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Morality/ethics: instinct vs ideology

fromderinside

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Fromderinside: Stop and think a second where you get the idea there is such a thing as empiricism. I know there is such a concept and do not count that concept as "just an ad hoc idea. It is the result of rational consideration of the source of the information we use for any purpose at all. For this concept to become useful in any sense, including a moral sense, it must temper our communications with the very standards you and I both recommend...observation, experimentation, etc, to determine its veracity and reliability. It is a voluntary discipline and your examples (witch burning and commie persecuting, and other erroneous human behaviors) are the result of departing from that discipline.

The fact is that this concept...empiricism...is the result of noting errors in past supposed understandings or lack of consideration of actual human experience. Much of this misunderstanding is linguistic and based on the type of ad hoc conclusions you so loudly decry. You cannot abandon rational examination of the language we use to communicate our ideas. It has a direct bearing on whether or not humans understand each other.

I distinguish rationalism from scientific method by the fact that rationalism is a component of the scientific method and not the method itself.

So when you write "It is the result of rational consideration of the source of the information we use for any purpose at all. For this concept to become useful in any sense, including a moral sense, it must temper our communications with the very standards you and I both recommend", you are setting up a straw man.

When you attach observation and experimentation as I did to determine veracity and reliability of information you are cloaking rationalism as a valid approach to the study and determination of morality. Such in an obvious expansion of the meaning of rationalism. Rationalists took what was being done and rationally produced a philosophy of empiricism. Come on. Such philosophical intuition is fraudulent. The exercise of scientific method came before the intuition of empiricism so wrapping empiricism under the umbrella of ratinalism and thereby inferring the scientific method is a rationalist's invention is just plain false.

Suggesting that empiricism has any bearing on what I wrote is just bad form on your part. Rationalism is not a verified information based form of reasoning. By its classical structure rationalism is post hoc hearsay dominated form or idea management. Do not try to incorporate the work of those who invented metal weapons, agriculture, built the pyramids, etc as coming forth subsumed under the Greek enlightened notion of rational reasoning. JOhn had a problem. He had to make a shelter that was useful and easy to build. He sat down by a stream where there were reeds and fronds, took them, manipulated them, ultimately coming up with a tent-like structure. No self evident truths no this and this then that.

So what I preach as the result of using and exploring morality from the view of verifiability and utility has little in common with rationalism. I specifically reject hearsay from consideration beyond the point of such being a starting point for investigation and verification. Whereas moral reasoners using rational method produced justifications for murder, degradation, hatred, deceit all under the umbrella of rationalism. Please. Don't broach that barrier again. There are just too many instances where what I describe as subject to rationalism is true in the morality arena. Belief is not, language is not, valid tools for investigation nor determination of moral principles beyond being a historic tacker of what the hell went wrong with morality in various periods of history.

As for your final attempt to wrap scientific study of language under some rational cover you blow it when you use ad hoc experience, phenomena, to support your view that such study of linguistics can yield verifiable and useful result. There is no way actual ad hoc experience is verifiable since it is from the individual, self reported, phenomenal. Trying to claim there are scientific rationales is doing so using language analysis is just as rotten a scientific fruit as are first hand reports since they are bound by belief, hearsay, prejudice and self interest.
 

arkirk

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Fromderinside: Stop and think a second where you get the idea there is such a thing as empiricism. I know there is such a concept and do not count that concept as "just an ad hoc idea. It is the result of rational consideration of the source of the information we use for any purpose at all. For this concept to become useful in any sense, including a moral sense, it must temper our communications with the very standards you and I both recommend...observation, experimentation, etc, to determine its veracity and reliability. It is a voluntary discipline and your examples (witch burning and commie persecuting, and other erroneous human behaviors) are the result of departing from that discipline.

The fact is that this concept...empiricism...is the result of noting errors in past supposed understandings or lack of consideration of actual human experience. Much of this misunderstanding is linguistic and based on the type of ad hoc conclusions you so loudly decry. You cannot abandon rational examination of the language we use to communicate our ideas. It has a direct bearing on whether or not humans understand each other.

I distinguish rationalism from scientific method by the fact that rationalism is a component of the scientific method and not the method itself.

So when you write "It is the result of rational consideration of the source of the information we use for any purpose at all. For this concept to become useful in any sense, including a moral sense, it must temper our communications with the very standards you and I both recommend", you are setting up a straw man.

When you attach observation and experimentation as I did to determine veracity and reliability of information you are cloaking rationalism as a valid approach to the study and determination of morality. Such in an obvious expansion of the meaning of rationalism. Rationalists took what was being done and rationally produced a philosophy of empiricism. Come on. Such philosophical intuition is fraudulent. The exercise of scientific method came before the intuition of empiricism so wrapping empiricism under the umbrella of ratinalism and thereby inferring the scientific method is a rationalist's invention is just plain false.

Suggesting that empiricism has any bearing on what I wrote is just bad form on your part. Rationalism is not a verified information based form of reasoning. By its classical structure rationalism is post hoc hearsay dominated form or idea management. Do not try to incorporate the work of those who invented metal weapons, agriculture, built the pyramids, etc as coming forth subsumed under the Greek enlightened notion of rational reasoning. JOhn had a problem. He had to make a shelter that was useful and easy to build. He sat down by a stream where there were reeds and fronds, took them, manipulated them, ultimately coming up with a tent-like structure. No self evident truths no this and this then that.

So what I preach as the result of using and exploring morality from the view of verifiability and utility has little in common with rationalism. I specifically reject hearsay from consideration beyond the point of such being a starting point for investigation and verification. Whereas moral reasoners using rational method produced justifications for murder, degradation, hatred, deceit all under the umbrella of rationalism. Please. Don't broach that barrier again. There are just too many instances where what I describe as subject to rationalism is true in the morality arena. Belief is not, language is not, valid tools for investigation nor determination of moral principles beyond being a historic tacker of what the hell went wrong with morality in various periods of history.

As for your final attempt to wrap scientific study of language under some rational cover you blow it when you use ad hoc experience, phenomena, to support your view that such study of linguistics can yield verifiable and useful result. There is no way actual ad hoc experience is verifiable since it is from the individual, self reported, phenomenal. Trying to claim there are scientific rationales is doing so using language analysis is just as rotten a scientific fruit as are first hand reports since they are bound by belief, hearsay, prejudice and self interest.

You omit the fact that the scientific method itself is a result of reason and not just some ad hoc notion generated in a focus group. The rigor you would apply is the result of rational coaching and cannot exist without it. For instance your experiment must have sufficient control or your observations may be erroneous. How do you decide you have an error...repeatability. Who said that? Someone who used his rational processes and not his momentary feelings...someone who demanded honesty and not absolute truth.

Rationality is necessary if there is to be any method at all. Now moral issues are a matter of preferences and there is a dictum that appears to be universally applicable in these matters. A moral statement is one that can neither be proven true or false. These types of problems come from somewhere and you touched on it when you characterized linguistics as "bound by belief, hearsay, prejudice and self interest." The scientific community is completely populated by those with some sort of self interest. It indeed can interfere with our interpretation of results. I don't know why you think I am trying to sell you snake oil. Science is always a hunt for the truth. As this proves over and over to us (repeatably and observably so) that our knowledge can never be complete and absolute, we cannot even begin to find application with some reason for being.
This I feel brings us full circle back to rationalism. That's where it started and that is where it shall remain because there is no such thing as absolute knowledge of truth.

That part of science that finds application in our lives is that part that is operable in repeated experiments and can be applied to some preference one may have. Scientific notions are always subject to revision based on continued observation, so there really is a reason to find a common human ethic that allows scientific opinion to change over time based on those observations. Be aware that most experiments are based on proving or disproving a theory, connecting ideas...all rational processes. These theories are projections based on past results.

I feel you are applying a double standard to the science of linguistics, possibly on the basis of your own self interest and don't realize that science declares itself not absolute...and never final....something it seems to share with moral statements.
 

fromderinside

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You omit the fact that the scientific method itself is a result of reason and not just some ad hoc notion generated in a focus group. The rigor you would apply is the result of rational coaching and cannot exist without it. For instance your experiment must have sufficient control or your observations may be erroneous. How do you decide you have an error...repeatability. Who said that? Someone who used his rational processes and not his momentary feelings...someone who demanded honesty and not absolute truth.

Rationality is necessary if there is to be any method at all. Now moral issues are a matter of preferences and there is a dictum that appears to be universally applicable in these matters. A moral statement is one that can neither be proven true or false. These types of problems come from somewhere and you touched on it when you characterized linguistics as "bound by belief, hearsay, prejudice and self interest." The scientific community is completely populated by those with some sort of self interest. It indeed can interfere with our interpretation of results. I don't know why you think I am trying to sell you snake oil. Science is always a hunt for the truth. As this proves over and over to us (repeatably and observably so) that our knowledge can never be complete and absolute, we cannot even begin to find application with some reason for being.
This I feel brings us full circle back to rationalism. That's where it started and that is where it shall remain because there is no such thing as absolute knowledge of truth.

That part of science that finds application in our lives is that part that is operable in repeated experiments and can be applied to some preference one may have. Scientific notions are always subject to revision based on continued observation, so there really is a reason to find a common human ethic that allows scientific opinion to change over time based on those observations. Be aware that most experiments are based on proving or disproving a theory, connecting ideas...all rational processes. These theories are projections based on past results.

I feel you are applying a double standard to the science of linguistics, possibly on the basis of your own self interest and don't realize that science declares itself not absolute...and never final....something it seems to share with moral statements.

There you go again. This time trying to subsume thinking as the invention of rationalists. Why do you continue to do this? Could it be that the only way for you to prevail is to take what others have done and patch it into Rationalism. Egyptians were operating on brains before Greece was even a glimmer in history's eye. I give you a real life scenario that included observation, manipulation (experiment) and replication all under the watch of others as a pre-civilization example of application of the scientific method and you shine it on. The point there, and now, is that such thinking (reasoning) predates invention of Socratic-Platonic method.

All the reasons you recite are covered by that example, yet, you want to claim it took philosophers to bless them. Worse still you continue to insist rationalism is necessary for such conventions to be realized. Obviously these things were not realized with the Greeks, but, perhaps they were gathered together ornamented and blessed by those who were in power when stuff of that sort was being jotted down.

Another complication is that greeks were open to science, but, such was squashed after the Romans by narrow thinkers needing control, thus leaving us with a dirty rationalism that resulted in the disgusting reasonings therefrom from the dark ages.

I don't need to pound you into dirt. You just need to know that scientific thinking and methods have been with humans from the time of the first tool maker from over 2 million years ago. Equations were the first stuff written down in Damascus around 6500 BCE and rationalism came about 5000 years later. Attempts to divest that history gets me excited. It also messes up any clear understanding of relations between instincts and ideology, witch, as it happens, is the subject of this thread.
 

arkirk

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Fromderinside: It all depends on just what you mean by instinct. That earliest example you give in 6500 BCE was an example of symbolic logic, not instinct. I have felt all along in this exchange that you are missing my point. It appears we have different ideas regarding just what we can call "instinct." It is my contention that you are playing word games with me and have failed to clarify what you are calling "instinct." Our language and indeed our mathematics are rational processes based on symbolic language. They are disciplines based on mutually agreed upon rules. While it is possible that the nature of our composition and evolution have allowed us to reason, that reasoning was the product of the social milieu in which it occurred and not something. Without social milieu and recognition of the need for agreement in meaning for words and numbers, there is NO COMMUNICATION AT ALL. It is not something we are born with. It is a learning experience and what you learn depends very much on the environment in which it occurs.

