Teach Your Children Well...

In primitive cultures wives are often seen as property of their husbands. Is this how it ought to be with children in our culture? Do parents own their child? As long as they do no direct physical harm are the parents free to instill any beliefs they wish in a child? Does society have reason to object should the parents teach their child to hate others? Should parents be free to teach a child to think irrationally?

It’s my view that parents bear a heavy responsibility but no rights of ownership over their progeny. In fact, no human has possessive rights over any another human. Since the child ultimately shall take his or her place in society, it is society rather than the parent that should dictate what the child is to be taught. It should be impermissible for a parent to teach a child to hate others. Excepting playful notions such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, it should likewise be impermissible for a parent to teach a child utter nonsense.

Nicholas Humphrey made a strong case for this thesis in his Amnesty International speech at Oxford in 1997:

“In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense. And we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.”

You may read this speech at

newschool.edu/gf/psy/faculty … mnesty.htm

In North America parents have nearly dictatorial rights over their offspring. Society intervenes only in cases where the child is either neglected or physically / sexually abused. I say that society has a clear and direct role in insuring that a parent does not poison the mind of a child. How many times must we suffer the unleashing of an adolescent monster into society by his or her “head-case” parents before we summon the courage to intervene on behalf of the child as well as ourselves?

I’ll end with this bit of irony; deadbeat parents looking for a handout sometimes cite the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” yet when society offers suggestions about the child rearing process the parents indignantly exclaim, “You can’t tell me how to raise my child!”


Parents SHOULD have an amazing degree of control over their children while they are still children. After all, the child would not exist in the first place were it not for the parents. In addition, if it is society rather than the parents that is forced to bear the responsibility of raising children, what is to prevent parents from having child after child, knowing that the bulk of the responsibility will be shifted to everyone else?

In a free society, any individual is allowed to hold whatever ideas and beliefs he wishes, regardless of how abhorrent or wrong everyone else may consider them to be. If those ideas lead to violence, then the person is punished–but only for the act itself, NOT for the ideas he holds. A free society punishes people for what they do, not how they think.

By the way, that’s a good song.

“You, who are on the road, must have a code…”

And drawing the line between thinking and acting is where the problem occurs.

Also too many people view raising their kids as a battle of dominance. If children were to gain more rights people would probably see it as a victory and it would in my opinion cause even more social strain.

Personally I don’t like the way parents raise their kids. I have no idea how I’d do it though so I can’t really say much about it. I don’t like the idea of brainwashing though.

Also I wonder if you were to let a kid grow up uninfluenced if it would turn out moral or not. Cause who knows we may be all teaching against natural tendancies.

For a parent it’s all about control and their desire to make themselves immortal (so to speak) through THEIR “seed”, so their ideals live on once they’re dead. Parents constantly hint at “ownership” of the seed and believe that they can mold their seed as they see fit.

“I brought you into this world and I can take you outta it.”


as a parent.

as a parent of two little people, two little people as blessed with life from the love of two people.

developed by love, and lovingly developing.
these little people if they are to be the property of anyone or thing, is that of the people.

people that could be considered as such. that is the body of persons who compose a community.

the intrinsic nature of that community should be that inwhich any little people are nurtured.
we cannot chose where we are born, into which community we are born into, only that, after being nurtured in any community may one chose otherwise.

discrepancies occur when two communities differ in their intrinsic nature. this is apparent more today due to the interconnectivity of communities.

many years ago communities that maybe are objected to in there upbringing of offspring, would have been then, not a consideration.

one community may feel dominate over another, considering the actions of another as unjust. all communities can do as they interact more closely today is to try to balance an understanding as of the communities culture.

the little people have only their community. it is what they are.
any inhumane acts to the little people of the world, are the ‘still’ unresolved communications of the different communities.

i disagree with the posting suggesting control, in that it is not of our doing, who is blessed with life. we may see it as such, but then there remains arguements.
what is considered life?
to live a life, or to exist

as parents we teach, protect, and offer guidance to survival, how that all develops (either in accordance to parents wishes) is and (i am sure ) will always remain up to the people, the one time little people,

Hugs and smiles

Hi cba,

Reasonable men may disagree on nearly everything other than the use of reason itself. Pierre Boutroux noted:

"Logic is invincible because in order to combat logic it is necessary to use logic.‘’

Two-valued Aristotelian logic might one day be surpassed by an improved logic, but for now we do well to remember that Aristotelian logic is better than no logic at all.

