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Re: [existlist] existentialism

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  • George Walton
    Eduard, Thou shalt not kill* *Unless God does it *Unless it is done in God s name *Unless it is in battle *Unless you are so mentally incapacitated you don t
    Message 1 of 275 , Jan 3, 2002
      Eduard,

      Thou shalt not kill*

      *Unless God does it
      *Unless it is done in God's name
      *Unless it is in battle
      *Unless you are so mentally incapacitated you don't even know what you are
      doing
      *Unless it is clearly in self-defense
      *Unless it's just a video game
      *Unless it's just on TV
      *Unless it is a toddler pulling the trigger
      *Unless it is to save others
      *Unless it is in the first trimester
      *Unless it is a "lower" life form
      *Unless it is deeply embedded in cultural mores
      *Unless, unless, unless....

      I think I follow your "objective" rendering now. You say "Thou shalt not
      kill" and someone else says "well sure, less the zillion circumstantial
      contingencies that might warrant it, of course." Or someone else says, "Thou
      shalt kill" and says "hey, it's just like buying toothpaste".

      Science has pretty much nailed down gravity here on Earth. You can drop a
      rock from your hand in any culture, from any nation, subscribing to any
      political or religious tenet you please and it will not start soaring up
      into a lunar trajectory. That is objective enough for me. You approach
      killing as though it were just another sort of...well....law of physics.
      Philosophy is about relationships.....between the words we use to express
      our opinions about what reality "is" and whatever "reality" may or may not
      actually "be" out in the world regarding how we ought to interact with and
      around others.

      George


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Eduard Alf <yeoman@...>
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 7:20 PM
      Subject: RE: [existlist] existentialism


