Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Lady's Man?

DISCLAIMER: I've been exceptionally busy lately, not getting much sleep and finding little time for quality thought to this blog, so here's one that is just philosophical rambling about a man I just read an article about. I know you'll find it as lame as always.

A dilemma arises when we consider whether our actions are caused or whether they are not caused. If they are caused, then it follows that we are not morally accountable for them. If, however, they are NOT caused, it still follows that we are not morally accountable for them. This result concludes that either way, we are not morally accountable for our actions.

The leading proponent of this belief was the hard determinist, Arthur Schopenhauer. In the most general sense, he prescribed to the philosophical branch called "Idealism," where it is believed that reality depends upon the mind. Idealists, such as George Berkeley, Immanuel Kant, and "Shopey" himself rejected the simple idea that there is a world of objects independent of human perception. This means that the tree falling in the forest really doesn't fall, or even exist, unless we're there to see it, and even then, according to the specialized branch called transcendental idealism, we're not seeing the ACTUAL tree fall, but rather the mere appearance of the ACTUAL tree falling. Confused yet?

For Schopenhauer, the ultimate nature of reality is a singe, undifferentiated Will (yes, her personified it)--a blind, striving force--which appears to us as a would of individual things ins space and time. Claiming that his origins of transcendental idealism are found in the purusharthas philosophy and literature of Hinduism, which he believed only exists in an pseudo-quasi-artificial appearance of what it would actually be if it actually existed . . . outside the mind. For him, the Will exists a priori, and prior to, the intellect of the mind, i.e. desire is believed to exist prior to any thought, and, in a parallel sense, Will is said to be prior to existing. The role of Will / desire in Schopenhauer's philosophy is similar to the role of Kama, sensual gratification, which is treated as one of the goals of life relating to the second stage of life in the purusharthas Hindu tradition. Which leads us back to the original fortuitous conclusion to the opening dilemma: we are NOT morally accountable for our actions, even when we first seek the pleasurable pursuits of our Hedonistic Will / desires.

Wow! It sounds like Shopey went out of his way to rationalize a life of pleasure seeking, making it seem downright noble to do so. Being also a hard determinist, he espoused the belief that at any instant, there is exactly one possible outcome. This sort of morally binds him to seeking his pleasurable pursuits, although he would also argue that there IS no moral obligation (read from the beginning.) Since all events are caused, then we cannot determine what the course of events will ever be. Schopenhauer said that, after the fact, the only thing left is the essence of that action (and maybe a linger skin rash.)

"The ultimate aim of all love affairs ... is more important than all other aims in man's life; and therefore it is quite worthy of the profound seriousness with which everyone pursues it."

A misogynist his whole life, he took interest in several young woman. Some he rejected, many rejected him. He thought that "marrying means to halve one's rights and double one's duties," and never realized that he was never able to take advantage of his conveniently defined philosophy because of his inconveniently defined philosophy.

I, myself, find the "Wolverine" look from the X-Men, pretty cool, too bad he was jerk.

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