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Have you come up with Philosophies already thought of?
Posted: 29 October 2010 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve had some ideas in the past that I came up with that I thought were clever at the time, but came to find out that someone already had come up with them first, sometime over 2000 years (damn Plato!), but Write4U came up with a great point. That even though you may have not been the first to come up with the discovery, that fact that a brilliant philosopher from the past thought the same as your did, was a reward in itself. So I thought it’d be great to hear everyone’s own philosophical discoveries that they’d figured out before ever reading or hearing about it.

I’ll give one that I was proud of, but came to find out later was already discovered or brought up. Mind you, my thoughts aren’t really groundbreaking here.

I came up with the idea that, technically there is no randomness. What we see as being random, really involves a numerous incidences that ultimately come to one final conclusion. I made the comparison to a pachinko game. Where the ball is released with a certain amount of force, and falls down hitting each obstacle diverting it into different directions until it hits the bottom. Even though this act would look almost random to us where the ball will land, is in fact all predetermined by many factors that we cannot see. I came to find out later that this idea falls around the Determinism concept.

Again, not groundbreaking and probably not a really clear description of what I’m meaning to say, but still I found it rewarding to find out that someone else out there saw things the way I did. Please post what you’ve discovered. I’d like to read about it.

[ Edited: 29 October 2010 03:46 AM by ExMachina ]
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Posted: 29 October 2010 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Small point: actually, we know from quantum mechanics that technically there is randomness: the laws of micro physics are statistical in character, not deterministic. To take a simple example, when a radioactive atom decays, it does so randomly. There is no deeper explanation of why it decays now rather than before or after. (Though there is a law that says what the percentage chance of it decaying over a given period of time).

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Posted: 29 October 2010 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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ExMachina - 29 October 2010 02:23 AM

I’ve had some ideas in the past that I came up with that I thought were clever at the time, but came to find out that someone already had come up with them first, sometime over 2000 years (damn Plato!), but Write4U came up with a great point. That even though you may have not been the first to come up with the discovery, that fact that a brilliant philosopher from the past thought the same as your did, was a reward in itself. So I thought it’d be great to hear everyone’s own philosophical discoveries that they’d figured out before ever reading or hearing about it.

I’ll give one that I was proud of, but came to find out later was already discovered or brought up. Mind you, my thoughts aren’t really groundbreaking here.

I came up with the idea that, technically there is no randomness. What we see as being random, really involves a numerous incidences that ultimately come to one final conclusion. I made the comparison to a pachinko game. Where the ball is released with a certain amount of force, and falls down hitting each obstacle diverting it into different directions until it hits the bottom. Even though this act would look almost random to us where the ball will land, is in fact all predetermined by many factors that we cannot see. I came to find out later that this idea falls around the Determinism concept.

Again, not groundbreaking and probably not a really clear description of what I’m meaning to say, but still I found it rewarding to find out that someone else out there saw things the way I did. Please post what you’ve discovered. I’d like to read about it.

I’ll jump in.  When I ran across the word “potential” in Websters, one of the definitions was “that which may become reality”. This struck me as a profound statement and from that definition I fashioned a speudo scientific/philosophic paradigm of Potential as the non-physical precursor to reality. Later I read David Bohm’s (modern physicist) “Implicit and Explicit Order, and I found that he referred to a condition which he termed “pure potential”. This concept has also been addressed in some Eastern philosophies.
While my paradigm was not well received at the time, probably due to poor presentation and a lack of knowledge in real science, I was lifted by the discovery that this concept occupied a major place in a published work by a real scientist.
So, I resolved to shelve it, while gaining additional knowledge and insight into the nature and methods of theoretical science in matters beyond the event horizon of this universe. To my knowledge I have not yet seen anything that directly contradicts my paradigm, but I realize that does not mean it is true or even possible.

[ Edited: 29 October 2010 04:30 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 29 October 2010 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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dougsmith - 29 October 2010 03:52 AM

Small point: actually, we know from quantum mechanics that technically there is randomness: the laws of micro physics are statistical in character, not deterministic. To take a simple example, when a radioactive atom decays, it does so randomly. There is no deeper explanation of why it decays now rather than before or after. (Though there is a law that says what the percentage chance of it decaying over a given period of time).

hmmmm maybe there is freewill. I guess that gives one point to the Christians then.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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ExMachina - 29 October 2010 04:53 AM
dougsmith - 29 October 2010 03:52 AM

Small point: actually, we know from quantum mechanics that technically there is randomness: the laws of micro physics are statistical in character, not deterministic. To take a simple example, when a radioactive atom decays, it does so randomly. There is no deeper explanation of why it decays now rather than before or after. (Though there is a law that says what the percentage chance of it decaying over a given period of time).

hmmmm maybe there is freewill. I guess that gives one point to the Christians then.

