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  • I

  • Started that I started the beginning of the class

  • three months ago talking to you about

  • What it what the problem was that I was trying to address?

  • and

  • The fundamental problem was the problem of belief systems

  • and

  • the issue is was

  • what precisely constitutes a belief system and

  • Then a secondary question was why are people so inclined to

  • even engage in conflict to Maintain and Expand their belief systems

  • and then maybe a sub question of that and is there an alternative to conflict with regards to belief systems and

  • then the last issue

  • Was something like well. Is there a way of judging the relative quality of belief systems?

  • And so those are all very very complicated questions, I

  • mean the first one is something like

  • How is it possible to understand the structures by which we orient ourselves in the world the second one is something like

  • What's the pSychological significance?

  • Precisely of those systems. What role does it play in?

  • psychological health and maybe also in Social health

  • the next one is

  • can you make a [non] [relativistic] case when you assess an array of different value systems and

  • then link to that is is it possible to

  • hierarchically organized value systems in

  • The manner that's justifiable, so that something can be reasonably considered in

  • a superior or subordinate position

  • now the last question

  • Drew my attention because because of the implications of the first set and the last

  • question drew my attention because I

  • Was trying to sort out the metaphysics in some sense of the cold war?

  • the question was was this just a battleground between

  • two hypothetically equally

  • appropriate belief systems which would could be a morally immoral relativistic perspective right it's belief systems are arbitrary and

  • So combat between them is in some sense inevitable and even more to the point there isn't any other way

  • around the

  • discontinuity in some sense other than

  • combat or

  • subordination because there's no way of

  • adjudicating a

  • Victor because there's no such thing as victory if there's no way of ranking value systems. It's arbitrary

  • As a frightening prospect because it means that if you have a value system, and I have a value system

  • And they're different and they're different

  • [I] mean we can talk or you can subordinate yourself, or I could do the same

  • But there's also no [reason] why we shouldn't just engage in Flat-out

  • Conflict

  • now it's complicated in the modern world obviously by the fact that conflict can become so

  • [untraveled] that it risks destroying everything and that doesn't seem necessarily to be in anyone's best interest unless

  • Your interest haps happens to be in destroying everything and certainly there are no shortage of people whose interests tilt in that direction

  • Alright, so the first question was well. What does it mean to have a belief [system] and

  • That's a very complicated problem, and I think

  • It's a subset of the question of being

  • Maybe you can break the question of being into two

  • domains

  • Which we've done in this class, and you could say well, you can assess being

  • From the perspective of what exists and then you can assess being from the perspective of how?

  • You ought to act?

  • so it's like you walk into a room and you can describe the furniture or

  • You can determine how your going to conduct yourself in the room

  • Maybe it's the difference between a play and the stage setting for a play now

  • the Modernist

  • Perspectives Roughly speaking is that the fundamental reality is to be found in the description of the furniture?

  • So to speak in the description of what is that's the scientific?

  • process

  • [and] the scientific process seems to involve

  • the stripping off of the subjective

  • from perception and to some degree from action and

  • the extraction of the commonalities across

  • perception as a means of

  • delineating the Nature of reality

  • Now obviously that's a [very] powerful

  • process, and it has many advantages, but exactly what it is that

  • science is doing is not precisely clear one perspective might be is that

  • we are

  • genuinely

  • Discovering the Nature of objective reality [and] perhaps even the nature of reality itself

  • but

  • There are some problems with that perspective

  • one of them being that

  • The scientific process seems to strip the subjective from the phenomena. It does that technically right?

  • I mean you have [a] hypothesis about what something is and you have a hypothesis about what something is and you have [a]

  • hypothesis [about] some [what] something is and we undertake a number of procedures to assess what the

  • Fundamental phenomena is and then we look across our perceptual set and we extract out the commonalities

  • And we dispense with everything that is superfluous everything that's merely subjective

  • So what you feel about the chair is not relevant to the objective existence of the chair and so it

  • eradicate subjectivity, and that's a very useful process because it does seem to enable us to

  • Grasp reality in a fundamental sense more profoundly, but it leaves the subjective behind and maybe that's a problem

  • Because it annoys okay, okay? Thank you. [what] [if] I just didn't alright appreciate it, so

  • so then the issue might [be] well is something you retrieve ibly lost if you dispense with this objective and and

  • also, how

  • Deep a hole do you dig when you dispense with this objective?

