.
You wrote, "but since no particular causal links are absolutely provable, ..." which idea was originally thrust into philosophy by Hume's absurd view of the nature of cause and taken up by every philosophy following him.

In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding [1739], Hume wrote, "All reasonings concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on the relation of Cause and Effect. By means of that relation alone we can go beyond the evidence of our memory and senses."

Hume explains that all of causality can be reduced to, the same cause always produces the same effect. He then proceeds to demonstrate this cannot be known by reason, and, in fact, there is no "reason" to believe it to be true. He wrote: "From causes which appear similar we expect similar effects. This is the sum of all our experimental conclusions. Now it seems evident that, if this conclusion were formed by reason, it would be as perfect at first, and upon one instance, as after ever so long a course of experience."

"When we look about us towards external objects," he says, "and consider the operation of causes, we are never able, in a single instance, to discover any power or necessary connexion; any quality, which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one an infallible consequence of the other."

From that wrong-headed view of cause statements such as your, "all physical science is probabilistic, not absolute. It deals with the empirical world; and in the empirical world, we never have more than probability calculations," are derived.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
... the scientific method starts with a hypothesis, not a certainty, and then attempts to prove it probabilistically through testing and trials under laboratory conditions, and then eventually, afield.
All scientific enquirey begins with the observation of physical existents, their qualities, behavior, or relationships to other existents which it then seeks to identify and explain. Most of that process is simply a matter careful examination and observation that reveals what there is and how it behaves. In some cases, observation results in ambiguous cases about which one can speculate (i.e. form a hypothesis) which can then be tested for its veracity, but that method is hardly all of science.

The so-called inductive method is only capable of suggesting possible explanations (hypotheses) which to become science must be testable. So long as a hypothesis cannot be verified absolutely it remains nothing more than a conjecture, no matter what the degree of statistical probability.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
Your suggested method seems to suggest a chemist just looks at the periodic table and says, "sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal, in the right proportions and compressed, will explode." But that's not how gunpowder was, in fact, discovered by the ancient Chinese, long before there was a "chemistry" or a scientific method.
Lot's of things were "discovered" before modern science, mostly by trial and error or just out of curiosity, "what would happen if we do such'n'such?" but such discoveries were mostly about techniques that were discovered to usually work, though why they worked was not understood.

Your example of the "discovery" of gun powder is a typical example. The discovery was a, "technique," a method that seemed to work, an example of "induction" which is not science at all. The Chinese did not develop gun powder scientifically and had no idea why it worked. When American Indians planted corn with fish, the corn grew more vigorously. It was a technique discovered by trial and error, but the Indians had no idea why it worked or that what they were doing was fertilizing their corn.

A chemist with knowledge of the nature of the elements, sulfur and carbon, and the compound, potassium nitrate, could develop gun powder based on that scientific knowledge alone. The application of scientific knowledge to actual applications (processes or products) is called, "technology."
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
It was the concept of revelation that originally convinced me there was no sound basis for the mystical or supernatural in any form.

That wouldn't make sense. Your supposition would have to be either a) there is no God (or gods) to reveal anything, or b) there is a God (or gods), but He (or they) can't reveal themselves.
Not at all. My conclusion was based on what "revelation" was supposed to be, which in every case was either some kind of supposed knowledge without evidence or required my credulity in someone else's written or spoken testimony.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
Religion combined two so-called sources of knowledge which I knew could not be true. By the time I began serious inquiry into religion, I had discovered that no authority or expert could be trusted merely on the basis of their so-called authority or expertise.

Well, in the case of revelation, the "authority" is said to be God.
It's the authority of those who say the revelation is God's I cannot accept. The believer says, "the authority is God," but I do not take the believer's word for it.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
... ultimately, God Himself might open one's eyes to the truth, if one were serious about seeking it.
"Seek, and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you." There are two things about that idea that I have observed. The first is that it subtly insults anyone who does not accept Christian teaching by implying they do not really seek the truth. The second is, that individual's are subject to self-deception, especially when they are experiencing emotional turbulence and really want something to be true. The Bible is extremely plausible for many of the reasons you cited but is also subject to widely different interpretations. I believe your conservative Christian interpretation is the most consistent, and from that perspective, the most believable and interesting. The "types" of Christ that New Testament teaching reveals in the Old Testament, the very interesting descriptions of what appears to be a description of modern Europe in the Book of Daniel, Old Testament history, the practical instructions of the wisdom books, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and much of the prophets, etc., are all beguiling. The New Testament teaching of sin and salvation, the promise of supernatural help (the indwelling Holy Spirit and answered prayer), and something that gives meaning to one's life are all very appealing. It is very easy for someone who wants these things to be true to be convinced they have been enlightened, when it is really gullibility.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
Finally, you have made the argument that finally convinced me religion is a mistake. If moral right and wrong are determined by the pronouncements of an agent (God or man), there can be no principle of right and wrong.
I have made the opposite claim. That if we live in a godless universe, then we live in an accidental one. There's no third alternative, really: either there is purpose in our origin, or nothing "purposed" anything by our being here.
Almost every false idea begins with a false dichotomy: "You either accept the whole evolution story or you are a creationist," "you are either pro-life or pro-choice," "you either support the WOD (War On Drugs), or you favor drug use," "you either support government-enforced, "intellectual property," laws or you believe stealing is OK," or those false dichotomies that have destroyed epistemology foisted on the world by Kant, á priori vs. á posteriori, analytic vs. synthetic, necessary vs. contingent, logical vs. factual, and idealism vs. empiricism, and your own, "either there is purpose in our origin, or nothing "purposed" anything by our being here," or to paraphrase, "either purpose is something foisted on us or there are no purposes."

You make purpose something that lies outside human existence, but if there were no human beings there would be no purposes. Since human beings are volitional and must choose everything they think and do, they must choose their goals and objectives and what they will live for. It as that choice that is one's purpose.

There is no principle that determines what one must choose to live for. One may choose to suffer and die, or one may choose to live successfully as human being, achieving and being all one can possibly be, and enjoying the adventure of life as much as possible. If one chooses to suffer and die, what they choose to do really does not matter. Suffering and dying are the default consequences. If one chooses their own life and success as a human being as their purpose, what will or will not achieve that purpose is determined by reality, that is, the actual nature of the material existence one lives in and one's own nature as a human being. It is that reality that determines the principles by which one must live if they are to achieve the purpose of a successful human life. Those principles are the principles of morality.

[I've written extensively on moral principles, such as the series beginning with "Living Morally: The Practical Application Of Moral Principles, Must Choose"

Our basic premises are obviously opposites with regard to the nature of existence itself. What you regard is the ultimate existence cannot be known based solely on what one is directly conscious of and the fact of consciousness itself, and what I regard as the ultimate existence is the directly perceived world exactly as it is perceived, and that it is not contingent on anything else.

