PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Thursday, October 29, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: What is it to be natural?

Dear friends,

There is a bit of an ambiguity in the question for our topic this
Sunday: What is it to be natural?

Does it mean; how to live using only natural products? But it is safe to
assume that by natural we mean being honest to one's character. But the
ambiguity of the topic might also be its strength since this will give
us the opportunity to explore the topic in the widest possible way.

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

Hello Lawrence,
Just finished an essay on Sunday's topic. Here's the link:

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/what-is-it-to-be-natural-2/
Thanks and see you on Sunday.
Best,
Ruel


All the 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
Thursdays 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: What is it to be
natural?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Thinking out of the box + News

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing "Thinking out of the box"

This now common expression reached common language use through the
business world. It is supposed to be a motivator and rally to the
colours. But as I argue in my few paragraphs this all a veneer, reality
requires more than just a semantic tongue twister.

But first news from the Centro Segoviano then Ruel's link to his essay:

Centro Segoviano - Festividad de San Frutos 2015 this Sunday 12:30 at
the Centro.
Details here:
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2015/10/centro-segoviano-festividad-de-san.html


---Ruel
Hello Lawrence,
Here is the link to the short essay I wrote on the topic "Thinking Out
Of The Box":

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/thinking-out-of-the-box/
See you on Sunday.
All the best,
Ruel


---Lawrence
Thinking out of the box

The expression "thinking out of the box" entered common language use
through business speak. The general idea behind this expression is to
think differently from conventional wisdom. Since the oil crisis of the
late 1970's businesses, and by businesses I mean big corporations, had
to be imaginative to compete in the market place and survive.

Slogans like the "American dream" or the "the harder you work the more
successful you'll become" were not enough to pull in the sales and the
profits. Slogans had to be matched with services and products; in an
economic crisis companies have to deliver. At the same time there was
also an equally popular slogan, "lateral thinking", but this was more an
idea that appeals to creativity rather than the unconventional.

From the perspective of history of philosophy the idea of changing our
way of thinking is neither new nor is unconventional thinking. Of
course, by thinking, we do not mean new ideas not even creativity;
thinking is more a process on how we arrive at new ideas or even
creativity. And the two most prominent forms of thinking are inductive
and deductive thinking.

The reason why these two forms of thinking are so relevant in philosophy
is because they both centre of the state of our knowledge. Thinking is a
function of our knowledge and to put a complex debate in simple form,
the value of inductive thinking is that it is based on "experience" and
in a way it is verifiable. The drawback is that there is no reason why
things should always follow as they did in the past. Especially, when it
is unlikely that through our experience we know all there is to know
about anything; there are limits to experience. Deductive thinking is a
sausage machine: what is put inside comes out as a sausage. But there is
nothing in the machine to guarantee the quality or the gastronomic value
of the sausage; but sausage it is.

The prerequisite to "thinking out of the box" is to think. And the
wonderful thing about human beings is that being able to think is the
sole expression of personal freedom. This is the only thing we can do as
an expression of free will and act of freedom without the hindrance of
others. This is why businesses and dictators spend a lot of money and
effort to try and second guess what we're thinking.

But the good news about our freewill and thinking stops with the walls
our skull. Any ideas we might generate and wish to share with the rest
of humanity will probably be constrained by the coercion of others or
even our simple relationships we have with others. Our thinking might be
free but only in our brain, outside our brain our thinking and ideas are
in a very hazardous environment.

Thus thinking in a coercive or constraining environment where we might
feel threatened or challenged, such as the corridors of a multi-national
corporation, could have limitations. In such an environment we are more
likely to want to think about our survival than going against received
corporate wisdom. But even if we make an allowance for the survival
instinct "thinking out of the box" is still constrained by two other
factors.

The first, as I have already pointed out, is our knowledge and
presumably our ability to employ that knowledge. Secondly, our ability
to assess risks and take risks. The second condition, I would argue, is
a very critical factor. Sometimes we don't want people to take risks;
sometime we want people to train not to take risks. So how
unconventional we are able to be is, in many cases, determined by our
background. Even making allowance for necessity to be unconventional.

In a way, these expressions, such as "thinking out of the box" help us
rejuvenate our mental life in a rather dull mental environment such as a
corporate office. But then we cannot help asking, why should we find
ourselves in a dull environment in the first place? There is no doubt
that "thinking out of the box" is meant to be a positive motivator and
rally to the colours, however, I would argue that this is just a veneer.
If we did find ourselves in a situation where we did have to "think out
of the box" we would basically be in a serious and difficult situation.
Maybe in such a situation what we need more than anything else is not
some semantic tongue twister, but to actually do some good thinking with
well placed risks.

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
Thursdays 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: Thinking out of the
box + News

Centro Segoviano - Festividad de San Frutos 2015




Friday, October 16, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: No one is an island + Apologies for the delay

No one is an island.


Dear Friends,

I'm terribly sorry, but I just couldn't send the email last night; I
hope this does not become a bad habit. Indeed our topic for Sunday: "no
one is an island" explains exactly what I was thinking last night when I
was kept away from my normal life!!

It seems that we've all been busy this week to write essays; sorry!

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
Thursdays 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: No one is an island
+ Apologies for the delay

Thursday, October 08, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Self destruction in (by) Human Beings

Dear friends,

The topic we voted for the meeting this Sunday: "Self destruction in
Human Beings" but I made a mistake and quoted some people the following
topic: "Self destruction by Human Beings". Apologies.

In the meantime I have written a few ideas on the topic least of which
rationalise the discrepancy between the two topics.

I inadvertently told some people that the title for this Sunday's topic
was "Self destruction by Human Beings" instead of the voted topic, "Self
destruction in Human Beings". Indeed the difference is that the "by"
implies actions and volition whilst "in" implies a character trait. But,
of course, unless a trait manifests into action or observable behaviour
we cannot say much about that trait.

A further clarification is necessary for this topic. In biology there is
the concept of "autolysis" the self destruction of cells. Within the
scope of human being "self destructions" is very often used to refer to
self harm or self-inflicted harm or self abuse. The topic was voted in
the context of people being able to destroy themselves for example in
the context of war or provocation of climate change.

In the biological context we accept that autolysis is part of a natural
system and in the context of self harm, we are no doubt distressed at
this behaviour but very few would venture and ascribe any moral
condemnation to this person. Not so, however, for wars, climate change
and maybe oppressive business or economic practices.

It is true that with self harm we can attribute some mental imbalance in
the person which will explain the causal connection of the self harm.
But what is the causal chain between a group of human beings causing
great harm to others. Do we forward attribute the propensity of some
individuals to cause self harm onto a group of people that cause harm to
others: in this case this would be species self harm?

But human harm to other human beings, species self harm, can be
explained by the idea of the survival instinct. In this context survival
is more the ability to acquire resources rather than a scenario of a
boxing fight.

By virtue that a small group of people can cause harm to others suggests
that these people have a stronghold on others; they have some sort of
power grip that the unfortunate victims cannot retaliate. The win-win
game strategy makes sense when all parties are equal both before and
after the conclusion of the game. However, when one party has
practically absolute dominance over another party, both during the power
game and beyond, then the win-win strategy makes no sense. Why should
someone give up a sure winner? The zero sum game is a very powerful
strategy for a powerful dominate player.

No doubt, those who do engage in wars or climate change or oppressive
business practices must believe that they are on the winning side of a
zero sum game. Maybe even believe that nothing can touch their power.
The challenge must surely be how to turn a zero sum game to a win-win
strategy. No doubt this change would benefit the losers of the zero sum
game than anyone else. This idea is not new for example see the
following book: Reframing the problem of climate change: from zero sum
game to win–win solutions; edited by Carlo CJaeger et al. (2012 - paid
for review article link:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644016.2012.724240)

Unfortunately, the review article is a bit too expensive for me to buy,
but the reviewer of the book, Udo E. Simonis, does quote the authors of
the book who believe that the zero sum game does involve winners and
losers. Whilst this is the traditional interpretation of the zero sum
game, when two players are out for each other but only one of them can
have all, I have argued one can win all by virtue of close to having
absolute power over the other player.

The two important factors in my argument are 1) both players are in a
game and 2) one player has enough power to always win the other player.
And although one party has absolute power they are not omnipotent enough
to avoid the game. They are powerful enough to always win, but not
enough to avoid the game. "Always", I would add, as long as all the
underlying necessary and sufficient conditions remain equal.

No doubt, there must be a biological/natural propensity factor for human
beings to want to kill or injure each other; this must be an innate
character of the species. But again this is not exclusive to human
beings. Think of the mating habits of scorpions for goodness sake. Maybe
we are the only species that can recognise our self destruction skills
as being immoral and irrational.

There is also another important difference between animals and
ourselves; animals are just nasty to each other but we, however, are
nasty to each other, we know being nasty is not nice, yet still keep on
being nasty ad infinitum. Although game theory can explain why we're
nasty, game theory cannot explain why we go the extra mile at being nasty.

Take care

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
Thursdays 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: Self destruction in
(by) Human Beings

Thursday, October 01, 2015

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Do we have a soul?

Dear friend,

Just a quick reminder that our meeting will now revert to Sunday at
6:30pm, and this Sunday we are discussing: Do we have a soul?

We discussed this very same topic way back in November 2012. Luckily
this time round we have an essay from Ruel: details below. The question
is whether by soul we mean a metaphorical soul or the supposedly soul we
are born with. From a personal point of view the metaphorical meaning
would have more standing than the supposed "other soul". Basically we
have no real information about the soul we are supposed to be born with;
at best we have speculated hearsay.

Ruel's link:

....here's the link to the essay I wrote on Sunday's topic:

https://ruelfpepa.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/do-we-have-a-soul/
All the best,

Ruel


So, see you Sunday

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
Thursdays 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: Do we have a soul?

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