PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Thursday, June 30, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Is freewill a fallacy?

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Is freewill a fallacy?

This is an old topic, even one we have discussed under various
questions. Recent reports (easily searchable on the internet) on
scientific investigations about the functions of the brain suggest that
indeed freewill is a fallacy.

There is of course no doubt that these scientific investigations are
being carried out according to accepted scientific standards. Sure there
are issues that still need to be investigated, for example how do we get
this feeling of acting freely even if we are not free to act freely?

The problem here is probably one of language and maybe concept.

The way we describe the world and our experiences is not the same as
science investigates natural phenomenon and the way scientist report
them. Thus when we say that we act freely, or we feel to be free, we are
describing a personal experience; probably on the lines that our
objectives have been met. This means that when we set out to achieve
something and we succeed in our endeavour then we say we are free. And
when we don't succeed we blame some interfering cause that thwarted our
endeavour. Part of the reality is that we have limits to what we can
achieve and is achievable.

In our daily use of the word free and freewill we basically mean we
managed to achieve something we wanted to have.

The conceptual problem is that most people don't have a problems with
freewill. Most people just go about their business getting things done
without thinking about freewill. It was only since the politicalisation
of religion that freewill was required to achieve salvation. Thus from
God being all good and provider of everything, all of a sudden we have
to be good, we have to provide for our salvation. And what's more, it
our responsibility how we get there.

And here is the problem we cannot always provide for our salvation, we
cannot always achieve what we want, sometimes we fail. Except of course
even the scientists have been caught into the philosophical language
trap. They are trying to solve a problem that does not exist in science.
Science can only investigate biological systems that function on the
principle of cause and effect. Science cannot solve problems conjured up
by fertile imaginations. Secondly, sometimes scientists also get too
tangled up in the glitter of a problem. Predicting how a system
functions is different from predicting what the system will do. What a
system will choose to do, and achieve, is constrained by the future.

Whist we can accept that science hasn't got it wrong about freewill,
that is we are a system subject to cause and effect, we just don't need
a function theory of freewill for us to do things and get on with our
business. And while this does not absolve us from acting morally
responsibly, it does put the rest of society on alert that there are
causes that might thwart our ideal standards.

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: Is freewill a fallacy?

Friday, June 24, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Rivalry (Rivality)

Dear Friends,


This Sunday we are discussing: Rivalry (Rivality).

The meaning of this concept is basically competing with a peer and an
equal. I would say that this reflects more a personal quest to win
against a specific enemy or challenger. In other words the final
objective is "destruction" of the other person.

Competing with others need not be negative and unfriendly, but not so
rivalry. Rivalry is probably more based on hate and animosity rather
than a strategy to win against another person.

It is this element of hate that makes rivalry more repugnant than
anything else. Unfortunately, rivalry can be a curse on siblings. And as
we know from ancient history, many a sibling has committed fratricide.
But rivalry can also exist between friends. In any event rivals are
moral outcasts and morally unsavoury people.

Rivalry might be considered unfair and uncalled for; but the winning
rival will never restore the status quo. A rival will always be seen as
suspicious and untrustworthy by people around them. If this person is
prepared to harm a sibling or a close friend, what's to stop this person
from turning against other close associates?

An issue for us is what leads to rivalry? We know for example that
cooperation is always the best strategy, and we also know that the
genetic push to protect our next of kin is very strong. Rivalry against
blood next of kin does not make sense. Indeed we associate altruism with
next of kin and not conflict. But we also know that at the biological
instinct level siblings in certain animals do kill siblings at birth.
Hence, is rivalry an activation of primordial genetic instinct to
survive over the more modern, presumably more modern, genetic impulse to
cooperate?


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: Rivalry (Rivality)

Friday, June 17, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Emotional Intelligence

Dear Friends,


This Sunday we are discussing: Emotional Intelligence.

This topic gained popularity with the book by Daniel Goleman, Emotional
Intelligence. However, the term itself seems to have originated way back
in 1964 in a paper by Michael Beldoch.

In a nutshell Emotional Intelligence is basically about knowing our
emotional self to be able to control ourselves and knowing the emotional
state of others to be able to accommodate their emotional needs. This is
my fast and loose definition, but the topic is well documented on the
internet.

I look forward to an engaging debate on 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: Emotional Intelligence

Friday, June 10, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: How important is childhood?

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: How important is childhood?

Both Sir Ken Robinson and Dr John Medina (Google search names) certainly
agree on one fact, the present education system is failing children and
failing their potential to learn and be creative.

Childhood is so important that religions, ideologies, political parties,
social movements, governments, crack pot groups and ill-informed parents
all want to control the lives and development of children. Over and
above all this, children are also one of the most abused and exploited
group in human society.

And by exploited I don't only mean child labour is sweat shops but also
exposed to lies political lies, ideological indoctrination, and as
consumer fodder to sell them things they don't need for the sake of an
extra Euro's profit. And to cap it all their childhood (our childhood)
is literally spent in a tight regime of institutional indoctrination
with the promise of a career but in reality to create conformists to
prop up the industrial machinery. And when children are not being
directly exploited they are being exploited because their parents are
being exploited.

It is well accepted that the childhood years are the key years in every
human being for character building and development. The emotional and
psychological damage next of kin or society can inflict on children is
boundless when compared with what children can achieve if given the
right support and environment.

A philosophical issue we encounter is the idea of how much should we
control children? Should we basically control every behaviour and every
movement of a child or should we let them lose like a wild stallion in
the meadows? The idea of practically incarcerating children for the sake
of discipline is never morally acceptable. But neither is letting them
free to do what they want. This is not the meaning and understanding of
freedom.

We also know that as human beings we are hard wired to learn from
example. This ability seems to be hard wired into all mammals. So
teaching by example, especially the example of parents or parent, is a
good start and no doubt if parents were brought up with good examples
around them hopefully they would pass on their talents to their children.

It seems, however, that in the majority of cases parents are at a
disadvantage given that parents usually have to learn on the job.
Parenthood is very much like making a cake; no matter how much we read
about it or read various recipes what matters is what comes out of the
oven. Of course, I haven't been a parent so you might agree that I don't
really know how hard it is to be a parent, but having been a child I now
know it is probably much harder than what is possible to imagine.

The other mistake we make when it comes to children is that language
mistake of categorising things into conceptual categories. There is
nothing wrong with categorising things, however, if we are not careful
we can easily end up in a hall of mirrors unable to distinguish reality
from appearances. For example, when we speak of children we speak of
them as being somehow something different for us. Take these two
sentences: children should be in bed by 9pm. What is said in this
sentence does not apply to us (adults). But this sentence: adults should
not smoke. That is referring to me and applies to me and you.

By virtue of language alone we, adults, categorise children as something
independent from us. And this is more serious than what it seems,
because we have total control of the language unlike children. My bottom
line argument is that by virtue of using the term "children" we are
mentally categorising them first as something not related to us, and
thus easily forget that they are first and foremost human beings like us.

I would therefore argue that some of the weaknesses we inherited in our
language mind set have a direct bearing on how we see and treat
children. Maybe in western culture we are more aware of how we treat
children, and some might even say we now spoil children to the point of
causing them harm for the rest of their lives.

But other cultures still seem to victimise children by treating them as
possessions to be done with as they (adults) please; hence making
children get married at very young age barely past infancy, or basically
sell them to strangers.

One of the functions of moral and ethical philosophy is to distinguish
between inhuman behaviour towards other human beings and what is
acceptable social interaction. What we learn in our childhood we take
with us into adulthood.

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: How important is
childhood?

Thursday, June 02, 2016

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: All the world is a market + News from Norma and Miguel (event today Friday 3rd)

All the world is a market + News from Norma and Miguel (event today
Friday 3rd)


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: All the world is a market.

At one level, it would be nice if the world was all a market. This would
mean that all the individuals on the planet are being productive and
have some kind of fair income to afford the needs for their life and
hopefully a bit more. But by this account the whole world is not a market.

If by market we mean the free exchange of goods and services then only a
fraction of the population have access to this market. The reality is
more a case of inequalities and inequities rather than reasonable
distribution of wealth based on merit.

Furthermore, the purpose of a market is to bring together people who
have something to sell and buyers who need those things on sale. This
would work fine for horses, cars, computers, and so on. If I can buy
something I need that would make me happy and probably improve my life.
The seller might also find the exchange positive.

But should everything be subject to an exchange based on ability to buy?
And by ability I mean ability to pay money for the good or service.

In modern times, the "trust" is considered to be the most "innovative"
contribution of Common Law (see Wikipedia). A trust is a legal
instrument where an owner (trustor) of a property gives it to someone
else (trustee) to legally own but the benefit of the property is enjoyed
by someone else (beneficiary). At an early stage of this creation this
was a legal way to avoid paying taxes to the King, but it is very useful
to protect a property for someone, maybe a young child, for future use.

What is important for us is the idea that one can enjoy the benefit of a
property (or service) without having to pay directly for it. For
example, young people or people who do not qualify to pay taxes, can
still enjoy the benefits of the services of the police and firelighters.
On the other hand, many of us pay taxes but we do not use a particular
good or service; for example someone who never flies is still
contributing for airports and traffic controllers in the city. Let's not
get top involved in the private ownership of airports; the community
always pays somewhere.)

Indeed, I would argue (and I am sure many others will do as well) that
there are some goods and services that are not suitable for the exchange
of money at the point of use. Healthcare is one of them: not having
immediate financial resources to pay for healthcare at the point of need
might results in not being treated. Do we really want to reduce life to
Euros and cents?

But then even the richest person on this planet won't be able to afford
to have any medical care. In this thought experiment the rich person
cannot access existing medical knowledge; all they can do is pay to
discover any useful medical knowledge useful for their treatment. This
is basically not physically possible. If money was the only criteria to
exchange goods and services, then sure patients should be paid by
doctors to gain experience so that they can treat rich people for a high
profit. But this is equally absurd.

Medical knowledge is based on collective contribution (experience from
treating patients) and shared knowledge (diffusion of medical
knowledge). Health careers have the medical knowledge, but they do not
necessarily benefit from it, it's their patients that benefit from their
knowledge. Thus here we have a "market" if you like where money is a
function in the background and not the fuel for the engine.

Thus the model of a market where money is exchanged for goods and
services is not ideal for all cases of goods and services. If money were
to be the only criteria whether we receive the benefits of all possible
goods and services then we might end up thinking that we can do whatever
we want as long as we have money. And some people did just that:
1) The "Tax Justice Network (TJN) USA report reveals an estimated $21 –
$32 trillion of hidden and stolen wealth stashed largely tax-free
secretly." (Copyright © 2005-2016 GlobalResearch.ca
http://www.globalresearch.ca/trillions-stashed-in-offshore-tax-havens/32485)
2) The estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2 -
5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars.
(United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International
Crime Prevention, UNODC -
https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/money-laundering/globalization.html)
3) "The report (by UNDOC for drug trafficking and organised crimes)
estimates that in 2009, criminal proceeds amounted to 3.6% of global
GDP, with 2.7% (or USD 1.6 trillion) being laundered." (The Financial
Action Task Force (FATF) - http://www.fatf-gafi.org/faq/moneylaundering/)
If countries and nations deemed that money were the only criteria to
enjoy all possible goods and services then sure this would change the
moral and ethical structure of society. Or to borrow an analogy from
what Pope Francis said recently, "Confessional states end badly*" then
sure states that put money above all else can only expect a similar fate.

Best Lawrence
*(Little Vatican
http://the-american-catholic.com/2016/05/25/popewatch-secular-and-confessional-states/)

-----------News from Miguel and Norma

Dear Lawrence;
............. I will be at the Feria del Libro de Madrid, Parque del
Retiro, caseta 228 on Sunday 12 of June. I will be signing my new book,
"Gustav Mahler. Un piano olvidado" , from 19:00 to 21:00 (with discount,
it is only 8 euros!)......
Best regards and thanks Norma
Lawrence: Norma has also sent me a photo of the cover of the book if you
want copy let me know. And if you want to contact Norma about her book
please send me message and I'll pass it on to her.
--------

From Miguel – meeting today Friday

Título: Serendipity in Science (ver documento adjunto)
Conferenciante: Sheldon L. Glashow (premio Nobel de física)
Fecha: Viernes 3 de junio de 2016, 12h
Lugar: Salón de Actos Julio Rey Pastor, Facultad de Ciencias
Matemáticas (UCM), Plaza de las Ciencias 3, Madrid

Título: Información, termodinámica y agujeros negros
Conferenciante: Alberto Galindo Tixaire (Académico de la RAC)
Fecha: Jueves 9 de junio de 2016, 12h
Lugar: Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales,
c/ Valverde 22, Madrid

Título: Elliptic curves and Fermat's Last Theorem
Conferenciante: Nuno Freitas (último premiado "José Luis Rubio de
Francia")
Fecha: Miércoles 29 de junio de 2016, 19:30h
Lugar: Fundación BBVA, Paseo de Recoletos 10, Madrid
Confirmación: Es necesario confirmar la asistencia enviando un
mensaje a confirmaciones@fbbva.es
Saludos cordiales,
Tertulia de Matemáticas
https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/


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: All the world is a
market + News from Norma and Miguel (event today Friday 3rd)

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