PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, March 31, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Events that change history + NEWS

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Events that change history.

But first of all, I have now registered the PhiloMadrid group with the
MeetUp website which I hope you will have time to visit at:
https://www.meetup.com/PhiloMadrid-philosophy-group/ . We already have
51 members subscribed to the group at the time of writing which I
understand is not bad for a new group on the site.

Talking about history changing events, events that change history must
surely have certain features that make them so prominent in our society
and social identity. But where is the philosophy in all this? In my
short essay I try to address this question.

Events that change history

The problem with history is that it all happens in the past. This means
that we are conscious of history changing events after the events
happen. It also means that those who can best benefit from this
foresight are probably the ones to benefit the least. So by definition
if an event is powerful enough to change the course of history, it is
also powerful enough to affect most people. Of course, some events are
for the better of society, but history is also full of disasters.

Our everyday understanding of what is history is enough for our purpose.
History can be the story of a local society, our national narrative or
international relationships. Today we accept that by history we first
and foremost think of political events related to the distribution of
power and wealth. From here we can then affect how society functions,
how ideologies emerge and how progress is achieved.

So what kind of events are we concerned about? Our perception of life is
one of a steady linear movement over time punctuated by unusual or bumpy
events. We get up in the morning, go to work, on weekends we go shopping
and try to relax. Sometimes, we have a holiday, sometimes we have to
change the old car. But sometimes we experience a serious accident or
our employer goes bust. These two last events are life changing events;
the equivalent of history changing events in society.

Looking at the 20th century we can easily identify some of these history
changing events: the first world war, the Russian revolution, the great
depression, the Donoghue v Stevenson case (Scottish case), the second
world war, discovery of DNA, the digital revolution, the fall of the
Berlin wall, and the EU. These events more or less shaped the 20th
century and today's politics and society are the product of these
events. Some might disagree with the importance of these events others
might want to add other events. It does not matter, what matters is that
these are the type of events we are interested in.

From our perspective we might be interested in two questions: what are
the necessary and sufficient conditions for an event to qualify as
history changing? And the second question is whether history changing
events are a natural phenomena or random events?

Let me qualify the second question: do history changing events occur as
a natural process? For example, was the Russian revolution in 1917 a
natural phenomenon; many nations have ended up revolting against their
masters after a period of abuse. Hence, social and political turmoil
seem to be part of human nature. This implies that a propensity of
human beings to address any inequities. And by the same token any
advances by humans are advances made because of a need to improve our
lot. The Donoghue v Stevenson case is one such event of improvement that
established the principles of consumer rights even though the customer
does not have contractual rights with the manufacturer or producer. The
case was about a snail in a drink that made the plaintiff sick; this
created the concept of negligence and duty of care to third parties.

Are events such as the Russian revolution events that happen within a
short period of time; do they just happen? I don't think the idea of
"things just happening" is a solid one. We need to distinguish between
"things just happening" and things we are unable to predict. The idea of
"just happen" cannot in all reality be uncaused. What we think might be
a cause of an event might very well be something else. But, also, just
because events are caused it does not mean that we can trace all the
causal steps backwards. This is well demonstrated by mathematical Chaos
and fractal theory.

But if we cannot in all reality trace the whole causal chain of
historical events does this mean that history is determined to repeat
itself? At least, to the extent that we cannot prevent history from
repeating itself. Well events will reoccur if the right causal chain of
events take place; earthquakes a case in point. But events will also
occur because they are built or conceived with a weakness in their
design. A family car going at 270km/h is bound to end up crashing, these
cars not built for such speeds. See the debate between Nassim Taleb
(Black Swans) and Prof. Didier Sornette (Dragon Kings).

Moving on to the first question, what are the necessary and sufficient
conditions for an event to be history changing? Although this question
might seem a matter of empirical measurement it does not exclude a
discussion on what makes a condition. The idea of "change" carries with
it the idea of something stopping to be the case and something new
assumes the function of what had been stopped. In many cases change also
have unintended consequences: but are unintended consequences foreseeable?

The Second World War was a case of peace amongst countries replaced by
conflict and death and destruction. So one of the conditions history
changing events must be that what was true once is no longer the case,
but, of course, the change must affect everyone or potentially affects
everyone. Furthermore, changes happen in a context. For example, the
sequencing of DNA happened as a first-event in the context of biological
science, but such fundamental knowledge affected the human race to such
an extent that today, due to this knowledge, we have extended human
rights, improved the judicial system and criminal jurisprudence to the
extent that many decisions by courts are much safer than before. The DNA
case seems to suggest that unintended consequences are unforeseeable;
but are unforeseen events the same as unpredictable events?

I would therefore argue that a history changing event directly affects
how other parts of society function beyond the original context of the
event. For example, the Donoghue case was a legal case of injury under
Scottish law. But this was quickly adopted by other jurisdictions and
now applies to every conceivable product or service throughout most of
the world. Again after the 23 June referendum in Britain to leave the EU
a new thinking has emerged in that politicians should be held
accountable for any lies and misinformation they give to influence the
opinion of voters. We know that politicians can be very economical with
the truth, but so far they do not seem to have a duty of care to tell
the truth unlike a showroom salesperson selling second hand cars. Nor
are they legally liable for any damages caused by their negligence of
their rhetoric. The present situation is that politicians can lie or
misrepresent reality but they are not liable if their policies cause us
material damage.

The TTIP proposed agreement between the EU and USA does introduce the
idea that governments are held liable for any loss of profits by
companies. But this is more like an oppressive clause on the sovereignty
of states rather than an advancement of the Donoghue case. However, by
demanding that the principles of the Donoghue case also apply to
politicians it seems like this is an unintended (but welcome)
consequence of the case. In other words history changing events seem to
have the sufficient condition of over reaching the boundaries of the
event and seem to have immunity over time. The 1932 case that originated
in events in 1928 is valid today as much as it was then.

The irony of history changing events is that they happen in the past but
have great effect in the future; and in our case future generations.
And, moreover, from a localised contextual event, these tend to spread
beyond the confines of a single context.

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: Events that change
history + NEWS

Friday, March 24, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Social Identity + NEWS

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Social Identity.

But first, Maria has sent us an invitation to the presentation of her book:
Whinny by Maria Gloria Torres Mejìa
On the 30th March 2017 at 19:00
MORE DETAILS HERE:
http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/2017/03/whinny-by-maria-gloria-torres-mejia.html

Back to social identity:

Society is an important condition in our life and we need society
because life would be even more difficult than what it is already. And
for a society to function we need to give up some of our personal
freedoms to gain security and access to resources which would take us
too long to achieve on our own.

As a system, a successful society functions with a win-win strategy. In
other words, we have to cooperate together to achieve an above average
reward in return for our participation in creating the wealth in
resources. Of course, like all real life instances, nothing is perfect:
indeed, even in successful societies there are many who fall between the
cracks, so to speak, and do not receive their just rewards. While others
get more than they morally deserve.

However, this is not a seamless and smooth state of existence, no matter
how moral and just a society is, there is always the primordial struggle
to win against everyone else. But some might cheat while others might
not be capable to earn their fair share of rewards for living in a
cooperative society. Some might argue that how society copes with these
situations reflects the level of development of a society.

Social identity is therefore more like an emotional and psychological
marker for us to identify our society from other societies. Maybe social
identity is even an extension of personal identity that most necessary
condition that makes us individual human beings and not some clone of a
biological automaton.

As we have discussed recently, a natural language is a very strong
social marker to identify a society. But a natural language has other
advantages, and one of those advantages is that people who do not speak
the language of a given society are more or less excluded from that
society. And they are excluded because they cannot exchange information
necessary to function within that society.

There is nothing new about this, animals such as insects, bees, ants,
bacteria etc, achieve this with chemical signatures. Biological systems
do need information to function because they function by interacting
with their environment. Stones and volcanoes do not need to communicate
anything; they just subject to the principles of physics.

Thus social identity not only is supposed to tell us where we belong but
also who we are. Thus the identity of French society is in fact the
common identity a group of people have, ie what we call French people.
Of course, there are even sub identities within a general society
grouping: A Spanish person might also have another social identity
linked to their ancestral region of origin. Thus in most societies, one
can be British, English and a Londoner all at the same time. We can
argue that these are forms of social identities, which we all subscribe
to or ascribe to.

Of course, we can identify a society in other terms, such as
professional societies, sports clubs, philosophy debating groups etc but
I would say that these societies might be subsets of our bigger society.
What is important in my opinion is that we discuss the topic with our
normal meaning of society.

But why should we assume that a social identity must be linked to our
national identity? And a national identity is the political structure of
a given society. Whilst one can identify themselves as part of Spanish
society, it does not necessary follow that they must be citizens of the
Kingdom of Spain. However, it would be reasonable to assume that if
someone identifies themselves with Spanish society, they must have some
connection with Spain: maybe ancestral or someone who settled in Spain.
And today we even accept that a person can easily identify with two
social identities: indeed someone who settles in another country.

Of course, we can identify a society in other terms, such as
professional societies, sports clubs, philosophy debating groups etc but
I would say that these societies might be subsets of our bigger society.
What is important in my opinion is that we discuss the topic with our
normal meaning of society.

But at least today social identity does not stop at our border, if there
are subsets within a "country" or national society, there are also sets
within which country based societies derive their identity: for example,
belonging to a continent, ie being European, or American or Asian. And
today we also recognise that cooperation is more successful strategy and
nations have created political societies such as the European Union or
the WTO etc.

The logic of win-win strategies is not in doubt, the efficiency of
cooperation is not in doubt, what is relevant is how far can we stretch
a social identity before it breaks up or becomes diluted beyond
recognition? If the justification of society is to create a cooperative
endeavour, how long will this endeavour last if individuals do not
identify with a particular society? In other words, can a social
identity survive if there is no sense in individuals of moral obligation
to be loyal to that cooperative endeavour? There is no question that
societies are made of individuals and not some metaphysical airy fairy
ether.

Indeed, throughout the ages, there have always been movements to exclude
outsiders from society: these ideas come in all shapes and persuasions
from extreme fascism or nationalism to seemingly innocuous tests such as
which football team or cricket team we support. Whilst there is no doubt
that we have some kind of moral duty to protect the very society that
helps us prosper, how far does that loyalty stretch if the principles of
the win-win strategy are not followed?

And more importantly, what is our social identity? The problem here it
seems that what was once a natural phenomenon of identifying with our
kin, today that phenomenon has evolved to identifying with our kin's
politics. It seems that even in the 21st century we are stuck, and some
might say regressing, to a situation where we're somewhere between
biological genetic identity and the ultimate social identity of
belonging to the human race. Belonging to the human race is still not an
established social identity with all the benefits and obligations a
social marker such as identity brings.

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: Social Identity + NEWS

Whinny by Maria Gloria Torres Mejìa



Invitation to the prevention of her book:
Whinny by Maria Gloria Torres Mejìa
On the 30th March 2017 at 19:00 







Friday, March 17, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Are different languages necessary?

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Are different languages necessary?

Although natural languages are usually not within the scope of
philosophy, this is more a topic about the transition of a natural
phenomenon to a political and cultural tool and more. In my short essay
I try to identify some of the issues of when it is and when it is not
necessary to have many different languages.

Are different languages necessary?

In this topic we assume that by languages we mean natural languages such
as French, German, Latin, English, Spanish, and so on. We can add to the
list dialects and regional variations of the main natural languages. As
such these natural languages are more the domain of linguistics rather
than philosophy, but this does not mean that there are no philosophical
issues worth looking at.

As such, the topic is a matter of need and natural development.
Moreover, all natural languages have the function of transferring
information between human beings in a pre defined oral or visual
parameters (grammar). Languages help us convey information and the
information we receive enable us to act or behave in certain ways.

Thus whether we need many or few languages depends on the efficiency of
those languages. And also the need of the speakers of those languages;
today classical Greek and Latin, are not in great demand. Spanish,
English and Chinese/Mandarin are in greater demand than ever.

Historically, languages followed speakers of that language until the
language became the dominant language, as in colonization, or localised
as in immigration, where the language of the adopted country would be
dominant. Although languages are born in geographical location to
service the needs of a group of people, what matters for the survival of
a natural language is that the people it was evolved to serve still use
it. Learning to use the local language helps us not only to integrate in
the local culture but also to derive more utility from what is available
locally; as every tourist can testify!

But today dominant natural languages have a new method of reaching
people and that is the internet. People separated geographically can
still communicate with each other in their chosen language; indeed the
internet has revived many languages that were on the brink of
extinction. But this also means that weaker languages might become even
weaker if native speakers opt to use the new dominant languages rather
than their own native language.

Since languages are about people this implies that languages are also
about culture and politics. So what is a natural phenomenon has risen
to the status of cultural and political requirements within political
enclaves. This is not a surprise since language is at the centre of
society. As a cultural heritage language is not only a means to exchange
information but also a means to establish cultural identity. The
language we speak tells others where we are from and who we are.

It is also natural that the language of a country should also be the
language of the political structural of that country. Indeed language,
and an ability to use the political natural language of a country, is
identified with patriotism. But, of course, it is not language that
makes us patriotic, but political coherence which is usually achieved
with a universal political discourse and language. When language ceases
to be a political tool and becomes a political weapon, many people
become victims of the new rhetoric. People will refuse to use the
oppressors' language at least to the extent that they do not jeopardise
their survival.

At one level different natural languages happen because different groups
of people need to exchange information to function. This is both a
natural function and a need for language. And we expect this natural
language to evolve with the people in the same way that people evolve to
reflect their environment. Languages mutate as much as genes; languages
split into subsets of the primary language (dialects) as much as people
change their looks and suture to reflect their environment. Of course,
this does not mean that change is always for the good, but change in
nature is probably always an attempt to survive.

But this bottom up view of language need (from nature to society) is in
direct competition with the top down view of usefulness of a language.
This is purely utilitarian; the more people who speak a specific
language, the more successful (adaptation) that language will be as long
as it meets the needs of these users. Today dialects are a very good
example of being dropped in favour of a common version of the primary
language of a country, for example to follow programmes on national
television and radio; this should not be confused with regionalism.

Two of the main "predators" of a natural language are 1) the efficiency
of the language to convey the information to a group of people (eg Latin
in religion, French in diplomacy, English in science and business); and
2) the collapse of the political structure of a country that can leave a
country open to colonisation as mentioned already thus making a primary
language extinct or purely cultural tool (e.g. countries like South
Africa, India and most of Central and South America; in most of these
cases the colonial language is the dominant political language).

On the other hand, when languages do actually solidify the cultural
identity of a group then it is very necessary that these languages exist
and made to survive. The challenge is, knowing not to mix the need to
succeed in business with the pleasure derived from the uniqueness of a
culture.

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: Are different
languages necessary?

Friday, March 10, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Taking life as it comes

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing: Taking life as it comes

This common expression usually means to accept things or events in our
life and try to live with them at best we can. The opposite would be to
fight against fate and become stressed or worse, depressed and an angry
person.

Indeed sometimes the turn of events is so serious that we just don't
have time to react to these events never mind charting a decent course
of action. On the other hand there is always something or someone who
can thwart our efforts in life on a daily basis that we have to make an
effort to feel that we are doing something with our life. We just don't
want to feel we are a bottle in an ocean rocking with the waves and
flowing with the currents.

From our perspective, this state of mind can be interpreted as
succumbing to fatalism or determinism that implies we have very little
chance of changing things. However, we also don't want to imply that we
should be inert, or maybe some form of automata in life where we act
without reason, will nor intention.

Maybe the best way to interpret this expression, so it can be of some
form of driving force, is to react to changing fortunes by finding the
best possible solution rather than to panic.



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: Taking life as it comes

Friday, March 03, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Arrogance

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing again the subject of arrogance. We
discussed this in September 2012, so maybe it's about time that we had
another go at arrogance.

Indeed, it is quite fortunate that we should be discussing arrogance
again now because last time I concluded my essay with:
-- Maybe the popular saying that power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely is true and bound together by the strong sense of
arrogance.—

Nearly four and a half years later we are in the mist of global
political uncertainty because of two arrogant world leaders who are
precisely today exercising extreme political power with a full swing of
arrogance. A necessary condition of extreme (political) arrogance is
that one does not care if one might be wrong in one's (political
policies) actions.

I am of course referring to President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa
May; they are both pursuing policies that are based on complete
disregard to the needs and conditions of other people including many who
voted for them. And their arrogance is not only based on the fact that
they are pursuing xenophobic ideologies that Britain and the United
States, with other allies, helped destroy when they defeated the forces
of fascism in Europe and Japan; but more importantly because they are
also intentionally destroying the social and political achievements of
these past 60 or so years.

And like their predecessors in Germany and Italy, these two leaders
today justify their arrogance by hiding behind the political mantra "the
people have spoken" whilst at the same time exploiting centuries old
prejudices.

But what are the implications of this political arrogance? Will the
present President of the United States divide the nation into civil
disobedience between racists and freedom loving people? Will the present
British Prime Minister revive some form of classical European fascism
but maybe with some sort of modern mutation? Or is this arrogance the
pride before the fall of the once two super powers who were the
guardians of freedom and democracy? Will history repeat itself?

I am not convinced that history will repeat itself, but I am also
convinced that the situation today is equally dangerous. The problem is
not only that at face value both the President and the PM seem to have
certain character traits that might, under different circumstances, make
them unsuitable for their office.

The problem today is that the official opposition parties in both
countries are completely ineffective. In the United States the two
Democratic contenders for the White House were more concerned about
discrediting each other than coming up with cogent political arguments
against the now incumbent of the White House. The Democratic party
candidates in the 2016 presidential elections were more like two alley
tomcats in the Reichstag during the Weimar Republic, than a flotilla of
ships about to liberate Europe on D-Day.

In British English we have a term that changed its meaning after WW2:
collaborator. This term changed meaning from cooperation with others to
working or helping the enemy and was used to describe those people who
helped or cooperated with the Nazis in France. For many, many years this
was a very serious pejorative term although some attempts were made to
rehabilitate this word, with some success, mainly because the Americans
did not have the pejorative meaning.

The negative term of collaborator can easily be applied to the leader of
the Opposition in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, not only because he lead the
Labour Party during the referendum pretending to be against Brexit, but
he intentionally undermined the efforts of the Remain campaign. But more
importantly because he has given the Prime Minister a blank cheque to
pursue her racist and xenophobic policies without even any attempt to
hold the government to account. Trump and May are not only the product
of extremism but also the consequence of the absence of any checks and
balances. In other words unchecked arrogance can only spiral into
extremism of the unsocial kind.

Political arrogance is like an infectious disease, it is as virulent as
much as the antiviral is ineffective.


In the meantime, I have corrected as many typos as I could find from the
2012 essay.

Arrogance (Friday, September 14, 2012)

We all know from instinct that arrogance is bad. We also know from
instinct whether someone is being arrogant or self confident.

Indicators of arrogance, amongst many, are a feeling of superiority over
others, self importance and in many cases condescending attitude towards
others. Pride is also implied in the meaning of arrogance. However, the
emotion of pride comes in two manifestations, 1) a strong sense of
personal status and of course 2) a sense of personal achievement when
conferred by others for meritorious behaviour or acts.

The pride we feel due to merit is usually also shared by those around us
(and vice versa) and of course this pride is rather positive. For
example, the pride we feel when our team wins the cup, pass an exam, and
the achievements of our country for that matter. Positive pride is
respected. Negative pride is not respected by others since we are
claiming status which we might not deserve or an ostentatious exhibition
of feelings. Thus an arrogant person takes pride in their achievement
especially when dominating or belittling people.

Arrogance is, on the other hand, at the extreme end of this group of
negative emotions and their manifestation in public. A necessary
condition for arrogance, which pride does not have, is that arrogance is
always directed towards someone, be it an individual, a group or even a
peoples.

A feeling of superiority over others and condescending behaviour have
not only the effect of trying to establish that one is more important
than other people but that other people are not considered to have any
relevant worth to the arrogant person. Individuals who are rather
sensitive in character are usually emotionally hurt by the attitude and
behaviour of an arrogant person. Others might feel more visceral emotions.

If we accept that arrogance manifests itself when interacting with
others, than we can assume that there is a voluntary act and a belief to
trigger, so to speak, that act. Although arrogance is an act it can also
be a character trait of a person. And as such, maybe it takes its roots
are in the basic aggressive instincts we possess as human beings. Maybe
nice people, who employ a strategy of cooperation to get along, are
equally taking advantage of some rational basic instinct: a monster trap
or a honey trap!

We can also debate whether arrogance is an inherited character trait or
maybe a developed character, which in many cases, have a bearing on
responsibility, I think that this is a side issue since we people are
being arrogant and others are hurt and it does not matter where and how
that emotion originated. We can safely assume that a person, who is not
deranged nor has a mental disease, is acting as a rational agent.

A weak definition of arrogance might be the projection onto others of
one's beliefs and at the same time not only excluding the opinions of
others but that others cannot possibly have any valid opinions to
contribute in the first place. Professional status can easily be a
breeding ground for arrogance to develop in people.

If beliefs (opinions) are a necessary condition for a voluntary action,
then what an arrogant person is implying is that the other person cannot
possibly have any valid beliefs that ought to lead to an action.
Needless to say this simple view of the mechanism of arrogance is very
much determined by the circumstances of the situation. Maybe someone
might be arrogant but also happen to be well informed on a situation
that makes their opinion or beliefs the right sort of opinions to bring
about a positive outcome to a situation. The issue is, maybe, one of
social interaction and social protocol rather than the veracity of a
person's beliefs. Much as we might dislike this idea, even arrogant
people have the right to be correct and to hold true and valid beliefs.

Maybe it is this idea that an arrogant person also has the right to hold
valid and true beliefs, and employ them for action, that makes us feel
revulsion towards giving an arrogant person a fair break. How can we
possibly even listen to an arrogant person, even if they are right? The
suggestion that even they have rights suggests that the weak version of
the meaning of arrogance is not adequate or maybe just that, a weak
version and therefore limited in scope. And to add insult to injury, a
nice and cooperative person might very well be wrong no matter how well
meaning they might be.

This suggests that we might need a stronger version of arrogance and I
therefore propose this: one thinks (believes) not only that one is right
and that others are insignificant and irrelevant but that one also
thinks that one is immune from the effects of even being wrong or doing
wrong.

Hurting one's feeling is bad, but maybe not disastrous, and as I have
suggested being wrong is not the exclusive domain of arrogant people,
arrogant people can also be right. But maybe the issue is not so much
whether one is right or wrong but rather has one considered the
implications and consequences of maybe being wrong?

So from linking arrogance to a character trait, we are extending this
link to rational value judgements. Considering whether one is right or
wrong is not only to consider the consequences of our actions but also
the possibility that we might have to change our course of action. But
feeling immune from the consequences of being wrong or not considering
that one might be wrong introduces an element of good and bad or evil
which a character trait does necessarily imply.

The idea that a person does not consider the consequences of being wrong
or feel personally immune from the consequences of being wrong is
probably the most unacceptable human trait at the extreme.

In an applied philosophical context and maybe more relevant for us these
days is whether power leads to arrogance, specifically the strong
version of arrogance? Precisely the position one takes that we can
exercise our power how we like and if we get it wrong it is of no
consequence to us. I propose that corruption, including nepotism, is
clear examples of strong arrogance.

I am inclined to think that power in and of itself does not necessarily
lead to strong arrogance, but maybe arrogance, especially of the strong
kind, is an infectious trait that we either pick up from those arrogant
people around us, or maybe a dormant trait that only needs the right
conditions to manifest itself. Maybe the popular saying that power
corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is true and bound
together by the strong sense of arrogance.

http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/search/label/Arrogance

Best Lawrence



tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
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from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Arrogance

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