  • and

  • I think that that's

  • intrinsically

  • associated with the

  • Problem of the relationship between is [an] [dot]

  • because

  • That's an old

  • Philosophical conundrum, I think first put forth by D. David hume

  • Who made the claim that?

  • No matter how much you know about something from an empirical perspective?

  • You cannot use that as an unerring guide to action in relationship to that?

  • To that empirical object or set of empirical objects and people it's a tricky [issue]. You know because obviously you can use empirical

  • information to inform your decisions

  • But I think

  • But the problem is is that there's multiple pathways of action that are implied by any set of data that seems to be the fundamental

  • Problem, it's something like that. Is that you can't draw a one-To-one

  • Specification between the empirical district description and what you should do about that and like maybe an [example] is

  • But you can gather a lot of information about aids

  • and you can gather a lot of information about cancer and you can gather a lot of information about educational outcomes and

  • Economic outcomes and so forth but it isn't obvious. How you then use that?

  • empirical information

  • For example how to guide policy decisions because you might say well, how much money should we spend on education?

  • compared to cancer prevention and how much money should be spent on cancer prevention compared to curing aids and or

  • Addressing disease in the third-world country what happens is that the set of variables that you?

  • Encounter while trying to make your empirical calculation get to be so massive so rapidly that there doesn't seem to be any

  • Logical way of linking them to a behavioral outcome now. It's kind of associated with the postmodern conundrum as well

  • Which is well if you have a set of data, and it could be a literary work without better

  • There's a very large number of interpretations that you can derive from [that] set of data

  • And there's no simple way of deciding which one is going to be canonical

  • and so it isn't it I think the reason that you can't derive a naught from an is is because you run into something like

  • Combinatorial explosion it's like you have an infinite [number] of facts at your disposal

  • Roughly speaking and then another infinite number of ways that you can organize those facts and that

  • massive array of facts and and

  • [Andrey] categorized facts doesn't tell you what to do in a given situation

  • and so maybe the question of what to do in a given situation is a different domain of question and

  • I believe that to be the [case]. I think it was Stephen Jay gould who talked about religion and science as

  • - I think he called them different

  • Magisterium to different fundamental domains that and that each had their realm of operation and one was the

  • description of the objective world obviously that's on the scientific end and the other was the realm of ethics and so you could put

  • Religion Mythology narrative the humanities all of that history even for that matter to some degree into the into the

  • ethics

  • Category and

  • because I don't see a

  • [straightforward] way of

  • Taking a set of facts and then transforming them into a behavioral compulsion

  • then I do think that these two [things] are reasonably regarded as overlapping and

  • intrinsically

  • associated but

  • But technically and philosophically

  • separable

  • [alright], so then then the next question emerges well if they're separable if there has to be a

  • domain of inquiry into the structure of [values]

  • What might that look like?

  • like how is it that you would understand the

  • psychological and sociological

  • phenomena that are associated with a Moral stance

  • [Howhow] would you understand the details of that and then even more to the point is there any way of

  • subjecting different sets of ethical interpretation to

  • Testing so that you can judge their comparative validity because that's sort of the way out of Moral relativism

  • Roughly speaking. It's like

  • First you make the proposition that there are value structures and that they're independent from empirical investigation

  • and then the next is that you investigate the possibility that you can compare and contrast different structures of ethics and

  • Draw some sort of conclusion. That's not merely arbitrary

  • Now it might be turtles all the way down. That's how the old joke goes right, but

  • But maybe not then I was interested in that again because I thought well are we fighting the cold war

  • merely because we're having an argument or

  • is

  • there some

  • Manner in which one of these systems can be just determined to be wrong and of course