I’m not suggesting that there is only one correct way to bring up a child. Musical parents, for example, might successfully raise their children in musical environments, while children whose parents love to sail will undoubtedly be raised on and around sailboats. It matters little whether a child should learn to sail or to play the violin, but to do either successfully requires an irrefutable logic. To teach a child to sail the boat directly into the wind is to teach the child nonsense.

Alone wrote:

This is a good point, Alone. People too often think of their children as their clones. A child is in no way a vehicle for a parent’s immortality. A child is simply one more unique human among six billion other similarly unique humans. My brother once came across a heaping box of letters in a trash bin. These letters were written by a WW1 Doughboy to his mother. The hundred or so letters contained a fascinating personal history beginning with this man’s induction into the Army, through the trenches of France, up to the signing of the Armistice. His mother had saved every precious letter but his grandchildren were so little interested that they set the entire box of letters out with the trash. How much do you know about your own distant ancestor’s lives? So much for thinking that we might continue to live on in the hearts and minds of our offspring! Darwin’s good ideas, for example, persist not because he taught them to his children but because he wrote them in his Origin of the Species.

Consider as well those who wish to achieve a sort of genetic immortality through their children. These folks would do well to remember that to have a child is to already have your gene-pool diluted by half. A grandchild will only retain a maximum of 25%, while your great-grandchildren will only have a maximum of 12.5% of your personal gene-pool. By the 8th generation your progeny will retain less than 1% of your genetic individuality. Allowing 25 years per generation and given the unreasonable assumption that each of your offspring will produce their own offspring; in the span of 725 years just under one part per million of your genetic identity will remain undiluted. So much for acheiving genetic immortality through one’s children!

The fundamental value of sexual reproduction is precisely that it shuffles the genetic deck of cards. Sexual reproduction is a pyramid scheme that dilutes rather than preserves genetic identity. Unless you happen to be the mother of all humanoids (Lucy, as she is sometimes called), sexual reproduction is nearly useless as a means for achieving personal genetic immortality.

A parent uttering such stupidity evidently misunderstands the fundamental moral asymmetry; reproduction is a right, murder is a crime.

Kurt Weber wrote:

Kurt, no one said anything about society assuming the responsibility of a parent. What I have said is that the parents are responsible not only that they should teach their children, but also they are responsible for what they teach their children.

Only our thoughts are free. An expression of our thoughts is an act. Acts are bound by responsibilities. The examples are endless: Shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, inciting the passions of a mob to riot, directing the accountants of one’s own company to “cook the books,” slandering someone’s name in public, etcetera.

The teaching of my freely held ideas to a child constitutes an act, and we’re responsible for our acts. A gruesome example comes to mind. Suppose a man believes that dogs should kill children. It’s a horrifying thought, nevertheless, you and I both believe he is free to hold it. But is this man equally free to raise and train his Rotweiler puppies to kill children? Does the argument that he has the right to educate his dogs as he sees fit, sound familiar to you?

Even if his dogs never kill, the training of dogs to kill children constitutes an immoral act. Likewise, it’s an immoral act to train a Muslim child to hate the Hindus. It’s wrong to teach a child that the Earth is flat or that our daily fates can be determined by reading Tarot cards.

Brainwashing a child in a fundamentalist religious belief is equivalent to placing his or her mind in a straight jacket. Even if the straight jacket is one day removed, the child’s normal growth will have been stunted. As a child matures he or she is perfectly free to make persoanl choices, to follow Scientology, Astrology, or even to bore a hole in their own head (yes, some groups see merit in this).

We wouldn’t think of exposing children to pornography so why would we allow them to be subjected to extreme dogmas before they’ve had the chance to tune-up their own nonsense detectors? I’m arguing that children should have the right not to have beliefs beaten into them. A child’s mind is not an empty vessel to be filled with the parent’s ready-made beliefs. We ought to teach our children how to think rather than what to think.


"Logic is invincible because in order to combat logic it is necessary to use logic.‘’

logic, as you call it, is worthless junk. why would you combat something that is inherently as useful as a piece of #$%#$ on the sidewalk? captian kirk beat more than one evil computer by being ‘illogical! illogical!’, showing how invincible a concept bickered about by hairless apes really is.


ultimately, how/why/when/blah blah a child should/could/ought/blah blah to be brought up is irrelevant, considering there are billions of parents who have and will raise their children (according to many factors, cultural, societal, behavioural, blah…) without, unfortunatly, consulting the wise posters to this forum. common sense uber alles.

