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Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 01:59 am
Hi Everyone,

I'm Amanda and I'm a third year Bachelor of arts student at UQ, ]Australia. I major in philosophy (of course) and also studies in religion even though I myself am not religious.
Areas of interest in philosophy are epistemology and metaphysics, the philosophy of science etc etc but I don't stop there, I've studied most areas of Philosophy as part of my degree...

Anyway that's pretty much all there is to know about me.. I'll be posting a new thread somewhere else as soon as I decipher where, so that I can hopefully get some other people's opinions on my Essay question on Chance, coincidence and chaos.

oops, almost forgot. So please feel free to say hi, I'm always up for discussion.
A
 
Justin
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 05:25 am
@amanda phil,
Hello and welcome to the Philosophy Forum Amanda! Thanks for the intro and hope you enjoy the forums!
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 05:38 am
@amanda phil,
Welcome to Philforum, Amanda. Do you have any favorite philosophers as yet? I am sure we will get to know one another in the forums.
Regards,
John
 
Dilys
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 03:59 am
@amanda phil,
Hello Amanda,

I'm also new to Philosophy Forum, and I have also majored in philosophy, albeit at a distance learning Open University as a mature student. I am married with a grown-up son, and I'm living in a small village in Wiltshire.

I am well and truly hooked on philosophy, and my areas of interest are very broad, but if I had to list my favourites I would say phenomenolgy/Continental philosophy would be at the top, although I am continuously dipping in and out of various works. I am not doing any formal degree study course at the moment and I have been following up concepts that interest me. I came across Gadamer's hermenuetics this year, and I am currently reading up and listening to some of the work of the philosopher/theologian Aquinas, the student of Aristotle. The Philosophy Archive of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time have some brilliant philosophy debates on which I constantly draw.

Looking forward to some interesting discussions with you.

Best wishes, Dilys
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 06:42 am
@amanda phil,
Sounds good, look forward to it and welcome to the forum, great to have you aboard.
 
Otter
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:34 pm
@Caroline,
I am just an idiot with no formal education. I am very interested to talk philosophy, especially contemporary. Please do not take this as sarcasm.

Thx.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 04:41 pm
@amanda phil,
Welcome otter! Enjoy your stay!
 
Dilys
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 05:50 pm
@Otter,
Yes, it is interesting to discuss philosophy within the context of current issues --- ethics is an obvious one. I prefer virtue ethics over Kantian moral rules because virtue ethics concerns one's whole life. This means that for instance the virtuous banker would not act in a way that is loving and responsible towards his family whilst in his professional capacity knowlingly act in a way that is harmful to international finance and which brings about its demise. In fact, the highest virtue is wisdom, which the virtuous agent is travelling towards. This means he/she is more likely to be mature in years rather than very young, because virtue is something that is learned from the good role models of others, and is therefore acquired over time. Such a virtuous agent is unlikely to be capable of the sort of excesses that have brought about the current world recession through greed and just plain bad banking practises.

I believe the only country (at least that I know of ) has been Norway, and I think this is because it arose from their Protestant values. They supported a green economy long before it became fashionable to do so, and in any case, the EEU only pay lip service to environmental issues. Capitalism is just not designed to be user friendly to environmental issues or even human wellbeing. Or at least Capitalism can be for the common good when it is driven by ethical values as evidenced by Norway, but there's is the exception to human behaviour and not the general rule.

Dilys
 
Otter
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 08:20 pm
@Dilys,
By contemporary I mean still living and writing philosophers. You've committed the cardinal sin of presumption.

You are saying that Kant's moral formulations do not or were not intended to "concern ones whole life" ? I remember him to be the one with this ask what if everyone did the same business.

Personally I think any artificially created moral system must backfire, although it appear to create virtue, there must always be a "payment". You can't legislate morality, yes but also you can't even have it at all. There is human nature forged out millions of years of predation, when the species feels safe enough genetic mutation will make a less predatory animal out of the human.

On a side note, this business about recession is obscene nonsense, well fed people complaining about being less wealthy.
 
Leonard
 
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 09:53 pm
@amanda phil,
Welcome to the forum Amanda. Discussion is always welcome.
 
Dilys
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 05:03 am
@Otter,
Dear Otter,

Philosophy is a living thing else it's dead in the water.

