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"Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy be still a man"- David Hume
September 17, 2006 5:00 AM   Subscribe

"Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy be still a man"- David Hume
posted by Rufus T. Firefly (36 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
excellent, cheers!
posted by twistedonion at 5:35 AM on September 17, 2006


Its it just me who finds all those Philosopher's Magazine quizzes irritating?

They all seem to be designed to split everyone into two factions: the hip, swinging, post-modern cultural relativists; and the staid boring reactionary biblical literalists, and if your answers don't fit either extreme they give you a bunch of snarky remarks about how "inconsistent" you are.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:41 AM on September 17, 2006


I did that Taboo quiz. Apparently I have no moral qualms which I take to meaning I have no soul.
posted by liquorice at 5:51 AM on September 17, 2006


if your answers don't fit either extreme they give you a bunch of snarky remarks about how "inconsistent" you are.

truth hurts huh
posted by riotgrrl69 at 6:14 AM on September 17, 2006


truth hurts huh

Mm. Personally, just because I tend to believe in an absolute morality doesn't mean I get it from the Bible, or really any other single source.
posted by brett at 6:27 AM on September 17, 2006


My God!

...has a Plausability Quotient of 0.8. Not too shabby, eh?
posted by Iridic at 6:30 AM on September 17, 2006


Apparently, after the "Staying Alive" test, I'm an adherent of the soul. But it's only a result of the third question, which presents the soul as a given.

Actually I think that continuance of conciousness is the key. Because even a copy (identical down to the last atom) still would have a separate subjective expierience. Follows from the simple fact that I would still be there.

What is illogical with this position? Don't tell me it's sleep, there is a lot of activity going on. And if you present deep narcosis or coma as an argument: well it could very well be, that one subjective experience has ended and another one has started with the same memories (after the body awakens from a sufficiantly low brain activity level). Nobody would notice, because the memories are still there.
posted by vertriebskonzept at 6:38 AM on September 17, 2006


Plausability Quotient of 1.1
We suspect that your God is not the traditional God of the Christian, Jewish or Muslim faiths.

YES!

(Hi-fives self)
posted by Sk4n at 6:45 AM on September 17, 2006


Yeah, count me as another who seems to have broken the site's morality judgment algorithm. My numerical "scores" are as follows:
Results

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.04.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: 0.00.
so then it goes on to say:
You see very little wrong in the actions depicted in these scenarios. However, to the extent that you do, it is a moot point how you might justify it. You don't think that an act can be morally wrong if it is entirely private and no one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it.
Well, OK, although I suppose the sentence that starts "However ..." is a bit of a non sequitur. Nothing, however, compared to what follows:
Yet the actions described in these scenarios are private like this and it was specified as clearly as possible that they didn't involve harm. Possibly an argument could be made that the people undertaking these actions are harmed in some way by them. But you don't think that an act can be morally wrong solely for the reason that it harms the person undertaking it. So even this doesn't seem to be enough to make the actions described in these scenarios wrong in terms of your moral outlook. It is a bit of a puzzle!
Huh? Where's the puzzle? (other than the one in the wording of the judgement itself!)
posted by kcds at 6:50 AM on September 17, 2006


I've found most of these interesting, although primarily as a jumping-off point for further thought and reading. That Strange New World one, though... good gawd, it's 110 baud. "Hello, I'm Angel... remember not to remove your phone from the acoustic coupler during this journey."
posted by Wolfdog at 6:54 AM on September 17, 2006


I am logical!
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:09 AM on September 17, 2006


vertriebskonzept, the main argument is that any copy of you would have the same impression of being you, and would profess, very strongly, that in fact it was you, and that the other person was the copy! As you would both be in the same boat, the only conclusion to be drawn from such a case is that consciousness is not the indivisible entity it seems to be to you. If you were to argue, say, that the body that remained in the same physical location is the 'true' original, it would imply that a new consciousness is created at the moment of duplication, but the nature of the process is such that this consciousness has the illusion of continuity. This argument applies equally to the original: it becomes perfectly reasonable, and in some sense justified, to say that all consciousness persists only momentarily, but with the illusion of continuity. Which I'm sure is not the conclusion you were seeking.
posted by topynate at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2006


From Battleground God:

You've just bitten a bullet!

