Open Question to Theists and non-Theists


#22

For your information, that soliloquy is from Hamlet–not Macbeth.

And Hilary Greaves et al are contemporary athorites on Philosophy.

I don’t know if you have a Master’s in psychology (as you say you do), but you certainly don’t seem to know much about Shakespeare (or Philosophy), and dating someone who has a PHD in something doesn’t make you an expert in anything.

I’m curious as to why you jumped into the discussion to begin with.

Did someone ask you to?

(If so I would suspect they’re somewhat disapointed in your performance about now, and you probably should have asked them to fight their own battles.)


#23

My Masters in Psychology is from Norwich University. finished in August 1995.

And I had my share of philosophy courses, from Aurora University and the college of Dupage. Considering I usually got A’s in the courses, must mean the professors thought I was learning something regarding philosophy,.

It’s easy for me to make mistakes in things like Macbeth vs Hamlet, as I like to Multitask. And sometimes I multitask in different languages, like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

And I don’t date someone with a PhD. I hang around folks with PhD degrees, as well as uneducated, blue collar workers. I often find the blue collar workers, the wiser of the lot.

And I jumped in, because Jason asked if anyone else, had anything to say to you.

And it would appropriate, in accordance with the Holy Fools tradition. And I’m too weird and strange, for anyone to normally upset or rattle me. :exclamation: :laughing:


#24

That speech is one of the most famous in western literature, and it wouldn’t be easy for anyone who’s actually read Shakespeare to somehow confuse Hamlet with Macbeth.

Hamlet strugles with avengering his father’s murder, and MacBeth is himself a murderer.

The plays are entirely different, and in different settings.

One is set in Scotland, and one is set in Denmark.

I’ll have to take your word on that (and, as I believe you’re anonymous here, on your academic and professional credentials too.)

But you should at least recognize an associate Prof. of Philosophy at Somerville College in Oxford University as a contemporary figure in Philosophy.

And recognize the sources she cites in a published paper as contemporary figures.

Sorry.

I misunderstood you here.

My bad.

But why aren’t Greaves, Fleurbaey, Voorhoeve, and Roberts the right people?

I thought so.

Thank you.


#25

hi Michael:

I do recognize the sources in philosophy you cite. Multitasking means you are working on several things - usually complex - at the same time. So simple mistakes can be made, as I don’t have time to review and rectify them all.

Tonight I am watching Super girl, Scorpion and NCIS LA on TV. The only other pressing thing (that can take me away from this forum), is a new episode of the Walking Dead, the Flash or Fear the Walking Dead.

I think the keywords for these shows are Zombies, Superheroes and Geniuses.

So I might not be able to continue until tomorrow. Take care. :smiley:


#26

Thank you for finally doing that–instead of just repeatedly saying “if you have questions about philosophy, you should look to philosophers” (or some other words to that effect.)

I did look to proffesional philosophers when I found my own vocabulary insuffeciant to address Jason’s semantic arguments, and they were helpful.

I’ve cited those philosophers here, and this section of the forum is supposed to be a place where people can discuss philosophy.

So once again, these are the citations that address Jason’s “incoherence argument”:

Hilary Greaves.

Fleurbaey and Voorhoeve

Roberts, Holtug

P.S. One reason I’ve cited Philosophers who I believe offer perfectly sound answers to the “incoherence argument against existence comparativism” is for the benefit of anyone reading along–who may be struggling to hang in here under difficult circumstances (as I have been.)

If you tell yourself (or let someone else tell you) something long enough, you may come to believe it.

And I believe thinking that no state of existence is any better or worse than non-existence is unhealthy (and can effect the way you feel about life.)

The idea that thoughts can cause unhealthy emotions is the very basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, and I suppose I do see some merit in that particular school of Psychotherapy.

I certainly believe that (unless there’s some proven bio/chemical basis to an individual’s depression) that approach is better than the pharmacological approach.

And I suspect that for most people, it would probably be more helpful than zen or sitting in a sweat lodge.

What do you think counselor?


#27

Philosophy is fun to read and study. If you must take that direction, then figure out how folks like Aristotle, Socrates, Buddha, Nietzsche, Laozi, Confucius, Kant and Sartre…would respond to Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Or to put it in musical terms. How would someone with a PhD in music, play a particular Beatles tune, in the style of Mozart, Bach or Beethoven?

