Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:26 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Banned

Banned

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 214
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Mad wrote:
And here I thought you might be poking fun at me and DH for our debate over whether Arendt is asserting or suggesting a definition of morality.


Who...moi...?

Quote:
I'm just not sure how it operates in the discussion.


I'm not exactly sure either. All I know is that the consideration of consent as though it was analogous between all governments "even the most autocratic ones, even tyrannies" rang hollow to me. The rest of the discussion is me trying to figure out why that is so. But until I can concede that assumption, the way I will consider consent and the way Arendt will consider consent are likely to be different. Because, though her discussion of consent makes perfect sense to me, I wonder if that's because I am the product of a republic.

Essentially



Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:34 am
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
irishrose wrote:
All I know is that the consideration of consent as though it was analogous between all governments "even the most autocratic ones, even tyrannies" rang hollow to me. The rest of the discussion is me trying to figure out why that is so.


I'm not really sure how to help, other than to suggest that we momentarily table the issue of how consent differs in the two types of government and move on to another issue that applies the concept of consent. Doing so may bring us to other problem that then puts the distinction between consent in those two types of society in a perspective that casts some light on Arendt's comment.

Quote:
Because, though her discussion of consent makes perfect sense to me, I wonder if that's because I am the product of a republic.


I think it's likely that's because the notion of consent is widely informed by Rousseau. Having studied philosophy at length, Arendt probably gets it directly from Rousseau; you, via your study of a political system that has deep roots in Rousseau's philosophy.

Quote:
Though I will note that, for the purposes of this essay, Arendt, who had experiences in both forms of government, didn't find it necessary to draw the distinction.


I doubt that's because she thinks the issue is immaterial. Most of her work prior to "Eichmann in Jerusalem" concentrated on the development and function of totalitarian governments, and it's entirely likely that she considers the issue of consent at more length there. If she blurs the distinction in this essay, it's probably for the specific reason that she doesn't think that distinction all that crucial to the specific matter of individual judgment. Which isn't to say that we should end the matter there. We can certainly question her suggestion.

Quote:
If we are to have a full understanding of how consent then plays any actual role in an autocracy, I think it might be important.


I think it's important to remember that Arendt's topic in this essay is personal responsibility -- and not simply the responsibility placed upon a person in a given context, but the person's responsibility for their own actions. In the US we have a very keen sense that we're responsible for the institutions that govern us. But I don't think that's the sort of responsibility Arendt has in mind -- at least, not directly. She suggests that, once we've taken responsibility at a very local level, the way that responsibility effects out conduct will indirectly effect the institutions that depend on us, on our "consent". But the key thing for Arendt is that of looking after your own behavior, whether or not that has any impact on society at large.

To that precise end, I'm not sure it makes any difference whether or not the citizen has this or that notion of the role their consent plays in constituting governmental institutions. In fact, the general tenor of the essay may suggest that too heavy an emphasis on consent would tend to rob us of that local imperative to take responsibility for our own actions.

Quote:
And, yes, I think my thoughts specifically turned from the Nazi government... as different than the kind of contemporary autocracy, or even theoretical autocracy, I have in mind.


What kind of autocracy did you have in mind?


_________________
If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed. -- Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus"


Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:01 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Quote:
RT2: The first thing I really like in the essay is her comment about judgment which I interpret as a critique of the insidious function of cultural and moral relativism in stripping us of our right and ability to judge in matters of truth and ethics. Relativism is a dangerous postmodern trend, as it has the effect of making all conduct amoral except, ironically, judgment, which relativism condemns as a sin against the sole holy absolute of tolerance. Arendt implies that the postmodern worship of secular pluralism is more a problem of cultural elites than the mass of the population, but as she says of elites in the prologue "that they were small in number does not make them any less characteristic of the climate of the times". In this discussion she seems to share Heidegger's contempt for the public realm, as a domain of idle chatter, curiosity and ambiguity. There seems to be an underlying demand here for a new conceptualization of excellence as a high value.


