TV Tropes Org

Forums

On-Topic Conversations:
Is humanity perfectible?
search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [125]
1
 2  3  4 5

Is humanity perfectible?:

 1 Rottweiler, Thu, 24th Feb '11 5:51:27 PM from Portland, Oregon
Dog and Pony Show
So I was struck by this exchange in "Family Values":

That's a human reaction. There has never existed, and never will exist, a totally inclusive society.

Which totally means we should never strive for it.

We all experience a gulf between the way people are and the way we perceive they ought to be.

There are several philosophical positions one could draw from this insight:

A: That's a false belief. People are as they ought to be.

B: The ethical claims made are true, but humans can't live up to them. The ought is real, but is and ought are unbridgeable.

C: Our ought is true, human beings have never lived up to it, but the Supreme Being does.

D: Our ought is true, human beings have never lived up to it, but a superhuman being could, no God necessary.

E: Our ought is true, human beings have never lived up to it, but they could in the future through their own effort.

20th century political philosopher Eric Voegelin famously identified Abrahamic religions as a special case of C that includes belief in resurrection into a future world that is exactly as it ought, the Eschaton. Collective striving to achieve D or E, then, could be identified with Nazism and Marxism respectively.

Thoughts?
“Love is the eternal law whereby the universe was created and is ruled.” — St. Bernard
 2 pvtnum 11, Thu, 24th Feb '11 5:53:06 PM from Kerbin low orbit Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
linkup
C, definitely. (which is no surprise to some that I would say that.)
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
bitchy queen

This post was thumped by the Stick of Off-Topic Thumping.
Stay on topic, please.


"Without a fairy, you're not even a real man!" ~ Mido from Ocarina of Time

 4 Grain, Thu, 24th Feb '11 5:55:17 PM from South Northwest Earth
Only One Avatar
We should always strive to better ourselves and our society. If everyone kept a dismal attitude about social change, would women be able to vote? Would coloreds and whites ride the train together? I think that means I'm an E.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:09:07 PM by Grain

Nihilist Hippie
I'm leaning towards D and/or E. But assuming neither can possibly be true, I would say there is no ought here. Ought implies can, after all.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:01:50 PM by LoveHappiness

"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
 6 Usht, Thu, 24th Feb '11 5:56:13 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
C here also. But there's no point in not trying, right? I mean, that's the point of why major first world countries have instituted laws about gender, race, and social equality.
The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
 7 MRDA 1981, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:06:18 PM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
Subjectivity renders "perfectibility" meaningless.
Nihilist Hippie
[up]

I would see it as subjectivity giving meaning to perfectibility. Half glass full...
"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
 9 Bobby G, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:11:50 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
B, C, D and E.

God is perfect. A superhuman being could be perfect. A human being could, theoretically, be perfect. But humanity, as a whole? We're too many and too complex to attain perfection. Heck, we can't even agree on what perfection is, so there's no way we're ever going to attain it.
 10 MRDA 1981, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:13:34 PM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
Individual perfectibility seems the only type possible, if at all. I don't really see that as a negative.
 11 Usht, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:14:17 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
[up][up] So... perfection is obtainable if you define in such a way that you can reach it? After all, not everyone will be perfect if everyone else edits the definition.

EDIT: Besides, perfection to me will always be unobtainable, since well, if it's obtainable, then the world's problems would be solved by one person who was so perfect that he or she could persuade everyone with a perfect argument, build the perfection solution to war, starvation, overpopulation, etc. and essentially transcend humanity.

Yeah, I think humanity and perfection are not ever connected, merely one chasing the other. Romantic, ain't it?

edited 24th Feb '11 6:16:33 PM by Usht

The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
Nihilist Hippie
[up][up][up]

That's contradictory. If each human being can individually be perfect, then they all can be. Whether it's likely is different issue.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:15:21 PM by LoveHappiness

"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
 13 MRDA 1981, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:15:07 PM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
Wha...?
 14 Bobby G, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:18:16 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
It's such an implausible scenario that I thought it not worth considering. There is absolutely no way you could make humanity perfect, unless your definition of "perfect" was unusually low-standard and non-specific.
 15 Usht, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:19:17 PM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
Suppose one person defines perfection and then reaches it (somehow). However, that person will be not necessarily be perfect in someone else's eyes. The Buddha reached enlightenment due to reaching perfection in mind, body, and soul, but there's enough people that find his morals not quite right that will hesitate to call the Buddha perfect.