Where we go from here, if you choose to, is up to you. I've enjoyed our discussion very much.

RC

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:21 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:22 am
2nd time - same question. What did you produce the first time you got paid for anything?
If you had nothing of value to offer, what did you sell?
If you had something of value - what was it and where did you learn how to make it?

That's three questions, but who's counting.
1. A babysitting service.
2. I did have something of value to offer: my intelligence, my understanding of children and how to get along with them, and a sense of responsibility.
3. The mother told me what she expected and anyone who was reasonably bright would know by the time they were fourteen how to do what was expected.

I'm not sure what it is you object to. I thought I was agreeing with you when I wrote, "Cooperation is the relationship between individuals in which each individual chooses to participate in some activity with others because it benefits each participating individual to do so, without anyone having to sacrifice any value or purpose of their own." You said that was trade and I heartily agreed.

Do you object to that?

I said, "Trading is the only relationship I have with others, whether in business or socially, all my relationships are to the mutual benefit of those who individually choose to participate."

Do you object to that?

I wrote: "The prerequisite to being a trader is being a producer. Before one has something to trade, they must produce something of value, a product or a service, others are willing to trade what they produce to acquire, only then does everyone gain."

Do you object to that?

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bahman
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by bahman » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:47 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:38 am
One of the most important basic and avoided questions is if a person considers themselves essentially an Individualist or a collectivist. It seems more enjoyable to argue over techniques or good and bad. But the question of Individualism vs. Collectivism as desired method to improve human nature puts us on the spot.

There are many ways to discuss it after we agree as to their basic difference so I'd like to ask you if you agree with the following distinction:

https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/is ... lectivism/
The fundamental political conflict in America today is, as it has been for a century, individualism vs. collectivism. Does the individual’s life belong to him—or does it belong to the group, the community, society, or the state? With government expanding ever more rapidly—seizing and spending more and more of our money on “entitlement” programs and corporate bailouts, and intruding on our businesses and lives in increasingly onerous ways—the need for clarity on this issue has never been greater. Let us begin by defining the terms at hand.

Individualism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs to him and that he has an inalienable right to live it as he sees fit, to act on his own judgment, to keep and use the product of his effort, and to pursue the values of his choosing. It’s the idea that the individual is sovereign, an end in himself, and the fundamental unit of moral concern. This is the ideal that the American Founders set forth and sought to establish when they drafted the Declaration and the Constitution and created a country in which the individual’s rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness were to be recognized and protected.

Collectivism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs not to him but to the group or society of which he is merely a part, that he has no rights, and that he must sacrifice his values and goals for the group’s “greater good.” According to collectivism, the group or society is the basic unit of moral concern, and the individual is of value only insofar as he serves the group. As one advocate of this idea puts it: “Man has no rights except those which society permits him to enjoy. From the day of his birth until the day of his death society allows him to enjoy certain so-called rights and deprives him of others; not . . . because society desires especially to favor or oppress the individual, but because its own preservation, welfare, and happiness are the prime considerations.”1

Individualism or collectivism—which of these ideas is correct? Which has the facts on its side?
As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..
A mix of individualism and collectivism in which the mixture is balanced depending on the situation.

Nick_A
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:02 am

Hello Bahman
As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..

A mix of individualism and collectivism in which the mixture is balanced depending on the situation.
From your point of view is the primary function of a free society to further what is necessary to create individuals or is the primary function of a free society to sacrifice individuality for the good of the state?. In other words for the purpose of Man becoming himself, should Man serve the collective or should the collective serve Man? Consider the Eagle and the chicken:
There’s an old, well known story of a chicken farmer who found an eagle’s egg.

He put it with his chickens and soon the egg hatched.

The young eagle grew up with all the other chickens and whatever they did, the eagle did too. He thought he was a chicken, just like them.

Since the chickens could only fly for a short distance, the eagle also learnt to fly a short distance.

He thought that was what he was supposed to do. So that was all that he thought he could do. As a consequence, that was all he was able to do.

One day the eagle saw a bird flying high above him. He was very impressed. “Who is that?” he asked the hens around him.

“That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” the hens told him. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth, we are just chickens.”

So the eagle lived and died as a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.
What to do with with these potential individuals who are not content to be part of a collective and have their lives defined by the collective mentality? Of course we know now that they must be reeducated to forget about any awareness of being different. Everyone is the same. It is insulting to even think about it and will definitely offend at least one collective. But can they be wiped out and finally eliminate any thought of differences? That does seem to be the modern progressive goal. We are all ONE in service to the secular state, the grand collective, or the Great Beast. It does seem logical. There can only be one kind of individuality and that can only be defined as what furthers state indoctrination. Who can argue with "education?"

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bahman
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by bahman » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:45 am

Nick_A wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:02 am
Hello Bahman
As is obvious, America is moving more and more toward collectivism. All we read of are collectives. Is this desirable? Perhaps we can discuss the essential differences and potentials for both individualism and collectivism when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness become our desired goal..

A mix of individualism and collectivism in which the mixture is balanced depending on the situation.
From your point of view is the primary function of a free society to further what is necessary to create individuals or is the primary function of a free society to sacrifice individuality for the good of the state?. In other words for the purpose of Man becoming himself, should Man serve the collective or should the collective serve Man? Consider the Eagle and the chicken:
We have two facts here: 1) We are equal in our essences, therefore, we should not give a different value to individuals unless it is necessary and 2) Society is because of survival. I think one can analyze different situations by these two facts to decide rationally. For example, if you are in a situation that you could save the lives of many in favor of one then we should decide in favor of the lives of many since only many individuals have a chance to survive. Another example, if we are supposed to save the lives of only some individuals, we should decide in favor the lives of those individuals who can fit in most situations, choosing intelligent ones for example. Etc.
Nick_A wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:02 am
There’s an old, well known story of a chicken farmer who found an eagle’s egg.

He put it with his chickens and soon the egg hatched.

The young eagle grew up with all the other chickens and whatever they did, the eagle did too. He thought he was a chicken, just like them.

Since the chickens could only fly for a short distance, the eagle also learnt to fly a short distance.

He thought that was what he was supposed to do. So that was all that he thought he could do. As a consequence, that was all he was able to do.

One day the eagle saw a bird flying high above him. He was very impressed. “Who is that?” he asked the hens around him.

“That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” the hens told him. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth, we are just chickens.”

So the eagle lived and died as a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.
What to do with with these potential individuals who are not content to be part of a collective and have their lives defined by the collective mentality? Of course we know now that they must be reeducated to forget about any awareness of being different. Everyone is the same. It is insulting to even think about it and will definitely offend at least one collective. But can they be wiped out and finally eliminate any thought of differences? That does seem to be the modern progressive goal. We are all ONE in service to the secular state, the grand collective, or the Great Beast. It does seem logical. There can only be one kind of individuality and that can only be defined as what furthers state indoctrination. Who can argue with "education?"
We should try to accommodate them to the best degree we can remembering that we are equal and different at the same time. So the thing is situational depending on the facts. For example, a very talented person could be fascist. We should tolerate him/her and use him/her if s/he can help the survivability of society. Dictatorship to some degree, why not if we have an omniscient among us?