I'm not clear if Arendt is confronting relativism as much as she is exposing the costs of personal and political cowardice: although it may be that relativism is a form of cowardice. Judgment requires courage as much as it requires reason, and it seems Arendt is arguing that those who lack courage will settle for any set of reasons to justify their lack of judgment...better, their fear of judgment. Judgment requires reverence as well, something that Arendt doesn't mention. I think reverence is what it takes to hold oneself and others accountable for something larger than my personal tastes or the dominant political party of the day. Reverence is the virtue that moves us to do the right thing and respect the dignity of ourselves and others: it is not a complex moral argument or ethical theory, but an attitude of awe and wonder that protects us from dangerous grandiosity and deadly hubris, as well as servile complacency and submissive cowardice. I think the poison that threatens us is not relativism, but a lack of reverence. Perhaps relativism is a lack of reverence towards the truth? With proper reverence, relativism becomes good judgment?

I think the best part of postmodern thinking involves a deconstruction that distrusts and challenges all totalizing narratives and absolute claims: perhaps proper reverence toward the truth involves accepting how little of it we actually control, and can call our own. One alternative involves the deadly hubris that claims universal understanding and then imposes it upon those less god-like, less intelligent, less rational, less beautiful, less human...

Instead of Heidegger, I think Nietszche is the actual source of digust in the herd mentality and its accompanying slave morality. Arendt's use of Nietzsche is very interesting in that I think she is far too lenient on him.



Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:56 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4179
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1141
Thanked: 1199 times in 901 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post 
DH101207

Thank you for these comments. Your theme of reverence is connected to love, and I would argue that love links to relativity. I can't help thinking that relativity, in creating doubt about absolute ideas, has links to relativism.

My comment about Martin Heidegger is from the context of the Hannah Arendt quote from page 9 of Responsibility and Judgment. Arendt interprets Hegel's 'Minerva's owl flies at dusk' as "the darkening of the public realm", saying "this almost automatic rejection of the public realm was very widespread in the Europe of the 1920s with its 'lost generations' - as they called themselves". While you are right that Nietzsche is a main voice, Arendt identifies Heidegger's role in this anti-public outlook, saying in the next paragraph "Testimony to this anti-public climate of the times can be found in poetry, in art, and in philosophy; it was the decade when Heidegger discovered das man, the 'They' as opposed to the 'authentic being a self'..."

The public realm melds and rejects particular views while also allowing contradictory views to stand without resolution, in support of freedom of thought. The Arendt/Heidegger objection to this process seems to involve the role of conscience in guiding the individual to form a coherent perspective. Heidegger is ironically and wrongly seen as a major progenitor of relativism due to the links between the existential analytic and postmodern rejection of foundationalism. Perhaps this relativist tag relates to his notorious claim that conscience has nothing to say? However, a relevant point here is that Heidegger, and following him Arendt, are shifting the foundations of thought from metaphysics to existence, not abolishing foundations as such.

Some further thoughts on related ideas are at www.geocities.com/rtulip2005/Tulip_Heidegger_MA



Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:23 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Banned

Banned

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 214
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Mad wrote:
...and move on to another issue that applies the concept of consent.


Such as...?

Quote:
She suggests that, once we've taken responsibility at a very local level, the way that responsibility effects out conduct will indirectly effect the institutions that depend on us, on our "consent". But the key thing for Arendt is that of looking after your own behavior, whether or not that has any impact on society at large.


Right, but the key thing for me is how we, in any real sense, expect those of certain cultures to initiate the consideration that behavior, with regard to consent, is something that can be 'looked after,' when essentially everything in the system of government, to which they are subject, denies them such a purpose? So yes I understand that "once we've taken responsibility..." but the question is how do 'the we,' as members of certain governments, even begin to understand that they must take that responsibility? And how do 'the we,' as members of other types of governments, keep from having unrealistic expectations on that front? Yes, it's imperative for citizens, of whatever government, to take personal responsibility for their actions



Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:03 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Quote:
MT2: Your theme of reverence is connected to love, and I would argue that love links to relativity. I can't help thinking that relativity, in creating doubt about absolute ideas, has links to relativism.


Arendt doesn't speak much about love (at least in this essay). I wonder why? Could it be that one of the primary factors that motivated those few courageous Germans to say "No" was a love of something or someone? Perhaps this mysterious intuitive force of conscience is love by another name? A love that demands one protect and care for...well, care for what exactly? What exactly was it that these intrepid souls loved?

Arendt ends the essay with a hope to repair lost human dignity. She argues that it was the absence of judgment, an escape from responsibility, that caused so much damage: obedience to authority and abandoning individual conscience are the lynchpins to this catastrophe. Behaving in such an undignified, disgraceful, irresponsible manner has severely damaged human credibility: why trust this species after all? Why bother with such a bungled and botched assortment of cowards and tyrants, hellbent for mutual destruction? We are confronted with an anthropodicy as well as theodicy here. Arendt does not address the latter, but I think this essay is an attempt to answer the former. And I think her answer is in the few courageous examples of those who said No while all around said Yes. And I think the spark of courage was set by an reverent attitude that demanded something more than individual safety or political expediency. This reverence is what protects human dignity and inspires one to judge the rightness and wrongness of any situation. But there is something more that moves one to choose the right, beyond simply knowing what is right. I think that something is love.



Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:06 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
[quote]irishrose: I wouldn't, in turn, expect this discussion to be as clear to someone who is a product of a different culture, and a different political history. And the problem there is, it seems to me that citizens can only withhold their consent, or their support, when they clearly understand that what they are offering is not merely obedience. ... But, generally, I'm talking about a system of government that sees the cycling of a generation. So the Baath Party/Saddam's Iraq lasted, what 23-24 years, long enough that a person born in the regime could then grow to adulthood



Mon Dec 10, 2007 3:03 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Banned

Banned

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 214
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
No this matter has absolutely nothing to do with faith. I am not taking anything on faith, nor am I making a "fundamental assumption" about Arendt's argument. From what I quoted it seems to me that Arendt does not draw a distinction between citizens of different governments



Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:23 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Quote:
Right, but the key thing for me is how we, in any real sense, expect those of certain cultures to initiate the consideration that behavior, with regard to consent, is something that can be 'looked after,' when essentially everything in the system of government, to which they are subject, denies them such a purpose?


I'd hazard the suggestion that falling back on our own judgment to determine our own behavior is something that we, regardless of cultural milieu, do so often that any government that seeks to define all the terms by which a person decides their conduct would require an incredibly unwieldy apparatus. That isn't to say that it can't be done, and we have at our disposal a number of examples of governments that have pulled it off with limited success -- those limits being mostly temporal.

In the Nazi example that Arendt works with, I think it's notable that the Nazi government itself had to do very little to suppress that recourse to judgment. It wasn't a system of government that intervened, but rather the individual's decision to determine their conduct in relation to a voluntary moral system.

You seem more concerned with the sort of totalistic regimes that employ a huge apparatus in order to condition the citizenry's perception of the world. And that is concerning, but I'm not so sure that the success of such regimes is necessarily the result of a successful campaign to change people's though on moral questions. Rather, they seem to have succeeded mostly be negating the consequences of individual behavior. The citizen of a totalistic regime, that is to say, may still make the same recourse to their own judgment, but the government has found ways to circumscribe their behavior and relation to others, thereby effectively quarantining any adverse judgment that person might make.

If that's the case, then clearly there are consequences for the idea that falling back on one's own judgment is an effective political deterrent. And that's a serious challenge to one of the points Arendt makes. In her defense, she was dealing with an earlier stage in the evolution of totalistic regimes, and seems not to have dealt with Maoist communism, the Czech revolution, and other more modern autocratic/totalitarian states. But in so much as the crucial concern is that of whether or not governments make it improbable that their citizens will exercise judgment, I'd say that the answer depends first of all on whether or not the sort of totalistic regimes we're talking about actually do what it is we're assuming they do. The documentary sources and first-hand accounts I've read would tend to suggest that they don't.

Or have I misunderstood that direction of your concern in this case?

Quote:
So, to what extent does a clerk working in an office, with no direct contact to the brutality of the government for which she works, feel personal responsibility for supporting such a government? ... And, in such a situation, in any realistic sense, is she discerning that her acts are not mere obedience and actually offer support?


I'd say that depends a great deal on the individual. Some will think it through, others won't. But if the question is whether or not the government can encourage them to stop short of connecting their personal action from the political consequence, I'd say no. A government probably can obscure the pathways by which personal action leads to political consequence, such that the office clerk genuinely does not know what her actions support this or that atrocity, but in doing so they will have made personal responsibility void. If you're kept against your will from knowing that your actions have an immoral consequence, then moral deliberation becomes impossible. And that's probably as worrisome, on a political level, as the premise that a government can dissuade us from ever falling back on our own judgment.

To return to Arendt's most famous example, though, Eichmann was essentially a clerk; In fact, that's how he started. And while there does seem to have been some sort of impasse beyond which he found it difficult to conceive that his actions -- even direct orders -- resulted in deaths by the millions, I would say the Mary McCarthy rule that the government merely tempted him applies.

