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Tags atheism , epicureanism , hedonism , nihilism , philosophy , stoicism

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Old 3rd December 2013, 12:07 PM   #41
ehcks
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1. Attempt to be happy.
2. Don't be a dick.

Or is that too simple?
__________________
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor
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Old 3rd December 2013, 12:15 PM   #42
Philosofer123
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
So you don't actually want to discuss it. You've already got the answers, and want to preach. Got it. I'll not waste your time or mine any further.
False. As I state in the opening post, I am posting the document in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. Over the past couple of years, I have made a number of modifications to the document based on feedback from others. It just so happens that your particular feedback has not led to any improvements in the document.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
ETA: The reason I'm saying that is that you played what you consider a trump card. Nothing anyone says is going to sway your opinion about this, because you've got what you consider sufficient evidence. Until and unless you are willing to accept that your evidence isn't complete--something that my experience suggests cannot come from outside--this conversation cannot be productive. Any time any of us presents an argument, you can simply say "But I'm living my philosophy and I'm happy." You're not looking for critiques if you find that argument sufficient. I'm not upset by this or anything, and don't mean to sound like I am--I merely am recognizing that this conversation isn't going to go anywhere, so there's no point in it.
Just because I am happy living my philosophy does not mean that it is perfect. The only argument that my personal happiness refutes is your implication that living my philosophy would necessarily make one miserable.

I present dozens of arguments in the document, each of which is open to scrutiny. Again, I am posting the document in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 12:42 PM   #43
Akri
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
There is nothing in my philosophy that implies that I "want to have some people I care about". Good friendships promote peace of mind, but not because I care about my friends--that's just a side effect.
Caring about the other person isn't a side effect of friendship; it's a necessary component. You can't have a friendship where you don't care about the other person, so if you want friendships that promote peace of mind then you must want to have people you care about, pretty much by definition.

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There is nothing overly dramatic or misleading.
Fair enough. The problem might be that I've spent a bit amount of time studying emotional disorders, so when I see the phrase "emotional detachment" it carries certain connotations for me.

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I did not say that the simple absence of negative emotions causes pleasure.
You said one may take pleasure from realizing that they are not experiencing negative emotions, which is what I was referring to.

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As you point out, one needs to be actively aware of their absence, and there is nothing stopping me from being actively aware of their absence for the rest of my life.
True, but you will need to deliberately work at being aware of the lack of negative emotions. Which isn't impossible by any means, but it would be very easy to forget to do on a regular basis.

And of course you can actually get the same effect without deliberately limiting negative emotions by reflecting on negative emotions that you're never likely to experience. I will probably never experience the fear that comes from living in a war zone, and I can reflect on that fact and feel glad that I'm lucky enough to not face that prospect.

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Eliminating negative emotions may also eliminate certain types of positive emotions. But as I point out in the document, once one does not suffer from significant negative emotions, one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions.
What's your evidence for this?

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Agreed. But so what? This does not refute any of my points.
Not everything I say needs to be an attempt at refuting something you said.

Last edited by Akri; 3rd December 2013 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 01:01 PM   #44
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123
The only argument that my personal happiness refutes is your implication that living my philosophy would necessarily make one miserable.
Actually, it doesn't--for two reasons. First, you may well be wrong. You may THINK you're happy, but in fact be mistaken about that. It's very easy to do once you start messing around with distancing yourself from things. Second, you may be happy NOW, but it may destroy you psychologically later on. It could well be that I know the end of this road better than you do. It also may be that I'm mistaken; my point is that your happyness IN NO WAY refutes my statement. This is an example of your shallow thinking. I point that out not as an insult, but a warning: you're messing with some powerful stuff here, and you're not giving it sufficient consideration. That's dangerous, if not disasterous.

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Eliminating negative emotions may also eliminate certain types of positive emotions. But as I point out in the document, once one does not suffer from significant negative emotions, one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions.
Uh-huh. Tell me again how you're not advocating abandoning emotions.

Also, this is false. Again, I went the stoic path. Then I heard a song that broke through all my philosophizing and made me feel happy. Once you experience a moment of true joy, you realize that simply not suffering isn't good enough. You can taste sweet by eating a lemon and waiting for the sourness to pass, but not eating lemons doesn't negate one's desire for sweet snacks.

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As you point out, one needs to be actively aware of their absence, and there is nothing stopping me from being actively aware of their absence for the rest of my life.
True. However, this is the most insane way to spend your time I can imagine. Basically you're sayign that you're going to train yourself to constantly think about all the bad things that could happen to you, and be greatful they're not--which means a life focused on all the negative events that could possibly occur. Don't get me wrong; when I think about it I'm very happy that no one's shooting at me, I'm not in danger of bleeding to death, and I'm not on any hit lists (to list a few negative events I've experienced). But it would be insane for me to focus on those events in an attempt to be happy! It's a much better idea to spend my time thinking about playing "T. rex feeding time" with my baby, or remembering my first international conference, or the feeling of mastering a complex maille weave. It's even better to think about presenting a major accademic work to the world, attending my son's first tournament, or a quiet evening alone with my wife after a concert. The memories of good times are better because they are actual real positive emotions, not merely good in contrast. The last few are better still because they are things I can actually do something about.

