Progress and Moral Psychology

hi there,

the classical model of man assumes that he is always progressing towards he believes is his improvement, his betterment. it’s when his beliefs are erronous, or have strayed from their original path, that it leads him to progress in a way that can actually be seen to be regressive, or harmful.

this idea is obviolsy closely tied to external causation, and the idea that objects strive to fulfill the function for which they were intended.

now, let’s all agree that external causation has been largely disproven, because, really, it has. at the very least, it cannot be assumed as the absoulte truth.

if internal causation is assumed, in that the mere existence of a thing implies its logical necessity, the progress either becomes obsolete or changes its meaning. by internal causation, the logical necessity embedded within the object means that there is nothing really to strive towards… simply being that object is enough. in fact, there is nothing to move towards; doing so subtracts from being in that moment and does not fulfill what the object is required. unless progress were to be defined as perhaps an acknowledgement of what one is and how this fulfills its purpose, progress is a silly word to use.

anyway, i can how this nicely leads to extisentialism.

my problem is, that while i can accept this, surely the standard for judging regression becomes evasive to the general public. really, only a person can know, with any degree of certainty, who they really are – and this state is even arguablly acheivable. this puts a termendous shift in resonsibility from society and to the individual. heads up all those asscracks in the socsci thread who said that democrracy’s obsolute ---- it’s for THIS reason that democracy is necessary. tsk. and if the state of self-actualization (for want of a better word) is so unceratin, why should we pursue it?

perhaps this is reason to go back to a less responsible society, america seems headed towards a bmw-gay nation, with chistian conservatives by the millions, willing to transfere their own right to understand who/what they are, for the ‘progressive’ approach at being an individual (i.e. one must become a good Christian).

should we all now officially declare that the enlightenment, modernism and post-modernism have failed and return to the familiar horizons that once dominated?

is the responsibilty given deserving

dang…you bring up a whole bunche of fancy words and concepts here that confuse me boyond any doubt.

Whew…let me start

I think we live in a universe where things have a reason for existing. You just being the thing that you are–there is no real point to that. There has to be some kind of goal or something that you are trying to accomplish in your life otherwise–why would you even have the option to do so? If God didn’t care what we do in our life and the choice that we make in our life he would have never given us free will in the first place. He would have created us as robots that always act in the same way and we would all be 100% identical because it doesnt matter what we do.

Now just as you say above…this is this problem of error and when a human being for example in convinced that he is doing something for his or her imporovement but he is actually hurting himself or herself.

This is one of the big philosophical issues that I deal with in my education and the question of whether you can really blame a person for doing something that he fully believed was right (even through it turned out to be wrong).

Because sometimes people get so convinced that they are improving and doing something to better themselves (even some serial killers beleive they are improving themselves and fulfilling some kind of purpose)

I strongly dissagree that the concept of external causation has been disproven and unless you can disprove it for me right here right now…i have no reason to accept that claim based upon authority

The problem with internal causation is like you partially stated…that the process is endless. There has to be some sort of a primary or first mover otherwise we all travel in a circle and there is no ultime cause and no reason to anything.

If you keep asking the question WHO CREATED _______ and you keep going back and back in time…eventually you have to come to a point where you say NOONE CREATED THIS THING. IT ALWAYS EXISTED…that is where God and the divine creatures come in.

I am not sure if this actually helps answer any of your questions but it is my attempt to answer at least some of them


My problem with what you said is that, while responsibility is placed on the individual, time and time again it’s shown that given the option of giving away responsibility makes people feel more free than taking responsibility.

In other words, responsibility is the only thing everyone has and no one wants. Eventually, I believe, with what little faith I can ever have, that complacency will rule any democratic nation over time.

If you disagree, well, remember, it’s not my fault.

violhence wrote:

if we collapse causation to be embedded in the effect, the infinite regress disappears. and the third man arg’t dies. god doesn’t need to come just yet; i mean, how was the atom created? how was space created? aren’t we assuming those existed before the world?

why not? let’s go slow on this. every cause has an effect. thus, everything that exists, exists for a reason. if this reason is not emedded in that object, this means that it must strive to met it. that means that there is a period when the object exists with no reason. yet it has a cause, but the effect is not fulfilled. hegel wrote that embedded in the object is what it is, and what it will be. the problem, however, is that every cause produces and effect, not an effect and an effect that will come (this requires another cause). logical necessity must be embedded with existence, for the doctrine of cause and effect to be fully implemented.

rafa wrote:

i would like to hear your thoughts as to why.

my problem is, this seems to be one of the few tight theories that applies to several different systems. its logical for a human to accept this termendous amount of responsibility. that reality has proven otherwise, or at least the reluctance to accept this, should this cause us to revise the theory? or give up metaphysics and most branches of philosophy?

what’s also important to note is that those ‘great leaders’ of society, both religious/political/etc all accepted the responsibility that they held. they didn’t embrace progress so much as they sought to embrace everything that they were at that moment. at the very least, i’m sure all would agree that this is pretty much all one can do.

