Why are we individuals?

  • Thread starter Kerrie
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  • #51
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Originally posted by M. Gaspar
I'd rather be known as a "creature of speculations".
Hey I don't have a problem with science per se', I just think it's about time it realized that humanity has "a soul."
 
  • #52
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I'll admit that my initial explanation had not bearing in logic, and that it was ineed almost "poetic". Of course I never expected it to go on for 4 pages either.lol. I was being intuitive, and gave Kerrie the answer I thought she was looking for. I never said it was the logical or ultimate answer. If you read back, several people posted more logical, and consistent explanations of why we are individuals, and that did not satisfy her.

Let's then put it to rest then, shall we? Tiberius argues that the question has to be based alone on fact and scientific principle, and if you start from a scientfic understanding that you have to concede that we are not individual due to fate, or any type of "deeper meaning" He is correct. It wasn't my intention for 1 sentence to evolve into a discussion of the entire foundation and principles of Philosophy, And for such an argument I'm not well equipped.

However I'm not quite sure what you mean by "inconsistent logic" Basically my main argument was to the interpretation of the question. What did I do? I used my imagination, tried to look at the question from the perpective of what I thought Kerrie was, and that's what came out.

All of Tiberius assertions were correct. However humans can't be satisfied with "just because" We seek a deeper, spiritual understanding, and to accept less is to loose hope. It goes to the very foundation of our personalities and deeper believes. There are religious intonnations even in Philosophy. To basically insinuate that there's no god is to invite chaos among the vast population, of which approximately 89 percent (not absolutely sure on that figure) believe in a higher power.
 
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  • #53
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
Hey I don't have a problem with science per se', I just think it's about time it realized that humanity has "a soul."
It ain't gonna happen. Even "consciousness" -- which surely exists -- is eschewed by hard-core materialists.

If it can't be detected, measured, tested, predicted and proven ...forget about it!

But I think we're off topic...so I'm going to unsubscribe and find another.
 
  • #54
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If science were a complete system and all that is knowable was known completely then I would have to agree with Tiberius et al. Science however is not complete.

Science got where it is today by asking and speculating about the unknown and the testing the various hypotheses to see it it matched observation.

Philosophy, IMO, is where we do this asking and speculating, whether it be poetically put, based in mystism or spiritually. This is the Philosophy Forum.
Whether one is a mental giant or a modest thinker is totally irrelevant. If one has the mental where-with-all to ask a question and speculate about an answer s/he belongs here.

If their logic is not sound and in error then that error should be pointed out to them; but, logic does not, cannot and will not ever concern itself about the varifiablity of a statement or it relation to reality. Logic only addresses the method and soundness of reasoning.
That one may be an arrogant egotistical mental giant with no patients or toleance with the ramblings of lesser mortals or a street sweeper idlely musing over some obscure question in his mind, should make no difference here. None of us KNOW, we all assume and speculate and that is why we are here and what IMHO is what this forum is all about. It is also what this thread is about. Why are there overbearing intolerant people and then wonderful, patient, understanding saints like myself?
 
  • #55
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Humanity doesn't have a soul eh? Prove it! But of course first you have to define it, because "soul" has many connotations. People take abstract terms such as "soul" and poetic descriptions and label them mysticism because it's an abstract term that they can't logically define.

While I may not be a "mental giant" (relatively in comparison to this board), I stand by my stance there there is a humanistic side of things based in emotion that science cannot calculate or define. From the purely scientific perspective things like love, empathy, intuition, and jealousy are incalculable. And I challenge anyone to define these terms mathmatically. But that is my point, and the whole point of this post. And some would say that these things have no place in philosophy. Well I say without these things there would be no philosophy. Yes, I'm speaking of CURIOSITY. Because without it, there would be no discovery. And I hate to break it to ya folks, but however people want to label it, it is still a human emotion.

Philosophy has to use human emotion as a guide or it flounders at the very outset.To illustrate my point, Tell me how much you love your parents. Give me a figure, a number. I want quantitative logic.


I did admit that I was shown a different point of view and another way of understanding philosophy, but that doesn't mean I'm backing off the premise that philosophy is not steeped wholly in logic. The very question "why are we individuals?" is an illogical one. We just are because that is the way things are. That's the wholly scientific and completely uninspiring answer.

Now lets pose a scenario. You're searching for a deeper meaning, seeking truth and understanding of self, so you ask "why are we individuals?" One person tells you "Because the uniqueness is makes us who we are" and another one says "you just are.. deal with numnuts"..

