[ExI] re Odyssey, hero
danust2012 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 21:38:47 UTC 2015
On Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 10:18 AM, Flexman, Connor <connor_flexman at brown.edu>
> On Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 11:12 AM, William Flynn Wallace <
> foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> So my moral sense has evolved and probably will continue to do so. I am
>> a work in progress.
>> But I can only judge things as I currently think. I can consider things
>> in historical context, certainly, - to do otherwise is naive, as Anders
>> says - and that often provides a great contrast with my current view. My
>> current view is the 'right' one. When my view changes , it will be the
>> right one. I never argue that any view is absolute since change always
>> occurs. Do I set myself up at the judge of everything? Don't we all? Do
>> we libertarians believe that authoritarianism is the wrong way to go about
>> many things? Don't we? If we didn't think we were right, then we wouldn't
>> hold to our views, would we?
> One convenient way around this is to have uncertainty in what we believe.
> Instead of saying my views at this moment are "right", because I believe
> them, we can take the outside view and consider the past history of
> changing our outlook/views/beliefs. This can help one become a lot more
> humble in their convictions.
Yes, this is similar to a meta-induction in philosophy of science: we know
past science was wrong (how many scientific theories of a hundred years
ago, which all seemed if not completely correct certainly as close to truth
as possible, are still around today?), so likely our current science is
> Knowing that one has in the past accidentally espoused views that were too
> strong about, e.g., how definitively good taking antioxidant pills was, we
> can revisit our thoughts on best nutrition practices now. If we tend to
> think that paleo is the REAL fix, we can look back and see our poor track
> record at predicting these things and revise our beliefs to "I find paleo
> has some good insights and may be promising, but there is a good chance it
> won't hold much benefit." The diet problem is simpler because we don't
> usually have beliefs about it vital to our sense of self: trying to apply
> this principle to things more important to us is a big step up. For those
> of us who either converted to deistic faith or from it, we should be very
> wary of future beliefs given that we once were so wrong about something so
> central. For those of us who were once skeptical of AI risk and are no
> longer, this is another belief we were probably vehement about that turned
> out to be wrong. Have your political beliefs changed? Did you learn
> economics and discover huge turnarounds in your worldview? What about your
> differing values in different stages of life? Shouldn't we continue to
> expect all these changes? Setting one's current self up as judge of
> everything isn't making use of all the evidence we have. If we know our
> past track record, use it. If we expect in the future to change some of our
> views, we should be less confident about them now. If we see other people
> as smart as we are who hold different views, we might be well-advised to
> take their evidence into account as well: we are not alone in what we see,
> but have many others to help gather evidence, including our future and past
You're also right to focus in on how moral views are far more likely to be
seen as core views.
That said, I don't see anything wrong with saying "character X is a thug to
me." I only brought up _The Odyssey_ not as example of morality in action,
but as one of a great work that's championed by many literary critics that
also is not tragic, even has a happy ending. (Well, maybe not for the
Suitors and their supporters and all of Odysseus' shipmates.)
Let me present another work of literature: Jim Thompson's _Pop. 1280_. The
protagonist of this novel, IIRC, makes out quite well at the end. So, in
some sense it has a happy ending. However, I don't think anyone reading it
would view the protagonist as heroic or anything other than a sociopath.
This seems true of other novels I read by Thompson: the protagonists are
all bad people. I don't think Thompson was operating from a different moral
code where murder and mayhem were okay or that he was a moral relativist.
Or maybe he is. But people I know who've read and enjoyed the novel haven't
come away telling me, "Wouldn't it be great to live like that?"
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