Dissident wrote:
Is Arendt arguing that no matter the political climate, historical development, or cultural setting there is something essential to human nature that knows the difference between consent and obedience?


If she were, what would be the point of even raising the argument? I think she takes it for granted that something is to be gained by forwarding the argument that there is a difference. But I don't think she locates the difference on the same side of choice as we've been discussing it. She does not seem to assume, for instance, that you need be conscious of the distinction in order to use your own judgment. Those who said they were merely following orders, as was their duty, are not giving an accurate account of what went into their decision to act or not act as prescribed. Rather, they're giving a justification of an act they've already performed.

To that end, it seems to me that Arendt brings the question of obedience into her essay in order to provide some purchase by which we can get a handle on our own assessment of the immoral behavior of others. The Kantian argument given by Nazi functionaries -- that morality consists in obedience, and that their actions could not, therefore, be judged -- depends on that inversion of the place obedience holds in a causal scheme. But to my knowledge, there has yet to be presented any evidence or argument that would demonstrate that we're even capable of acting from pure obedience -- that is, without involving personal judgment in our deliberation. The German citizens who consented to serve as functionaries in the Nazi engine didn't lack judgment altogether. The implication, I think, is that they simply opted to act according to something other than their own judgment, and with disastrous results.

Quote:
And it seems, according to Arendt, illegitimate authority should be judged so and therefore rejected and denied consent...and all adult humans know this too. Thus, there is no adult human setting where obedience is appropriate: it is always and everywhere poor judgment and irresponsible behavior.


I don't recall any of this in the essay. Can you point me to a relevant passage?



Tue Dec 11, 2007 1:45 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
I dumpster dive for books!

Bronze Contributor

Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1796
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 14 times in 12 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post 
Quote:
irishrose: No this matter has absolutely nothing to do with faith. I am not taking anything on faith, nor am I making a "fundamental assumption" about Arendt's argument.


I was referring to a fundamental assumption and faith held by Arendt...namely, a capacity for judgment that transcends historical or political circumstances. An ability that "cuts across all social and cultural and educational differences" 45. I use the word faith because I think it is as much a matter of hope and desperation, as it is carefully reasoned conclusions regarding human nature and moral responsibility.

Quote:
irishrose: I think if we continue Arendt's discussion by assuming that recognition in an autocracy is the same as a republic, or assuming that commensurable recognition is not necessary to speak in any kind of realistic way about citizens withholding consent/support, we're treading the wrong path.


But I think this is precisely the path Arendt is on, using history's best example of a autocratic totalitarian system to prove her point: which is, as I see it- no matter the circumstances, there is no excuse, we must judge and be judged; at least if human self-respect is to be protected and moral catastrophe avoided.

Quote:
irishrose: I agree with Arendt that "much would be gained if we could eliminate this pernicious word 'obedience.'" But I think that's only going to happen when participants of all forms of government recognize that what they offer is not obedience, but support. And I can't just assume that members of certain contemporary governments recognize that.


I agree with Arendt that obedience is best left to religion and parenting: but even there, the goal is not simply submission (even if it is required) but actually full human flourishing. As far as governance, support is better than obedience, but actual participation is best. I think Arendt's use of the term judgment is what it means to determine legitimate leadership: not simply with elected officials, but in every facet of human relationship. I completely agree that there are many, multitudes, who embrace obedience, are miles away taking responsibility for giving their support, and even further from active participation and sharing in leadership.



Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:09 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Float like a butterfly, post like a bee!


Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 57
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Disclaimer: I have not yet read any posts for this topic except the original question.

I believe Arendt's main point, although she made many others, was that it is only morally acceptable to work to change a system from the inside if you support the general aims of that system; because even though you may do some good, you are still contributing to the system's success. If you do not believe in the overall aim of a system, and you are not able to work from the outside to change it, the morally responsible stance is to avoid cooperating with it.

NOW can I read the other posts, MA, huh??????



Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:20 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Heh, but of course. And I'm eager for you to do it, since the conversation can only benefit from the addition of another voice.



Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:11 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Banned

Banned

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 214
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
Sorry, Mad, I hadn't seen your earlier response to my post before now.

Mad wrote:
The citizen of a totalistic regime, that is to say, may still make the same recourse to their own judgment, but the government has found ways to circumscribe their behavior and relation to others, thereby effectively quarantining any adverse judgment that person might make.


