RE: [ba-unrev-talk] An approach to a simpler truth.
I read the review and I notice I was getting quite agitated about it.
Reviewers often state their agenda and not the author's, so I don't want to
make too much of it at that point. (01)
My concern is over what seems to be the pursuit of a false dichotomy. I
don't think relativists are committed to the blank slate idea any more than
biological determinists are commited to not being masters of their own
selves. The pitfall of biological determinism is that it is used to justify
inequity (a social concept) using what are potentially "unreal" distinctions
(e.g., intelligence, apparently another social construction). Furthermore,
there is a discussion of some modern work (e.g, AI) as if it has succeeded!
So far, I don't believe there is anything in biology that yet accounts for
our experience as human beings and our awareness of self and identity. I am
not saying that it can't, I'm saying that it hasn't. (There is great
material in David Berlinski's "The Advent of the Algorithm" that is keenly
appropriate in this context.) (02)
In any case, I recommend Ian Hackings "The Social Construction of What?" as
an appropriate balancing analysis. That made me uncomfortable too, and I
think that was valuable in that I had to stop and think. (03)
-- Dennis (04)
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Henry K van Eyken
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 07:41
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] An approach to a simpler truth. (05)
I haven't been able to follow some of the recent threads, but I do believe
the following is elevant: (06)
This is The Economist's review of Steven Pinker's latest, "The Blank Slate:
The Modern Denial of Human Nature" (08)
and the insights it offers may do much to bring our understanding of
ourselves as human beings closer to the frontiers of scientific thinking. (09)
I shall be obtaining a copy to read it myself - leaving me even less time -
because I sense that it may be exceedingly relevant to such matters of human
community as democracy, etc. (010)
Graham Stalker-Wilde wrote: (013)
> Nietzsche's version of karma (the eternal recurrence) is delightfully non
> If we reincarnated based on past performance that would perhaps make us
> behave well, if we believed it, if we behaved rationally, but if we knew
> this was our one and only life? If we knew every moment was unrepeatable?
> How well ought we to behave then?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Eric Armstrong
> Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 6:50 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] An approach to a simpler truth.
> V.S.Uren@open.ac.uk wrote:
> > Re: I've long been intrigued by the notion of finding a
> > rationalization
> > > for doing good to others that *wasn't* based on religion. Such
> > > a thing could go a long way to reduce religious prejudice, as well
> > > as the worst of captialism. Equilibrium theory holds promise...
> > >
> > This sounds like a notion I call "practical karma"...
> Yes. A belief in reincarnation is a *powerful* motivation for doing
> good. I look at it this way:
> It's not that I'm going to come back as a llama or an earthworm,
> or something.
> It's not even that I'm going to come back as some high-born or
> low-born person.
> It's that I'm going to come back to THIS world -- and I'm going
> to have live in the garden of eden (or cesspool) I create.
> Talk about incentive to take care of the environment...
> But those are quasi-religious notions. At the very least, they
> depend on a particular belief system. (014)