Oh, I don’t know, Kirk usually used the Socratic method to beat those evil computers as I recall. Kirk wasn’t being illogical so much as showing those evil computers that they were the ones who were being illogical.

“Must obey prime direcitve . . . must sterilize imperfection . . .” or something like that.

warning: this post is entirely off-topic. dont bother to read if interested in main discussion.

on the kirk thing - i remember him and the crew dancing around like retards and saying non-sequiters to confuse some villan… in at least 2 episodes, i think. sorry for the confusing reference, anyway.

tRippq wrote:

tRippq states a strong conclusion without producing any evidence for it. I’m left with no choice but to guess what his intentions are. His use of the words “uber alles,” leads me to wonder if he’s reading Nietzsche; certainly no friend to logicians. Is this where he’s coming from?

I also notice he’s given his location as, “It’s all relative.” This makes me think he might be a radical postmodernist. Perhaps he sides with the radical feminists that decry logic as merely an extension of a man’s penis, or the Afrocentrists that despise “white man’s” logic? Is this where he’s coming from?

But then again, he could be a religious fundamentalist that refuses to accept logic over the “truth” revealed to him by his god. Maybe this is where he’s coming from?

Of course he might simply revile formal logic because he’s never understood the meaning of all those little squiggly symbols. He might have come to despise what he doesn’t understand. He wouldn’t be the first to do so.

tRippq’s reply brings to mind a neighbor’s father. One day while topping-out a tree, this man sawed off the branch upon which he was standing. I imagine he had a quick logic refresher as he fell to his death. Now, I assume this middle-aged Vermont dairy farmer was logical in his daily thought patterns; he probably just lost his concentration for one fatal moment. However, if tRippq is correct - if formal logic is worthless junk - the conditional statement, “If I stand on the trunk side of the branch, then I’ll be safe,” would not have helped the farmer decide which side of the branch he should stand on. Likewise, he couldn’t have used a standard deductive syllogism:

To stand on the unsupported end of the branch is not safe.
I am standing on the unsupported end of the branch.
Therefore; I am not safe.

Though it’s a crucial part of our abilty to reason, logic is not identical to reason. Our reasoning ability includes probabilistic determinations and emotions among other things. But if not for our logic we’d be quite different beings. Remember also that mathematics is a subset of logic. No logic implies no mathematics; which implies no science; which implies no technology. Yet tRippq maintains that logic is “worthless junk.”

In tRippq’s follow-up post he mentions the word “non sequitur.” However, his use of this word is meaningless, for without logic how could he distinguish between a sequitur and a non sequitur? Since he thinks logic is worthless, how could he tell if Captain Kirk and crew were acting logically or illogically? How did that episode of Star Trek make the slightest bit of sense to him?

Since I intend this refutation of tRippq’s position to be in the form of a logical argument, it would be illogical of me to address the argument directly to him. He’d be unmoved no matter how well I made my argument. But I wonder what sort of response would suffice in order that he would alter his views? Coercive arguments? Well, those might work in a bar but they’re scarcely effective here. Perhaps we should beg him to accept our opinions? No, I can’t imagine any of us caring that much what he thinks. In fact, the only tool at our disposal for discourse in this forum is logic, and logic’s close cousin, reason.

It appears that tRippq has painted himself into a corner. The Principle of Contradiction tells us that he may not both logically assert that logic is worthless junk and attempt to reply to posts using logical arguments. Of course he very well could contradict himself, since he doesn’t recognize the Principle of Contradiction. Still, isn’t it peculiar to deny the validity of logic at the same time one is attempting to make logically persuasive arguments? My hope is that he might relent and allow that logic is in fact more useful than “… a piece of #$%#$ on the sidewalk.”

tRippq might think that we ought to defer to the cultural or societal norms that send poor Muslim boys off to Madrassas, where they are taught to hate and kill anyone unlike them.

If innocent North Korean women are rounded up to fill the prison slave-labor factories (Harper’s Magazine, November 2002, Made in North Korea), is that simply a case of their societal norms in action? tRippq appears to believe that there are no objective standards of human behavior. If this were true then no one would have the right to intervene to protect a child or a woman from abuse. The abuser could always cite his or her right too act according to their own familial values (which they could simply invent on the spot). I think tRippq might have taken that mythical “Prime Directive of non-intervention” from his fictional Star Trek episodes as a fundamental truth in our non-fictional world. In this non-fictional world, we all have to live together. Like it or not, humans are interdependent and interrelated; what happens in Beijing affects life in Boston.


This is a mistake. Objectivity can be used in either direction here. There is no final statement, only politics. Only talking. We don’t need objective standards, we need to believe what we believe. Radical Postmodernism is an attitude, not a philosophy, and it’s usually the result of massively misreading or pretending that you’ve read those philosophers who are labeled postmodern (most of whom have no interest in the label). Derrida’s “I have always loved the tradition” was greeted with aghast but it makes perfect sense if you actually read the guy.

Hey Brad,
Under normal circumstances would you intervene to protect a child or a woman from an abuser? I believe this is a rhetorical question with only one possible answer. A civilized man bears a moral obligation towards strangers as well as to his friends and family. While there are any number of special circumstances where we might be excused from this duty, the ground rule is; Whenever possible, I have a duty to alleviate the suffering of others. This global duty cuts across all social and cultural lines.

As a 19th century military commander in India, Sir Charles Napier was presented with a case of moral relativism. The local custom was to burn a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. Napier declared this to be a moral outrage. When the local headmen objected that Napier did not understand their custom, he replied that the British also have a custom, “When men burn women alive we hang them.”

Cultural sensitivity is a fine thing in its place, but there’s no virtue in excusing an atrocity on the basis of cultural relativism, or in deference to local beliefs. There is an absolute minimal threshold by which the treatment of all humans must be measured. It’s a universal truth that abused people suffer. Mankind advances whenever greater numbers of the earth’s inhabitants are accorded decent human rights.

Brad, you wrote, “…we need to believe what we believe.” I think I’ve made clear what it is that I believe. I’ll gladly make way for your beliefs and customs, unless they include harming another human.

On the subject of postmodernism; it appears to be a big umbrella under which a diverse group gathers; artists, literary critics and philosophers. Nearly every one of them likely has his or her unique definition of what postmodernism is. As with so many before it, we’re all likely to agree on what it was only after it has run its course as a movement. I enjoy reading a select few advocates (Rorty is an example, as we’ve already discussed), most of them interest me little, while some I find repulsive (if you read Dawkins’ review of the Alan Sokal affair in the link I gave in my earlier post, you’ll meet a few of the latter).


I think Napier’s response is the correct one. But further I think we can convince other cultures of the advantages of Liberalism in the same way that we can now see that slavery was wrong.


I’m pleased that you’ve brought slavery into the discussion. I wish I’d thought to mention it earlier myself. Slavery has been such a key element of past societies that otherwise morally upstanding men of the past (Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, etc.) rarely questioned the practice. The universal condemnation of slavery among civilized men is a relatively recent phenomenon. If Thomas Jefferson were a contemporary, I’ve no doubt he’d speak forcefully against the slavery found today in Sudan, for example.

How could past men of the highest ethical integrity abide such an obviously immoral practice? My answer is that men generally calibrate their moral compass against the prevailing norms. Few of us want to be seen as either a Saint or a Sinner; most of us just want to act normally.

What is normal? Normal, as used in this sense, is a median behavior of humans. Which humans? This is the question. Should a Sudanese calibrate his moral compass only against the other Sudanese in his village? But what if the people in his village practice slavery? Well, then his concept of what is right will likely include the keeping of slaves. Similarly, a man born in Saudi Arabia invariably follows the teachings of Islam. Morality in these examples appears to be primarily a function of geography.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans.” But what if the Romans go in for some very nasty business? If a normally chaste man travels to Amsterdam is he at liberty to visit a Cathouse? Is a man’s morality an inherent part of him, or should his morality change to fit the locale? Does the virtue of Tolerance require one to tolerate acts of inhumanity?

Many of us are fortunate to be able to take our moral sampling from the database that includes all of humanity rather than just those of our local village. We needn’t anymore be limited only to provincial ideas. Our village library should be filled with books of widely differing views. But what if the village library only has the either the Koran or the Bible on its shelf? This is similar to having the right to vote for only one candidate. So Brad, I agree with you on the merits of Liberalism; though I define Liberalism as the right to make an informed choice.

Liberalism suggests that your child have the freedom to read any book that he or she chooses. But in order to exercise this liberty a child must first be taught to read a common language. You might protest that you have the right to teach your child to read in your own “private language” (re:Wittgenstein). I say that by exercising this “right” you simply reduce your child’s freedom and I argue that it’s a parent’s duty to teach the child to read in a common language (and preferably more than one language). My argument is that the child’s right to think for itself supercedes a parent’s right to pound his or her own private language into the child’s little head.

I came across an article today by the British philosopher A.C. Grayling, titled, The Secular and the Sacred. Grayling argues that placing restrictions on the powers of religious groups enhances our freedom. He argues that (Grayling’s quotes in bue):

“Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Taleban are … not aberrations, but unadulterated and unconstrained expressions of their respective faiths…”

Religious dogmas are the antithesis of Liberalism. He goes on to say:

“This is where the threat of serious future difficulty lies, because all the major religions in fact blaspheme one another, and ought by their principles to engage in crusade or jihad each against the others – a profoundly disturbing thought. They blaspheme each other in numerous ways. All non-Christians blaspheme Christianity by their refusal to accept the divinity of Christ, because in so doing they reject the Holy Ghost, doing which is described as the most serious of all blasphemies … All non-Muslims blaspheme Islam because they insult Mohammed by not accepting him as the true Prophet, and by ignoring the teachings of the Koran … All the religions blaspheme each other by regarding the others’ teachings, metaphysics and much of their ethics as false, and their own religion as the only true one.”

When and wherever religions have gained political power there has been “hell to pay.”

“Where they can get away with it – as in present-day Afghanistan – devotees continue the same practices. The religious Right in America would doubtless do so too, but has to use TV, money, advertising, and political lobbying instead to impress its version of the truth on American society. It is only where religion is on the back foot, reduced to a minority practice, with an insecure tenure in society, that it presents itself as essentially peaceful and charitable.”

By restricting the power of religions we thus protect our own liberty. In the days when the Pope maintained an army; when the monarchs of Europe were uniformly Roman Catholic, we had Crusades and Inquisitions. Those unfortunates accused of heresy were tortured and murdered a matter of course. Given the past violence perpetrated by the Church we’ve been remarkably tolerant in not outlawing it altogether, much as the Nazi Party was outlawed in postwar Germany. Grayling concludes with:

“Now therefore is the time to place religion where it belongs – wholly in the private sphere along with other superstitions and foibles, leaving the public domain as neutral territory where all can meet without prejudice as humans and equals.”


I agree, a common language is necessary, and currently my wife (Korean) and I (American) are trying to give our daughter two languages – though I’m somewhat at a loss with ‘private language’. What exactly would that be?

As far as religion goes, I’m in agreement with Grayling, the political realm should be completely secularized and we need to teach that to everyone else. On the other hand, I don’t think we should outlaw religion, it has much to offer on the aesthetic, private level. Trivialize it politically (not that I think aesthetics is trivial), don’t leave an opening for martyrdom.

Curious if you want to discuss the Sokal Affair? Maybe in another thread?

To respond to your question about my reference to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “private language” argument will require me to go off-topic for a bit.

Wittgenstein thought that every meaning has a social background, and as such, a strictly private language is impossible. If Robinson Crusoe had ended up on his lonely island before he was taught a language, then Wittgenstein would say that not only would he have no need of language, the very idea of one makes no sense. His argument goes something like this.

Suppose Crusoe finds a plant that is good to eat and another similar plant that is unpalatable. Crusoe gives each of them a name so as not to confuse the two. To these names he attaches a linguistic sound, and thus when he see these plants he utters the sound that he has assigned to each. But Wittgenstein reminds us that if Crusoe could already identify the plant such that he could name it, then the naming of the plant serves no purpose! Whatever noises a linguistically isolated person could make, not only would they be useless, they would also not count as a language.

Another example I’ve read considers two chess players. At the start of a game the black player places a little paper crown on his queen. The white player asks him why he’s done this. The black says that for him the crown imparts a special meaning to his queen. The white asks the black if he intends to make any unusual moves with his paper-crowned queen. The black replies, “No, my queen will follow precisely the same rules as a queen without a paper crown.” To this the white says, “Then this crown does not have what I call ‘meaning’.”

