Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

Would it be better if more scientists studied philosophy?

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Instead of ridiculing it, as Stephen Hawking did?

From a practical standpoint, philosophy requires clear, logical thinking. A person who has a degree in philosophy has therefore shown an ability to think — a useful skill in a world that too often doesn’t seem to do much of it.

Daniel Lehewych, “Is philosophy just a bunch of nonsense?” at BigThink (November 9, 2021)

Remarkably, Lehewych actually notices a key reason many are skeptical of science:

Consider public health messaging during the pandemic, which consisted of a pattern of revelation and back-peddling. Worse, this pattern wasn’t even cohesive among scientists and medical experts: different experts in the same fields were simultaneously saying things about the pandemic that were contradictory and inconsistent. This only served to confuse the public and aggravate hyperpartisanship.

Philosophy, as an activity, can potentially mitigate these deleterious effects. Earning a philosophy degree entails filtering convoluted ideas into plain language. This skill can and ought to be used to aid scientists in pursuing a more scientifically informed public

Daniel Lehewych, “Is philosophy just a bunch of nonsense?” at BigThink (November 9, 2021)

Lehewych interweaves these thoughts with discussion of the anti-philosophy views of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He suggests that scientists study philosophy so as to avoid sounding like “sanctimonious know-it-alls.”

Maybe. Of course, it would also help to be right more often, as that would at least lead to more consistent messaging.

You may also wish to read: At Evolution News: C. S. Lewis and the argument for theism from reason Jay Richards: Natural selection could conceivably select for survival-enhancing behavior. But it has no tool for selecting only the behaviors caused by true beliefs, and weeding out all the others. So if our reasoning faculties came about as most naturalists assume they have, then we have little reason to assume they are reliable in the sense of giving us true beliefs. And that applies to our belief that naturalism is true.

160 Replies to “Would it be better if more scientists studied philosophy?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    No. It would be better if credentialed and authoritative philosophers got AGGRESSIVE with scientists. Philosophers should be trying to correct atrocious epistemology and genocidal ethics. Instead they’re just quibbling about 5000-year-old completely unanswerable questions.

  2. 2
    Joe Schooner says:

    Never had much respect for philosophy. Always seemed to be an attempt to use linguistic masturbation to support a world view that can’t be supported by the evidence.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, kindly refrain from needless vulgar references. As for worldviews analysis and linked consideration of hard questions on comparative difficulties, the very notion of evidence and its warranting value is a philosophical issue. Contempt for philosophical questions is a sign of an age manipulated into shallow thinking and indoctrination. KF

  4. 4
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, kindly refrain from needless vulgar references.

    How would you prefer that verbal manipulation for the purpose of confabulation be classified?

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    i think scientists would benefit from a grounding in philosophy but then we probably all would. Whether that would do anything to moderate the more arrogance-prone is another matter. But it might stop some from pontificating about science as a search for “truth”.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, Science is pursued under duty of care towards truth, involving right reason, warrant and associated wider prudence (especially given our error-proneness) and yes these spread across all responsible endeavours. That happens to include Science. Yes, we have limitations in science and would do a lot better to openly acknowledge them, including on grand narratives about the prehistoric past and origins of the world of life. But such are routinely presented as if they were practically certain (never mind how often they have to be fairly drastically revised). KF

  7. 7
    Joe Schooner says:

    Seversky, scientists with a sound grounding in philosophy are a good thing. But they are scientists first. Where the danger lies is when people use twisted philosophical arguments to counter sound scientific conclusions based on clear evidence because it goes against their world view. A prime example is the philosophical arguments/insistence that there are objective moral truths. Or that same sex attraction is a disorder. Or that the use of the birth control pill is wrong. Or that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Or that divorce, in some cases is best for all involved.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, your argument just now pivots on implicit appeals to our intuitive acknowledgement of first duties to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc. That is, you inadvertently exemplified how even objectors cannot escape appealing to what they would object to. So, we have inescapable, so inescapably true and so pervasive first principles. Which are therefore generally warranted and objectively true. It also becomes significant to observe the actual Ciceronian list as identifying the innocuous nature and wholesomeness of what is being so desperately derided and dismissed as “twisted.” First duties, to truth, to right reason, to warrant and wider prudence, to sound conscience, to neighbour, so too to fairness and justice, etc. That these and their manifest inescapability thus self-evidence and objectivity should be so stridently objected to speaks shameful volumes on our anticivilisational indoctrination that has been embedded in the academy, education, the media and general opinion. KF

    PS: The Pagan Roman Stoic, Rhetor and Statesman, Cicero, in On the Republic:

    , On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with [–> our morally governed] nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it [–> as universally binding core of law], and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people [–> as binding, universal, coeval with our humanity], and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. [–> sound conscience- guided reason will point out the core] And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero, c. 55 – 54 BC

  9. 9
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, your argument just now pivots on implicit appeals to our intuitive acknowledgement of first duties to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, etc.

    Thank you for providing an excellent example of placing philosophical dissembling over evidence. Readers will note that you have used this lame approach on multiple occasions rather than address the actual issues that have been raised.

    The expectation/hope that people will respond truthfully and with a smidgen of reason is a societal expectation. It is a reciprocal expectation, as are so many other expectations. They are behaviors that people start learning in the first year of life. If they are duties, they are self-imposed, not fundamental to our existence. The fact that you are not comfortable with the consequences of this reality does not make it any less real.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, the implicit appeals happened again. The point is made. KF

  11. 11
    BobRyan says:

    I think scientists could gain something from philosophy, but most should go back to learn the basics of science they so quickly forget. If something is not witnessed and cannot be replicated, it is not a theory, but hypothetical only.

  12. 12
    William J Murray says:

    Joe Schooner said:

    Seversky, scientists with a sound grounding in philosophy are a good thing. But they are scientists first.

    And:

    Never had much respect for philosophy. Always seemed to be an attempt to use linguistic [manipulation] to support a world view that can’t be supported by the evidence.

    And:

    The expectation/hope that people will respond truthfully and with a smidgen of reason is a societal expectation. It is a reciprocal expectation, as are so many other expectations. They are behaviors that people start learning in the first year of life. If they are duties, they are self-imposed, not fundamental to our existence. The fact that you are not comfortable with the consequences of this reality does not make it any less real.

    And so we have someone unwittingly (apparently) expressing his philosophy about science, philosophy and reality as if he isn’t doing exactly the same thing as those he is criticizing.

  13. 13
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    William J Murray
    And so we have someone unwittingly (apparently) expressing his philosophy about science, philosophy and reality as if he isn’t doing exactly the same thing as those he is criticizing.

    …as if you are not doing exactly the same thing.

  14. 14
    William J Murray says:

    LCD @13:
    Where have I criticized the use of philosophy?

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you have of course implicitly appealed to the first duties as intuitively accepted, showing yet again their pervasive, first principle character. Not, oh merely self-selected or group seleected and enforced by ostracism, which is itself implicitly depending on our known duties of truth and right reason to have effect, implying by claim to be objective truth on matters of duty and right conduct etc, so self-defeating as is the general case of subjectivism, relativism, emotivism. My response has always been that of Epictetus, inescapable so inescapably true and self evident, thus objectively true to undeniable certainty. To try to deny is inadvertently to exemplify, as we have seen ever so many times. Indeed, branch on which we all must sit so let us not saw it off. KF

    PS: As ever, the negative form may well be helpful to those puzzled as to why the fuss:

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

    I find it revealing on the sad — and in my view now suicidal — state of our civilisation that there is such a fuss and bother on this.

  16. 16
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    William J Murray
    LCD @13:
    Where have I criticized the use of philosophy?

    In every single one of your messages and in those messages that you post under different name. 😉

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It is an interestingly instructive happenstance of language that our term Science is a slightly modified form of the Latin for Knowledge. Revealing, that the goal and duty of the scientist is well warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) truth about our world. In this case, based on observation, inductive logic in the modern sense of argument by empirical support not demonstration, and a general pattern of inference to the best current explanation. Of course that draws out that support is open-ended not final. In that exercise much use is made of the logic of structure and quantity aka Math, which proceeds by an utterly different, non empirical method, in ideal form axiomatisation that fits with the body of established facts and allows elaboration by implication. Indeed, Math and Physics were not really separated until in the 1800’s as axiomatisation emerged. Newton’s Chair was Mathematical. That hybrid character should serve as a check. Logic, of course, is a main branch of Philosophy and the critical study of knowledge, epistemology, is another. Ethics of science — currently painfully exposed through gross, culpable mismanagement of pandemic to the point that the Nuremburg Code of 1947 is relevant — is an extension of the bigger half of Axiology, Ethics, again a big branch of Philosophy. Science and scientists, manifestly, would benefit from a more structured exposure and a fair reduction in the presumption of being top dogs that has led to many points of legitimate concern. KF

  18. 18
    jerry says:

    A couple things:

    Science is about facts, nothing else. It does not tell us the value of something.

    Facts tell us what is, not what ought to be except where one fact causes another. Then, we say given this fact, we ought to see this other fact.

    Philosophy is very much about the ought or value of something.

    Aside: there is most definitely objective moral laws but they lie in the value area. What is this area? Is it meeting common human objectives?

  19. 19
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Jerry
    Science is about facts, nothing else.

    Not really. Facts are about truth and truth about morality and morality about God and God about love.

  20. 20
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    WJM, you have of course implicitly appealed to the first duties as intuitively accepted, showing yet again their pervasive, first principle character.

    Do you really want to open this door again, KF?

    First, KF is attempting to read my mind by asserting what I am implying when I say what I say. His inference is not my implication.

    Second, what is actually implicit in what I say is an appeal to truth and the fundamental principles of logic. This is an inescapable, necessary aspect of conscious, sentient thought and language.

    Third, “duties” are irreconcilable with inescapable, necessary behaviors; therefore nothing I say can be both inescapable or necessary AND represent any actual duties, which are always about optional behaviors.

    Fourth, all actual duties require two conditions: 1. An authority that holds me responsible for the fulfilling of my duty, and: 2. Consequences for fulfilling/not fulfilling my duty.

    KF has been unwilling for months to name 1 and/or 2 above. Instead, he claims these duties are self-evident; but, they cannot be. Actual duties are known through the presence of those conditions. I cannot know I have an actual duty unless I am aware of those conditions; since I do not, I cannot be said to be implying duties I don’t even know exist, that haven’t even be shown to exist.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    If one wants to continue living, are the necessary behaviors to do so expressed by the word “duty?” This assumes that not doing so will result in death or an very inferior way of existing.

    If one wants to thrive while living, are the necessary behaviors to do so expressed by the word “duty?” This assumes that not doing so will result in an inferior/undesirable way of life.

    In other words are duties just a way of expressing what is necessary to reach objectives? Are the objectives hence the duties built into the human species? Every species?

    Is what is going on, just semantics?

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    Different facts:

    The sun will rise tomorrow.

    There is an asteroid the size of a small pebble about 300 million miles from earth. It has moved relative to earth more than 150 miles in the last 30 days.