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:41 am

Bahman
We have two facts here: 1) We are equal in our essences, therefore, we should not give a different value to individuals unless it is necessary and 2) Society is because of survival. I think one can analyze different situations by these two facts to decide rationally. For example, if you are in a situation that you could save the lives of many in favor of one then we should decide in favor of the lives of many since only many individuals have a chance to survive. Another example, if we are supposed to save the lives of only some individuals, we should decide in favor the lives of those individuals who can fit in most situations, choosing intelligent ones for example. Etc.
But what if we re not equal in our essences? Is it really a bad thing to encourage and develop differences. I know that idea is about as anti PC as one can get but what if it is true?

Romans 12
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Instead of the modern idea that we are all the same it became understood that we have complimentary differences in society as Paul describes in the body of Christ? I know it won't happen because it is fashionable to condemn noticing differences as racist, sexist, or something else ending in ist.

But the question remains as to the essential goal of society. You have provided instances where both are necessary but i am referring to the primary goal. Suppose a person is driving an injured friend to the hospital at 3:AM. The roads are empty. He comes to a red light. The law demands he stop as a societal good. He goes through it as an individual good. Of course both can be true. But I am asking the essential goal of society. Is it to create individuals in society as Paul suggests in the body of Christ or is just to create indoctrinated servants of a society under the assumption that we are all the same?

What is really frightening to me is that education has forgotten or at least ignores what is essential to further individuality so in reality it must be concluded that the purpose of modern society is to create indoctrinated representatives of the grand collective. Potential eagles will be successfully reeducated to learn their place.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Skepdick » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:29 am

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:21 pm
That's three questions, but who's counting.
1. A babysitting service.
2. I did have something of value to offer: my intelligence, my understanding of children and how to get along with them, and a sense of responsibility.
3. The mother told me what she expected and anyone who was reasonably bright would know by the time they were fourteen how to do what was expected.
So you were selling your time in exchange for money. That is what I thought...

Lets examine the meaning of the word "subordinate", shall we?
subordinate
noun
a person under the authority or control of another within an organization.
When the mother told you what was expected of you, would you say that she had authority over you? Or would you say that you knew what was best for her children and that you didn't require her input on the matter? As your employer and coordinator - would you say that you were her subordinate?

I would. And I would be interested to hear your upcoming mental gymnastics in the post where you care to explain how, given the subordinate relationship you had with your first employer, you aren't a collectivist by your very own definition.
RCSaunders wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:30 pm
The relationship of a collectivist with others is not cooperation, but subordination.
Cooperation and subordination are not mutually exclusive concepts.

In fact, cooperation is impossible without subordination - you are always a bitch to your customer. If they demand A but you deliver B, you aren't going to be in a "mutually beneficial relationship" for very long.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:50 pm
True science is discovering the nature of material existence by means of reason about the evidence of that existence.
But as Descartes showed, everything about "nature" and "material existence" is capable of doubt, in a way that 2+2=4 is not. So the minute you bring in those elements, you have probabilistic, not certain knowledge. It's inductive, not deductive.
Material existence is all that exists

Whether you're right or wrong about Materialism, you're evidently wrong about epistemology here. This is because ironically, this claim is a metaphysical a priori. It has no way of being verified from the empirical world, because it is a claim about what is allowed to "be real," and to count as evidence in that world. In other words, it's a pure faith-claim, not some sort of given.

I know why it's attractive. It allows us to simplify the situation, and make things that are opaque to us either a) clear, or b) not to be considered real. But it is in no way obvious that it is true, and there's a good deal of existential warrant for thinking it may not be. So the appearance of clarity it offers is artificial.
It is the physical that is the object of the physical sciences.
Perhaps. But "the physical sciences" are themselves a range of empirical phenomenon constrained by a set of theories. They are human constructs, not features of the real world. Before humans organized their thoughts into "the physical sciences," there literally were no such things as "the physical sciences." Many traditions still do not have them.

I'm not saying they're not good: I'm saying they are a "method," which means they are an artificial arrangement intended to clarify certain kinds of knowledge by eliminating others from the field of vision. They are not the totality of reality or truth. They are constructs -- useful ones, but still constructs.
There is no pre-determined method for making that discovery.

Sure there is. I've just outlined some of its features above. But you can fill it out by reference to Baconian science, and "the scientific method."
The first and most important aspect of science is the identification of the existents which are existence.
Absolutely. But science cannot solve this problem for itself. It cannot define ontology. All it can do is to take an ontology as presumed, and work from there. Materialism is just such a presumptive ontology, not some sort of self-evident fact.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
But all physical science is probabilistic, not absolute. It deals with the empirical world; and in the empirical world, we never have more than probability calculations.
I'm not sure what you mean by, "the empirical world," unless you mean physical existence, but I find anything described in terms of bad philosophy (empiricism) suspect. I'll assume you mean the physical world we directly perceive.
Think of it this way. The "empirical" world is that thing which pushes back against what you wish. For example, I may wish to fly. But if I jump off my roof flapping my arms, the world will push back against my wishes, and I will end up injured. Or I may wish to be a Chinese ballerina. But no amount of my wishing will make that happen; the configurations of the empirical world are such that I cannot have that. They push back against my wishes.

That's not a scientific explanation. It's just an informal one, to give you a common-sense idea of what I mean.
most of science is not mathematical at all.
This hardly needs saying. It's obviously true.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
To call any phenomenon "evidence" is already to say that the phenomenon has been processed by human interpretation. A rock falling off a cliff is not "evidence" for anything, in and of itself.
....
..."Evidence" is a human attribution made upon the phenomenon; it is not the phenomenon itself.
If you mean an event or phenomena that is unobserved by anyone is not evidence, it is true, because a thing can only be evidence to an observer. Seeing something is not processing or interpreting it, it is simply being conscious of it. Until there is evidence one perceives there is nothing to process or interpret.
It's not just perception. One can perceive something, but not perceive it to be evidence for another thing.

It happens all the time in the courtroom. A defence lawyer might say, "Your honour, the defendant may have had a pencil behind his ear at the time of the murder, but I fail to see the relevance to his alleged guilt." Maybe that pencil is "evidence" for something: but if it is, it's not evident to the defence lawyer that it is. And some quite elaborate explanation is going to have to be put in place before anyone sees that trivial fact as "evidence" of anything.