Many human beings live entire lives without LEARNING HOW TO READ AND WRITE. Social projects to extend reading skills to these people actually work. Mathematics is a discipline based on communication and entirely a rational process. In most cases where persons cannot either read or perform basic math operations, it is due to non exposure to the discipline. Individuals must communicate. If it were some sort of built in instinctual thing, we would all be capable of doing it successfully. Our difficulties here due to that very problem.

If it is some kind of contest between rationalism and instinct, you have not even made it clear just what you mean by instinct...is that what you think made or destroyed the Roman civilization? Societies settle on practices based on their interest in rational approaches to living that are codified. If there are errors in that codification and interpretation of that codification, societies run afoul of natural limitations and can destroy themselves. There always will be ideology...and it will always be imperfect, but without it we will not have civilization. So perhaps it would be good to examine these ideologies in detail, including history.

Today's widespread ideologies are unfortunately narrowing because exigencies caused by failures in interpretation and indeed substance of these ideologies go unexamined. Words like inctinct just confuse the issue..
 

fromderinside

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arkirk: Its important that we agree on what mean when talking about something before we talk about it. My view with on rationalism as used by you is that you attribute everything to it. It is just one philosophical thread. One that depends on logic and reason informed by intuition and introspection. I find that approach fatally flawed. What I've done for the last several posts is point out where scientific method and rationalism diverge, where the limits are on rationalism with respect to the scientific method, and why rationalism or rationalistic reasoning is an improper approach for discovering the differences among idealistic and instinctive activity.

Rationalistic approaches are not suitable because they take every input as valid as long as it is written or said. Any discussion of the relationship between ideological and instinctive behaviors need discard the unverifiable.

Now to what I posted recently posted. the point of putting the birth of ciphering and the birth of rationalism was to demonstrate a computational methodology was already in existence some 5000 years before the greeks happened upon rationalism. Further that train was employed because it is clear that hominids have used observational, empirical, and public, methods for gaining understanding for over 2 million years as evidenced by progress in tool making and use. In no way do I consider ciphering as produced in Damascus around 6500 BCE as instinctive.

The use of number in humans, even our ape relatives, does appear to be instinctive. At an early age babies group things, preferring three to five over one or two. They do this without training before they can walk. Language also appears to be instinctive. Here is a video illustrating the point:



Note the coordination and complexity of the child's gestures far exceed its use of spoken sounds.

Now on to ideology with respect instinctive behavior. Since gestures must be considered with respect to communication among humans it is probably not the case that vocalized ideology is instinctive so examining speech would serve very little purpose in understanding the genesis of ideology. At least that wouldn't be the way I'd approach understanding any instinctive relation between man and ideology.

I'd start with tendencies to group and select, to be fearful and to be aggressive and I might look at gestural underpinnings between ideology such as salutes, gestural signalling and the like even gestural mating rituals like back rubbing, petting, etc, before I considered venturing into the human phenomenal world of interpreting spoken messaging.

I'm fairly confident we'll find instinctive elements in ideological practices among humans in war, acceptance and rejection, fear, aggression, love making, seeking and withdrawing, even with gesturing in any of the above areas. As for finding instinctive element with ideology from the genetic analysis of language. Naw.

yes I know you are committed to some variant of Chomsky's approach to linguistics. But, like his with failed understanding of the relation between genetics and behavior - he holds group selection in high esteem - his approach to finding what we are from how and what we speak is just not viable. Its just not in the language genes because there are no functional language genes, genes that express articulated coding, so parsing speech just won't be revealing.
 

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Just for the record, ape social groups will engage in violence with other groups of apes for territory/food, so there may very well be a biological basis for war.
 

arkirk

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Fromderinside: What does the video have to do with what we are discussing here? What the video shows is that the young child must use gestures as its mastery of language is incomplete. Nobody's language is skills absolutely master language, so adults retain some gestures and recall some of the gestures of childhood. That has nothing to do with whether it is instinctive or not and you still have not told me what you mean by instinct. When I talk about rationality, I am not talking about some specific school that dubs itself rationality (That would make it as you say, an ideology which would be of limited scope.) We have been criticizing each other's thinking when our differences are largely linguistic...how we have come to define these words with an emotional cast that renders them semantic roadblocks to mutual understanding. We have to ask ourselves what we are doing in a forum such as this one and what we intend to see as values and policies we adhere to or reject.

That involves referencing our experiences in terms of actions taken and results following from those actions. You seem to think I am advocating reason in a vacuum of experience. This thread raises the issue of instinct. That word can have a meaning that borders on magical thinking. It suffers from the same definition problems as rationalism. Rationality on the other hand just implies a strong tendency to avoid the in the moment (ad hoc emotionality) out more primitive genetic past has left us. Our brains may be wonderful but they are not infallible nor guided by some sort of magic bullet called instinct. The more intelligent and experienced a person is, the less of his thinking is devoted to emotional responses to problems. Virtually every human activity on this earth is open to analysis. That includes language.
 

fromderinside

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1. The child is displaying very informative gestures, very coordinated, very advanced. I suggest such suggests gestural communication probably predates aural communication. My point is vocal articulations are second hand, not first principle, and therefore probably not a good source for genetic analysis of any sort. Just a typical scientific intuition :)D:D:D). Gestural communication can be traced to related species, some of them occurring when babies are quite dependent and young. Hmmnnnn.

2. "Instinct..... bordering on magical thinking" There you go demonstrating what I inferred about your use of rationality. "Throw up dirt and, 'walla' it looks like dust" is not something that will get one to something contingent, repeatable, scientific.

Most of your aprophisms smack of wisdom of intuition, common sense, and, like them are usually demonstrably objective wrong.

3. Sure, most anything is subject to analysis. That's not what I'm trying to get you to comprehend. The particular analysis I'm interested in is public, repeatable, objective, in method. The one that leads to accretions in our understanding of the world, is demonstrable, repeatable, generating singular outcomes and is demonstrably materially useful.