Random fluctuations have nothing to do with free will. Free will is directed action; it is paradigmatically not random. Also the randomness that goes on at the quantum level are several orders of magnitude too small to have any effect at the neural level. Neurons are, for all intents and purposes (that is, to an extremely high level of accuracy), deterministic systems. There are several very lengthy discussions of this in the Philosophy folder ...

[ Edited: 29 October 2010 06:31 AM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 29 October 2010 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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When I was a teenager I “deduced” determinism. And from that, that men were essentially machines (is there a name for this?). And from that, amoralism. I wrote a short book about all that stuff for an assignment in my writing class.

Needless to say, my views have since become quite a bit more pragmatic, although on some fundamental level I still believe those views. I’m still an amoralist in the sense that I think there are no absolute morals; but I’m also a moral relativist in the sense that I think different cultures have different sets of morals and some are not necessarily better than others; and I’m a moral pragmatist in the sense that I think morals are useful if only for maintaining a functioning society. I also realize that some morality is ingrained and had therefore evolved and is continuing to evolve.

I still think people and animals are essentially machines. If you don’t believe in a soul, what other explanation is there? And determinism. No soul, no choice.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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When I was a kid I thought that sperms were seeds and eggs were soil. I also used to tell my brother that he was the only human who had survived a catastrophe that had wiped out the rest of humanity and we were all aliens pretending to be humans to help him grow up, because we wanted to see how he was going to turn out. It used to freak him out—my brother is obviously younger than me.

My guess would be that there must have had been others with similar “ideas.”

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Posted: 29 October 2010 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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domokato - 29 October 2010 11:41 AM

I still think people and animals are essentially machines. If you don’t believe in a soul, what other explanation is there? And determinism. No soul, no choice.

question

How would having a soul make any difference to whether or not you had “choice”? This is something I’ve never understood, though it is taken as a given within certain theistic circles.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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dougsmith - 29 October 2010 06:29 AM
ExMachina - 29 October 2010 04:53 AM
dougsmith - 29 October 2010 03:52 AM

Small point: actually, we know from quantum mechanics that technically there is randomness: the laws of micro physics are statistical in character, not deterministic. To take a simple example, when a radioactive atom decays, it does so randomly. There is no deeper explanation of why it decays now rather than before or after. (Though there is a law that says what the percentage chance of it decaying over a given period of time).

hmmmm maybe there is freewill. I guess that gives one point to the Christians then.

Random fluctuations have nothing to do with free will. Free will is directed action; it is paradigmatically not random. Also the randomness that goes on at the quantum level are several orders of magnitude too small to have any effect at the neural level. Neurons are, for all intents and purposes (that is, to an extremely high level of accuracy), deterministic systems. There are several very lengthy discussions of this in the Philosophy folder ...

You want that debate to start up again?  tongue rolleye

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Posted: 29 October 2010 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 29 October 2010 12:01 PM
domokato - 29 October 2010 11:41 AM

I still think people and animals are essentially machines. If you don’t believe in a soul, what other explanation is there? And determinism. No soul, no choice.

question

How would having a soul make any difference to whether or not you had “choice”? This is something I’ve never understood, though it is taken as a given within certain theistic circles.

I know how: God was bored, He created the universe and inserted a bit of Him (i.e. a soul) inside every human. Since God resides outside of space and time, so do all the souls, and that makes them independent of the mechanism of the universe. Kind of like sticking your finger inside a pachinko machine.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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George - 29 October 2010 12:20 PM
dougsmith - 29 October 2010 12:01 PM

How would having a soul make any difference to whether or not you had “choice”? This is something I’ve never understood, though it is taken as a given within certain theistic circles.

I know how: God was bored, He created the universe and inserted a bit of Him (i.e. a soul) inside every human. Since God resides outside of space and time, so do all the souls, and that makes them independent of the mechanism of the universe. Kind of like sticking your finger inside a pachinko machine.