Likewise, science. An apple (mythically?) falling off a tree is "evidence" to Newton. But it wouldn't be to you or me, perhaps. One has to see a fact AS "evidence." Evidentiality is not a neutral process. It's a human one.
You wrote, "but since no particular causal links are absolutely provable, ..." which idea was originally thrust into philosophy by Hume's absurd view of the nature of cause and taken up by every philosophy following him.
No, I think Hume's cautionary note there is appropriate. It can be taken too far, of course, to the point where it is thought to undermine causality itself. But it doesn't. It just says that causal attributions are probabilistic, not absolute. And they are, of course.

But probabilistic attributions are actually very good things...far better than improbable ones, in most cases. And we use them all the time.

And thank you for your helpful explanation, by the way. I was aware of the passage, but had forgotten its substance, having long ago satisfied myself that the way it has sometimes been applied is pretty much a half-truth, not the whole picture. It's not a bad cautionary note, but when it is taken to imply the certain untruth of all causal attributions, it goes too far. It cannot achieve that.
an example of "induction" which is not science at all.
Gunpowder's discovery was indeed inductive. But so is science itself. What science does is increase the likelihood of our induction being correct. The unfortunate thing about less-structured induction (say, tradition, received opinion, etc.) is that its correctness is less probable.

That's all.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
It was the concept of revelation that originally convinced me there was no sound basis for the mystical or supernatural in any form.

That wouldn't make sense. Your supposition would have to be either a) there is no God (or gods) to reveal anything, or b) there is a God (or gods), but He (or they) can't reveal themselves.
Not at all. My conclusion was based on what "revelation" was supposed to be, which in every case was either some kind of supposed knowledge without evidence or required my credulity in someone else's written or spoken testimony.
Oh, I see. You're one of those folks who thinks "revelation" is non-evidentiary. Well, if that were true, I'd be happy to agree with you. However, it's manifestly not. There are plenty of evidences for God; it's just that some folks don't wish to see them as "evidence" for anything -- which takes me back to my earlier point: it's not the seeing or not seeing of the phenomenon that determines whether or not it will become "evidence," but the heart-condition of the observer. I have met many who say, "There's no evidence for God," by which they mean no more than a) "I'm not aware of any," and b) "I'm hoping that means there IS none, so I don't have to consider God," or even c) "I refuse to accept anything as evidence for God."

I'm not saying you're one of those, of course. I'm just pointing out again that "evidence" is in the eye of the beholder. If that beholder doesn't want to see any phenomena as evidence, you can be sure he won't.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
Religion combined two so-called sources of knowledge which I knew could not be true. By the time I began serious inquiry into religion, I had discovered that no authority or expert could be trusted merely on the basis of their so-called authority or expertise.

Well, in the case of revelation, the "authority" is said to be God.
It's the authority of those who say the revelation is God's I cannot accept. The believer says, "the authority is God," but I do not take the believer's word for it.
Nor should you. Let the testimony stand or fall on its own merits.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
... ultimately, God Himself might open one's eyes to the truth, if one were serious about seeking it.
"Seek, and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you." There are two things about that idea that I have observed. The first is that it subtly insults anyone who does not accept Christian teaching by implying they do not really seek the truth.
I don't think so. What this is saying is, "The evidence is available; all you have to do is want it." And that's pretty open. Anybody can do that.
The second is, that individual's are subject to self-deception, especially when they are experiencing emotional turbulence and really want something to be true.
Well, this is true. But it's also universally true. The man who longs for God may "see evidence" for God too early, it's true. But so may the Atheist -- he wants so badly for there NOT to be a God that he refuses all evidence and claims a certainty he cannot rationally have. That is very, very common.

All you're really talking about is the danger of wishful thinking. But that's not a danger human beings can entirely avoid. They just have to stay cautious about it, whoever they are.
The Bible is extremely plausible for many of the reasons you cited but is also subject to widely different interpretations.
Hmmm...too general a claim for me to get ahold of. There's a sense in which it might be true, and a sense it which it's false. It is true that people have many interpretations of everything: the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the UN Declaration of Rights... But it is not true that that fact makes all "interpretations" a wash. The reason the debates about such documents persist is that there is controversy over the "best" or "truest" reading of these documents. And there are criteria for sorting that out. There are many more, but you mention two below:
I believe your conservative Christian interpretation is the most consistent, and from that perspective, the most believable and interesting.
Coherence is an epistemic value. Consistency is. Relevance to other knowns is an additional one. Efficacy in dealing with the world is another. And integrity. And predictive value. There are criteria for probabilistically sorting through alternate interpretations and competing "truths." It's not a level field: some interpretations are much, much better than others, and for good reasons.
The "types" of Christ that New Testament teaching reveals in the Old Testament, the very interesting descriptions of what appears to be a description of modern Europe in the Book of Daniel, Old Testament history, the practical instructions of the wisdom books, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and much of the prophets, etc., are all beguiling. The New Testament teaching of sin and salvation, the promise of supernatural help (the indwelling Holy Spirit and answered prayer), and something that gives meaning to one's life are all very appealing. It is very easy for someone who wants these things to be true to be convinced they have been enlightened, when it is really gullibility.

It is true that the desire for a thing to be true does not make it true. But likewise, the fear that something may not be true does not make it untrue.

This is a two-edged sword, not a single-bladed one. And while we might be inclined to err on the side of skepticism (often wisely) we must remember that the fear of being taken in is not an insurance against hardness of heart. There are times when skepticism should admit it has been beaten. If there are no such times, then all we're being is closed-minded.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:18 am
Finally, you have made the argument that finally convinced me religion is a mistake. If moral right and wrong are determined by the pronouncements of an agent (God or man), there can be no principle of right and wrong.
I have made the opposite claim. That if we live in a godless universe, then we live in an accidental one. There's no third alternative, really: either there is purpose in our origin, or nothing "purposed" anything by our being here.
Almost every false idea begins with a false dichotomy
But there are true dichotomies: the light switch is on / is off. The man is alive / dead. Zebras exist / do not exist. One must know whether or not one is dealing with a true dichotomy...not simply write off the question for being a dichotomy.
You make purpose something that lies outside human existence, but if there were no human beings there would be no purposes.
That's merely presumptive. It would only be true if humans were the only creatures capable of purposes. And for Theists like myself, that claim is thought to be incorrect.

But consider the implications of your own answer: there are only "purposes" if humans have them. If so, then you can never ask, "Why am I here?" The only answer would be, "Because Bob and Francine went to the drive-in on Wednesday, and got a little frisky." But that's probably not the answer you want, is it? You want to know if any entity had purpose in placing you where you are, as who you are. You want to know what direction your life is moving, and what you should be doing to be a "good" you (whatever that is).

And when we get out to the general or cosmic scales, the issue of purpose is even less satisfying if we assume purpose is something only humans do: for the universe, or people in general, can have no larger purpose at all, then. For before the universe was, nothing was purposed. And before human beings came to the planet, there was no purpose.

