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This Manifesto proclaims the universal principles of objective ethics.

Purpose and meaning of the activities of a free man is to maximize common good.

Common good is freedom from any determinism, both natural and social. Common good is achieved by cooperation of all free people. Everyone brings their own personal creative contribution to this common cause. Recognition of the contribution by others is the only objective source of its value.

Natural determinism is needs, threats and any limitations imposed by nature on man. This includes physical needs (favorable habitat conditions, including movement in space), biological (destruction of sources of fear, hunger, disease), psychological and cultural (satisfaction of curiosity, boredom, the need for variety, knowledge and beauty). Overcoming natural determinism requires changing the world.
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Not Paul Hope [userpic]

The philosophy of the Big Bang strikes me as familiar somehow. Where have I heard it before?

James Camien [userpic]

Israel is attacking Gaza at the moment (actually, not quite: the twelve-hour cease-fire has just been extended), and there have been, to put it mildly, a lot of civilian casualties. Hamas (et al.) have claimed that Israel is targeting civilians, to which accusation Israel et al. have responded by saying that they are not: they are targeting militants who are using civilians as human shields.

This argument confuses me. If I am a cop called to a bank robbery, and when I arrived I find one of the bank robbers using a civilian as a human shield, then if I shoot at the robber but hit and kill the civilian I have broken the law (I think - and I'm not sure whether I would have committed murder or something else). If I am not a cop, it is even worse to kill a human shield. Perhaps it is different if the robber is trying to kill me. Let's suppose it is. This doesn't matter, because Israel is in no danger of being killed by Hamas. If it were a person, it would be in danger of a few grazes and losing a small proportion of its income.

If this case is analogous to the political sphere, Israel looks very bad indeed. Hamas doesn't look great, but it would be Israel who is ultimately left a murderer. But there are some disanalogies. The most important is that whereas in the bank robber case the robber can be pretty confident that he will not be shot at (this is because the cop knows that he can't risk killing the shield), Hamas can be certain that Israel will attack despite the human shield. This means that the function of the 'shield' is in each case totally different. In the robber case, the shield prevents any shooting, and is not in as much danger as, say, a wooden shield. We can hardly say, if I kill the shield, that the robber killed her, because he reasonably expected that she would not be killed. In the Gaza case, we can reasonably accuse Gaza of killing its shields, because it was certain that they would be killed as a result of its actions (e.g., refusing to let them leave). This disanalogy presents Israel in a slightly better light: it has still killed the shields, but the burden of guilt is shared more by Hamas than the cop's guilt is shared with the robber's.

There's another disanalogy: Israel warns people that they are going to be attacked. (That it does so is in some ways not nearly as humanitarian as it sounds, and in fact can be seen as a cynical way of escaping the legal repercussions of deliberate civilian attacks and so gives Israel the freedom to kill as many civilians as it wants (see Weitzman's 'Legislative Attack'); but that's another story.) If I were to warn the robber that I will shoot at him, regardless of shield, and if this promise could be backed up by, say, the fact that I have already shot and killed one shield, then the burden of guilt, I think, would fall more heavily on the robber. So Israel looks in better moral shape still.

However, I think that we would still accuse me (with or without a police badge) of murder here. The burden of guilt would lie more heavily with the robber, but it would still lie very heavily indeed with me. And so, by analogy, Israel still looks to be in pretty shoddy moral shape, even if Hamas looks in pretty poor shape too. I see no way to get around the fact that if you fire a lethal weapon at something knowing with certainty that an innocent person will be killed by the action, you have murdered that person.

Perhaps I've missed something?

All the Strange Hours [userpic]



Pro-Crom:

Crom lives in the Earth. The Earth exists, so it's possible that Crom could exist.

Crom gave men Steel, and Steel exists, so that's another point in favor of Crom existing. (Bayesian?)

Lots of people believe in Jesus, who is a lot stupider than Crom, and those people are real.

Multiple universes.

Crom exists.

Anti-Crom:

Modern induction furnaces obviate the traditional role ancestor-gods play in steel manufacturing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Moral dissolution of late capitalism; Crom as desublimated geist von der kulturindustrie.

Discuss.

Tags:
enders_shadow [userpic]

I'm still on my philosophy of religion kick. It's an odd rut to find oneself in, doubly so as an atheist in a strange land.

I have noticed in many of the debates I have watched, about atheism versus theism, that the theist attempts to put the burden of proof equally on both sides. They will say something like: "I have to prove the world is better explained by theism, and he (Hitchens, Harris or Dawkins most often) has to prove the world is better explained by atheism."

I find this utterly unacceptable. There is no burden of proof for the atheist, as they are not putting forth any sort of positive idea. The atheist never needs to offer a reason to NOT believe in God, all the atheist must do is counter any reason put forth by the theist to believe. If every argument FOR God has been shown to be insufficient, the atheists work is done, right?

Is there any reason atheism requires any positive justification? Or does negating the claims of theists suffice?

(For the purposes of this discussion, atheists may go as far as accepting a Deistic God, but not a personal theistic God. The philosophic Deistic God offers little problems for the pragmatic atheist)

maryduck [userpic]

"There is no loss of dignity in subordination when it serves a higher purpose," says Debi Pearl. Some people say she is "crazy." And some people live by this statement. Where is truth? What are the mechanisms by which dignity is preserved? What defines dignity? Ask a million people, get a million different answers? All I know is: Truth is paramount.

Парамон Чемоданов [userpic]

Wings of the Phoenix. An Introduction to Quantum Mythophysics
(translated from Russian)

Contents
1. Introduction. What is reality and how to fight it
2. Dreams of disappointed physicist
3. Traditional notions of reality
4. Human world and world of God
5. World of society and world of God
6. Norma, madness, creativity
7. The quantum world: the end of classical causality
8. Tale of two: the complementarity principle and the language problem
9. Sacred text and the world
10. Left and right: the dualism of knowledge and understanding
11. Measurement, decoherence and the Schroedinger cat
12. EPR paradox and non-local quantum world
13. Symbols of the way and the issue of freedom
14. Observer of the universe
15. Irreversibility, entropy, and the problem of evil
16. Conclusion. The wind blows where it wishes

Chris [userpic]

I just had the thought that we could distinguish between full-fledged monotony (where given any, even possibly null, propositions P, Q, and R, if P |- Q then P, R |- Q) and limited monotony (where given any propositions P and Q, if |- P then Q |- P).

All the Strange Hours [userpic]

Question: what is the oldest formulation of what we would today call the "hard problem"?

The earliest one I can find is from Leibniz in 1714.

I'm not sure what it would even look like in ancient philosophy, since their concept of consciousness was probably different. I'd be amazed if it weren't lurking in there somewhere, though.

Any ideas?

Not Paul Hope [userpic]

In 1941, Norbert Weiner, one of the principle minds behind the science of cybernetics, acknowledged the problems of a capitalist information economy. Cybernetics, a discipline that sought a general theory of control and communication in animals and machines, was an interdisciplinary research program brought together in World War II to build weapons. Its development of theory of dynamic systems, information theory, and machine learning are influential to this day. After the war, these theories were carried over into psychological and social science, notably by Bateson.

For Weiner, capitalist competition for the means of control of social communication was a source of unpredictability and social chaos.
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