I believe my argument applies to both classical and contemporary concepts, and whilst virtue ethics is Aristotelian, (not a self made morality as you suggest) it also has contemporary followers in both moral and political philosophy. There is currently an ongoing debate between Liberalism and Communitarianism (which arises out of virtue ethics.) Charles Taylor is one I can recall and Alisdair Macintyre ('After Virtue') even though he always denies he is a Communitarian, but there you go. On the Liberalist side, there is Rawls of course, who we've only recently lost, whilst on the contemporary Virtue Ethics front there is a whole host of living and possibly recently passed on philosophers. The Applied Virtue Ethics course that I did some years back was written and chaired by Rosalind Hursthouse who wrote quite a few papers on abortion. There are also quite a few feminists who support Communitarianism - as you may imagine Smile) I think one of the major debates was between Kohlberg and Gilligan (hope I've got the names right.) Look it up on Google if you're interested. Gilligan wrote on paper on something like A Different Way, concerning nursing ethics.

Basically Virtue Ethics argue that it is far more flexible than either Kantian rules, or Utilitarian's Greatest Happiness Principle (Consequentialism). Someone on this forum was also discussing that Kantianism is not so good at coping with moral dilemmas on the basis that it is always wrong to take another's life, but what is the moral agent to do (for instance) when faced with the situation where someone is threatening the life of your loved one? On this the moral agent is not given much guidance. In Kant's terms in such a situation the most we can do is plead for the other's life, but more than that is morally wrong. Virtue ethics argues therefore that Kantian moral rules gives little guidance on how we are to act in these sorts of situations, it is not sufficiently flexible to cope with human complexities.

Regarding another point you made in your posting, I agree with you that morality cannot be forced upon people if there is not the will to act morally in the first place. This is why I said that Norway's ethical government/society arose out of it Protestant values, meaning we are singing from the same hymn book inasfar as we agree that trying to apply moral rules in terms of laws alone doesn't work when other ethical behaviour is not in place. And here I would give the examples of the current banking demise/UK politicians expenses debacle, and the way consumerist lifestyles challenges environmental issues.

I believe a large part of this attitude/unethical behaviour arises from Liberalism/free market economy, which estranges community life despite the fact that humans are essentially social beings. Living within a community compels us to co-operate with the group, from which ethical behaviour arises. Of course, groups can behave unethically, but on the whole human beings have rationalised that for the most part there is more to be gained by living ethically/morally - at least within its own particular group/culture, and with those with whom we trade.

The basis of virtue ethics/Communitarianism is that it provides good role models for our young. It concerns living well in terms of flourishing as a human being. You may challenge this by arguing that 'living well' is both a personal and a cultural thing, and I agree. However, whilst cultures and individual will is diverse, there is nonetheless fundamental moral behaviour that is common to the category of being human, ie in terms of our basic human needs: shelter, food, desire for the company of others, which relates to human rights. Kant also recognised this within the context of his categorical imperitive, and I am not suggesting that he has nothing to offer us on moral guidance, rather that as a whole package it comes unstuck when confronted with complex moral dilemmas, and also compared with virtue ethics it leaves much to be desired.

You say that : "There is human nature forged out millions of years of predation, when the species feels safe enough genetic mutation will make a less predatory animal out of the human. " Perhaps? However, based on our history my view is that it won't be anytime soon. We are intelligent animals, but not that intelligent. Moreover, we are but a recent addition to this universe, and there is much beyond our understanding. As such, we are pretty small fry in terms of the wider scheme of things, and we are likely to disappear without a trace, whilst the universe continually recreates itself anew. One could argue that our limited intelligence will be the cause of our own downfall.

Certainly free market Capitalism is a two-edged monster. Whilst it brings wealth/prosperity to some, it also shoots humankind in the foot. I believe Marxism was very idealistic and could only work in a small community with a common goal, as evidenced by recent history, although I believe his argument is correct insofar as Capitalism alienates us from each other, and the way we create things that come to oppress us. I also believe Capitalism is reaching an aggressive spiralling point, and I don't believe there's any turning back now. Logically I imagine it must take its course unless/until there is something else to divert it/take its place.