Worse still, the people who have been said to give a sense of "purpose" to this whole drama will soon shuffle off this mortal coil, leaving no purpose behind them. The entire play will have been for nothing. How is that any answer to the problem of purpose?
Since human beings are volitional and must choose everything they think and do, they must choose their goals and objectives and what they will live for. It as that choice that is one's purpose.
Oh, that's never good enough. Nobody likes that answer, at least, not if they think about it.

Imagine someone asking you, "What's my purpose in life?" Do you really think they want to hear you say, "Make one up. Your purpose could be to get to th shops before they close." Would they say, "Thank you: you've cleared up my purpose"? But if not, why not?

Well, in the first place, it's very obvious that people "purpose" to do things; but that does not correspond at all to their longing to know they actually HAVE a purpose. I can imagine any "purpose" I want for myself, but it will be no more than a delusion unless it corresponds to an objective reality outside of my intentions. I don't just want to be told I "purpose" things: I want to be told what my REAL purpose is, so I can judge whether or not I'm on track with it.
There is no principle that determines what one must choose to live for.
Assumptive. I don't believe it.
One may choose to suffer and die, or one may choose to live successfully as human being, achieving and being all one can possibly be, and enjoying the adventure of life as much as possible. If one chooses to suffer and die, what they choose to do really does not matter. Suffering and dying are the default consequences. If one chooses their own life and success as a human being as their purpose, what will or will not achieve that purpose is determined by reality, that is, the actual nature of the material existence one lives in and one's own nature as a human being. It is that reality that determines the principles by which one must live if they are to achieve the purpose of a successful human life. Those principles are the principles of morality.
Oh, decidedly not.

There's no "moral" dimension to suffering in a world devoid of objective "purpose." There's no immorality to it either. Morality's not involved there. It's neither right nor wrong that you suffer. On that note, maybe I can share with you one of my favourite author's reflection in poetry:

Hap

BY THOMAS HARDY

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!”

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
—Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. . . .
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.


Hardy's lament is that his life has no purpose. It's not that Hardy didn't "purpose" things: it's that he saw that his suffering was most unbearable precisely because it, to him, had no purpose -- and that meant it was devoid of any explanation at all. "Crass Casualty" (not for no reason capitalized) was why he was hurt...and it could have come about that he could have been dealt "blisses" instead of "pain." But it wasn't. He was a victim of luck...end of story.

And that was utterly unbearable. Hardy would have preferred even a "vengeful god." At least then, there would have been some explanation, some moral dimension, perhaps even some nobility to the tragedy in his life: but it was "not so."
Where we go from here, if you choose to, is up to you. I've enjoyed our discussion very much.

RC
I hope I've offered some interesting possibilities, RC. I have no idea either where we're going, but I'm happy to go rambling in good company. The moors are spectacular this time of year.

And likewise.

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bahman
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by bahman » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:59 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:41 am
Bahman
We have two facts here: 1) We are equal in our essences, therefore, we should not give a different value to individuals unless it is necessary and 2) Society is because of survival. I think one can analyze different situations by these two facts to decide rationally. For example, if you are in a situation that you could save the lives of many in favor of one then we should decide in favor of the lives of many since only many individuals have a chance to survive. Another example, if we are supposed to save the lives of only some individuals, we should decide in favor the lives of those individuals who can fit in most situations, choosing intelligent ones for example. Etc.
But what if we re not equal in our essences? Is it really a bad thing to encourage and develop differences. I know that idea is about as anti PC as one can get but what if it is true?

Romans 12
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Instead of the modern idea that we are all the same it became understood that we have complimentary differences in society as Paul describes in the body of Christ? I know it won't happen because it is fashionable to condemn noticing differences as racist, sexist, or something else ending in ist.

But the question remains as to the essential goal of society. You have provided instances where both are necessary but i am referring to the primary goal. Suppose a person is driving an injured friend to the hospital at 3:AM. The roads are empty. He comes to a red light. The law demands he stop as a societal good. He goes through it as an individual good. Of course both can be true. But I am asking the essential goal of society. Is it to create individuals in society as Paul suggests in the body of Christ or is just to create indoctrinated servants of a society under the assumption that we are all the same?

What is really frightening to me is that education has forgotten or at least ignores what is essential to further individuality so in reality it must be concluded that the purpose of modern society is to create indoctrinated representatives of the grand collective. Potential eagles will be successfully reeducated to learn their place.
Our essences are similar. Our natures and educations are different. I agree with what you stated. I think I have already addressed that both individualism and collectivism are important depending on the situation. I provided several examples. Let me know if you agree with my examples and discription.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:10 am

Bahman
Our essences are similar. Our natures and educations are different. I agree with what you stated. I think I have already addressed that both individualism and collectivism are important depending on the situation. I provided several examples. Let me know if you agree with my examples and discription.
Your examples are fine. I just think they underestimate the essential need and the potential for the individual. From Simone Weil's "Lectures On Philosophy:"
The cave is the world

The fetters are the imagination

The shadows of ourselves are the passive states which we know by introspection.

The learned in the cave are those who possess empirical forms of knowledge (who know how to make predictions, the doctors who know how to cure people by using empirical methods, those who know what is going on, etc.). Their knowledge is nothing but a shadow.

Education, he says, is, according to the generally accepted view of it, nothing but the forcing of thoughts into the minds of children. For, says Plato, each person has within himself the ability to think. If one does not understand, this is because one is held by the fetters. Whenever the soul is bound by the fetters of suffering, pleasure, etc. it is unable to contemplate through its own intelligence the unchanging patterns of things.

No doubt, there are mathematicians in the cave, but their attention is given to honors, rivalries, competition, etc.

If anyone is not able to understand the unchanging patterns of things, that is not due to a lack of intelligence; it is due to a lack of moral stamina.
Many are called individuals since they are rebelling some quality in Plato's cave. They are part of the grand collective but are just called individuals.

The true individual is able to contemplate through its own intelligence the unchanging patterns of things.

Those who can do this are able to experience psychologically what is lost by becoming a slave of reaction to the shadows on the wall of Plato's cave. But who can do this much less teach it?
Simone Weil lamented that education had become no more than "an instrument manipulated by teachers for manufacturing more teachers, who in their turn will manufacture more teachers." rather than a guide to getting out of the cave.
If we don't value what being an individual is and sacrifice individuality for the sake of arguing over the shadows on the wall, how can we seriously contemplate the potential for the individual within the collective?

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bahman
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by bahman » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:54 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:10 am
Bahman
Our essences are similar. Our natures and educations are different. I agree with what you stated. I think I have already addressed that both individualism and collectivism are important depending on the situation. I provided several examples. Let me know if you agree with my examples and discription.
Your examples are fine. I just think they underestimate the essential need and the potential for the individual. From Simone Weil's "Lectures On Philosophy:"
The cave is the world

The fetters are the imagination

The shadows of ourselves are the passive states which we know by introspection.

