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Critique My Philosophy of Life?
Posted: 23 November 2013 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 13-page document that may be found at the following link:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Byh6JnTg3RMecHhxV0pYeklqV0U/edit?usp=sharing

In the first half of the document, I present and defend the following positions:  atheism, afterlife skepticism, free will impossibilism, moral skepticism, existential skepticism and negative hedonism.  The second half of the document is devoted to ways to achieve and maintain peace of mind.

I have found the entire exercise to be very beneficial personally, and I hope that you will benefit from reading the document.

I am posting my philosophy to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.  I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.

Enjoy!

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Posted: 23 November 2013 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Philosopher, I hope you get some bites on your philosophy.  But if replies are not immediately forthcoming
I would first start out by introducing yourself in the intro threads.
Then perhaps let people start discovering your philosophy in small bursts by normal interaction with you on this Forum.
Most people here don’t wish to peruse a 13 page document right out of the blind.
Take care.

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Posted: 23 November 2013 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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VYAZMA - 23 November 2013 02:28 PM

Philosopher, I hope you get some bites on your philosophy.  But if replies are not immediately forthcoming
I would first start out by introducing yourself in the intro threads.
Then perhaps let people start discovering your philosophy in small bursts by normal interaction with you on this Forum.
Most people here don’t wish to peruse a 13 page document right out of the blind.
Take care.

Thank you for the advice, VYAZMA.  I look forward to engaging and productive discussions on this forum.

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Posted: 23 November 2013 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Philosofer123 - 23 November 2013 01:20 PM

Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 13-page document that may be found at the following link:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Byh6JnTg3RMecHhxV0pYeklqV0U/edit?usp=sharing

In the first half of the document, I present and defend the following positions:  atheism, afterlife skepticism, free will impossibilism, moral skepticism, existential skepticism and negative hedonism.  The second half of the document is devoted to ways to achieve and maintain peace of mind.

I have found the entire exercise to be very beneficial personally, and I hope that you will benefit from reading the document.

I am posting my philosophy to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.  I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.

Enjoy!

Hi Philosofer123,

I had a quick skip through.

I particularly agree on disbelief in ultimate responsibility being beneficial.

You might find this interesting: http://www.naturalism.org/

Stephen

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Posted: 24 November 2013 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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StephenLawrence - 23 November 2013 09:58 PM

[
Hi Philosofer123,

I had a quick skip through.

I particularly agree on disbelief in ultimate responsibility being beneficial.

You might find this interesting: http://www.naturalism.org/

Stephen

Thanks, Stephen.  I am actually familiar with that website.  I found the page with personal testimonials on the benefits of giving up belief in contra-causal free will to be particularly interesting.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 03:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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StephenLawrence - 23 November 2013 09:58 PM
Philosofer123 - 23 November 2013 01:20 PM

Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 13-page document that may be found at the following link:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Byh6JnTg3RMecHhxV0pYeklqV0U/edit?usp=sharing

In the first half of the document, I present and defend the following positions:  atheism, afterlife skepticism, free will impossibilism, moral skepticism, existential skepticism and negative hedonism.  The second half of the document is devoted to ways to achieve and maintain peace of mind.

I have found the entire exercise to be very beneficial personally, and I hope that you will benefit from reading the document.

I am posting my philosophy to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.  I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.

Enjoy!

Hi Philosofer123,

I had a quick skip through.

I particularly agree on disbelief in ultimate responsibility being beneficial.

You might find this interesting: http://www.naturalism.org/

Stephen

Also http://www.determinism.com it contains a lot of good information about our lack of free will.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I cannot do else than add a few pennies…

For the compatibilist concept of free will, see e.g. Lecture Notes on Free Will and Determinism, or The Regularists’ Trump Card – The Dissolution of the Problem of Free Will and Determinism, or Is God a Taoist?. See also Do You Really Have Free Will? Of course. Here’s how it evolved and Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?.

Basically the libertarian concept of free will is incoherent. The compatibilist notion of free will is consistent with determinism, and gives no hold for opinions of neurologists that we have no free will, and therefore should change our juridical system.

OK, this might become the 5th thread about free will… Hopefully the forum software does not break down.

For short, your argument is about ultimate responsibility. Such a thing does not exist. But you have reasons for your actions (e.g. start to ask for comments on your philosophy of life document), and you can be asked for what your reasons were for doing so, they could be criticised or esteemed, for short we make you responsible for doing this, and I suppose you take responsibility for it. That is what responsibility is, and I fail to see any contradiction with determinism.

But I think you discussed this also extendedly somewhere else, didn’t you?

Edit: In ‘Is God a Taoist?’ go to the sentence “Before you requested me to remove your free will”, if you do not want to read the whole thing.

[ Edited: 25 November 2013 09:15 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 25 November 2013 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Just to add:

I had a quick glance at your complete document, it looks pretty good. I assume you’ve worked very long at it.

I just wonder why you need this overview spelled out on such detailed and technical level?

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Posted: 25 November 2013 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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GdB - 25 November 2013 05:44 AM

I cannot do else than add a few pennies…

For the compatibilist concept of free will, see e.g. Lecture Notes on Free Will and Determinism, or The Regularists’ Trump Card – The Dissolution of the Problem of Free Will and Determinism, or Is God a Taoist?. See also Do You Really Have Free Will? Of course. Here’s how it evolved and Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?.

Basically the libertarian concept of free will is incoherent. The compatibilist notion of free will is consistent with determinism, and gives no hold for opinions of neurologists that we have no free will, and therefore should change our juridical system.