In saying that God has the freedom and power to do that which is logically impossible (like creating square circles), you are saying that any discussion of God and ultimate reality cannot be constrained by basic principles of rationality. This would seem to make rational discourse about God impossible. If rational discourse about God is impossible, there is nothing rational we can say about God and nothing rational we can say to support our belief or disbelief in God. To reject rational constraints on religious discourse in this fashion requires accepting that religious convictions, including your religious convictions, are beyond any debate or rational discussion.

Bullseye, guys, you've finally crawled up to the minimally acceptable grasp of the subject. Your next and final assignment is to meditate on our pal Wittgenstein's aperçu, namely that when you have nothing to say it's time to shut up.
posted by jfuller at 7:28 AM on September 17, 2006


These quizzes are interesting, but obnoxious. I don't like the tone they take, that I am simple layman and they understand my philosohpical positions better than I do. And I also don't like the fact that I can't argue back.
posted by bookish at 7:33 AM on September 17, 2006


Like bookish, it would be nice to argue back.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:41 AM on September 17, 2006


all consciousness persists only momentarily, but with the illusion of continuity.

Maybe. But I'm still extremely partial to my illusion of continuity.
posted by Iridic at 7:43 AM on September 17, 2006


From the taboo test:

"Your Moralising Quotient of 0.04 compares to an average Moralising Quotient of 0.32. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are more permissive than average.

Your Interference Factor of 0.00 compares to an average Interference Factor of 0.18. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are less likely to recommend societal interference in matters of moral wrongdoing, in the form of prevention or punishment, than average.

Your Universalising Factor of 0.00 compares to an average Universalising Factor of 0.46. This means you are less likely than average to see moral wrongdoing in universal terms - that is, without regard to prevailing cultural norms and social conventions (at least as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned)."

Guess I'm just a damn hippie
posted by Flashman at 8:22 AM on September 17, 2006


he's gendrifying me!
posted by wumpus at 8:36 AM on September 17, 2006


Man, that 'battleground God' one is annoying. Apparently I was 'doing smashingly' until I said that:

1) It's acceptable to base your beliefs about the world on firm inner convictions.

and

2) If a guy is a serial rapist, and believs that God wants him to rape and kill hookers he's justified in believing that it is morally acceptable.

This was, apparently, a 'flagrant contraction.' It seems, though, that question 1 forces a philosophically convenient but intellectually unecessary absolutist stance. I believe that the higher the stakes in terms of impact on others' lives, the less acceptable it is to base beliefs on firm inner convictions. With that caveat, #2 isn't contradictory at all.

But coding that quiz would be harder, I suppose. Meh.
posted by verb at 9:14 AM on September 17, 2006


Also, the site seems to be full of closeted Jane Austen fans ashamed that they're not cool enough to like Shakespeare.
posted by verb at 9:23 AM on September 17, 2006


And so little love for T.S. Eliot.
posted by Iridic at 9:27 AM on September 17, 2006


Also, the problem was that I said the above rapist was NOT justified in believing that his crimes are morally acceptable. That's a rather hineous typo. Whoops!
posted by verb at 9:29 AM on September 17, 2006


So Do It Yourself God is so cute in its belittling tone. My God has a .2 percent chance of being plausible, which sounds about right. However, there are things not on the website's precious list which turn my faith into a 1.0.

For one thing, my God is not limited by the physics of this reality which we take for granted, secondly his perspective is one which we can't imagine to comprehend: try multiplying our reaction to ants about ten fold and you still won't capture it. Third, my God has a very sick and twisted sense of humor, and He has no concept of understanding his captive audience - save for Himself. Fourth, though I know for certain there is "A" supreme diety of some form, I realize that my impression of "Him" may or may not be remotely similar to what's actually there. I use the masculine "He" in reference to God out of simplicity, but I'm willing to accept "He" is just as likely a "She" or an "It" or a none of the above category. I know there must be a God; but I don't know if my opinion of "Him" is even remotely accurate, and no one on this planet can tell me their opinion outranks mine.

I don't care how many bible stories Mankind tells itself, it's still hypothesizing, and I doubt any of the guesses are particularly educated.