The learned in the cave are those who possess empirical forms of knowledge (who know how to make predictions, the doctors who know how to cure people by using empirical methods, those who know what is going on, etc.). Their knowledge is nothing but a shadow.

Education, he says, is, according to the generally accepted view of it, nothing but the forcing of thoughts into the minds of children. For, says Plato, each person has within himself the ability to think. If one does not understand, this is because one is held by the fetters. Whenever the soul is bound by the fetters of suffering, pleasure, etc. it is unable to contemplate through its own intelligence the unchanging patterns of things.

No doubt, there are mathematicians in the cave, but their attention is given to honors, rivalries, competition, etc.

If anyone is not able to understand the unchanging patterns of things, that is not due to a lack of intelligence; it is due to a lack of moral stamina.
Many are called individuals since they are rebelling some quality in Plato's cave. They are part of the grand collective but are just called individuals.

The true individual is able to contemplate through its own intelligence the unchanging patterns of things.

Those who can do this are able to experience psychologically what is lost by becoming a slave of reaction to the shadows on the wall of Plato's cave. But who can do this much less teach it?
Simone Weil lamented that education had become no more than "an instrument manipulated by teachers for manufacturing more teachers, who in their turn will manufacture more teachers." rather than a guide to getting out of the cave.
If we don't value what being an individual is and sacrifice individuality for the sake of arguing over the shadows on the wall, how can we seriously contemplate the potential for the individual within the collective?
I agree with you.

I think that sincerity in mind is the door toward divine knowledge. That is the only way to get our of this cave.

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by Nick_A » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:23 pm

Bahman
I agree with you.

I think that sincerity in mind is the door toward divine knowledge. That is the only way to get our of this cave.
Very true. It is an ancient idea often rejected by modern society in favor of indoctrination. When a person is able to sacrifice the protection of their imagination it opens a door within which the truth can enter along with the good that comes from it.

This idea is often referred to as hitting bottom and a sincere experience of what we are..

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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:18 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:50 pm
True science is discovering the nature of material existence by means of reason about the evidence of that existence.
But as Descartes showed, everything about "nature" and "material existence" is capable of doubt, in a way that 2+2=4 is not. So the minute you bring in those elements, you have probabilistic, not certain knowledge. It's inductive, not deductive.
You have made some very interesting points which I'd like to comment on in another post, but I want to begin with this idea of skepticism about existence.

That descartes was a mathematical genius is unquestionable. His analytic geometry made the Calculus possible. Unfortunately, as a philosopher, he was a crackpot and did untold damage to the whole field.

The Greek sophists were wrong about everything but did prove something very useful, that if one chooses one can make arguments that seem to cast doubt on anything. It was, in fact, the reasoning of better minds discovering the deceptions of the sophists that laid the foundations of the little in philosophy that is truly sound, and there is precious little of that.

Skepticism cannot come at the beginning of any intellectual inquiry. Something must be asserted before it can be doubted, but nothing can be asserted without assuming something exists about which the assertion is made. To even suggest everything can be doubted is a self-contradiction, because it assumes there is something to doubt, and there is someone to do the doubting. It is tantamount to the self-contradictory assertion that, "nothing exists," or the absurd question, "why is there something instead of nothing?"

All Descartes ever showed was that it is possible for the brightest of minds to make the huge mistake of rationalism, believing one can discover truth by reason alone, while ignoring that which is all there is to reason about, existence, (that which exists).

Science is neither inductive or deductive. Deduction (and supposedly induction) are formalized methods of applying reason to assertions (propositions) to determine if they are true or not. Logic, like language itself, mathematics, and geometry are human invented methods of identifying existents and their relationships. Logic is only required in science when some identification or observation is not conclusive. The identification of something is not what is usually meant by induction. (It is actually concept formation.)

I have no idea why you (and most others) are so certain that knowledge of the nature of the physical is only probable. Do you think the existence of the earth, the solar system, the galaxies, and physical universe, (or you own existence), are only probable. Do you believe it is only probable that there are microscopic organisms, or that some of those organisms cause diseases, and that some specific organisms that cause specific diseases have been identified. Do you believe the circulatory system of blood, the endocrine system, autonomic nervous system and lymphatic systems are only probable?

Is the possibility of human heavier-than-air flight, wireless communication, electronic transmission of pictures, electric motors, geo-stationary satellites, antibiotics, and digital electronics only probable? Are the identification of the chemical elements and their properties only statistically probable? Do you really think sulfur can sometimes be bismuth? (As a powder they are similar in color.)

If these are only probable, what do you call certain?

[I'll get back to the 2+2=4 Kantian false dichotomy.]
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
Material existence is all that exists

Whether you're right or wrong about Materialism, you're evidently wrong about epistemology here. This is because ironically, this claim is a metaphysical a priori.
You can take things out of context and make them mean almost anything you like. I don't think you did that intentionally, but I never said what your truncated quote implies.

What I said was, "Material existence is all that exists and has the nature it has independent of anyone's consciousness or knowledge of that existence. 'Independent of,' means, whether or not anyone is aware of or knows what exists or what its nature is. Another way of saying it is, reality is all that is, the way it is, independent of anyone's knowledge, beliefs, desires, or wishes."

You may have confused my word, "material," for physical, something I attempted to avoid by the long definition. My definition of existence intentionally excludes any ontological assumptions. It only points out that when I use the phrase, "material existence," I mean what actually is whatever it is and whatever its nature is, known or unknown. Ontologically you would include a spiritual realm and God; I would not. While I regard the physical to be a subset of material existence, the physical is not all that exists independently of human consciousness or knowledge. Ontologically, for me, material existence includes the physical, life, consciousness, and the human mind. That is my view of what material existence actually is, your view of what material existence is different.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
It has no way of being verified from the empirical world, because it is a claim about what is allowed to "be real," and to count as evidence in that world. In other words, it's a pure faith-claim, not some sort of given.
I hope that you now understand what I mean by material existence does not restrict in any way what can or cannot be real. It is the business of metaphysics and ontology to identify what reality or material existence is.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
It is the physical that is the object of the physical sciences.
Perhaps.
Why would they called them, "physical," sciences if they studied something else?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
But "the physical sciences" are themselves a range of empirical phenomenon constrained by a set of theories. They are human constructs, not features of the real world. Before humans organized their thoughts into "the physical sciences," there literally were no such things as "the physical sciences." Many traditions still do not have them.
You have switched from the discussion of science as a method of acquiring knowledge to discussing what is assumed be established science. I'm only addressing the nature of the discipline called science, not what is taught as science in school.

