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Are you a good person?

 
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 08:09 am
What does it mean to be a good person?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 15 • Views: 2,798 • Replies: 45
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 08:26 am
@Arjuna,
Like the physician's oath, Do No Harm.

The Golden Rule is also a good way to live.

BBB
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:07 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
When a person strikes you as a bad person, what about them are you focusing on?

I think Joseph Stalin was evil. But I'm aware that I'm condemning a social situation. I don't think Joseph was really fundamentally different from the rest of us.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:13 am
There but for fortune goes you or I? I think not, in Stalin's case. I would never have been in his shoes at all, even were I born to his parents in his stead. One, I was either autistic or autistic's cousin. Two, morbidly shy. Three, unable to hold a conversation with anybody until well past the turning age. Therefore, if it would have been me, history would have no Stalin, but some other figure in his stead.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:15 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

Like the physician's oath, Do No Harm.

The Golden Rule is also a good way to live.
If doctors were so good, then they would allow suicide for terminal ill people in sever pain.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:17 am
@Arjuna,
A person doing good deeds, that be long term and at times has to do bad to reach the goal.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:21 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

There but for fortune goes you or I? I think not, in Stalin's case. I would never have been in his shoes at all, even were I born to his parents in his stead. One, I was either autistic or autistic's cousin. Two, morbidly shy. Three, unable to hold a conversation with anybody until well past the turning age. Therefore, if it would have been me, history would have no Stalin, but some other figure in his stead.
Me too. I've suspected that I have some kind of undiagnosed brain damage. If everybody was like me, we'd still be in the stone-age.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:23 am
@Arjuna,
I think some bad people are pedifiles, rapists, child beaters, abusers of women, animal abusers, murderers, arsonists, drunk drivers, bullies of all ages, corporate criminal classes, politicians who won't do what is best for our country instead of their own benefits, etc. etc.

My list of individual bad people is too long to post here. However, I will list two: My mother. If they had child protection laws in the 1930s, she would be in prison. The two men who lifted me from my crib to rape me in 1933. I was four years old.

BBB
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:23 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

A person doing good deeds, that be long term and at times has to do bad to reach the goal.

Some say the only things that endure over time come from love.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:24 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

I think some bad people are pedifiles, rapists, child beaters, abusers of women, animal abusers, murderers, arsonists, drunk drivers, bullies of all ages, corporate criminal classes, politicians who won't do what is best for our country instead of their own benefits, etc. etc.

My list of individual bad people is too long to post here.

BBB

What do they all have in common?
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:24 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

What does it mean to be a good person?


According to Aristotle, just as a good (watch, say) is a watch that performs the function that a watch is supposed to perform well, or a good anything or its kind is a case of any thing of its kind that perform its function well, so a good person is one who performs the function of a person well. We know that the (particular) function of a watch is to keep time, so a good watch is a watch that keeps time well (accurately) so too, a good person is a person who performs the particular function of a person well, whatever that particular function is. Of course, now the question is, what is the particular function of a person? Or, is Aristotle right to think that persons have a particular function?
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:28 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Of course, now the question is, what is the particular function of a person? Or, is Aristotle right to think that persons have a particular function?
A watch has function relative to my agenda. For a person to have a function... we'd have to identify the pertinent agenda and who it is that has this agenda. Right?
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 09:28 am
@Arjuna,
What do they have in common? They are cruel sociopaths, and greedy.

BBB
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 10:17 am
@kennethamy,
well, Aristotle was a student of Plato, Plato was an ass. Anyway, the very concept of "good" "bad" person is a childish attempt to establish a cosmology of arbitrary and capricious parameters. Inane at best.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 04:02 pm

I have given confidence , encouragement to a young women , she listened

I'm proud of this
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 05:45 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Of course, now the question is, what is the particular function of a person? Or, is Aristotle right to think that persons have a particular function?
A watch has function relative to my agenda. For a person to have a function... we'd have to identify the pertinent agenda and who it is that has this agenda. Right?


I don't know what you mean by "agenda". But it seems to me that you watches are made, and that people want them, to tell time with. Do they have any other main function than that? It is true that I may buy a watch to use for a paper-weight, but do you think that is the particular function of a watch, to be used as a paper-weight. So, even if someone were to buy a watch to use as a paper-weight, that would not make being a paper-weight the function of a watch, although it might be why some particular person bought the watch. I read how terrorists used watches which had alarms to trigger off home-made bombs. But is that what Aristotle calls the particular function of a watch? Would you say that a good watch is one that is a good paperweight, or one that sets off a bomb? If someone asked you to get him a good watch would you ask him what he wanted it for?
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:27 pm
@kennethamy,
The main function of a watch is to tell time. There are other functions. They exist because we want to tell time. The function is related to an agenda... a final purpose.

