PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, January 30, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: How useful is competition? + News

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: How useful is competition?

I guess that it is a universal truth than during a deep recession and
austerity nothing is sacred including the holy of holies we call
competition. Although I am not totally convinced that what we have today
is a real recession what is clear is that we have to be careful when we
try to figure out who is the enemy.

Before you get to the link to Ruel's and my essay please have a look at
the forthcoming visits to the British Cemetery in Madrid.

-----visits to the British Cemetery in Madrid
Redacto el present mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto
de comunicarles el programa de las visitas guiadas los sábados por la
mañana a las 11,00 hora.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web <www.britishcemeterymadrid.com> donde
aparece la dirección. La estación de Metro más cercana es la de URGEL,
línea 5, salida c/ Peñafiel y se encuentra en las rutas de buses 34, 35,
118 y 119.
I am writing this note both in English and in Spanish to provide the
programme of Saturday morning guided visits all of which take place at
11,00 a.m.
Please take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com> for
details of the Cemetery location. Arrival by public transport is by
Metro, line 5, URGEL, exit marked c/ Peñafiel or by buses 34, 35, 118
and 119.

Saturday, 7th February - visit in Spanish
Sábado 7 de febrero - visita en español
Saturday, 14th February - visit in English
Sábado 14 de febrero - visita en inglés
Saturday, 28th February - visit in Spanish
Sábado 28 de febrero - visita en español

Si prefiere otra fecha y siempre que se reúna un grupo de 8 personas
como mínimo, avíseme para convenir una fecha.
If you would like a visit on another date and you can form a group of 8
persons or more, let me know so that we can come to an arrangement.

David Butler
----------


Hello Lawrence,
...... I'd like to share an old article I wrote more than ten years ago
(
https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/the-ethics-of-competition-in-business-a-perspectivist-approach/
) which could in some ways be related/connected to the topic, "The
Usefulness of Competition". Though my article is more specifically
focused on the ethics of business competition, I hope it would somehow
add a little spice in our discussion on Sunday.

Thank you very much.
All the best,
Ruel


------Lawrence


We mainly encounter competition in two contexts: in the biological context of survival, which we would call evolution. And in the economics context as a model of wealth and income distribution. In our daily life we tend to be more conscious of competition in the second type not least because our political masters in the West keep reminding us how good competition is for us.

Evolutionary type of competition is still there working in the background although not many people plan their life around the principles of evolution. Strictly speaking biological competition is not only about the individual survival but more importantly about one's genes surviving into future generations.

On the other hand economic competition is about having more of what we want even though what we want will include needs and to cover the costs of our strategy. However, we are competing with others when our gain is the loss for someone else. This is usually referred to as zero sum game.
There is an important condition here having more does not necessarily mean having more of one thing ad infinitum. We want more of one thing up to the point where we cease to derive any pleasure or need for a particular thing. For example: we don't want more petrol in the car beyond the capacity of the fuel tank.

The competitive strategy is usually employed with companies or the market place as a strategy to distribute limited resources and wealth. Thus our need to consume resources creates wealth for others and vice versa, sometimes. But again companies sell goods usually at the expense of their competitors. If I want a cup of tea then the bar I buy the cup of tea makes a profit at the expense of the bar next to the bar I had my cup of tea.

Thus we find two important features of competition: 1) survival as a function of distribution of resources (or survival ) implies that we have what it takes to participate in the competition strategy (model). If we don’t attract mates and reproduce our genes will not survive into the next generation.
2) Survival in the economic sense implies that at some point my survival as a business will probably affect a competitor. Firstly, because all suppliers cannot supply the same product - people usually want a variety of products to manage their life, thus this probably limits how many suppliers of a thing we need. And secondly, some companies are not as good as others so there will always be instances when it is just not worth going on with the business. Competition makes operations hard for those who function at the threshold of survival.

It is usually argued that the advantages of competition -at least the key ones- in the market place are twofold. The first is that competition leads companies to reduce costs and operate efficiently to make their goods cheaper (or close to value for money) and, therefore, more attractive to buyers and the second is that competition creates choice. As they stand these two principles seem acceptable. 

Moreover, it is also argued that those who do not succeed in meeting the price and choice criteria are doomed to fail.

And to reinforce the value of competition commentators usually compare competition with the planned model economy that tends to operate the wasteful strategy of a monopoly. However, the very same commentators for some reason shy away from comparing competition with the cooperative strategy which in many cases is a far superior model for distributing resources and wealth. Indeed the cooperative model is conspicuous by its absence in the general consciousness of society.
Basically the cooperative model is an attempt to satisfy the needs of the participants of this strategy. We usually understand this model not so much as a compromise from what we want under a competitive model, but now I have to accept something less, but rather the way resources are distributed are based on a model that guarantees the needs of all but still rewards merit. It is not that, under a cooperative system we don't have cars but rather the difference between the advantages of having a car and using public transport are very small. Thus convenience, cost and availability are more or less the same, and the car is available when it is not practical to have public transport. For example, it is not practical to tour the countryside with public transport for leisure, but having an efficient public transport system for people to go to work or shopping even in rural areas makes sense. The cooperative model is also characterised as a win-win strategy.

Of course we cannot have a perfect cooperative model any more than we can have perfect competition. But the idea that if we considered other people in our choices, we would be better off; thus if we used public transport to go to work and the transport company provided a close equivalent to a private car the company would make better operating profits, the cost to use the service can be reduced because of efficiencies in technology and market share, and then there are the consequential benefits on reduced pollution etc. The car can then be used for trips suitable for cars. Indeed we might not want to own a car since it be possible to have more hire car businesses at good prices.
The first philosophical question we can ask about our topic is how practical is competition to be of any use or at least of some use?

But before we can answer this question we first need to find the philosophical flaws of competition; especially economic competition, since economic competition has a direct effect on politics and therefore ethics and morality.

From what I have said so far I want to put forward two propositions.

1) A rational person would favour a competitive strategy if that person honestly believes they will win the competition.

2) A rational person would favour a cooperative strategy if that person honestly believes they will not succeed if they employed a competitive strategy.

