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Re: Food for Thought

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  • Jim
    Tom, Yes, but Irvin and I were engaged in an ethical discussion about how our governments ought to act in certain possible future situations. Ethics is
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 7, 2011
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      Tom,

      Yes, but Irvin and I were engaged in an ethical discussion about how our governments ought to act in certain possible future situations.

      Ethics is concerned with what ought to be the case, not what is, or has been, the case.

      It's the same as your arguments that the USA should cease to engage in foreign wars. Just because in the past hundred years the US has continually engaged in foreign wars, that doesn't stop you arguing for a complete change of direction.

      Jim



      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Jim
      >
      > This may be nihilistic, but certainly it is historical realism. Hopefully, things may change, but if so it would be inline with John Lennon's Imagine, not with history as has existed since history started.
      >
      > Tom
    • tom
      Jim I understand your point, and it is well taken.James Joyce said history is a nightmare from which we are seeking to awake. Predatory relations between
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 7, 2011
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        Jim

        I understand your point, and it is well taken.James Joyce said history is a nightmare from which we are seeking to awake. Predatory relations between nations seems to have developed simultaneously with certain city states becoming prudent enough to store food in warehouses etc, and probably concurent with the evolution of specialized labor of which military and scribes were both examples.History coincided with a shift from a cyclical view of time as in pagan culture to a linear time in which dates of battles marked changing boundaries etc. Judeo Christianity gradually replaced paganism as it was more conductive to patriarchal lineage which developed powerful family loyalties which encouraged great patriarches to be motivated by visions of future generations of a dynasty and lineage. I suspect the myth of the exile from the Garden of Eden is a symbolic depiction of the transformation of our ancestors from Goddess worshiping pagans to God fearing Judeochristians, and eating from the tree of knowledge the inevitable consequence of the developement and application of the concious mind.


        Adam&Eve
        Adam and Eve were naked Pagans in the Garden of Eden; until they got uptight, God fearing, and fallen about what kind of fruit they had eaten.

        Groovy man

        by the Cool Cat


        Einstein said technology is like an axe in the hands of a sociopathic criminal. Imagine if the intellectual resources devoted to developing more lethal weapons were devoted to improving human physical, intellectual, and emotional health. Leo Szilard the genius behind the first atomic bomb later changed from theoretical physics to molecular biology and worked with Salk on first Polio vacine.




        Peace
        Tom
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jim
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 7:53 AM
        Subject: [existlist] Re: Food for Thought



        Tom,

        Yes, but Irvin and I were engaged in an ethical discussion about how our governments ought to act in certain possible future situations.

        Ethics is concerned with what ought to be the case, not what is, or has been, the case.

        It's the same as your arguments that the USA should cease to engage in foreign wars. Just because in the past hundred years the US has continually engaged in foreign wars, that doesn't stop you arguing for a complete change of direction.

        Jim

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
        >
        > Jim
        >
        > This may be nihilistic, but certainly it is historical realism. Hopefully, things may change, but if so it would be inline with John Lennon's Imagine, not with history as has existed since history started.
        >
        > Tom





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jim
        Irvin, Upon reflection, I think my last post to you in this thread was overly combative and also overly simplistic. I am sorry about that. I think I did not
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 8, 2011
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          Irvin,

          Upon reflection, I think my last post to you in this thread was overly combative and also overly simplistic. I am sorry about that.

          I think I did not give your point sufficient recognition. Yes, you are right that for Aristotle, ethical principles are first approximations, rough guidelines, and not absolute rules for all situations. The ethically sensitive person uses his (her) practical judgement in a difficult situation, taking account of both rule-of-thumb ethical principles and also the specific particulars of the situation.

          Aristotle's approach contrasts with Kant's. For Kant there are certain absolute principles which apply in all situations, and are never to be violated.

          In many ways I want to embrace both Kant's approach and Aristotle's approach, but in reality they are quite different. I want to accept absolutely Kant's categorical principle that we should always treat other human beings as ends in themselves and never just use them as means for our own ends.

          However, I admit that at the extreme limit – say a possible situation in which using one human being purely as a means was necessary for the survival of the human species – even this principle may be overridden by other considerations.

          Mary has also raised the difficult question of when it would be just to force a person to share his food, or wealth, or private property, with others.

          Similarly, I admit there may be a global situation when it was right to invade a non-aggressive sovereign nation. Suppose a country had a mineral, or a plant, whose collection and processing was necessary for the survival of the human race. Yes, in that scenario, I think it would be right and just to invade the country and take their natural resource by force, if they refuse to pass it on voluntarily.

          Having said this, I don't think the export of oil is such a case which justifies such military action. The USA has enough scientists and money to move to alternative energy resources. The problem, unfortunately, is that it doesn't seem to have the will to do this. I heard that the oil lobby successfully bullied the manufacturers of electric cars into abandoning there plans a few years ago. Capitalism is the enemy of enlightened progress, I am afraid.

          Jim




          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "irvhal" <i99hj@...> wrote:
          >
          > Interestingly, both Jim and Brandon approach this question with interpersonal frames of reference, which begs the magnitude or ripple effects of national or transnational acts. And as Lord Keynes remarked with respect to countenancing the consequences of action or inaction, in the long-run we're all dead. Categorical rules, including a respect for sovereignty, may be proper default positions. But as Tom noted in his reference to survival sometimes trumping property rights, exceptions will be made to strict adherence to categorical rules. The key, leaving aside our immediate disagreements, is that adherence to categorical rules can and must be tempered by practical judgment -- an Aristotilian notion unlikely foreign to Jim.
          >
          > Irvin
          >
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