Prayer Partner
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Everything posted by mererdog

  1. Patience and forgiveness are big ones for me. It is difficult, but I have learned to reign in my anger and remind myself of what I really want when I get hurt. Rather than escalating conflict, I work to resolve it. Rather than trying to make the other guy lose the fight, I try to figure out how we can both win. Every day is a new opportunity to fail at this, but I am improving. Meanwhile, I try to give myself things to look forward to. I'm going to the Grand Canyon for the first time tomorrow. Next weekend, my great-nephews-in-law are coming to visit for the first time. On a daily basis, I go for small things like trying a new candy, going for a walk in a new neighborhood, or watching the next episode of a good show. The thought that something better is around the corner makes the rough patches seem smaller. And there is my wife. No words can do justice to how good she is for me. She makes me better.
  2. Philosophy is never really about the beliefs. Its about the whys and hows behind the beliefs. Note that the given defining qualities revolve around reasons to believe, rather than what is believed. It isnt about proving the beliefs are true, just about showing that the beliefs are justified. It goes back to the Plato thing, right? Before you can claim knowledge, you have to show your belief is justified. Befire you can do that, you have to figure out what it means for a belief to be justified. What proof standards are reasonable? Which are too strict and which are too lax? The only way to get there is to look closely at a lot of srandards to figure out which ones are effective. Pay attention to the fact that the given agnostic position is not defined with "I don't know" but with "Nobody can know." That is important. It probably requires the most complicated defense.
  3. You seem to have misunderstood the proposition, because you aren't contradicting it but seem to think you are. Let me know if I got that twisted. In the Platonic tradition, you can't know something unless it is true, you believe it is true, and you have good reason to believe it is true. Lots of beleifs won't be true, and therefore won't be knowledge. Lots of true beliefs will be held without good reason, and therefore won't be knowledge. According to this understanding, all knowledge is belief, but not all beliefs are knowledge
  4. What I was trying to do was be specific. Talking about a subset within the set and using language clear enough to make that obvious. Whether that subset is a majority or a minority should be irrelevant. Even if most cops are clean, there is still value in talking about dirty cops, no?
  5. Do you think it likely that a group with only the one issue in common is likely to all agree on any other issue? That people who agree about God will all agree on terminology about God? Personally, I have never seen the dark side of the Moon, but I'm pretty sure its real. I have heard atheists argue that "a soft atheist is not a real atheist." I have heard atheists argue that "people who argue against the existence of God are anti-theists, not atheists." Some people hate umbrella terms. They relish any opportunity to prove that they are different, and therefore better, than others. You have not found that to be true?
  6. There are atheists who say those who do not actively disbelieve are not atheists. There are atheists who say those who actively disbelieve are not atheists. Since we have no Pope, there is no official definition, and no one to kick us out of the club for failing to meet the right requirements. We get to define it for ourselves, and we have to put up with others doing the same. This isn't about "the pious." It is about effective rhetoric. Defending a belief requires showing only that the belief is justified, not that the thing believed is true. So, by using the definition of atheism I did, Von can build identical defenses for two of the labels, by ignoring the difference in what they believe.
  7. They are two ways of expressing the same concept. It's Plato again- the JTB, or Justified True Belief. Where knowledge is defined that way, knowledge is a subset of belief. You can't know it is true without also believing it is true. So to say someone knows is to say they believe. Necessary and presupposed, because it is built into the definition.
  8. It is defined that way as a part of the given defense. That does not suggest it is not defined in other ways by other people, or that it is the best way to define it, or even that it is a better way to define it. It simply means that is the way the term is used in the context of the given position. I refer you back to the post directly above the one you quoted, which says, in part- " With atheism, you have to differentiate between lack of belief that a proposition is true, and belief that a proposition is untrue. That distinction causes atheism to mean different things to different people, and will shape how you need to defend the position. "
  9. Just so you know, the simplest defense of atheism (defined as active disbelief) and belief in God is- "I have a still small voice inside me that tells me it is so. That voice has never steered me wrong, and I have seen no proof it is wrong about this. So, for now, I believe it."
  10. I would like to offer the following definition, provided by Google... ag·nos·tic aɡˈnästik/ noun 1. a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. Of the three positions, agnosticism has the widest range of potential meaning. To defend a position will require defending your definitions of your terms. With all the positions, you will need a working definition of god or Gods, even if only "a thing claimed to exist by others." With atheism, you have to differentiate between lack of belief that a proposition is true, and belief that a proposition is untrue. That distinction causes atheism to mean different things to different people, and will shape how you need to defend the position. With agnosticism, you have to get into the difference between "I don't know" and "I can't know." Once again, that distinction forms how you have to build your defense.
  11. There is likely to be a lot of disagreemebt over the meaning of these words. The inherently subjective nature sort of makes it inevitable. That said... Basic Google definition- hap·py ˈhapē/ adjective 1. feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
  12. If only... I would be happy, if only I could stop going to school. I would be happy, if only I didn't have to work for a living. I would be happy, if only retirement wasn't so boring. I would be happy, if only I had a car. I would be happy, if only I didn't have to pay so much for my car. I would be happy, if only my car wasn't always in the shop. I would be happy, if only I had kids. I would be happy, if only I could find some time away from the kids. I would be happy, if only the kids would visit more. I would be happy, if only I made more money. I would be happy, if only I had more free time. I would be happy, if only I knew how.