What you're talking about is generating a false and entirely artificial mental state by way of contrast--just about the most round-about way to enduce feelings of pleasure possible, and a complete waste of mental effort in as much as the mental effort does not and cannot produce action. Contemplating happy times generates happy feelings directly, without the round-about nonsense, and is therefore far more efficient, though still not exactly efficient in as much as, again, it does not and cannot produce action. And contemplating future happy events actually allows one to plan for and enact the actions necessary to ensure future happiness, which makes it the best choice of them all. If happiness is something worth going after--and the amount of effort necessary for your plan to work suggests that you accept that it is--it's better in every way to actually persue it rather than avoid it.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 01:11 PM   #45
Philosofer123
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
Caring about the other person isn't a side effect of friendship; it's a necessary component. You can't have a friendship where you don't care about the other person, so if you want friendships that promote peace of mind then you must want to have people you care about, pretty much by definition.
Recall that one of the primary benefits of good friendships--in terms of peace of mind--is the assurance of assistance in times of need. Genuinely caring about the friend is not necessary to obtain this benefit. That said, I have already discussed the tension between cultivating emotional detachment and cultivating good friendships. See my comments above.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
True, but you will need to deliberately work at being aware of the lack of negative emotions. Which isn't impossible by any means, but it would be very easy to forget to do on a regular basis.
It is not easy to forget to do if one lives a philosophy which has happiness as its ultimate goal.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
And of course you can actually get the same effect without deliberately limiting negative emotions by reflecting on negative emotions that you're never likely to experience. I will probably never experience the fear that comes from living in a war zone, and I can reflect on that fact and feel glad that I'm lucky enough to not face that prospect.
What you provide is an example of "focusing on the positive" (see top of page 8). However, by definition, one cannot have peace of mind while suffering from significant negative emotions. Therefore, it still makes sense to strive to eliminate negative emotions. And one can derive particular pleasure from the knowledge that one is not suffering from any significant negative emotions.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
What's your evidence for this?
It is true by definition. If one has a need or desire to experience certain positive emotions, and if one is not currently experiencing these positive emotions, then one will be frustrated--a negative emotion that precludes peace of mind. Therefore, when one has achieved peace of mind, one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions. The trick, of course, is to achieve peace of mind, to which roughly half of my document is dedicated.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 01:43 PM   #46
Philosofer123
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Actually, it doesn't--for two reasons. First, you may well be wrong. You may THINK you're happy, but in fact be mistaken about that. It's very easy to do once you start messing around with distancing yourself from things. Second, you may be happy NOW, but it may destroy you psychologically later on. It could well be that I know the end of this road better than you do. It also may be that I'm mistaken; my point is that your happyness IN NO WAY refutes my statement. This is an example of your shallow thinking. I point that out not as an insult, but a warning: you're messing with some powerful stuff here, and you're not giving it sufficient consideration. That's dangerous, if not disasterous.
Recall that I define happiness as any of a spectrum of agreeable mental states ranging from contentment to intense joy. And I know that I am content (and therefore happy) because I am not discontent about anything.

I see no reason to believe that following my philosophy "will destroy me psychologically later on". If you believe that it will, then please provide evidence. Regarding not giving the methods in my philosophy "sufficient consideration", I have researched and thought about these issues for years.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Uh-huh. Tell me again how you're not advocating abandoning emotions.
I am advocating the elimination of negative emotions only, not the elimination of all emotions. See page 6 regarding positive emotions.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Also, this is false. Again, I went the stoic path. Then I heard a song that broke through all my philosophizing and made me feel happy. Once you experience a moment of true joy, you realize that simply not suffering isn't good enough. You can taste sweet by eating a lemon and waiting for the sourness to pass, but not eating lemons doesn't negate one's desire for sweet snacks.
I have experienced moments of joy, and while I prefer to feel them, I do not feel a need or desire to feel them. If I did feel a need or desire to feel them, I could not enjoy peace of mind, as I would be frustrated during all of those times when I do not feel joy. So, by definition, once one does not suffer from significant negative emotions (including frustration), one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
True. However, this is the most insane way to spend your time I can imagine. Basically you're sayign that you're going to train yourself to constantly think about all the bad things that could happen to you, and be greatful they're not--which means a life focused on all the negative events that could possibly occur. Don't get me wrong; when I think about it I'm very happy that no one's shooting at me, I'm not in danger of bleeding to death, and I'm not on any hit lists (to list a few negative events I've experienced). But it would be insane for me to focus on those events in an attempt to be happy! It's a much better idea to spend my time thinking about playing "T. rex feeding time" with my baby, or remembering my first international conference, or the feeling of mastering a complex maille weave. It's even better to think about presenting a major accademic work to the world, attending my son's first tournament, or a quiet evening alone with my wife after a concert. The memories of good times are better because they are actual real positive emotions, not merely good in contrast. The last few are better still because they are things I can actually do something about.

What you're talking about is generating a false and entirely artificial mental state by way of contrast--just about the most round-about way to enduce feelings of pleasure possible, and a complete waste of mental effort in as much as the mental effort does not and cannot produce action. Contemplating happy times generates happy feelings directly, without the round-about nonsense, and is therefore far more efficient, though still not exactly efficient in as much as, again, it does not and cannot produce action. And contemplating future happy events actually allows one to plan for and enact the actions necessary to ensure future happiness, which makes it the best choice of them all. If happiness is something worth going after--and the amount of effort necessary for your plan to work suggests that you accept that it is--it's better in every way to actually persue it rather than avoid it.
I see nothing wrong with feeling good about the absence of negative emotions, and there is nothing "roundabout" or "inefficient" in doing so. I am not thinking about bad events, just the absence of negative emotions. Moreover, my philosophy does not preclude thinking of happy memories or anticipating future pleasurable events. In fact, on page 10, I recommend doing exactly that in times of duress. In my view, these are perfectly legitimate ways of promoting positive emotions.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 02:14 PM   #47
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123
Recall that I define happiness as any of a spectrum of agreeable mental states ranging from contentment to intense joy. And I know that I am content (and therefore happy) because I am not discontent about anything.
You are still defining happiness by a negative in this statement.