I think I understand the point Wittgenstein is making. I would note though, that a written private language would aid Crusoe if he should wish to record the daily island occurrences as well as his thoughts in a diary. Wittgenstein would likely counter by saying that this would amount to talking to one’s self, and one cannot tell oneself anything that one does not already know. Yes, but who doesn’t write down things to help them remember? But Wittgenstein’s idea is less objectionable if we limit ourselves to the spoken language. Still, a minor objection might be that some of us recite lines of poetry that we’ve committed to memory just for the simple enjoyment of it. Why wouldn’t Robinson Crusoe take pleasure from writing and reciting poetry in his own invented language?

There is another aspect of this argument that I’ll mention. It’s obvious that we change with time. I think we change so much as to regularly become different people. As a 45-year old man I’m not the same person I was as a boy of 5. Of the 6 billion people on this planet I very well imagine there is another middle-aged man that looks, thinks, and acts far more like I do today than the boy of 5 who was me at an earlier time. If this is true, then this other man is more “me” than this 5-year old boy that I was. But clearly this other middle-aged man is a different person than I am. Then it also makes sense to say that I am even more a different person now from that which I was as a boy. You might object that I have the same body today as I did as a child. Well, besides the fact that I weigh twice as much, am twice as tall, and look almost nothing like I did as a child, there is the further fact that nearly every cell in my body has changed several times since I was young. Other than a few brain cells, I am - atom for atom - an entirely different person.

Thinking again of Robinson Crusoe, there is not a single person that inhabits his otherwise deserted island. As Robinson’s life plays out, there will be a succession of persons living on this island. So, if the young Robinson develops his own language, this same language will carry over to a later Robinson and form a link between the two persons. In this I’m agreeing with Wittgenstein, but for different reasons than he gave. I’m saying there can be no private language because there is no such thing as a unique, yet long-lived private person.

Now, if we are different people, then there must be moral implications involved. What if I smoked as a youth, but the mature version of me is repelled by the very thought of smoking? Since we are two distinctly different persons it can be said that the earlier person has harmed the health of the later person. The argument cut s the other way as well. Should we hold the very different later person accountable for some misdeed the earlier person was responsible for? I think Wittgenstein’s’ argument works perfectly well if one replaces “private language” with “private morality.” There can be no private morality. Morality arises when at least two persons develop a relationship to each other.

Speaking now of my earlier post, I said that parents should not be allowed to teach their child exclusively in a private language. Of course, strictly speaking, if you taught another person to speak your private language it would no longer be private. I was trying to use Wittgenstein’s argument that to teach a child the parent’s private language or private logic is to deny the child the basic social aspect of language. Poetry aside, the fundamental purpose of language is to communicate. If there can be a common language then there can be a common logic.

It’s a wonderful thing to teach a Quebecois child to speak French. But when one considers that a much larger English speaking community surrounds Quebec, it makes sense to also teach the child to speak English. Now granted, the world would be a poorer place if we all only spoke English. The world would be a poorer place if we all held one philosophy, and one belief.

I’m reminded of something Robert Nozick said in his book, Philosophical Explanations:

“Philosophical argument, trying to get someone to believe something whether he wants to believe it or not, is not, I have held, a nice way to behave towards someone; also it does not fit the original motivation for studying or entering philosophy. That motivation is puzzlement, curiosity, a desire to understand, not a desire to produce uniformity of belief. Most people do not want to become thought-police. The philosophical goal of explanation rather than proof not only is morally better, it is more in accord with ones philosophical motivation.”

I surely have no wish to become the “thought-police.” In retrospect, I feel bad for having come down so hard on tRippq. It’s more important that he continue to think philosophically than for me to have made a knockdown argument. I do think however, that the virtue of maintaining diverse ideas does not include the maintaining of bad ideas. This whole business of philosophical argument, is for me a means of replacing my own flawed ideas with better ideas. I’m not trying to change anyone’s thinking as much as I’m trying to change my own. I don’t believe that our lack of an ultimate Truth implies that we have no criteria for rating the validity of our ideas.

Brad, I’m sure you are aware of the fundamental logical flaw in the notion of strong Relativism. If a strong relativist were to state there exists no basis for the selection of one idea over another, then it follows that he has no basis as well for selecting Relativism from among the other theories. If I were to level an argument against a strong relativist, he would have no hope of countering my argument and still maintain his idea that one argument is as good as another. How strong is your notion of relativism Brad, and do you think it runs afoul of this argument?

I think your daughter is very fortunate to be raised in two cultures as well as two languages. She is no less fortunate in that her father is a teacher. My wife also had the benefit of being raised in two cultures. As a girl she had two family homes, one in Northern Italy and the other here in America. I think I’ve adopted some of her European ways.

Brad, I’d like to send my best wishes to you and your family. Have you put any photos up on the web? If so, would you kindly direct me to them? I think it would be nice if we could be able to attach a friendly face to the text on the screen. In fact, I recently sent a photo of my wife and myself to Magius. It would be nice if we all had a place to store such a photo. We could have a “picture” thread which provided the links all in one place. Well, it’s just an idea.

Yes, the Alan Sokal business was interesting. If I don’t see your new post on the subject, I’ll initiate one myself.


wow! lots of big words! evidence of the ideas/systems of others blindly quoted, digested and regurgitated forth in vast quantities!

no evidence. hmm. im sorry i didnt provide any stale, overused, unoriginal thoughts for you to attack systematically, as if communication among people is some chess game. evidence: ever heard of common sence?

formal logic: i’ve never heard of it. im proud of that. i live my life, eat, go to the bathroom, screw, walk and type on this computer without needing whatever formal logic is. you know what it is, and understand it. congratulations! lets all throw a party for you and your system that you memorized for the purposes of…what? wash the dishes with your logic. love someone with it.

hmm…so the dumb hick farmer was so stupid he couldn’t use formal logic not to saw off the tree branch. there may have been any number of reasons why this event happened, a vast majority of which cannot be categorized or known. to use this example to sell what you call logic is kneejerk and overly simple. you label logic as what might have prevented this mans death, and without logic he could not have formed the thought that he needs to reasses the situation. so, do squirrels have logic? is that how they decide when, where, and how to play among the branches? when will they begin to use their logic to build little elevators and machine guns to protect their hords of acorn?

human technology is nothing. it is a less than an iota. natural events: around for billions of years. technology: less than 10 million modern science: charitably, i will date this to aristotle’s time: 2,500 years. i value my instinctual capabilities (provided naturally) more than any technology. am i stupid? i hope so.

your ‘non sequiter’ arguement…come on, now. why not say ‘how could he post a reply without computers, without science, which wouldn’t be there without logic…’ or watch tv? logic seems to have no sence of the poetical uses of language, or humor for that matter.

you want to ‘refute my postition’. what postition? i was in a bad mood and decided to take it out on your post.

‘isn’t it peculiar to deny the validity of logic at the same time one is attempting to make logically persuasive arguments?’

how was my post a logically persuasive argument? you have given it an undeserved status, i think.

‘tRippq might think that we ought to defer to the cultural or societal norms that send poor Muslim boys off to Madrassas, where they are taught to hate and kill anyone unlike them.’

you mean, teach the boy an unbending, authoritarian, methodical ideology to replace his natural means of thought, his creativity? how could you accuse me of such a thing! any society that does such a thing is unthinkably evil and twisted and should be wiped off of this planet!

‘If this were true then no one would have the right to intervene to protect a child or a woman from abuse. The abuser could always cite his or her right too act according to their own familial values (which they could simply invent on the spot).’

wow, talk about missing the point. i used a poor argument merely to say ‘why dont the people here discuss something more interesting, rather than holding forth on their theories of child raising.’

‘Like it or not, humans are interdependent and interrelated; what happens in Beijing affects life in Boston.’

humans arent That interrelated. people will do what they do. its great that people writing here have nice theories on child rearing, but me, i, the jerk that i am, didnt see the revelance of discussing nice potty training stories in a forum on philosophy.

the incomprehensible posts leading up to the excellent example of holistic lateral deciduous negativalogravistic theory you have just read only serve to illustrate my various points. thank you, ladies and gentleman. (applause; a smattering of ‘hear, hear’)

tRippq stated:

Just because YOU don’t find the topic of child raising important, doesn’t mean others don’t. If you aren’t interested, there are thousands of other threads for you to jump into; why do you have to make remarks about the topic at hand being uninteresting when all it does is make others feel bad? It serves no purpose for you to say that child raising is not an interesting topic.

tRippq stated:

Yes humans are interdependant, but we can survive on our own too. Yes humans are interrelated but so what? You say that what happens in Beijing affects life in Boston…depends on your perspective and the topic at hand. I mean, a women who buys noodles in Beijing won’t affect life in Boston; unless you want to argue philosophically on determinism and how all things affect all things, and any one thing you change alters the entire existence of the present and future. But what have we really said? What have we really learned? Furthermore, how can you be so sure that what happens in Beijing affects life in Boston, such that you have no qualm with being pretentious enough to say ‘like it or not’ to Polemarchus? As if you were stating a fact that despite anything he may have to say is automatically wrong and what you say is absolute truth. Thats dogmatic thinking for someone wishing to speak of more interesting matters of philosophy.

You contradict yourself a line later with…

But above you said humans were interrelated. So to what degree are we interrelated then? Not such an easy answer is it? Maybe if we cut the crap, put aside all our differences, and avoid Ad Hominum attacks we can do some interesting debating.

tRippq stated:

You didn’t see the relevance of discussing child raising stories, do you see the relevance now? Do you not think that anything can be talked about philosophically? Do you not think there is a system of the utmost importance related to raising children? This has serious affects into subjects of sociology, psychology, philosophy, neuro-physiology, etc. Both Plato and Aristotle thought child raising to be of the greatest importance, so great that they devoted whole sections of their writings to how children should be taught, how they should be treated, what they should and shouldn’t be allowed to do, etc. Maybe there is something to this child raising thing after all…

tRippq stated:

I didn’t find the previous posts to be incomprehensible. I don’t believe they have served in illustrating your various points, and the last you need nor will get is applause, which I think you are already aware of, hence you have to put in your own applause at the end of your post. Kind of childish don’t ya think? So childish that maybe it isn’t a coincidence that you entered this thread in the first place, and also why you stuck around, you need discipline, teaching, an idol, someone needs to set the right path for you…I suggest you stay and learn something from Brad and Polemarchus, I predict they have some very interesting things to say that may help you find the right path. I leave you with a latin phrase “Temet Nosce” which means…“Know thyself”

What’s your take?

tRippq wrote:

That’s just not how we do things here tRippq. It’s as if we’re playing chess and you want to play checkers. If you don’t want to back up your declarations with arguments you should confine your posts to the Rant section. It’s perfectly acceptable to make statements there based on the assertion that you possess a greater measure of “common sense” than the rest of us. There you can make arguments based upon your reading of Tarot cards, the alignment of the planets, or just because you say so. That’s why it’s called the “Rant” section. But this is the Philosophy section, and here you can say nearly anything you please as long as you back up your claims with logical arguments.

That’s an unusual boast to make on a Philosophy forum, given that Logic is a major field of study in philosophy. It’s a bit like going to a Skydiving forum and boasting that you would never wear a parachute.

That’s a nasty comment. A great deal of intelligence and hard work is required to successfully run a farm. The food you put in your mouth is a product of the hard work and careful planning by farmers. Some of the finest people I know are farmers.

Without medical technology it’s likely that you or one of your siblings would have died from a childhood disease. As a girl, my mother-in-law lost her brother to appendicitis. My father-in-law lost his mother to a simple infection. My father’s mother died in childbirth along with his sister. These premature deaths in my family alone could have been routinely prevented by today’s medical technology. But since you think human technology is nothing, if your appendix were close to bursting it follows that you wouldn’t go to a hospital. I certainly do respect a man that lives (and dies) by his convictions.

This is a strange thing to say. Kindly refer back to your earlier post where you stated,

You are now saying that this was not a statement at all; that you only wrote it because you were in a bad mood; yet in the same post you continue to maintain that logic is of no value. Are you still in a bad mood? If so, then am I to understand that you are not making any statements in this second post as well?

Please cast you mind back to the very first sentence of my reply to you. I said:

I told you up-front that since you gave no evidence for your statement (which you now say was no statement even as you continue to restate it), that I was left to guess as to your intentions. Now you are complaining that I missed your point even though you admit there was (and still is) no point to miss.

tRippq, you’ve stumbled upon a philosophy discussion group. You are very welcome here. I understand that my thread did not interest you. I invite you to find a topic (or create your own) that does interest you. You are free to say nearly anything you like as long as you are prepared to rationally defend the merits of your statements. You are free to make claims as long as I’m free to challenge them. This is the method of philosophical debate. Again, you can’t expect to play chess by the rules of checkers.

If logical arguments make you crazy, if you can’t stand to have your statements challenged, if you don’t want to be civil, and if your only reason to respond is that you are in a bad mood, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Perhaps you’d be happier in a chatroom.