Democritus said things don't arise to serve a purpose, but having arisen, they find a purpose. Which I think means that if they endure it's because they become caught up in a situation that's reinforcing their existence.

So a naturalist would say people didn't develop thumbs for the purpose of having superior hands. But having developed, thumbs persist because they increased the survival rate of primates that had them.

A theist would say that thumbs are part of a divine plan, as everything is. So they were created in accordance with the agenda of God.

A naturalist would say that a person doesn't have an inherent purpose. Nothing does. Things just arise and fall away. So all purposes are artificial to the naturalist. Therefore good and bad are artificial as well.

The theist would say that a person has a purpose in accordance with the agenda of God, as all things do. Therefore when you think of good and bad, you are seeking to understand God's Will.

If you notice, the two outlooks have some things in common. They both recognize purpose and good as aspects of human life. They differ only in describing the origin of them. The naturalist says that we are the origin. The theist says it's not us, it's God.

So the real difference is us versus other. And this is a pervasive difference between theism and naturalism. In ancient times in the fertile crescent, there was a god of copper smelting. It was understood that smelting was a gift of this god. Today we would find that viewpoint to be ridiculous. Humans created smelting. Apparently the ancients had a problem with owning their own creativity. But we're smarter than that. We understand ourselves to be the latest stage of a progression. In the shadow of this very idea, that we are more advanced, is the ancient perspective peeking out. We never left it behind. We buried it. But it's still there.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 06:28 pm
@north,
north wrote:


I have given confidence , encouragement to a young women , she listened

I'm proud of this
You should be.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 07:58 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

The main function of a watch is to tell time. There are other functions. They exist because we want to tell time. The function is related to an agenda... a final purpose.

Democritus said things don't arise to serve a purpose, but having arisen, they find a purpose. Which I think means that if they endure it's because they become caught up in a situation that's reinforcing their existence.

So a naturalist would say people didn't develop thumbs for the purpose of having superior hands. But having developed, thumbs persist because they increased the survival rate of primates that had them.

A theist would say that thumbs are part of a divine plan, as everything is. So they were created in accordance with the agenda of God.

A naturalist would say that a person doesn't have an inherent purpose. Nothing does. Things just arise and fall away. So all purposes are artificial to the naturalist. Therefore good and bad are artificial as well.

The theist would say that a person has a purpose in accordance with the agenda of God, as all things do. Therefore when you think of good and bad, you are seeking to understand God's Will.

If you notice, the two outlooks have some things in common. They both recognize purpose and good as aspects of human life. They differ only in describing the origin of them. The naturalist says that we are the origin. The theist says it's not us, it's God.

So the real difference is us versus other. And this is a pervasive difference between theism and naturalism. In ancient times in the fertile crescent, there was a god of copper smelting. It was understood that smelting was a gift of this god. Today we would find that viewpoint to be ridiculous. Humans created smelting. Apparently the ancients had a problem with owning their own creativity. But we're smarter than that. We understand ourselves to be the latest stage of a progression. In the shadow of this very idea, that we are more advanced, is the ancient perspective peeking out. We never left it behind. We buried it. But it's still there.


What other functions has a watch except to tell time? We can, as I pointed out, use it in other capacities, but that is what it was manufactured to do, and what people want it to do. Watches have no "final purpose" whatever that may be. If you think they do, state it.

Of course, it is true that unless God exists, people are not created things so they are not, like watches created with some function. It was for that reason that Jean Paul Sartre disputed Aristotle's views that people are like watches and that, unlike watches, they do not have a function. Nevertheless, it is true that to say of something that it is a good instance of its kind of thing is to commend it for having certain characteristics which is why the Oxford English Dictionary tells us that "good" "is the highest adjective of commendation". We commend a good watch for having the characteristics that make a watch commendable, chief among which is keeping accurate time. But we know that because the chief function of a watch is to keep accurate time. Now there are generally agreed on characteristics of people that we think make them commendable. We divide these into virtues and talents. A virtue would be honesty. A talent would be intelligence. We think that virtues are somehow up to the individual himself, who develop them; talents are something the individual is born with. Together, they make the individual a good individual, or commendable or, praiseworthy. But why these particular virtues are those that make a person commendable or praiseworthy is a different issue.
jjorge
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 08:03 pm
She: "my mother always told me to be good. Was I good?

He: (reaching for a cigarette) "Yes, you were VERY good baby!"
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