2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby BloodHenge » April 29th, 2008, 9:45 pm

And appear to have assumed that the benefits to which I was referring accrue immediately, and only to the person performing the criminal act. It's entirely possible to do something reprehesible for the greater good, for long-term benefits, or both. I doubt I'd have to look to far to find appropriate examples.
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Re: Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Tiamat » April 29th, 2008, 9:46 pm

Forrest wrote:A lot of stuff, but it included:
...that a mental or behavioral pattern can be determined to be healthy or sick on the basis of how common, popular, or "natural" it is.


Actually, that is how you have to do it. Psychology isn't philosophy - morals have shit to do with sanity, because sanity is by definition judged by society, while moral relativism is a crock of shit and can be proven to be so through logical argumentation. Wrong is wrong wherever you are, but sane behavior is based on the behavior of those around you. You're sane if you're following the same patterns as those around you, eccentric if you break those patterns in such a way as to not cause harm to yourself or others, and insane if your behavior is far out of line or taken to extremes such that you become dangerous to yourself or others. The reason we have to look at behavior patterns is because we can't read thoughts - if we could, I'd be getting another degree.

Rationality and sanity are also separate, although not to the same degree as morals and sanity. A lot of clinically insane people have strong rationales for their actions - they don't make any god-damned sense to someone else, but not only do they believe the rationales are correct but sometimes they have 'evidence' to support them. Then again, obsessive-compulsives tend to have no rationale for their compulsions, but they usually function perfectly fine unless the compulsion is so strong that it greatly interferes with the rest of their lives.

Your definitions of cognitive and behavioral insanity are way to broad and vague for my taste, which is why you ran into your philosophical problem.

As far as the second post goes... I really don't have a response to that. I think you're wrong, but since I don't have the time think through the reasons why I'll just have to agree to disagree and save the thought experiment for after my exams.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Viking-Sensei » April 29th, 2008, 10:47 pm

This is a warning from your friendly neighborhood Viking. If the back-and-forth bicker continues, I'm locking this post down.

While I'm all for discourse and find the general range of topics being discussed to be fascinating, there's a couple of you who may be well versed in advanced psychology but have apparently forgotten the basic keystones of productive human dialog... like courtesy, respectfullness, and not pissing off the moderator.

So... keep it above the belt and try and be friendly (even if you disagree with someone)... and not just the pseudo-friendly that you get from airline attendants and government workers, because I can tell. It makes my Viking-senses tingle, and not in a pleasant I-can-tell-which-shampoo-works-better sort of way.

I've not yet had to apply lock-down protocols on this board, and would like to if at all possible keep it that way.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Forrest » April 29th, 2008, 11:01 pm

BloodHenge wrote:And appear to have assumed that the benefits to which I was referring accrue immediately, and only to the person performing the criminal act.

I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. Say again please?

It's entirely possible to do something reprehesible for the greater good

Depending on what you mean by this, I may beg to differ. If you mean that sometimes people do horrible things with good intentions, as in unintended consequences or unavoidable "lesser of two evils" choices, then yeah, of course. If you mean that it is rational to do bad things in order to produce other good effects, then I have to disagree, and call that kind of reasoning patently irrational. Certainly you can get good things in one respect as a consequence of bad things in another; but then, you can also get true conclusions from a valid argument with completely false premises - e.g. all asteroids are green, I am currently drinking out of an asteroid, therefore I am drinking out of something green.

The conclusion of that argument is true, as I'm drinking from a green soda can right now; and the argument is valid, since if the premises were true the conclusion would have to be; but both of the premises are completely false. The truth of the conclusion doesn't make the whole argument sound. You shouldn't go around positing that all asteroids are green and that Forrest drinks from asteroids just to fallaciously prove a truthful statement about the color of my soda can. Falsehoods are falsehoods despite their implication of truths, and believing falsehoods simply because they imply truths is irrational. Likewise, you shouldn't go around doing bad things just to bring about certain other good things, and doing so seems to me just as irrational as believing falsehoods because they imply truths. Doing bad things is bad, and their good consequences don't make doing them any more good than the truth of an argument's conclusion makes its premises true.

Tiamat wrote:Actually, that is how you have to do it. Psychology isn't philosophy - morals have shit to do with sanity, because sanity is by definition judged by society, while moral relativism is a crock of shit and can be proven to be so through logical argumentation. Wrong is wrong wherever you are, but sane behavior is based on the behavior of those around you. You're sane if you're following the same patterns as those around you, eccentric if you break those patterns in such a way as to not cause harm to yourself or others, and insane if your behavior is far out of line or taken to extremes such that you become dangerous to yourself or others.