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I see no reason to believe that following my philosophy "will destroy me psychologically later on". If you believe that it will, then please provide evidence.
I did--my own experience. The fact that you accept YOUR experience as proof, but reject MY experience as even evidence, is yet another indication of the shallow depth of your thought on this matter.

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I have researched and thought about these issues for years.
That in no way ensures that your thoughts have any depth to them. The fact that you can't even see your own assumptions, or the dissonence between your alleged beliefs and what you are actively advocating, demonstrate that while you've spent a lot of time thinking about this, it hasn't done very much good.

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I am advocating the elimination of negative emotions only, not the elimination of all emotions. See page 6 regarding positive emotions.
See the quote I quoted. You may THINK that's what you're doing, but in reality you're doing something else entirely.

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I have experienced moments of joy, and while I prefer to feel them, I do not feel a need or desire to feel them. If I did feel a need or desire to feel them, I could not enjoy peace of mind, as I would be frustrated during all of those times when I do not feel joy.
Non sequitor. The fact that a person isn't feeling joy at this very instant in no way necessitates them feeling frustrated when they do not.

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So, by definition, once one does not suffer from significant negative emotions (including frustration), one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions.
This is not true by definition. It is only supported by your unnamed and unexamined assumption about the nature of desire. It is entirely possible to say "That was nice. I'm happy I did that. Now let's move on." It is entirely possible to experience joy without feeling frustrated during any, much less all, times one does not feel joy. Your refusal to accept that in no way justifies your stance.

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I see nothing wrong with feeling good about the absence of negative emotions, and there is nothing "roundabout" or "inefficient" in doing so.
I just explained, at length, that making feeling good about the absence of negative emotions your primary way to feel good is round-about (in that it approaches the objective from the opposite direction). If you're merely going to quote my statements, without reading them, why bother quoting them at all? As for what's wrong with it, you are training your brain to focus on the negative. Humans are creatures of habbit. That is not a good habit to cultivate. If nothing else, you'll need increasingly negative emotions to feel the resultant positive emotions.

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I am not thinking about bad events, just the absence of negative emotions.
You are still focused on a negative in an attempt to reach a positive--a roundabout method that places the entire emphasis squarely on the negative, and which defines pleasure as the absence of pain and not a thing in and of itself. You are contradicting yourself and abandoning even the pretense at rational and coherent diction at this point.

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In my view, these are perfectly legitimate ways of promoting positive emotions.
Funny how you say that, but what you actually argue for is a focus on the negative. And even funnier how you ignore the connection between events and emotions inherent in my statements.

Again, actions are the important thing--you can say you accept an idea, but if you then proceed to ignore it there's no reason for us to accept that you accept it. What I'm seeing is an advocacy of stoicism due to a fear of negative emotions, a philosophy that's built out of post-hoc justifications to support that conclusion, and a refusal to accept those facts.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 02:47 PM   #48
Philosofer123
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
You are still defining happiness by a negative in this statement.

I did--my own experience. The fact that you accept YOUR experience as proof, but reject MY experience as even evidence, is yet another indication of the shallow depth of your thought on this matter.

That in no way ensures that your thoughts have any depth to them. The fact that you can't even see your own assumptions, or the dissonence between your alleged beliefs and what you are actively advocating, demonstrate that while you've spent a lot of time thinking about this, it hasn't done very much good.

See the quote I quoted. You may THINK that's what you're doing, but in reality you're doing something else entirely.

Non sequitor. The fact that a person isn't feeling joy at this very instant in no way necessitates them feeling frustrated when they do not.

This is not true by definition. It is only supported by your unnamed and unexamined assumption about the nature of desire. It is entirely possible to say "That was nice. I'm happy I did that. Now let's move on." It is entirely possible to experience joy without feeling frustrated during any, much less all, times one does not feel joy. Your refusal to accept that in no way justifies your stance.

I just explained, at length, that making feeling good about the absence of negative emotions your primary way to feel good is round-about (in that it approaches the objective from the opposite direction). If you're merely going to quote my statements, without reading them, why bother quoting them at all? As for what's wrong with it, you are training your brain to focus on the negative. Humans are creatures of habbit. That is not a good habit to cultivate. If nothing else, you'll need increasingly negative emotions to feel the resultant positive emotions.

You are still focused on a negative in an attempt to reach a positive--a roundabout method that places the entire emphasis squarely on the negative, and which defines pleasure as the absence of pain and not a thing in and of itself. You are contradicting yourself and abandoning even the pretense at rational and coherent diction at this point.

Funny how you say that, but what you actually argue for is a focus on the negative. And even funnier how you ignore the connection between events and emotions inherent in my statements.

Again, actions are the important thing--you can say you accept an idea, but if you then proceed to ignore it there's no reason for us to accept that you accept it. What I'm seeing is an advocacy of stoicism due to a fear of negative emotions, a philosophy that's built out of post-hoc justifications to support that conclusion, and a refusal to accept those facts.
Nothing in your entire post refutes anything that I have said. You are merely reasserting your positions and misconstruing my own.

Remember that the purpose of posting my philosophy is to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. It is now clear to me that none of your comments will result in such an improvement, so I will end our discussion here.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 03:24 PM   #49
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123
Nothing in your entire post refutes anything that I have said. You are merely reasserting your positions and misconstruing my own.
This tells me you haven't bothered to try to understand what i'm saying.

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Remember that the purpose of posting my philosophy is to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.
And I'm telling you problems with it, deep problems that are necessarily going to cause failure. Includinng the fact that you don't actually believe it.