These two propositions still maintain the principle that we want to survive and better ourselves but not necessarily using cooperation as a first option. Indeed competition seems to fit our instinct of looking after ourselves first. Whilst cooperation seems to be like a plan B strategy.

A serious philosophical flaw of competition is that despite the barbarity of nature we are still a cooperative society i.e. a social biological system. Indeed, for example for procreation to happen, i.e. pass on genes to the next generation, we need the consent of two people and even if no consent is give nature still needs the cooperation of the individual for the reproduction process to reach a full term.

To answer to my first philosophical question I mentioned above, I will argue, is that the competition model/strategy is practical enough because it is flexible enough to quickly adapt to new circumstances and adopt new solutions. Thus even in a competitive strategy, cooperation is still a valid tactic to win at competition. Hence, we have introduced labour laws and social security as a means for companies and the authorities to get people to cooperate in wealth creation. Indeed, one of the criticisms for having governments provide certain services is not that governments do not necessarily provide good services, but rather governments are not quick and flexible enough in providing the best service when needed.

The second proposition might itself be interpreted as a competitive move to secure survival by using cooperation. Thus, since I cannot win alone I might as well cooperate to have something rather than nothing. The issue I still have here is whether it is possible for an organisation, or even an individual, to be in a position to win a competition alone? I mean is proposition (1) above viable at all or even possible?

I am inclined to argue that in the context of the market place the empirical evidence does not seem to support (1) above for the simple reason that companies engage in a number of extra-operational activities to influence the market place, for example: lobbying governments to favour their industry, organising into associations to promote the interests of the members, pay large salary packaged to smart employees, corruption, creating stumbling blocks for their competitors (e.g. product dumping), price fixing through cartels, exploitation of workers by wilfully creating a large unemployed labour pool etc etc. All these activities do not suggest the actions of someone going it alone, but rather someone trying to perfect the cooperative model to win big.

So, on the one hand we are sold the belief that competition is not only good for us but also very useful. And that competition is so basic that we find it everywhere in nature. However, I have tried to demonstrate and argue that there are, at the very least, some serious flaws about competition that it seems to limit its scope in nature and economics.

There is no doubt that competition, can create efficiencies, reduce the number of weak members of the model and provide some choice. But both in the natural setting and economic setting biological systems and organisations do not survive by competition alone. In nature we survive not only by being stronger, but also not being hit by a falling meteorite, volcano eruptions, infected by a nasty virus, not being hit by a bus and having a good doctor. And as I have argued the same process happens at the company level.

I am inclined to believe that competition has a high impact at the micro level, a sperm reaching an egg first, a lion catching a slow zebra, a coffee shop serving better cups of tea then their neighbour. At the micro level competition has certainly a scope of function and that is as good as being useful. But the higher we go up the macro scale the more we need cooperation: I can bandage a sprained ankle but I certainly need a hospital to fix a broken leg, and hospitals function with teams of carers cooperating with each other and the patient and the rest of society.

I would suggest that the main reason why we abhor the word competition today is because we have mudded the meaning of the word (concept) competition with the concept of greed and avarice. The gap between a legitimate profit and greed is very narrow indeed. What might be dressed as a competitive operation could well be a set up for self enrichment at the expense of others.

Although competition does have some use, what is important for us is that competition is not always bad, and cooperation is not always good! We can compete to make life better for everyone and we can cooperate to make other people's life miserable.

Lawrence




Best Lawrence




tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
From: January 15 at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: How useful is
competition? + News

Thursday, January 22, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free society - Part 2

Dear Friends,

The meeting last Sunday on "Religion free society" went so well that we
decided to continue with the topic this coming Sunday. I still had a
list five people to speak 15 minutes before 9pm!! So Sunday we'll start
with this list.

I am therefore basically sending the same email as last week. However,
don't imagine that we've discussed everything in the essays not to
mention topics and issues that we never imagined.

Lawrence
------
Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Religion free society.

Although, as you know, religion is a topic we approach with caution
during our meetings sometimes we have to cross this minefield in the
name of philosophy. In my essay (I was not that busy this week) I argue
that our topic is not a question of getting rid of religions or
religions are good for us. My position is that religions are made up of
a belief side and a prescriptive side. And should we end up with a
religion free society it would have been the result of the prescriptive
aspect of religion. In the meantime Ruel has sent is his link to his essay:

Hello Lawrence,
The link to the essay I wrote on the topic "Religion-free society" is:

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/a-religion-free-society/
See you on Sunday.
All the best,
Ruel


----Lawrence
Religion free society

This question may be interpreted in two meanings. The first is when
religions lose or change their scope within society through an
evolutionary process. A process that has been going on for centuries.
The second meaning is to ban religions outright. Something that is quite
common these days.

However both processes have their drawbacks. Evolution takes too long
and does not necessarily lead to an equitable and ethical state of
affairs. A ban on religions, though, implies the oppressive hands of a
dictatorship.

Some might even argue that even a ban on religion is part of an
evolutionary process. Since, a ban on religion would no doubt be due to
a conflict between the new ideology and religion. Except that there is a
slight difference here, the ban usually happens in a relatively short
time frame compared to natural evolution. Besides, a ban is also
intentional whilst a natural process is just a natural causal chain of
event with the impression of being random.

So a religion free society depends on and is the result of two forces: a
natural causal process vs an intentional human desire for short term
results. But why should we care about what happens to religion?

I do not wish to go into any detail about the meaning of religion since
we only need to understand the basic components of a religion: 1) a
belief in a superhuman deity or god to legitimise those beliefs and the
consequential actions, 2) a set of beliefs that are accepted as
representing the state of affairs of the world we live in and that such
beliefs are accepted on the principle of faith and not empirical
justification, and 3) religion prescribes a lifestyle and behaviour that
is usually based on coercion and/or indoctrination.

It may be argued that it is a very human capacity to identify with some
imaginary form or being as having superhuman powers. Something we can
relate to but does not have the human weaknesses. Look, for example, at
such fictional characters as Super Man, Bat Man etc. However, the
argument used by religion is that these gods are real as much as the
plastic that makes up the keyboard on my PC is real. Unfortunately, the
reality issue is not available as a philosophical argument for religions.

