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RE: [existlist] Re: Interesting Study...

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  • Eduard Alf
    hi Jim,
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 19, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      hi Jim,

      << Should it be true and become widely accepted, I wonder what the
      philosophical consequences will be of a society that accepts emotion
      dominates morality, not reason? And is in fact reason somehow independent
      from emotion as many would suggest? It's just another part of the brain.
      Comments? >>

      The way I see it, the brain thinks by putting together experiences. The
      signals that go into a thought process are the same signals that would lift
      a hand, or are the reaction of stimulus from red light in the eye. For
      example, if we are asked to make a decision between stop and go, we first go
      through the process of playing out these experiences. It is the same when
      you ask if we could decide to throw ourselves in front of a train in order
      to stop it. Such a decision requires that we run the signals and it is hard
      for most of us to get past the pain of some experience like getting your
      finger caught in the door when a youngster. How much more painful must it
      be to be crushed under the wheels of a train. It requires another
      experience [either real or programmed] which allows us to make that
      decision. I believe that is how someone can easily commit themselves to a
      suicide terrorist act. The remembrance of pain falls into the background
      when compared to other experiences. If it will get you to paradise, with
      all those wonderful memories of summer beaches and chasing after the girls,
      you might just decide to do it.

      What makes a genius of the order of an Einstein is not something different,
      but rather the ability to process experiences in a more efficient manner.
      For example, his initial thoughts on relativity were in regard to running a
      thought experiment on what would happen if the streetcar he was on [in Bern,
      I think] were to travel at light speed. We can all think in these terms,
      but for me I would lose interest and start thinking about side issues like
      what was the cost of the fare and what the heck was I doing on a streetcar
      in the first place. There is more than a little truth in the phrase, "hold
      that thought".

      I would say that reason is never independent from emotion. Or rather, from
      our experiences. Which I would suggest is one explanation as to why our
      reasoning is sometimes faulty.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim Aiden [mailto:livewild@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 5:46 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Interesting Study...

      Although not absolute evidence onto itself, this study could not have
      been better timed for the discussions of late.

      We approach problems independently from different directions and
      using different tactics (which probably indicates some impartiality)
      and yet sometimes come to the same conclusion. This would indicate
      there may be absolute reality(s), absolute truth(s), absolute moral
      structure(s) (Notice the extra (s)'s. A topic for another day.). It is
      only a matter of properly interpreting them and being patient.

      I think this might also demonstrate the power and value of
      philosophical thought. Although dangerous at times, we sometimes can
      seemingly magically travel to domains inaccessible to us (under normal
      circumstances), use loose unsubstantiated information to draw
      conclusions that conventional technology and 'common sense' has
      difficulty with. Zen Buddhist philosophy seems to mimic modern
      theoretical physics, in ideas of interrelationships and change.
      Anaximander predated Darwin by a couple of thousand years in concepts
      of evolution.... etc.

      Where I think we sometimes get lost, is that changes in our
      interpretation is inevitable. That is... as we peer closer another
      truth comes in to focus. This does not completely invalidate those
      older truths though as some would believe. Under the context they
      existed with the information in the mind of each 'self', they were
      accurate and still are to a certain degree. How can that be? How can
      two seeming exclusive and contradicting truths be correct.

      An example, Genesis, Evolution, Cells, DNA, Atoms, Quarks, ......
      What the ultimate value of these constructs are, or how they
      interrelate still needs to be determined. But there is an observation
      and truths that is consistent between them. MAN EXISTS. This may seem
      like a simple thing to state (or an illusion.... another word) but it
      is not. If you put your finger in front of an ant walking along, it
      too will acknowledge your existence, but cannot state such a thing.
      That we can say something like that, is probably what makes us the
      magnificent creatures we are.

      As part of that existence there are duties, obligations, choices to
      reality if the 'self' wishes to continue existing. The heart of
      Existentialism. Another powerful philosophy. It allows us to somewhat
      anticipate the short term consequences of our own and others actions
      so that we (or our loved ones) may continue existing. Is it absolute?
      I don't find it so, but it is the best I've seen yet. There probably
      will be others.

      A tiny piece of me always eats away that my perception of reality is
      just as distorted as any extremist. A small lingering thought, that in
      fact we all are crazy. I suspect many feel like this but when a
      connection is made, the fear subsides. The people that participate in
      such forums have usually removed the 'facade' that the masses
      subscribe to. It can sometimes be a lonely place to be. But when the
      'self's' vision of reality matches up with another 'self's' versions
      of reality it can be comforting. Not that the opinion of two (or a
      million) makes for truth, but there is undeniable harmony there and it
      makes things not so lonely.

      Should it be true and become widely accepted, I wonder what the
      philosophical consequences will be of a society that accepts emotion
      dominates morality, not reason? And is in fact reason somehow
      independent from emotion as many would suggest? It's just another part
      of the brain. Comments?

      Your eye for attention brightened my day. Thank-you Wyatt.



      In existlist@y..., "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@t...> wrote:
      > Emotions and Morality
      > Based upon an article by Lauran Neergaard
      > Associated Press
      > September 14, 2001
      > Emotions, not logical or analytical reasoning, are the key to moral
      > judgments, according to researches at Princeton University.
      > "Most of the important social and political issues that divide
      > are really moral issues. And moral reasoning is highly structured by
      > the structure of our brain," said Joshua Green, a Princeton
      > philosophy graduate student who led the experiment.
      > People were put into brain scanners while answering a battery of 60
      > questions. Scans revealed which sections of the brain were active as
      > participants answered various ethical dilemmas.
      > Dr. Jonathan Cohen, co-author of the study, is the director of
      > Princeton's Center for the Study of the Brain.
      > According to Dr. Cohen, the brain scans reveal the portions of the
      > brain responsible for logic are minimally active during moral and
      > ethical discussions, unless the discussion is purely theoretical.
      > "That suggest the emotions are really acting as interference," Cohen
      > said.
      > People used emotion-related brain areas in deciding the personal
      > moral questions more than when they decided the impersonal or non-
      > moral questions.
      > "We carry out our lives as though our moral judgments are based on
      > reason, but instead people act on gut feelings and make up the
      > reasons post hoc," said Jonathan Haidth, social and cultural
      > psychologist at the University of Virginia.
      > The few individuals who made decisions based upon an analysis of
      > situations took far longer to make their decisions. In real-life
      > situations, such deliberations might not be possible.
      > Example dilemma:
      > 1. A runaway train will kill five people unless you flip a switch
      > sending it onto another track where it will kill only one. You do
      > know the people and must assume all are of equal social importance.
      > 2. The only way to stop this same train is to push someone onto the
      > tracks.
      > 3. You must sacrifice yourself to stop the train.
      > The majority of test respondents would flip the rail switch in the
      > first version of the dilemma. However, they would not push someone
      > onto the tracks. Only if given a great deal of time to ponder the
      > question would test subjects select self-sacrifice.
      > Results of the Study appear in the September 2001 edition of

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