      > George,
      >
      > I keep giving you a "straight forward" objective moral, but instead of
      > addressing the simple moral that I have given, you prefer to keep
      modifying
      > it by some subjective qualification and then turning around and rejecting
      > the thing that you yourself have defined.
      >
      > Granted, that is a neat tactic in debate ... you put words in your
      > opponent's mouth and then cut him down for saying them.
      >
      > The objective moral is "thou shalt not kill". In this email you have
      chosen
      > to modify it to infanticide. I can well expect that you will find lots
      more
      > subjective qualifications to argue against instead of what I have put
      forth.
      >
      > It is a matter of simplicity. Here you have managed to wander off to talk
      > about toothpaste. Ok, lets try that as an example. The objective moral
      > would be to buy toothpaste. Straight forward. We are not talking about
      > Crest or Pepsodent or multi-flavoured powders. The simple objective moral
      > rule is just that "thou shalt buy toothpaste". You can follow the rule or
      > you can ignore it, or you can stuff your mouth with magic potions, but the
      > basic rule remains.
      >
      > A moral rule is something that we measure our behaviour against. I note
      > that Sartre seems to state that there are no moral rules of right or wrong
      > that the thrown-in-the-world that a man might reference. But my opinion
      is
      > that such a point of view is with ulterior motive. In the same sense as
      he
      > convinces himself that constancy to Simone is something he need not
      follow.
      > Not because it is a case that the idea of constancy is foreign to him, but
      > rather because he derives pleasure in chasing after anything in a skirt.
      >
      > eduard
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: George Walton [mailto:george@...]
      > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 5:34 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism
      >
      >
      > Bill,
      >
      > I keep waiting for Eduard to give me---"straight forward"---an objective
      > moral accounting of any human interaction. He fails [in my own humble
      > opinion] to properly differentiate an existentially persuasive point of
      view
      > from an essential one.
      >
      > For example, is infanticide objectively immoral? That it is illegal in
      > almost all cultural jurisdictions.....that it is repugnant to most people
      [I
      > would certainly never condone it]....that it is generally proscribed
      > ethically in virtually all societies? Sure, no argument there. Ah, but if
      > someone gives birth and chooses to kill the new born; if they are never
      > caught and choose not to be bothered by the act.....is it Immoral? No, of
      > course not.
      >
      > The sort of moral strictures idealists seek to envelop would only be
      > objectively immoral if the act could be construed as a Sin [or, perhaps, a
      > la Ayn Rand/Objectivism and their secular/ideological ilk] as Irrational.
      In
      > other words, given an omniscient and omnipotent moral perspective [which
      > most folks call either God or Reason] an act would be judged in a
      > Transcendental manner-----over and above the legal and/or societal
      > consequences we might engender in acting out what is construed as either
      > illegal or immoral by the community at large.
      >
      > Nihilism is not about "no meaning" so much as meaning that is bursting
      at
      > the seams----as varied as each individual vantage point. We might, for
      > example, go to the grocery store and be confronted with over 50 different
      > kinds of toothpaste we can choose to buy. That decision is a piece of
      cake,
      > however, compared to, say, picking out a moral perspective that is "right"
      > for you regarding the death penalty....or abortion....or gun control...or
      > human sexuality....or human freedom. It is precisely to obviate the "agony
      > of choice in the face of uncertainty" that precipitates, in my view, the
      > intellectual bankruptcy that subsumes our ceaselessly "becoming" in BEING
      > itself.
      >
      > We BE dead for billions and billions and billions of year. So, why BE
      > alive, as well, in that teeny tiny blink of an eye before? Kind of
      obvious,
      > eh? It's a lot less scary that way!!!!!!!
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Bill Harris <bhvwd@...>
      > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 2:22 PM
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism
      >
      >
      > > George, I like your approach, mess him up right away. If he becomes
      > totally
      > > confused he may be forced to think himself out of it. Bill
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
      > > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 3:04 PM
      > > Subject: RE: [existlist] existentialism
      > >
      > >
      > > > George,
      > > >
      > > > I think Jim's question was fairly straight forward in wishing to
      know
      > the
      > > > meaning of "existentialism". Perhaps it is a bit too early to
      > introduce
      > > him
      > > > to the convoluted fashion of our discussion on this list. Perhaps
      it
      > > would
      > > > be better to wait until he is addicted and then throw, eggs,
      > grapefruit,
      > > > abortion and fat US Presidents at him.
      > > >
      > > > eduard
      > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > From: George Walton [mailto:george@...]
      > > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 3:29 PM
      > > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > > > Subject: Re: [existlist] existentialism
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > jas...
      > > >
      > > > To ask what existentialism "means" is to more or less miss the
      point
      > of
      > > > what it is trying to convey about meaning itself: it's existential.
      > > >
      > > > Think of it, if you will, like this:
      > > > 1.. You and a friend are having breakfast together. You are
      eating
      > > eggs
      > > > and she is eating a grapefruit. Another friend approaches the table
      > and
      > > asks
      > > > what you are eating. You both say grapefruit. Now, unless you are
      > about
      > > 299
      > > > pins short of a perfect game in the old noggin', you would never
      call
      > a
      > > > grapefruit "eggs". Clearly, in a culture where English is the shared
      > > > language, the sounds "cereal" and "eggs" denote different things.
      The
      > > > connotative element, in other words, is all but non-existent re the
      > > sharing
      > > > of information [meaning] in this context.
      > > > 2.. After you have cleared the table, you exclaim, "man, those
      > were
      > > the
      > > > best eggs I ever tasted!" Your friend says, "hey, that was the best
      > > > grapefruit I ever tasted too!". Then you get into an argument over
      > whether
      > > > eggs taste better than grapefruit. Here, the denotative element is
      > > "taste".
      > > > Save for those rare few who do not, medically, have the capacity to
      > taste,
      > > > it is not like folks who share the English language as a way of
      > > > communicating meaning about the world around them will hear the
      > word-sound
      > > > "taste" and be all that far off as to what it means regarding the
      food
      > > they
      > > > eat. Ah, but the connotative parameters here revolve around the word
      > > "best".
      > > > How exactly would you go about demonstrating objectively,
      essentially,
      > > > scripturally, truthfully, ontologically, metaphysically,
      empirically,
      > > > rationally, telelogically, epistemologically etc. that eggs or
      > grapefruit
      > > > taste "best"? It's a matter of...well....individual taste, eh?
      > > > 3.. Later in the day, you are watching a video and one of the
      > > characters
      > > > has an abortion. Next thing you know, you're embroiled in a heated
      > > > discussion with your friend as to whether or not an abortion is
      > "moral".
      > > > Again, there is a denotative and a connotative element that can be
      > > expressed
      > > > in any discussion about what words "mean" here. As an objective
      > medical
      > > > procedure, few will insist that having an abortion means "harvesting
      > > grapes"
      > > > or "tuning the engine of a lawn mower". As a moral issue, however,
      you
      > may
      > > > as well be arguing over whether eggs taste better than grapefruit.
      It
      > will
      > > > never be resolved because, sans God [or His Her It's equivalent]
      there
      > is
      > > > simply no vantage point by/from which to denote a moral continuum.
      At
      > > best,
      > > > all you can say is, "well, based on my own experiences and how I
      have
      > come
      > > > to understand what they mean, I believe..."
      > > > Philosophy, I suppose, is useful as a sort of epistemological
      > > referee---a
      > > > technical advisor regarding the relationship between human language
      > and
      > > how
      > > > we use it to denote and connote "meaning" about "out in the world".
      > > > Technically, in other words, it lets us know that, if someone says,
      > "all
      > > > U.S. Presidents have been short, fat, Islamic lesbians from Alpha
      > Centuri"
      > > > we are not likely to say, "well, I guess in an essentially
      meaningless
      > and
      > > > absurd world, that's one possibility".
      > > >
      > > > Ah, but regarding how we ought to circumscribe any human
      > relationship
      > > > "morally", it is essentially futile. As is science.
      > > >
      > > > Uh, at least so far?
      > > >
      > > > George
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > > From: jascook12 <JCOOK12@...>
      > > > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > > > Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 1:47 PM
      > > > Subject: [existlist] existentialism
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > Could someone please explain what existentialism means?
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
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    • mary.jo11
      Also, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Todd Olivier s biography of Camus. Mary
      Message 275 of 275 , Jan 4, 2008
        Also, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Todd Olivier's biography of
        Camus.

        Mary
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