    There were over 10,000 dead bodies near the sea after the tsunami.

    All are true. What is the difference? They are all facts.

  23. 23
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    The sun will rise tomorrow.

    No, Jerry, that’s not a fact. Not even close.

  24. 24
    Origenes says:

    William J Murray @20

    Second, what is actually implicit in what I say is an appeal to truth and the fundamental principles of logic. This is an inescapable, necessary aspect of conscious, sentient thought and language.

    It is your position that these things are aspects of a person. KF doesn’t agree with that. He holds that we are error-prone and need to be forcibly steered, by duties imposed by an external authority, towards truth and applying the fundamental principles of logic.

    Third, “duties” are irreconcilable with inescapable, necessary behaviors; therefore nothing I say can be both inescapable or necessary AND represent any actual duties, which are always about optional behaviors.

    Again, KF doesn’t agree with you that these behaviors are inescapable necessary aspects of a person. In his view they are not inherent aspects of a person. They are only inescapable and necessary to us because a superior external authority has imposed them that way on us.

    Fourth, all actual duties require two conditions: 1. An authority that holds me responsible for the fulfilling of my duty, and: 2. Consequences for fulfilling/not fulfilling my duty.

    1. God 2. Hell.

  25. 25
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    It is your position that these things are aspects of a person. KF doesn’t agree with that.

    No, he has agreed that sentient thought and language inescapably utilize appeals to truth and the principles of logic. He has also said that this implies “first duties” to truth and reason.

    He holds that we are error-prone and need to be forcibly steered, by duties imposed by an external authority, towards truth and applying the fundamental principles of logic.

    Again, nope. He agrees that our duties are applicable when our behavior is optional, i.e. not forced by inescapable reference to truth and logical principles.

    1.God 2. Hell.

    See how easy and obvious that was? Now ask yourself, why won’t KF answer the same way?

  26. 26
    asauber says:

    Everyone has to use philosophy. Its just that some are not aware they use it. It might be a personal behavior to try and ignore formal philosophy. My lovely wife does this.

    Andrew

  27. 27
    William J Murray says:

    I just realized that the behavior described by the duty must be decisional, meaning that it is possible to not do your duty, so this is a third necessary condition of any actual “duty.” Inescapable behaviors are not decisional, and so cannot be used to make the case for any actual duty.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    The sun will rise tomorrow.

    No, Jerry, that’s not a fact. Not even close.

    This is the nonsense that one deals with here. Why would anyone take anything you say seriously Is the more interesting thing.

    PS: I was a mathematics/physics major in college and had courses in astronomy and the science of planet formation. Received fellowships for graduate study in math. So I know a little bit about the rising and setting of the sun and the physics involved in this phenomenon. The sun appears in the eastern sky every cloudless morning. This phenomenon is known as the rising of the sun.

    For anyone wanting to know about astronomy. Here is a 96 lecture series on it.

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/understanding-the-universe-an-introduction-to-astronomy-2nd-edition

  29. 29
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry, a prediction doesn’t represent a fact. “The sun is rising where I am” is a fact (given that we refer to the observational experience caused by the Earth turning as the sun “rising” or “setting.” I could have called that out, but that would have been petty IMO.)

    “Tomorrow, the sun will rise” cannot be a fact because it hasn’t even happened yet.

    Perhaps some things you think are “foolish” really just represent the inadequacies or sloppiness of your own thinking.

  30. 30
    jerry says:

    a prediction doesn’t represent a fact.

    It most certainly does when one thing flows from another automatically. I will take a pencil and it will fall to the ground. That is a prediction based on the laws of physics.

    Similarly the sun will rise tomorrow follows from the laws of physics. If you want to suspend the laws of physics to support your statement, which is what you have done, then what is foolish?

    Aside: if the sun does not rise tomorrow, we are all gone.

    Aside2: I personally have seen black swans. I have photos of them I took.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, with all due respect your rhetorical threats do not impress. Just for record for onlookers who may not realise the “you are a mind reader” hyperskeptical tactic you have been using is fallacious: a rhetorical appeal is read from the performance and utterance not the mind, sometimes through “reading between the lines.” As you already know full well. Duties are oughts, which though normative can be disregarded, but not without destructive consequences: to be responsibly and rationally significantly free is to be morally governed, at root through first duties. Further to which one may recognise the fact of a duty without solving the ontological roots of duties, as normal people do by hearing the voice of sound conscience and recognising that it is speaking truthfully about obligations. Where, one normally reasons from the clear towards the unclear or less understood so demanding solutions to major ontological issues before acknowledging realities of duty is a way to blunt the voice of conscience and the force of moral government. Those lacking in conscience or with distorted ones, of course, are to that extent morally dysfunctional. As was outlined again above, in the normal course of argument and more pronounced in quarrelling, we see strong recognition of known first duties, in fact even objectors cannot but so appeal. That is a strong sign of pervasive first principles at work. KF

    PS: I again note on the negative form of first duties:

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

  32. 32
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, the implicit appeals happened again. The point is made. KF

    Circular arguments, like true circles, do not have points.

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    Circular arguments,

    Nothing circular about it. It begins and ends and then there is a new beginning but not coming back to the original.

    Nature of species => innate objectives (beginning point) => required behavior to reach objectives (duties) => full or partial accomplishment or even failure (ending point.)

    Then a new start at a new point.

    Aside: where does the nature of the species come from that causes certain objectives to be important? Also it is not just humans that have objectives.

    Aside2: the duties may be just to one self but often are to others because these lead to the objectives sooner and with more certainty.

    We have been all through this before more than once.

  34. 34
    William J Murray says:

    So, Origenes, KF reveals why he will not just answer the questions about authority and consequences:

    Further to which one may recognise the fact of a duty without solving the ontological roots of duties, as normal people do by hearing the voice of sound conscience and recognising that it is speaking truthfully about obligations.

    What he is saying here is that he can recognize a duty without establishing (1) the presiding authority or (2) the consequences that will be enforced by the presiding authority.

    What is KF appealing to in order to make his case? He makes an irrelevant appeal to general bad consequences, but there can be general, bad consequences for all sorts of behavior, including truthfulness and moral behavior. These are not offered as the consequences enforced by the authority, so they are irrelevant to establishing an actual duty.

    Another appeal KF makes is:

    as normal people do by hearing the voice of sound conscience and recognising that it is speaking truthfully about obligations.

    Do I really have to point out just how flawed and circular this is? If anyone disagrees, they are either “not normal” or “not of sound conscience.” How convenient.

    As was outlined again above, in the normal course of argument and more pronounced in quarrelling, we see strong recognition of known first duties, in fact even objectors cannot but so appeal.

    First, I’m not recognizing any such duty, so what is KF referring to? Is he claiming I am “recognizing” it subconsciously? Unconsciously? How can I “know” a duty I do not consciously know I have?

    Second, I repeat: a behavior one cannot help but engage in cannot be a duty or held as being in reference to any duty because all actual duties are necessarily decisional.

    It seems to me that KF has chosen to make this the hill he lives or dies on because he, apparently, needs to believe that we can “recognize” our first duties without any ontological commitments whatsoever. I suppose that is how he can accept that God can hold everyone responsible for doing their “first duties” regardless of their ontological presuppositions (worldview) implanted by culture, society, figures of authority, upbringing, etc.

    That’s why he doesn’t just answer (1) God, and (2) Hell.

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    That’s why he doesn’t just answer (1) God, and (2) Hell.

    My guess is that someone is losing an argument. But that is mind reading trying to understand absurd comments.

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    As to: “Would It Be Better If More Scientists Studied Philosophy?”

    According to George Ellis, the answer is an emphatic, YES!, i.e. “Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    ,,, if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    And then there is this beautiful quote from Neil Thomas, “This abdication of normal canons of reason consisted in people forsaking traditional norms of philosophical common sense and (effectively) throwing in their lot with the ancient goddess of chance, Lady Fortuna (or Lady Luck as she was later to be called), that accursed personification of unreliability whom the ancient philosopher Boethius, Geoffrey Chaucer, and many others have arraigned since time out of mind for being incapable of any productive and dependable action on behalf of struggling humanity.”

    How I Came to Take Leave of Darwin: A Coda
    Neil Thomas – November 15, 2021
    ,,, Here I will make the attempt to drill down even further to the root causes of what appeared to be the Western world’s unprecedented rejection of tried-and-tested philosophers and scientists such as Aristotle, Cicero, Plato, and the physician Galen in a strange capitulation to “out there” philosophic fantasists like Epicurus and his Roman disciple, Lucretius.
    It was the would-be rehabilitation of those ancient materialist thinkers by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, in the late 18th century, coupled with the later Victorian crisis of faith and the sudden irruption into this already volatile mix of Charles Darwin which was to result in the particularly strange irrationalism which has stubbornly persisted right up to the present day.
    This abdication of normal canons of reason consisted in people forsaking traditional norms of philosophical common sense and (effectively) throwing in their lot with the ancient goddess of chance, Lady Fortuna (or Lady Luck as she was later to be called), that accursed personification of unreliability whom the ancient philosopher Boethius, Geoffrey Chaucer, and many others have arraigned since time out of mind for being incapable of any productive and dependable action on behalf of struggling humanity.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/11/how-i-came-to-take-leave-of-darwin-a-coda/

    And then there is this example from Dr. Michael Egnor as to how philosophically inept some professors of philosophy are,

    An Atheist Argues Against Reason
    And thinks it is the reasonable thing to do
    MICHAEL EGNOR – MAY 24, 2019
    Excerpt: Think of the irony: a professor of philosophy, who is paid only to reason, uses reason to argue against reason. Welcome to the bowels of atheist metaphysics. It would be funny if it were not so dangerous to our culture and to our souls.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/05/an-atheist-argues-against-reason/

    So apparently it is not enough to simply be educated in philosophy, one must also, apparently, be educated, and/or re-educated, in the ‘common sense’ that the uneducated general public has in spades over and above what some atheistic professors of philosophy have, so as to be able to discern nonsense from what is sensible.

  37. 37
    KRock says:

    @JS #7

    “Where the danger lies is when people use twisted philosophical arguments to counter sound scientific conclusions based on clear evidence because it goes against their world view. A prime example is the philosophical arguments/insistence that there are objective moral truths.”

    Wait, science has soundly concluded that objective moral truths don’t exist? When?

  38. 38
    ram says:

    WJM and Origenes

    In reading KF over the months, from what I can decipher, it would appear that he miscategorizes certain dependencies as “duty.” I have a dependency on oxygen, but this does not mean I have a “duty” to oxygen. Likewise with logic, proper usage of words, and to “truth.”

    It seems to me that KF has chosen to make this the hill he lives or dies on because he, apparently, needs to believe that we can “recognize” our first duties without any ontological commitments whatsoever. I suppose that is how he can accept that God can hold everyone responsible for doing their “first duties” regardless of their ontological presuppositions (worldview) implanted by culture, society, figures of authority, upbringing, etc. That’s why he doesn’t just answer (1) God, and (2) Hell.