Well, we’re not talking about great leaders. We’re talking about the common man. The common man doesn’t even take the time to vote or educate themselves about the party their voting for. How can you say that they want responsibility?

It’s not as obvious in Canada where you do not have a two-party system. In the U.S., though, people vote based solely on what party their parents have voted for 50 years… or what party their church votes for… or what party their friends or peers or even, boss, supports. Ask the average voter what they think of Bush’s foreign and domestic policies and how they feel about Kerry, and you’ll see… they all give the same canned responses based on what snippets they heard on talk radio while they were searching for their music station.

People do not seek a great deal of customizabiity, either. They become overwhelmed with options. They want to be told what comes in a package, and not whether the package is right for them. This is evident through the “Value Meal” system that has branched into all sales markets. When I worked a McDonalds for a little while when I was younger, there were "Value Meal"s that weren’t values at all, and wound up being 0.50-$1.00 more than if they had bought each item individually… but people still bought the meals. Why? Complacency. They relinquish their responsibility to others.

This is why we have God. He’s the ultimate responsibility killer. He forgives everything, he welcomes everyone. All of your sins are washed away with a couple hours of worship. I mean, look at those killers on death row that truely believe they should be freed because they “found Jesus”. That’s about not taking responsibility for your actions and relinquishing responsibility to a higher power. That’s bullshit. That’s what is killing the United States democratic elections, it’s what’s killing our government.

This is human nature.

This is why democracy is a failing system. Sure, it looks great on paper, but so does communism.

perhpas because everyone does want, fundamentally, freedom. my theory is that responsibility is quick to be shrugges (hence compliacy, as you say) is that freedom is assumed at a based level by everyone. i think that i am freely choosing to type right now. whether this be the case or not, i think it can be generally agreed that this feeling (where it be proven true or false in reality) exists. such feelings of freedm do not extend to ownership of outcomes perhaps because as freely we did the acts, we also might assume that the results were free to occur. in other words, in every man there is this drive to whatever we can, to the extent that we can. seems to be a survival technique during evolution. results though, in the past and perhaps to a certain extent today, were less certain, less known and far less foreseeable. so we just act, instinctively. while we are quick to do this, we’re slower to make the connection that the acts were connected to the results – instinctively, at least.

actually, it makes a lot of sense for the voter to vote along such partisan lines, from a politcal science standpoint. but that’s a diff topic.

new sig’s rafa? what do you believe the purpose of a government should be? something that surpresses human nature? why would anyone want that? that artifical constraint seems like bullshit to me.

The government’s role should be to suit those who should be suited, and punish those who should be punished.

Hey, I don’t think voting should be gotten rid off all together, I just think our current, more direct, democratic governments don’t work out in the long run. Start local, give more power to local governments, setup the judicial system such that the state courts directly checks local governments, and give more provincial power. Remove a great majority of states rights and give them to local governments. The main purpose of the state is to check and balance the local system, and to make sure the interstate laws are well balanced. Remove power from the federal government, the presidents (there will be 5) is only for vetos and they also have a vote in congressional and house seatings. Vice presidents’ goals remains the same. The high Judicial courts are going to be beefed up and ALL the positions will be appointed by the presidents directly with a special house committee that is established by the PREVIOUS presidents to reign during the current presidents’ term (this also, by the way, must pass congress prior to leaving office). The Supreme Judicial system checks the presidents, the the house and senate checks the Supreme Courts, the presidents check the House and Senate.

“The question is who is to be master, that is all.” - Humpty Dumpty

Elections: Local government officials are elected. Among those locally chosen, state representatives are elected. These elections are an election of peers, with the local government officials voting on themselves. The common man is NOT open to vote for them. The local representatives will function as state congress, the state congress votes on the best of its own to be state representatives. The state representatives will elect the best of their own to be presidents, and THEN AND ONLY THEN does the final, open, democratic vote take place. This is a series of elections that lasts one month where the citizens line-item-veto any single presidential candidate. If over 40% of the votes go to one presidential candidate, the congress must reconvene and find another candidate. Another election will occur in two weeks.

Another idea that I would throw out there is to create 4 presidential universities. In addition to being natural citizens, the presidents must attend this university and graduate in order to be eligable.

The idea here is that people are overwhelmed with the current state of politics. As is, you have to be rather active in the political community to even begin to see the larger picture. This keeps things locally focused and gives the people a chance to stay focused on what’s right for them…appointing only those candidates they can actually MEET!

oh rafa, that’s parliamentary democracies! ohh…canada isn’t exactly similar to that, because we have first-past-the-post electoral system, so a euro demo with a list pr (or stv, perferably) would be closer to your ideal. you nut, you’re more real than you’d think.

i’ll reply with more later…