  13. Never really thought about it like that. Kind of like the old common enemy thing. It has a certain emotional appeal.
  14. I am a lazy procrastinator. It causes lots of problems in my life. It damages my relationships and my reputation. I know this, yet I am not motovated enough to fix it. I have, however, stopped lying to myself by saying that I will work on fixing it tomorrow.
  15. The important stuff rarely does. Most people live their daily lives in the shallow end of the pool. That's not a judgement, just an observation. I dont mean to invalidate your fears or pretend to understand your perspective, but... As we grow we have to constantly relearn how to find value in ourselves- how to love the person we have become. Few people want to be a burden. But our burdens are what make us strong. They tell us, and the world, what matters to us. They give us reason to be proud. Even If you must become a burden, you can still find joy, and you can still bring joy to others. It is reasonable to fear this potential, but there is also reason to embrace it. I know it is corny and trite, but if you can't be with the one you love....
  16. Please look again. That is not what I said. My position has been consistent, though perhaps not artfully expressed. I said that free will is a refutation of fate. This means that free will is largely defined by being able to make choices, as opposed to simply doing what fate has chosen for us. As such, a definition of free will that makes no reference to fate is inherently misleading- like a definition of death that makes no reference to life. The definition you originally cited used the phrase "without constraint." And you are completely correct that, under that definition, coercion destroys free will, because coerced actions are not without constraint. Under the definition I cited, however, the phrase used is "without the constraint of fate or necessity". Since coercion does not qualify as fate, and since I have shown that it does not create a necessity to act, the definition that I cited serves as support for my position that free will choices can be made while under duress. This would simply be a frivolous semantic argument, except for the fact that free will is a term of art within philosophy and this is a discussion of philosophy. To use only common definitions when trying to understand a term of art does not work. It leads to people saying things like "Well, the Theory of Evolution is just a theory, and I have my own theories."
  17. This is where things get interesting. There is no real difference between a need and a want, because what you need depends on what you want. Von's original question is about what is needed for a good life. Maslow's hierarchy is about what is needed, purely in terms of what you are motivated to get. You are speaking now to what is needed to be alive. If I have the food I need to survive, I may still not have enough to be healthy- which is something most would agree is needed to live a good life. If I have less than I need to be healthy today, it may motivate me to improve myself and/or my circumstance in the hope that I can have enough tomorrow. So to be able to fulfill one need may require having other needs unfulfilled... even if only temporarily. And, most importantly, to fulfill your needs requires knowing what you want. If you don't know what you want out of life, you can't know what you need to get it. What's the priority? Death before or after dishonor?
  18. Right. Fate and responsibility are incompatible concepts. The problem is that some things are inevitable, or at least beyond our control. So even if free will is generally taken as a given, we still have to answer the question "Do these specific circumstances impose limits severe enough to prevent the exercise of freed will?" Most people would shorthand that as "Did I really have a choice?" or "Is this really my fault?"
  19. An accusation stemming from a difference of opinion over the importance of a variable. See also: pooh pooh fallacy
  20. It is slightly different. The words "fate" and "necessity" did not apear in yours. Those words provide a level of specificity that prevents coercion from being a factor in the definition. Your cited definition, cut and pasted from your post- "free will. the power of acting without constraint or at one's own discretion."
  21. I think that not having your needs met is the only way to learn how to reach the top of the pyramid amd attain "self actualization." We need at least a little deprivation to build empathy and motivation. Struggle keeps us strong.
  22. You're starting to sound like a philosopher... You can hammer a nail with a chunk of wood. It takes longer and does a number on the chunk of wood, but I've done it. It may not work well with a nail that doesn't have a decently sized head. The wood you're nailing with may also need to be slightly stronger than the wood you're nailing into. I'm not completely sure on the physics of it.
  23. There is a nail that needs to be hammered. A hammer is a thing you can use to make hammering easier. But hammering is something you can do with whatever is handy. So if a man has competence in hammering, pretty much everything is a hammer. If everything is a hammer, what does it really mean to say you need a hammer?
  24. Most people do not define the terms they use unless they assume the usage may not be understood. As such, most terms dont get defined until after someone has expressed a misunderstanding. When I use the term "free will," I use a meaning more closely represented by this definition from the Oxford English Dictionary "The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion." Even that definition lacks the nuance needed to properly describe the term. You can look at this for more depth. A sample- "Philosophers who distinguish freedom of action and freedom of will do so because our success in carrying out our ends depends in part on factors wholly beyond our control. Furthermore, there are always external constraints on the range of options we can meaningfully try to undertake. As the presence or absence of these conditions and constraints are not (usually) our responsibility, it is plausible that the central loci of our responsibility are our choices, or 'willings.'"
  25. Consider the difference between "having shelter" and "having the ability to shelter."