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It is now clear to me that none of your comments will result in such an improvement, so I will end our discussion here.
~shrug~ I told you that you didnt' want to actually discuss anything, but rather wanted to preach at people. The fact that you would rather abandon the conversation than acknowledge glaringly obvious errors when they are clearly presented is proof of that.

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Thank you for your time.
I genuinely hope you live through the Hell you are bringing upon yourself. I mean that honestly. The only way to do it, though, is to actually examine your philosophy honestly. You are unwilling to do that right now. If you want to blame me, that's fine; my self-worth isn't tied to some random idiot on the internet. But you really need to re-evaluate what your'e doing, because the consequences are literally life-threatening.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 03:36 PM   #50
Akri
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
Recall that one of the primary benefits of good friendships--in terms of peace of mind--is the assurance of assistance in times of need. Genuinely caring about the friend is not necessary to obtain this benefit.
[
Genuinely caring about the friend is necessary for them to be a friend. Caring about the other person is one of the defining traits of a friendship.

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It is not easy to forget to do if one lives a philosophy which has happiness as its ultimate goal.
Only if you're trying to achieve happiness by thinking about it's inverse. If you try to achieve happiness by doing things that make you feel good then it's very easy to forget to think about negative emotions because they aren't relevant to you.

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What you provide is an example of "focusing on the positive" (see top of page 8).
It's more like "focusing on the lack of the negative". It's similar to negative reinforcement where a negative stimulus is removed in order to encourage a behavior, only it's done entirely in abstraction.

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Therefore, it still makes sense to strive to eliminate negative emotions.
It makes more sense to cultivate positive ones, which both eliminates the negative (many negative emotions are incompatible with positive ones) AND gives you an actual positive (as opposed to the simple lack of a negative).

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It is true by definition.
I don't think you understand what this phrase means.

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If one has a need or desire to experience certain positive emotions, and if one is not currently experiencing these positive emotions, then one will be frustrated--a negative emotion that precludes peace of mind. Therefore, when one has achieved peace of mind, one does not feel the need or desire to feel positive emotions.
Your second sentence does not follow from your first. Just because negative emotions can arise when one desires and fails to achieve a positive emotion it does not necessarily follow that removing negative emotions will also remove the desire for positive emotions. I don't like it when I accidentally stab myself while needle felting, but I don't lose the desire to needle felt if I go a long time without stabbing myself.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 04:29 PM   #51
Philosofer123
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
[
Genuinely caring about the friend is necessary for them to be a friend. Caring about the other person is one of the defining traits of a friendship.
My point is that caring about someone is not necessary for that person to provide assurance of assistance in times of need. I will not quibble about the definition of "friendship", because it is irrelevant.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
Only if you're trying to achieve happiness by thinking about it's inverse. If you try to achieve happiness by doing things that make you feel good then it's very easy to forget to think about negative emotions because they aren't relevant to you.
Trying to achieve happiness by doing things that make you feel good does not automatically make negative emotions irrelevant to you.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
It's more like "focusing on the lack of the negative". It's similar to negative reinforcement where a negative stimulus is removed in order to encourage a behavior, only it's done entirely in abstraction.
The lack of the negative is a positive.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
It makes more sense to cultivate positive ones, which both eliminates the negative (many negative emotions are incompatible with positive ones) AND gives you an actual positive (as opposed to the simple lack of a negative).
Again, cultivating positive emotions does not automatically eliminate all negative emotions. Also, positive emotions are fleeting in nature, and when a particular positive emotion dissipates, one is still faced with the incompatible negative emotion. That said, I have no problem with cultivating positive emotions--please see middle of page 6.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
I don't think you understand what this phrase means.
I understand exactly what it means. See below.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
Your second sentence does not follow from your first. Just because negative emotions can arise when one desires and fails to achieve a positive emotion it does not necessarily follow that removing negative emotions will also remove the desire for positive emotions. I don't like it when I accidentally stab myself while needle felting, but I don't lose the desire to needle felt if I go a long time without stabbing myself.
If one has peace of mind (lack of negative emotions), then by definition one is not frustrated, because frustration is a type of negative emotion. Having a desire for a positive emotion while not actually feeling a positive emotion is a form of frustration. Therefore, it is impossible to desire to have positive emotions at the same time that one has both (1) peace of mind and (2) no positive emotions.

The trick, of course, is to remove the desire for positive emotions (though one may still have a preference for positive emotions--failing to satisfy a preference does not frustrate, while failing to satisfy a desire does frustrate). Failing this, one cannot achieve lasting peace of mind, due to the fleeting nature of positive emotions. In my own case, simply understanding that the desire for positive emotions is counterproductive has enabled me to eliminate this desire. See "Questioning the rationality of one's desires" on page 9.

Last edited by Philosofer123; 3rd December 2013 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 05:04 PM   #52
Akri
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
My point is that caring about the friend is not necessary for the friend to provide assurance of assistance in times of need. I will not quibble about the definition of "friendship", because it is irrelevant.
And my point is that your philosophy does indeed imply that you want to have people you care about. You want to have friends (because friendship carries benefits you desire) and in order for a person to qualify as a friend you must care about them. Therefor you want to have people whom you care about.

The definition of friendship isn't irrelevant here. This is actually a case where the phrase "true by definition" applies: part of the definition of a friend is that you care about them, thus it is true by definition that if you want friends you want people you care about.

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Trying to achieve happiness by doing things that make you feel good does not automatically make negative emotions irrelevant to you.
Fair enough. I should have said that it makes negative emotions which you aren't experiencing irrelevant. If you're only dwelling on negative emotions in order to make yourself happy then there's no reason to think about them if you're already happy [ETA: or if you've got another route which you can use to achieve happiness].