Currently we only pay lip service to environmental issues - basically free market trading carries on as before, just the same as the behaviour of unethical banking. And by the way, those who are well off and therefore relatively unaffected by the current recession are not in the majority. The corporate guilt of the bankers/financiers has not been properly addressed, in spite of the fact that their unethical actions have caused international harm on a grand scale that will have repercussions for years to come.

You can apply all of this topical stuff to classical Hobbes, Locke, Rawls, Cohen and many more ...

Personally I have been very interested in the work of Gadamer/Habermas ref hermenuetics, which as you will know relates to how we interpret the views of other cultures. Some may mistakenly see this as an 'anything goes' concept, but it is not. Rather it is the acknowledgement that there are others who see the world differently from ourselves, the absence of which leads to continual conflict/oppression. However, I'm going off on another tack here, and have rambled on for far too long so will leave this for another time.

Best wishes .. I look forward to your views.

Dilys
 
Otter
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 04:43 pm
@Dilys,
This helps to confirm my view that all talk about ethics is childish prattle. No doubt there is a certain aesthetic and intellectual fascination with the building of increasingly sophisticated doctrines and spiderwebs. It can only end in vexation. It is a great delusion to imagine that the reorganization of society is useful or that there is any value, as Aristotle believed, in learning or training what he perceived to be "goodness". Plato and Marx both seemed to have understood all this long ago, although Marx was too base a man to pursue his own better convictions. What men call enlightenment (in the religious sense) will later be classified scientifically and neurologically, in so much as rare things seem miraculous until they don't.

Thx.
 
Dilys
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 05:59 pm
@Otter,
Otter wrote: "This helps to confirm my view that all talk about ethics is childish prattle."

You are entitled to your view, but if you want a discussion you have to present an argument, which means supporting your case with sound reasons, so far this is only assertion. Are you attacking ethics/morality generally, or only Aristotelian ethics?


Otter wrote: No doubt there is a certain aesthetic and intellectual fascination with the building of increasingly sophisticated doctrines and spiderwebs.

This comment seems unnecessarily acrimonious and vexatious. Are you suggesting society can organize itself without ethics?

Otter wrote:It can only end in vexation. It is a great delusion to imagine that the reorganization of society is useful or that there is any value, as Aristotle believed, in learning or training what he perceived to be "goodness".

Aristotelian ethics doesn't propose to re-organise society as such. I think you misunderstand what moral philosophy is about.

Otter wrote:Plato and Marx both seemed to have understood all this long ago,

There are strengths and weaknesses in most philosopher's arguments. If you want to discuss this you should point them out more clearly, and then we have a discussion, otherwise there's not much point in batting random opinions back/forth.

although Marx was too base a man to pursue his own better convictions. What men call enlightenment (in the religious sense) will later be classified scientifically and neurologically, in so much as rare things seem miraculous until they don't.

Why do you hold this view? What is your argument, and how are you supporting your case?

I look forward to your reply.

Dilys
 
Otter
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 07:19 pm
@Dilys,
Within the game of philosophy one would reason as such:

In preferring Aristotle's system to Kant's one has made the same mistake as he who attributes wisdom to the infant child. What is meant is that these two systems can be thought of as the first and second parts of a three part system where the first part resembles the third i.e. infancy, maturity, extreme old age (if we concede this is the opposite of infancy i.e. the seat of wisdom.) Or again Aristotle (within the frame of the argument) is like the pre-Socratic subject who is still unified with the community and has not been awoken to the problematical recognition of his individuality (i.e. in Hegel's analysis of Socrates) or again pre-historic "timeless" societies where there is so called cyclical time, then history the problematic stage (open to the attacks Kant seems to fall victim to.) and finally along the lines of Fukuyama one can begin to image a time where there would be no history simply because nothing would ever change (or need to).

"What men call enlightenment (in the religious sense) will later be classified scientifically and neurologically, in so much as rare things seem miraculous until they don't."

This is then referring to the "third stage" "system' which is posited as the evolutionary process itself.
One might say that where Aristotle's system appears "to concern the whole person" (kinship of first and third.) in the third stage the "system" in fact becomes the whole person.

Excuse that this post does not respond to your points directly at the moment.

Amendment:

"Aristotelian ethics doesn't propose to re-organise society as such. I think you misunderstand what moral philosophy is about." - of course, here, I was referring to you comments on capitalism and finances etc. not Aristotle.
 
 

 
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