4. Instinct. the natural, unreasoning, impulse by which an animal is guided to the performance of any action, without of improvement in the method. The resemblance between what originally was a habit, and an instinct becomes so close as not to be distinguished. (Darwin) - This is good enough for the present conversation.
 

arkirk

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1. The child is displaying very informative gestures, very coordinated, very advanced. I suggest such suggests gestural communication probably predates aural communication. My point is vocal articulations are second hand, not first principle, and therefore probably not a good source for genetic analysis of any sort. Just a typical scientific intuition :)D:D:D). Gestural communication can be traced to related species, some of them occurring when babies are quite dependent and young. Hmmnnnn.

2. "Instinct..... bordering on magical thinking" There you go demonstrating what I inferred about your use of rationality. "Throw up dirt and, 'walla' it looks like dust" is not something that will get one to something contingent, repeatable, scientific.

Most of your aprophisms smack of wisdom of intuition, common sense, and, like them are usually demonstrably objective wrong.

3. Sure, most anything is subject to analysis. That's not what I'm trying to get you to comprehend. The particular analysis I'm interested in is public, repeatable, objective, in method. The one that leads to accretions in our understanding of the world, is demonstrable, repeatable, generating singular outcomes and is demonstrably materially useful.

4. Instinct. the natural, unreasoning, impulse by which an animal is guided to the performance of any action, without of improvement in the method. The resemblance between what originally was a habit, and an instinct becomes so close as not to be distinguished. (Darwin) - This is good enough for the present conversation.

And do you know when another person is acting on impulse? I find your explanation of instinct as a driving force for human behavior to be unreasoning. I think habit fits most of the situations that are called instinct. If you perform an action and it seems to quiet your anxiety, you are apt to perform a similar action the next time you are anxious. Is drug addiction instinctive? Where are you trying to take your argument? What would you have ME conclude? Cannot rationality be aimed at improvement of method? Once method is improved due to rational analysis is there not a better chance that an action will be more appropriate to the situation and more useful to the individual and society?

It appears to me you are claiming some sort of superior status for unreasoning impulse. Is that what you are saying. It appears you are rejecting the notion that rational thought is worth the effort and a good natural tantrum is better than a well considered response to ethical questions. What do you say to that? If instinct is almost indistinguishable from habit, then maybe it is just a habit. At best, the baby in the clip is experimenting with gesture trying to get some kind of result.
Gestures are learned in much the same way language is learned. There really is not a strong argument for the notion of in-built automatic and unconsidered responses dealing with anything but very simple communications.

The moment we consider some act that is not immediately present, gesture and instinct lose their effectiveness as they are always merely reflective of the organism's momentary condition. You really cannot weight unconsidered responses against rationally determined ones.
 

fromderinside

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Artirk: a habit develops through a process of association. Instinct appears to be a behavior independent of association.

Try again. :)

I'm saying none of what you suggest.

Rationalism fails because it doesn't exclude hearsay. Scientific method fails because it requires verification by others.

We're going back to Hume and Kant here you know.
 

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Artirk: a habit develops through a process of association. Instinct appears to be a behavior independent of association. Try again. :)

I'm saying none of what you suggest.

Rationalism fails because it doesn't exclude hearsay. Scientific method fails because it requires verification by others.

We're going back to Hume and Kant here you know.

So then a bowel movement would be instinctive? You see what I mean about basic functions that are built into the human body. They are tempered with civil custom and rule. While they are perfectly "natural" it is necessary to apply social controls to them to maintain sufficient order and health to live together in the numbers we have on this earth.

So if everything fails, then why bother? I am not as pessimistic as you. The Scientific Method only is a system of elimination of heresay through the requirement of repeatability. That is why most folks don't accept alien abduction and scores of hypotheses that don't entirely work out experimentally. Moral principles however can protect people from undue harm. It is a rational process to compare predictions of outcomes from behaviors and actions in the past if the information regarding those actions is accurate and set some guidelines for human behavior, always knowing we do not know it all and when the situation comes up where the guidelines do not fit, it is a rational process we use to make that determination.

I think the problem is one of being more rational than simply emotionally reactive. Admittedly, there are no absolutes at work here (that we know about and possibly that we are not equipped to ever know about), but that does not preclude attempting to communicate honestly (back to Kant here) and temper that communication with an effort to be civilized. As soon as someone tells me "I know something you cannot know" that is a signal that authority is about to rear its ugly head.
 

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Artirk: a habit develops through a process of association. Instinct appears to be a behavior independent of association.

Still forms the basis for learned behaviour though. Rats instinctively pull and push at things, pigeons peck at things, frogs jump or clamber over obstacles. So you can train rats to pull levers, pigeons to peck buttons, and frogs to jump onto panels that react to their weight in ways that are not instictive, but use instinct as a basis for learned behaviour. Habits are instinct plus learning.
 

fromderinside

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I think the problem is one of being more rational than simply emotionally reactive.

What the hell is simple about emotionally reactive.

I prefer to think one is free to suggest one knows what others may not know given that knowing is not possible (see some post above) and be assured what he/she 'knows' is not something the other 'knows'.

Humans observe, take, process, associate, discriminate, ....., they don't rational. Sensing something is there, that it has a set of attributes already classified, stored and named doesn't require emotion although such is certainly wired in by the hindbrain (arousal, startle, etc.) Yes activation is emotion. Something sensed doesn't require reaction, consciousness, or, even unconsciousness.

The preceding is why I prefer understand, observe, verify, share, generalize, test, .... over being silly-gistic, sorry, rational.

All that stuff (consciousness etc.) requires explanations, markers if you will, for presupposed intervening processes usually related to that bit of verbiage that rushes out through one's vocal chords after sensing or perceiving an event in some social context. Believe me this stuff is best considered by some method that doesn't permit belief as a given. Rationality is not a natural human process. It is a structured process best suited for stuffed chairs and wine in library after dinner conversation. Were that the case I'm pretty sure evolution would have cured us from it by now.

Now when one goes that second step and suggests morality (dealing with transactions among emotional social beings where right and wrong have consistent meaning) one should be advised of the impossibility of the task. Consider Principia Mathematica, that fools errand where Russell and Whitehead tried bringing coherence to mathematics. Along came Godel's incompleteness theorems and reality returned.