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The lack of the negative is a positive.
No, the lack of the negative is neutral. Zero is not a negative, but it's not a positive either. Neutrons have no negative charge, but they are not positively charged either. I'm currently not moving backward, but that doesn't mean I'm moving forward.

You're doing an excellent job of proving that Dinwar's right about you using shallow thinking.

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Again, cultivating positive emotions does not automatically eliminate all negative emotions.
I never made this claim. I wouldn't claim that anything can eliminate all negative emotions (short of a coma or suicide). My claim is that focusing on the positive (and I mean actually focusing on the positive, not focusing on the lack of the negative) may be a more efficient route to eliminating the negative. Behavioral science appears to agree with me, by the way.

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Also, positive emotions are fleeting in nature, and when a particular positive emotion dissipates, one is still faced with the incompatible negative emotion.
I suggest you look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, because it proves this wrong quite handily.

Your first error is that you're concerned with the fleeting nature of positive emotions but you aren't considering that negative emotions can also be fleeting. If you've actually used an incompatible positive emotion then when that emotion fades you shouldn't go right back to the negative emotion, because you've effectively switched that emotion off for the time being. Now that emotion might come back later, and that leads us to your second error: forgetting that humans are creatures of habit. If you spend time thinking about the positive then it will become easier and easier to gravitate towards positive emotions instead of negative ones, and over time those negative emotions will cease to appear at all.

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If one has peace of mind (lack of negative emotions), then by definition one is not frustrated, because frustration is a type of negative emotion. Having a desire for a positive emotion while not actually feeling a positive emotion is a form of frustration.
No it isn't. It can be, but it isn't always.

Quote:
Therefore, it is impossible to desire to have positive emotions at the same time that one has both (1) peace of mind and (2) no positive emotions.
You are aware that you're not supporting the claim I asked you to support, right? The claim was that if you remove negative emotions then you also remove the desire for positive ones.

Last edited by Akri; 3rd December 2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 05:12 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Yeah people often forget (or conveniently ignore) the fact that at least Thoreau had the good sense to only pretend to get away from it all.

As to the broader question of the OP if you are assigning a "philosophy" to your life you are almost certainly making it more complicated then it needs to be. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, take at least one good dump a day. Once that is taken care of trying to reduce the suffering of conscience creatures and try to learn at least one new thing about the world a day.

Everything else is just a metaphor.
I have decided I would much rather get wasted, party all night (none of that sleep nonsense) and couldn't give a monkey's about suffering conscious creatures. (Am I supposed to go into the wild and stop cheetahs from eating gazelles? Or am I supposed to feed hungry animals?) And why bother learning stuff? What use is it to me to know that Toronto is the capital of Canada, for example? And what do you mean "All else is just metaphor"? That sounds like New Age guru-up-a-mountain speak!
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Old 3rd December 2013, 05:35 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
And my point is that your philosophy does indeed imply that you want to have people you care about. You want to have friends (because friendship carries benefits you desire) and in order for a person to qualify as a friend you must care about them. Therefor you want to have people whom you care about.

The definition of friendship isn't irrelevant here. This is actually a case where the phrase "true by definition" applies: part of the definition of a friend is that you care about them, thus it is true by definition that if you want friends you want people you care about.
I agree that friendship provides benefits, but such benefits--particularly the assurance of assistance in times of need--do not require one to actually care about the other person. Therefore, I do not necessarily "want to have people I care about".

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
Fair enough. I should have said that it makes negative emotions which you aren't experiencing irrelevant. If you're only dwelling on negative emotions in order to make yourself happy then there's no reason to think about them if you're already happy [ETA: or if you've got another route which you can use to achieve happiness].
I assume that this is one of those points that does not refute anything in my philosophy. If I am incorrect, then please explain.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
No, the lack of the negative is neutral. Zero is not a negative, but it's not a positive either. Neutrons have no negative charge, but they are not positively charged either. I'm currently not moving backward, but that doesn't mean I'm moving forward.

You're doing an excellent job of proving that Dinwar's right about you using shallow thinking.
The lack of a negative is positive, relative to the non-lack of a negative. This is why one can take pleasure in the fact that one is not currently experiencing significant negative emotions.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
I never made this claim. I wouldn't claim that anything can eliminate all negative emotions (short of a coma or suicide). My claim is that focusing on the positive (and I mean actually focusing on the positive, not focusing on the lack of the negative) may be a more efficient route to eliminating the negative. Behavioral science appears to agree with me, by the way.
Your statement that "focusing on the positive" is a "more efficient route to eliminating the negative" is quite vague. Please elaborate and provide examples.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
I suggest you look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, because it proves this wrong quite handily.

Your first error is that you're concerned with the fleeting nature of positive emotions but you aren't considering that negative emotions can also be fleeting. If you've actually used an incompatible positive emotion then when that emotion fades you shouldn't go right back to the negative emotion, because you've effectively switched that emotion off for the time being. Now that emotion might come back later, and that leads us to your second error: forgetting that humans are creatures of habit. If you spend time thinking about the positive then it will become easier and easier to gravitate towards positive emotions instead of negative ones, and over time those negative emotions will cease to appear at all.
I am a big fan of CBT/REBT, and I use those techniques in my document.

I agree that negative emotions can be fleeting. But sometimes they are not. For example, let's say you fear a future event. You can try to distract yourself from that fear by thinking positive thoughts, but as long as you continue to evaluate the future event as negative, the fear will come back again and again. If, on the other hand, you change your evaluation of the future event (see "Negative visualization") to something that is neutral rather than negative, then you can eliminate your fear once and for all. This, by the way, is an application of CBT.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
No it isn't. It can be, but it isn't always.
I define desire as that which causes frustration when not satisfied. If something does not cause frustration when not satisfied, it is merely a preference rather than a desire.