Yeah, I don’t really want this debate to start up again, and I’m not going to go very far with this, but it’s hard not to point out the issues.

If our souls were independent of the mechanism of the universe then they wouldn’t be able to be effected by things like hunger, thirst, sights, sounds, etc.

More pointedly, why does being independent of the mechanisms of the universe have anything to do with being able to “choose”?

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Posted: 29 October 2010 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hmm, I thought it would be easy to respond to it, but now that I want to write it down I realize that it doesn’t make sense. I guess you’re right.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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dougsmith - 29 October 2010 12:41 PM
George - 29 October 2010 12:20 PM
dougsmith - 29 October 2010 12:01 PM

How would having a soul make any difference to whether or not you had “choice”? This is something I’ve never understood, though it is taken as a given within certain theistic circles.

I know how: God was bored, He created the universe and inserted a bit of Him (i.e. a soul) inside every human. Since God resides outside of space and time, so do all the souls, and that makes them independent of the mechanism of the universe. Kind of like sticking your finger inside a pachinko machine.

Yeah, I don’t really want this debate to start up again, and I’m not going to go very far with this, but it’s hard not to point out the issues.

If our souls were independent of the mechanism of the universe then they wouldn’t be able to be effected by things like hunger, thirst, sights, sounds, etc.

More pointedly, why does being independent of the mechanisms of the universe have anything to do with being able to “choose”?

Soul? spirit?

Here is how soul was explained to me. Soul is the element of life. It’s properties are that which allows matter to be animate.

Spirit is created through the conflict of soul and matter. Spirit is the “mirage” of self.

Soul = life however usually a lot of supernatural garbage gets attached to the meaning of soul.

Usually people mean soul + spirit and the mystery of self adds to some supernatural understanding. Soul is part of the mechanism of the universe in it’s basic meaning. People IMO like to attach some supernatural meaning so end up with strange ideas about what soul is.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Gnostikosis - 29 October 2010 01:57 PM

Soul? spirit?

Here is how soul was explained to me. Soul is the element of life. It’s properties are that which allows matter to be animate.

Spirit is created through the conflict of soul and matter. Spirit is the “mirage” of self.

Soul = life however usually a lot of supernatural garbage gets attached to the meaning of soul.

Usually people mean soul + spirit and the mystery of self adds to some supernatural understanding. Soul is part of the mechanism of the universe in it’s basic meaning. People IMO like to attach some supernatural meaning so end up with strange ideas about what soul is.

Right, but what does any of that mean? Clearly soul isn’t what animates matter, since even patently soulless matter is animate, like wind, rain, the planets, etc. (The Greeks had a notion of a “motor soul”, that might be what you’re getting at, but it’s very much pre-modern. It depends on pre-Newtonian notions of momentum).

You’re also right that there’s an element of pre-modern vitalism there; though again, even patently soulless things like plants have life.

The basic question here is what the heck we need a ‘soul’ for. It plays no useful theoretical role.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m sure I have.  I can’t think up an example right off, but given the sheer number of people that have been proclaimed (or proclaimed themselves) ‘philosophers’ over the years, I’m sure there’s some overlap.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 29 October 2010 12:01 PM
domokato - 29 October 2010 11:41 AM

I still think people and animals are essentially machines. If you don’t believe in a soul, what other explanation is there? And determinism. No soul, no choice.

question

How would having a soul make any difference to whether or not you had “choice”? This is something I’ve never understood, though it is taken as a given within certain theistic circles.

We have no choice in the sense that “we” only consist of physical matter abiding by the laws of physics. We are bound by cause and effect.

But we do have choice in the sense that we are conscious and we make decisions. This is just two different ways of looking at the same word, “choice”.

For me, this leads to two conclusions:
1. I find it hard to blame people for their actions or beliefs since they are only a product of their genetics and upbringing (determinism).
2. But if blame is warranted, it should be doled out, because it can affect future behavior (pragmatism).

I hope you see what I mean about choice. But I suppose you can reject the first definition of choice on account of its meaninglessness. You’d probably be right, although I think it does at least serve as a cognitive bridge between the human level of conscious experience and the physical laws that govern it.

The Eastern concept of non-dualism is not something I came up with on my own, but it does seem to affect my current philosophy somewhat as you might be able to see. Nothing is truly separate, although it’s often useful to treat it as if it is.

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