Theme: Climate Emergency
As we enter into our second quarter as a fully functioning region, we celebrate the bizarre, and at times tinkering on the unconditional and unqualified insanity.
We enter into the first proper proper e-newsletter, and hence not quite, as the promised quarterly e-newsletter as advertised - reduplication fully intended. It was always going to be twins this first birth, and they always arrive early! The wall calendar has been marked with red ink now for the subsequent proper proper quarterly e-newsletter. I know - you're virtually salivating in anticipatory delight for more, like a lovely conditioned Pavlovian dog. That or share the bacon sandwich - please and thank you. Hopefully, this serves as a good example of what to expect. Yet alas, do not expect such engaged writing in all of them. That would require a severe alcohol problem like the wonderfully talented Christopher Hitchens for such ongoing quality.
At the end of the last cycle, we sat at 100 as our population. Today, we sit at 103 :). The power of the region continues to grow like the eye in the Lord of the Rings. Searching for meaning in an out of date Logotherapist shrink chair. Naturally, with more magical elves and orcs. Hence, I suppose, the potential of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Thankfully, I am a research assistant of Rosenhan's in being sane in an insane place. Or is it the other way around? Either way, I won't know "what's going on", sadly.
This quarter we focus on the climate emergency as the overarching theme.
Philosophers is focused on .. ahem. Philosophy. We always invite anyone to participate. And thankfully you can! We are getting closer to the ideal speech situation which was Habermas' dream, with every friendly guy, gal, gender fluid person or sentient robot who takes the time to stop by for a cup of java or glass of wine. Last weeks conversation centred around Jordan Peterson.
Let us dive in now to the actual actual 'stuff':
The debate centred on the nature and meaning of "iconic". Very reminiscent of the most sold philosophy book of all time: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
Ecology and pandemics
During the ongoing Covid19 pandemic and COP26 we ask whether does the current ecological disaster mean that pandemics are more likely?
What is at least clear say Karl Dudman, a philosopher with an interest in science, is the way climate change and the pandemic are analogous depends on public consciousness and collective paraxis. Yet, we only take action when things are convenient otherwise we can ignore, argues Burrhus Frederic Skinner.
This is echoed by Ding Dong the Witch is Dead:. "Concern for the environment here should perhaps be couched in philosophical terms, like individual versus collective rights, though that conversation always hauls us back decades." One focused example of mention: tax, tax, tax. Supply and demand, and pricing control, as well as widely embedded technology such as video calling to reduce business air miles. Conclusions centred on: ethically you have that obligation, and presumably desire to care for the needs of the next generation.
Change of mind
If maths is about numbers, philosophy is about persuasive arguments and mind changing. We look at this from the perspective of BF Skinner and Noam Chomsky.
How would BF Skinner describe a "change of mind". Argues Burrhus Frederic Skinner: I suppose he would look at it as a point in time where all of our past experiences combined with current contingencies (including contingencies and rules arranged by ourselves and others) result in a significant and lasting behaviour change. The behaviour change might be something we do or don't do (such as smoking, praying, eating meat, etc.) and/or it could be how we talk and think about something.
Chomsky position takes a different lens, argues Ding Dong the Witch is Dead:
Consider Skinner's claim that "we sample and change verbal behaviour, not opinions," as, he says, behavioural analysis reveals. Taken literally, this means that if, under a credible threat of torture, I force someone to say, repeatedly, that the earth stands still, then I have changed his opinion. Comment is unnecessary.
Obviously, from the whole article I gather that Chomsky disagrees with Skinner on just about everything, but I thought it would be interesting to post this. This is no indication that I agree with Chomsky and not Skinner, by the way (!).
Burrhus Frederic Skinner rebuttal of a Chomskian analysis followed:
Chomsky made his career, in part, by criticizing Skinner. His rebuke of Skinner's book Verbal Behavior was brilliant in style but full of logical fallacies and misrepresentations. In other words, it was written to win an argument without too much concern for the truth. It catapulted Chomsky into the limelight and at least coincided with behaviourism losing its lustre. For anyone interested, here is an article reviewing Chomsky's critique and a response by MacCorquodale. It is written by David Palmer, with who I had the privilege of taking classes and is one of the leading thinkers on Skinner and his work Verbal Behavior.
I am biased, but not a big fan of Chomsky. I believe he will be much like Freud - someone who made important contributions to their field but whose theories are largely dismissed. His theories have already lost a lot of support, although he continues to be larger than life personality.
What is changing of mind without leadership?
