PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Thursday, September 29, 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Dreams do not pay the bills

Dear friends,

This Saturday we are discussing; Dreams do not pay the bills

Maybe it is one of our dreams that one day we won't need to pay any
bills. However, the topic is best understood as what it would take us to
be in a position where bills are not an issue in our life.

A caveat before I start is that I will assume that the dreams of the
topic involve money as one of their material condition. Of course, our
dreams can be many things but few involve directly our ability to pay
the bills in actual fact or metaphorically.

There are thus two clear strands of thought for this subject: the
linguistic perspective and, of course, the causal reality.

How should we understand the word –dream- in our context? As a sound
bite or a valuable meme the word dream has achieved a romantic currency.
Dreams are bigger, more challenging, more prestigious and certainly more
exclusive. To achieve the American dream is more than just having a car
in the drive. It's more like have a fleet of cars in the most
ostentatious house in the neighbourhood. Exclusivity creates prestige
and respect; these are what dreams are made of.

So what is the difference between wish, want, desire, ambition,
aspirations and so on?

Well dreams are big, dreams require effort and work but as I said what
we dream of are rare things and not easily obtainable. Everyone can
dream of owning the fastest sports car; and quite a few can have the
fastest sports car. But to dream of owning the factory that makes the
fastest sports car, that's a different story!

The essence of a dream it impossibility: a sense of impossibility to
achieve the dream and a sense of impossibility to be so different as to
achieve it. Achieving a dream might even be more difficult than winning
the lottery. As long as one keeps buying a ticket and no one tampers
with the lottery mechanism one can still win even if one does not
believe in luck, one understands the concepts of chances and probability
or maybe even forgets to check the ticket.

However, as soon as we stop believing in our dream the result is
obvious, if we do not put the maximum effort in our dream we'll never
achieve what is exclusive to be proud of. And yet randomness and bad
luck are risks facing our dreams 24/7. With a lottery we only need to be
lucky at the point the numbers are selected; the rest of the time we are
neither lucky nor unlucky.

Dreams therefore tend to require an effort from us that maybe is neither
so strong nor necessary when we want something or wish for something. A
wish to have a fast car might be a passing fad in our life, or maybe
when we wished for a faster car we couldn't afford a car. But maybe ten
years later we earn enough to make buying a fast car a non significant
event in our life. Not so with being the entrepreneur that manufactures
the fastest car; it takes more than money to realise the dream to
manufacture the fastest car.

The matter of causality is, therefore, important for our dreams because
we have more opportunities to fail than say wanting a fast car. Wanting
a fast car is a matter of money; manufacturing the fastest car is also a
matter of engineering skills, leadership, entrepreneurship, money
management, selecting the right team, understanding markets etc etc.

And maybe this is why dreams don't pay the bills. It is very easy for
our dreams to come to nothing because dreams are so complex that the
probability is very high that of one of the loops in the causal chain
breaking. Dreams not only have to survive our resolve, but more
importantly they have to survive the buffeting of empirical probability
otherwise known as life.

The irony is of course that should one day we realise our dream or
dreams we probably have someone else to worry about our bills.

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, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Dreams do not pay
the bills

Friday, September 23, 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: What makes a bastard? + News

Dear Friends,

This Saturday we are discussing; what makes a bastard?

As a question it might seem like one that belongs to some other
discipline, but in my short essay I argue that this language is a
synchronised function between our natural emotions and aggression with
language by channelling our aggressive emotions to linguistic behaviour
that can quite as easily convey the sting of retaliation.

In the meantime I'm including a link for details about the next visits
to the British Cemetery in Madrid

Visits to the British Cemetery Madrid
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2016/09/visits-to-british-cemetery-madrid.html


What makes a bastard?

When we use the word bastard to insult someone or describe some in an
insulting manner we are in effect expressing an emotional outburst
against someone who has done us harm, or maybe even just intended to
cause us harm.

What is interesting and curious for us is how we develop and evolve
natural languages to meet our aggressive emotional outbursts without
having to use physical force. Words like bastard can serve as
retaliatory reaction to harm done and, of course, as offensive language
to agitate the situation and the opponent.

In English the word itself is quite offensive but not one of the most
offensive expressions. The benefit of this is that it makes the word
common without exceeding the limits of decency. The other advantage of
the word is that we use it to release our anger without even the culprit
knowing of the fact that we used the word bastard against them. But even
still it is not a standard vocabulary to be used in polite society.

In particular we would use the word bastard to describe someone who has
unjustifiable done some minor harm to us, not necessarily physical harm,
but more psychological harm. But the harm done in not serious enough to
demand a physical reaction. Even still, the use of the word bastard is
not without its risks; some can easily react violently.

Of course, the etymology of the word "bastard" is a legal term to mean
born out of wedlock and until well into the 20th century being called a
bastard was a real insult and a taboo. And although today we use the
word as a male gender word, in the original legal term it applied to
both males and females. But the female equivalent of the word bastard as
an insult, ie bitch, it is not the female equivalent of bastard.

The female word "bitch" is not used as much as the male insult, although
it is used in common language. This might be explained by arguing that
males, at least in the past, tended to be more aggressive towards each
other and more retaliatory when aggrieved. But when "bitch" is used it
is used in the same context and with the same aggression as the male word.

So what makes a bastard? Indeed what we are asking is why people behave
in an unsocial manner? Why people behave aggressively in society? At a
certain level these are questions that are best answered by
psychiatrists and neurologists. And understanding the use of the world
bastard in a social context is also a matter for anthropologists and
sociologists. But this does not mean that there aren't philosophical
issues: as I have already said we evolve language to cope with our
emotional needs and physical limitations. Calling someone a bastard
might be much safer that throwing punch at someone who has already
proven they are aggressive and unsocial.

In wider context the word bastard represents a language that is, in a
way, an extension of our aggression and ability to retaliate when hurt
by someone. With this language we can do psychological harm to others
which probably linger much longer that a punch in the face.

And, therefore, like weapons and armaments we have also developed a
whole environment regulating the use, the context and the social
grouping of this language. And the idea that the word bastard exploited
a serious taboo in the past, the use of these words has itself become a
somewhat of a taboo.

But after all is said and done, the use of insults will still be part of
our language behaviour.


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, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: What makes a
bastard? + News

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Visits to the British Cemetery Madrid

Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles el programa de visitas guiadas, todos con su comentario en español.
El punto de encuentro, la entrada del Cementerio, y la hora, las 11.00 horas
sábado, día 8 de octubre 
sábado, día 5 de noviembre
sábado, día 10 de diciembre 
Si prefiere hacer la visita en una fecha no programada y siempre que formen un grupo de un mínimo de 8 personas, avíseme a <butler_d_j@yahoo.es>
TOMEN NOTA DE NUESTRA PÁGINA WEB CON DETALLES DE LA UBICACIÓN < http://www.britishcemeterymadrid.com
**************************************************
**************************************************
I am writing this note in both Spanish and in English to provide you with the programme of guided visits, all with the commentary in Spanish, to open the new season.
We will meet at 11.00 a.m at the Cemetery entrance
Saturday, 8th October
Saturday, 5th November  
Saturday, 10th December 
If you would like a visit on a different date and you can form a group of 8 persons or more, let me know at <butler_d_j@yahoo.es> 
PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF OUR WEBSITE, INCLUDING DETAILS OF  THE LOCATION

Friday, September 16, 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Less is More

Dear Friends

This Saturday we are discussing: Less is More

It is obvious that there is a stage when "less" is inadequate for what
we are trying to achieve. What is important is to know what is necessary
for us to achieve our object and what is sufficient. We don't have much
choice about what is necessary, but we can always use our judgement to
decide what is sufficient.

In science and philosophy Occam's razor (Ockham's razor) is usually the
starting point in a discussion about keeping things simple. Basically
this is a theory to favour a hypothesis with the least possible
assumptions. In science Popper's falsifiability criterion has a
simplicity of its own.

However, the value of the master is not in his or her creation, but in
knowing when the creation is done and therefore stop creating.

See you Saturday

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, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Less is More

Thursday, September 08, 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effects of the weather on Culture. + SATURDAY meeting

Dear friends,

As you know we start our meetings this coming SATURDAY, for September,
at 6:30pm at the centro Segoviano. Hopefully this Saturday we manage to
talk about our standing topic which we did not discuss lass Saturday, we
caught up with the summer gossip: The effects of the weather on Culture.

At face value this does not seem a philosophical topic, and a topic that
rightfully belongs in anthropology. It does, and is indeed an important
topic in the discipline. So what can we contribute as philosophers to
the topic?

The first issue we encounter goes to the very heart of philosophy:
precisely, are we determined or shaped by our environment? In other
words, is our perception of the world and our understanding of the world
based on our empirical experience of our environment?

Another issue is this, if our understanding of the world is based on our
empirical perception of the world, is it possible to arrive at a
universal ethical system that can act as imperative to what is right or
wrong? This is not a matter of whether we can find a universal moral
system through empirical means. But rather, can we extract fundamental
common principles given the different empirically based ethical systems
as a consequence of the different environments (including the weather)
human being find themselves in?

Indeed does a metaphorical (or not so metaphorical) drop of rain
determine the ethical system of a culture? Let's look at three extreme
situations in the world: in tropical regions people usually wear
nothing, or hardly anything, in tribal communities living in the jungle.
However, the traditional dress of desert communities in the Middle East
and Central Asia has always been free long flowing dresses that
practically cover the whole body with appropriate headgear covering the
whole face. Eskimo communities who live in Arctic regions wear layers of
heavy furs and animal skins.

By our western standards, going about our business in the buff is not
easily acceptable, wearing layers of animals skins might be over doing
it a bit not to mention some might object to killing animals for their
fur. And then, of course, we don't cover ourselves in clothes and cover
our faces in a modern civilised country. So here are three (four)
examples where what people wear is directly determined by the weather of
the environment they find themselves in.

Based on my examples above I would argue that to extract any useful
ethical principles from these situations we need to understand the
function of the response people have to their environment, and in our
case, the weather.

We also cannot judge face value empirical evidence by our standards
since as I have argued above we create an ethical system based on our
empirical experience surrounding our environment. Indeed this goes to
the basis of the second point I mentioned above: are ethical systems
localised systems to local environments?

The problem with such ethical systems, such as the categorical
imperative, is that if this was some rational a priori principle then it
would show up and leave evidence of its existence everywhere. Whilst I
grant you that we might vigorously apply some form of categorical
imperative within our community, I don't think we'll come across half a
dozen members of a tribe from the tropics in the nude walking down Gran
Via or Oxford Street without being molested or arrested. We can apply
the categorical imperative to our culture or community, but not
necessarily to other cultures and other communities.

Ignorance and intolerance are of course the enemies of a universal
ethical system. It is quite possible, therefore, that a drop of rain
might literally scarper any hope of a universal moral system empirical
or not.

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, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effects of
the weather on Culture. + SATURDAY meeting

Friday, September 02, 2016

from Lawrence, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effects of the weather on Culture. + SATURDAY meeting

Dear friends,

I hope you had a good summer and managed to defeat this crazy hot
weather. As you know we start our meetings this coming SATURDAY, for
September, at 6:30pm at the centro Segoviano. Our topic, if you
remember, is: The effects of the weather on Culture.

At face value this does not seem a philosophical topic, and a topic that
rightfully belongs in anthropology. It does, and is indeed an important
topic in the discipline. So what can we contribute as philosophers to
the topic?

The first issue we encounter goes to the very heart of philosophy:
precisely, are we determined or shaped by our environment? In other
words, is our perception of the world and our understanding of the world
based on our empirical experience of our environment?

Another issue is this, if our understanding of the world is based on our
empirical perception of the world, is it possible to arrive at a
universal ethical system that can act as imperative to what is right or
wrong? This is not a matter of whether we can find a universal moral
system through empirical means. But rather, can we extract fundamental
common principles given the different empirically based ethical systems
as a consequence of the different environments (including the weather)
human being find themselves in?

Indeed does a metaphorical (or not so metaphorical) drop of rain
determine the ethical system of a culture? Let's look at three extreme
situations in the world: in tropical regions people usually wear
nothing, or hardly anything, in tribal communities living in the jungle.
However, the traditional dress of desert communities in the Middle East
and Central Asia has always been free long flowing dresses that
practically cover the whole body with appropriate headgear covering the
whole face. Eskimo communities who live in Arctic regions wear layers of
heavy furs and animal skins.

By our western standards, going about our business in the buff is not
easily acceptable, wearing layers of animals skins might be over doing
it a bit not to mention some might object to killing animals for their
fur. And then, of course, we don't cover ourselves in clothes and cover
our faces in a modern civilised country. So here are three (four)
examples where what people wear is directly determined by the weather of
the environment they find themselves in.

Based on my examples above I would argue that to extract any useful
ethical principles from these situations we need to understand the
function of the response people have to their environment, and in our
case, the weather.

We also cannot judge face value empirical evidence by our standards
since as I have argued above we create an ethical system based on our
empirical experience surrounding our environment. Indeed this goes to
the basis of the second point I mentioned above: are ethical systems
localised systems to local environments?

The problem with such ethical systems, such as the categorical
imperative, is that if this was some rational a priori principle then it
would show up and leave evidence of its existence everywhere. Whilst I
grant you that we might vigorously apply some form of categorical
imperative within our community, I don't think we'll come across half a
dozen members of a tribe from the tropics in the nude walking down Gran
Via or Oxford Street without being molested or arrested. We can apply
the categorical imperative to our culture or community, but not
necessarily to other cultures and other communities.

Ignorance and intolerance are of course the enemies of a universal
ethical system. It is quite possible, therefore, that a drop of rain
might literally scarper any hope of a universal moral system empirical
or not.

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, SATURDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: The effects of
the weather on Culture. + SATURDAY meeting

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