How do you define nature

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boagie
 
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 05:12 am
@BrightNoon,
Smile
Nature is a complex condition, of which we are part. Should that complex condition change in any significant degree, it would still be nature, a complex condition, but, perhaps without us as part.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 09:31 am
@zolasdisciple,
zolasdisciple wrote:
In many philosophical doctrines nature plays a key role. How do you define nature? I am constantly wondering if man is from nature or is man nature/a part of nature itself. Today I made an observation that maybe nature is innate life. This would really help me in my studies so what do you guys think? Thanx,jessica:brickwall::detective:


Here is the classic essay by John Stuart Mill, "Nature".

Mill's "On Nature"
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Khethil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 10:22 am
@boagie,
BrightNoon wrote:
To claim that civilization is not natural because it has been made by man is like saying that glucose is not natural because it is made by bacteria...


boagie wrote:
... Should that complex condition change in any significant degree, it would still be nature, a complex condition, but, perhaps without us as part.


Wow...

While I can't deny the legitimacy of what's being said here. It strikes me wrong somehow; as if it unnecessarily obscures the two concepts.

Nature and Natural. So everything is Natural; why does this just feel wrong?

Perhaps I'm missing a crucial element in the concept of "Natural". Could it be better said, for the sake of clarity alone, that what is Natural is that whose form has not been significantly altered by humans? Nature, on the other hand a concept which is more broadly encompassing?

Terminology or conceptual, semantic or philosophical. I can't count how many times I've watch discussions go round and round divergently-interpreted contexts like two wooden ducks on the same wheel.

Nice clarifications guys. Any clarification on this interpretation is much appreciated.

Thanks
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 10:42 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;Smile

I would say that anything that is, is natural, there are however man made elements that do not occur in nature, but the fact that it is, infers that the possiablity was there all along. Perhaps there should be another term for what man is doing to nature, other than to call it unnatural. The verious destructive industries of man are not unnatural, but they do disrupt the processes of nature, and nature as our life support system is threatened by man's unthoughtful sucesses. That which is, is natural, and man's thoughtless natural deeds, will lead to his natural end.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 03:36 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Khethil;Smile

I would say that anything that is, is natural, there are however man made elements that do not occur in nature, but the fact that it is, infers that the possiablity was there all along. Perhaps there should be another term for what man is doing to nature, other than to call it unnatural. The verious destructive industries of man are not unnatural, but they do disrupt the processes of nature, and nature as our life support system is threatened by man's unthoughtful sucesses. That which is, is natural, and man's thoughtless natural deeds, will lead to his natural end.


Artificial waterfalls are not called "unnatural". They are called,"artificial". Eyeglasses are not called "unnatural" either, so far as I know. Neither are processed foods. In a wider sense of "natural" whatever exists is natural, but in the more usual, narrower sense, what is the result of man's interference, or making, is not natural. Depending on what it is, it has different names: "artificial" (ice, waterfall); "processed" (cheese); etc.
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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 03:38 pm
@kennethamy,
Artificial waterfalls are not called "unnatural". They are called,"artificial". Eyeglasses are not called "unnatural" either, so far as I know. Neither are processed foods. In a wider sense of "natural" whatever exists is natural, but in the more usual, narrower sense, what is the result of man's interference, or making, is not natural. Depending on what it is, it has different names: "artificial" (ice, waterfall); "processed" (cheese); etc.span.jajahWrapper { font-size:1em; color:#B11196; text-decoration:underline; } a.jajahLink { color:#000000; text-decoration:none; } span.jajahInLink:hover { background-color:#B11196; }
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 07:33 am
@zolasdisciple,
By thinking of individual cases, and especially the OPPOSITES to nature and natural, are we not finding an entire series and groups of meanings depending on the horizon (or perspective) we are talking and thinking about the two words?
As the interlocutors of Socrates once found out, what seems a simple concept in our everyday use becomes complicated when we begin to think about what it means.

What an interesting thread this has become!
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 01:13 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed,Smile

Perhaps if we just stick to identifying those activities of mankind that disrupt the processes of nature. Like industry, over population outstripping natural resources and not allowing natures processes to counterbalance our behaviours as a species. Interesting that the one solution would have many answers, like population control, yet, it is seldom discussed or entertained seriously. It is like standing in the middle of the road watching the approach of an on coming truck, which will without a doubt, run over you.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 08:53 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
jgweed,Smile

Perhaps if we just stick to identifying those activities of mankind that disrupt the processes of nature. Like industry, over population outstripping natural resources and not allowing natures processes to counterbalance our behaviours as a species.


