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Everything posted by DocWatts

  1. This ^ You don't have to consume political content regularly, just take a small amount of time once or twice a year to find out who's running for office, spend a few minutes doing some very basic research on the policy platforms for the candidates (and any ballot proposals in your state), and cast a ballot. If you're in the US, I've found this site to be useful and time efficient resource to check the policy positions of candidates before elections.
  2. I really like the motivation behind this metaphysical Map along with the schema for how its content is structured. For what it's worth, I also went ahead and applied your structure to some of the thought systems I've been exploring over the past year or two.
  3. A basic overview of philosophical skepticism should be helpful in trying to understand David Hume.
  4. You mean to say that the political party which has been openly courting fascism is anti-democracy? Well color me shocked. In all seriousness though, it seems to me that they feel comfortable enough in Texas to go mask off about things that have been implicit in American Right Wing ideology for a long while now, and this new platform is simply a more honest statement of their beliefs. This sort of thing being openly espoused in a major party's political platform is a good indication that American democracy is in the process of collapsing. Fascism is a product of failed democracies after all, and the American system has proven itself incapable of diffusing the underlying systemic issues which fuel fascist ideologies.
  5. It's been my experience that Green is incredibly judgemental towards Blue, and vice versa (the Culture Wars in a nutshell). The fake non-judgement that I've seen is the way that Green will sometimes idolizes and sanitizes some societies at an earlier stage of development (Purple and Red). You can see this in the way that Green projects it's own values onto Purple hunter gatherer societies, imagining that they were largely peaceful people who lived in total harmony with nature, conveniently overlooking that xenophobia, warfare, and environmental destruction were quite common in many of these societies.
  6. By the Universe, the most sensible working definition I've come across is that it's synonymous with Nature. This isn't necessarily the same thing as 'Reality', as one can imagine a bifurcated Reality divided into Nature and a hypothetical Divine realm that's prior to and 'above' Nature (as many religions attest). Galaxies and stars beyond the event horizon (due to cosmic inflation) are still a part of Nature, and thus still part of the Universe even if we'll never be able to access them due to the light speed barrier. Note that this isn't an argument in favor of materialism, as many forward thinking philosophers have managed to ground notions of God or the sacred within Nature; Hegel and Whitehead both come to mind. Idealism for instance is a way of recontextualizing nature as integrated whole composed of consciousness.
  7. How about the basics like affordable housing, education, and health care for starters? Like an actual Universal Health Care system, rather the predatory for-profit system we have which puts people with medical emergencies tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in to debt. Or access to affordable mental health care services, rather than being out of luck if you're a poor or working class person with a mental illness. Any idea what trying to treat something like schizophrenia is like for a working class person in America with access to close to ZERO social support structures? I didn't think so. Or how about labor protections which ensure that employers have to pay their employees a living wage, so that someone working 40 hours a week isn't one or two missed paychecks away from destitution? Hell, how about a less grossly unequal public education system rather than a patchwork of schools that vary dramatically in quality because they're funded by local property taxes. Or support for working families in the form of paid paternity leave, and affordable child care? Willful ignorance doesn't change the lived experience of how America has been consistently failing a large proportion of its citizens for a long time.
  8. Just add "if you're already wealthy" to the end of that sentence, and you'd have an accurate statement about living in America. It's this kind of thinking that prevents the US from building the actual support structures that are necessary to facilitate class mobility.
  9. Might as well ask what exists outside of Reality. Any metaphysics worth its salt should ground its ontology within nature, regardless of whether it's theistic or atheistic.
  10. For anyone curious, I managed to find a good succinct explanation that managed to explain Process Relational philosophy in fairly straitforward, non-technical language.
  11. This whole conversation is great. Matthew Segall did a good job of articulating the gist of Process-Relational Philosophy, while Kastrup brought up some very apt questions concerning the plausibility and parsimony of Whitehead's system. It's quite been quite interesting to discover how much overlap there actually is between Process-Relational Philosophy and Objective Idealism.
  12. (1) Because of the dangerous state that our democracy is in, any person in either chambers of Congress who isn't a fascist Republican is indepsensible at this point. This point can't be stressed enough. (2) Having progressives like Bernie and AOC in Congress move the Overton window to the Left, even if they're not able to get any major legislation passed. (3) Progressives can get legislation passed on a State and local level. Marijuana legalization is a great example of how progressive policies in States and localities can come to change the national political landscape.
  13. I mean, they're not even bothering to try to hide their fascistic disdain for democracy by this by this point. And all of this happening in my home state no less.
  14. @peterjames Thanks for the recommendations, as chance would have it I actually stumbled upon both of those books between the time that I began this post and now, and found them to be a huge help.
  15. That is just demonstrably false, and an irresponsible attitude that encourages apathy and disengagement. If you were one of the tens of millions who was helped by expanded unemployment benefits or the child tax credit under Biden, or were able to afford health insurance for the first time in your life thanks to the Affordable Care Act under Obama, you'd know that political policies do end up making a material difference to your day to day life. And that's to say nothing of the fact that women in America are about to lose reproductive rights throughout much of the country as a direct result of the 2016 election. Politics doesn't matter only when you're privileged enough to be able to build walls between yourself and the problems being faced in the wider society.
  16. To put it simply, they were able to successfully deceive much of the American public that the prosperity of the mid 20th century was a natural and inevitable consequence of Capitalism, rather than being attributable to an empowered labor movement working within a highly regulated form of Capitalism.