As soon as someone tells me "I know something you cannot know" that is a signal that authority is about to rear its ugly head.

Which is worse your first quote or your second quote? When I tell you something you reply showing that you don't understand what I'm saying. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

- - - Updated - - -

Artirk: a habit develops through a process of association. Instinct appears to be a behavior independent of association.

Still forms the basis for learned behaviour though. Rats instinctively pull and push at things, pigeons peck at things, frogs jump or clamber over obstacles. So you can train rats to pull levers, pigeons to peck buttons, and frogs to jump onto panels that react to their weight in ways that are not instictive, but use instinct as a basis for learned behaviour. Habits are instinct plus learning.


So you are going with this where...?
 

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fromderinside: Are you telling me it is pointless for humans to communicate and that only instinctual behavior is to be trusted. Is a reflex action such as the doctor checks with his little hammer an "Instinct?" The amygdala is less than 2% of the mass of the brain. Is all that gray matter of no worth? Do you think there is a genetic predisposition to "right" thinking depending on instinct? Why do you post here? What is your purpose? ...or is that just an instinctual response on your part?

What I was pointing out is that we are equipped with a mechanical structure that is determined by our DNA and a neural component that performs varying functions from regulating our digestion to our circulation. We breathe and pidgeons peck and rats poke etc. because they are so equipped and can actually do little else. I think humans can think because they have brains capable of rational processes. Oh, I know....there I go again thinking!:facepalm:
 

fromderinside

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Keywords. Armchair, after the fact, rationalize ....... I've written all these words with respect to rationalism, yet, you, while misspeaking about amygdala as some instinctive source, rage about all that gray matter as somehow important to everyday living. Thinking as a pastime, an after the fact tool, an organizer, planner, that is useful is someone has survived an experience. It is neither the experience nor the the generator of action.

Yes, humans have thinking brains which do a damn sight more than syllogising, comparing past stuff and generating rules based on belief. It actually analyses what it has experienced, makes correcting changes to controlled active processes IAC with that experience, during which it references past alternatives that seem to have worked (basis of belief) as part of that process. Fortunately that process is not normally controlled by those apparent believed rules in normally functioning persons. That result is left to those who are so fearful they can't successfully process based on ongoing experience, have ill prepared sensory training, and are socially lazy.

Please cut it out with the idea that rationality is 'the' gray matter process. It is not. If it were, as I said before, we'd be extinct, not have experiential apparatus, and would be those persons Lewis Black talks about who are 'six hairs from being monkeys', those who are counting angels on pinheads.
 

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Artirk: a habit develops through a process of association. Instinct appears to be a behavior independent of association.

Still forms the basis for learned behaviour though. Rats instinctively pull and push at things, pigeons peck at things, frogs jump or clamber over obstacles. So you can train rats to pull levers, pigeons to peck buttons, and frogs to jump onto panels that react to their weight in ways that are not instictive, but use instinct as a basis for learned behaviour. Habits are instinct plus learning.
So you are going with this where...?

Instinct is not isolated from association, instinct is a starting point for association.

Keywords. Armchair, after the fact, rationalize ....... I've written all these words with respect to rationalism, yet, you, while misspeaking about amygdala as some instinctive source, rage about all that gray matter as somehow important to everyday living. Thinking as a pastime, an after the fact tool, an organizer, planner, that is useful is someone has survived an experience. It is neither the experience nor the the generator of action.

It doesn't start every action, of course, but it's quite capable of initiating action, and of modifying existing action. It wouldn't be much use if it didn't. That's why distracting someone's conscious attention from a task so often impedes performance.

Performing task by instinct, or by preset rules, is not an alternative to conscious action, but a starting point for it.

... those who are counting angels on pinheads.
The question of how many angels can dance on the head of the pin formed part of atomic theory. It was a discussion as to whether a force has a minimum size, in the same way that an atom was taken to be the minimum size of an object.

If you want to identify a useless discussion, theories of natural science are odd examples to choose.
 

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Fromderinside: Just where do you think new ideas come from? Where are you hoping your argument will lead us and why? Now, don't rationalize with me.!:thinking:
 

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Fromderinside: Just where do you think new ideas come from? Where are you hoping your argument will lead us and why? Now, don't rationalize with me.!:thinking:

Its not too hare to determine where ideas came from. Look at the building and when they were developed, the tools and when they were developed, the ciphering and when it was developed, the technologies and when they were developed, then look at the armchair types and when they bloviated.

My, my, my. You just got an education.

Togo FYI:  Democritus,  Leuccitus,  Epicurus, and these are from the ancient Greeks I hate so much*, well before the even more despised Scholastics, who were the head of pin-ers.

* I'm much too lazy to go through Egyptian and Chinese Alchemist to find actual experimental roots.
 

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Fromderinside: Just where do you think new ideas come from? Where are you hoping your argument will lead us and why? Now, don't rationalize with me.!:thinking:

Its not too hare to determine where ideas came from. Look at the building and when they were developed, the tools and when they were developed, the ciphering and when it was developed, the technologies and when they were developed, then look at the armchair types and when they bloviated.

My, my, my. You just got an education.

Togo FYI:  Democritus,  Leuccitus,  Epicurus, and these are from the ancient Greeks I hate so much*, well before the even more despised Scholastics, who were the head of pin-ers.

* I'm much too lazy to go through Egyptian and Chinese Alchemist to find actual experimental roots.

fromderinside:
My father was an aerospace engineer who designed pressure transducers which went to the moon with the astronauts. The reason these devices came to be was that people learned how to reason, how to communicate, and how to cooperate on a project. His work on this project was so far removed from anything you could call instinct, perhaps it is you who should get AN EDUCATION.