Now which one would you want to hear ?

EDIT: I know I'm fighting a loosing battle, but I just love a challenge
 
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  • #56
Tiberius
Kerri,

1) You said you thought I was complaining about the relevancy of the topic to the forum. This is incorrect. If you go back and reread the order of the posts you will find that I never once stated anything about whether or not this topic was in the right place, until others said that MY physiological explanation does not belong in the philosophy section. In Defence of, and in response to the claim that I had "forgotten what forum I was in", I said that the question is a material one and so it was not I who had forgotten. This is the first time, and the only comments I made in this regard were in response to being accused of ME not being in the right forum.

2) What do you mean by "attitude"? How am I to phrase the assersions that I made? I submit that there was no possible way to make the claims that I did on this thread in a way that wouldn't get me accused of having an attitude. If you can find some incident where I called someone a name or attacked them personally on this thread then I'd be suprised. Otherwise, I think this is just a case of not liking the position I am taking and taking it personally that I disagree, and I can't do anything about that. Everything I have stated has been about the topic and in response to comments directed at me. These responses have been plainly factual and addressed the ideas - not the people.

3) Science isn't complete. But what there is of it should be acknowledged in philosophy - and there is a lot of it concerning "why we are individuals". Then, from that point, further speculation would be highly entertaining to read. That is my point in a nutshell and my response to the claim that my scientific explanation is out of place on this thread. I don't see what is so controversial or threatening about that, or what should invoke the attitude that claims of scientific completness have been made. That is a "straw man" argument and therefore irrelevant.

I would make a comment here about not meaning to be rude, but I tried that earlier in this thread and it was answered with "but you are" so I'll not waste time with that again.
 
  • #57
Tiberius
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
It seems to me that this whole discussion was almost resolved, but that everyone kept dancing all around the problem. In addition to many things said that I agree with, on both sides of this issue, it seems to me that what has been ignored is the implicit argument made by Tiberius. If I have read all of this correctly, Tiberius is arguing that there is no purpose to life. Granted, two points of view can be found if we assume that life has purpose. But, just as Tiberius apparently fails to recognize this implicit philosophical argument within his position, I did cringe at what sounded to me like fundamentally inconsistent logic from Zantra.

Tiberius, I for one found your explanation most interesting and personality building; . However, is it your philosophical position that God and philosophical purpose are only mental constructs? If so, you couldn’t possibly relate to the other points of view. But neither can you logically invalidate alternative points that are logically consistent, and that the premise of which does not violate established scientific facts. Surely you don’t mean to argue that science has proven that life has no other purpose but to exist?
Wow, now that's an interesting reponse Ivan, though I'm not sure how on-topic we are anymore. I'll try to answer though because I think some of what you summarized needs addressing...

...it seems to me that what has been ignored is the implicit argument made by Tiberius. If I have read all of this correctly, Tiberius is arguing that there is no purpose to life. Granted, two points of view can be found if we assume that life has purpose. But, just as Tiberius apparently fails to recognize this implicit philosophical argument within his position, I did cringe at what sounded to me like fundamentally inconsistent logic from Zantra.
I'm not sure I saw anything illogical from Zantra - just not really addressing the question in a way I thought was philosophically constructive. But you say here that, implicit in my argument, is that life has no purpose. Well, I have two responses to this...

1) You Granted that "the two points of view can be found if we assume that life has a purpose". Since you granted this, I will claim it! Yes, indeed, I see no implication that a physical explanation robs life of purpose. Even in the more traditional ideas of life purpose, such as the religious, all of the physical explanations would no doubt be a part of god's creation (or whatever myths are appropriate to the religion of the day). So, the natural does not rule out the supernatural because the supernatural is alleged to exist "outside" and "in addition to" the natural.

2) But of course, most have probably figured out that I am a naturalist (or materialist as some call it). But my personal beliefs on the supernatural do not happen to be held up or supported in any way by the physical understanding of brain function. I have other reasons for these beliefs. So I stand by #1, that the supernatural is still a possibility if looking at the physicality of the brain. However, even in MY view, I do not see life as "lacking purpose". In fact, I see great meaning and purpose to life. But (and I believe this is good news), the idea that there seems to be no "objective" or "outside" purpose and meaning to life means that we, as individuals, are free to CHOOSE our own meaning in life. I decide what the meaning of MY life will be, and you YOURS. To me, this is much superior to being handed our purpose on a platter. But this is all my personal preference. To others the idea may seem frightening, but I don't think that need be the case.

Tiberius, I for one found your explanation most interesting and personality building; . However, is it your philosophical position that God and philosophical purpose are only mental constructs?
God - probably.
Philosophical Purpose - yes.
But "mental constructs" are important and meaningful to US, and since US is who we're talking about, then that's all that matters.

If so, you couldn’t possibly relate to the other points of view. But neither can you logically invalidate alternative points that are logically consistent, and that the premise of which does not violate established scientific facts. Surely you don’t mean to argue that science has proven that life has no other purpose but to exist?
I'm not sure why this is, but there seems to be a rampant, almost obsessive, tendancy for people to exclaim that I "Can't prove god doesn't exist", even though I never make such a claim.

True, science cannot, even in principle, EVER prove that the supernatural does not exist. But it can prove many things about the natural. I, for philosophic reasons (not scientific), have determined that it is not rational to hold a belief in something for which you have no evidence. And, that the degree of belief in a proposition should be proportionate to the degree of physical evidence for that proposition. Therefore, no evidence FOR god means no belief IN god. Also, no evidence for NO GOD means no belief that there ISN'T a god.

Let me ask you, do you hold this belief: "there is NOT a quarter in Tiberius' pocket at this moment"?

What about this belief: "there IS a quarter in Tiberius' pocket at this moment"?

Same thing. I have no evidence. But, I can say that "I don't believe in god" because I don't hold that first belief. Furthermore, an "atheist" means "without theism", and "theism" is just a fancy word for "belief god DOES exist". So, being without the belief that god DOES exist, I am technically an atheist.

However, my main point in response to your question of purpose to life, is that I don't see how or why the supernatural need be the only possible source of purpose. To me, the two are separate and distinct. Supernatural? Possible but irrelevant. Purpose? Definitely.
 
  • #58
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I think this post got way off track, and would be much more at home in the objective vs subjective post.

Now the way in which I chose to view the question was still rooted in philosophy, it just lacked a more physical discription. I was thinking abstractly, though the more I thought about it, the more I sounded like I was launching into a a "snowflake" analogy, so I withdraw.

I'm a very logical person, but sometimes we need to hear poetry, not facts. We may know the facts, but sometimes the poetry reassures us.
 
  • #59
Tiberius
Originally posted by Zantra
I think this post got way off track, and would be much more at home in the objective vs subjective post.

Now the way in which I chose to view the question was still rooted in philosophy, it just lacked a more physical discription. I was thinking abstractly, though the more I thought about it, the more I sounded like I was launching into a a "snowflake" analogy, so I withdraw.

I'm a very logical person, but sometimes we need to hear poetry, not facts. We may know the facts, but sometimes the poetry reassures us.
Sure, nothing wrong with that :)
I just wasn't aware that this was a call for reassurance. That being the case, then everything you said applies.

To get back on track, I think a philosophic look at "why we are individuals", speculating beyond the physiological, would be so vast a thing that you'd really have to come to terms and agreement on a LOT of other more primal beliefs before the answers to that would make sense between two people.

For example, one might talk about why "god made us individuals" and all of the purpose behind that, but then that answer would only be meaningful to those who believe in a god (and one of the sort described at that). Then there may be other "cosmic" reasons for why human beings are the way they are (spirits, starwars-like force, personna-created reality, etc), but each of those answers would face the same limitations.

Not only would the foundational belief systems have to be established before an answer to such a broad question be answerable, but it would also be helpful if the motivation to the question were stated. For example, is Kerri wanting to know what our "place is" in the universe, and she feels that asking why we are individuals might be a component of determining that? If so, then it would be very interesting to hear the philosophic line of reasoning connecting the concept of individuality to "our place in the universe".

I would venture to say, from my own philosophic perspective, that the "why" questions (the BIG "why" questions that is) are usually a sign of looking in the wrong place for answers. It has been my experience that we cannot ever really know for certain the very basis of existence itself. Such a thing is beyond our abilities as human beings to reliably determine. That is, unless some mystical claims to knowledge are ever proven to be objectively accurate - which could happen but unfortunately hasn't yet. That being the case, I believe that our best answers lie within ourself. If we want to know what our place is, we need only to look at our world and decide who and what we want to be, both s a people and as individuals. Whatever other "higher" things are going on (or not) doesn't really change who we are, what we value, what we find beautiful and good, and what sort of future we wish to build. Everything we need to determine that is within us and around us. All the speculation about otherworldly beings, motives, and purposes seems to me to be entertaining, but ultimately futile and irrelevant to the really important questions facing us.
 