But I’m a pragmatic person. In other words, I look for what works - regardless of source.

http://sorcerers-stone.net/uploads/3/2/7/0/3270413/5212516.gif?1385056692

If a person is suffering from depression, I strongly feel that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the best therapeutic approaches. It could be better than psycho-pharmacology. But again, that determination must be made by a licensed mental health professional and/or licensed medical doctor.

And regardless how folks might view it, homeopathy (under the guidance of a licensed medical doctor), has many remedies for treating depression.

And if you find an indigenous person, trained and approved by the right Native people, to conduct a sweat lodge… And if they invite you to join them… it’s one of the best healing moralities around. Considering they have four rounds and the third round is a healing round, what does that tell you? And if you ever did have a chance to experience an authentic Native American ayahuasca or peyote ceremony, you might find many healings take place there.

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID23641/images/sweat-lodge.jpg

And mindfulness is a school of therapy. If someone wants to find out about whether it’s better to exist or not exist, then practicing Zen and mindfulness, is a great way to find the answers.

http://www.joy-of-cartoon-pictures.com/images/zen-quotes.jpg

And you know what? There’s no better philosophical and theological construct then the Zombie, for talking about existence and non-existence. Considering that theological exile is a current alternative to ECT, annihilation and universalism. And philosophers like to talk about philosophical zombies or the P-zombie. Would a P-Zombie really be existing or non-existing, is a very deep, philosophical question.


#28

I’d like to take this oportunity here to thank the only two posters on this forum who’ve ever said anything on this subject that was it all helpful to me (or is at all likely to be helpful to anyone else.)

First, Pilgrim.

Prof. Nils Holtug on the Positive Value of Existence

And now (more recently), Geoffrey.

Comparing Existence & Non-Existence, by Dr Hilary Greaves

The above comments were constructive, on topic, and helpful.

The one below was not.

If I had continued my studies, instead of caring for my parents, I could have been a licensed proffessional by now.

But I would have flunked out on life if I had put my education and career goals ahead of their needs.

And I doubt such a license can provide someone with the temperment, logic, or clearness of thought necessary to really help someone who’s situationally induced depression has been worsened by swallowing the unhealthy thoughts suggested by a published author he’s (wrongly) come to think of as his intellectual superior (as I once thought of Jason.)

It apparently takes something more (maybe common sense, maybe just empathy) to know that talk of zombies, and posting the kind of images you’ve posted here, is in poor tast on a thread started by someone with a loved one in ICU.

Thanks again pilgrim.

And it would seem the only argument against mlogic is a semantic agument that (at least some) “contemporary figures in philosophy” have recognized and exposed (for what it is):

Hilary Greaves

Fleurbaey and Voorhoeve

Roberts, Holtug

Many thanks to Greaves, Fleurbaey, Voorhoeve, Roberts, and Holtug.

No thanks to real or pretended “licensed proffesionals” who use philosophical discussion forums to mock and ridicule those asking philosophical questions (and especially not of they really consider their targets to weak, vulnerable, or mentally ill.)


#29

Let me ask you some questions, Michael:

You cite your own knowledge of psychology and behavior. Tell me. Does a physician normally operate on themselves? Does a lawyer normally represent themselves in court? Does a psychologist try to resolve their own personal problems?
Why do you look to philosophy to resolve the “to be or not to be” dilemma, when the field of psychology teaches us that feelings and emotions - much more so than thoughts, logic, reason and intellect - govern our reaction to Shakespeare’s soliloquy?
Once I talked to a Native American elder, regarding a sun dancer (the sun dance is a sacred Native American ceremony), who killed themselves. His response was they continue their problems in the afterlife. And this person just made their problems 10 times worse for themselves. Do you wish to wager - like the philosopher Pascal (with his wager) - that the Native American elder is wrong?


#30

Freud did.

That actually answers two of your questions, because he was both a psychologist and a medical doctor (and he was treating himself.)

Freudians, Jungians, Adlerians would probably say that feelings and emotions govern our reaction to such things as Shakespeare’s soliloquy, but Aaron Beck would say that faulty thinking creates unhealthy emotions (and I suppose I subscribe more to the cognitive behavioral school of pscychology than the Freudian, or Jungian, or Adlerian.)

I’m not suicidal.

Is it possible you’re projecting here?

Neither Pascal’s wager, or my point recarding meaningful ways of compare states of existence to non-existence, have anything to do with enchoraging anyone to commit suicide–quite the contrary.

Neither Pascal’s wager is the argument that it is in one’s own best interest to behave as if God exists, since the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise.

And my point is that there are conceivible states of existence that are better (heaven) and worse (hell) than non-existence.

