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Old 12-17-2011, 03:27 PM
Ray in Seattle Ray in Seattle is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW Washington
Posts: 441
Default Re: Lessons Learned: Beyond Good and Evil (Robert Wright & Alan Wolfe)

Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I suspect reason is possible here, but obviously it depends on one's goals, what one things is most valuable. So ultimately on those base beliefs. But that we can't reason all the way down doesn't mean reason isn't used.
I agree with this. I could have made that clearer. We will attempt to apply reason to parts of those questions I'm sure. I think what happens is that to the extent we trust our "reasoned" conclusions in those areas and how "intuitively" relevant they are - we will selectively apply reason and incorporate those results in our ultimate decision. I read someplace (I think it was Jonah Lehrer) where he suggested the best way to answer such complex and important questions in life is to carefully and logically explore as many facets of the problem as possible and from as many different angles - let those deliberations sit for a while - then try to forget all the "thinking" and go with what just feels right at that moment. i.e. he's advocating to honestly allow your intuitions to incorporate as much "reasoning" as they can and as seems intuitively relevant. Then go with your gut.

I found your explanation helpful, and compatible with my views in some ways, but I just don't agree that because we are able to drive on instinct (which we clearly cannot when learning) or because most moral decisions are made that way (compatible with my belief in habituation), that means that all decisions are made in that way.
I hope my answer above is satisfactory here as well.

Yes, this is where we disagree, yet I wouldn't disagree if you said a woman (or man) did whatever because it felt right, based on emotion reactions.
But that is exactly what I'm saying. Intuitions produce emotional forces pointing us toward behavior decisions.

I think one may often (I know friends who have) reason and worry a lot about the best way to care for one's kids. Part of this is preexisting beliefs, but that doesn't mean that you are not employing reason. Again, I think this is about the impossiblility of reasoning all the way down.

If it's just intuition, you aren't explaining different results, which are clearly visible if you compare decisions over time and from culture to culture.
Actually, I believe such different intuitions acquired as (cultural) identity beliefs do account for those "different results". That's one reason I like this window - it gives me plausible answers to confounding questions relating to cultural conflict.

Certainly a large part of my views of these things depends on what I observed about my parents and other families, what I understood as my options, what I observe now about others. These are all variables.
Yes. And those all have contributed to your identity beliefs and to the intuitions (emotions) that arise in you when you face questions in your own life where they might apply. Even as to whether or not you will attempt to apply reason and logic to some parts of those questions.

Added: I think what I am saying is that we certainly use reason to explore questions - but only to the extent that our logical conclusions shape or create new intuitions (beliefs) - will they be incorporated into our important life decisions.

To take an extreme example, even if we logically understand that our child might die without medical attention we might withhold that attention and let them die if we have acquired strong religious identity beliefs that such medical attention is contrary to God's will. The most obvious logic has no power to affect our life decisions unless we first integrate those logical results into our identity at some level. Before we can allow doctors to treat our child we must become - to some extent - a person who believes that taking responsibility for and caring for our children in the best way we can is more important than following any religious dogma that would have us not do that.
Self determination for DNA

Last edited by Ray in Seattle; 12-18-2011 at 11:48 AM..
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