Are you saying here that citizens of totalitarian states are aware that there is a judgment to be made with regard to their specific behavior, and even how that behavior supports the state, but that they're not conscious of how their behavior affects others?

BTW, I haven't dropped the other thread. I'm giving the controlling issue there some thought. And thinking time has been stingy around my parts, lately.

DH, I'm not really sure what you're getting at here. Obviously I can't talk about elements of Arendt's faith, and what she takes on faith. In the quote that you mention, Arendt isn't speaking to an "ability" per se. She claims there is a dividing line that "strikes across" all elements of society, dividing those who want to think, and therefore judge, and those who do not. I don't think she's speaking directly to "ability" at all.

My issue isn't with the general ability to judge for one's self. My issue is with that dividing line and whether it separates, rather than those who do and do not think, those who are aware that they should think and those who are not.



Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:37 am
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
The Pope of Literature


Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2553
Location: decentralized
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
irishrose wrote:
Are you saying here that citizens of totalitarian states are aware that there is a judgment to be made with regard to their specific behavior, and even how that behavior supports the state, but that they're not conscious of how their behavior affects others?


Maybe. I was thinking specifically of some scenes towards the end of Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being". I'll try to steer clear of specific plot points, but if you're still thinking of reading the novel, and you don't want to know much about it going in, you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph. The background of the novel's plot is the Russian occupation of the Czech Republic. The way they attempt to control public opinion is only pseudo-Orwellian, but the main characters never cease to maintain at least an intellectual brand of resistance. The problem they encounter, though, is that even when they're relying on their own judgment and refusing to act in support of totalitarian initiatives, the government has ways of twisting their conduct to serve its own ends. Their decisions and judgment remain their own, but they find that the can hardly act without serving the state's interest.

So what I'm getting at is that it has proven more effective for modern totalitarian government to leave the people's consciences alone, and simply structure the society so that, even when a subject people acts from its own conscience, their actions can be made to serve the government's agenda. The governments who have gone the opposite route and attended to people's deliberation rather than their action seem to me to have done so only when there was already fertile ground, intellectually speaking. So while the Czech occupation government stood a better chance circumscribing people's actions, the Serbian government during the Yugoslavian revolution stumbled upon an already prevailing intellectual climate that served its ends to a T. The work the Serbian government had to do in order to impress upon the population the notion that there was an ethnic conflict already implicit in their society was actually fairly light -- the population was willing to accept that notion without much coercion.

There have been governments who attempted, with some success, to fashion such an intellectual climate where their was substantial resistance -- Maoist China being, perhaps, the most startling example -- but those instance require such an abundance of resources that I'd imagine they'll always represent the exception rather than the rule.



Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:42 pm
Profile
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Float like a butterfly, post like a bee!


Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 57
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: None specified

Post 
There is a lot of good discussion already on this topic, and at the risk of being hopelessly behind, I have to confess that I'm still hung up on this notion of an intuitive sense of right and wrong. Specifically, I'm trying to discern the meaning of the word "intuition" (I am using the word as synonymous with Arendt's automatic "human faculty") in this context. Also, I'm trying to decide whether or not Arendt is (or any of us are, for that matter) either suggesting or asserting that the intuitive judgment of what is right and wrong is the same for everyone.

I have heard an intuitive sense of danger described as the picking up of subliminal clues that are just below the threshold of consciousness. I could also understand intuition as associations that our brains make based on experiences we have forgotten or that we were not fully conscious of when they occurred. These definitions seem to rely mostly on experience, although I believe some danger triggers do come hard-wired with the equipment.

However, getting back to the context of judging between right and wrong by intuition, it would seem that such intuition must either be based on our prior experience or it must be innate (or some mixture of both), correct?

Also, if our intuitive grasp of right and wrong is based on experience, it does not seem likely that everyone would arrive at the same judgment, since our experiences vary so widely. True?

Then if we do all arrive at the same intuitive judgment, that intuition must be innate, yes, or have I gone off track somewhere?

But I stumble on through the brambles:

If this intuitive sense of right and wrong is innate, then it was created by evolution, agreed?

But if it was created by evolution, then it must be based upon survival and procreation, also agreed?

But in that case, how can it be about right and wrong?

Cogito ergo sum mixed up.



Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:11 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Books by New Authors



Booktalk.org on Facebook 



BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Sense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank