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RE: [existlist] Re: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action

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  • Eduard Alf
    james, Actually it is done in all seriousness. I am utilizing the funny side of things, because laughter, as they say, is a sort of medicine. Laughter allows
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 3, 2002
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      james,

      Actually it is done in all seriousness. I am
      utilizing the funny side of things, because
      laughter, as they say, is a sort of medicine.
      Laughter allows a break from the complexity of
      thinking. Sort of the common man's non-thinking.

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
      Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:26 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: [WisdomForum] Re:
      Choice and Action



      saw ur homepage. i thought that is cute, but
      honestly, a bit weird... it is
      fun...

      james.. Terms of Service.



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    • james tan
      oh yes, intentionally or unconsciously, i have committed something i have talked about in the presentation itself: i have projected my subjective pt of view
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 6, 2002
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        oh yes, intentionally or unconsciously, i have committed something i have
        talked about in the presentation itself: i have projected my subjective pt
        of view onto the objective. indeed, at the end of my previous post, i have
        presented humaneness as if it is the good, universally valid. that was a
        flop, a blunder; it is clear that it is not neutral. it has no basis other
        than my point of view. but i am fuzzy about what u meant by: "leave me
        unmoved as it (existentialism, as i render it) does not answer the real
        question (the content of ethics?)"; if u have in mind that existentialism
        should provide a set of moral values universally valid, or even something
        remotely what moore has done, i guess existentialism as i understand it is
        gonna disappoint u. existentialism, strictly speaking, is not even a
        philosophy, rather it is an attitude; it does not provide u with the 'what',
        rather it is infinitely more concerned with the 'how'; it is process more
        than content. if there is one word that may sum up, it is heidegger's
        "authenticity", in the broadest sense of the word, and authentic relative to
        each individuals. i am sorry to have introduced that contradiction u pointed
        out. u said that chris said morality is a social artifact; well, anything
        that is not in the objective is a artifact, or construct, be it social or
        personal; it serve a very human function of predicting and understanding the
        world for any course of action (independently of the metaphyical validity).

        james.

        From: "swmaerske" <SWMirsky@...>
        Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
        To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Choice and Action
        Date: Wed, 06 Mar 2002 01:31:16 -0000

        So existentialism, as you have described it, offers us the ultimate
        form of moral relativism? And yet I note that, at the end of your
        presentation, you talk about man choosing humaneness, when he is free
        to choose and when he recognizes that freedom, as though "humaneness"
        were obviously a good thing. But without a concept of "good" how do
        we know "humaneness" is a good thing? Why is not inhumanity a good
        thing then, as well? How can you assume that this is preferable, or
        at least the more desirable outcome, since there is no basis for this
        claim? At bottom, though you argue for moral relativism, you promise
        a humaneness of values which, if nothing else, is certainly not
        neutral.

        Certainly your argument offers the proposition that a person
        espousing what we deem to be "bad" or "evil" will not see himself as
        bad, i.e., Hitler and bin Laden would both deny our charactersization
        of their views and actions as bad or wrong! And I agree with you,
        they would do that indeed! But my question is would they be justified
        in doing so? Though your explanation of the Existentialist view
        suggests they would, your claim ends with the implicit assertion that
        they would not. (At least not if humaneness is to be preferred.)

        And yet you seem to be asserting that they would be justified, if
        they did what they did sincerely and out of a sense of their freedom
        to make such choices.

        Similarly, Popper, per Chris, would have held they would have been
        justified within their own terms of seeing the world, though that set
        of terms may be shown, on the Popperian view, to be wrong empirically
        (though until it is shown to be wrong definitively, based on the
        evidence or a convincing empirically grounded argument, there is no
        reason to suppose it is wrong, hence there is no way to argue about
        the moral rightness or wrongness of their actions).

        In the case you present, it seems to me you are trying to have it
        both ways: you say there are not and cannot be moral standards and
        that the only good is to act in good faith, whatever you do, whether
        you kill millions wantonly or try to overrun the world, and yet, in
        the same presentation, you praise the result of such actions as
        leading, in the end, to humaneness, a clearly moral value. That is
        you are suggesting that people who act in good faith will,
        ultimately, choose not to wantonly destroy millions or to overrun the
        world. In an argument based on contradiction and paradox, such as
        Existentialism seems to love, I guess this makes sense. But it
        clearly doesn't stand up to careful analysis of what has been said.

        I do agree with you that religion is one of the historical bulwarks
        of morality though I think morality may actually pre-exist religion,
        or at least religion as we understand it today. Certainly, a morality
        that depends on a particular religious belief is highly problematic
        and suspect. In fact I think, like Chris and his idol, Popper, that
        morality is a social artifact, though I'm not sure I can agree with
        their ultimate formulation of it. But, certainly, Existentialism as
        you've sketched it out, while sounding intriguing for all its
        apparent contradictions and mysteriously obscure formulations, leaves
        me unmoved as it does not answer the real questions. In fact, it's
        clear to me that the moral premises that concern us in these sorts of
        discussions are already embedded quite deeply in the bedrock of the
        Existentialist argument and are there to be mined by the careful
        prospector.

        SWM









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