OK, this might become the 5th thread about free will… Hopefully the forum software does not break down.

For short, your argument is about ultimate responsibility. Such a thing does not exist. But you have reasons for your actions (e.g. start to ask for comments on your philosophy of life document), and you can be asked for what your reasons were for doing so, they could be criticised or esteemed, for short we make you responsible for doing this, and I suppose you take responsibility for it. That is what responsibility is, and I fail to see any contradiction with determinism.

But I think you discussed this also extendedly somewhere else, didn’t you?

Edit: In ‘Is God a Taoist?’ go to the sentence “Before you requested me to remove your free will”, if you do not want to read the whole thing.

Thank you for your comments.  The reason I define free will in terms of ultimate responsibility is that the impossibility of ultimate responsibility renders irrational a number of negative emotions (see bottom of page 6).  In other words, free will impossibilism, the way I define it, has great therapeutic value.

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Posted: 25 November 2013 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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GdB - 25 November 2013 08:28 AM

Just to add:

I had a quick glance at your complete document, it looks pretty good. I assume you’ve worked very long at it.

I just wonder why you need this overview spelled out on such detailed and technical level?

I feel that it is important to clarify and support my positions with the best arguments available.  That way, I have a written record of exactly what I believe and why, which helps me to actually live my philosophy and maintain peace of mind.  Also, spelling everything out gives others a chance to examine and challenge my reasoning, which may result in valuable feedback that improves the document.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Philosofer123 - 25 November 2013 11:54 AM

The reason I define free will in terms of ultimate responsibility is that the impossibility of ultimate responsibility renders irrational a number of negative emotions (see bottom of page 6).  In other words, free will impossibilism, the way I define it, has great therapeutic value.

Agree, if you define free will in this way. And I understand the points you refer to. I hope you don’t mind I copy them in here:

o Free will impossibilism eliminates a whole range of negative emotions, including guilt, regret, shame, remorse, indignation, anger, disgust, outrage, resentment, contempt and hatred
   When one realizes that no one can be ultimately responsible for their actions, all of these emotions are rendered irrational
   However, with respect to one’s own past actions that may have hurt others, one may still apologize, attempt to rectify the situation, and vow to act differently in the future. And with respect to others’ hurtful actions, one may still respond for the sake of deterrence.

However: for general well-being in society and for your peace of mind, I think it is also wholesome to take as much responsibility as you can (but not more, because then you would fall back into regret, shame, remorse, as you say). You mention these as ‘attempt to rectify the situation, and vow to act differently in the future’. Point for me is that the sheer possibility of being able to do so means you have some form of free will. Not the form that goes along with ‘ultimate responsibility’, but the one that fits to our ability to act according our wishes and beliefs, and to act for reasons: combatibilist free will.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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GdB - 26 November 2013 09:55 AM

However: for general well-being in society and for your peace of mind, I think it is also wholesome to take as much responsibility as you can (but not more, because then you would fall back into regret, shame, remorse, as you say). You mention these as ‘attempt to rectify the situation, and vow to act differently in the future’. Point for me is that the sheer possibility of being able to do so means you have some form of free will. Not the form that goes along with ‘ultimate responsibility’, but the one that fits to our ability to act according our wishes and beliefs, and to act for reasons: combatibilist free will.

I think we are in agreement.  I agree that we have compatibilist free will, and you agree that we do not have ultimate responsibility.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Philosofer123 - 26 November 2013 12:46 PM
GdB - 26 November 2013 09:55 AM

However: for general well-being in society and for your peace of mind, I think it is also wholesome to take as much responsibility as you can (but not more, because then you would fall back into regret, shame, remorse, as you say). You mention these as ‘attempt to rectify the situation, and vow to act differently in the future’. Point for me is that the sheer possibility of being able to do so means you have some form of free will. Not the form that goes along with ‘ultimate responsibility’, but the one that fits to our ability to act according our wishes and beliefs, and to act for reasons: combatibilist free will.

I think we are in agreement.  I agree that we have compatibilist free will, and you agree that we do not have ultimate responsibility.

Yes!

What matters and why this is of enormous practical importance is the difference between the two, since we do know most people believe in ultimate responsibility.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 November 2013 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Philosofer123 - 26 November 2013 12:46 PM

I think we are in agreement.  I agree that we have compatibilist free will, and you agree that we do not have ultimate responsibility.

So boring! Usually free will threads grow to 100 pages or more, and now we agree already on the first page! I am getting old… wink

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Posted: 27 November 2013 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I do think the regularist’s trump card is wrong GdB.

What Swartz is trying to say is we are ultimately responsible because we have control over physical laws since they merely describe what we do when we make a choice.

That’s why he thinks it dissolves the free will problem.

As it happens I’m not a regularist having thought about this over the years we’ve been discussing it. I think nature must be restricted in some way or it just wouldn’t continually oblige by performing in line with our close approximations of physical laws and science would just be impossible.

Stephen

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Posted: 27 November 2013 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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StephenLawrence - 27 November 2013 01:12 AM

What Swartz is trying to say is we are ultimately responsible because we have control over physical laws since they merely describe what we do when we make a choice.

You interpret Swartz wrong. He just says that laws of nature are true descriptions of the world, and therefore also true descriptions of us. But true descriptions follow reality, not the other way round. That is Swartz’ position in a nutshell. He nowhere implies that we have control over the laws of physics. But we had this discussion already ad nauseam.

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