  • #60
PhysicsRocks88
Originally posted by Kerrie
a very basic question that i wonder a lot about...here we are on this earth, along with all the other forms of life, we physically must survive in the same manner - requiring sleep, food, adequate health - yet, personality wise, we are unique...why? this question is not limited to human beings either, as my roommate's dog has quite the personality for example...
The CORRECT answer is simple.

Because we are not biological identical. END OF STORY.
 
  • #61
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Originally posted by Tiberius
Sure, nothing wrong with that :)
I just wasn't aware that this was a call for reassurance. That being the case, then everything you said applies.
That was an error on my part for not clarifying myself at the outset of all this.

Not only would the foundational belief systems have to be established before an answer to such a broad question be answerable, but it would also be helpful if the motivation to the question were stated. For example, is Kerri wanting to know what our "place is" in the universe, and she feels that asking why we are individuals might be a component of determining that? If so, then it would be very interesting to hear the philosophic line of reasoning connecting the concept of individuality to "our place in the universe".
If we go on what we factually know and the evidence that is afforded to us at this point in time, then we can say that we are the top of the food chain until we know otherwise. We are the masters of our own fates through free will, and that we grow and develop based on our own choices this, above all else, affects us the most. This is what leads us to be who we are. Through life experiences, and the more highly evolved a species is, the more choices they have available to them. So it would seem, until otherwise proven, the we as humans, have the most opportunity to become individuals through more growth and experience. Now it would be presumptious of us to assume that we are the most advanced in the universe, however we can't know either way, so for now we must assume that we are it. In which case, that puts us in the most favorable position. I've always been a big believer of controlling your own "destiny" as it were, so terms like luck, fate, and chance have no bearing on our lives. We are the masters of our own universe.

I would venture to say, from my own philosophic perspective, that the "why" questions (the BIG "why" questions that is) are usually a sign of looking in the wrong place for answers. It has been my experience that we cannot ever really know for certain the very basis of existence itself. Such a thing is beyond our abilities as human beings to reliably determine. That is, unless some mystical claims to knowledge are ever proven to be objectively accurate - which could happen but unfortunately hasn't yet. That being the case, I believe that our best answers lie within ourself. If we want to know what our place is, we need only to look at our world and decide who and what we want to be, both s a people and as individuals. Whatever other "higher" things are going on (or not) doesn't really change who we are, what we value, what we find beautiful and good, and what sort of future we wish to build. Everything we need to determine that is within us and around us. All the speculation about otherworldly beings, motives, and purposes seems to me to be entertaining, but ultimately futile and irrelevant to the really important questions facing us. [/B]
Again, going on that premise. If we look to ourselves, and our lives to define who we our, then that says that we are indeed the masters of our own lives, and only we can determine who we are, because we are the most directly responsible for the life that we have.

For a second I thought you were going to go off on some rant about solipsism...
 
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  • #62
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Originally posted by Tiberius
To get back on track, I think a philosophic look at "why we are individuals", speculating beyond the physiological, would be so vast a thing that you'd really have to come to terms and agreement on a LOT of other more primal beliefs before the answers to that would make sense between two people.
So, are you saying that we should each establish our respective positions on what is "going on" with/within/or outside of the Universe before offering our "answer" to the question?

Then, we'd each be saying something like this: "I'm coming from a paradigm that holds that thus and such is true , and so within that context I believe that we are individuals because..."?

Or, are you saying that -- because of all the diverse perspectives -- our answers would be meaningful only to those who share a similiar paradigm ( preaching to the choir) while the rest of us couldn't care less...so why discuss it in the first place?

If it's the former, I'm game.

If it's the latter, I couldn't agree more.

For example, one might talk about why "god made us individuals" and all of the purpose behind that, but then that answer would only be meaningful to those who believe in a god (and one of the sort described at that). Then there may be other "cosmic" reasons for why human beings are the way they are (spirits, starwars-like force, personna-created reality, etc), but each of those answers would face the same limitations.
But who among us could keep from arguing against each others' basic premises (let alone get to their answers) ...arguing as if we were actually going to change somebody's mind!

Not only would the foundational belief systems have to be established before an answer to such a broad question be answerable, but it would also be helpful if the motivation to the question were stated. For example, is Kerri wanting to know what our "place is" in the universe, and she feels that asking why we are individuals might be a component of determining that? If so, then it would be very interesting to hear the philosophic line of reasoning connecting the concept of individuality to "our place in the universe".
Is this true? Are you "very interested" in hearing a "line of reasoning connecting the concept of individuality to our place [ or our FUNCTION?] in the Universe?"

And are you just as interested if you do not relate to the "foundational belief system"?

...It has been my experience that we cannot ever really know for certain the very basis of existence itself. Such a thing is beyond our abilities as human beings to reliably determine. That is, unless some mystical claims to knowledge are ever proven to be objectively accurate - which could happen but unfortunately hasn't yet. That being the case, I believe that our best answers lie within ourself. If we want to know what our place is, we need only to look at our world and decide who and what we want to be, both s a people and as individuals.
I agree completely. My paradigm does not hold that "God" gave me a "purpose" but that I get to choose my own. However, Tiberius, you and I would part company at what comes next: that once we choose our purpose, the natural forces of the non-physical Universe would align with our intentions and actions to create and direct us to "openings" for our purpose to unfold. (Oops. Sorry about that. My paradigm is showing.)

I once read somewhere that "The Meaning of Life is the Meaning We Give It" ...and this works for me.

Whatever other "higher" things are going on (or not) doesn't really change who we are, what we value, what we find beautiful and good, and what sort of future we wish to build. Everything we need to determine that is within us and around us. All the speculation about otherworldly beings, motives, and purposes seems to me to be entertaining, but ultimately futile and irrelevant to the really important questions facing us. [/B]
So, what ARE the "really important questions facing us"?
 
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  • #63
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Most people have distintly different genes and if that wasn't enough, we all have different enviormental experineces.
 
  • #64
PhysicsRocks88
Originally posted by Dave
Most people have distintly different genes and if that wasn't enough, we all have different enviormental experineces.

This thread is a great example of what happens when someone (the original poster) asks such a dammed obvious question, and rather than thinking about it for even a second, they just post it randomly...

...ugh. I am happy that our genes are very different - I am still embarassed of much of my own species.
 
  • #65
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Originally posted by PhysicsRocks88
...ugh. I am happy that our genes are very different - I am still embarassed of much of my own species.
Why? What do we do that you don't?
 
  • #66
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Originally posted by Tiberius
...So, the natural does not rule out the supernatural because the supernatural is alleged to exist "outside" and "in addition to" the natural.
Not according to my paradigm. IMO, there is NO "supernatural" because, whatever it is that is going on, this is NATURAL to the Universe...so does NOT "exist outside and in addition to" the natural.

...the idea that there seems to be no "objective" or "outside" purpose and meaning to life means that we, as individuals, are free to CHOOSE our own meaning in life. I decide what the meaning of MY life will be, and you YOURS. To me, this is much superior to being handed our purpose on a platter. But this is all my personal preference
I've already agreed with you on this in the above post. However, you said it so well here, I wanted to give it another airing.
 
  • #67
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Originally posted by Tiberius
... What do you mean by "attitude"? How am I to phrase the assersions that I made? I submit that there was no possible way to make the claims that I did on this thread in a way that wouldn't get me accused of having an attitude. If you can find some incident where I called someone a name or attacked them personally on this thread then I'd be suprised. Otherwise, I think this is just a case of not liking the position I am taking and taking it personally that I disagree, and I can't do anything about that. Everything I have stated has been about the topic and in response to comments directed at me. These responses have been plainly factual and addressed the ideas - not the people.
Hopefully, the subject of your "attitude" will be put to rest...
but not your attitude itself!

As I said in a prior post, one should not allow themselves to be squelched by others whose feelings get hurt when confronted by opposing views.

On the other hand, if you call me a "mystic" again, we're on!!
 
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  • #68
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Originally posted by PhysicsRocks88
This thread is a great example of what happens when someone (the original poster) asks such a dammed obvious question, and rather than thinking about it for even a second, they just post it randomly...

...ugh. I am happy that our genes are very different - I am still embarassed of much of my own species.
You Can't post an ambiguous question such this one on these forums and expect a straight-forward answer...that would be like posting like me expecting to "find myself" in the theoretical physics forums:wink:
 
  • #69
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Originally posted by PhysicsRocks88
This thread is a great example of what happens when someone (the original poster) asks such a dammed obvious question, and rather than thinking about it for even a second, they just post it randomly...

...ugh. I am happy that our genes are very different - I am still embarassed of much of my own species.
It's not so damned obvious when you take the "we" out of it and replace it with "what." I think this is what "we" have a problem with.

Just think of all the parts and intricate design that goes into building a high quality stereo receiver system. And yet that doesn't even begin to describe the quality of music which is broadcast over its speakers.

So, what's the difference between the music and the apparatus which reproduces it? :wink:

While as far as the difference between us as individuals is concerned, that would probably be best defined as the differences in our "taste of music."

Or, would one's "subjective" taste in music be inadmissable to science as well? ... That makes for a pretty bland world then, if one is not allowed to take into account one's "subjective experience."

Or, how about the "subjective experience" of a nice thick juicy steak? I bet you wouldn't want to give up that now would you!? :wink:

Hmm ... Which will it be? ... the red pill or the blue pill?
 
  • #70
Tiberius
Originally posted by Zantra
That was an error on my part for not clarifying myself at the outset of all this.
No problem - it's been quite interesting :)

...Now it would be presumptious of us to assume that we are the most advanced in the universe, however we can't know either way, so for now we must assume that we are it. In which case, that puts us in the most favorable position. I've always been a big believer of controlling your own "destiny" as it were, so terms like luck, fate, and chance have no bearing on our lives. We are the masters of our own universe.
I'm not sure what it would matter if we were to discover some alien beings that had greater intelligence than ourselves. Are you suggesting we'd have to accept whatever purpose they'd want to suggest we had? It seems to me, that even then, we'd still be the ones to decide what our purpose would be in life, based on our needs and desires (assuming they don't subjugate us, which would suck). If, you mean other entities in a supernatural realm, then I still don't quite see a purpose to be had there. Even with an all powerful, all good creator, it seems to me that the idea of worship itself is immoral, and the idea of creating autonomous individuals, only to enforce your own meaning and purpose on them is evil. So, I would still expect a good god to want us to choose our own meaning and purpose.
 
  • #71
eNtRopY
Originally posted by Kerrie
a very basic question that i wonder a lot about...here we are on this earth, along with all the other forms of life, we physically must survive in the same manner - requiring sleep, food, adequate health - yet, personality wise, we are unique...why? this question is not limited to human beings either, as my roommate's dog has quite the personality for example...
The answer is very simple... entropy!

Seriously, count the number of distinguishable ways of sleeping, eating, and staying healthy. Compare this to the number of possible personalities that exist. You will find that a system of higher complexity has more variables. More variables means more unique combinations. For personality, the number of possibilities is so large that the probability of finding two that are identical is, for all practical purposes, zero.

eNtRopY
 
  • #72
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I'm not sure what it would matter if we were to discover some alien beings that had greater intelligence than ourselves. Are you suggesting we'd have to accept whatever purpose they'd want to suggest we had? It seems to me, that even then, we'd still be the ones to decide what our purpose would be in life, based on our needs and desires (assuming they don't subjugate us, which would suck). If, you mean other entities in a supernatural realm, then I still don't quite see a purpose to be had there. Even with an all powerful, all good creator, it seems to me that the idea of worship itself is immoral, and the idea of creating autonomous individuals, only to enforce your own meaning and purpose on them is evil. So, I would still expect a good god to want us to choose our own meaning and purpose.
Whoah. I'm not saying that at all. If aliens came to us we'd first have to assess intent and where we stood in relation to them. I think we will not take to subjugation or subservience well at all.for me I don't believe in God. But I'll play devil's advocate...

If there were a God, and he had a policy favoring us, he would choose a policy of non-interfence to allow man to make his own discoveries of self, and to allow free will in order to let us grow as individuals.

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here, as I'm not into believing in aliens among us or God. So what are you getting at ? I'm saying I believe that we're not necessarily the most advance form of life in the universe, but that doesn't translate to belief in God. As for alien life, that hasn't been proven yet either.

But I agree with you that our search for truth lies within, not without.
 
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  • #73
Tiberius
Originally posted by M. Gaspar
So, are you saying that we should each establish our respective positions on what is "going on" with/within/or outside of the Universe before offering our "answer" to the question?

Then, we'd each be saying something like this: "I'm coming from a paradigm that holds that thus and such is true , and so within that context I believe that we are individuals because..."?
Yes, I think that would be very helpful to communication of these various concepts - right on :)

Or, are you saying that -- because of all the diverse perspectives -- our answers would be meaningful only to those who share a similiar paradigm ( preaching to the choir) while the rest of us couldn't care less...so why discuss it in the first place?
Heh, well that may well prove true. For example, it's really pointless to debate abortion unless you both have the same definitions of life, rights, "person", and a whole host of other philosophic and religious foundations. It's also pointless to debate evolution until you agree on what constitutes evidence, the burden of proof, the actual facts of what evidence there are and aren't, and perhaps the reliability of biblical creation.

But there are some good reasons for discussing and sharing various beliefs, even if we haven't come to terms with each other as to the foundations of those beliefs...

1) It's fun! That's the main reason I post and read here really.

2) It is important to understand the views of others, even if you don't agree with them. That goes from the very first premises, up the tree to the very last conclusions. Along the way, it offers insight to our whole view and, if we're open minded, just might allow us to change for the better.

3) Often, people can have a resistance to an idea because they dislike what they THINK it is based on, or they fear where they THINK it may lead. Discussing other levels of the worldview may help to alleviate that concern, or at least make it more realistic. For example, I often get strong resistance from people when I debate the rationality of my atheistic position. Not in all cases, but in many I find that the force of their resistance comes, not from the facts actually being discussed, but from the fear they have that my conclusions would lead to meaninglessness and despair. Therefore, it may be helpful for me to share my humanistic beliefs with them, even though we may still disagree as to their foundations. This often shows them that there IS a secular basis for leading an ethical and meaningful life. With those concerns dealt with (at least somewhat), it is then easier to return to the atheistic debate and for both of us to focus on those facts, instead of having an irrelevant aversion or distraction based on other levels of the worldview.

But who among us could keep from arguing against each others' basic premises (let alone get to their answers) ...arguing as if we were actually going to change somebody's mind!
True, and that's why people who like debate have fun here. But although it's hard to tell the difference, there are those among us who are just here to "win the argument" and those actually exploring the issue. Because I often say my position outright and don't dilly-dally, people often mistake me for someone just out to "win". But I despise this take on debate. I once saw a book at the bookstore titled, "How to win any debate", and it was by a lawyer or salesman or something. It made me sick. The point of a debate should never be to win. If I'm wrong, I WANT to lose, but it will have to be a real loss backed up with good reasons in order to teach me anything.

When two people disagree, there are only two possibilities: one of them is wrong, or both of them are wrong. Both cannot be right in my view (note, if both merely misunderstand each other, then they may be right but they are both "wrong" in the sense that they are misunderstanding each other). Therefore, debate presents the opportunity for one or both to improve. The true winner in a debate is the loser, because s/he has had the opportunity to learn and adjust their views to what is likely more accurate. My favorite debates are the ones I lose, but that's only valuable to me if I made the other work for their victory.

Is this true? Are you "very interested" in hearing a "line of reasoning connecting the concept of individuality to our place [ or our FUNCTION?] in the Universe?"
YES! I may or may not agree with it, but I definitely want to know what arguments are out there so I can study them. For example, I could probably get on this board under a different name and have you thouroughly convinced I was a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. I could debate nearly any issue from that perspective, offering detailed rationale. That's how well we should all understand the others' positions - especially those we disagree with (like me and fundie christians).

And are you just as interested if you do not relate to the "foundational belief system"?
Yes.

I agree completely. My paradigm does not hold that "God" gave me a "purpose" but that I get to choose my own. However, Tiberius, you and I would part company at what comes next: that once we choose our purpose, the natural forces of the non-physical Universe would align with our intentions and actions to create and direct us to "openings" for our purpose to unfold. (Oops. Sorry about that. My paradigm is showing.)
Yep. No disrespect, but that sounds pretty looney tunes to me. But very intelligent and respectable people believe in things like angels and karma so you're in good company. :)

I once read somewhere that "The Meaning of Life is the Meaning We Give It" ...and this works for me.
Me too.

So, what ARE the "really important questions facing us"?
Whew! That's a lot of stuff. You know, all the issues of "applied" philosophy, such as: living ethically, getting along with one another, building a just and workable society, dealing with multicultural issues, dealing with the effects of technology on our lives, finding meaning and purpose in life, building worldviews and meaningful life philosophy we can live by, that is also in harmony with scientific facts, being happy and fulfilled, etc etc...
 
  • #74
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
827
15
Originally posted by Tiberius
Kerri,

1) You said you thought I was complaining about the relevancy of the topic to the forum. This is incorrect. If you go back and reread the order of the posts you will find that I never once stated anything about whether or not this topic was in the right place, until others said that MY physiological explanation does not belong in the philosophy section. In Defence of, and in response to the claim that I had "forgotten what forum I was in", I said that the question is a material one and so it was not I who had forgotten. This is the first time, and the only comments I made in this regard were in response to being accused of ME not being in the right forum.

2) What do you mean by "attitude"? How am I to phrase the assersions that I made? I submit that there was no possible way to make the claims that I did on this thread in a way that wouldn't get me accused of having an attitude. If you can find some incident where I called someone a name or attacked them personally on this thread then I'd be suprised. Otherwise, I think this is just a case of not liking the position I am taking and taking it personally that I disagree, and I can't do anything about that. Everything I have stated has been about the topic and in response to comments directed at me. These responses have been plainly factual and addressed the ideas - not the people.

3) Science isn't complete. But what there is of it should be acknowledged in philosophy - and there is a lot of it concerning "why we are individuals". Then, from that point, further speculation would be highly entertaining to read. That is my point in a nutshell and my response to the claim that my scientific explanation is out of place on this thread. I don't see what is so controversial or threatening about that, or what should invoke the attitude that claims of scientific completness have been made. That is a "straw man" argument and therefore irrelevant.

I would make a comment here about not meaning to be rude, but I tried that earlier in this thread and it was answered with "but you are" so I'll not waste time with that again.
My last response to you was my opinion:wink: You seem to take my opinion personally for such an objective outlook on why we are individuals...
 
  • #75
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
827
15
Originally posted by Tiberius
2) It is important to understand the views of others, even if you don't agree with them. That goes from the very first premises, up the tree to the very last conclusions. Along the way, it offers insight to our whole view and, if we're open minded, just might allow us to change for the better.

3) Often, people can have a resistance to an idea because they dislike what they THINK it is based on, or they fear where they THINK it may lead. Discussing other levels of the worldview may help to alleviate that concern, or at least make it more realistic. For example, I often get strong resistance from people when I debate the rationality of my atheistic position. Not in all cases, but in many I find that the force of their resistance comes, not from the facts actually being discussed, but from the fear they have that my conclusions would lead to meaninglessness and despair. Therefore, it may be helpful for me to share my humanistic beliefs with them, even though we may still disagree as to their foundations. This often shows them that there IS a secular basis for leading an ethical and meaningful life. With those concerns dealt with (at least somewhat), it is then easier to return to the atheistic debate and for both of us to focus on those facts, instead of having an irrelevant aversion or distraction based on other levels of the worldview.



True, and that's why people who like debate have fun here. But although it's hard to tell the difference, there are those among us who are just here to "win the argument" and those actually exploring the issue. Because I often say my position outright and don't dilly-dally, people often mistake me for someone just out to "win". But I despise this take on debate. I once saw a book at the bookstore titled, "How to win any debate", and it was by a lawyer or salesman or something. It made me sick. The point of a debate should never be to win. If I'm wrong, I WANT to lose, but it will have to be a real loss backed up with good reasons in order to teach me anything.

When two people disagree, there are only two possibilities: one of them is wrong, or both of them are wrong. Both cannot be right in my view (note, if both merely misunderstand each other, then they may be right but they are both "wrong" in the sense that they are misunderstanding each other). Therefore, debate presents the opportunity for one or both to improve. The true winner in a debate is the loser, because s/he has had the opportunity to learn and adjust their views to what is likely more accurate. My favorite debates are the ones I lose, but that's only valuable to me if I made the other work for their victory.



YES! I may or may not agree with it, but I definitely want to know what arguments are out there so I can study them. For example, I could probably get on this board under a different name and have you thouroughly convinced I was a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. I could debate nearly any issue from that perspective, offering detailed rationale. That's how well we should all understand the others' positions - especially those we disagree with (like me and fundie christians).



Yes.



Yep. No disrespect, but that sounds pretty looney tunes to me. But very intelligent and respectable people believe in things like angels and karma so you're in good company. :)



Me too.



Whew! That's a lot of stuff. You know, all the issues of "applied" philosophy, such as: living ethically, getting along with one another, building a just and workable society, dealing with multicultural issues, dealing with the effects of technology on our lives, finding meaning and purpose in life, building worldviews and meaningful life philosophy we can live by, that is also in harmony with scientific facts, being happy and fulfilled, etc etc... [/B]
comments like this can be posted in the Physics Feedback forum...let's get back on topic...
 

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