You forgot to mention antibiotics, anesthesia, heart surgery, innoculations against polio, computers, and even eyeglasses, all of which disrupt the processes of nature. (Oh, yes, calamine lotion for poison ivy. It is so satisfyingly natural to itch).
 
BaCaRdi
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 01:18 pm
@zolasdisciple,
You guy are over complicating this;

The simple truth "Nature Is Indifferent"

Welcome thy Occam's Razor!

-TRoN
 
nameless
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 02:07 pm
@zolasdisciple,
zolasdisciple;29242 wrote:
In many philosophical doctrines nature plays a key role. How do you define nature? I am constantly wondering if man is from nature or is man nature/a part of nature itself. Today I made an observation that maybe nature is innate life. This would really help me in my studies so what do you guys think?

Nature is existence!
'Nature' is what 'is', all there is, naturally.
There's my definition.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 02:30 pm
@BaCaRdi,
BaCaRdi wrote:
You guy are over complicating this;

The simple truth "Nature Is Indifferent"

Welcome thy Occam's Razor!

-TRoN


BaCaRdi,Smile

I agree nature is indifferent, well not quite, indifference is a human quality, inferring awareness of, yet disinterest in. Nature is simply unaware of you and your need to survive. How does this understanding alone inform us of how to live with nature. If we can live with nature in a way which support the vitality of the conditon of nature, then we are onto something. Basically our present approach is mindless, distructive and as we are finding out, deadly. Personally I cannot think of a better defination than to say nature is a complex condition, or nature is a complex system. If we are causing disfunction of the system, you might say, we are as a cancer to that system.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 07:22 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
BaCaRdi,Smile

I agree nature is indifferent, well not quite, indifference is a human quality, inferring awareness of, yet disinterest in. Nature is simply unaware of you and your need to survive. How does this understanding alone inform us of how to live with nature. If we can live with nature in a way which support the vitality of the conditon of nature, then we are onto something. Basically our present approach is mindless, distructive and as we are finding out, deadly. Personally I cannot think of a better defination than to say nature is a complex condition, or nature is a complex system. If we are causing disfunction of the system, you might say, we are as a cancer to that system.


Right. Let's do away with antibiotics, computers, and surgery, and live in the state of nature. As Hobbes described it, brutish, ugly, and short.
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TickTockMan
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 09:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;32117 wrote:
Right. Let's do away with antibiotics, computers, and surgery, and live in the state of nature. As Hobbes described it, brutish, ugly, and short.


I don't think that this is what boagie was suggesting.

I think we could, however, do away with a few such practices as strip-mining, mass deforestation, slash and burn agriculture . . . maybe a few more controls on emissions would be nice as well. And no, I'm not talking about the much debated concept of Global Warming, but the more general concept of not having to suck brown air into our lungs.
 
BaCaRdi
 
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 10:26 pm
@TickTockMan,
Well since the universe and we are a giant form of information recycling..Maybe we should do just that and recycle..Smile

Nature in indifferent;

Well my definition of such is if we don't, we will be part of history, in time;)

As a famous comedian once said;

Mother earth would shake us off like a bad set of fleas....

RIP George Carlin...

-Marc
TickTockMan wrote:
I don't think that this is what boagie was suggesting.

I think we could, however, do away with a few such practices as strip-mining, mass deforestation, slash and burn agriculture . . . maybe a few more controls on emissions would be nice as well. And no, I'm not talking about the much debated concept of Global Warming, but the more general concept of not having to suck brown air into our lungs.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 03:09 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan wrote:
I don't think that this is what boagie was suggesting.



Well, he does write, " If we are causing disfunction of the system, you might say, we are as a cancer to that system." I don't know what he means by that, and neither, I think , do you. But sometimes people who do not think carefully (or really at all) don't recognize all the implications of what they say. They consider only one side of the story and entirely neglect the other side of the story. Many diseases of thought, like diseases of the body, are caused by a one-sided diet.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 09:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;32275 wrote:
Well, he does write, " If we are causing disfunction of the system, you might say, we are as a cancer to that system." I don't know what he means by that, and neither, I think , do you. But sometimes people who do not think carefully (or really at all) don't recognize all the implications of what they say. They consider only one side of the story and entirely neglect the other side of the story. Many diseases of thought, like diseases of the body, are caused by a one-sided diet.