Firstly, unlike say scientific claims about real things, the absence of
empirical evidence of a god fails on the ground that we do not have a
methodology to verify or refute the existence of a god. The reality of a
god does not seem to be established with any methodology. However, we
are hard wired to have methodologies to discover whether something is
real or not or true or not. How many times have you come across some new
food and started eating without first discovering what kind of food it
is? Indeed we are hard wired not to belief anything rather than to
belief anything purely on a verbal claim by someone.

Faith, belief or call it what you will is not a methodology but an
emotional disposition. In the same way that, for example, reciting a
mantra before I check my lotto ticket is an emotional disposition and
not a method. Even if one day I do win big at the lotto. As I will argue
the flaw about faith or belief about anything is that we have to
fact-check it with the world outside our brain and then whether we can
make predictions about whatever it is we believe.

The philosophical point is that faith about something does not equate to
a factual event about our universe. On the contrary, what we can say for
certain about doing things by faith is that it is an emotional state of
affairs in some people and not a proof of anything. Moreover, since we
are all human beings the scope of one of us having some super human
access to the most secretive aspects of the universe is very slim indeed.

But the status of religion depends purely on the existence of a god or a
super human figure. This is what is supposed to give legitimacy of
religion over all other beliefs. However, as human beings we don't have
the means to establish the existence of such beings. Firstly, we are
asked to demonstrate something that by all accounts does not seem to
have anything in common with the way the universe functions. Secondly,
and more importantly, we have so many conflicting accounts of what such
a god or gods are that we have no idea what we're looking for. An
thirdly, the bottom line is that we can discover or know about anything
if information about that thing can be communicated to us in an
empirical format; the only format we have. Unlike photography we only
have one format for transmitting information about anything the
empirical one; in photography if you really want to know we have raw,
jpeg, tiff, png (there are more in the pipeline) and that's just the
digital formats.

This leaves us with the prescriptive lifestyle religion imposes on
people; some religions only impose lifestyles on their followers while
others also want to impose lifestyles on the rest of humanity. This
prescriptive attitude of religion is usually accompanied with coercive
methods to impose their set of lifestyles or behaviour. Therefore, this
make religion a legitimate subject for philosophy since it is a question
about ethics and political philosophy. Let's be clear about it, if it
wasn't for the prescriptive aspect of religion it would not be of any
interest for us, or anyone else for that matter.

The descriptive aspect of religion, i.e. faith, beliefs, gods and
deities, is a normal human mental activity we all enjoy; this is one of
the things we do with our brain. Incidentally, the very same brain that
has served us so well to cure diseases, overcome natural challenges,
manipulate our environment to increase access to resources, and the
brain that has created art, music, literature, the Christmas pudding
and, maybe, football! What is sure though is that as a consequence of
our understanding of the world around us we also understand that the
workings of the brain are not always perfect or satisfactory; like many
causal processes, we sometimes fail. In other words, sometimes we are wrong.

By virtue of the fact that religions pay a huge amount of intellectual
effort and human resources on the prescriptive aspect of religion, it
betrays the genesis of religion in general: i.e. our biological make up
and behaviour. Our biological make up, or nature if you wish, dictates
that we have a lifestyle and behave in certain ways in the same manner
that nature dictates to ants and lions what to do with their time. If
religions where not so obsessed with lifestyle they would just have
written the manual and left it to people to do what they want; religions
are not like that.

Thus the prescriptive side of religion is an empirical phenomenon and
therefore, is covered, fair and square, by empirical criteria. And one
of the most important empirical criteria is that what is empirical can
be measured and verified/falsified. From this premise it follows that if
we have a belief about something in the world then we can reasonably
assume that this belief can be measured, verified/falsified and so on.
This does not mean that if we demonstrate that what we believe is not
the case, we should stop having that belief. Indeed I will never stop
believing that the universe was created so that we can have Christmas
puddings, however, I haven't yet started making plans for the Nobel
Prize in physics and astronomy I should be receiving in the near future!
Beliefs do not make facts!

But beliefs can lead to action. For example, thinking that vegetables
are good for me we expect that I sometimes eat vegetables or at the very
least promote the eating of vegetables amongst the people I know. But
with this kind of situation, we always come up with the problem of
induction: just because vegetables are good for me it does not
necessarily follow that they are good for everyone, they are not! The
biggest problem for us here is one of ethics and morality: do good
things follow a zero sum game or are they subject to the law of excluded
middle? Meaning that if something is good then it must be universally
good, for all time and everyone, or if something is good it cannot be
contradicted to being not good at the same time. Good wins everything,
and there cannot be both good and not good.

Let's take an example: some religions (and societies) prohibit or
disapprove of siblings known to each other to procreate (or incest to
widen our scope people). Today we know why this is undesirable, we can
read why and most of us know enough biology to understand the reasoning
behind this prohibition. However, there are/were many societies and
religions that allow such procreation. Who is right? We certainly know
that we are right, however, it does not follow these other societies are
wrong. For example, maybe the community some three thousand years ago
was small and isolated and therefore it was much better that the few
people procreated hoping for the best rather than for the society to die
out. Sure, this is not the best of all solutions, but the issue, I am
sure we all agree, is not one of what is good?

My point is that whilst our beliefs may be constant over time, our
empirical knowledge about the world changes because we are always on a
learning curve about life. Thus religions that remain stagnant despite
access to new knowledge are also in a regressive process of life. Those
who insist on still using a Bakelite rotary phone today are having a
very hard time making calls. Incidentally, this is a very clear example
of how religions and beliefs can fail the evolution race; stagnation.

However, persistent conflicts between sections of society about
empirical issues cannot be a sign of good tidings. And usually,
conflicts within society that involve religion centre on issues of
power, wealth control, and certainly, radical change of accepted beliefs.

So at the end, our topic centres as much on the evolution and
development of beliefs (religion) as much as the chaotic distribution of
knowledge and acceptance of that knowledge amongst humanity. It seems
that knowledge and attitudes as a consequence of that knowledge do not
develop within all societies at a lightning speed, despite the internet,
and do not influence everyone in the same way.

Of course, in my argument I am assuming that any evolutionary
development or any state of chaos is the product of a fair random
process. For example, I am not considering issues of oppression,
manipulation of people for the benefit of the few. I am also assuming
that any knowledge is eventually discovered by all societies and
religions, not to mention that there is no reason to assume that we are
all affected the same with any new knowledge.

The question, for us is not whether we should get rid of religions, or
are we better off with religion. The question for us is what will cause
the disappearance of religion as a consequence of its body of
philosophical principles. Incidentally, all aspects of our life are
governed by a body of philosophical principles; it's just that we don't
call them as such.

A religion free society is certainly a result of evolutionary forces
probably caused by access to more up to date knowledge about the world
in association with sections of society not sharing the same set of
beliefs. Having said that, I really doubt that an evolutionary would
really wipe out a set of beliefs, no matter how weird those beliefs are.
Unless those people with those beliefs are themselves wiped out of
existence. In a way rights about beliefs and free speech are there so
that no set of beliefs are allowed to disappear, even the weir one.
Because, as I said, we are hard wired to have beliefs we abhor beliefs
being lost forever; history, history of ideas, leisure reading, and
passing interest in unpleasant sets of belief (e.g. Nazi doctrine) are
evidence of the importance beliefs have for us.

What is likely to wipe out a religion from its privileged status (and
therefore society), is its prescriptive nature. Prescription is an
empirical challenge to an individual's existence and as we know, in a
conflict the side with the smarts are more likely to win than the one
with the muscles. Or to put it in a different way, the group with the
set of beliefs that has a flawed philosophy is more likely to cause its
own downfall than the set of beliefs that are a step ahead of evolution.

Best Lawrence




tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
From: January 15 at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free
society - Part 2

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free society - Part 2

Dear Friends,

The meeting last Sunday on "Religion free society" went so well that we
decided to continue with the topic this coming Sunday. I still had a
list five people to speak 15 minutes before 9pm!! So Sunday we'll start
with this list.

I am therefore basically sending the same email as last week. However,
don't imagine that we've discussed everything in the essays not to
mention topics and issues that we never imagined.

Lawrence
------
Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Religion free society.

Although, as you know, religion is a topic we approach with caution
during our meetings sometimes we have to cross this minefield in the
name of philosophy. In my essay (I was not that busy this week) I argue
that our topic is not a question of getting rid of religions or
religions are good for us. My position is that religions are made up of
a belief side and a prescriptive side. And should we end up with a
religion free society it would have been the result of the prescriptive
aspect of religion. In the meantime Ruel has sent is his link to his essay:

Hello Lawrence,
The link to the essay I wrote on the topic "Religion-free society" is:

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/a-religion-free-society/
See you on Sunday.
All the best,
Ruel


----Lawrence
Religion free society

This question may be interpreted in two meanings. The first is when
religions lose or change their scope within society through an
evolutionary process. A process that has been going on for centuries.
The second meaning is to ban religions outright. Something that is quite
common these days.

However both processes have their drawbacks. Evolution takes too long
and does not necessarily lead to an equitable and ethical state of
affairs. A ban on religions, though, implies the oppressive hands of a
dictatorship.

Some might even argue that even a ban on religion is part of an
evolutionary process. Since, a ban on religion would no doubt be due to
a conflict between the new ideology and religion. Except that there is a
slight difference here, the ban usually happens in a relatively short
time frame compared to natural evolution. Besides, a ban is also
intentional whilst a natural process is just a natural causal chain of
event with the impression of being random.

So a religion free society depends on and is the result of two forces: a
natural causal process vs an intentional human desire for short term
results. But why should we care about what happens to religion?

I do not wish to go into any detail about the meaning of religion since
we only need to understand the basic components of a religion: 1) a
belief in a superhuman deity or god to legitimise those beliefs and the
consequential actions, 2) a set of beliefs that are accepted as
representing the state of affairs of the world we live in and that such
beliefs are accepted on the principle of faith and not empirical
justification, and 3) religion prescribes a lifestyle and behaviour that
is usually based on coercion and/or indoctrination.

It may be argued that it is a very human capacity to identify with some
imaginary form or being as having superhuman powers. Something we can
relate to but does not have the human weaknesses. Look, for example, at
such fictional characters as Super Man, Bat Man etc. However, the
argument used by religion is that these gods are real as much as the
plastic that makes up the keyboard on my PC is real. Unfortunately, the
reality issue is not available as a philosophical argument for religions.

Firstly, unlike say scientific claims about real things, the absence of
empirical evidence of a god fails on the ground that we do not have a
methodology to verify or refute the existence of a god. The reality of a
god does not seem to be established with any methodology. However, we
are hard wired to have methodologies to discover whether something is
real or not or true or not. How many times have you come across some new
food and started eating without first discovering what kind of food it
is? Indeed we are hard wired not to belief anything rather than to
belief anything purely on a verbal claim by someone.

Faith, belief or call it what you will is not a methodology but an
emotional disposition. In the same way that, for example, reciting a
mantra before I check my lotto ticket is an emotional disposition and
not a method. Even if one day I do win big at the lotto. As I will argue
the flaw about faith or belief about anything is that we have to
fact-check it with the world outside our brain and then whether we can
make predictions about whatever it is we believe.

The philosophical point is that faith about something does not equate to
a factual event about our universe. On the contrary, what we can say for
certain about doing things by faith is that it is an emotional state of
affairs in some people and not a proof of anything. Moreover, since we
are all human beings the scope of one of us having some super human
access to the most secretive aspects of the universe is very slim indeed.

But the status of religion depends purely on the existence of a god or a
super human figure. This is what is supposed to give legitimacy of
religion over all other beliefs. However, as human beings we don't have
the means to establish the existence of such beings. Firstly, we are
asked to demonstrate something that by all accounts does not seem to
have anything in common with the way the universe functions. Secondly,
and more importantly, we have so many conflicting accounts of what such
a god or gods are that we have no idea what we're looking for. An
thirdly, the bottom line is that we can discover or know about anything
if information about that thing can be communicated to us in an
empirical format; the only format we have. Unlike photography we only
have one format for transmitting information about anything the
empirical one; in photography if you really want to know we have raw,
jpeg, tiff, png (there are more in the pipeline) and that's just the
digital formats.