    Yes, it really does seem to come down to that. His religion masquerading as objective truth.

    –Ram

  39. 39
    ram says:

    “Would It Be Better If More Scientists Studied Philosophy?”

    I don’t know, but I think it would be better if evolutionary biologists studied engineering.

    –Ram

  40. 40
    Origenes says:

    O: It is your position that these things are aspects of a person. KF doesn’t agree with that.

    WJM: No, he has agreed that sentient thought and language inescapably utilize appeals to truth and the principles of logic. He has also said that this implies “first duties” to truth and reason.

    If “first duties” are inherent aspects of a person, if they are inescapable to a person, then how does imposing adherence to first duties by an authority—that is, the ‘government’ mentioned by Kairosfocus—make any sense? Enigmatically, according to KF, to be free and responsible implies to be morally governed.

    KF: Duties are oughts, which though normative can be disregarded, but not without destructive consequences: to be responsibly and rationally significantly free is to be morally governed, at root through first duties.

  41. 41
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    🙂 When somebody post a comment “to explain” something s/he automatically acknowledges that he knows the truth and feels “responsible” to share the truth with others. This is the duty to truth .

    Posting a comment is admitting the duty to truth. Posting a comment in which somebody deny the duty to truth is a self refuting statement.

  42. 42
    William J Murray says:

    Ram & Origenes:

    Yeah, I spent many months engaged in discussion with KF trying to figure out what he meant. I know that MRT is extremely difficult to understand, so I know how difficult it can be to just communicate successfully about concepts, much less concepts that seem to be outside of the worldview framework of the person you’re talking to.

    I came to the conclusion that KF either doesn’t have the capacity or desire to suspend his own worldview arguendo for the sake of examining another worldview from its own premises. This is why virtually every single post and comment of his comes in the form of a “corrective” or lecture from his perspective. I must have asked him hundreds of questions trying to understand what he was saying from his perspective about “first duties.”

    KF’s argument about the near-universal recognition of and unavoidable reference to “first duties” depends entirely, as far as I can tell, on his assumption that his experience, and those who agree with him, are virtually universal among all humans. When he makes rational arguments, he is appealing to duties and his expectation of others to respond truthfully and rationally is an appeal to THEIR duty to respond in kind. He thinks everyone, then, is doing this whether they realize it or not, whether they agree or not. I tried several times to correct him that I have no such expectation. He argues that it is inherent in every-day life; we expect others to behave in a certain way and our daily, normal lives depend on it. That is entirely true; but his position is that I’m not just depending on the pattern of their behaviors; I’m depending on them obeying their “first duties.” But, that is entirely NOT how my ontology/epistemology works. At all.

    As far as I’m concerned, when I type stuff in here, I’m typing stuff into a magic box, and the magic box spits out responses as well as a lot of other information. How I process that information is not reliant on any truth values or dependent on adherence to codes of duty I expect from the magic box or the theoretical other people involved. I assess the information on the merits of the information itself. It is interesting to me or not; it is useful to me or not; it is an enjoyable exchange or not. And yes, there are certain patterns from the information that begins with certain name tags.

    This fundamental ontological/epistemological difference between how KF and I function is made obvious by how he reacted when I said that I have no such duty to truth, and he started on this thing about how I have no more “credibility.” What possible difference does it make if I’m “credible” or not? My arguments stand or fall on their own merit, not on any “credibility” I may or may not have.

    Another interesting thing to note is how KF says that when I say he is appealing to mind-reading, he reacts to that as if I’m employing rhetoric. He honestly doesn’t see how stating what is “implicit” in my words, beyond what is an inescapable use of truth-assertions and the principles of logic, is attempting mind-reading.

    However, if we accept arguendo that the “magic box” perspective writ large is a basic analogy to how I live my life, it’s easy to see how I can have no expectations that “other people” are operating out of any duties. Rather, they are functioning as reliable patterns in my experience. Thus, when KF asserts that my behavior here implicitly refers to “first duties,” he is apparently projecting his own perspective onto me as if I’m necessarily operating from his own ontological/epistemological structure, and he assumes everyone is doing the same.

    This, IMO, is why KF doesn’t see his behavior as an attempt at “mind-reading;” rather, he believes he is stating an inescapable fact of existence/reality for all sentient beings … even though he has agreed, in the past, that “first duties” are not something that must exist in all possible worlds with sentient beings. That admission, coupled with his assertion that he is not “mind-reading” me, shows that KF, is saying things as necessary fact (such as my supposedly implicit reference to duties) from his own ontological perspective. IOW, his argument about First Duties, once again, depends entirely on his ontology. Otherwise, he could not claim that anything I say carries any implicit appeal to any “First Duties.”

    He’s just so deep into his ontology, IMO, that he cannot even recognize most of it as ontology. IMO, it seems he understands that his religious beliefs are ontological, which is why he wouldn’t provide the answers to my duty questions. Those are obviously ontological. This goes back to something he said about how he developed his epistemology; he said that he developed it absent (or at least with suspended) ontological commitments.

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, do you realise that the accusation that I used a circular argument is an appeal to known duty to right reason? Which of course means that you again illustrate the point that even objectors cannot escape the force of first duties. More, later on DV. KF

  44. 44
    jerry says:

    There is nothing wrong with Kf’s reasoning. It’s his rhetoric that is often indecipherable and extremely difficult to follow. He expresses himself in ways I have not seen in anyone else. But if deciphered which is difficult, the reasoning is usually correct.

    Whereas his objectors usually use specious arguments.

  45. 45
    Origenes says:

    W.J.Murray

    Yeah, I spent many months engaged in discussion with KF trying to figure out what he meant.

    I am also unclear about the relationship of first duties and the person in KF’s philosophy. Are they inherent aspects of the person or not?
    BTW, in the context of trying to understand reality, I don’t regard myself as governed by duties. I do not view myself as some recalcitrant error-prone child who must be forced to fulfill his duties to truth and reason. Instead I want to know the truth, and when I apply fundamental principles of logic I do it because I believe it is the way to get to the truth, not because it is a duty.

    I know that MRT is extremely difficult to understand, so I know how difficult it can be to just communicate successfully about concepts, much less concepts that seem to be outside of the worldview framework of the person you’re talking to.

    Can you perhaps point to a thread or article where the basics of MRT are explained? I would like to understand it.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes,

    I am not claiming originality. First duties have been on public record for 2,000+ years. Hence, Cicero. Ditto, Paul of Tarsus. There is a slice of Epictetus. And more.

    Second, I am OBSERVING a fact: in gaining rhetorical leverage our arguments generally appeal to said duties as known. This can readily be observed, and the negative form I have given will help us see why:

    there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law.

    As C S Lewis observed, we can see this most clearly in that heightened form of arguing we call quarrelling, trying to show the other party in the wrong.

    Unsurprisingly, we specifically, can readily observe the same in arguments by those objecting to first duties. Which, is a clue that we are looking at pervasive, inescapable first principles, branch on which we must all sit territory.

    My onward observation is simple and is directly parallel to Epictetus c 1900 years ago in arguing about first principles of right reason, which are of course on the list.

    Here is Epictetus:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

    That is, inescapable, so inescapably true and self-evident.

    That is, we can here see that we are dealing with first principles of responsible, rational freedom. Specifically, first duties antecedent to proofs, arguments and so forth. They cannot be proved as attempted proofs already use them. Nor, can they be dis-proved as attempts already use them. Self-evident by inescapability, on pain of reducing our reasoning to chaos.

    I suspect the root problem is,due to serious defects of modern education, we are now unfamiliar with self-evident first principles foundational to rationality. Indeed, it is known that some try to undermine distinct identity and its close corollaries, non-contradiction and excluded middle. If so, please ponder Epictetus on logic.

    And Paul on rational communication:

    1 Cor 14:7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. [ESV]

    The first duties are obviously built into our rational and communicative faculties and are familiar from the voice of sound conscience. They provide the moral government that directs our rational responsible freedom. Without which, we cannot reason, warrant, know, truly decide, be virtuous, genuinely love and more. A computational substrate by contrast is a dynamic-stochastic GIGO-driven, utterly non-rational machine. This BTW is one reason radical evolutionary materialism such as with Crick, Provine etc, is self-referentially incoherent and self-falsifying.

    However the ontological root of such moral government and associated built-in laws of our rational, responsible nature do not lie in us. The only place where IS and OUGHT can be successfully bridged is the root of reality, World-Zero from which all derivative possible and actual worlds come. For which, there is but one serious candidate after centuries of debate. (If you object, simply provide another that successfully bridges without being synonymous or reducing to absurdity: ___)

    The candidate: the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of our loyalty and of the responsible, rational service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. Hence, laws of our responsible, rational Nature expressed as first duties, first oughts that target the good, the right, the true, the honourable, the virtuous, the loving [neighbour-love sense] etc.

    In us but ultimately vastly antecedent to us.

    KF

    PS: Here is Cicero in De Legibus:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for . “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law [–> a key remark] , whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans [–> esp. Cicero, speaking as a leading statesman], an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    [–> this points to the wellsprings of reality, the only place where is and ought can be bridged; bridged, through the inherently good utterly wise, maximally great necessary being, the creator God, which adequately answers the Euthyphro dilemma and Hume’s guillotine argument surprise on seeing reasoning is-is then suddenly a leap to ought-ought. IS and OUGHT are fused from the root]

    This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    We can readily trace the seven I list:

    >1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc
    .

    And of course, it is reflection on this text that led me to so list.

    PPS: Notice, pivotal historic impact in Locke in his 2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, which directly leads to the US DoI of 1776, pivoting on laws of our human nature and that nature’s God:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5, citing “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker”:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

  47. 47
    Origenes says:

    KF @46

    Unsurprisingly, we specifically, can readily observe the same in arguments by those objecting to first duties. Which, is a clue that we are looking at pervasive, inescapable first principles, branch on which we must all sit territory.

    You argue as if pointing out that inescapable first principles exist makes the case that they are ‘duties’— as if the necessity of logic directly proves that we are dealing with duties. I disagree. I do accept inescapable first principles, such as the fundamental principles of logic, however I fail to see as to why they are “duties.” For me they are tools to get to the truth. And I consider finding the truth as something that I want, as opposed to being my duty.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines, your own argument just now expects me to know and respond to said first principles as duties. As by now you should know. KF

  49. 49
    Origenes says:

    I am expecting you to respond because it is your duty to do so? Not at all. Maybe you want to find the truth, like I do, in which case you might consider the possibility that addressing my argument will get you closer to your goal. It is not your duty to respond KF.

  50. 50
    jerry says:

    No duties KF.

    You have been dutifully using duties in your replies and reasoning. One interpretation of duties is responsible behavior. So if you believe you are using responsible behavior you are exhibiting the use of duties and using all the characteristics that Kf has listed..

    As I said before this always goes in circles, sometimes honestly but often just to frustrate. The latter is not dutiful behavior. It often resembles the Abbott and Costello routine of “Who’s on first?”