Well, perhaps boagie will pop in and explain what he means. I assumed that he meant that man's propensity for unregulated, unchecked growth was very similar to the mechanics of a cancer cell with often similar consequences to the system it inhabits.

Perhaps I'm mistaken (my apologies if I am) but I detect a tone in your post that indicates that you may think I might be one of those wild-eyed nature-boys spouting baseless environmentalist dogma and rhetoric, and waving my tattered copy of Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang over my head like a Pentecostal supplicant while marching about in a cloud of patchouli oil in my hemp sandals and Inconvenient Truth t-shirt.

Sadly, that would be an incorrect assumption.

While it's true that I believe that we should strive to be more environmentally responsible, and I enjoy the writings of such authors as Muir, Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson, et al, I have as yet to succumb to the cult of radical environmentalism, which is brilliantly described here: MichaelCrichton.com | Environmentalism as Religion. Rest in Peace, Michael.

I believe there are elements of truth in both camps regarding how we should, or should not, treat the environment in which we live. There is also a level of arrogance, distrust, and hypocrisy that comes with the taking of an extremist viewpoint on both sides, which, of course, is what makes it very difficult for either side to accomplish anything positive.

That being said, your comment that "diseases of thought, like diseases of the body, are caused by a one-sided diet" is absolutely accurate. I agree entirely. What you are talking about (at least what I have inferred) is that balance and harmony are essential for health. I would simply like to see this same level of balance applied to environmental concerns, as a healthy environment is as essential for a healthy body and mind as is the food we eat and the information we process.

Regards,
Tock
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 06:46 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan wrote:
... indicates that you may think I might be one of those wild-eyed nature-boys spouting baseless environmentalist dogma and rhetoric, and waving my tattered copy of Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang over my head like a Pentecostal supplicant while marching about in a cloud of patchouli oil in my hemp sandals and Inconvenient Truth t-shirt...


Haha.... What a great visual.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 04:27 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan wrote:
Well, perhaps boagie will pop in and explain what he means. I assumed that he meant that man's propensity for unregulated, unchecked growth was very similar to the mechanics of a cancer cell with often similar consequences to the system it inhabits.

Perhaps I'm mistaken (my apologies if I am) but I detect a tone in your post that indicates that you may think I might be one of those wild-eyed nature-boys spouting baseless environmentalist dogma and rhetoric, and waving my tattered copy of Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang over my head like a Pentecostal supplicant while marching about in a cloud of patchouli oil in my hemp sandals and Inconvenient Truth t-shirt.

Sadly, that would be an incorrect assumption.

While it's true that I believe that we should strive to be more environmentally responsible, and I enjoy the writings of such authors as Muir, Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson, et al, I have as yet to succumb to the cult of radical environmentalism, which is brilliantly described here: MichaelCrichton.com | Environmentalism as Religion. Rest in Peace, Michael.

I believe there are elements of truth in both camps regarding how we should, or should not, treat the environment in which we live. There is also a level of arrogance, distrust, and hypocrisy that comes with the taking of an extremist viewpoint on both sides, which, of course, is what makes it very difficult for either side to accomplish anything positive.

That being said, your comment that "diseases of thought, like diseases of the body, are caused by a one-sided diet" is absolutely accurate. I agree entirely. What you are talking about (at least what I have inferred) is that balance and harmony are essential for health. I would simply like to see this same level of balance applied to environmental concerns, as a healthy environment is as essential for a healthy body and mind as is the food we eat and the information we process.

Regards,
Tock


No one with any sense is against clean air and clean water, but also, no one with any sense thinks that there are not other important goods as well. I mean employment, prosperity, comfort, and civilization, and that sometimes conflict arises, and intelligent compromises have to be fashioned. Extremism on both sides is the result of fanaticism and stupidity.

It is nonsense to believe that what is natural is, therefore good, and what is man-made is bad. Poison ivy is natural and bad. Antibiotic are man-made and good. There is no substitute for thought and intelligence.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 04:24 pm
@kennethamy,
Like just about everything in philosophy, this little problem of ours comes down to definition. A word is a symbol that can be assigned to anything with equal representative power: arbitrary. When I refer to 'nature', I mean the world, all, everything that exists. Therefore, we and our civilization are part of nature. Of course, I understand the tendency to seperate our works from the rest of nature, but I just don't divide it that way. To me, anything which is not natural is 'supernatural', which has no meaning.
 
 

 
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