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  1. #346
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    HE, that would depend. If we're writing in order to understand the change in weltanshauung, the mind set and mood of a nation, due to pervasive cultural changes and forces, and we're writing about the way thoughts and subtle changes affect behavior, about how our sense of right and wrong evolves, about the big-picture view of a declining society, and we're writing this all in novel form, then it could be quite philosophical.

    And if we're using a fantastical setting in order to find a detatched perspective that allows us to reflect more on these concerns without getting caught up in everyday reality and politics, then it could be substantially philosophical.

  2. #347
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    Side Bar Rant: Raised a daughter with one of those cute little catch-all titled abnormal conditions so I kept interested in what doctors knew and where they were guessing. Every time you or lin start quoting neurological evidence, I get the shudders. My first and overwhelming inclination is to say: yeah, right! My second inclination is to want to remind everyone that not one of the disciplines, (pyschology, psychiatry, neurology, linguistics, AI, et al - disciplines that never seem to talk to each other) studying the brain have the answers. All they have is instant guesses. And those speculations change daily.
    In my experience working with a few children with autism (one of those catch-all conditions, lately), each case is basically unique. People in research for conditions like autism, global delay, PDD, hearing loss, etc... do a very different thing than practitioners. Research tries to understand commonalities, causes, mechanisms... They search for threads of similarity to try to understand a large problem.

    Autism (amongst others) is the kind of condition where out of a sample of 1000 of those affected maybe only 2, and rarely more than 5, have anything in particular in common. But the disciplines you've listed (which, it's sadly true, do rarely speak to each other) are trying to understand a large problem from a reductionist point of view that may shed light on some small part of the condition -- rarely does any one discipline's theory illuminate the entire problem.

    That's where well educated practitioners come into play (and unfortunately, most of them aren't very broadly educated for the very same reasons that Teacher's have BA/BSc's and professors have PHD's -- if you're an egghead you ought to be doing research, so says the academic model). Practitioners, ideally, should be information moderators who combine knowledge from each research discipline into a broader picture of the whole, and then deduce what's up with a given child/adult/whoever. This is one reason amongst many why I think Systemics needs to be a required course for professional practicing educators and therapists.

    Unfortunately, like with the discussion over in the writing forum, what usually happens is that people want a catch-all solution. And it doesn't exist. Each case is different.

    That being said though, it's primarily about figuring out where the "breaks" are in the nervous system. Some kids are most hampered by a problem with sensory input (lack of proper inhibition, too much inhibition, signals going to the wrong places, etc), and others get mixed up in the processing. So, loosely, it's somewhere in the induction and/or the deduction. Or, Impressions and Ideas.

    Various therapies based on cognitive remapping have been demonstrating startlingly positive results, showing that by working with the "broken" wiring, you can still shape a developing brain into functioning at a higher level than the baseline for that individual patient. No one therapy is the right one for everyone with such a condition.

    I just wanted to respond to this aside because I hope to point out that even though I might sometimes parade around such-and-such evidence from neurology or psychology as back up for a point, I generally believe that the "evidence" is best understood as case-specific, and should be used only as a general guide -- not as a wide range prescriptive way-it-otta-be. Generalized systemic knowledge is far more informative overall than reductionist nit picking, but both ends of the spectrum are required to gain accurate understandings of anything.

    We all perceive that people with autism operate differently. Each individual operates differently in specific ways, but the generalized category of autism has certain baseline features that make it more of one thing and less of another.

    Like with this thread (like that? full circle!): We can present all kinds of specific evidence to challenge the claim in the OP, but we can also present all kinds of specific evidence that supports it. But from a systemics perspective -- a globalized approach to literature -- we have to understand where the significant differences lie between categories. I do not make this as a prescriptive statement, but as a general observation -- SF displays a tendency toward directly referencing or encouraging philosophical discussions. Compared to other categories, I suspect that per capita you will find more obviously philosophical debates in and about SF due in large part to the specificity of the categorical definitions of SF.