Denying there are such states of existence robs hell (whether it’s viewed as eternal and punative, or temporal and remedial) of it’s deternt value , and robs heaven of it’s incentive value.

It’s an unhealthy line of thought offered to me when I was greiving, by a man who had complaints about the condition of his own existence I wont share here, to defend an argument in a book he wrote (and recommended to me at the time.)

When I pointed out what I believed was a fauty argument in a poorly wriiten passge, he chose to continuallly re-iterate and defend what Prof. Greaves calls “the incoherence argument” against existence comparativism.

He then chose to first attack, and then ignore me.

And when I brought the issue of existence comparativism up on the philosophy forum here, he chose in continue justifying himself, attacking me, ridiculling the issue, contradicting himself, and to publicly defend what I believe to be an unhealthy line of though likely to cause unhealthy feelings in any depressed persons reading along.

I’ve felt obliged to offer a more healthy line of thought here.

God is good, there are meaningful ways you can legitimately say certain sttes of existence are better of worse than non-existence, and life is a gift.

There is nothing unhealthy or suicidal in that, and all you’ve done is to jump in here (at someone else’s request, I understand) and defend yourself (and your less than orthodox views on sweat lodges, shamanism, peyote, and other mood altering drugs.)

Why do you and Jason keep trying to construct a straw man?


#31

Some more questions for you.

“Orthodox” depends on what statistical group is doing the judging. And upon your “frame of reference”. If you ask indigenous people, sweat lodges are orthodox. To Buddhists, meditation is Orthodox. Even to those in the scientific community, meditation is orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox has a form of meditation called Hesychasm. And Catholics and Anglicans use the Keating’s centering prayer. What is your frame of reference, to determining something is “non-orthodox”?
You cite one professional friends opinion. Does his opinion necessarily represent a majority viewpoint, as determined by statistical polling?
Obviously, I know what Pascal’s wager is. But I was referring to a bet - like Pascal made. Not necessarily the content.
And what “exactly” did i say on “mind altering drugs”? I said I neither endorse - nor object to - authentic Native American peyote and Ayahuasca ceremonies, performed by the appropriate indigenous people. As long as such ceremonies are in accordance with the federal laws, of the host country. After all, these ceremonies have been going on for thousands of years - long before Columbus arrived on the scene. And many healings have been reported. The only other “mind altering drug” I would would feel comfortable with, is medical cannabis. Provided it’s done by a licensed medical doctor, with the blessings of the American Medical Association and the federal government.
You cited Freud and his group of disciples, along with their corresponding theories. But each theorist and follower of Freud - no matter how brilliant (I like Jung the best - by the way), had competing theories. And none were in agreement with each other. But have you done a comprehensive search, on what experimental psychology and statistical analysis, has to say on feelings and how they affect reality?


#32

I’ve studied Freud, Adler, Jung, and Beck (who wasn’t a disciple of Freud BTW), and I know Beck believed that the way we feel is created by the way we think–that thoughts give rise to feelings as often (if not more often) than feelings give rise to thoughts.

It’s been a long time since I did academic classwork, but I also know there’s empirical evidence to support that conclusion.

And I haven’t been considering suicide, or enchoraging anyone else to consider suicide here.

Again, why do you keep trying to construct a straw man?


#33

I take you at your word, that you haven’t contemplated suicide. So my major concern is addressed. However, when people make statements and take them as philosophical, psychological, scientific or theological statements of fact or truth, it is appropriate to ask questions - in order to understand things - like Socrates would in ancient Greece.

And here are my questions and commentary again:

“Orthodox” depends on what statistical group is doing the judging. And upon your “frame of reference”. If you ask indigenous people, sweat lodges are orthodox. To Buddhists, meditation is Orthodox. Even to those in the scientific community, meditation is orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox has a form of meditation called Hesychasm. And Catholics and Anglicans use the Keating’s centering prayer. What is your frame of reference, to determining something is “non-orthodox”?
You cite one professional friends opinion. Does his opinion necessarily represent a majority viewpoint, as determined by statistical polling?
Obviously, I know what Pascal’s wager is. But I was referring to a bet - like Pascal made. Not necessarily the content.
And what “exactly” did i say on “mind altering drugs”? I said I neither endorse - nor object to - authentic Native American peyote and Ayahuasca ceremonies, performed by the appropriate indigenous people. As long as such ceremonies are in accordance with the federal laws, of the host country. After all, these ceremonies have been going on for thousands of years - long before Columbus arrived on the scene. And many healings have been reported. The only other “mind altering drug” I would feel comfortable with, is medical cannabis. Provided it’s done by a licensed medical doctor, with the blessings of the American Medical Association and the federal government.
You cited Freud and his group of disciples, along with their corresponding theories. But each theorist and follower of Freud - no matter how brilliant (I like Jung the best - by the way), had competing theories. And none were in agreement with each other. But have you done a comprehensive search, on what experimental psychology and statistical analysis, has to say on feelings and how they affect reality?

http://www.cartoonwork.com/watermark.php?i=232


#34

I said “I haven’t been” contemplating suicide, and I thank you for taking me at my word.

And I thank you for any prayers you have actually offered for my dad.

He’s pretty sick right now, but there’s at least one doctor who thinks he could recover, and prayers are appreciated.

I just told dad today that I appreciate his hanging in here with me as long as he has, and that I hope he can hang in here with me a little longer.

But I told him that if he has to leave, that’s o’kay too, because I know there’s a better place, and I’ll hang in here as long as I have to.

There being states of existence that are better than non-existence (and that are capable of outweighing the states of existence we may sometimes have to endure in this fallen world) is what this thread is all about, not suicide.

And there’s really nothing funny about an ICU, so please stop trying to be funny by posting cartoons, and snippets from silly t.v. shows (like “the A team,” where people were routinely shot with rapid fire automatic machine guns, but never died.)

I find these attempts at humor in the context of this thread offensive, and I haven’t the time to do “statistical analysis,” or to answer your questions right now.

And especially not when you haven’t answered mine (and when I doubt you remember what those questions were, or even took any notice of them to begin with.)

I asked you if you believe that anything (such as life, or love) has intrinsic value, or whether you see everything as relevant (and dependant on personal judgment.)

You never answered that question, but here’s a Psalm we read in Church today (at the 7:30 a.m. morning prayer service, at Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, in Crownsville Md.)

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

Psalm 63:3.

I take this to mean that life is good, and love is better.

Do you agree or disagree?

Pax Et Bonum.


#35

I notice you make great leaps in arriving at faulty conclusions. Like - “I’m dating someone with a PhD degree”. If I wish to date anyone at all, it will probably be a Femme fatale. As a literary type of character, the concept would be intriguing. So you are either working with faulty premises, don’t read what is written or are trying to imitate the Jerry Seinfeld and DC Comics Bizarro world. :laughing:

Humor is part of the Holy Fools tradition. Everyone here is supposed to be true to their Christian beliefs and practices. For me, I fully embrace the Holy Fools tradition in Christianity. And the Socratic method in philosophy.

In fact, in Simeon the Holy Fool, we find this:

If you wish to see how I view things, then look though the section marked theology, at the bottom (or any of the other links I provided). Since it is placed in an introduction section, one can only ask clarifying questions there. But it is about 46 pages long and will give you my world view on things. Your questions need complex theological and philosophical responses. I would prefer that you study contemporary and historical philosophers - both Eastern and Western (along with historical and contemporary theologians) - and arrive at these answers yourself. That’s why I have avoided giving answers - like the Zen masters would. But judging how you responded to Jason, you appear to already have preconceived answers - to your questions at hand. So are you here to just “collect opinions”?

If you take any position of Christian faith (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, universalist, etc.), then you already have a positive spin on life - like I do. Christianity is the main course meal. Anything else (sweat lodges, Buddhist meditation, and philosophy), are there as side dishes. Or they help make the journey in this life smoother. Or they give additional perspective, on the Christian message. In fact, many people in the Native World, would be members of the Roman Catholic Church and also attend their Native American ceremonies. And they also use the white man’s medicine and the spiritual and herbal medicine - of the medicine people. And there are Roman Catholic clergy that practice Zen and open up ashrams in India.

And not everything can be placed in the logical blocks of philosophy. God is a divine mystery, as the Eastern Orthodox correctly point out. And philosophy - a man made discipline - does have its limitations.


#36

Good.

Then I can assum you agree with this?

(Morning office, book of common prayer, general thanksgiving.)

And can say “Amen” to this?

If you can, there’s nothing all that complicated here, and no need to complicat the issue with a semantic argument some “contemporary figures” in philosophy recognize as specious.

My only “preconception,” affirmed by the universal church of all ages, and supported by the contemporary figures in philosophy you asked for (and by human instinct, as testified by Geoffrey and pilgrim) is that there are possible states of existence that are better and worse than non-existence, life (with it’s possibilities and potential for happiness, here and hereafter) is a blessing, and creation is an act of love–an unselfish gift from a good God, for which creatures can ultimately be truly grateful.

