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Re: [existlist] Re: Non-mystical musings

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  • Herman
    Hi Louise, ... To me, it is beautiful evidence of learning and planning, neither of which require any reflective self-awareness. Polly
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 1, 2010
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      Hi Louise,

      On 1 June 2010 10:27, fleeting_return <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
      >>
      >
      > When I wrote that a cat's non-experiences are not so uncertain, I meant that I consider it probable, rather than certain, that cats do  not practise the kinds of mental activities delineated by Irvin.  These did include 'temporally planning or projecting', and I would agree that these capacities, in rudimentary form, might be possible without language of a human type.  Now I come to think of it, I remember seeing one of our cats, on an occasion, looking up at me, from his place down in the yard, as I stood on the landing inside our house, looking out from the open sash window; it was as though he assessed the situation, then jumped up on to the coal bunker, from there to the slant tiled kitchen roof, along the ridge tiles and through the sash window.  Our other cat, even after watching the procedure, never learnt to >take this alternative route into the house.  Does this type of ability evidence planning?

      To me, it is beautiful evidence of learning and planning, neither of
      which require any reflective self-awareness.

      Polly
    • fleeting_return
      ... Polly, So far as I am concerned, the earth is exactly what it appears to be. Nothing at all like a laboratory. I have referred to the existential
      Message 2 of 24 , Jun 2, 2010
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Louise,
        >
        > On 1 June 2010 10:08, fleeting_return <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
        > > Wil and Jim,
        > >
        > > "No, a human being is a physical organism, a material object, not an abstraction".  I would want to amplify this comment, by stating that a human being is the kind of material object which is also, unlike many material objects, a material subject, to whom noumenal experiences may be reasonably attributed, and in addition is a special kind of material subject, capable of conceptual thinking and other types of subjective practice that require powers of human language - at least on such available evidence as is afforded by existence on this planet.  There may be more advanced forms of life somewhere, but we know nothing of them.
        > >
        >
        > I think that the notion that reflective self-awareness is an
        > advancement on it's absence is presently being tested in the
        > laboratory of life. Human language, as a defining characteristic of
        > this apparition, has only just surfaced in the cycle of life / death.
        > It's utility remains to be seen. The use of language towards
        > representation seems to be far outweighed by its use as
        > misrepresentation. The most significant evolutionary developments for
        > homo sapiens have been the capacity to deceive, to most skillfully
        > deceive.
        >
        > Polly
        >

        Polly, So far as I am concerned, the earth is exactly what it appears to be. Nothing at all like a laboratory. I have referred to the existential decision to choose atheism, which, in my own case, anyway, means that there is no big scientist in the sky watching over us. Damn utility. That reflective self-awareness and the deceptive properties of language can usher in torment and fear for sentient life is part of the fact of being here, the form it takes, and, yes, how hateful it can be. Yet the particularity of human sentience is the end, for man. There is nothing else to live for. That is a declaration of faith. I am not capable of an atheism without faith in the reflective self-awareness that makes atheism possible. This does not mean that one has faith in the love, or the hatred, when it comes, nor in the self, but, simply, in life, which does not begin with our birth, nor end with our death. We participate in its reality whilst we are here, breathing. At least, that is as far as I have got along this road. It continues. Louise
      • fleeting_return
        Message 3 of 24 , Jun 2, 2010
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Louise,
          >
          > On 1 June 2010 10:27, fleeting_return <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
          > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@> wrote:
          > >>
          > >
          > > When I wrote that a cat's non-experiences are not so uncertain, I meant that I consider it probable, rather than certain, that cats do  not practise the kinds of mental activities delineated by Irvin.  These did include 'temporally planning or projecting', and I would agree that these capacities, in rudimentary form, might be possible without language of a human type.  Now I come to think of it, I remember seeing one of our cats, on an occasion, looking up at me, from his place down in the yard, as I stood on the landing inside our house, looking out from the open sash window; it was as though he assessed the situation, then jumped up on to the coal bunker, from there to the slant tiled kitchen roof, along the ridge tiles and through the sash window.  Our other cat, even after watching the procedure, never learnt to >take this alternative route into the house.  Does this type of ability evidence planning?
          >
          > To me, it is beautiful evidence of learning and planning, neither of
          > which require any reflective self-awareness.
          >
          > Polly
          > Polly, He was a most intelligent cat, originally a stray whom a friend of ours looked after and passed on to us. He used to lie in wait for our other cat and harass her, very keen, I think, to be the only cat in the household; and so we passed him on in turn to a family with a large house, where he settled in famously, going to each of the four children's bedrooms in turn, to receive their affections. A fine retirement, by any standards. Louise
        • Jim
          Louise, I appreciate your recent posts. I want to respond her to what you wrote about changing hearts and minds and the different perspectives of the theist
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 2, 2010
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            Louise,

            I appreciate your recent posts. I want to respond her to what you wrote about "changing hearts and minds" and the different perspectives of the theist and the atheist.

            I think the biggest difference between the theist (the person of faith) and the atheist is that the theist trusts that God is all-powerful and thus is in ultimate control of human history. This divine guidance of the course of events is often called providence or governance.

            If one believes in God's governance then one has no motivation to change hearts and minds, this can be left to God. Rather, one should use one's time and energy to work on oneself. Kierkegaard is particularly clear on this issue.

            By contrast, the atheist believes that the future is up for grabs: there is no all-powerful, perfectly good being or force to ensure that human history progresses in a satisfactory manner.

            From our current point in human history, the atheist faces up to the possibility that if human beings continue to think and behave as they have done up until now, then we will poison the earth irreversibly, and the human race will die out.

            I firmly believe that unless there is a fundamental change of hearts and minds, the human race will become extinct within the next two hundred years. That is why a new way of thinking – a less materialistic and hedonistic way – is needed in order for the earth to survive as a planet capable of sustaining human life and human flourishing for future generations.

            Either that or the sort of World Government that Polly has argued for.

            Jim
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