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Is genuine altruism possible?

 
 
joefromchicago
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 06:35 pm
JLNobody, I trust you're not including me with rufio in the materialist camp. I haven't expressed any opinion on the "tree falling in the forest" issue, largely because it is entirely irrelevant to the topic of altruism, so I'm not sure how you could infer what is essentially an ontological position on the basis of an ethical argument. On the other hand, if you think that I espouse some form of "ethical materialism," I'd be interested in learning more about the grounds for such an inference.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 07:57 pm
truth
Sorry, Joe. My mistake based on careless scanning. I am glad you cleared that up. Embarrassed
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rufio
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 10:45 pm
Do you really think cross-cultural communication is impossible, JL?
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 10:56 pm
truth
It is very difficult and full of pitfalls for miscommunication, Rufio. But it is not impossible; if it were, ethnographic anthropology would be impossible.
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rufio
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 11:03 pm
Right. Since we don't even have that problem now, I don't think it would be too much to ask to try and have a decent conversation here.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 11:28 pm
The difficulty is we don't disagree on issue X because we have different views, we disagree because X doesn't mean the same thing to each party.

We are talking past each other.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 11:36 pm
truth
Yes, much of our miscommuications are rooted in psychological rather than cultural differences. I do believe that our philosophical paradigms (i.e., most general and deep-seated assumptions) reflect personality characteristics as much as they do "objective" conceptual conclusions
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twyvel
 
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Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2003 11:46 pm
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rufio
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 01:42 am
Twyvel, I've asked you many times to explain your position in greater detail. Your problem is that you simply refuse to aknowledge that my position even exists.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 10:11 am
truth
That's just the point, Rufio: it doesn't.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 01:56 pm
oooo
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 02:02 pm
Good one JL,



Dare I ask, what is your position rufio?
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rufio
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:20 pm
Clearly, you are both too blind to recognize the existence of other points of veiw. The problem with this forum is that it is monotonous. You are all birds of a feather - you play at arguments, but you are really all just talking to hear yourselves talk. You all have the same opinions to the point of being one person on two different accounts, and you spend all your time reinforcing each other's beliefs to the point where you will believe anything, even if it is completely illogical. Contrarily, I don't think you need to deny my point of veiw, I think you are all in desperate need of some intellectual diversity.
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:25 pm
twyvel wrote:
joefromchicago


Quote:
So what? It's true that there may be no universal consensus regarding the nature of altruism, but then that's largely irrelevant. I imagine that we haven't reached a consensus on the heliocentric theory either, but that doesn't seem to bother astronomers very much.



It's not irrelevant.

When I say altruism is relative I mean the basic concept is shared but interpreted differently in terms of how it's applied and what it is applied to. Unless you're a solipsist it is recognized that there has to be some common ground, and objective ground, in order for us to coexist. If there were zero agreement on what altruism was there would be no communication.

In order to ask, IS there such a thing as altruism? There has to already exist understandings of altruism, otherwise the question is meaningless.

If the understanding of altruism in it's most basic form is a, "willingness to do things which benefit other people, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself", and it is not agreed upon then where is the agreement? Where is the common ground? Is there an agreement on a common definition?

Once established, many may say, given this definition altruism doesn't exist.

Quote:
We don't reject the requirement for universal consensus because it's impossible but because it's unnecessary. Two people can hold contrary positions on a topic, but we need not wait until the dispute is resolved to make some sort of conclusion regarding the topic if one of those persons is wrong. Likewise, if X says that A's act is "altruistic" while Y says that it is not, there is no need to find some ground for agreement if we can determine that either X or Y is mistaken.


The question is can X and Y be
Quote:
On the other hand, if we say that we cannot make any judgments regarding "altruism" because it is a subjective notion, then we need to step back and ask why we're privileging the subjective viewpoint over any kind of objective criteria.


What is this "objective criteria"?

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Saying something is "subjective," then, doesn't end the debate, it merely puts it on a different level.


Agreed.

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I guess I did imply that it was insufficient. But if you disagree why do you think that it appears that the folks on this thread cannot agree as to what an altruistic act is?

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As with any disagreement, one possibility is that some (or all) participants are wrong.
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You'll have to explain that one better. Are you suggesting that all actions are "unintended"?
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That doesn't negate altruism as an action, but from a transcendental perspective if you save yourself from drowning is it altruism?

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No.
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fresco
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:31 pm
"just talking to hear yourselves talk"....

...now thats a good one coming from you rufio whose made it from "newbie" to "enthusiast" in record time with posts of questionable quality and relevance ! Laughing
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:40 pm
I agree there is arrogance on all sides of the table.

But if I understand your position correctly rufio it is by far the dominant world view, and it is probably by far the dominant view on this forum.
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rufio
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:42 pm
What was questionable, fresco? The only questionable posts were the ones I received in response.

It's not arrogance I'm talking about twyvel, it's closed-mindedness. You've obviously had your head in the ground for so long that you can't even interpret my posts as disagreeing with yours, though you can pretend not to see them.
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fresco
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 03:59 pm
rufio,

The problem is that you are unaware of the level of discourse operating on most of the threads. Here for example you persist with the "straight" scientific concept of light propogation (familiar to us all as high school kids) as though "wavelengths" were "facts". But here it is the very status of "facts" that is under scrutiny ! Epistemology and ethics simply cannot be tackled with elementary physics. Now if you brought in a bit of Heisenberg...well that might be a different matter!
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twyvel
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 04:02 pm
There's a porblem right there, Your post above doesn't make any sense. I've responded to most of your posts directed to me and disagreed with most of them, and posted my disagreement.


I think the lack of understanding is on your side rufio. JLNobody, fresco, other like-minded folks and I have had to work through your position to get to ours, but somehow you fail to see that.
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rufio
 
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 11:19 pm
Simply stating that nothing exists is not what I call "deep" fresco. This is rather typical. The self-proclaimed intellectual simply dismisses all other arguments by claiming they don't live up to the level of his educated conversation.

So, twyvel, where do things come from, if they don't exist before they are seen?
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