In short, the Golden Mean Fallacy comes into play to some extent. Not completely, but to some extent, it does.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:19:45 PM by Usht

The thing about making witty signature lines is that it first needs to actually be witty.
Nihilist Hippie
[up][up]

That's risible. You're willing to consider individual human perfection, but not the collective perfection of humanity. Yes, you're so down-to-earth and "conservative", ha ha.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:21:05 PM by LoveHappiness

"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
 17 Rottweiler, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:21:12 PM from Portland, Oregon
Dog and Pony Show
@Grain:
If everyone kept a dismal attitude about social change, would women be able to vote? Would coloreds and whites ride the train together? I think that means I'm E.

Careful: the thought exercise is independent of any answer to the question "How ought we be?" Someone whose ethical system has no place for social equality could believe E.

@MRDA:
Subjectivity renders "perfectibility" meaningless.

Indeed. Unless Good is objectively real (in a Platonic sense), the collective striving is toward something purely subjective. Hence any striving will be as illusory as chasing the end of a rainbow, and any radical attempt will produce chaos as people fight indefinitely over how to reach a goal whose subjective end they'll never objectively see.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:31:16 PM by Rottweiler

“Love is the eternal law whereby the universe was created and is ruled.” — St. Bernard
 18 Bobby G, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:28:55 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
@ Urist: That's true. That's partly why humanity won't attain universal perfection - because even if we all attained what we each perceived to be perfection, we'd all have attained different things, so unless we were all in absolute agreement, nobody would think that the entirety of humanity was truly perfect.

@ Love Happiness: Oh yeah, that's me. Absolutely, down to Earth and conservative as they come. grin

If you think my post was risible, ris away.
 19 De Marquis, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:32:18 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
F) "Good" is not objectively real, a priori, but as humanity struggles to fulfill various subjective notions of Good, we end up creating objectve standards of social and individual progress, and achieving them. This prcess can never reach an end, yet it continuously produces "improvement" in both sociial conditions and overall individual behavior.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Nihilist Hippie
"Oh yeah, that's me. Absolutely, down to Earth and conservative as they come. grin

If you think my post was risible, ris away."

Sorry about that, I couldn't resist tongue. I just saw what you said as silly. If we're all perfectible, then we all can be perfect. You really can't escape that.

edited 24th Feb '11 6:40:37 PM by LoveHappiness

"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
 21 Bobby G, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:37:56 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
I think we can collectively attain standards of good relative to our societies. Inevitably these will line up with somebody's definition of good, but I think there will still always be enough people who fail to meet those standards to prevent humanity from being perceived as perfect by most people.
Azor Ahai
I'll give a me too for what Bobby has said. I'm pretty much a believer in C, although I think certain values of E are possible for certain amounts of people.
Hodor
 23 MEPT 72, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:51:45 PM from Boston, MA
Vote is No
The thing I constantly run into with these debates is the misdefinition of human nature. Making it about specific actions as compared to underlying attitudes values and tendency. So, lets not say Cannibalism disproves human nature because it was once practiced, the failure of monarchy disproves a fixed human nature because it was once considered the natural order, there are underlying attitudes and tendencies that seem to have persisted.
Obligatory self promotion: http://unemployedacademic.tumblr.com/
 24 MRDA 1981, Thu, 24th Feb '11 6:58:52 PM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
Well, if you're gonna talk "human nature", best include things like cannibalism et al. "Human nature" isn't just a matter of commonalities.
The Prodigal Returns
B. Everyone must still struggle to reach as close to perfection as is possible, though.
Aww, did I hurt your widdle fee-fees?
Total posts: 125
1
 2  3  4 5


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy