Young Master Smeet
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September 24, 2012 at 11:41 am in reply to: Argumentation #89852Fabian wrote:Yet you can give as a gift or sell parts of “yourself”, like organs, blood, semen/ eggs, women can rent their uterus. It’s irrelevant whether the Lockean concept of mind not being the body is literal (like in the case of Locke, who was a Christian, or metaphorical), doesn’t change the fact that self-ownership principle has to be addressed with more then “it’s nonsense”.
Yes, you can sell parts of yourself, but they are products, you cannot sell yourself. You are you. There is nothing separate from you to do the owning (that is the substantive point, the inability to sell yourself is just the proof). On that basis, it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to dismiss the “self-ownership” principle as nonsense without further debate.If I wanted, I could develop it further into how it is just ideology and the natural extension of commodity fetishism. But you asked how to deal with it in debate, that’s how, stick doggedly to the key question, there is no part of you separate from you to do the owning.Fabian wrote:Quote:Property is a social phenomena, you can only have property in so far as other people recognise the fact and act accordingly.
This whole message of yours is stating of an opinion, without argumenting it, and without attacking the agruments of the oppossite opinion.
The substantive point was that property cannot be inherent, like a kidney, it only can exist when other people acknowledge it, hence it is inevitably social, thus we enter into Rousseau’s realm and the notion that property only exists at the grant of the community.I gave two quick propositions which rebut those arguments, no opinions. Those propositions are open for debate and disproof.September 24, 2012 at 8:14 am in reply to: Ethical questions #89846
Some of these matters are addressed in our pamphlet Women and Socialism which is a touch old. But, it seems to be the nearest thing we have as a formal statement, so:Quote:Clearly there are very real medical and ethical problems involved in the question of abortion and ultimately it is for the individuals themselves to decide. However these problems are exacerbated because of the nature of the society in which we live. In a sane world, probably no one would opt for abortion as a method of contraception. The fact that women are forced to do so in present society says something about that society and the conflicting pressures to which people are subjected; for example the cost and responsibility of parenthood, the ambivalent attitude towards contraception advice for young people and the lack of resources that are devoted to researching and developing new, safer and more effective alternatives to present methods of contraception.
More generally, I’d point out it isn’t the role of the socialist party to have an opinion on everything. Our aim is the emancipation of the working class, after that humans will (for the first time) have the genuine luxury of settling ethical questions, freed from economic necessity.We deliberately and consciously avoid drawing up blueprints for socialism, or saying that everyone will be vegan or carnivorous (for example).September 24, 2012 at 8:00 am in reply to: Argumentation #89849Fabian wrote:Being that world socialists put much weight in educating workers, spreading the idea, including through debates, were there any debates with or responses to “libertarians”, I would like to see what arguments you give against self-ownership principle, and private property as a deontological ethical theory.
Self ownership is nonsense and bunkum. I am myself, I cannot own myself. If I tried to sell myself, I’d still be me, I am inseparable from myself. This fact lies at the heart of Marx’ theory of alienation. In principle, within the wages system, we are meant to alienate our labour, and sell it. However, we come attached. Psychologically and aesthetically, we are aware of that.Self ownership libertarians often are into the tyranny of contract, after all, anyone can be free to make any contract, and so theoretically can sell themselves into perpetual slavery. Caveat Emptor applies, and just because a deal might be badly made doesn’t make it binding.Property is a social phenomena, you can only have property in so far as other people recognise the fact and act accordingly.September 19, 2012 at 10:33 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89785robbo203 wrote:Your conscious self, you say, is a “by-product of the facility for language”. While I struggle to understand how a “by product “of something cannot be said to exist if it really is a by product, language itself is a form of communication and communication exists by virtue of the existence of individuals who communicate between each other.. Language itself , in other words, is a by product of interacting individuals and presupposes them. It is not some wonderful gift from the gods handed down to a speechless race of human beings
Language existed before this particular lump of animated meat had to accomodate itself to it.robbo203 wrote:While I cant believe that what you are literally trying to do is deny your existence of an empirical material entity – that would be rather odd thing for a “materialist” to do – I take it that by “you” you mean a sense of selfhood or self-apprehension. Because it is an internalised construction developed through language and socialisation, this makes it an “illusion” in your view. In short, you cant actually touch feel or taste what you call your “self”. Therefore its not real – it doesnt “exist”
No, not because I cannot touch it, but because that so much of what the meat does is not controlled by the talking voice in the head, which really is a specialist in retroactive justifications (the owl of Minerva spreads it wings with the dying of the light, and all that). So much of what we call ourselves is in fact many different processes/devices doing different tasks.September 19, 2012 at 7:48 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89780robbo203 wrote:If the mind does not exist then presumably, by the same token, neither does society – in which case why are you trying to change the latter? And why are you trying to change people’s…er…minds when they say you cant change it?
There is no such thing as Young Master Smeet, only society. Society exists, I don’t, I am an illusion generated by society. Or, rather, my conscious self is a by-product of the facility for language, and since language is inherently social and exists outside any given selfhood, it exists and I merely misrecognise myself through it.September 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89775robbo203 wrote:Logically that commits you to the view that a particular mental event can have only one neurophysical correlate . Are you willing to defend this manifestly indefensible and unscientific position?
As I have repeatedly said, a computer can perform identical operations using different disk sectors and different parts of the chip. I see no fundamental difference. But each given operation is itself and no other.Just as a C can be played on a guitar string or a on a flute, identical results may come from different routes.robbo203 wrote:Also, if there is no mind then there can be no such thing as a mind exerting downward causation.
I see no problem in brain states causing further brain states.I’m quite happy to say my brain doesn’t exist, and that I don’t exist. i’m just a process or matter and fundamental particles.September 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89771robbo203 wrote:I know what you are trying to say but you are formulating it incorrectly . You are saying that for every mind state there is a brain state which is quite true but you cannot deduce from that that the mind state and the brain state in question are one and the same. They are not; they are contingent
As you said previously:Quote:A particular mind state is a token identity of a particular brain state or neurophysical event but it does not depend on that particular brain state or event in order for that thought to be thought. It does however depend on some brain state but not any particular precise one.
I have no quibble with that, except by adding that at any given time of thinking it is that brain state at that time. There is no thought beyond that brain state.Or, simply put, there is no mind, only brain.September 18, 2012 at 11:04 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89769robbo203 wrote:A particular mind state is a token identity of a particular brain state or neurophysical event but it does not depend on that particular brain state or event in order for that tought to be thought. It does however depend on some brain state
Yes, and the some brain state is the same as the mind state in that instance. That’s all I was saying. There are no thoughts separate from the brain. As I said, a computer writes to RAM it will use different hard disk sectors, that doesn’t mean that there is no computer process without hard disk states.September 18, 2012 at 10:14 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89766stuartw2112 wrote:Again, I posted the video because I thought it of relevance to this (interesting) discussion. I apologise once again for my mistake.
Stuart,I didn’t click through to it, but it did remind me to have a wee scran around for Chomsky’s views on evolution and language. Interestingly, he seems to take the view that rather than language evolving as a natural continuum from other forms of signalling, human language developed from a ‘repurposed’ capacity. This strikes me as quite likely, I saw a talk a few years ago by Steve Jones, where he demonstrated that blood clotting comes from a repurposed gene for producing, IIRC, turtle shells. His overarching analogy was of evolution being like a slum, with bits and bobs flung together, raher than like a designed engine.Sorry, rambling. Anyway, I thought that was an interesting take on the language acquisition device.September 18, 2012 at 9:38 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89763robbo203 wrote:You cannot map a particular thought -say, the thought of a cold glass of beer on a hot summers day – onto to some particular pattern of neuronal firing such that for this thought to re-occur requires the exact repetition of that particular pattern of neuronal firing. That is what I mean by brain states not being identical to mind states. Yes CAT scanners can as you say read ” to a certain extent ” the responses to stumuli in the brain just as lie detectors can make a reasonably accurate quess as to whether you are telling the truth or not but that is a world away from substantiating the position taken up by identity theory
So what if you can’t? If you can show any neurons firing, at all, when someone is thinking of a cold glass of beer, that is a brain state. Just because we don’t understand how it works (yet) doesn’t mean that isn’t the case.robbo203 wrote:Your analogy of birds and bats is inapt anyway and precisely for the reason you offer that “similar effects in general can be achieved through different means” . This is what I was trying to tell you with my various examples refuting identity theory. Thus “identical cognitive tasks can be performed by the same individuals at different times in their life despite the neurophysical re-configuration that would have occurred in the process of aging.”. Quite so. Which means there can be no one-to-one mapping of mind states onto brain states. Which means Identity theory has been refuted.
Sorry, should have said: A bird and a bat with different wings can fly exactly the same route. At the different aging states it is still the brain that makes the decisions. IIRC with computing, a computer will write to different parts of RAM depending on what is available. So a computer can perform identical tasks with different RAM states, that doesn’t stop RAM states equally computing states.September 18, 2012 at 8:27 am in reply to: Materialism, Determinism, Free Will #89761robbo203 wrote:It is pretty easy to refute the proposition that there is a “type identity” between brain states and mind states. For example, identical cognitive tasks can be performed by different individuals – whose brains may not be exactly identical in their biochemistry and neuro-anatomical make-up – even using different parts of the brain to perform these tasks. Similarly, identical cognitive tasks can be performed by the same individuals at different times in their life despite the neurophysical re-configuration that would have occurred in the process of aging. I could go on piling up many more examples which would completely undermine the case for identity theory
Birds and bats have different shaped wings, but wing states equal flying states, and similar effects in general can be achieved through different means.We know in this day and age that CAT scanners can see the response to stimuli in the brain, and we can even have computer interface technology that can ‘read’ to a certain extent the minds of the users.http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/134682-hackers-backdoor-the-human-brain-successfully-extract-sensitive-data September 18, 2012 at 8:08 am in reply to: The Religion word #89311Gnome wrote:This is no longer necessarily the case with the discovery in recent years of solar systems with ‘earth-like’ planets.
Indeed, but there is evidence to suggest that the leap from single celled life to multi-cellular is by no means direct or automatic: so the probability is that the vast majority of these life bearing planets have nothing more than amoeba on them. Even if we suppose that a few others have made the leap to complex life, it remains unlikely that they have made the further step to intelligent life. Even if they did achieve something like intelligence, there’s no reason at all to suggest that it would be something that we could recognise or comprehend, as they would be the specific products of their own evolutionary chain.Anyway, my point in sharing the quote was that the narcisissism involved is similar to the idea of God (especially the wacky idea that a transcendant entity would have a relationship to our minds that we have to an ant, never mind any sense of reciprocity or obligation).Interestingly, Grant Allen was a proponent of the Ghost Theory of God (which early party members gave some credence to, I believe). Anyway, his interestingly looking book is available online.The evolution of the idea of God: http://archive.org/stream/evolutionofideao00alle#page/n5/mode/2upI believe it is superceded by modern anthropology, but still, it has that Victorian brio about it. Of course, part of the point of materialism is that ideas do have an origin and an evolutionary basis.September 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm in reply to: The Religion word #89305
Some of this debate has put me in mind of Grant Allen’s The British Barbarians(link)please forgive the extended quoteGrant Allen, 1848-1899 wrote:Now, don’t be deceived by nonsensical talk about living beings in other planets. There are no such creatures. It’s a pure delusion of the ordinary egotistical human pattern. When people chatter about life in other worlds, they don’t mean life—which, of a sort, there may be there:—they mean human life—a very different and much less important matter. Well, how could there possibly be human beings, or anything like them, in other stars or planets? The conditions are too complex, too peculiar, too exclusively mundane. We are things of this world, and of this world only. Don’t let’s magnify our importance: we’re not the whole universe. Our race is essentially a development from a particular type of monkey-like animal—the Andropithecus of the Upper Uganda eocene. This monkey-like animal itself, again, is the product of special antecedent causes, filling a particular place in a particular tertiary fauna and flora, and impossible even in the fauna and flora of our own earth and our own tropics before the evolution of those succulent fruits and grain-like seeds, for feeding on which it was specially adapted. Without edible fruits, in short, there could be no monkey; and without monkeys there could be no man.””But mayn’t there be edible fruits in the other planets?” Frida inquired, half-timidly, more to bring out this novel aspect of Bertram’s knowledge than really to argue with him; for she dearly loved to hear his views of things, they were so fresh and unconventional.”Edible fruits? Yes, possibly; and animals or something more or less like animals to feed upon them. But even if there are such, which planetoscopists doubt, they must be very different creatures in form and function from any we know on this one small world of ours. For just consider, Frida, what we mean by life. We mean a set of simultaneous and consecutive changes going on in a complex mass of organised carbon compounds. When most people say ‘life,’ however,—especially here with you, where education is undeveloped—they aren’t thinking of life in general at all (which is mainly vegetable), but only of animal and often indeed of human life. Well, then, consider, even on this planet itself, how special are the conditions that make life possible. There must be water in some form, for there’s no life in the desert. There must be heat up to a certain point, and not above or below it, for fire kills, and there’s no life at the poles (as among Alpine glaciers), or what little there is depends upon the intervention of other life wafted from elsewhere—from the lands or seas, in fact, where it can really originate. In order to have life at all, as WE know it at least (and I can’t say whether anything else could be fairly called life by any true analogy, until I’ve seen and examined it), you must have carbon, and oxygen, and hydrogen, and nitrogen, and many other things, under certain fixed conditions; you must have liquid water, not steam or ice: you must have a certain restricted range of temperature, neither very much higher nor very much lower than the average of the tropics. Now, look, even with all these conditions fulfilled, how diverse is life on this earth itself, the one place we really know—varying as much as from the oak to the cuttle-fish, from the palm to the tiger, from man to the fern, the sea-weed, or the jelly-speck. Every one of these creatures is a complex result of very complex conditions, among which you must never forget to reckon the previous existence and interaction of all the antecedent ones. Is it probable, then, even a priori, that if life or anything like it exists on any other planet, it would exist in forms at all as near our own as a buttercup is to a human being, or a sea-anemone is to a cat or a pine-tree?””Well, it doesn’t look likely, now you come to put it so,” Frida answered thoughtfully: for, though English, she was not wholly impervious to logic.”Likely? Of course not,” Bertram went on with conviction. “Planetoscopists are agreed upon it. And above all, why should one suppose the living organisms or their analogues, if any such there are, in the planets or fixed stars, possess any such purely human and animal faculties as thought and reason? That’s just like our common human narrowness. If we were oaks, I suppose, we would only interest ourselves in the question whether acorns existed in Mars and Saturn.” He paused a moment; then he added in an afterthought: “No, Frida; you may be sure all human beings, you and I alike, and thousands of others a great deal more different, are essential products of this one wee planet, and of particular times and circumstances in its history. We differ only as birth and circumstances have made us differ.”September 17, 2012 at 8:35 am in reply to: The Religion word #89303robbo203 wrote:As a layperson I do find phenomena such as the Observer Effect, which seems to be an established fact in quantum physics to be somewhat troubling. How can the mere fact of a person observing a laboratory experiment actually affect the result – in this case when a beam of electrons is emitted? I cant get my head around this one . If this is indeed the case what does it imply? . Can you explain that to me in simple plain terms becuase it is precisely phenomena like this that people like Russell see as providing providing scientific proof for their theories of the universe
You had me worried for a second there that I had misunderstood the observer effect, but a quick cross check to Wikipedia: “In physics, the term observer effect refers to changes that the act of observation will make on the phenomenon being observed. This is often the result of instruments that, by necessity, alter the state of what they measure in some manner.” Seems simple to me, in experiments, measuring can change the state of things being measured. At a macro scale, most often not a problem, but at the micro and below, this is significant.September 17, 2012 at 7:48 am in reply to: The Religion word #89301
Lo All,just to try a different take. The existence or otherwise of Bod isn’t a scientific matter, it is a question of a social relation.Being Savannah apes, we can only relate to entities using our theory of mind we have evolved with. Any supposedly greater being produces mental states of submission, obligation and obedience.Whether these mental relations are expressed in formal ritual or not, they are there, and we have every reason to want to challenge such mental processes.