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Does Philosophy address this thought?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Brickjectivity, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    A lot of people here have a good knowledge of the classic philosophers, and I don't and had an idea today and was wondering how Philosophy treated it. I am wondering what philosophies say about it.

    My thought springs from all of the conversations on the forum. People often discuss on here the nature of reality or consciousness and also free will. Sometimes people wonder if life is pointless or if life without God would seem pointless or if morals are real and just all kinds of questions like those. So there's this huge question people pose about whether life/morality/existence is pointless, random, directed. It shows up in many threads phrased as many challenges ro religion, to nonreligion.

    Let us suppose that people have completely scripted lives or the opposite that life is random. In the first case how would one ever know if life was pointleess/real/meaningful/not? In the second case would the randomness indicate reality was real/meaningful/uncontrolled?

    What do the major Philosophers have to say about it, please? Thanks. You need not reply at length if its troublesome. Just link or reference, and that's plenty of help. :)
     
  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    #1 If completely scripted, then you are scripted to feel as you feel including meaningful or meaningless.
    #2 If random, you again would feel meaningful or meaningless, it would just be random.

    That is the short one. The long one is that you appears that if you "fake" feeling that life is meaningful, if you do it long enough you will feel it is meaningful. But that is psychology and connected to a cognitive approach.
    In practice it doesn't matter if it is #1 or #2, because you can learn to do it, if you want. Happiness/being content if you are lucky enough to get the chance, can be done by changing how you feel.
     
  3. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    I recommend watching this video of Sam Harris on free will, which addresses many of your questions.

     
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  4. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Philosophy has to assume existential purpose or it renders itself moot. There would be nothing to philosophize about. Meaninglessness is a meaningless tautology.
     
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  5. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, Sam Harris has absolutely zero actual knowledge of philosophy, and his approach to philosophy is really very bad.
     
    #5 Tambourine, Aug 11, 2020
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  6. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    For such relatively broad topics I'd normally recommend the Online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    For your first question, you may want to look at the position of Compatibilism, which posits that causal determinism and self-direction (or "free will" if you absolutely have to) are not mutually exclusive:

    (Source)

    The Stoics were a Hellenistic school of philosophers who believed that the Cosmos was essentially deterministic, and that most of a person's life was ruled by forces beyond their control. What they did was focus their efforts on what little they believed a person could control - their thoughts, their emotions, their inner life if you will. I believe that Stoic Ethics are of particular interest here because they posit the purpose of life as happiness by living according to Cosmic nature, arguably making it compatible with a deterministic universe.
     
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  7. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    How so? I've found my points of disagreement with Harris, but in general I think he does a good job with most philosophical ideas.
     
  8. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    He was rightfully accused of strawmanning moral relavism and non-cognitvism philosophy, avoided completely he subject of metaethics (without even explaning why and how like ethical pragmatic philosophers) and broke Hume's Law. While most do recognise that Harris certainly contributes positively to the public discourse in matters of ethics, his contribution to philosophy on the subject isn't.
     
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  9. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Morality is the main issue I disagree with Harris on, as well as his views on lying. But he makes excellent points on free will, and also on how mindfulness can help eliminate negative emotions quickly. Overall I'd say he's a good amateur philosopher--much better than other philosopher wannabes like Dan Dennett.
     
  10. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    If you are refering to Daniel Dennett he isn't an amateur philosopher he is a professional philosopher and was laureated for his contribution in the field.
     
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  11. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Well, Sam Harris gave him a good spanking on the free will topic.
     
  12. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    What were Harris and Dennett key arguments?
     
  13. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Well, to be fair, they mostly talked past each other, but Harris could see that and Dennett couldn't. Sam Harris defined free will as an ability to be able to "have done differently" if we rewound the universe. Both of them agreed that this type of free will was not possible. But, Dennett rejected this definition and wanted to redefine "free will" simply based on the physical ability to make decisions, even though he is also basically a determinist. But, at one point, Dennett confused the ability "to have done differently" with the physical possibility of doing differently in the future, which Harris pointed out.
     
  14. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    Dennett isn't a determinist. He is very clearly a compatibilist. The three books he wrote on the subject and his own words clearly says so.

    PS: the point of Harris is moot when one takes into account the fact that Dennett gives to chance and probabilistic an important role into decision making.
     
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  15. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Well, compatiblism and determinism aren't mutually exclusive, in fact, they are inclusive. Every compatiblist is a determinist by definition, but not every determinist is a compatiblist. In the case of Dennett vs. Harris, Dennett believes that determinism is compatible with the average person's notion of free will, but Harris articulates why the common notion of free will cannot possibly map onto determinism OR indeterminism.
     
  16. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

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    If life is pre-determined (“scripted”) then it would feel as though any control we have, is an illusion. If life were random circumstances strung together, control could still be an illusion. But we would live each day as if that illusion was our reality.

    Does this make any sense?
     
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  17. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Peer review perhaps?
     
  18. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    We probably are 'scripted' in terms of our environment.
     
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  19. Deidre

    Deidre Follow thy heart

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    Yea, maybe. Do you think that we are conditioned to certain responses based on what’s happening around us? Is there a finite set of responses that one could ever have, then?
     
  20. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    Harris defines free will in impossible terms, and then "concludes" that this impossible phenomenon cannot exist.
    That's amateur level philosophy, and I find it sad that more people do not wizen up to such rhetorical tricks.
     
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