I agree that much of what goes by the name science (supposed scientific theories) is based on spurious hypotheses and preconceived premises.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
I'm not saying they're not good: I'm saying they are a "method," which means they are an artificial arrangement intended to clarify certain kinds of knowledge by eliminating others from the field of vision. They are not the totality of reality or truth. They are constructs -- useful ones, but still constructs.
I do not quite understand why the idea that a "method" is used to accomplish or achieve something that would in some way, invalidate that accomplishment or achievement. Of course science uses methods (not just one, but many). All intellectual exercise uses human invented methods, including language, logic, mathematics, geometry, formulas, tools, instruments, and processes. They are not, as is implied when someone calls them, "constructs," just made up, but sound and effective methods for what things are, what their natures are, and what their relationships to each other are. From the simplest method of determining the number items in a collection (counting) to the vastly more complex method of the calculus to determine the precise nature of measurable relationships. Dissection, examination with microscopes or telescopes, the cataloging of various kinds of observed existents (taxonomy), electrical, chemical, and physical experiments are not constructs, nor are the recordings of the results of those methods and experiments constructs.

Was lased light, long theorized before being actually produce, discovered be eliminating something from the field of inquiry? Are lasers only some kind of construct? Science does not proceed by leaving out knowledge, but by including more and more into the hierarchy of knowledge, such as the wave nature of electromagnetic spectrum that now includes everything from light to sub-atomic particles.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
There is no pre-determined method for making that discovery.

Sure there is. I've just outlined some of its features above. But you can fill it out by reference to Baconian science, and "the scientific method."
Bacon's real contribution to science was the observation that to understand something, that thing itself must be examined. If you want to know how the blood circulates in the human body, you have to examine human bodies. Reading Galen, or Aristotle, or any other authority is the wrong way to do science. If you take Bacon's view of "induction" to mean, one must actually examine a thing to understand it, that would be OK, but to suppose it means something can be established merely on the bases of and often repeated observation, it is wrong.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
The first and most important aspect of science is the identification of the existents which are existence.
Absolutely. But science cannot solve this problem for itself. It cannot define ontology. All it can do is to take an ontology as presumed, and work from there. Materialism is just such a presumptive ontology, not some sort of self-evident fact.
Why would you call, "identifying existents," a problem? All knowledge begins with the identification of existents. Those identifications are called concepts. I think you have made an epistemological mistake here, and since you mention ontology, (on which epistemology depends) I'll address that too. This is the relationship: epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge; knowledge is knowledge of that which exists; ontology identifies the nature of that which exists that makes it knowable.

[NOTE: It is not possible, nor would you want me to address the whole of epistemology and ontology in a single post. If you are interested in a correct epistemology and ontology, please see my articles here on Philosophy Now: Ontology Introduction, and Epistemology, Concepts, and if those interest you, the article on propositions by which all knowledge is held, Epistemology, Propositions, may interest you..

Ontologically, every thing that exists is whatever its qualities (attributes, properties, or characteristics) are. To identify anything, epistemologically, it is a thing's qualities that are that thing's identity.

Concepts are our means of identifying existents. I'll only describe what a concept is and how it identifies existents.

Concepts

A concept consists of two components a "perceivable existent," and a "specification." The, "perceivable existent," is a symbol, usually a spoken or written word. The "specification" is a definition which specifies or indicates the existent or existents the concept identifies.

The word (or other perceivable symbol) for a concept is not the concept. The word is our means of being conscious of the concept. The concept is the identification of an existent. The definition of a concept indicates what existent or existents a concept identifies.

How Concepts Identify Existents

If asked what he would like, a young boy wanting an apple might point to the apples in a bowl and say, "I'd like one of those, please." If there are no apples in plain sight, however, he might say, "I'd like an apple, please." The pointing and using the word apple have performed the same function—they have identified the kind of thing the boy wants.

It is not the word apple, but "using the word apple," that is the identifying action, because a spoken or written word is only a symbol, and it is the concept (symbol plus definition) that does the identifying. When the boy uses the word apple, he has already identified apples mentally before saying the word, else he could not say it. It is also not the spoken word that identifies an apple for the listener but the concept, apple, which hearing the word recalls to the listener's mind.

The identity of the apple is independent of anyone's knowledge or understanding of it. The apple's material identity is an ontological fact consisting of all an apple's qualities and attributes, known or unknown. To identify an apple by means of the concept "apple" does nothing more than pointing and saying, "one of those," does.

Concepts do nothing except identify existents. They do not represent existents, describe existents, or indicate anything about the existents identified. It is necessary to emphasize this to prevent criticisms of knowledge based on a wrong understanding of what concepts are. Statements, like, "we can never know anything completely because concepts are only incomplete abstractions representing actual things." Concepts are not abstractions, not "stand-ins" for existents, they are identifications of actual existents with all their qualities and all that can be known about them.

What A Concept Means

What concepts mean are the actual existents they identify. The existents identified by concepts are called a concept's referents, units, particulars, instances, or specimen.

The concept "apple" means any apple there has ever been, is now, or ever will be. As the identifier of apples, what it identifies is the entire ontological nature of any apple in its entire ontological context, because that is what any apple is. That nature and context are not part of or in any way contained in the concept, apple. The nature and context pertain only to what the concept identifies, that is, actual individual apples themselves.

The concept, apple, used by a child who knows little more about apples than what they look and taste like, or the same concept used by a botanist specializing in the study of apples, means exactly the same thing, actual apples. Neither the child's limited knowledge or the botanist's extensive knowledge is about the concept apples or part of the concept apples; the knowledge is about that which the concept identifies for both the child and the botanist, apples themselves.

Definitions

A concept does not mean its definition. It is ignorance of this simple fact that is the basis of the whole Kantian (synthetic vs analytic) and logical positivist nonsense. A definition only indicates what existent or existents a concept identifies. Depending on what any specific existent is, a definition performs its function by including whatever qualities (or class of qualities) are necessary to that kind of existent and whatever qualities are necessary to differentiate the existent or existents from all other existents. Every definition is within the context of any individual's present knowledge, so that a child's definition of apple, though much simpler than a botanist's, is sufficient for the child to know what existent he is referring to when using the word for the concept apple because it indicates for the child the very same existents as the botanist's much more sophisticated definition.

2+2=4

The argument that, "ice is a solid," is true in a way that, "ice floats on water," is not, because the first proposition is, "analytic," and the second is, "synthetic," (al la Kant), or to use your example, "2+2=4" is true in a way that, "2 qts. of water mixed with 2 qts. of ethyl alcohol yeilds 3.86 qts. of liquid," is not, is flat-out epistemological mistakes (or more likely an intentional obfuscation of the truth).

So called "analytic" propositions are supposedly true on the basis if logic alone. "Ice is solid," is true because ice is defined as solid water and to deny that ice is solid would be a logical contradiction, while, "ice floats on water," is "synthetic," and must be observed to be true, and then is only true statistically, because unless every possible example of ice is observed it is always possible some ice might not float on water.

This entire mistake is the result of bad epistemology. A concept does not mean its definition. Ice means every possible example of water that is frozen because it is below its freezing temperature, and it means that substance with all its actual qualities, known or unknown. Two of the qualities of actual ice are that it is solid and that it has more volume than the same amount of unfrozen water, which is why it floats on water. The qualities that are ice are its epistemological identity. If anything were discovered that had different qualities than ice, no matter how similar to ice it was, it would not be ice. Ice floats on water is true, just as ice is solid is true, because whatever does not float on water is not ice.

The example of 2+2=4 is worse. "2+2=4," is not a proposition about entities, but about concepts. "2" is a symbol which identifies the same concept as the word, "two." "4" is a symbol which identifies the same concept as the word, "four." The expression, "2+2=4," is only an example of a method that uses arbitrary (human invented) symbols to perform a short-cut method of counting, called addition. "2+2=4," is true only in the same way that "a gerund is the form of a verb used as a noun," is true. Neither is a proposition about material existents, they are statements describing the correct use of a humanly invented method. "2+2=4," is NOT TRUE, because it doesn't state anything about anything. It only describes how a method works by the example: if you have two items, then you have two more of those items, if you count them all there will be four of those items, but that presumes there are items and that they are the same kind of items.

The proposition, "2 qts. of water mixed with 2 qts. of ethyl alcohol yeilds 3.86 qts. of liquid," is true because water has a specific nature, as does ethyl alcohol, which natures determine when mixed, the mixture will be less in volume than the sum of the separate volumes of unmixed liquids. If 2 qts. of some liquid are mixed with 2 qts of another liquid and the total volume is something other than 3.86 qts. one of the liquids is neither water or ethyl alcohol, or both are not. One attribute of water is that when mixed with an equal volume of ethanol the resulting volume will be 96.5 percent of the combined but unmixed volumes, and one attribute of ethanol is that when mixed with an equal volume of water the resulting volume will be 96.5 percent of the combined but unmixed volumes. These facts are not based on induction or statistics, but on the principle that a thing is what its attributes or qualities are. Anything that has the qualities that are an existent's identity, is that existent, and anything that does not have those qualities is not that existent.

There is an odd fact about Hume. He almost got one thing right. His idea that if an observation were correct, it would only require one such observation to establish the certainty of it. Unfortunately he was referring to his odd idea of cause and effect. If he had been thinking about identification, he would have been right. It is not necessary to see hundreds or thousands of turtles to identify, "turtle." It is only necessary to see one and identify it in terms of its attributes. Once the concept of a turtle as been formed, all turtles (all organisms with the attributes of a turtle) will be correctly identified by the concept turtle.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:14 pm
If you mean an event or phenomena that is unobserved by anyone is not evidence, it is true, because a thing can only be evidence to an observer. Seeing something is not processing or interpreting it, it is simply being conscious of it. Until there is evidence one perceives there is nothing to process or interpret.
It's not just perception. One can perceive something, but not perceive it to be evidence for another thing.
This is a very old obfuscation. The word, "perception," has two very different meanings. Some use that difference to cover up disingenuous arguments. You have done this, but I know it was not intentional.

By perception I mean the direct consciousness of whatever we are seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting.

The other meaning of perception refers to the way in which something is regarded, understood, interpreted, or evaluated, such as how one perceives the state of society, or the importance of welfare, or the state of old age.

I never use the word perceive with its second meaning just because it is so ambiguous, but it is how you have used it. "One can perceive something (first meaning), but not perceive (regard or recognize) it to be evidence (second meaning). The existence of evidence does not depend on anyone's recognition of it, or even awareness of it. For the record I regard any phenomena which can be perceived (first meaning) as evidence and the only evidence there is for whatever exists physically, and the fact that we can consciously perceive existence the only evidence for everything else.

About Cause

"Cause," is a very important concept but everything that has been called, "cause," since Aristotle is misconceived. "Cause only pertains to events and is the explanation of how and why any event occurs.

Events are the actions or behavior of existents. How any existent behaves is determined by the nature of existents in relation to all other existents or their ontological context. Events do not cause events.

The bad example used by hume and repeated today of a "cause" (a billiard ball striking another billiard ball) causing the "affect" (the second ball moving away) illustrates what is wrong with the event theory of cause. If the second ball is replaced with an egg, the supposed, "affect," will be totally different. The event theory of cause makes the behavior of existents determined by something other than the entities own nature.

Some examples of wrong explanations of cause are: "the effect of temperature on the pressure of a gas, or the effect of length on the period of a pendulum, or the effect of distance on the gravitational force between bodies.

Here is what is wrong with them:

1. The change in pressure of a confined gas that is heated, which supposes the heat causes the increase in the gas pressure. The true nature of cause in this case is the fact that the temperature and pressure of a gas are attributes of the gas, an entity, and its behavior is determined by its own nature. It is not "caused" by something else. The fact that the attributes of pressure and temperature in a confined gas have a specific relationship is itself an attribute of gas. It does not exist for liquids or solids, for example. (Boyle's law should not be confused with an existent's coefficient of expansion.)

2. The cause of the change in a pendulum's period is supposedly caused by the length of the pendulum, but a pendulum's length is a property of the pendulum. It behaves the way it does (has a specific period) because of its own attribute, length. It is not "caused" by something else.

3. The motion of bodies in space relative to other bodies is determined by the nature of the bodies themselves and their own reaction to other bodies. One body does not make another body behave in any way. How any body will react relative to any other body is determined by it's own nature in the ontological context of other bodies. This certainly be called, "cause," meaning the explanation of the behavior of bodies relative to each other.

Part of the identity of any existent is how it relates to other existents which includes its relative behavior. It is an existent's own nature the determines what that behavior will be. When science seeks the explanation for events, it is not, "cause," it seeks, but the identification of the nature of existents which determines their behavior. There is almost never a single simple description of that behavior because the relationships are complex.

One simple example is Ohms law, "E=IR," that is, the voltage in a DC circuit is equal to the current times the resistance. There is no, "cause," of the voltage, because the voltage, current, and resistance are mutually related in the exact ratio described by Ohms law, which is why the ratio may be equally expressed as "I=E/R," or "R=E/I." Most scientific principles (laws) are not descriptions of cause at all, but of relationships which explain why events occur and have the nature they have.

Enough

Sorry this was so long IC. There was much to consider and I'll be interested in your comments.

We may not agree on some things, which is what makes our conversation interesting.

[Now I have to go finish cooking my curry.]

RC

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RCSaunders
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Re: Individualism vs. Collectivism

Post by RCSaunders » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:28 am

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:29 am
Cooperation and subordination are not mutually exclusive concepts.
Well they are mutually exclusive, but it is impossible for those who have surrendered their minds to a slave mentality to understand that individuals work together all the time for common or complementary objectives without one of them being the boss (master).

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