There have always been people who raise religious and fictitious fears and metaphysical demands and have rationalized ridiculous propositions. Despite this unfortunate fact, it is our language and our efforts to communicate our ideas that is effective in a real and a social sense. A lot of our current understanding of everything from physics to biochemistry is the result of our ability to examine counterintuitive hypotheses. Come off this armchair talk. Yes, there are armchair everythings in this world. You too are speaking from an armchair.

Being as you have such an alleged understanding of instinct, you should be able to tell us a little bit about how it works, and where it resides in our neural structrues. I have asked you several times to explain this to me and you just rant about armchairs. So, if you are so sure of the existence of this instinct and how it guides us. I think what you are calling instinct is little more than preferences we DON'T UNDERSTAND. Something you don't understand might be considered also something we should not trust to guide our actions.
 

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My father was an aerospace engineer who designed pressure transducers which went to the moon with the astronauts.

...... yada, yada, yada ....

Being as you have such an alleged understanding of instinct, you should be able to tell us a little bit about how it works, and where it resides in our neural structures.

....

mini-derail: Wow. We could exchange life histories if we reversed them. Dad was electrical engineer working for big energy (Bonneville and GE and Bechtel at Hanford) who became an environmentalist after a retirement in 1972 (Hanford atomic waste ....)

I'm a retired aerospace scientist who developed glass cockpits for tactical and commercial A/C where I used my knowledge of basic human processes to great effect (check out speed and altitude ribbon performance sometime when you have time to spare).

Now, since I actually understood what I studied in eco 101, I spend a lot of my time pointing out competing species such as Barn owl and man working together are the main reasons the Spotted Owl is threatened. Logging is not causing loss of habitat, rather, spotted owls are being driven from normal nesting by building and infusion of more man-friendly barn owl. Together they are driving out spotted owls to places they didn't normally populate to where other owls were already inhabiting.

Should we do something about that? Good question. Perhaps we should com to the aid of the Spotted owl, but, we should do so against the forces that are driving their populations down. What a deal. We get to build while only a small population impoverished group of workers get destroyed. Besides machines can do it better as the industry has adapted to show. So what if strip logging is the norm. They're only trees, right? BTW: GMO industry is pinging cost hawks using regulating will cost something (if anybody is going to pay, by the way, it will be the GMO group not the local tax payer). They use this against farmers who want to control their crops by protecting them from the insidious legal arm of the GMO group as we speak in Jackson County Oregon.

Yes its nice to keep logging down to a small roar, but, to criminalize a profession because of environmentally ill informed reasoning (something the armchair set is good at) is almost as bad as suggesting we don't have appropriately trained people to fill technical slots in America so we need cheap labor from India and China or that instinct is localized in a structure.

As to instincts.

Page one. Seems there was this chinese fellow who noted chicks heads bobbed up and down to rhythm of heartbeats in shell which Thorndike took as a starting point for behaviorism whilst the eugenicists of the time were going overboard in designing the perfect human race couldn't point to structures. Turns out they still can't. So much for structure originating instinct..... I've always been a good scientist, concentrated on process. Maybe some day philosophers will get onboard too.

Until then consider me a philosophical Robin Hood and a pain in the ass to the knee jerk environmentalist. :D
 

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Fromderinside: For all your wandering commentary, it seems you have lost track of the fact that you were asked to better define what you mean by instinct. Is it a magical quality that infuses every fiber of every living thing or are the structures in living things responsible for their function? The question I asked was not an idle one. Before we impute either blame or praise for something like instinct, we have to understand what it is and so far...I haven't heard anything but a bunch of speculation about barn owls driving out spotted owls. Man building his structures brings these creatures...so what? Man clear cutting habitat is still at the bottom of the spotted owl problem. It does not matter that they build a barn and expand another kind of habitat. It is the destruction of the animal's habitat in the first place.

Your hubris in imagining yourself some kind of Robin Hood is perhaps simple narcissism. Your commentary reminds me of Limbaugh. You really should read what you write after you write it....expert in everything...especially wrongfully slamming environmentalists. I have been around for a long time and have very thick skin. I have been dealing with your brothers for a lifetime.:D
 

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it seems you have lost track of the fact that you were asked to better define what you mean by instinct. Is it a magical quality that infuses every fiber of every living thing or are the structures in living things responsible for their function?

Part 1: FDI wrote:
Instinct. the natural, unreasoning, impulse by which an animal is guided to the performance of any action, without of improvement in the method. The resemblance between what originally was a habit, and an instinct becomes so close as not to be distinguished. (Darwin) - This is good enough for the present conversation.

Part 2: FDI wrote:
Seems there was this chinese fellow who noted chicks heads bobbed up and down to rhythm of heartbeats in shell which Thorndike took as a starting point for behaviorism whilst the eugenicists of the time were going overboard in designing the perfect human race couldn't point to structures. Turns out they still can't. So much for structure originating instinct..... I've always been a good scientist, concentrated on process. Maybe some day philosophers will get onboard too.


Man clear cutting habitat is still at the bottom of the spotted owl problem. It does not matter that they build a barn and expand another kind of habitat. It is the destruction of the animal's habitat in the first place.

Sorry, its the Barred owl, not the Barn owl. Other than that my critique is mostly on target. To wit:

from "Who hits and hoots at whom? Potential for interference competition between barred and northern spotted owls"
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/v..._ylo=2010#search="what threatens spotted owl" the complete article.

Abstract:
The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) is a controversial species in the Pacific Northwest that is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The barred owl (Strix varia), a species historically restricted to eastern North America, has recently expanded its range to completely overlap that of the northern spotted owl. Recent evidence suggests that barred owls may compete with northern spotted owls and may be one cause for recent declines in some northern spotted owl populations. Our focus was to examine whether barred owls have the potential to competitively exclude northern spotted owls from their territories through interference competition. We used a playback experiment to quantify aggressive vocal and physical behavior of barred and northern spotted owls during territorial defense. Experimental trials consisted of displaying northern spotted or barred owl taxidermy mounts, and broadcasting recorded vocalizations of the corresponding species, in both barred and northern spotted owl territories. The frequency of interspecific interactions was lower compared to intraspecific interactions between northern spotted owls alone. However, barred owls responded with higher levels of vocal and physical aggression than did northern spotted owls when agonistic interspecific interactions occurred. Our results suggest that barred owls are likely to assume the dominant role during interspecific interactions with northern spotted owls. Thus, interference competition is a plausible mechanism by which barred owls could contribute to observed population declines of northern spotted owls in areas where the species co-occur.


The big point is that even after logging was constrained the spotted owl continued to decline.

1.Introduction: Mitigating threats to populations of northern spotted owls (Sthx occidental iscawina) has been the focus of intense study over the last 40 years. Observed population declines likely resulting from habitat loss led to the official listing of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species in 1990 (US Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990) and subsequent conservation efforts focused on protecting older forest that was considered suitable northern spotted owl habitat.Northern spotted owl populations have continued to decline despite adoption of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994. which called for stricter regulation of timber harvest throughout the northern spotted owl’s range (Anthony et al.. 2006; USDA Forest Service and BLM, 1994. Competition between northern spotted and barred owls (Strix varia) has been identified as another important potential threat to northern spotted owl populatIons (Anthony et al.,2006: Buchanan et aL. 2007; Gutiérrez et ai, 2007; Hamer et al..1994: Kelly et aL 2003: Taylor and Forsman. 1976).

Historically, the distribution of barred owls was restricted to the eastern portion of the United States. However, the species range has expanded westward over the past 50 years and now completely overlaps that of the northern spotted owl (Dark et al.. 1998:Kelly et al.. 2003: Livezey, 2009). Rapidly increasing barred owl populations in the western US. coupled with continued northern spotted owl population declines, suggests that competition with barred owls may threaten remaining northern spotted owl populations.Over the past decade, studies investigating the potential impact of barred owls on northern spotted owl populations found that colonization and extinction rates, territory occupancy and survival of northern spotted owls may be negatively affected by the presence of barred owls (Anthony et al.. 2006; Kelly et aL. 2003:Olson et al.. 2005).

At first blush the Forest Service may have been right to take such drastic action in the NW. Given that Barred owl was migrating more than fifty years, some say as much as 140 years ago (Range Expansion of Barred Owls, Part I: Chronology and Distribution:
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1674/0003-0031-161.1.49 and Range Expansion of Barred Owls, Part II: Facilitating Ecological Changes
http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1674/0003-0031-161.2.323), complicates the problem given continued declines in the Spotted Owl. The thesis I presented is more in line with both migration of the Barred Owl and the lack of similar declines in other forest owls elsewhere.

My point was and is rampant, crowd appeal slogan laden politicking, is as likely with the environmentalist (broad fishing and lumber industry swaths essentially killing western fishing and logging) as it is with the industrialist (Standard's current campaign using an administrative report by the US government calling fracking not demonstrably unsafe as - Standard calls that safe - cover for their insane reach for more oil and gas).

You may whack me for missing an owl name and for not presenting the entire argument, but, you haven't gone beyond preaching yet in your responses


... wrongfully slamming environmentalists.

See above.

Bring more than ideology artirk.
 
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Fromderinside: You can label any idea I express as Ideology. I can do the same to you. What are you making of all this? As of this time, there is no science of morality. Your arguments all seem to revolve around being productive and making new things, equating doing that to having a kind of right to hold forth on the non performance of others. Words like armchair and knee jerk tend to pepper your language about others who do not do as you do. I think that attitude toward others is a kind of ideology....technological fundamentalism, and this can clearly drive an unsound attitude toward the natural world.

Regardless of what a person may do or accomplish, habitual thinking is a better definition for human error than calling it ideology. Those whose philosophy is directly related to how much a person "produces" frequently consider that merely some sort of production can make a person moral. If the person does this with ease, he can be said to do it instinctually, but actual it is just an extension of habitual thinking, hence every bit as ideological and his lazy neighbor. This amounts to little more than another set of words used to define good and bad...words that demand a certain kind of action and set up a social hierarchy on that basis...also called an ideology.
 

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Fromderinside: As of this time, there is no science of morality. Your arguments all seem to revolve around being productive and making new things, equating doing that to having a kind of right to hold forth on the non performance of others. .... I think that attitude toward others is a kind of ideology....technological fundamentalism, and this can clearly drive an unsound attitude toward the natural world.

Really?  Science of Morality

I distinguish a between species and a within species context for such study. As to the within species discussions I look at personal in a social context concentrating on behavior in acceptance and difference circles and social in a species context distinguishing mostly on minimizing effects of existing difference communities (states, cultures, groups based on some set of rationalized, physical, social, difference identifying criteria).

Anything taken as a hammer I consider ideology. The scientific method can stand independent of ideology since it is just a method for observing, finding, comparing, and aggregating understanding. A scientist may be an ideologist. I'm not claiming I'm outside that possibility since my materialistic convictions are pretty strong.

What I'm about is considering the natural world and how humans most successfully behave momentarily, in the near term, through life, within and between cultures from a material evolutionary point of view.

Regardless of what a person may do or accomplish, habitual thinking is a better definition for human error than calling it ideology. Those whose philosophy is directly related to how much a person "produces" frequently consider that merely some sort of production can make a person moral. If the person does this with ease, he can be said to do it instinctually, but actual it is just an extension of habitual thinking, hence every bit as ideological and his lazy neighbor. This amounts to little more than another set of words used to define good and bad...words that demand a certain kind of action and set up a social hierarchy on that basis...also called an ideology.

I am a psychologist so I have no problem with the principles of association, discrimination, acceptance, self and other, or best principles. I disagree that instinct is doing with ease. Instinct, at root, is inherited predisposition, as an individual, to ....(something), nothing more.

I'm a bit of a moral relativist by nature since I see many cultures operate well for long periods with a variety of moral sets and I am, after all, one who considers evidence most important.
 

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Fromderinside:

I agree that there are those who think we can "in combination with a set of first principles" establish a universal set of moral values. However there are some words in this proposition that appear to have no referent.

You can have all sorts of values and feel they universally apply. In the end however, we are always left in the field of ethics with a humanistic proposition or other substituted deontological proposition that does not satisfy our social needs without modification. There are a number of barriers to the establishment of anything like a universal moral code. The most blaring example is the language we use and its differing relationship with our experience. There are a lot of wrong courses we can take. As George Lakoff points out, we are biconceptual in terms of our ideologies. A lot of differences people have (sometimes with severe consequences) are linguistic in origin. This is by no means the be all and end all of the barriers to mutual understanding and ethics, but it is so major it cannot be ignored.
 

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Fromderinside:

I agree that there are those who think we can "in combination with a set of first principles" establish a universal set of moral values. However there are some words in this proposition that appear to have no referent.

You can have all sorts of values and feel they universally apply. In the end however, we are always left in the field of ethics with a humanistic proposition or other substituted deontological proposition that does not satisfy our social needs without modification. There are a number of barriers to the establishment of anything like a universal moral code. The most blaring example is the language we use and its differing relationship with our experience. There are a lot of wrong courses we can take. As George Lakoff points out, we are biconceptual in terms of our ideologies. A lot of differences people have (sometimes with severe consequences) are linguistic in origin. This is by no means the be all and end all of the barriers to mutual understanding and ethics, but it is so major it cannot be ignored.

Apparently you are agreeing with me. As I wrote

I distinguish a between species and a within species context for such study. As to the within species discussions I look at personal in a social context concentrating on behavior in acceptance and difference circles and social in a species context distinguishing mostly on minimizing effects of existing difference communities (states, cultures, groups based on some set of rationalized, physical, social, difference identifying criteria).

I'm a bit of a moral relativist by nature since I see many cultures operate well for long periods with a variety of moral sets and I am, after all, one who considers evidence most important.
 

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This thread says ethics versus instinct. So we a left with this word instinct now interfering with our morality. What is meant by instinct is an open question. Where did this idea come from? Seeing animals doing things that are sometimes complex (like mainly long migrations to nesting grounds or feeding territories. I have a hunch some animals have some senses we do not fully understand that allow for their behaviors. I do not find any real proof there is such a thing as instinct, not unless you want to call doing things we do not understand how they are done is "instinct." That does not really add anything to morality arguments at all. For instance, does a wolf hunt because of instinct or does it do so because I is hungry. Wolf packs have a culture with leaders and followers. It is possible that this instinct idea comes from long ingrained SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS, whether we understand them or not.

Back to trolleyology...what has instinct to do with a thing that is the result of society building trolley lines, etc. We tend to develop preferences on the basis of our experience and advice given us by people we feel we can trust.

In order for being a social species to be a viable survival strategy, there needs to be a standard of behavior, and it needs to be universal to the species (or at least the social group). Genetics seems to be the most obvious mechanism by which this would come to exist, but the standards of behavior are fairly complex, even for animals as simple as ants and bees.

The problem is that we are treating the environment as if it were a static thing and imagining that there is a good set of genes or traits that will win out. In reality, a creature can be well adapted to an environment and when it changes, one of the lesser beings in the menagerie becomes dominant because it survives a change that extincts the old dominant species. Natural selection is as more a function of chance adaptation to environmental changes as it is to genetic mutation. Mutation is more a matter of establishing a large enough variety of traits in the species that some survive environmental changes. It is not an orderly progression of better and better examples, but rather a shotgun approach of a lot of varieties, some of which prove more sustainable in a given environment. Most mutations are fatal.

In that light, then if we are to rationally look at the idea of an ethical code, would it also not be required to survive the environmental changes that occur? Would it not have to be relative, not to society per se, but to the environment and its tendency to change over time?
 

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In that light, then if we are to rationally look at the idea of an ethical code, would it also not be required to survive the environmental changes that occur? Would it not have to be relative, not to society per se, but to the environment and its tendency to change over time?

Not really. Humans exist in most every environment the earth currently has to offer. Humans are a mobile species. If one built an ethic that took into account those possibilities I should think one could retain an overall ethic. Accounting for sudden catastrophic changes, a ten mile diameter meteor hitting the earth near Mexico for instance, are probably outside any requirement for ethical system construction.
 

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In that light, then if we are to rationally look at the idea of an ethical code, would it also not be required to survive the environmental changes that occur? Would it not have to be relative, not to society per se, but to the environment and its tendency to change over time?

Not really. Humans exist in most every environment the earth currently has to offer. Humans are a mobile species. If one built an ethic that took into account those possibilities I should think one could retain an overall ethic. Accounting for sudden catastrophic changes, a ten mile diameter meteor hitting the earth near Mexico for instance, are probably outside any requirement for ethical system construction.

There are perhaps a couple million ethical codes held strongly by as many various cultures on the planet. Some of the ethical codes of some of these cultures have led to their demises. Natural selection between cultures MAY NOT ALL BE GENETIC. Many of the eliminated cultures simply did not manage to figure out how their notions predisposed their culture to failure. I feel our modern culture is suffering from that right now in the matter of climate change.

We know we need to decrease our carbon emissions, yet the petroleum markets are booming. Genes do not appear to have too much to do with it. Obviously, we are the product of a long line of genetic development (for lack of a better word) and most of what natural selection genetics has given us is prior to the technological age. I feel there are right and wrong technologies regarding the survival of our species and these combined with the cognitive powers our genes may have allowed us will determine what comes of our species on the earth.

There never has been such a dominant species on the planet, nor a more widespread nor as disruptive one either.:rolleyesa:
 

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There never has been such a dominant species on the planet, nor a more widespread nor as disruptive one either.:rolleyesa:

I disagree with this. Those oxygen producers actually caused their demise while permitting multicellular organisms.

This brings me to my main criticism of your post. Everything you write smacks of moral relativism. I've never encountered a lawful environment where relativism is specified or successful.
 
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