    A duty, there are many definitions, can be behavior required to meet objectives. Survival is an objective of all human beings for most of their lives. Leading a meaningful life is also an objective of nearly everyone. What are necessary to reach these objectives are duties.

    The Greeks had a word for the object of life called “eudaimonia” which can mean happiness or thriving. What is required to reach this state are duties and often they involve others because one will reach it more easily or certainly by treating others in certain ways. Thus, duty pops us not only to ourselves but to others. Based on our nature and our objectives flowing from that nature.

    Questioning Kf’s reasoning has been a joke.

  51. 51
    Origenes says:

    Jerry, I am not doing this to frustrate. If you are correct and I am fulfilling duties in my replies and reasoning, I am completely unaware of that fact.
    Jerry:

    Leading a meaningful life is also an objective of nearly everyone. What are necessary to reach these objectives are duties.

    Ok. I was thinking of duties as something which is imposed on me by an external entity (e.g. God). The things I ‘have to’ do in order to get what I want, are not ‘duties’ in my book.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    .

  53. 53
    jerry says:

    the things I ‘have to’ do in order to get what I want, are not ‘duties’ in my book.

    They are imposed on you by your nature. Few will frustrate their nature. Those that do are mentally ill in some way.

    I was thinking of duties as something that is imposed on me by an external entity (e.g. God)

    That is a source of duties too. But this discussion was started several months ago on the relationship between human nature, natural law and human laws. There is no need to invoke God, and Cicero didn’t and neither did Aristotle but they did look at human nature.

    Those thing that help us reach our objectives will be valuable to us. Certain things have value, others do not.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry (attn Origenes): Yes, doing duty is acting responsibly, fulfilling oughts. We recognise responsible standards of behaviour for rational conduct, towards truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence etc.

    So far, abstract.

    Next up, sound conscience, conscience not warped or benumbed by untruthfulness, abuse of reason, failure to warrant, discern and direct aright. But conscience is active, it is a voice within, a faculty of mind calling us to duty, value, virtue, justice etc. Thus, we have a choice: is this a real, accurate voice or is it delusion?

    Once we recognise the voice, it directly testifies to moral government, the only issue is ontological root. If we try to obfuscate and dismiss as effectively delusional — as ever so many do — then we begin to see the chaos I spoke to. For, that is grand, widespread and self-referential delusion we are implying. Shattering the credibility of our own minds and the human project of responsible reason.

    Absurd and self-defeating.

    The issue is not going in circles but absurd, self-referential chaos on the part of objectors. However, it is always possible to irrationally cling to absurdities, with evolutionary materialistic scientism as exhibit A.

    And, one can always blandly deny the patent fact that we expect others to act in accord with first duties, even just as what we expect lends persuasive force to our repeated objections; but refusal to acknowledge evident truth and attempts to insist on narratives to the contrary in the end speak sad volumes.

    And, pointing back to the OP, that is part of why Scientists need to acknowledge moral government. The horrifically mismanaged pandemic, replete with gaslighting — toxic horse worm medicine is exhibit B, is a further demonstration of the point.

    A civilisation turning its back on soundness has chosen a voyage of suicidal folly.

    KF

  55. 55
    Origenes says:

    Jerry

    They [duties] are imposed on you by your nature.

    For now I refuse to accept such a definition of ‘duty’. For me, a duty comes from an external realm, without consideration of my will.
    If doing what I want—acting in accord with my nature—is a duty, then the term ‘duty’ becomes meaningless to me.

  56. 56
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    KF
    the only issue is ontological root

    ..and the only way to access all available ontological “roots” is by faith. Nobody(from materialists to theists ) can escape his duty to faith that consolidate the chosen ontological root.

    Origenes
    If doing what I want—acting in accord with my nature—is a duty, then the term ‘duty’ becomes meaningless to me.

    ..and you want something because you consider( your opinion based on your ontology) best for you/others =a duty to yourself/others. Why don’t you just ignore what you want?

    JVL
    Exactly why I support same-sex marriage. Thank you for supporting my view.

    Looks like a suicidal view against life ,against your own family ,against God. Your choice. Your burden . 🙂

  57. 57
    JVL says:

    KF: Next up, sound conscience, conscience not warped or benumbed by untruthfulness, abuse of reason, failure to warrant, discern and direct aright. But conscience is active, it is a voice within, a faculty of mind calling us to duty, value, virtue, justice etc. Thus, we have a choice: is this a real, accurate voice or is it delusion?

    Exactly why I support same-sex marriage. Thank you for supporting my view.

  58. 58
    jerry says:

    then the term ‘duty’ becomes meaningless to me.

    Then you die and so do your love ones. For most that is not meaningless.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    Nobody(from materialists to theists ) can escape his duty to faith that consolidate the chosen ontological root.

    You have a “duty” to faith.
    You may not want to have faith, but you have a “duty” to faith ….
    One suggestion, let’s throw in the term ‘objective’ for effect, as in,
    “You have an objective duty to faith”

    If you want to find truth, you have to use terms with care. Not(!) because it is your duty, but in order to get where you want.

  60. 60
    Origenes says:

    Then you die and so do your love ones. For most that is not meaningless.

    My point is that doing what I want cannot be called a “duty” — in a similar way as a pitch black night cannot be called translucent.

  61. 61
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Origenes
    If you want to find truth, you have to

    have to=used to say that something is required or necessary.

    You may not want to have faith, but you have a “duty” to faith ….

    Your worldview is not based on faith ?

  62. 62
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, do you realise that the accusation that I used a circular argument is an appeal to known duty to right reason?

    https://youtu.be/SFEewD4EVwU

  63. 63
    Joe Schooner says:

    JVL
    Exactly why I support same-sex marriage. Thank you for supporting my view.

    Looks like a suicidal view against life ,against your own family ,against God. Your choice. Your burden

    How do you see that this is against life and family?

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    LCD

    have to=used to say that something is required or necessary.

    Read the next sentence also: “If you want to find truth, you have to use terms with care. Not(!) because it is your duty, but in order to get where you want.”

  65. 65
    jerry says:

    My point is that doing what I want cannot be called a “duty

    You are arguing over a definition.

    If doing what you want to do also is necessary for survival then it is still a duty. If you don’t do something because you don’t want to do it does not make it any less of a duty. But you will be dead.

    Since you are not dead, you are dutifully doing what is necessary to keep yourself alive.

    People value different things in life but survival it at the top of the list for everyone for most of their life. Nearly all want something more. then survival. As I pointed out above, the Greeks, long before Christianity, had a name for it and discussed it.

    Aside: The word duty has several definitions.

  66. 66
    ram says:

    Jerry: If you don’t do something because you don’t want to do it does not make it any less of a duty. But you will be dead.

    Death is preferable for some people. And understandable with regard to terminally ill people in great pain. What if they want to be dead and take steps to acheive it? Are they violating a duty?

    –Ram

  67. 67
    Joe Schooner says:

    Death is preferable for some people. And understandable with regard to terminally ill people in great pain. What if they want to be dead and take steps to acheive it? Are they violating a duty?

    No.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, kindly link a drawing of a square circle. KF

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, there you go again, with a baseless accusation by video of question-begging circularity; meanwhile, such is an appeal to duty to right reason, demonstrating the point that the first duties govern reason-based, responsible freedom. KF

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, necessary there was used by LCD and Jerry in the sense oughtness or normativeness. We all know that one may not do as one pleases, that is nihilism — there are blatant duties of care to neighbour under the lawful civil peace of justice. Which rather makes the point that not only Scientists — focus of OP — but the general population are in serious need of moral and ethical education to restore moral sanity. The academics, educators, jurisprudential thinkers and others who have undermined recognition for the built in law coeval with our humanity and foundational to the civil peace of justice have a lot of accounting to do for what they have done. KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, most words have many meanings, context determines which is relevant. Duty here speaks to the oughtness of rational, responsible freedom where one’s neighbours of like nature have the same compossible core rights as one has, starting with life. Such, that justice may be understood as due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities, where to justly claim a right one must first manifestly be in the right, e.g. no one may justly compel another to violate sound conscience to demand active or passive enabling of his behaviour — including compelling them to lie or act out a lie. Such speaks to the nature of rational, responsible freedom, which is morally governed. Morality, being the dimension of behaviour and thought of such beings that targets right conduct, duty, oughtness [vs isness], honour, virtue etc. So, a moral truth is an accurate description of states of affairs regarding such themes, which implies that “there are no objective moral truths,” is a claim to objective truth about such matters, therefore it refers to itself and is self-refuting. Where too, untruth is ever the foundation of injustice; hence, thou shalt bear no false witness against thy neighbour. And much more. KF

    PS: I am coming to respect Collins English Dictionary:

    duty (?dju?t?)
    n, pl -ties
    1. a task or action that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons
    2. respect or obedience due to a superior, older persons, etc: filial duty.
    3. the force that binds one morally or legally to one’s obligations

  72. 72
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes asks:

    Can you perhaps point to a thread or article where the basics of MRT are explained? I would like to understand it.

    Just to be clear, I have been arguing my particular MRT here for a while. There are many different MRTs being proposed and pursued in the scientific community.

    I’d read these two in this order:

    The logical argument for MRT:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/mental-reality-theory-vs-external-reality-theory-checkmate/

    Outlining a functioning MRT:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/outlining-a-functional-mental-reality-theory/

    There’s are many scientists proposing various MRTs, several books are out. There are two scientific research organizations pursuing MRTs/IRTs (Idealism Reality Theories.) One is Quantum Gravity Research, the other is the Essentia Foundation. Books on the subject include Biocentrism by Robert Lanza, and The Idea of the World, by Bernardo Kastrup.

    QGR also did a very entertaining, easy-to-understand video for their theory:
    https://quantumgravityresearch.org/portfolio/what-is-reality-movie/

  73. 73
    William J Murray says:

    To be charitable, I assume that KF and many others are experiencing something that I and some others do not experience. To them, these “duties” are 100% real – so real and so obvious to them that they just assume virtually everyone else experiences them and are operating in relationship to these duties, just as they are.

    I’m fine with KF and others here experiencing something I do not. I accept that they experience these so-called “First Duties” and are doing their best to account for those experiences with their ontological and epistemological structures. But, since I apparently do not experience those duties, I do not understand what it is they are talking about. It makes no sense in my experience.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, duty to truth, right reason, prudence [including warrant] are passive and abstract. Conscience is not, it is a very present voice found in normally functional people to the point where there are discussions on sociopathy etc as damage to same. Conscience testifies. As for the point that rhetorical leverage turns on said duties, that is something pretty observable even in your latest remarks. I have pointed out the negative form, which should serve as a reminder to one and all:

    for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law.

    KF

  75. 75
    William J Murray says:

    KF @71,

    If you’re not talking about duties in the legal sense, you’re engaged in sophistry as far as I’m concerned. Your so-called objectively existent “First Duties” either have a supervising authority and consequences, or they’re not even worth talking about.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: My point by point comment on WJM’s proposal of mental reality theory is here, for reference. KF

  77. 77
    William J Murray says:

    KF said:

    Conscience is not, it is a very present voice found in normally functional people to the point where there are discussions on sociopathy etc. as damage to same. Conscience testifies

    You cannot evidentially separate conscience from emotions or other subjective, internal feelings. Claiming it as such requires an ontological commitment that makes it more than that. Calling those feelings (or lack thereof) “damaged,” again, requires some kind of ontological commitment to “conscience” as being more than just a set of feelings that exist on a wide scale and range from individual to individual, culture to culture.

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, conscience is a voice (sometimes, the famous inner voice), and its arguments and impulses are subject to responsible, rational analysis, hence SOUND conscience. For that matter, emotions are subject to analysis, as to accuracy and moral soundness of impulses, perceptions, expectations etc so that we can, often do, and are responsible for our actions even those of rage or fear etc. And of course, those of lust and domination . . . ask any rape victim. There are damaged, misinformed and warped consciences, hence the duty — yes, duty — to seek soundness; through which, enter, stage right, objectivity. We can add the word, sociopath. More can be said. KF

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I note that “sophistry” is a direct appeal to known first duties, yet again, the 679th time and counting so to speak, illustrating their inescapability in argument and especially quarreling and accusation.

    Where, the logic you have never been able to soundly answer is that of recognising first principles antecedent to and constitutive of rational, responsible intelligent speech and behaviour: inescapable, so pervasive, branch on which we all sit, true on pain of self-referential absurdities of self-discredit. True, self-evident, first principles. Here, principles of duty stated as apt descriptions of states of affairs, accurate summaries on right conduct, honour, virtue etc. particularly in response to the quasi-infinite worth and dignity of others of like rational, responsible, significantly free nature, our neighbours.

    Duties are owed to our neighbours, to the community [in defence of its civil peace of justice which is a condition of thriving], even to oneself as we are not to pervert and degrade ourselves into a broken, debased state. In the community any number of authorities are relevant, in defence of the civil peace of justice; even our consciences count, as secondary authorities, sources on sound morally governed conduct with legitimate power to act in defence.

    All of this you have long known, rhetorical pretences of hyperskeptical objection notwithstanding. As for ontological roots of the bridging of the is-ought gap, post Hume — as you well know — that can only be bridged at the root of reality.

    So, on inference to best explanation [a logic commonly employed in science etc] we may seek and compare serious candidates. Where, if you object to what I note simply provide an alternative that successfully bridges, accounts for a world with creatures of morally governed rational freedom, and is not absurd: ____ . For cause, I put it to you yet again, there is but one serious candidate: the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great reality root being. One, worthy of loyalty and the honourable responsible reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. Which of course includes scientists and the general population.

    That creator God would be the root authority, and as good and wise to ultimate untainted degree the first principles will be intelligible and non-arbitrary, rooted in the core of reality.

    Which is precisely what Cicero summarised as received collective wisdom c 50 BC and Paul etc over 2000 years agree. The impact for good is as near to hand as the US DoI 1776 — charter of modern constitutional democracy.

    KF

  80. 80
    William J Murray says:

    WJM, conscience is a voice (sometimes, the famous inner voice), and its arguments and impulses are subject to responsible, rational analysis, hence SOUND conscience.

    You don’t get to tell me what my own subjective feelings are, or how I should think about and interpret them. Absent ontological commitments, that’s all conscience is: subjective feelings that vary from person to person and culture to culture.

    For that matter, emotions are subject to analysis, as to accuracy and moral soundness of impulses, perceptions, expectations etc so that we can, often do, and are responsible for our actions even those of rage or fear etc.

    Measure the “accuracy” of an emotion? What does that even mean? Measure one set of feelings (emotions) by another set of feelings (“conscience”) ? Until you assert that “conscience” has some kind of ontologically objective existence, you’re comparing and evaluating one set of feelings to another set of feelings.

    And of course, those of lust and domination . . . ask any rape victim. There are damaged, misinformed and warped consciences,

    This is only possible under the assumption that “conscience” has an ontologically objective existence that has a objectively well-functioning form. Without that, all you are doing is conveniently characterizing certain feelings (or lack thereof) as “damaged” or “warped.”

    hence the duty — yes, duty — to seek soundness; through which, enter, stage right, objectivity. We can add the word, sociopath. More can be said. KF

    Even if we had such a duty to seek “soundness,” such “soundness” cannot be sought unless there is, in fact, an objective “sound” state to seek. For conscience to have an objective “sound” state, it must have ontological existence as something more than subjective, personal feelings subject to culture and upbringing.

    For any of the above to matter beyond sophistry, there must be a supervising authority and consequences.

  81. 81
    William J Murray says:

    The fact here is, KF is asserting that conscience has an ontologically objective existence. There’s no way to rationally make the case he’s trying to make about “sound” and “damaged” consciences without it. So, he’s claiming that duties have an ontologically objective existence.

    The only way to make the arguments the way he is making them is assuming these are ontologically objective, existent facts; this is what his argument necessarily MEANS otherwise he cannot say anything about anyone’s “conscience” or “duties” other than his own.

    AT THE SAME TIME, he is insisting ontological commitments are not necessary to make his argument or reach his conclusions.

    It’s hard to believe I didn’t see this before; KF is making ontological claims about conscience and duty while insisting ontology isn’t involved.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, nope. I noted on what is observable and showing first principles character. That is experiential. Then I turned to the roots issue drawing inference to best explanation. KF

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, nope again. Conscience is a general human experience, widely recognised by leading thinkers for thousands of years. It is a commonplace that it stirs a sense of peace or guilt, and that it audibly speaks with an inner voice of counsel. So well known is this, that those with weakened or silenced conscience are seen as in a psychologically damaged condition, hence language about sociopaths, the dark triad, some aspects of cognitive dissonance etc. KF

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/sociopath/sociopath-definition-what-is-a-sociopath

    What Is A Sociopath?

    A sociopath is someone who actually has a diagnosable mental health condition. That mental health condition is called antisocial personality disorder or ASPD. Antisocial personality disorder or ASPD is a diagnosable mental health disorder characterized by a group of criteria listed in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM. The DSM lists a variety of mental health disorders and provides the diagnostic criteria that medical and mental health professionals use to diagnose conditions. While you might think of sociopathy as “very rare” or “scary,” antisocial personality disorder actually affects about 3.6% of the United States population, and it is diagnosed more frequently in men than it is in women, with about 3% of adult men and 1% of adult women receiving a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. There is no cure for the condition, but there is treatment available that can help people with antisocial personality disorder. The tricky component of treating antisocial personality disorder or ASPD tends to be that not everyone with antisocial personality disorder or ASPD wants help or believes that there is a problem. That said, if someone does, counseling or therapy can be very beneficial.

    What Are The Traits Of A Sociopath?

    What are considered sociopathic traits or sociopathic traits? Here are some of the potential signs and traits of a person with antisocial personality disorder:

    A lack of empathy for others
    Little to no genuine remorse
    The manipulation of other people
    Lying and deceit
    A sense of superiority over others
    Little to no regard for right or wrong
    The belief that rules do not apply to them
    Getting into legal trouble or a little regard for the law
    A lack of responsibility or engaging in irresponsible behaviors
    Aggression or hostility
    The exploitation of other people
    Substance use

    People with antisocial personality disorder are not monsters, and despite the name of the disorder, it doesn’t mean that someone is antisocial in the way that we typically understand the term. For a person to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, they must meet the DSM criteria for the disorder.

    DSM-5 Criteria For ASPD

    The DSM-5 is the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders. The DSM-5 states that ASPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

    Failure to conform to social norms concerning lawful behaviors, such as performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
    Deceitfulness, repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for pleasure or personal profit.
    Impulsivity or failure to plan.
    Irritability and aggressiveness, often with physical fights or assaults.
    Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others.
    Consistent irresponsibility, failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor monetary obligations.
    Lack of remorse, being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another person.”

    Though someone must be 18 or older to be diagnosed with ASPD, some signs can be seen in children that may predict the condition, one of the most common being harm to animals or a diagnosis of conduct disorder. The diagnosis shares traits with other conditions, including other cluster B personality disorders, which is part of why seeing a mental health professional for a diagnosis is so important. To receive a diagnosis of any mental health disorder, you must go to a provider who is licensed and able to diagnose mental health disorders. Often, this will be a psychiatrist.

    –> of course, it is strictly unethical to diagnose from a distance

  85. 85
    kairosfocus says:

    Notice https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/sociopathy

    The defining characteristic of the sociopath is a profound lack of conscience—a flaw in the moral compass that typically steers people away from breaking common rules and toward treating others decently. This disconnect, however, may be hidden by a charming demeanor. There is both art and science to spotting sociopathy.
    Is there an easy way to spot a sociopath?

    No. It is therefore important to tune into your own sense of discomfort in the company of other people. Be prepared to trust your own instinct, rather than their assurances. If a statement or action feels “off,” investigate further.
    How likely am I to encounter a sociopath?

    A study conducted in the early 2000s found that 6.2% of the general population would meet the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder and 3.7% would meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder. These conditions officially capture the maladaptive behavior we refer to as sociopathy . . . .

    The terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” are confusing because they are often used interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. However, there is a difference: Sociopaths are individuals whose callous, deceitful behavior is shaped primarily by environmental factors, such as child abuse or exposure to expedient behavior in others. Psychopathy is inborn and immutable. Psychopaths are more likely to commit acts of violence. Still, because both conditions lie on a spectrum, it can be difficult to know which terms best apply.
    Is “sociopath” a clinical diagnosis?

    No. Sociopathy is not a clinical term [–> it was obviously older terminology], meaning it is not endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, nor is it used by most mental health professionals. The clinical terms that capture sociopathic behavior are either psychopathy or antisocial personality disorder.
    What is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?

    Perhaps the most fundamental difference is the fact that sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, even if limited in number. In contrast, psychopaths are unable to form or maintain genuine bonds.

  86. 86
    William J Murray says:

    KF @82 and 83:
    Then you are engaging in sophistry.

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Again, a reminder from Cicero:

    , On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with [–> our morally governed] nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it [–> as universally binding core of law], and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people [–> as binding, universal, coeval with our humanity], and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. [–> sound conscience- guided reason will point out the core] And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero, c. 55 – 54 BC

    KF

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the repeated false accusation of dishonest reasoning, I note again is itself an appeal of rhetoric to the first duties of reason. You illustrate yet again the inescapability so inescapable truth on pain of reducing our rationality to self-referential chaos. This case in point has the merit of not requiring your agreement, the matter is clear for all to see who are open to acknowledge the plain fact. KF

  89. 89
    William J Murray says:

    Let me put it this way, KF.

    By your reckoning, I have a “damaged” conscience. In fact, by your reckoning, it’s fair to say I deliberately damaged it.

    As long as I’m happy and enjoying my life, so what?

  90. 90
    jerry says:

    As long as I’m happy and enjoying my life, so what?

    Thus, says the parasite to its host as the host slowly dies.

  91. 91
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    Thus, says the parasite to its host as the host slowly dies.

    Not an apt analogy. I live in symbiosis with my host. The benefit I provide the host (by host, I assume you mean society:) I work, contribute to the economy, pay my taxes and obey the laws.

  92. 92
    jerry says:

    Not an apt analogy

    Very apt analogy. The behavior you describe would have been dealt with quickly by earlier societies. You are benefiting from the abundance arising in the last 200 years. But even in late 19th and early 20th century America, your attitude would have been dealt with locally.

    I work, contribute to the economy, pay my taxes and obey the laws.

    All in the real external world.

    All discussed many times in earlier threads.

  93. 93
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said @92:

    Very apt analogy. The behavior you describe would have been dealt with quickly by earlier societies.

    What behavior is that? Obeying the laws? Contributing to the economy? Paying my taxes?

  94. 94
    jerry says:

    Circular arguments. Here is an example of different definitions. X accuses Kf of using circular arguments. I maintain Kf doesn’t. But then Kf ignores the fact that he makes the same argument hundreds of times.

    So is this an example of circular arguments. The debate always starts at the same starting place and then ends up back at the same place. A great example of circular. But Kf’s arguments are not circular in themselves just the response of others bringing up the same things over and over.

    So are both to blame, Kf for repeating the same argument hundreds of times and others baiting him with the same non sensical responses eliciting the same response over and over.

  95. 95
    jerry says:

    What behavior is that? Obeying the laws? Contributing to the economy? Paying my taxes?

    Perfect example of not answering the question. I wonder why.

    I was pointing to self centered behavior that not all can engage in and which cannot exist for very long and a completely different thing was brought up. You answer the question by pointing to how you dutiful do the right thing.

    You just proved Kf’s point. Horrors!!!!

    Kant’s categorical imperative applies.

  96. 96
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, pardon but the matter is one of direct observation which settled the matter, I am simply refusing to allow dismissive words to bury observable facts on how arguments are appealing. KF

  97. 97
    William J Murray says:

    I don’t know what world you live in, Jerry, but in my world, historically speaking, societies are and have been not only chock full of self-centered people, they’re usually run by those that are the most self-centered.

  98. 98
    William J Murray says:

    KF, care to answer #89? Or is that yet another question you refuse to answer?

  99. 99
    William J Murray says:

    According to Jerry, if you were a law-abiding citizen, paid your taxes, held a job, bought goods from local merchants, were friendly, helpful, kept your property cleaned up, never cheated anyone, but you did all that because it served your own self-interest, well those good old-fashioned utopian communities would run you right out of town!! Because they didn’t like that attitude!!

  100. 100
    Origenes says:

    KF

    the repeated false accusation of dishonest reasoning, I note again is itself an appeal of rhetoric to the first duties of reason. You illustrate yet again the inescapability so inescapable truth on pain of reducing our rationality to self-referential chaos.

    The first principles of reason are not duties. Logic is not a duty, like a hammer is not a duty. Logic is a tool one uses to get to the truth.

  101. 101
    jerry says:

    According to Jerry, if you were a law-abiding citizen, paid your taxes, held a job, bought goods from local merchants, were friendly, helpful, kept your property cleaned up, never cheated anyone, but you did all that because it served your own self-interest, well those good old-fashioned utopian communities would run you right out of town!! Because they didn’t like that attitude!!

    Never said that!! Or even close.

    That you say this is an example of the nonsense you keep issuing.

    Off to see the wizard. Traveling 9 hours in the next 24.

  102. 102
    jerry says:

    The first principles of reason are not duties. Logic is not a duty, like a hammer is not a duty. Logic is a tool one uses to get to the truth.

    Another self refuting comment.

    The truth is the duty. What you use to get there are just the tools.

    That you use this supercilious argument just means you are obstructing not contributing.

  103. 103
    jerry says:

    Jerry, pardon but the matter is one of direct observation which settled the matter, I am simply refusing to allow dismissive words to bury observable facts on how arguments are appealing.

    Pardon.

    For example, how many times have you brought up Cicero. You keep on repeating the same things. Relevant but still the same things.

    You are as guilty as the critics with their false arguments by repeating over and over again.

    I would go into right reasoning which is quite simple but I am off traveling. I never heard the term till you brought it up and for that I t hank you. But had to go elsewhere to understand it. Nothing you said helped me.

    You fail to see that little you say is helpful because of your style of rhetoric. That is why you are constantly attacked. The attackers only know they don’t like what you are saying so make up nonsense to contradict it.

  104. 104
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    @KF :
    WJM admitted that pleasure is his highest value and if morality stays in his way he will ignore it therefore from the start we can say with confidence that everything WJM communicate is not trustworthy.
    MRT is his ridiculous attempt to evade morality ,to escape the voice of conscience(voice of God that fight the voice of our “narcissist”ego ).

    Jerry
    That you use this supercilious argument just means you are obstructing not contributing.

    Bullseye

  105. 105
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, did you notice that your own arguments just now appeal to first duties? That is a point of actual observation on the pervasiveness of the first principles, which involve duties. KF

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, the key principles are about duties. Distinct identity and corollaries are self-evidently so but without acknowledged duty to truth and warrant, they have no power to move us. Likewise, claims about fallacies are inert absent our awareness of and willing acceptance of duties to truth and to use reasoning approaches that help us move towards truth reliably; translated, soundness of conscience counts for a lot. And more. I already pointed out this morning something I have not highlighted for a long time, the significance of the active voice of conscience and what would flow from denigrating it. I am more and more inclined to point to Paul’s warning:

    Eph 4: 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

    18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

    20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,6 which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

    If our consciences are unmoved, that is not a good sign.

    KF

    PS: There is need to ponder on sociopathy. What happens when a community begins to be dominated by damaged, warped, benumbed consciences?

  107. 107
    kairosfocus says:

    Ironical, about those inclined to boast of brilliance, rationality and the like.

  108. 108
    Origenes says:

    Jerry:

    The truth is the duty.

    No, the truth is what I want. What I want is not a duty. Duties are imposed on me irrespective of my will.

    KF:

    the key principles are about duties. Distinct identity and corollaries are self-evidently so but without acknowledged duty to truth and warrant, they have no power to move us.

    O:

    the key principles are tools for finding the truth. Distinct identity and corollaries are self-evidently so, but without our will to find truth, they have no power to move us.

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, the first duty is to truth, something attested by sound conscience. Truth, not a means thereto. Truth, as it is accurately descriptive of reality thus to lose contact with truth is to slip into folly, chaos, injustice and worse. Will to find truth is not an arbitrary or advantageous decision, truth is often a threat to power and survival is to flow with the stream of the false. That is a truth of sobering history. Equally, those who sacrifice truth to expediency suffer breakdown of integrity and dehumanise themselves, for they know the duty to truth. Havel’s greengrocer in his power of the powerless is a classic discussion, one that materially helped erode the iron curtain. There is more, but you need to ask yourself why you find yourself so stoutly resistant to self-evident, manifest readily confirmed truth about the duties that govern our rational, responsible freedom. For, that is a signature of deep programming serving an agenda. I speak here as an experienced breaker of such programming. KF

  110. 110
    Joe Schooner says:

    meanwhile, such is an appeal to duty to right reason, demonstrating the point that the first duties govern reason-based, responsible freedom. KF

    Logic and reason govern the ability to accurately model/explain an observation. There is no 1st duty involved. When discussing something with others there is an expectation that everyone is doing so honestly. That expectation is not an imposed duty on anyone unless they impose it on themselves.

  111. 111
    Origenes says:

    Joe Schooner @110:

    When discussing something with others there is an expectation that everyone is doing so honestly.

    And IMO that expectation is based upon the assumption that everyone is interested in finding the truth — as opposed to the expectation being tied to duty.

    That expectation is not an imposed duty on anyone unless they impose it on themselves.

    Exactly. If someone hates the truth, desperately does not want to discuss things honestly, but does so nevertheless because (for some reason) it his “duty”, then KF has a point. Given that scenario it makes sense to talk about duties.
    But if someone wants to find the truth and discusses things honestly in order to reach his goal, then no duty is involved.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, do you not see how your attempted dismissive argument reeks with appeals to duty to truth, right reason and more? I just note for record at this point. KF

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines, being willingly compliant with duty does not change it from being duty, what ought to be done. KF

  114. 114
    Origenes says:

    I want to find the truth. It is not imposed on me by anyone. It is what I want, not a duty, not what ought to be done.

  115. 115
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, do you not see how your attempted dismissive argument reeks with appeals to duty to truth, right reason and more? I just note for record at this point. KF

    No. And neither does anyone else.

  116. 116
    Origenes says:

    WJMurray @72
    Thank you for providing links to MRT articles.
    A very interesting read, however I see a problem.

  117. 117
    ram says:

    Origenes,

    Why is that a “problem?”

    –Ram

  118. 118
    William J Murray says:

    Ram & Origenes,

    I’m going to carry on that conversation there so we don’t bogart this thread.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, do you realise what your refusal self-categorises you as, and what it does to your credibility? Let me put the negative form of the first duties, “for cause . . “:

    we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    You have just excluded yourself from the circle of civil rational, responsible discussion. These days, sadly, not uncommon. I have no reason going forward to give you credit as acting in good faith, towards truth or right, as reasoning responsibly or prudently and you have further given cause to be concerned that we are here dealing with sociopathy. As for fairness or justice forget it.

    Own goal, on steroids.

    KF

  120. 120
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, that you may wish to fulfill said duties and associated proper ends of your responsible, free rationality is commendable but does not alter them from being oughts. KF

  121. 121
    jerry says:

    There are common objectives across all human societies. One objective is survival of the individual and the group the individual finds himself/herself in. Actions/behaviors required to reach this objective of survival are found in all these societies.

    Without these actions/behaviors the individual dies or the group disappears from existence.

    These actions then become duties of the individual. Without these actions the individual or group disappears. Does this mean all actions are duties. Hardly, but if an action thwarts a duty then the chances of achieving the objectives is lessened.

    So when someone says these required behaviors are not duties, they are saying they no longer want to exist or want the group to exist.

    It’s not hard to understand and nearly all humanity has understood this since the beginning of the species.

    There are other objectives besides survival that are common to humans. A similar argument can be made for the behaviors required to achieve these objectives.

    Since they are common to all humans, the objectives are built into the nature of humans. The objectives are not arbitrary but the specific actions to reach these objectives can vary substantially across societies.

  122. 122
    Joe Schooner says:

    You have just excluded yourself from the circle of civil rational, responsible discussion. These days, sadly, not uncommon. I have no reason going forward to give you credit as acting in good faith, towards truth or right, as reasoning responsibly or prudently and you have further given cause to be concerned that we are here dealing with sociopathy. As for fairness or justice forget it.

    If you choose to dismiss someone on a trumped up accusation rather that discuss the issues, that is your right.

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, your pretence to moral outrage has no credibility, given that you have dismissed the duties on which it rests. As well as, shown contempt to civilisation. KF

  124. 124
    Joe Schooner says:

    There are common objectives across all human societies.

    This may be true but the “OUGHTs” derived in an attempt to meet these objective may differ from one society to another.

  125. 125
    jerry says:

    This may be true but the “OUGHTs” derived in an attempt to meet these objective may differ from one society to another.

    I believe I said that.

    The objectives and duties are universal to the human race

    P=> q;

    q – objectives of humans that are built in – survival; and thriving/flourishing.
    p – actions/behaviors that lead to q;

    p – the actions/behaviors are then called duties because they are necessary.

  126. 126
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, your pretence to moral outrage has no credibility

    You are mistaken if you think there is any moral outrage.

    given that you have dismissed the duties on which it rests.

    The only thing being dismissed is your arguments for first duties.

    As well as, shown contempt to civilisation.

    There may be some contempt, but it is not being aimed at civilization.

  127. 127
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, attempted gaslighting, in addition. KF

    PS: FYI, the Ciceronian first duties — duties of the civil peace of justice — literally built civilisation and particularly contributed to the rise of modern constitutional democracy. Just for record, here is Locke, citing Hooker in his 2nd essay on civil gov’t:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5, citing “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker”:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    Then, Aquinas:

    [Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Question 91, article 1, on eternal law: As stated above (I-II:90:1 ad 2; I-II:91:3-4), a law is nothing else but a dictate of practical reason emanating from the ruler who governs a perfect community. Now it is evident, granted that the world is ruled by Divine Providence, as was stated in I:22:1 and I:22:2, that the whole community of the universe is governed by Divine Reason. Wherefore the very Idea of the government of things in God the Ruler of the universe, has the nature of a law. And since the Divine Reason’s conception of things is not subject to time but is eternal, according to Proverbs 8:23, therefore it is that this kind of law must be called eternal . . . .

    Next, article 2 following, on natural law: As stated above (I-II:90:1 ad 1), law, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure. Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above (Article 1); it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends. Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): “Offer up the sacrifice of justice,” as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: “Many say, Who showeth us good things?” in answer to which question he says: “The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us”: thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.

    And here, again is Cicero in De Legibus, more fully cited:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man.

    [–> Note, how justice and our built in nature as a morally governed class of creatures are highlighted; thus framing the natural law frame: recognising built-in law that we do not create nor can we repeal, which then frames a sound understanding of justice. Without such an anchor, law inevitably reduces to the sort of ruthless, nihilistic might- and- manipulation- make- “right,”- “truth,”- “knowledge,”- “law”- and- “justice”- etc power struggle and chaos Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X.]

    We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws.

    Quintus [his real-life brother]. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation.

    Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it [37]is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions.

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [–> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    At this point, these are notes for record.

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: For the further record, this is the summary argument that is being dismissed, while appealing to things such as unfounded claims of circular — question-begging — argument and declarations that there is no generally acknowledged duty to truth (so, why is you are lying such a strong claim . . . ):

    We can readily identify at least seven inescapable . . .

    first duties of reason:

    “Inescapable,” as they are so antecedent to reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding. Namely, Ciceronian first duties,

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc
    .

    Likewise, we observe again, that objectors to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed.

    Of course, there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

    Where, as my right implies your duty a true right is a binding moral claim to be respected in life, liberty, honestly aquired property, innocent reputation etc. To so justly claim a right, one must therefore demonstrably be in the right.

    Likewise, Aristotle long since anticipated Pilate’s cynical “what is truth?”: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. [Metaphysics, 1011b, C4 BC.] Simple in concept, but hard to establish on the ground; hence — in key part — the duties to right reason, prudence, fairness etc.

    Thus, too, we may compose sound civil law informed by that built-in law of our responsibly, rationally free morally governed nature; from such, we may identify what is unsound or false thus to be reformed or replaced even though enacted under the colour and solemn ceremonies of law.

    The first duties, also, are a framework for understanding and articulating the corpus of built-in law of our morally governed nature, antecedent to civil laws and manifest our roots in the Supreme Law-giver, the inherently good, utterly wise and just creator-God, the necessary (so, eternal), maximally great being at the root of reality.

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    It should be clear why basic moral and philosophical education is advisable for all, including Scientists . . . the issue in the OP.

  130. 130
    Origenes says:

    KF:

    Origenes, that you may wish to fulfill said duties and associated proper ends of your responsible, free rationality is commendable but does not alter them from being oughts.

    No, I want to know the truth, not because I ought to want to know the truth, but because I want to know the truth. My decision and my decision alone. I am a free person and no one (Cicero included) tells me what to do.

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: While we are at it, some fashionable errors of the day need a corrective:

    Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

    . . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

    Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

    Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

    Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

    Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    Origines, your attitude to truth does not change duty to truth, which in many cases — see law of defamation and that of perjury as capital cases in point that reflect the underlying duty — is closely tied to duty to justice. Untruth is the foundation of injustice. KF

  133. 133
    Joe Schooner says:

    P=> q;

    q – objectives of humans that are built in – survival; and thriving/flourishing.
    p – actions/behaviors that lead to q;

    p – the actions/behaviors are then called duties because they are necessary.

    Even though the q may be a universal human objective, the p may be very different in different societies, or there may be multiple ps within a society that can lead to q.

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    Re JS (attn Jerry), the resort to the broad generic dodges the specific focal first duties of branch- on- which- we- all- must- sit first principle, built-in law of our morally governed, responsibly and rationally free nature, character. Of course the particular rules of one community differ from another, doubtless reflecting say differences between a traditional executive monarch and a constitutional democracy. However, reducing that to inferred or suggested establishment of cultural relativism undermines justice and possibility of reform. There is of course such a thing as substantial equivalency and there’s more than one way to skin a cat fish. Even Cretans of old full well understood that lies parasite on truth being told the overwhelming majority of the time as normative. Otherwise communication, language, social capital would disintegrate and civilisation would collapse. And yes, that is deliberate use of Kant’s Categorical imperative as a tool to recognise evil, by its damaging parasitical nature. In science, falsification of results by cooking the lab books is a destructive parasite on honest investigations and for instance may be a factor in material under-reporting of adverse events during certain Vaccines’ trials for the current pandemic. So, again, we see how often untruth is foundational to injustice and resulting widespread harm. KF

    PS: A useful definition of lying, to speak with disregard to truth, in hope that one profits from what is said or suggested — including, suggestion by half-truth — being taken as true.

  135. 135
    ram says:

    Jerry

    You never answered @66.

    –Ram

  136. 136
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It should be fairly obvious — or at least reasonably intelligible and evident — to anyone considering the matter, that our cognitive faculties and senses have a natural purpose of truth, i.e. a reasonably accurate description or perception and basic common sense understanding of the everyday world or its material aspects.

    Without that basic truthfulness, they will not be credible and reliable.

    Of course, this does not mean we don’t make mistakes or suffer illusions etc, but it does mean that a thesis of radical disconnect between perception, cognition etc and things or circumstances and states of affairs in themselves, is self-referentially discrediting. As a result, any general hyperskepticism is anti-rational. Selective hyperskepticism, is arbitrary, question-begging and a feeder of the fallacy of the closed mind.

    Further to such, this does not mean that deep analysis or scientific or historical investigations may not produce well warranted but radically counter-intuitive results. In its day, Newtonian Dynamics was surprising and since then, modern physics continues to surprise. Mathematics can unearth astonishing generally valid results. And so forth. But, without that underlying core common sense reliability turning on basic principles etc we have no reason to trust the deliverable results of such abstruse, difficult to work through investigations. The project of inquiry would destroy itself.

    We thus can dismiss any species of stated, inferred or implicit grand delusion. Plato’s cave and kin are absurd.

    Now, too, we are free, responsible, rational creatures whose faculties evidently have as end truth. That can be taken as a pivotal good: accurate description, perception, interpretation of events, states of affairs objects etc. Saying of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. Ari, Metaphysics 1011b. Such means, we are morally governed in our cognition, i.e. we are free not programmed or blindly stochastic, and so can and should choose towards truth. So, that which willfully warps, stultifies, frustrates, diverts, warps, is evil. This boils down to our cognition is morally governed. Freedom is ruled by laws that promote ought, pursuit of the due ends of our faculties. Laws that manifest in the first instance as a cluster of branch on which we all must sit first principles. Starting with truth, the means toward it, right reason, and associated prudence including need for warrant for conclusions and assertions etc. These are of course the first three Ciceronian first duties: truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence.

    So far, abstract. But we have an inner witness, conscience, a voice that calls us to moral duty actively. Sometimes internally audibly. Soundness of conscience is of course advanced through the first duties. And, if one proposes that conscience is delusion or arbitrary accident rooted in culture and personal circumstances etc, one invites grand delusion, casting general doubt on a key faculty of mind. There being no firewalls, general discredit follows. Sawing off the branch on which we are sitting.

    Of course, we err and error exists can be formally shown to be undeniable and self-evident. Itself an example of utterly certain truth and knowledge, which shatters hyperskepticism. Which is no intellectual virtue.

    We see that we are under law built into our rationality. Morally governing our freedom.

    Further to such, we have neighbours who naturally face the same obligations and have a reciprocal justified expectation of mutuality. Hence duties to fairness and justice. This being, due balance of rights, freedoms, duties. That rounds out the list.

    Going further, observe what objectors hope to gain rhetorical, persuasive, leverage from: our intuitive adherence to the very first principles they would overthrow. Even those trying to prove are already implying them in their proofs. Inescapable, inescapably true, first duties antecedent to and governing of proofs.

    In this context, those who insist on dismissal show themselves at best ill advised and unable to see what they are doing. Insofar as they dismiss or discredit conscience, they show signs of damaged, unsound conscience.

    We need these principles as gateway to sound reformation.

    KF

  137. 137
    William J Murray says:

    KF, you never answered my question @89. I’ll repeat it and expand a bit here:

    By your reckoning, I have a “damaged” conscience. In fact, by your reckoning, it’s fair to say I deliberately damaged it.

    Also, as I said, I feel no sense of duty and everything I do is aimed at, ultimately, my own enjoyment, even if it includes doing things that would be violations of the so-called “duties” you describe.

    As long as I’m happy and enjoying my life, so what?

  138. 138
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the answer lies in your so what response. I am not in a position to evaluate roots of such damage other than to note that our civilisation is currently on a severely reckless and suicidal course rooted in the entrenchment and institutionalisation of ruinously defective thought over generations; likely ending over a cliff and with a broken-backed civilisation for a long time similar to after 476 AD and after several other collapses. You have earlier shared your atheistic stage and admitted to nihilism at that time, which is diagnostic of serious damage that would require considerable inner healing, for which I commend a certain wounded healer from Isa 53; right now, truth is, I am going through a life crisis involving a triple bereavement that leaves me as last man standing from my wedding party and don’t have spare energy to go through a detailed exchange on such. For more details on consequences for civilisation, I suggest 136 just above. KF

  139. 139
    William J Murray says:

    KF,
    So, you’re saying that I’m contributing to the decline of civilization. Let’s just agree on that arguendo.

    As long as I’m happy and enjoying my life, so what?

  140. 140
    jerry says:

    Even though the q may be a universal human objective, the p may be very different in different societies, or there may be multiple ps within a society that can lead to q.

    Thank you for agreeing with Kf and myself about duties.

    Objections to it are inane.

    Of course, these threads are full of inane comments so that is nothing new. Some people seem to delight in them. It’s the world theses days.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, there is a folk saying in my homeland, one one peggy fill basket. Another, every mickle mek a muckle. That is, there is a cumulative impact when many small things add up to a macro level picture. My usual threshold is if 5% of an electorate swing from one side to the other, that is -5 for A and +5 for B making a 10 point impact in outcomes. If the 5 were non participants before, that is still +5 which can decide an election on fresh turnout. And there are a lot of other votes including with our consumer dollars. As for a broken backed civilisation at the foot of a cliff, getting back up again is very hard to do, on historic track record. I suggest, the USA is at such polarisation that it is already in 4th gen low grade “cold” civil war similar to the 40 year cold WW3 that culminated 1989 – 91. Ask the Russians about their experiences since 1991. KF

    PS: Dr Selensky are you monitoring?

  142. 142
    jerry says:

    What is happening in the US/world.

    I have many relatives who have voted for the Democrats and these are extremely nice and well meaning people. So I assume this is true throughout the US and the world. None of these people would knowingly vote for any decline.

    They believe they are being compassionate and that is superior. They fail to realize the consequences of their actions/beliefs. My guess these people make up 20-30% of the people.

    Then there is a minority but significant that never would have been heard from before the digital revolution. This is between 10-15%. But they have mental issues and dominate the internet. So it seems that there is overwhelming support for their positions. It’s believed that less than 10% of Twitter users cause a large majority of Twitter responses.

    Because of misinformation and control of the internet by a few, the 20-30% good people are persuaded to vote and act a certain way. Just look at mask usage in one’s surroundings. If someone is wearing a mask outdoors, one can bet that person votes for Democrats and gets their news from traditional sources.

    I doubt there will be a civil war with any shooting since I know of no liberal that would die for their belief. Most of the talk of a civil war is mostly geographic separation but that will be difficult with one’s neighbor being on the other side.

    Our first civil war, the Revolutionary War, was such a war. However, before it was fought, the neighbors had to be silenced or converted. If such a thing happens, there will be no need to fire any guns.

    There is some hope as many issue indicate that only 20-25% have any real support and even a lot of these only have their opinions because of misinformation.

  143. 143
    William J Murray says:

    KF @141,

    I guess that’s your way of saying that if I live my enjoyable life happy and content to its end, then I suffer no consequences for my damaged conscience or failure to do my duties; other people will pay the consequences.

    Unless there is a price I’m going to have to pay, that sounds like someone else’s problem.

  144. 144
    jerry says:

    Some humor about the problems in the US

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtbr2ICHv18

  145. 145
    Joe Schooner says:

    Research has suggested that truthfulness and lying are conditioned responses. This would certainly explain why someone would have developed a personal duty to be truthful. The first response by young children when they have done something that makes their parents upset is to lie. It is only through repeated and consistent punishment for lying that they reduce the frequency of lying. If a behavior must be “beaten” into us, how can it be a first duty.

  146. 146
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Jerry
    Some humor about the problems in the US

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtbr2ICHv18

    The dog was misled : understood “bite in” instead of Biden .
    Good boy! Conservative dogs are the best.

  147. 147
    jerry says:

    If a behavior must be “beaten” into us, how can it be a first duty.

    Maybe you should have children.

    If a child runs into the street, they must be admonished in a way that they will remember or else they will die. They definitely don’t want to die but don’t understand the connection yet. And nearly every parent or concerned older person also doesn’t want the child to die.

    Similarly for truthfulness. They have to be taught the connection between that and other objectives that they desire which are built in. They also have to be taught that some desires conflict with other desires. Some seem not to understand this.

    Nearly everyone except for some defective people understand this.

    No one is saying that duties are not learned. The objectives are there and are good. How to reach them then become the duties. Cicero was just saying the obvious.

  148. 148
    Joe Schooner says:

    Nobody is arguing that truthfulness is not a beneficial behavior for surviving and thriving in a social environment. What is being argued is whether it is an objective first duty, whatever that means, or a learned/conditioned behavior.

    You have learned many behaviors that make your survival in society easier. Are they all first duties?

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, flailing, even as you try to object to first duties while appealing to them. A case study on what is going wrong. KF

  150. 150
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, going by the past 100 years, the intent would be to get the state to demonise, confiscate, show trial and gulag wave after wave of the newly targetted. The current push is to demonise anyone who stands in their way, including of their sponsored red guard mobs and street thugs, especially if one so much as brandishes a firearm, much less actually shoots even in immediate peril of life. I keep thinking of that couple in that gated community in was it Kansas City. I think this is a miscalculation but I think the higher level objective is a distracted, weakened, paralysed US at the time China pushes for blue ocean breakout. KF

  151. 151
    jerry says:

    Objectives are built in. Duties are what’s necessary to reach objectives. Cicero’s first duties characterize specific actions of behaviors necessary.

    This has become a semantic game.

    Speaking of games. Off to a hockey game.

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry et al, it is much easier to see the force of the first duties when one is the target of unjust behaviour, especially destructive slander that endangers livelihood, life and life opportunities. What is harder is to recognise mutuality of core rights without getting tangled up in wrongs posing as rights. (Think of the old “right” to the virgins of the village or estate.) Of course, some things like dangers of fire and of streets have to be learned. KF

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    Enjoy your Hockey match.

  154. 154
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, flailing, even as you try to object to first duties while appealing to them. A case study on what is going wrong. KF

    Is it possible to appeal to a conditioned response?

    Jerry, have fun at the hockey game.

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, our learning and growing in understanding is not a condition of whether or no something is the case. It can readily be shown that core Mathematics obtains in any possible world, being part of the framework of being a possible world, yet we must study starting with things like addition facts and multiplication tables. Even the self-evident 2 + 3 = 5 is learned, indeed memorised by deep repetition. Experience awakens insight. Similarly, that we must learn that fire burns or the like. In short, if learned, then effectively an arbitrary convention is demonstrably a fallacy as we can and do learn many truths. In that context, it is clear that the due end of our cognition is truth and linked wisdom, in love, with justice, which is a condition of the thriving of our communities (we are social beings), families and individuals; evils such as lying being parasitical on such. Where, too, to gain rhetorical traction for your objections — direct or indirect, again and again you have been forced to appeal to the same first duties you would overthrow. Just above you imply fact claims implying duties to truth and suggest issues of reasoning, warrant etc implying other duties. The point remains, inescapable so inescapably true as first principles antecedent to argument. KF

    PS: I refresh memory on one of these as inescapable, from Epictetus:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. Cf J. C. Wright]

  156. 156
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Solomon, echoing his father, David, in what was in effect a manual for princes:

    Prov 1: 1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
    2 To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
    3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
    4 to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
    5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
    6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.
    7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction. [ESV]

    He of course goes on to emphasise a linked lesson, that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling and prone to ill-will, with potentially ruinous consequences. Today, we confuse liberty with licence and claimed rights with actual mutually compossible rights that require mutuality such that we do not impose under false colours the tainting of sound conscience from enabling evils. Including the sort of forced lying Havel described in his case study of the greengrocer in Power of the Powerless.

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I excerpt Havel’s essay, this is a lesson of living memory history:

    The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

    I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

    Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

    Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

    Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo. It is an excuse that everyone can use, from the greengrocer, who conceals his fear of losing his job behind an alleged interest in the unification of the workers of the world, to the highest functionary, whose interest in staying in power can be cloaked in phrases about service to the working class. The primary excusatory function of ideology, therefore, is to provide people, both as victims and pillars of the post-totalitarian system, with the illusion that the system is in harmony with the human order and the order of the universe . . .

  158. 158
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Why does it seem to some, so hard to recognise from our circumstances as embodied creatures? If we are mechanically and/or stochastically governed (including as passed through accidents of cultural and individual circumstances) we are not responsibly, rationally free, and our vaunted intellectual life collapses in discredit. If we are self-moved, significantly free minded creatures then we face the challenge to recognise the due ends of our cognitive capabilities and linked ability to decide, love, act freely: we are morally governed, leading to the is-ought gap that ever challenges us to seek truth and act soundly and justly, informed by the good. In that light, we can readily see how there would be first principles that pervade our cognitive life and serve to guide sound action, principles we neglect, ignore or distort at peril. In that, history has many hard bought lessons.

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, 143:

    I guess that’s your way of saying that if I live my enjoyable life happy and content to its end, then I suffer no consequences for my damaged conscience or failure to do my duties; other people will pay the consequences.

    Unless there is a price I’m going to have to pay, that sounds like someone else’s problem.

    With all due respect, this inadvertently exposes the breakdown of mutuality and linked issues of empathy, recognition of common dignity and worth. In a sense, we must be thankful for willingness to put the matter frankly, but this speaks to points of concern (and for those who pray, to points for prayer).

    I again point to Locke’s citation of Hooker at a key point in his 2nd essay on civil gov’t:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5, citing “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker”:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    Let us pause, ponder, recognise.

    KF

  160. 160
    jerry says:

    In the last month I have uncovered some extremely good sources on philosophy and logic. So dead threads are worth something and I am posting them here for whoever is interested. So take time away from the rants to learn something.

    On logic, William Briggs’s new book is outstanding as it illustrates very clearly all the fallacies used in argumentation and is especially appropriate here during the rants.

    Everything You Believe Is Wrong

    https://wmbriggs.com/uncertainty-book/

    Then on philosophy itself, the Master of Teaching Philosophy, Michael Sugrue has uploaded 56 lectures, roughly 45 minutes each on philosophy from the Greeks to the current day.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFaYLR_1aryjfB7hLrKGRaQ/videos

    Here is a commentary about him by a young man who describes his style

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxkRLGRH1Xg

    Michael Sugrue has a current podcast with his daughter who describes her first awareness of what her father does

    When I was 4 years old, my dad decided that it was time for my intro to philosophy. So he told me, “Did you know that I get all my ideas at the idea store?”. This didn’t sit well with me and I kept insisting “No you don’t!”. For the next two years, many car rides were spent talking about the idea store. It baffled my little mind but I kept trying to reason with him the best I could. At age 6 I found the solution. “You can’t see and touch ideas. You can only buy things you can see and touch. Ideas are different”. My dad was ecstatic. He had just taught his daughter the basics of metaphysics.

    https://anchor.fm/genevieve-sugrue/support

    The ranters here might want to listen to the first podcast in July between Michael Sugure and Genevieve. It’s on Kant and the Categorical Imperative

    https://anchor.fm/genevieve-sugrue/episodes/The-Categorical-Imperative-e1473ep

    It might stop a lot of the ranting. Of course the ranters don’t want to learn, they just want to rant.

    My favorite lecture by Michael Sugrue – Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auuk1y4DRgk

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