This leaves us with the prescriptive lifestyle religion imposes on
people; some religions only impose lifestyles on their followers while
others also want to impose lifestyles on the rest of humanity. This
prescriptive attitude of religion is usually accompanied with coercive
methods to impose their set of lifestyles or behaviour. Therefore, this
make religion a legitimate subject for philosophy since it is a question
about ethics and political philosophy. Let's be clear about it, if it
wasn't for the prescriptive aspect of religion it would not be of any
interest for us, or anyone else for that matter.

The descriptive aspect of religion, i.e. faith, beliefs, gods and
deities, is a normal human mental activity we all enjoy; this is one of
the things we do with our brain. Incidentally, the very same brain that
has served us so well to cure diseases, overcome natural challenges,
manipulate our environment to increase access to resources, and the
brain that has created art, music, literature, the Christmas pudding
and, maybe, football! What is sure though is that as a consequence of
our understanding of the world around us we also understand that the
workings of the brain are not always perfect or satisfactory; like many
causal processes, we sometimes fail. In other words, sometimes we are wrong.

By virtue of the fact that religions pay a huge amount of intellectual
effort and human resources on the prescriptive aspect of religion, it
betrays the genesis of religion in general: i.e. our biological make up
and behaviour. Our biological make up, or nature if you wish, dictates
that we have a lifestyle and behave in certain ways in the same manner
that nature dictates to ants and lions what to do with their time. If
religions where not so obsessed with lifestyle they would just have
written the manual and left it to people to do what they want; religions
are not like that.

Thus the prescriptive side of religion is an empirical phenomenon and
therefore, is covered, fair and square, by empirical criteria. And one
of the most important empirical criteria is that what is empirical can
be measured and verified/falsified. From this premise it follows that if
we have a belief about something in the world then we can reasonably
assume that this belief can be measured, verified/falsified and so on.
This does not mean that if we demonstrate that what we believe is not
the case, we should stop having that belief. Indeed I will never stop
believing that the universe was created so that we can have Christmas
puddings, however, I haven't yet started making plans for the Nobel
Prize in physics and astronomy I should be receiving in the near future!
Beliefs do not make facts!

But beliefs can lead to action. For example, thinking that vegetables
are good for me we expect that I sometimes eat vegetables or at the very
least promote the eating of vegetables amongst the people I know. But
with this kind of situation, we always come up with the problem of
induction: just because vegetables are good for me it does not
necessarily follow that they are good for everyone, they are not! The
biggest problem for us here is one of ethics and morality: do good
things follow a zero sum game or are they subject to the law of excluded
middle? Meaning that if something is good then it must be universally
good, for all time and everyone, or if something is good it cannot be
contradicted to being not good at the same time. Good wins everything,
and there cannot be both good and not good.

Let's take an example: some religions (and societies) prohibit or
disapprove of siblings known to each other to procreate (or incest to
widen our scope people). Today we know why this is undesirable, we can
read why and most of us know enough biology to understand the reasoning
behind this prohibition. However, there are/were many societies and
religions that allow such procreation. Who is right? We certainly know
that we are right, however, it does not follow these other societies are
wrong. For example, maybe the community some three thousand years ago
was small and isolated and therefore it was much better that the few
people procreated hoping for the best rather than for the society to die
out. Sure, this is not the best of all solutions, but the issue, I am
sure we all agree, is not one of what is good?

My point is that whilst our beliefs may be constant over time, our
empirical knowledge about the world changes because we are always on a
learning curve about life. Thus religions that remain stagnant despite
access to new knowledge are also in a regressive process of life. Those
who insist on still using a Bakelite rotary phone today are having a
very hard time making calls. Incidentally, this is a very clear example
of how religions and beliefs can fail the evolution race; stagnation.

However, persistent conflicts between sections of society about
empirical issues cannot be a sign of good tidings. And usually,
conflicts within society that involve religion centre on issues of
power, wealth control, and certainly, radical change of accepted beliefs.

So at the end, our topic centres as much on the evolution and
development of beliefs (religion) as much as the chaotic distribution of
knowledge and acceptance of that knowledge amongst humanity. It seems
that knowledge and attitudes as a consequence of that knowledge do not
develop within all societies at a lightning speed, despite the internet,
and do not influence everyone in the same way.

Of course, in my argument I am assuming that any evolutionary
development or any state of chaos is the product of a fair random
process. For example, I am not considering issues of oppression,
manipulation of people for the benefit of the few. I am also assuming
that any knowledge is eventually discovered by all societies and
religions, not to mention that there is no reason to assume that we are
all affected the same with any new knowledge.

The question, for us is not whether we should get rid of religions, or
are we better off with religion. The question for us is what will cause
the disappearance of religion as a consequence of its body of
philosophical principles. Incidentally, all aspects of our life are
governed by a body of philosophical principles; it's just that we don't
call them as such.

A religion free society is certainly a result of evolutionary forces
probably caused by access to more up to date knowledge about the world
in association with sections of society not sharing the same set of
beliefs. Having said that, I really doubt that an evolutionary would
really wipe out a set of beliefs, no matter how weird those beliefs are.
Unless those people with those beliefs are themselves wiped out of
existence. In a way rights about beliefs and free speech are there so
that no set of beliefs are allowed to disappear, even the weir one.
Because, as I said, we are hard wired to have beliefs we abhor beliefs
being lost forever; history, history of ideas, leisure reading, and
passing interest in unpleasant sets of belief (e.g. Nazi doctrine) are
evidence of the importance beliefs have for us.

What is likely to wipe out a religion from its privileged status (and
therefore society), is its prescriptive nature. Prescription is an
empirical challenge to an individual's existence and as we know, in a
conflict the side with the smarts are more likely to win than the one
with the muscles. Or to put it in a different way, the group with the
set of beliefs that has a flawed philosophy is more likely to cause its
own downfall than the set of beliefs that are a step ahead of evolution.

Best Lawrence




tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
From: January 15 at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free
society - Part 2

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Conferencia: DE NEWTON A NOSOTROS, CUATRO SIGLOS DE MATEMÁTICAS PARA ENTENDER UN MUNDO EN CONTINUO CAMBIO




Sent from Samsung Mobile


-------- Original message --------
From: Miguel G Palomo
Date:2015/01/21 4:56 PM (GMT+01:00)
To:
Subject: Conferencia: DE NEWTON A NOSOTROS, CUATRO SIGLOS DE MATEMÁTICAS PARA ENTENDER UN MUNDO EN CONTINUO CAMBIO


Estimado tertuliano,

Por si fuera de interés te informamos de la siguiente conferencia:

DE NEWTON A NOSOTROS, CUATRO SIGLOS DE MATEMÁTICAS PARA ENTENDER UN MUNDO EN CONTINUO CAMBIO
22/01/2015 19:00 h - Juan Luis Vázquez Suárez (Académico de Número de la R.A.C.)

REAL ACADEMIA DE CIENCIAS EXACTAS, FÍSICAS Y NATURALES
Calle Valverde, 22
Madrid - 28004
917014230 - 917014231 


Saludos cordiales,

Si quieres impartir una conferencia en la tertulia envíanos un mensaje de correo para tratar los detalles
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro con "Baja" en el campo "Asunto" del mensaje

Thursday, January 15, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free society

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Religion free society.

Although, as you know, religion is a topic we approach with caution
during our meetings sometimes we have to cross this minefield in the
name of philosophy. In my essay (I was not that busy this week) I argue
that our topic is not a question of getting rid of religions or
religions are good for us. My position is that religions are made up of
a belief side and a prescriptive side. And should we end up with a
religion free society it would have been the result of the prescriptive
aspect of religion. In the meantime Ruel has sent us his link to his essay:

Hello Lawrence,
The link to the essay I wrote on the topic "Religion-free society" is:

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/a-religion-free-society/
See you on Sunday.
All the best,
Ruel


----Lawrence
Religion free society

This question may be interpreted in two meanings. The first is when
religions lose or change their scope within society through an
evolutionary process. A process that has been going on for centuries.
The second meaning is to ban religions outright. Something that is quite
common these days.

However both processes have their drawbacks. Evolution takes too long
and does not necessarily lead to an equitable and ethical state of
affairs. A ban on religions, though, implies the oppressive hands of a
dictatorship.

Some might even argue that even a ban on religion is part of an
evolutionary process. Since, a ban on religion would no doubt be due to
a conflict between the new ideology and religion. Except that there is a
slight difference here, the ban usually happens in a relatively short
time frame compared to natural evolution. Besides, a ban is also
intentional whilst a natural process is just a natural causal chain of
event with the impression of being random.

So a religion free society depends on and is the result of two forces: a
natural causal process vs an intentional human desire for short term
results. But why should we care about what happens to religion?

I do not wish to go into any detail about the meaning of religion since
we only need to understand the basic components of a religion: 1) a
belief in a superhuman deity or god to legitimise those beliefs and the
consequential actions, 2) a set of beliefs that are accepted as
representing the state of affairs of the world we live in and that such
beliefs are accepted on the principle of faith and not empirical
justification, and 3) religion prescribes a lifestyle and behaviour that
is usually based on coercion and/or indoctrination.

It may be argued that it is a very human capacity to identify with some
imaginary form or being as having superhuman powers. Something we can
relate to but does not have the human weaknesses. Look, for example, at
such fictional characters as Super Man, Bat Man etc. However, the
argument used by religion is that these gods are real as much as the
plastic that makes up the keyboard on my PC is real. Unfortunately, the
reality issue is not available as a philosophical argument for religions.

Firstly, unlike say scientific claims about real things, the absence of
empirical evidence of a god fails on the ground that we do not have a
methodology to verify or refute the existence of a god. The reality of a
god does not seem to be established with any methodology. However, we
are hard wired to have methodologies to discover whether something is
real or not or true or not. How many times have you come across some new
food and started eating without first discovering what kind of food it
is? Indeed we are hard wired not to belief anything rather than to
belief anything purely on a verbal claim by someone.

Faith, belief or call it what you will is not a methodology but an
emotional disposition. In the same way that, for example, reciting a
mantra before I check my lotto ticket is an emotional disposition and
not a method. Even if one day I do win big at the lotto. As I will argue
the flaw about faith or belief about anything is that we have to
fact-check it with the world outside our brain and then whether we can
make predictions about whatever it is we believe.

The philosophical point is that faith about something does not equate to
a factual event about our universe. On the contrary, what we can say for
certain about doing things by faith is that it is an emotional state of
affairs in some people and not a proof of anything. Moreover, since we
are all human beings the scope of one of us having some super human
access to the most secretive aspects of the universe is very slim indeed.

But the status of religion depends purely on the existence of a god or a
super human figure. This is what is supposed to give legitimacy of
religion over all other beliefs. However, as human beings we don't have
the means to establish the existence of such beings. Firstly, we are
asked to demonstrate something that by all accounts does not seem to
have anything in common with the way the universe functions. Secondly,
and more importantly, we have so many conflicting accounts of what such
a god or gods are that we have no idea what we're looking for. An
thirdly, the bottom line is that we can discover or know about anything
if information about that thing can be communicated to us in an
empirical format; the only format we have. Unlike photography we only
have one format for transmitting information about anything the
empirical one; in photography if you really want to know we have raw,
jpeg, tiff, png (there are more in the pipeline) and that's just the
digital formats.

This leaves us with the prescriptive lifestyle religion imposes on
people; some religions only impose lifestyles on their followers while
others also want to impose lifestyles on the rest of humanity. This
prescriptive attitude of religion is usually accompanied with coercive
methods to impose their set of lifestyles or behaviour. Therefore, this
make religion a legitimate subject for philosophy since it is a question
about ethics and political philosophy. Let's be clear about it, if it
wasn't for the prescriptive aspect of religion it would not be of any
interest for us, or anyone else for that matter.

The descriptive aspect of religion, i.e. faith, beliefs, gods and
deities, is a normal human mental activity we all enjoy; this is one of
the things we do with our brain. Incidentally, the very same brain that
has served us so well to cure diseases, overcome natural challenges,
manipulate our environment to increase access to resources, and the
brain that has created art, music, literature, the Christmas pudding
and, maybe, football! What is sure though is that as a consequence of
our understanding of the world around us we also understand that the
workings of the brain are not always perfect or satisfactory; like many
causal processes, we sometimes fail. In other words, sometimes we are wrong.

By virtue of the fact that religions pay a huge amount of intellectual
effort and human resources on the prescriptive aspect of religion, it
betrays the genesis of religion in general: i.e. our biological make up
and behaviour. Our biological make up, or nature if you wish, dictates
that we have a lifestyle and behave in certain ways in the same manner
that nature dictates to ants and lions what to do with their time. If
religions where not so obsessed with lifestyle they would just have
written the manual and left it to people to do what they want; religions
are not like that.

Thus the prescriptive side of religion is an empirical phenomenon and
therefore, is covered, fair and square, by empirical criteria. And one
of the most important empirical criteria is that what is empirical can
be measured and verified/falsified. From this premise it follows that if
we have a belief about something in the world then we can reasonably
assume that this belief can be measured, verified/falsified and so on.
This does not mean that if we demonstrate that what we believe is not
the case, we should stop having that belief. Indeed I will never stop
believing that the universe was created so that we can have Christmas
puddings, however, I haven't yet started making plans for the Nobel
Prize in physics and astronomy I should be receiving in the near future!
Beliefs do not make facts!

But beliefs can lead to action. For example, thinking that vegetables
are good for me we expect that I sometimes eat vegetables or at the very
least promote the eating of vegetables amongst the people I know. But
with this kind of situation, we always come up with the problem of
induction: just because vegetables are good for me it does not
necessarily follow that they are good for everyone, they are not! The
biggest problem for us here is one of ethics and morality: do good
things follow a zero sum game or are they subject to the law of excluded
middle? Meaning that if something is good then it must be universally
good, for all time and everyone, or if something is good it cannot be
contradicted to being not good at the same time. Good wins everything,
and there cannot be both good and not good.

Let's take an example: some religions (and societies) prohibit or
disapprove of siblings known to each other to procreate (or incest to
widen our scope people). Today we know why this is undesirable, we can
read why and most of us know enough biology to understand the reasoning
behind this prohibition. However, there are/were many societies and
religions that allow such procreation. Who is right? We certainly know
that we are right, however, it does not follow these other societies are
wrong. For example, maybe the community some three thousand years ago
was small and isolated and therefore it was much better that the few
people procreated hoping for the best rather than for the society to die
out. Sure, this is not the best of all solutions, but the issue, I am
sure we all agree, is not one of what is good?

My point is that whilst our beliefs may be constant over time, our
empirical knowledge about the world changes because we are always on a
learning curve about life. Thus religions that remain stagnant despite
access to new knowledge are also in a regressive process of life. Those
who insist on still using a Bakelite rotary phone today are having a
very hard time making calls. Incidentally, this is a very clear example
of how religions and beliefs can fail the evolution race; stagnation.

However, persistent conflicts between sections of society about
empirical issues cannot be a sign of good tidings. And usually,
conflicts within society that involve religion centre on issues of
power, wealth control, and certainly, radical change of accepted beliefs.

So at the end, our topic centres as much on the evolution and
development of beliefs (religion) as much as the chaotic distribution of
knowledge and acceptance of that knowledge amongst humanity. It seems
that knowledge and attitudes as a consequence of that knowledge do not
develop within all societies at a lightning speed, despite the internet,
and do not influence everyone in the same way.

Of course, in my argument I am assuming that any evolutionary
development or any state of chaos is the product of a fair random
process. For example, I am not considering issues of oppression,
manipulation of people for the benefit of the few. I am also assuming
that any knowledge is eventually discovered by all societies and
religions, not to mention that there is no reason to assume that we are
all affected the same with any new knowledge.

The question, for us is not whether we should get rid of religions, or
are we better off with religion. The question for us is what will cause
the disappearance of religion as a consequence of its body of
philosophical principles. Incidentally, all aspects of our life are
governed by a body of philosophical principles; it's just that we don't
call them as such.

A religion free society is certainly a result of evolutionary forces
probably caused by access to more up to date knowledge about the world
in association with sections of society not sharing the same set of
beliefs. Having said that, I really doubt that an evolutionary would
really wipe out a set of beliefs, no matter how weird those beliefs are.
Unless those people with those beliefs are themselves wiped out of
existence. In a way rights about beliefs and free speech are there so
that no set of beliefs are allowed to disappear, even the weir one.
Because, as I said, we are hard wired to have beliefs we abhor beliefs
being lost forever; history, history of ideas, leisure reading, and
passing interest in unpleasant sets of belief (e.g. Nazi doctrine) are
evidence of the importance beliefs have for us.

What is likely to wipe out a religion from its privileged status (and
therefore society), is its prescriptive nature. Prescription is an
empirical challenge to an individual's existence and as we know, in a
conflict the side with the smarts are more likely to win than the one
with the muscles. Or to put it in a different way, the group with the
set of beliefs that has a flawed philosophy is more likely to cause its
own downfall than the set of beliefs that are a step ahead of evolution.

Best Lawrence




tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
From: January 15 at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Religion free society

Thursday, January 08, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The Role of Language in Ideology + news


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: The Role of Language in Ideology.

It is befitting that we should talk about language and ideology at the
start of the year because we have two important elections coming up in
Spain, an election in Britain and the electoral machinery in the USA
would be cranking up to full swing by this time next year. And all these
elections are a hound track race of ideologies. But what is more
important for us on Sunday is whether an ideology gives us the right to
kill others no matter how crappy our ideology might be? In my short
essay I come to the conclusion that language is not the fluffy little
cute kitten purveyors of languages want us to believe; languages behave
more like a "collaborator" or a "pawn" for ideology.

In the meantime Ruel has sent us the link to his essay:

Hello Lawrence,
The link to my essay on Sunday's PhiloMadrid topic is

Thanks.
Best,
Ruel
-------


---me
The Role of Language in Ideology

As far as we humans are concerned visual information is one of the most
important means of communication we have. It also happens to be one of
the many primordial senses in biology. It seems to me that when we see
things, including events folding out in front of us, what we see goes
straight to our emotions. As if visual information by passes the
rational process of our brain and instantaneously activates our
emotions. Compare this with the written instructions to install a new
operating system on your old pc!

But there is one problem with visual information: what I see is purely
subjective. For example, I can see a piece of cake in a shop window and
don't think much about it whilst my friend might think it's a nice piece
of cake. But make no mistake about it, visual information is a survival
component in our life including our rational life.

Moreover, visual information is probably the fulcrum of any ideology; by
ideology I mean to include politics, pressure groups, and religion.
Ideology is usually never based on some harmless idea such as the
principle of excluded middle or the harmony of the chords. I mean we
don't build temples to worship the law of excluded middle or have a
super supreme court to safeguard the principles of chord harmony.
Ideology is always about power and authority and eventually about wealth
creation and distribution.

When we travel abroad as tourists we all go to see the magnificent seats
of power, the Westminster parliament, the white house or the Vatican: I
mean we never want to see the printing presses that print the latest
version of the Sale of Goods Act that protects our rights as consumers.
And when we vote, we never examine a candidate's beliefs with a forensic
zeal to affirm whether these beliefs are supported with real hard
scientifically proven facts. No, what matters is whether the candidate
belongs to our party; the party with the more beautiful people than the
opposition. Or whether the candidates are tall, beautiful or handsome.
Although not-so-attractive or having zero-style-awareness in clothes can
have their own positive visual impact and hence votes.

Managers of ideologies use imagery to the best of political advantages:
grandiose architecture, fancy costumes, terrifying uniforms, pomp and
circumstance and, of course, top class business suits. Appearances
matter because they affect our emotions most of all and they are the
first to impinge on us.

But what is language? Or rather what kind of language has a role in
ideology?

Whilst I contend that visual information is the fulcrum of any ideology,
all ideologies are today the product of a social and rational society.
Thus, while visual communication is a one way process and subjective,
language is more than that. Language is public and objective. And this
serves the managers of ideologies equally well since what's more
desirable than what is objective and has public acceptance? The piece of
cake I don't like and the scare crow I'm afraid off, that's just me, but
if everyone don't like the piece of cake in the window or are afraid of
the scarecrow, isn’t that an ideology? Basically, at the very minimum
language gives ideologies respect and legitimacy.

As I said, the majority of people do not carry out a philosophic
forensic analysis of the beliefs and dictates of ideologies. Firstly,
because not many, in a given population, know how to carry out a
philosophic forensic analysis of an idea, and secondly, because those
who benefit from the ideology make sure that not many can embark on a
philosophic forensic analysis of anything. By "make sure" I do not
necessarily always mean a conspiracy or manipulation, but also reality
that includes such mundane things as: how do we change a paradigm? Have
we got all the facts? Indeed, can we get all the facts? What kind of
risks are we prepared to take? And is it true that we are better off
with the devil we know rather than the devil we don't know? But have no
doubt, those who manage ideologies do manipulate and oppress objective
investigation into their doctrines and beliefs.

Thus, if a language is going to be the means to communicate ideas
between members of a society, the semantics of that language must also
be known by everyone and the meaning words and expressions must be
familiar to all. Except that the managers of ideologies use the syntax
of a language, but like some vicious parasite, they hijack the meaning
of a word or expression and then proceed to change that meaning for
their purpose through the use of double speak and propaganda.

For example, the word "Aryan" in the late 19th century (see: Wikipedia)
was what we would call today a technical term in anthropology, but by
the early 20th century the National Socialists hijack the term
(Aryan race) to mean the top race, the perfect race.

And to demonstrate my point that this manipulation need not be the
product of oppression or conspiracy, I refer you to the term
"collaborator" which in British English took the negative meaning of
helping the enemy. A meaning that reached its zenith during the Second
World War and the decades after. Thus in Britain this word became part
of the political speak with very serious negative connotations. This did
not happen, say in the USA or other English speaking countries. The
Economist tried to "rehabilitate" the word a few years back, but people
of my generation still feel uncomfortable using this word with a neutral
meaning.

Hence, we can see language being used by proponents of ideologies (and I
remind you that I am using ideology to encompass normal political
thinking, religions and pressure groups) to appeal to emotions and to
make people believe and act in one way or another.

If visual information is a basic means for us to make sense of our
world, the spoken and written word is the foundation of society and
civilization. All societies have some form of passing on and sharing
their experiences, whether written or verbal, with others and future
generations. Written information has the marvellous advantage for
rational and ethical societies of being permanent. We can refer to this
information without any hesitation or doubt and can be reproduced
without any deterioration; written information is not affected by
Chinese whispers. It is no wonder that those who manage ideologies
commit their beliefs and dictates to paper (or clay tablets); this gives
them the secure feeling of permanence and guaranteed posterity. The very
two deceptive beliefs that have caused the end of ideologies more often
than any gun or sword.

But the written word has one very serious flaw; basically because the
written word is permanent it is also easy to apply some form of
philosophical forensic analysis. We can examine ideological beliefs, and
we can subject these beliefs to how the world really is or was at the
time. However, this could easily be a Pyrrhic victory since it might be
too late for the victims of ideologies to seek redress or to have
justice. In fifty years time philosophers might be able to explain why
the doctrine of continuous economic growth failed, but the nice academic
paper with a high impact factor might not do much to the person who will
become unemployed because their company was one percent short of
expected earnings.

The role of language in ideology is, of course, to influence people's
actions and beliefs, but what is of greater interest for us is the
question: what are the unintended consequences of the role played by
language in ideology? Could it be that the unintended consequence of
language is that the victims of ideology are bereft of justice?


Best Lawrence



tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
From: January 15 at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
----------------------------



from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The Role of
Language in Ideology + news

(corrected typos)

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