(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing and happiness
marudubshinki at gmail.com
Tue Mar 22 18:54:24 PST 2005
Iorwerth Thomas wrote:
> There's an example from a book of ethical dillemas  on how
> following Kant's categorical imperative regarding honesty made a
> female correspondant of his (and probably by extension everyone around
> her) extremely _unhappy_. Utilitarianism has a place in any well
> thought out moral philosophy, but it probably shouldn't be the only
> consideration. Happiness at large tends to mean the happiness of the
> majority in the eyes of many ; this can lead to people suggesting
> some fairly twisted things.
'And ye shall know them by their fruit'?
> (At a risk of introducing a political argument into the thread, I'd
> ask people to examine the position of the leader of the British
> Opposition towards the travelling minority, and whether it'd be easier
> for him to make his case were he a utilitarian.)
Well, I'm visiting England tomorrow. I'll pick up some papers and see if
>> I'd have argued that a Christian is someone who doesn't want to
>> suffer the eternal torment of Hell, and so believes in Jesus and does
>> what their church tells'em.
> There's no actual set definition of what a Christian believes (bar the
> Nician (sp?) creed, and maybe not even that, if you're a liberal
> Anglican). There has been, since the inception of the religion, a
> strand that believes that either
> a) No one is in Hell, since God is merciful
> b) Hell is temporary, intended to reform, for the same reason.
> It's called Universalism; there's some textual evidence that Paul was
> one . It lost steam once most people in the West were Christain,
> largly because the worry that Uncle Bob, the virtuous worshipper of
> Zeus, would have somewhat unfairly wound up in Hell became less of an
Too bad; the idea that one should suffer infinitely for merely finitely
crimes is a really lousy one, which has caused untold mental torment.
> It's tempting to suggest that someone whose primary motivation for
> being a Christian was fear of Hell probably wouldn't do a good job of
> escaping Hell (if indeed, it exists and there's anyone in there)
> becase they have the wrong motivation for what they do.
>  On the other hand, there's textual evidence for almost any view
> of Paul that you wish to put forwards.
>>> On second thoughts, if you're correct, I doubt anyone _should_ have
>>> a problem with such a motivation, as it's quite clearly unselfish.
>>> Mich ink has no doubt been spilled on such issues.
>> Arrgh. The point was that even apparently unselfish, principled
>> actions can be as well, if not better, understood as enlightened
>> selfishness as well. But fortunately no ink need die for our debate.
>> No, 'tis the electrons and phospors who shall suffer.
> I think my chief problem with this is that they could probably be
> understood just as well in a Jungian or Freudian outlook, depending
> taste - they all tend to reduce motivations to one primary thing,
> power, sex, happiness, whereas we always have several, including those
> we aren't aware of. Also, not having access to people's inner
> thoughts, we can't know.
> I'd like to observe that to a certain extent, I'm one of those people
> you describe; the problem is - my inability to be happy while those
> around me are unhappy doeas not imply that, in order to do what I must
> to make them happy, I'll wind up happy. It just means that if they're
> unhappy, so am I.
Wait- I must be misunderstanding you here; if truly they being unhappy
means you too are unhappy, then their being happy is a *necessary*
pre-recequisite, thusly for you to be happy you must previously had
helped them become happy (if necessary). If the link only works as a
downer, well that just sucks.
More information about the Urth