    So, philosophy may not be a primary attribute of SF that makes it different from other genre categories, but it's probably at least secondary. Whereas in many other fiction categories -- particularly categories of general "realistic" fiction -- it is probably at most a tertiary distinguishing attribute or lower.

  3. #348
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    Good vs. evil is the crux of ethical speculation
    You misunderstand. I am talking about STORIES about good guys vs bad guys. Seldom a great crucilble of philosophical endeavor.

    As far as G/E as being THE crux of ethical speculation, I doubt it. I'd call it a very specific concern most concentrated in rather narrow areas. Such as the ones you mention. Such as European philosophy (before the subject all turned to mathematics...thus leading to the "last bastion" concept)

    You didn't hear the Buddha going on and on about good and evil. (Au contraire) or, for that matter, the big name Athenians. Or the Egyptians where they copped their licks. Or post-modernism (if that really even is anything) Or existentialism. In fact, even Christian philosophy has little to do with the question: they're all about good guy/bad guy and why you need to sign up now.

  4. #349
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Um, so what's karma exactly?

    Doing no harm? Living in harmony?

    Ascetic monks?

  5. #350
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Instead, Buddah attempts to transcend the world of good and evil because only outside and apart from it can one find peace. It's still very much a part of Eastern Philosophy, though not in our classic sense. And if you follow the thought process through to European philosophy, you come to Schophenhauer.


    Each society has it's concept of good and evil/good and bad. Surely they are defined differently from age to age, as I said before.

    I write stories about good and bad guys. What types of stories are you referring to?

    Ethics is quite a universal field of study. It relates to just about all aspects of philosophy. Very few philosophic disciplines, with the exception perhaps of logic, don't presuppose value systems of some sort, and operate within the aprioris of those systems.

  6. #351
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    I like that au contraire so I'll use it myself: au contraire.Monotheism begins with good and evil and works from there. The Garden of Eden was only good so that the lions lay down with the sheep. The evil involved? Death. No death in the Garden. No Death? then no life. No sex. No babies. No birth. Get kicked out of the Garden and what else do you get: sex, birth, and death. All evil. Two out of three are foisted onto women because evil is all their fault. Logically, then, death is also their fault. And that completes the case against women. All the evils in the world, nine parts of desire, women.
    Pandora's box is another version of the same tale but it shows the Greeks buying into the women's fault game.

    But, considering death to be evil is the starting point, the lynch pin, the alpha and omega of evil. All other evil ever identified is derivative.

    As you pointed out, the Buddha did not discuss good versus evil. Yet, the only goal for a Budhhist is to escape samsara. Samsara, requiring escape, can be viewed as a negative force. Nirvana, something to be sought, can be viewed as a positive force. Anything that assists attaining nirvana is good; anything sustaining samsara is not good. Here come good and evil.

  7. #352
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    Monotheism begins with good and evil
    The identification of this with "monotheism" is an odd one, I'd say.

    If you want to define death as evil and build around that, you can do that, but it's not in keeping with much. For instance, Christianity makes it pretty clear that death is gateway to heaven, and "death where is thy sting" and all that.

    Knowlege of Good and Evil is not a "struggle" between the two.

    This interpretation of Buddhism begs this question extremely. The goal is not "escape from evil" and any buddhist would make it clear that attaching that sort of weight is very bad strategy.

    You're mis-interpreting the concept of stepping off the wheel of life and death.

    This whole thing is pretty far-fetched and requires jumping through some fairly flimsy hoops.

    Time for a commercial for Occam Products...for a shave you can live with.

  8. #353
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    so finally I finished Magic Mountain. SFF wasn't the last bastion when Mann was writing. What changed? That book, though admittedly a very difficult read, was amazing. And I'll never forget it; the characters, the ideas, the setting....

    It was a true dialogue of ideas.

    Sadly it probably wouldn't sell 5000 copies today if it even made it into print.

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