The article by Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox makes interesting reading on leadership traditions, as pointed out by Sunrise Trail The title is borrowed from Archilochus. The idea is that a fox knows many things but a hedgehog knows one big thing. Berlin expands on this idea to divide writers and thinkers into two categories. Foxes include William Shakespeare ("There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy), Molière, Goethe and James Joyce. Hedgehogs are Plato, Hegel, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche and Ibsen.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner borrows the notion of specificity and expertise by the populist writer Malcolm Gladwell: The hedgehog and the fox analogy has been promoted heavily in business - if you want your company to be great, you need to be more like the hedgehog. Have one main idea and be the best in the world at that one thing, rather than trying to be good at many things.
But can this be a poison chastise asks Rosa damascena: writers who are proficient in a specialised genre, if they have inclinations for self-doubt or even impostor syndrome, sometimes fall prey to the nagging question whether they are really real writers because, after all, they only write genre fiction. They even like to use similar situations more than once. Is that really writing? If any of you ever come across this phenomenon, feel free to reassure the writer in question by citing a few of the hedgehog writers you like and admire. :)
What is changing of mind and leadership without looking at the wider economic structure?
Worlthia argued that it seems to me, a rather accurate analogy, of this human condition, under the monetarist capitalism/socialism dichotomy, both are corrupt and perverter of human nature(rewards the bad social behaviours and punish the social good behaviours, at least in far too many places), and both failed and seems to me that the planet will be collapsing in some 2/3 generations, and for what?
At present, the system is not working both for the people it seeks to serve and certainly not for the environment.
Telgan argues as the political system and economic system are bedfellows; why or how wouldn't this be any different? Famous saying that democracy isn't perfect but beats all others. The issue with that is what sort of democracy do we have? We all go to the election booth every 4 or so years and cast judgement on two or if we are lucky no more than 4 or 5 real contenders. Very often all offering a broad vision of the same old with some dotting about the edges. Add some pointless dramatic 'polarization' of politics (entertainment), and job done for half a decade. I guess it is to be expected. The change will not come - that needs public opinion and attitudes to already be present and a political operation to fit the purpose at the right time. We have already had several movements in the recent past which helped plant the seed like the occupy movement but until there is a seismic shift over a fairly long period, the truth is little will change - right now.
Remedies explored came in true Popper style: there will be realignments. There needs to be. There always are. And they always come, seemingly, as a shock. Rarely, it is. Keep an eye on trends of public attitude and values. Right now, the system stays, but with hope, the rough edges are sanded down (as always they are for each capitalist generation to continue it: capitalism meets democracy and\or vice versa).
A spotlight was shone on communitarian responses also hold value as a response, at present. Organisations that encourage more freedoms tend to get better outcomes. Almost always the case, and almost always at a fraction of the cost of multi-layered management systems.
And lastly, does all of that even matter without active citizenship, specifically lowering the voting age to 16?
Considering one of the glaring injustices is ecological overdraft: older generations living at the ecological expense of younger generations and future generations. I would be in favour of it, argues Rosa damascena.
Sunrise Trail points out that this is an area of consideration in Europe, and already is the case in a few countries, like Scotland, Cuba and Nicaragua. Telgan speaks about the basis of democracy as embed within the decision making processes. As many people should have the right to vote as possible to ensure we have a system that is engaged and is engaging!
Debate was centred on what lowering the voting age could mean: lowering active voting age is more a matter of increasing participation of younger people because having a say in decisions affecting one's future is a right; not because younger people would necessarily tend to make better decisions than older people. I don't have romantic notions about younger people being less corruptible, argues [nation].[/nation]Rosa damascena Telgan argued otherwise with differing focuses: a place in a plural voting system with younger people voting for wee Jimmy in a proportionate representative system where their values, needs, and rights are further protected in young peoples education and welfare from Mags whose focus is on say pension rights.
It is official and has been verified by the official chart company (of Philosophers). Some tampering had been noted, but in true style to get out of paying for royalties of those signed up to none of on-line sales (and hence more of a realistic slice of the pie), the vote remains solid. we can only work with what we have, until the Court decides.
The most Iconic album is Pink Floyd - Dark side of the Moon.
The average hours of a nightly kip is a healthy 7 hours.
Justin Trudeau leads the pack of world leaders Philosophers would like to spend the night with... Talking about philosophy here, obviously.
The Queen of Queens is, naturally, Boudicca.
Wall of Fame and Shame
Quartely Wall of Fame Thinker:
Sunrise Trail's review:The documentary is 2 hours 48 minutes long. The banks have defeated politics, cyberspace has been used in the cause of freedom, but increasingly to create echo chambers that enrich the likes of Facebook. This is a documentary with no specific vision to peddle
Quartely Wall of Shame Thinker:
Rosa damascena's review: I've never read anything by Ayn Rand, and as people often moan about how insufferably self-aggrandising she sounds, I doubt I will. Loud self-aggrandisement makes me wonder which fears are its causes.
We shall end it here. But in doing so, leaving you with some inspirational and practical advice:
A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the word you first thought of
Do say: ta ta for now.
Don't say: au revoir.
Until November 2021.