So they can dismiss my God all they want. I'm just as dismissive of their cute little Do-It-Yourself Diety. They got that part right. Every individual on this planet has made the Diety into their own image. I find this ironically fitting.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:42 AM on September 17, 2006


Heh. That 'matrix' simulator picked the wrong card. And went on talking about how convincing its demonstrations were. Cute.
posted by verb at 9:50 AM on September 17, 2006


the main argument is that any copy of you would have the same impression of being you, and would profess, very strongly, that in fact it was you, and that the other person was the copy!

If it would be a copy of me, it would not claim such a thing. ;-)
No seriously, if I see a copy of me I would not say, that I'm the guy over there, have his point of view. We clearly would be distinct. When he feels pain, I do not.

But I really don't favor any conclusion, I'm just interested in the answer.
posted by vertriebskonzept at 9:53 AM on September 17, 2006


Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.00.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: -1.


I am a godless heathen. Let's party.
posted by chillmost at 10:04 AM on September 17, 2006


Countdown till Jessamyn posts a chicken sex picture... T minus 1 hour.
posted by knave at 10:19 AM on September 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


that battleground god game is kind of a double, err triple
posted by mulligan at 10:43 AM on September 17, 2006


On the design a diety page they don't have a little box for white. Because I don't know much about good besides the fact that he is white.
posted by I Foody at 11:06 AM on September 17, 2006


At least I'm consistent, I guess?
posted by icanbreathe at 1:41 PM on September 17, 2006


It's a philsopher's wet dream: "We smartly pigeonhole you based on a perfunctory analysis of your response to trivial hypothetical scenarios, and you just sit there, with no way of responding."
posted by slatternus at 2:00 PM on September 17, 2006


The logic test is flawed.

Explanation

The rule stated that if a card has the letter S on one side, then it has the number 3 on the other. As above, the four cards showed:

Card 1 - S
Card 2 - Q
Card 3 - 3
Card 4 - 7

So which cards definitely have to be turned over to determine if the rule has been broken in any of the cases represented by these cards?

Card 1 - Yes. This card has the letter S on one side. It might not have the number 3 on the other. It is necessary to turn over the card to determine whether this is the case. If it is, then the rule is broken.

Card 2 - No. The rule says nothing about what must appear on the other side of a card with the letter Q. Therefore, there is no need to turn this card over to determine that the rule is not broken.



You do have to flip over Q, because it might have an S on the back!

posted by Citizen Premier at 3:38 PM on September 17, 2006


I was once forced to "play" through this page at school, in an ethics class.

Time has not improved it.
posted by hugsnkisses at 4:11 PM on September 17, 2006


It's stupid that these people put such a huge importance on having consistent beliefs. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds", Ralph Waldo Emerson. Give me completeness over consistency any day.
posted by Laugh_track at 11:11 PM on September 17, 2006


According to this fellow, the modern obsession with self-consistency regardless of other truth criteria is David Hilbert's fault.
posted by Iridic at 11:24 PM on September 17, 2006


Self-consistency is considered a virtue in philosophy (and elsewhere) because it's the first step toward determining the validity of any suggested framework -- and in philosophy, often the only step, since issues are often unresolvable by evidence.

For an example of how the site attempts to not oversimplify, take the test that tells you how parsimonious your moral principles appear to be. It doesn't say that parsimonious reasoning (as they define it) is good or bad. Just interesting, and worth thinking about. That applies to morality because flexibility is not necessarily a failing.

If, however, my conception of a tree is that it is a growing, vegetable lifeform, only wait that dead one is a tree, too, and that paper is kind of, also, and so is that chair, then maybe my inconsistency points to some problems in my definition. And if the only way a people escape such inconsistencies when they attempt to define their version of "God" is by throwing up my hands and saying: "It's GOD, it doesn't HAVE to make sense!" then I don't think they're doing any better just because of the subject matter shift, unless they're simply trying to say that God is ineffable, which is a respectable, if rare, position.

There is some flawed material here, but I bet not with regard to the issues many people would want to argue if they could. Some people seem to have never gotten over the dislike of finding out that in philosophy not everything is an equally valid answer, despite how easy you thought intro would be (or was).
posted by dreamsign at 2:45 AM on September 19, 2006


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