Pre-2014 Home Page with “A Cocktail Party Version”
Hello and welcome! This isn’t so much a blog (given that I’ve yet to begin writing posts), but rather a manifesto. My position is essentially that we’ll need descriptive rather than prescriptive understandings of welfare, in order to figure out what’s good and bad for any any subject.
Thanks for taking a look!
“A Cocktail Party” Version
Consider existence from the perspective of a human, a dog, a plant, a computer, and finally a rock. For the computer and the rock, perhaps existence is perfectly “insignificant,” or perhaps events alter subjects such as these without having any personal relevance to them. Furthermore we generally treat plants as if they’re just as oblivious in a personal sense — regardless of what is done to this kind of life, perhaps existence occurs just as inconsequentially for these subjects, as it seems to for computers and for rocks. When the human and the dog are considered, however, it’s generally thought that events affect subjects such as these in a way that can have positive and negative personal implications to these subjects. This dynamic will thus be referred to here as “the good and bad” aspect of reality.
Though philosophers must have pondered this element of our nature from the time that humanity was quite young, there is still no generally accepted understanding of what good and bad essentially are — or that which gives existence an apparent positive/negative potential for the human, the dog, the bird, and so on, though not for subjects such as the plant and the computer. But given that this feature should also be quite fundamental, we may thus expected that the scientific community will need to figure this out in order to resolve various standard questions associated with our nature. I propose the following model of positive and negative personal existence:
In one regard there are just two “operating systems” by which a given subject may function. The more primary is motivated by factors other than “sensations,” and thus here dynamics like pain, beauty, frustration, humor, hatred, love, fear, and so on, are simply not “in play.” Presumably microbes, fungi, and plants experience no sensations, and thus they function purely by means of this first mechanism. I refer to it as “instinct.”
Under the complementary system, however, positive and negative sensations serve as punishment and reward from which to motivate function. Thus sensations like hunger, itchiness, hope, fun, anger, orgasm, heat, cold, and so on, constitute the essential nature of both “good” and “bad” — or effectively serve as an ideology from which to derive how these subjects may lead their lives and structure their societies “properly.” I refer to this sensations mechanism as “self.”
The difference between the subjects mentioned above from this perspective, is that the human and the dog seem to experience “sensations,” while the plant, the computer, and the rock, presumably do not. Once there is an accepted understanding of a personal relevance, or good/bad dynamic, then our mental and behavioral sciences (like Psychology, Sociology, Cognitive Science, and so on) should gain founding theory from which to function in this regard. Furthermore this achievement would bring our sciences an actual “ideology,” or a position from which to address all questions associated with living our lives and structuring our societies, in a manner which is theoretically “good” for a given subject.