  17. We can thank political system capture that successfully dismantled much of the New Deal, decades of propaganda by Capital owners against Unions, and changes in the global economy which (with the assistance of Free Trade policies such as NAFTA) put American workers in direct competion with workers in developing countries for that.
  18. Uncanny how Musk's tone deaf response mirrors that of (fellow fascist sympathizer) Henry Ford when his workers wanted to Unionize a century ago, citing that unions were unnecessary because Ford paid higher than average wages. At least Musk doesn't have access to gangs of Pinkerton thugs willing to bust the heads of workers for the audacity of wanting to Unionize.
  19. @Leo Gura What do you think the odds are that Putin not being in power will allow for some degree of democratization? Or do you think that the structural elements of the Russian state (in particular from the way that capitalism was implemented in post-Soviet Russia) are such that a Putin-esque strongman is a feature rather than a bug? I tend towards the later, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
  20. At a root level, the issue is that in their current form market mechanisms work to privatize gains while offloading social and ecological costs on to the public in a non-transparent manner. If a company like McDonalds had to factor in externalities in to its pricing model, there's no way that they would be able to sell a hamburger for $1. Now in theory there's no reason that markets have to work in this manner. One can imagine more enlightened forms of markets where socially and ecologically destructive modes of production are rendered noncompetitive as a result of these invisible subsidies being discontinued.
  21. While Analytic Idealism is much more intuitive in its use of generally understood concepts (such as dissociation) as a lens for understanding metaphysical concepts, I'm also starting to appreciate that there are times when the use of neologisms is sometimes appropriate. For example, it's hard to think commonly used term or simple analogy that would adequately describe the Whiteheadian concept of 'prehensions', which refers to how an event integrates aspects of the external world into its internal constitution, changing it in the process. And that these can take the dimension of either positive prehensions (meaning that the external aspect is integrated into the entity's internal contitution) or negative prehensions (it's either excluded or filtered out). Now of course this isn't the most intuitive thing in the world, and requires what Whitehead refers to as an 'imaginative leap'. In limited cases where there just isn't a good term or analogy at hand, a neologism here or there can be quite useful.
  22. While I haven't read every one of Nietzsche's many books, I feel like I do have a good enough grasp on the essence of his philospical system to chime in. What's important to keep in mind for Nietzsche's philosophy is the context under which he was writing, which can help make sense of some of his underlying motivations. Nietzsche was writing at a time when Europe was undergoing dramatic changes thanks to the rapid profusion of Enlightenment values and the spread of Industrialization. Much like Doestoyevsky, Nietzsche was concerned with the potentially destabilizing consequences of these changes. In particular, Nietzsche found good reasons to worry about the vacuum of meaning that would emerge as religions became less and less viable as the organizing principle of people's lives (his famous 'God is dead' idiom). Much of his philosophy is an attempt to deconstruct both the Christian and the emerging universalist Enlightenment morality systems of his day, by teasing out the hidden motivations behind such systems (by undertaking a 'genealogy' of morals) In this way, it could be said that Nietzsche was actually the first postmodern philosopher. His overall goal was to construct a system of value to fill that vacuum, in order to head off both nihilism and hedonism. While there's no way to get in to all the specifics in one post, that's some good background knowledge to keep in mind. Also a word of caution; because of the deliberately amoral nature of Nietzsche's philosophical system, don't accept his arguments uncritically or his claims at face value. Doing so will probably lead you to being a less compassionate person if you haven't cultivated our own ethics first, something that a lot of people run in to when they're introduced to Nietzsche as teenagers or young adults.
  23. @Carl-Richard Thanks for the share. I'm interested to hear what Kastrup's thoughts are on Process-Relational Philosophy. The more I've learned about Whitehead, the more I'm convinced that his system isn't incomprehensible so much as Whitehead shares with Hegel a deficiency in writing style and presentation. Both Hegel and Whitehead have some really novel and engaging ideas, they just unfortunately happen to be shit at communicating them in a clear and straitforward way. Though for what it's worth I did eventually make it through an abridged, restructured, and heavily commentated version Process and Reality, despite Whitehead's best efforts at making his system obtuse. Even more than with Heidegger, learning Whitehead felt like learning the grammar to another language. And after doing so, I'm increasingly confident that Whitehead's system offers as viable an alternative to scientific materialism as Kastrup's analytic idealism. It was actually pretty surprising to learn that Whitehead's philosophy has a lot of overlap with Buddhist ideas and concepts, and much of his system could be accurately described as a different means of arriving at the Buddhist notion of dependent-origination. He goes in to give a schematization of how interdependence, transience, and creative novelty are fundamental to Reality. Pretty impressive stuff, if one has the patience for novel and engaging ideas presented in unintuitive ways.
  24. Interesting discussion with the cognitive linguist and philosopher George Lakoff, which explores the epistemological implications of: how the mind is inherently embodied, how most thought is unconscious, and how our metaphors structure the conceptual system we use to navigate reality. His philosophy is in many ways an extension of the embodied theory of mind as articulated by Evan Thompson, Fransisco Varella, and Eleanor Rosch, which itself is an attempt to build a bridge between cognitive science and the contemplative practices of Buddhism. What's particularly interesting about Lakoff is the alternative he offers to radical forms of both Objectivism and Subjectivism, and how he uses this to deconstruct systems of epistemology grounded a-priori reasoning which has been at the heart of Western Philosophical traditions dating back to the time of Plato.