Originally Posted by Akri View Post
You are aware that you're not supporting the claim I asked you to support, right? The claim was that if you remove negative emotions then you also remove the desire for positive ones.
My claim is that if (A) you remove negative emotions then (B) you cannot have the desire for positive emotions (assuming that you are not currently enjoying positive emotions). This is because (B) necessarily results in frustration, a negative emotion, which contradicts (A).
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:57 PM   #55
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I've stayed pretty much out of this fray, and read only part of it, but must interject here that much of the argument about things like "caring" really seems to depend on how you define things. You can define caring to mean loving someone or you can define it to mean not wanting them to die in front of you, or just about anything in between, and argue about it till the cows come home. The same with many other ideas, positive and negative, what's this or what's that.

I long ago gave up trying to formulate a philosophy of anything. To look for a good or a bad that is not alloyed, or a goal that is not contradictory, or a value that is not relative, you'll spend all your energy fretting and revising and arguing.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 08:11 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
I agree that friendship provides benefits, but such benefits--particularly the assurance of assistance in times of need--do not require one to actually care about the other person. Therefore, I do not necessarily "want to have people I care about".
I am not saying that you need to care about your friends to get the benefits of friendship. I'm saying you need to care about them for your relationship to be a friendship. Thus if you want to have friends--regardless of why you want to have friends--then you want to have people you care about.

Quote:
I assume that this is one of those points that does not refute anything in my philosophy. If I am incorrect, then please explain.
We're having a conversation. I made a statement. You pointed out that my statement was incorrect. I fixed the statement. You may now take the fixed statement and put it into the context where the incorrect statement was used in order to understand what I was trying to convey.

Quote:
The lack of a negative is positive, relative to the non-lack of a negative.
Declaring something does not make it true.

Quote:
Your statement that "focusing on the positive" is a "more efficient route to eliminating the negative" is quite vague. Please elaborate and provide examples.
Re-read Dinwar's posts. He already explained the concept to you. As for examples I don't care nearly enough to bother with that, especially since you've got no problem with simply declaring your arguments correct (and fyi, changing the definitions of words so that they support your argument is a form of simply declaring yourself correct).

Quote:
I am a big fan of CBT/REBT, and I use those techniques in my document.
Then you shouldn't have needed me to point out the flaws in your statement.

Quote:
I agree that negative emotions can be fleeting. But sometimes they are not. For example, let's say you fear a future event. You can try to distract yourself from that fear by thinking positive thoughts, but as long as you continue to evaluate the future event as negative, the fear will come back again and again. If, on the other hand, you change your evaluation of the future event (see "Negative visualization") to something that is neutral rather than negative, then you can eliminate your fear once and for all. This, by the way, is an application of CBT.
And here you're once again showing shallow thinking by failing to consider that if you replace the hilited word with "positive" you get something very close to what I was suggesting. You've also switched from saying that the negative emotion will return once the positive emotion is gone, to saying that this could happen in certain circumstances.

Quote:
I define desire as that which causes frustration when not satisfied.
Interesting how many commonly-understood words you felt the need to redefine for your philosophy. You might want to reflect on why you did that. I've got some theories, but I doubt you're actually open to such serious criticism.

Quote:
My claim is that if (A) you remove negative emotions then (B) you cannot have the desire for positive emotions (assuming that you are not currently enjoying positive emotions). This is because (B) necessarily results in frustration, a negative emotion, which contradicts (A).
Ah, I see--you're saying that in order to eliminate all negative emotion you must also eliminate the desire for positive emotions. B does not happen as a result of A, rather A happens in part as a result of B.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:19 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Akri View Post
I am not saying that you need to care about your friends to get the benefits of friendship. I'm saying you need to care about them for your relationship to be a friendship. Thus if you want to have friends--regardless of why you want to have friends--then you want to have people you care about.


We're having a conversation. I made a statement. You pointed out that my statement was incorrect. I fixed the statement. You may now take the fixed statement and put it into the context where the incorrect statement was used in order to understand what I was trying to convey.


Declaring something does not make it true.


Re-read Dinwar's posts. He already explained the concept to you. As for examples I don't care nearly enough to bother with that, especially since you've got no problem with simply declaring your arguments correct (and fyi, changing the definitions of words so that they support your argument is a form of simply declaring yourself correct).


Then you shouldn't have needed me to point out the flaws in your statement.


And here you're once again showing shallow thinking by failing to consider that if you replace the hilited word with "positive" you get something very close to what I was suggesting. You've also switched from saying that the negative emotion will return once the positive emotion is gone, to saying that this could happen in certain circumstances.


Interesting how many commonly-understood words you felt the need to redefine for your philosophy. You might want to reflect on why you did that. I've got some theories, but I doubt you're actually open to such serious criticism.


Ah, I see--you're saying that in order to eliminate all negative emotion you must also eliminate the desire for positive emotions. B does not happen as a result of A, rather A happens in part as a result of B.
I see nothing new in your post that refutes anything in my philosophy, so I feel no need to provide a response.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 4th December 2013, 08:35 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
I see nothing new in your post that refutes anything in my philosophy, so I feel no need to provide a response.

Thank you for your time.
You are aware that you didn't ask for refutations, right? You asked for criticism. Now maybe you've re-defined those words to mean the same thing, but in standard English they don't.

I leveled a rather scathing criticism of your philosophy in that post. I'm not surprised that you missed it, though. So here it is in a bit more depth:

You've re-defined several words for your philosophy. You did not need to do this--there are already ways in English to explain all the concepts you wish to convey. You did not need to re-define those words in order to communicate your ideas.

So why did you need to re-define them? Simple: because you're playing linguistic games. For instance, you want to be able to say that desiring positive emotions and then not getting them leads to frustration. But that isn't actually true. Solution? Re-define desire so that the statement has to be true. It's a bait-and-switch. It sounds like you're saying "wanting positive emotion leads to frustration when you can't achieve them, therefor you should not want positive emotions.", and it has the bonus of sounding like some deep Buddhist philosophy, but all you've actually said is "if not desiring but not achieving happiness will frustrate you then you shouldn't desire happiness." Which doesn't sound nearly as "deep", doesn't let you use the words you want to use, and forces you to acknowledge that failing to achieve a desired state of happiness is not guaranteed to lead to frustration.

Because that's what this is about. Not ideas, words. Why insist that the lack of the negative is the positive when neutrality exists? Because you're attached to that wording. Why insist that you don't want to have people you care about even though you do want to have friends? Because you're more interested in the words you use to convey your ideas than in the ideas themselves. Why claim that your ultimate goal is "happiness" (which is typically understood to mean something like a feeling of enjoyment or cheerfulness) when your actual goal is the lack of significant negative emotions? Because the words are more important to you than the actual concepts.
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Old 18th February 2014, 05:34 PM   #59
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Please note that I have revised the "Negative hedonism" section of the document.

I have also added a new section entitled "Beyond peace of mind".

I look forward to any feedback you may have.
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Old 11th August 2014, 08:02 PM   #60
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The link in the OP is now inactive. My philosophy is now available at:

http://philosofer123.wordpress.com
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Old 31st December 2015, 06:47 PM   #61
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My Philosophy of Life

Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 14-page document that may be downloaded from this webpage:

http://philosofer123.wordpress.com

In the first half of the document, I present and defend a number of philosophical positions, beginning with atheism and culminating with negative hedonism.

The second half of the document is devoted primarily to methods for achieving and maintaining peace of mind. I have found these methods to be invaluable in practice.

I am sharing my philosophy here in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. I look forward to a constructive discussion.
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Old 31st December 2015, 07:10 PM   #62
marplots
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Direct link: https://philosofer123.files.wordpres...hilo-sofer.pdf

How's it working out? Has it produced the quality of life you expected?
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Old 31st December 2015, 08:32 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Direct link: https://philosofer123.files.wordpres...hilo-sofer.pdf

How's it working out? Has it produced the quality of life you expected?
As indicated on the webpage linked in the OP, it is working out quite well. I am a happier person as a result.
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Old 31st December 2015, 09:48 PM   #64
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I will not provide much to constrictive discussion as I am not much interested in your philosophy of life.

What I would be interested in, assuming you in fact live by it*, how it worked out for you says 10 or 20 years from now.


---
*practical examples would be helpful.

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Old 1st January 2016, 12:05 AM   #65
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Can we get a synopsis? A few paragraphs, maybe?
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:54 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Vic Vega View Post
Can we get a synopsis? A few paragraphs, maybe?
Four words will do:

Don't worry, be happy.
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Old 1st January 2016, 02:06 AM   #67
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The thing is, everyone has 'philosophy of life' and why should I care about this one? But perhaps that is not the intent here:

Quote:
I am sharing my philosophy here in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved.
That is kind of interesting, however, lets take 'random' example from page 7:

Quote:
Elimination of judgments
 One should always keep in mind that events are interconnected through the
operation of physical cause and effect. Thus, apparently negative events can
precipitate positive events, and apparently positive events can precipitate negative
events. Moreover, the connections between events can be very indirect and
impossible to predict. Consequently, if one were able to go back in time and modify
or eliminate a particular event, one’s entire life might change as a result, and
whether it would change for the better or the worse would not be knowable.
I am not quite sure what kind of feedback there can be to this.

IF it was accompanied with practical example, maybe it would become apparent why 'one should keep this in mind' and could be evaluated somehow. But without it, what to say? Yes, no, but .. basically anything.
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Old 1st January 2016, 09:04 AM   #68
marplots
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Originally Posted by tuco View Post
The thing is, everyone has 'philosophy of life' and why should I care about this one?

That is kind of interesting, however, lets take 'random' example from page 7:

Quote:
Elimination of judgments
 One should always keep in mind that events are interconnected through the
operation of physical cause and effect. Thus, apparently negative events can
precipitate positive events, and apparently positive events can precipitate negative
events. Moreover, the connections between events can be very indirect and
impossible to predict. Consequently, if one were able to go back in time and modify
or eliminate a particular event, one’s entire life might change as a result, and
whether it would change for the better or the worse would not be knowable.
I am not quite sure what kind of feedback there can be to this.
That's a good one. It's illustrative of the problem. On the one hand, it seems like an extended version of "stuff happens." But pragmatically, it doesn't help much, since a large part of our daily load of worry is bound up in trying to anticipate and modify the likely future. I do it better when considering the next five or ten minutes, a bit worse for tomorrow and the rest of this week, and worse still when it comes to the next several years.

What would be the result of not anticipating and attempting to direct my own affairs? Well, I might wander about and allow the world to happen to me as it may - a quick ticket to homelessness and institutionalization.

The tone of the paper reminds me of someone who recently discovered the stoics.
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:17 PM   #69
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Your philosophy of life seems to reject free will. If that's the case, you didn't choose this particular philosophy of life (choice being impossible), so
A) Why do you think you ended up with these particular beliefs (atheism, negative hedonism, etc.)?
B) Why do you follow these philosophies?
C) If you can't choose what you believe, how do you know that what you believe is right?

