Tuesday Philosophy and Literature Intro Notes Feb 28

Topic: Shaftesbury and the refutation of Hobbes

All quotes taken from Wikipedia.

Hobbes’ Philosophy:

“In some older texts, Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy.

His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory.

Hobbes was a champion of absolutism for the sovereign but he also developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought:

the right of the individual; the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the later distinction between civil society and the state);

the view that all legitimate political power must be “representative” and based on the consent of the people;

and a liberal interpretation of law which leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid.

He was one of the founders of modern political philosophy.

His understanding of humans as being matter and motion, obeying the same physical laws as other matter and motion, remains influential;

and his account of human nature as self-interested cooperation, and of political communities as being based

upon a “social contract” remains one of the major topics of political philosophy.

In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields,

including history, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general philosophy.”

Shaftesbury’s philosophy:

“Shaftesbury’s philosophical importance is due mainly to his ethical speculations, in which his motive was primarily the refutation of Hobbes’ egoistic doctrine.

By the method of empirical psychology, he examined man first as a unit in himself

and secondly in his wider relations to the larger units of society and the universe of mankind.

His great principle was that of Harmony or Balance, and he based it on the general ground of good taste or feeling as opposed to the method of reason:

1. In the first place, man as an individual is a complex of appetites, passions, affections, more or less perfectly controlled by the central reason.

In the moral man these factors are duly balanced.

“Whoever,” he says, “is in the least versed in this moral kind of architecture will find the inward fabric so adjusted,

… that the barely extending of a single passion too far or the continuance … of it too long, is able to bring irrecoverable ruin and misery”.

2. As a social being, man is part of a greater harmony, and, in order that he may contribute to the happiness of the whole,

he must order his extra-regarding activities so that they shall not clash with his environs.

Only when he has regulated his Internal and his social relations by this ideal can he be regarded as rule moral.

The egoist and the altruist are both imperfect. In the ripe perfection of humanity, the two impulses will be perfectly adjusted.

Thus, by the criterion of harmony, Shaftesbury refutes Hobbes, and deduces the virtue of benevolence as indispensable to morality.

So also he has drawn a close parallel between the moral and the aesthetic criteria.

Just as there is a faculty which apprehends beauty in the sphere of art, so there is in the sphere of ethics a faculty which determines the value of actions.

This faculty he described (for the first time in English thought) as the Moral Sense (see Hutcheson) or Conscience (cf. Butler).

In its essence, it is primarily emotional and non-reflective; in process of development it becomes rationalized by education and use.

The emotional and the rational elements in the moral sense Shaftesbury did not fully analyse (see Home).

From this principle, it follows:

1. that the distinction between right and wrong is part of the constitution of human nature;

2. that morality stands apart from theology, and the moral qualities of actions are determined apart from the arbitrary will of God;

3. that the ultimate test of an action is its tendency to promote the general harmony or welfare;

4. that appetite and reason concur in the determination of action;

5. that the moralist is not concerned to solve the problems of freewill and determinism.”


Tuesday Discussion Review Feb 21 2012

The discussion today went great. One piece of short prose was read, and then we got on with the discussion. About eight people came and they all stayed throughout the event. Transcript can be found below.

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Corona Anatine Lecture Sun Feb 26 2012

Ancient Technology with Corona Anatine, Sunday Feb. 26, 2012 noonSLT

The next presentation will include Corona’s interpretation of some rock art.

WARNING: This will be fairly graphic/medically clinical
Not suitable for children at the screen or for those of a sensitive imagination as part of the presentation will include a review of the medical effects of nuclear weaponry on the human body.

Corona Anatine Lecture Transcript Feb 19

Today was Part 4 of the invention and evolution of magic, and likely the last in the series. All four transcripts can be found on either blogs and online in the cafe.

I left out all the discussion that occurred after the hour was up, even though it was really great. It will be in the transcript in-world, however, so if you want to read it go pick up the notecard (all the notecards can be found in the square world textured cube on top of the fireplace.

It was a great series, and I’m sorry to any who missed it. The last transcript can be found below:

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Intro Notes for Tues Feb 21 Philosophy and Literature

Topic: Avicenna on life-forms and the universe

Quotes taken from “Philosophy” by Stephen Law.

Avicenna (Ibn Sina) is a scientist and astronomer from Persia in 980-1037. He’s best known for his “Cannon of Medicine”.

He supported the cosmological argument for God’s existence known as the “Kalam argument”.

This argument “begins from the observation, gained from al-Farabi, that all things in the universe are possible beings, meaning that they might not have existed and have no inherent reason for existing.”

“The “essence” of such beings is said to be distinct from their “existence,” so the fact that they exist is not determined by what they are.”

“Therefore they must depend on something else for their existence, and must be caused to exist by something else.”

“However, this cannot be true of everything that exists, otherwise there would be an infinite regress and no ultimate ground for the existence of anything.”

“It follows that there must be a being whose existence is necessary, which is its own cause and sustains everything else in existence.”

Avicenna thought that being was Allah.

Avicenna follows the same idea as the Neo-platonists, in that all being emanates from God as its sustaining cause.”

“This implies that events and actions are predetermined, thus problematizing ideas of moral responsibility and divine justice.”

This isn’t intended to be a conversation about God, Gods, or any being as such. If possible, I’d like to replace the idea of God as whatever you want it to be.

A force, an energy, or even God if you’d prefer. View it how you like. However, I’d like to focus on the rest of the premises Avicenna comes to a conclusion about.

What do you think? I open the floor.

Weekly Update – Feb 18 2012

Alright guys. I know I haven’t been posting reviews for the events. I apologize. I really haven’t had time, with the new job and all.

So – updates! The magazine is coming along nicely. Do let me know if you want your artwork or writing included – either through comments, in SL (Chraeloos), or email (laurajones@epithetandsynonym.biz). Otherwise, we are starting a new event, as I posted here, on Thursdays at 4pmSLT. Rhiannon and I are hosting, and it will be held at E&S.

This week held a metric-ton of awesome discussions. I can’t even list all the ones I went to, but there must have been over 15. A particularly awesome one was today at Edutopia, Geekspeak (noonSLT every Saturday). I’ve got the transcript below. We discussed alien life forms and ended up attempting to create a list of criteria for what we would look for on other planets. It was really interesting. Also, Tuesday’s discussion at E&S went really well. We discussed Hume and some of his ideas. I ended up talking as Hume, since his ideas are fairly abstract, and it was a lot of fun and everyone learned a lot. That’s where the idea for everyone taking on a different philosopher or scientist on the Thursday discussions came from.

Sedona Resident was kind enough to put her art up at E&S. There’s six photo’s total of hers, in the upstairs gallery. Please do tip, as she really deserves it, and they aren’t for sale.

I don’t think I wrote about Corona’s lecture last sunday either. Almost 10 people came, and surprisingly not all the same ones from the week before. It was Part 3 of the invention and evolution of religion and magic. Part 4 comes tomorrow at noonSLT, and I hope to see you there!

Upcoming events this week at E&S:

  • Sunday, Feb 19 2012, noonSLT – Corona Anatine Lecture, Part 4 Invention and Evolution of Religion/Magic
  • Tuesday, Feb 21 2012, 10amSLT – Philosophy and Literature, Avicenna on life-forms and the universe.
  • Thursday, Feb 23 2012, 4pmSLT – Philosophy Masquerade
  • Sunday, Feb 26 20120, noonSLT – Corona Anatine Lecture, Topic TBA

Transcript for Geekspeak Saturday Feb 18, 2012:

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