  • There was more weight behind that query

  • because

  • The soviet system and the maoist system and and the system. That's in place in North Korea

  • were not only

  • Predicated on different assumptions than in the western system, but they were also extraordinarily murderous and so that seemed to add additional

  • Weight [to] the to the sequence of questions

  • so

  • I was reading young at the time and young was carl young was

  • fundamentally I would say a psychologist of narrative of story and

  • and

  • He he outlined this

  • He outlined the idea for me that

  • people inhabited Stories Roughly speaking

  • He said actually they inhabited myths and even more to the point whether they knew it or not

  • They inhabited archetypal myths or even that they were possessed by them

  • And so it was the first time I'd really come into contact with the idea directly put that

  • there was a direct relationship between the

  • structures that you use to orient yourself in the world and

  • stories, and so then I started to

  • assess

  • the fundamental elements of stories what what - story looked like and

  • while I was doing that that was informed by a number of other things that I was reading about including a

  • set of I

  • Read the Neuroscience literature with regards to information processing fairly extensively

  • And that introduced me [into] a whole set of other ideas including cybernetic ideas which have been incorporated into what I was

  • describing to you, and this basic cybernetic system is a

  • system [that] has [a] starting point in a system that [has] an [endpoint] and

  • A system that has a subsystem that monitors progress or deviation from progress

  • Along the pathway to the endpoint, and I thought well [that] looks a lot like a story

  • Or a map that's another way of thinking about it, and I thought okay

  • Well that's where the overlap is and the fundamental story is something like it's very [straightforward]. It's

  • it's also the frame that you inhabit when you conceptualize the world and narrow and

  • Narrow and simplify the world which you have to do because it's so complex because you have this infinite number of facts that

  • Are laying around you well so what are you doing? Well? You're a mobile creature a living creature not a static information processor and

  • You're targeted you're a targeted creature, and otherwise you wouldn't move

  • Right to move is to be a targeted creature because you have to move towards something or away from something so the targeting is built

  • Right into the fact that you're a mobile creature, and then you might say well

  • What do you target [and] answer to that is well, you target?

  • Target you could say you target what you aim for but?

  • Then you could say well you you aim for what you want you target your desires

  • And then that leads you into a discussion of the underlying neurobiology essentially you bring to the table a set of inbuilt

  • desires and

  • the targets that you pick

  • Have to address the fact that those desires exist and the desires are actually grounded in Necessity

  • and this is this is a sidebar, but this is where I think piaget theory is weaker than it should be because

  • piaget and you know I'm a great admirer of piaget believed that the

  • Human infant came into the world with a fairly primordial set of reflexes mostly sensory motor reflexes and then bootstrapped

  • Him or herself up on the basis of those reflexes in the sociological in

  • the Social Surroundings

  • Viewpoint [that] the child comes in with a few basic elements that can get it going

  • elements of exploration and memory essentially and then it builds itself

  • Of the consequence of its exploration in the social community now. I think that's true except that

  • It's too empty because what it fails to

  • take into [consideration] is the fact that and

  • I think this is this is an observation in some sense philosophically that was first made by immanuel, Kant when he criticized pure reason

  • so that

  • You can't come into the world structureless you have to come into the world with an inbuilt structure

  • And then it's the interaction of [that] structure with the world

  • That provides the information that you can use to build yourself, but the structure has to be there

  • And I would say that's the sameness logically speaking as the idea that the [great] [father] is always there, right?

  • There's the great mother is always there. That's Chaos itself the great father is always there that's order

  • That's the interpretive structure that you use to interact with the Chaos and then of course the individual is always there at the same time

  • that piaget in some sense ree-ree

  • told that story

  • except

  • He didn't

  • give enough credence to the fact that the infant comes into the world far [more] fully formed than

  • his theory

  • His theory presumes now the problem see that the problem with that is [that]

  • Without that additional underlying set of let's call them neurobiological constraints the interpretation universe gets too large you