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Old 1st January 2016, 01:24 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 14-page document that may be downloaded from this webpage:

http://philosofer123.wordpress.com

In the first half of the document, I present and defend a number of philosophical positions, beginning with atheism and culminating with negative hedonism.

The second half of the document is devoted primarily to methods for achieving and maintaining peace of mind. I have found these methods to be invaluable in practice.

I am sharing my philosophy here in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. I look forward to a constructive discussion.
In what material way is this opening post any different from the following one you posted here a year or so ago? Here it is again:

Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 13-page Google Doc that may be found by Googling "Philo Sofer" and clicking on the first link ("My Philosophy by Philo Sofer").

In the first half of the document, I present and defend the following positions: atheism, afterlife skepticism, free will impossibilism, moral skepticism, existential skepticism and negative hedonism. The second half of the document is devoted to ways to achieve and maintain peace of mind.

I have found the entire exercise to be very beneficial personally, and I hope that you will benefit from reading the document.

The purpose of this thread is to solicit feedback so that my philosophy may be improved. I welcome any constructive criticism that you may have.

Enjoy!
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:29 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
In what material way is this opening post any different from the following one you posted here a year or so ago? Here it is again:
He's probably just trying to get more feedback.
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:36 PM   #72
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Which seems to be the issue here, feedback on what?

If the OP figured something out, and I would say s/he indicated that, then it could indeed be interesting. But how can we tell? If s/he really figured something or if its collection of ideas and postulates. What bearing on reality does it have? Why do I need bearing on reality? Well ..
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Old 1st January 2016, 03:39 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
Over the past few years, I have formulated my philosophy of life, a 14-page document that may be downloaded from this webpage:

http://philosofer123.wordpress.com

In the first half of the document, I present and defend a number of philosophical positions, beginning with atheism and culminating with negative hedonism.

The second half of the document is devoted primarily to methods for achieving and maintaining peace of mind. I have found these methods to be invaluable in practice.

I am sharing my philosophy here in order to solicit feedback so that it may be improved. I look forward to a constructive discussion.

From your philosophy of life discard the notion that complete strangers care enough to wade through a single page let alone fourteen of them. IOW…summarize. Some may have a passing interest but benevolence typically is in short supply outside of your local monastery. Alternatively you could examine whatever assumption it is that led you to this naïve conclusion in the first place. This might generate some new insight which could then be incorporated…somewhere.


In relation to your manifesto…the word ‘doubt’ seems rather prominent (‘…not certain of any of my positions…’). One might ask: “Is uncertainty / doubt a condition that dominates the activities of other life forms?”

…by ‘other life forms’ we could take a look at everything from a dung beetle to a hippopotamus (or any one of the infinite range of creatures in between).

Simple answer: No (it is a rare thing to encounter a creature other than a human being experiencing any manner of identity crisis).

Is it therefore reasonable to conclude that ‘uncertainty’ may be a questionable feature of human existence (that it so dominates your POV is worrisome!)? Why don’t we refer to that scrap of nonsense known as the bible for some guidance: “Know thyself” it says (notice it does not say: ‘maybe know thyself’…or…’know thyself but wonder if thou dost’…). A sentiment which seems to be repeated in just about every philosophy, religion, and cultural tradition that has any real currency (‘atheism’, sadly, does not seem too clear on the issue…perhaps you should seek guidance elsewhere).

So…perhaps ‘doubt’ is something that requires expungment. How? No idea. Bungee jumping perhaps! I recall interviewing Alexander the Great a few years back and ‘doubt’ just did not figure in his weltanschauung. And he was ‘Great’ (with a capital ‘G’). So maybe you gotta go and conquer the world, or some corner of it.

Burn the manifesto. Acquire a set of dice, roll them, and choose a direction. I am hardly one to so advise…but from what I’ve heard, life is what happens when you stop thinking about it. If it doesn’t work I’m sure you’ll find a way to re-write the thing.
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Old 1st January 2016, 05:07 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
If that's the case, you didn't choose this particular philosophy of life (choice being impossible)
False. The impossibility of ultimate responsibility for one's actions (my position) does not preclude the ability to make choices. Indeed, the argument I present supporting my position explicitly allows for choice.

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Old 1st January 2016, 05:15 PM   #75
marplots
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
In what material way is this opening post any different from the following one you posted here a year or so ago? Here it is again:
There's an additional page this year.
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Old 1st January 2016, 05:26 PM   #76
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Anne Elk?
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Old 1st January 2016, 06:18 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
False. The impossibility of ultimate responsibility for one's actions (my position) does not preclude the ability to make choices. Indeed, the argument I present supporting my position explicitly allows for choice.
So you do believe in free will. OK, can you explain why you think we have free will, and why, if free will exists, "ultimate responsibility for your actions" is impossible?
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Old 1st January 2016, 06:32 PM   #78
Gord_in_Toronto
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So you do believe in free will. OK, can you explain why you think we have free will, and why, if free will exists, "ultimate responsibility for your actions" is impossible?
Fudbucker, now that is a good question.

Philosofer123, come back in a year with an answer and I'll read your PDF. In the meantime, it is a Good Question.
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Old 1st January 2016, 06:46 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So you do believe in free will.
Not if free will is defined as that which is sufficient for one to be ultimately responsible for one's actions.
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Old 1st January 2016, 06:53 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Philosofer123 View Post
Not if free will is defined as that which is sufficient for one to be ultimately responsible for one's actions.
Who's defining it that way? Free will is "a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives".
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

That's as good a definition as any.
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