The Consolidation of Philosophy - how should we live?

Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by Dashing_Chap, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. Following on from the AYR? thread I thought it might be interesting to discuss the best way to live life without invoking the question of whether God exists or not.

    Should man live by philosophical ideals or live according to the instinct of nature? Should we live for pleasure or to support others? Do we need to examine life to have a different perspective? Does knowledge change our perception? Do we need to read Plato and Socrates or can we appreciate the complexities of life just by our own experience? Can we learn anything worthwhile from history, culture or art, and if so, what? What are we meant to read?

    Do we even need to ask these questions or is it best to crack on like most animals (and presumably people) do and just get on with it? Does asking these questions provide solace? Can religion offer moral guidance or are we better off with our own intuition? Is it even possible to get an answer?

    At first I thought the answer might be quite simple, but on reflection it appears to be more complex.

    In your own time... Go!

    -DC
     
  2. The answer lies, in part, in physics. The latest research is apparently showing that we have no choice in our actions. That is not to say that everything is pre ordained, but that our actions are governed by external influences that we are only just dimly beginning to perceive, but not so far to understand.

    Hamlet. 3/1 refers.
     
  3. Are you referring to free will and determinism? I don't think there's an answer to that one unless we could track every single atomic molecule in the universe, observe the final outcome then repeat it again to see if the same thing happens or if we're at the mercy of randomness.

    The problem with that is that it lets kiddy fiddlers and people like Hitler off the hook because they couldn't help themselves.

    RE Hamlet, I certainly think so too, tho it's only lately that I'm beginning to really appreciate Shakespeare.


    It's interesting that people could have the same fears for life 400 years ago and now we look back at them with the same fears even though they're long gone.
     
  4. But to go back to your original q. There is a reasonable amount of evidence, which is growing slowly, that may put paid to mainstream religions of the "If you don't believe you'll go to hell" variety. To begin with, many scientists are questioning whether or not death is the end of the line for the individual human being.

    Most mainstream religions have a central theme involving blind, unthinking belief in a powerful deity, for which there is no empirical proof of existence other than the words of prophets and soothsayers, who often "interpret" words that other prophets etc., allege are the words of the deity. This is then wrapped up in social rules and regulations designed to keep the stewards of the religion in food and drink. E.g., you must go to church every Sunday and pay a proportion of your wages to the church (Catholics did that in the 60's, I don't know if they still do).

    In time the whole thing becomes a population control mechanism giving the chicken bone shakers a degree of political power related to the size of their congregation. Notably this occurs mainly in peasant populations and in under developed countries.

    In such places (Peru is one), religion has a firm grasp a large slice of the population and provides some social cohesion as well as being parasitical.

    Do we need religion in developed countries? Probably. Since many people seem to have a need for some kind of belief support system and a belief in a God is likely more appropriate than a belief in such as Tony Blair. So people need some kind of belief to give them comfort, in the absence of any comfort available from science and mainstream politics.

    But that is beginning to change as science delves deeper into the mysteries of the real nature of existence.
     
  5. Can someone enlighten me on the situation regarding free will, or lack of? I'm sure I could do my own research, but it's much better getting the opinions of those in the debate.
     
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  6. Can science tell us how to live though? It might tell us about the world, but does knowledge change our perception of things? The complexities of human interaction may be better explained by observing other sources.
     
  7. AFAIK those who believe in Free Will hold the opinion that wo/man is in charge of her/his destiny and can choose their fate. Determinism would imply that we're all slaves to a predetermined cause. As we're made of fundamental matter at the basic level these particles are presumably set to follow their own path and we with all our emotions and conscousness et al are just along for the ride.

    Personally I prefer the idea of Free Will, I think on the quantum scale everything is random and there's no way of telling what might happen next. Whether consciousness is directly related to it all is also uncertain.

    Naturally there'll be others who may hold a more accurate opinion.
     
  8. Simple version - we live in a lawful universe (gravity, magnetism, newton etc et fuckin cetera) therefore our behaviour and actions must also be lawfully determined by certain rules. This is NOT the same as being 'controlled' by some other force - it is a complex set of interactions. And not being able to track every molecule in the universe doesn't make it random - it just means we do not have the tools predict it reliably. Like it or not, we are part of a deterministic universe - you may think you used your free will to shag that granny last friday night, but it was the inevitable consequence of everything that happened to you up to that point.
    PS this is not the same as FATE or PRE-ORDINATION
     
  9. Quantum shit isn't random - it just follows a different set of rules to classical physics.
     
  10. My final piece of bullshit - it's very similar to the weather and the economy. We understand the rules and forces governing both of these systems, however their sheer complexity precludes us from very accurate prediction. Not the same as being either random or preset.
     
  11. One argument is that time is a spacial dimension, it's static - the perception of time as dynamic, flowing in one particular direction, is a trick of human cognition. Some people believe that this indicates a purely deterministic universe, others believe that our choices allow us to navigate four-dimensional hyperspace, selecting a path across the temporal plane through the choices we make, others believe that time bifurcates at the point of every decision so that all outcomes exist simultaneously but separately, and others believe that all outcomes already exist as quantum states in a probability cloud that are collapsed into existence through observation. I don't even pretend to understand that last one.
     
  12. A different set of rules whereby it's impossible to tell a particle's direction if you know its position and if you know its position you can't tell its direction/where it's going.

    Whether or not it's a random process or whether or not it's determined at a higher level is impossible to tell simply because we can't observe what the particle is going to do. The very act of observation makes it behave differently/wave particle duality etc.

    This also has a knock on effect for Newtonian objects, classical physics is a myth, it's quantum all the way.
     

  13. Quantum Universe by Prof Brian Cox attempts to explain the last one, I don't understand it either. Somewhere along the line things stop behaving strangely and start behaving like classical objects. No-one knows why this is the case though.
     
  14. I think you're all wrong.

    Not sure why, something just made me say it.
     
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  15. God did it.

    Oops, sorry - wrong thread.