All I asked you was whether you could agree with this, and all I was ever really interested in from Jason was whether he could (or whether he really believes existence can’t be any better or worse than non-existence, as he said in a book he recommended to me in a time of grief.)

I’ll end by again quoting Hilary Greaves (a proffesor, and trained Philosopher with Oxford University.)

And I’d be interested in anything anyone else has to say here.

Pax Et Bonum.

P.S. I’ve just corrected some punctuation errors and typos in my previous posts, but the substance remains the same.


#37

Now I’m off for a while. So I would have to respond later. But this question raises other questions: Why are you asking this question? What do you hope to learn? What is it you hope to achieve? And how will you know, when you find the “right” answer or a “satisfying” answer? And how many learned scholars, folks on this board, etc., need to agree with an answer, before you determine it’s “right” or “satisfying”?


#38

For the benefit of those reading along, any of whom may be facing the same challenges I have, and may have been disturbed by the issues raised (and insufficiently addressed) here on the philosophy forum (when my discussion with Jason went public.)

Nothing.

By the grace of God I’ve already worked these things out.

To make sure that nothing I said, or that Jason has said (or that you or anyone else says, on a topic heading I’m responsible for) prevents any creature from being “heartily greatful” to his or her Creator.

I’m quite satisfied that Jason has been arguing pure semantics all along, and that striped of the semantics, he has no argument.

And it is (or should be) perfectly obvious to any rational human being that states of existence can be bettter or worse than none existence.

That’s why it was obvious to pilgrim that no one euthanizes a horse

And it was obvious to Geoffrey that no rational being would knowingly choose Dante’s inferno over non-existence.

I would hasten to add here that even if Jason tries to point out that you’d have to exist before you could make such a choice, that’s really irrelevant.

All that observation proves is that a non-existent “possible person” is unable to recognize the intrinsic value in anything life has to offer.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t things that have real, objective, intrinsic value (totally apart from an actual, living creature’s ability to recognize such value.)

It doesn’t mean, in Jason’s words, that “all value is a matter of personal judgment.”

That the life, and love, and happiness, and joy that existence has to offer only have value because of some arbitrary personal judgment on our parts.

It doesn’t mean that, or that a hellish existence in Dante’s inferno would only be bad if that were our opinion (and would really be no worse than non-existence.)

That’s nonsense based on double talk, and that’s why Proff. Greaves (of Oxford) could say

But whether published authors, licensed counsellors, proffesional philosophers, ordained clergy, or ordinary folk and family members–we all have resposibilities to one another.

And those responsibilities cannot be escaped.

I can’t avoid my responsibilities to my father here in CCU, or to you and Jason, and Geoffrey, and pilgrim, and others on this forum (many of whom may have read these threads without ever commenting on them.)

And you can’t avoid your responsibilities to me, and them.

That’s why saint James said

Be not many teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment.” (James 3:1.)

Jason became a teacher when his first fiction and non-fiction books were published, when he started posting here, and when he recommended one of his books to me in a time of grief.

You became a teacher when you jumped in this discussion.

And I became a teacher when I started posting here.

Whether you believe in UR or not, we’re judged by the things we say and do, and we all have responsibilities that cannot be avoided.

I believe there are states of existence that are better and worse than non-existence, and I want to live up to my responsibilities here as well as humanely possible (to walk in all the good works that God has before ordained that I should walk in, and to join those who have loved me in a place of bliss when my life here on earth is over.)

Do I sound mentally ill to you counsellor?

Pax Et Bonum (Peace and Salvation) to all.


#39

Nobody would make that determination, by what somebody says - or doesn’t say - on a forum alone. Or in any other social media outlet, like Facebook, Twitter, etc. That has to be determined by the appropriate licensed professionals (i.e. counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists). And they would want to see a person in person. Let’s just wait and see, if anyone else responds to your forum post here. I’ll try to stay out of the way on this particular thread - going forward. Unless someone says somethings that’s “off the wall.” Or someone attacks something I’ve said. Sound OK to you :question: :smiley:


#40

Of course counsellor.

I should have worded myself more carefully (as others should sometimes.)

What I wanted to ask you was if anything I said here sounded irrational, or “off the wall” to you?

Can you answer that?


#41

Sure. Nothing you said so far, sounded off the wall to me - based upon your answers to my questions. Let’s see if anyone else has any input for you. :smiley: