Moral Particularism

Jonathan Dancy on Moral Particularism

Is morality simply a matter of applying general principles? Jonathan Dancy thinks not. He is a moral particularist. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast he defends moral particularism in conversation with Nigel Warburton.

Very stimulating intellectual conversation @Philosophy Bites

Anamnesis

In philosophy, anamnesis (/ˌænæmˈniːsɪs/; Ancient Greek: ἀνάμνησις) is a concept in Plato’s epistemological and psychological theory that he develops in his dialogues Meno and Phaedo, and alludes to in his Phaedrus.

It is the idea that humans possess knowledge from past incarnations and that learning consists of rediscovering that knowledge within us.

via Wikipedia

Provocations – a list.

Unpopular ideas about social norms.

Some people have missed this disclaimer in the past, so I’m going to say again that I’m not endorsing these ideas, merely collecting them, and I disagree with many of them.

Incest that doesn’t involve children, coercion, or procreation should be socially accepted.

Society drastically overvalues prestige, to our collective detriment.

We should end the tradition of gift-giving, because it’s so inefficient. Gift-givers are much worse at choosing something the recipient will enjoy than the recipient would’ve been.

People in senior positions should continuously have their cognition tested, to monitor possible decline of fluid intelligence, alertness and judgment.

Addiction is mostly rational.

via Marginal Revolution (iirc)

Post Decision possibility.

LPT: Instead of excessively worrying over a decision, decide what you’re going to do, then do things to *make* it the right decision afterward.

The best class I took in my Masters program was a decision science course. The prof had a lot of great LPT-type advice, but one thing he said in particular has stuck with me. He said most people will excessively worry and over-analyze a decision, but then do very little about it after the decision is made. We spend 95% of our energy pre-decision, then 5% after. However, he said a lot of the science shows that very often there isn’t a “right” decision, but there are things we can do after that will make it right. For example, don’t feel like there’s a right/wrong decision to make when considering a job offer out of state. If you do decide to take it, once you’re there do things to “make it” the right decision, like go out and make friends, work hard but keep a good work/life balance, etc. Change that 95/5 split to more like 50/50.

via reddit

*LPT -> Life Pro Tip

Telic and Atelic activities.

Philosophy Bites takes on:
The Meaning of Life; or, How to Avoid the Midlife Crisis

What’s the solution? Key, Setiya argues, is to distinguish between telic and atelic activities:

Telic: “Almost anything we call a ‘project’ will be telic: buying a house, starting a family, earning a promotion, getting a job. These are all things one can finish or complete” (12).

Atelic: “not all activities are like this. Some do not aim at a point of termination or exhaustion: a final state in which they have been achieved and there is nothing more to do. For instance,… you can go for a walk with no particular destination. Going for a walk is an ‘atelic’ activity. The same is true of hanging out with friends or family, of studying philosophy, of living a decent life. You can stop doing these things and you eventually will, but you cannot complete them in the relevant sense…. they do not have a telic character” (12-13). So, “If you are going for a walk, hanging out with friends, studying philosophy, or living a decent life, you are not on the way to achieving your end. You are already there” (13).

Tacit knowledge and IT.

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge (as opposed to formal, codified or explicit knowledge) is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. For example, that London is in the United Kingdom is a piece of explicit knowledge that can be written down, transmitted, and understood by a recipient. However, the ability to speak a language, knead dough, play a musical instrument, or design and use complex equipment requires all sorts of knowledge that is not always known explicitly, even by expert practitioners, and which is difficult or impossible to explicitly transfer to other people.

– Wikipedia.

How much of working in an IT environment is tacitly learned? How much of that can be made explicit? I’m thinking of the term Definition of Done. I wonder if the first people who started using that were met with the objection, “Come on. That’s obvious.”

Anyway, the idea was running through my head, off and on, today. Someone should post on this in a clear, concise way with examples everyone can relate to. At the moment, this is all I have to contribute. Ca va.

Happy – along the way

Those only are happy (I thought) who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way. The enjoyments of life (such was now my theory) are sufficient to make it a pleasant thing, when they are taken en passant, without being made a principal object. Once make them so, and they are immediately felt to be insufficient. They will not bear a scrutinizing examination. Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life. Let your self-consciousness, your scrutiny, your self-interrogation, exhaust themselves on that; and if otherwise fortunately circumstanced you will inhale happiness with the air you breathe, without dwelling on it or thinking about it, without either forestalling it in imagination, or putting it to flight by fatal questioning.

– John Stuart Mill, Autobiography