"Causes harm to yourself or others" is an objective criterion independent of a behavior's popularity, and that is the notion of unhealthy, "insane" behavior that I can happily get behind, which is also used in at least some actual, clinical psychological theory. But not all psychologists buy that, and some will happily call certain "deviant" (uncommon, unpopular) behaviors unhealthy, even if the only harm that might possibly come about from them is from other peoples' unwarranted adverse reactions to such "deviant" behavior. You're right that psychology is not philosophy, but it is the science most recently diverged from philosophy and the one which has least established for itself a solid, well-grounded philosophical paradigm. There are still several different competing schools of thought within the psychological community, and in that respect it more closely resembles philosophy than the other sciences usually do. (Though physics has started to get quite philosophical again with the rise of quantum theory and its different competing interpretations).

Also, inasmuch as "sane" and "insane" are normative descriptors, e.g. sane is something you should be, and insane something you should not be, then psychology is treading on ethical grounds. If psychologists want to stick to describing how and why people do think certain things and not others, then they're philosophically safe, as pretty much everyone (outside of certain pomos and religious nuts) has accepted rational empiricism as the philosophical paradigm of choice for investigation as to what is. But as soon as the psychs want to start talking about how and why people should think certain things and not others, then they're treading into philosophically dangerous waters, as the question of how to solve normative problems, problems of what ought to be, is far from settled, as far as academic consensus goes at least. And if some particular psychologist (or group thereof) decides that the basis for their normative labels "sane" and "insane" is popularity or typicality, then they've tacitly embraced moral relativism and deserve to be ripped a new one for it.

But, in all practicality, from what I've seen of psychology texts lately, people aren't even saying "sane", "deviant", etc, that much anymore, preferring normatively neutral language like "typical" and "atypical". Though that leaves me to wonder what it matters whether a behavior is typical or atypical...

EDIT: Viking-sensai, who has been rude in this discourse? I see a lot of words disagreeing with each other but nobody being outright rude... except the brief exchange between Boss and erewhon, but that was like two posts, a couple pages ago.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby mindstalk » April 30th, 2008, 12:20 am

Forrest:
The idea that murder is irrational seems bizarre to me, as does the idea that anyone who isn't fully just and fair-minded is defective or insane. The analogy with vision seems flawed to me: the ambiguity of visual input can be calibrated by touch. That thing that looks like a ball is a ball because it feels like a ball when we reach for it; experiences with regularity in the world around us lead to a mostly trustworthy vision. Sometimes we hit optical illusions, and the vision doesn't work... anyway, your moral analogy seems to lack any equivalent to physical calibration.

Why is touch privileged? Because direct physical contact is what ultimately matters in food, sex, and not dying. Vision is useful insofar as it gives you a heads-up on something to touch or avoid being touched by.

If there's a moral equivalent, I'd posit that it's survival, of the individual or of the genes and memes behind the behavior. That which leads to extinction might be called bad, or insane, but more certainly it becomes irrelevant. (By saying extinction I rule out self-sacrifice for children, or that inspires people to follow the religion that inspired you to martyrdom; you die but the causal agents don't.)

I could see someone arguing that murder is irrational because if everyone does it that'd lead to global extinction... but that result depends on a practical rather than moral equivalence or symmetry. If someone has reason to think they have the power to do morally criminal actions and get away with it (thanks to secrecy, intelligence, charisma, hierarchy, resource or weapon control, or whatnot), then the crimes are survival-rational... and I'm skeptical that any other rationality ultimately matters.

Cooperative behavior survives because it is useful. Defecting behavior survives because it is also useful, especially when hidden behind urging other people to be cooperators. Basic iterated Prisoner's Dilemma stuff; if everyone's a sheep, it's rational to be a wolf, and the symmetry is broken by the fact that they're sheep and you're a wolf. If everyone's a Tit-for-tat, it's more rational to be one yourself. Assuming equal payoffs; unequal payoffs change things. Alas, bully/meek is also a stable population, even though less pleasant than Tft.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby BloodHenge » April 30th, 2008, 1:52 am

Viking-Sensei wrote:This is a warning from your friendly neighborhood Viking. If the back-and-forth bicker continues, I'm locking this post down.

While I'm all for discourse and find the general range of topics being discussed to be fascinating, there's a couple of you who may be well versed in advanced psychology but have apparently forgotten the basic keystones of productive human dialog... like courtesy, respectfullness, and not pissing off the moderator.

So... keep it above the belt and try and be friendly (even if you disagree with someone)... and not just the pseudo-friendly that you get from airline attendants and government workers, because I can tell. It makes my Viking-senses tingle, and not in a pleasant I-can-tell-which-shampoo-works-better sort of way.

I've not yet had to apply lock-down protocols on this board, and would like to if at all possible keep it that way.

I always get a little nervous when I see something like this in a thread in which I'm involved. Sometimes I get a little carried away with my arguments, and every once in a while I'm not sure even in retrospect whether or not I've gone too far...

Forrest wrote:
BloodHenge wrote:And appear to have assumed that the benefits to which I was referring accrue immediately, and only to the person performing the criminal act.

I'm having trouble parsing this sentence. Say again please?

It lookes like you assumed that people only do bad things for themselves, and for benefits the short term.

Forrest wrote:
It's entirely possible to do something reprehesible for the greater good

Depending on what you mean by this, I may beg to differ. If you mean that sometimes people do horrible things with good intentions, as in unintended consequences or unavoidable "lesser of two evils" choices, then yeah, of course. If you mean that it is rational to do bad things in order to produce other good effects, then I have to disagree, and call that kind of reasoning patently irrational. Certainly you can get good things in one respect as a consequence of bad things in another; but then, you can also get true conclusions from a valid argument with completely false premises - e.g. all asteroids are green, I am currently drinking out of an asteroid, therefore I am drinking out of something green.

The conclusion of that argument is true, as I'm drinking from a green soda can right now; and the argument is valid, since if the premises were true the conclusion would have to be; but both of the premises are completely false. The truth of the conclusion doesn't make the whole argument sound. You shouldn't go around positing that all asteroids are green and that Forrest drinks from asteroids just to fallaciously prove a truthful statement about the color of my soda can. Falsehoods are falsehoods despite their implication of truths, and believing falsehoods simply because they imply truths is irrational. Likewise, you shouldn't go around doing bad things just to bring about certain other good things, and doing so seems to me just as irrational as believing falsehoods because they imply truths. Doing bad things is bad, and their good consequences don't make doing them any more good than the truth of an argument's conclusion makes its premises true.

But then, we've strayed a bit from my point. Is doing something bad necessarily insane? Do you really think it's unilaterally impossible to rationally choose to intentionally make someone else's life worse?
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Viking-Sensei » April 30th, 2008, 2:11 am

Forrest wrote:EDIT: Viking-sensai, who has been rude in this discourse? I see a lot of words disagreeing with each other but nobody being outright rude... except the brief exchange between Boss and erewhon, but that was like two posts, a couple pages ago.


It was mostly them, however I was still sensing some general hostility and wanted to make sure that my omnipresence was being felt. I would've said something at the time, however I spent the last few days busy on a number of side projects and wasn't being as diligent with my omnipresencing as I normally am.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Boss Out of Town » April 30th, 2008, 5:41 am

Viking-Sensei wrote:
Forrest wrote:EDIT: Viking-sensai, who has been rude in this discourse? I see a lot of words disagreeing with each other but nobody being outright rude... except the brief exchange between Boss and erewhon, but that was like two posts, a couple pages ago.

It was mostly them, however I was still sensing some general hostility and wanted to make sure that my omnipresence was being felt. I would've said something at the time, however I spent the last few days busy on a number of side projects and wasn't being as diligent with my omnipresencing as I normally am.

Sir, you are like the Illinois State Police, I never stop thinking about you as I travel these intellectual roads, really . . .

Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind


And I appreciate that, like our local village deputies, you give me just a warning when I don't come to a full stop because I'm punchy after a hard day's work.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby Viking-Sensei » April 30th, 2008, 5:58 am

When I drove through IL a few years ago, there were all these signs up on the interstate that said we were being monitored via satellite and that if we were speeding, the space cops would know and send us a ticket in the mail. I never got one, and I was very much speeding at the time, so I figure it was a hollow threat or too hard to actually impliment, however it certainly was about as Big-Brothery as things can get without Orwellian muzak playing in the background.

So... I'm going to take that as a compliment... I guess.
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Re: 2008-04-21 - Yeah, I'm okay wit dat ...

Postby mindstalk » April 30th, 2008, 3:59 pm

My apartment laundry room has a piece of paper taped up saying "Warning! You are under survielance" [sic] I see no place for a camera to hide, I suspect a bluff.
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