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Changing Your Sexuality

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Posts

  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    To test this theory I will attempt to train myself to be attracted to liberal congressman Henry Waxman.

    Q8sQg.png

    jBEKRTH.png
  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Vanguard wrote: »
    I'm not even sure that sexuality is a real thing beyond the construct we've made it out to be. I think people have sexual needs and find people to fulfill them who they care about.

    What do you mean by "sexuality isn't a real thing", "people have sexual needs and fulfill them"? That seems to indicate that sexuality is real insofar as it is a need we fulfill.

    Sexual urges are not sexuality in this case. I meant to use it in the sense of sexual identity (straight, bi, gay, etc.). I'm not convinced that it exists beyond the formulations we have created around it.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    It should be very difficult to label asexuality as a disorder, since absent of any additional information it isn't one.

    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a thing. I didn't make it up.

    From the second sentence of the linked article:

    "For this to be regarded as a disorder, it must cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulties"

    It's worth noting that this entails a clinician needing additional information about how asexuality impacts an individual before being able to diagnose that asexuality as a disorder.

    So yeah, unless a clinician knows how a lack of sexual desire actually impacts the life of an individual, they don't automatically label it a "disorder".

    Unlike you, who consider asexuality to inherently be a disorder for everyone who lacks sexual desire, because sexual desire is normal and people who aren't normal must be stigmatized and pathologized even if they are under no stress and do no harm to themselves or others because otherwise society would have to approve of some vague and mysterious other icky things.
    _J_ wrote: »
    I shall now utilize it when confronted by silly geese who take their disabilitites to be awesome.

    You know, considering the truly epic amounts of dehumanizing shit that disabled people have to deal with on a regular basis, I'm more inclined to let some disabled folks find some positive aspects to their personal identity. For the amount of shit that a tiny minority fringe of the disabled community (so to speak) gets in these discussions, there's precious little questioning of the cultural and social pressures that might lead a disabled person to say "Fuck you, I'm awesome" in response.

  • MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
    wandering wrote: »
    To test this theory I will attempt to train myself to be attracted to liberal congressman Henry Waxman.

    Q8sQg.png
    I think you got to ease yourself into it. Like, start with a young and more attractive Waxman, perhaps in drag, and then work your way up.

    3DS/Pokemon Friend Code - 2122-5878-9273 - Kyle
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    It should be very difficult to label asexuality as a disorder, since absent of any additional information it isn't one.

    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is a thing. I didn't make it up.

    From the second sentence of the linked article:

    "For this to be regarded as a disorder, it must cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulties"

    It's worth noting that this entails a clinician needing additional information about how asexuality impacts an individual before being able to diagnose that asexuality as a disorder.

    So yeah, unless a clinician knows how a lack of sexual desire actually impacts the life of an individual, they don't automatically label it a "disorder".

    Unlike you, who consider asexuality to inherently be a disorder for everyone who lacks sexual desire, because sexual desire is normal and people who aren't normal must be stigmatized and pathologized even if they are under no stress and do no harm to themselves or others because otherwise society would have to approve of some vague and mysterious other icky things.
    _J_ wrote: »
    I shall now utilize it when confronted by silly geese who take their disabilitites to be awesome.

    You know, considering the truly epic amounts of dehumanizing shit that disabled people have to deal with on a regular basis, I'm more inclined to let some disabled folks find some positive aspects to their personal identity. For the amount of shit that a tiny minority fringe of the disabled community (so to speak) gets in these discussions, there's precious little questioning of the cultural and social pressures that might lead a disabled person to say "Fuck you, I'm awesome" in response.

    I find handicapped people want to be seen more as human beings than handicapped people

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Lawndart wrote: »
    "For this to be regarded as a disorder, it must cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulties"

    It's worth noting that this entails a clinician needing additional information about how asexuality impacts an individual before being able to diagnose that asexuality as a disorder.

    So yeah, unless a clinician knows how a lack of sexual desire actually impacts the life of an individual, they don't automatically label it a "disorder".

    There are “ways of being” that can be labeled as disorders regardless of how the afflicted patient feels about them.

    So, what makes asexuality qualitatively different from these other disorders that are disorders regardless of how the person feels about them?

    Lawndart wrote: »
    Unlike you, who consider asexuality to inherently be a disorder for everyone who lacks sexual desire, because sexual desire is normal and people who aren't normal must be stigmatized and pathologized even if they are under no stress and do no harm to themselves or others because otherwise society would have to approve of some vague and mysterious other icky things.

    Pretty sure I didn’t say most of those words.

    When discussing disorders, or different ways of being, I think the habits of action can be critiqued in terms of more than just your two questions:

    1) Does this make the person sad?
    2) Will this cause the person to bomb a mall?

    My guess is that you and others are fine with the ‘Happiness and Harm’ Rubric. Toss in some Volenti non fit injuria, and we’re good to go.

    But there are acts that do not make the actor sad, do not immediately cause harm to others, and can be consented to that may still be considered wrongdoing, or disorders.

    A schizophrenic, alone in a cave, still has the disorder of schizophrenia regardless of her feelings about it and the absence of harm.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    You know, considering the truly epic amounts of dehumanizing shit that disabled people have to deal with on a regular basis, I'm more inclined to let some disabled folks find some positive aspects to their personal identity. For the amount of shit that a tiny minority fringe of the disabled community (so to speak) gets in these discussions, there's precious little questioning of the cultural and social pressures that might lead a disabled person to say "Fuck you, I'm awesome" in response.

    By definition they are not awesome; they are disabled. Disabled people do not inspire awe; they are not revered.

    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    I get that as members of a liberal society we need to try to make people happy and be respectful. That’s fine. However, the sentiment of your post seems to be headed towards the absurd notion that we need to abandon the term “disabled” all together, and simply construe, say, quadriplegics as manifesting a different way of being.

    We don’t have to be assholes towards disabled / differently oriented people. In the same respect, though, we also don’t have to have unrealistic degrees of appreciation for their severed spinal columns. One can say that X is not functioning as X would ideally function in a way that is not maliciously condescending.

    That’s what I am going for with the asexuality stuff. We don’t have to be mean, condescending, or send asexual folks to camps where we hook electrodes to their genitals and shove pills down their throats. However, we also don’t have to say, “Man, that’s awesome that you don’t have sexual urges. Go you!” Maybe there is a tactful way of saying, “That person isn’t functioning as the person would ideally function, given what it is to be a human being. It’s cool that it doesn’t bother them, but it sure would be great if they participated in the human experience of wanting to fuck.”

    I don’t take that to be a problematic thought.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    _J_ you have to look at what "ideally function" means.

    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Also, you were PMing about Descartes with Pony:

    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

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  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    _J_ wrote: »
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    You know, I was going to respond to the rest of your pedantic nonsense, but seriously, disabled people "lack human qualities"?

    Fuck you.

    At this point I don't give two fucks about anything you have to say, ever, about anything, or whatever nonsensical philosophical mewlings you might use to elide over your inability to separate human "abilities" from human "qualities" or get into some navel-gazing bullshit circle jerk about qualities or qualia or anything, ever.

    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    So again, to summarize: fuck you.

    Lawndart on
  • Captain MarcusCaptain Marcus Right here in River CityRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    Procreation, from an evolutionary standpoint. So J is correct in saying that as far as passing on genes goes, asexual people are not ideally functioning as they lack the desire for the act of reproduction.

    Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock, and the Golden Rule!
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    Procreation, from an evolutionary standpoint. So J is correct in saying that as far as passing on genes goes, asexual people are not ideally functioning as they lack the desire for the act of reproduction.

    I want to nip this in the bud: this is a common manifestation of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    Winky on
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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ you have to look at what "ideally function" means.

    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I think it's pretty fair shorthand to say that legs that are damaged to the point where they no longer function are bad legs. They are supposed to do X, instead they don't do X. You can say, "But they make great paperweights!" or "They are a very effective lap!" but that doesn't mean they're not bad legs.

    Similarly, I think it makes biological sense to compare things to some sort of reference to determine if they are abnormal or nonfunctional. On small scales, you can talk about how a leg or lung or heart is not fulfilling its necessary goal. A heart pumps blood. If it doesn't pump blood, it's a bad heart. And so on.

    On larger scales, I think you can also talk about biological performance relative to some norm, with the caveat that such norms are partly (though not completely) arbitrary, and also that deviating from the norm is not necessarily a moral failing.

    Most people are right-handed. Left-handedness is abnormal.

    Most people are straight. Gay people are abnormal.

    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.
    That's a heteronormative narrative that I don't really agree with. We aren't just vessels for our genes to be passed.

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    deviating from the norm is not necessarily a moral failing.

    Most people are right-handed. Left-handedness is abnormal.

    Most people are straight. Gay people are abnormal.

    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.

    This.

    Too many people get hung up on connotations, so they take “abnormal” or “disorder” or “deviate” or even “bad” to mean a “moral failing” or something “reprehensible”.

    Perhaps junking connotations would behoove the tone of the thread. When someone says that X is a disorder, that doesn’t mean that X is a moral failing or reprehensible.

    It means that X is a disorder, an absence of order.

    Quadriplegics haven’t suffered a moral failing; they just can’t walk, and so cannot behave in the way a normal human being behaves.

    Edit: Likewise with asexuals; they lack the sexual urge that normal persons have.

    _J_ on
    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.
    That's a heteronormative narrative that I don't really agree with. We aren't just vessels for our genes to be passed.

    Then what are we?

    Personally, I dislike the term “heteronormative”. It’s treated as some sort of argumentative trump card that’s supposed to quash any rebuttal for reasons I don’t understand. I think it’s done a wealth of damage to gender theory.

    But anyway. If we aren’t vessels by which our genes are passed, then what are we?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.
    That's a heteronormative narrative that I don't really agree with. We aren't just vessels for our genes to be passed.

    We are certainly more than that. But we're also potentially that too, since like most creatures, we've been more or less formed around the necessary biological gadgetry. I don't want to wade too far into this, because you're right, this is dangerous ground since this sort of philosophizing does very conveniently normalize the sorts of narratives to which you refer, but upholding heteronormativity is not the only possible result of that conclusion.

    I guess all I'm saying is that, of course, I agree with you in that we aren't determined by what is broadly observable in nature. Centuries of humanistic thought lets us be much more than that, but I think we can all basically agree that we don't need to deny tropes in nature in order to validate any divergence from what we commonly see in it. In fact, I think that's one of the most empowering things we can do, in almost any context: behave in such a way as to fulfill our own personal directives and generally better the lives of the people around us, knowing full well when we are actively revising some standard that might otherwise be imposed upon us. Because we can reason, judge, and choose - normative systems be damned.

    Also, anybody who tries to throw a wrench in this with an incest example...can you just not?

    Edd on
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    Edd wrote: »
    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.
    That's a heteronormative narrative that I don't really agree with. We aren't just vessels for our genes to be passed.

    We are certainly more than that. But we're also potentially that too, since like most creatures, we've been more or less formed around the necessary biological gadgets to do so. I don't want to wade too far into this, because you're right, this is dangerous ground because this sort of philosophizing does very conveniently normalize the sorts of narratives to which you refer, but upholding heteronormativity is not the only possible result of that conclusion.

    I guess all I'm saying is that, of course, I agree with you in that we aren't determined by what is broadly observable in nature. Centuries of humanistic thought lets us be much more than that, but I think we can all basically agree that we don't need to deny tropes in nature in order to validate any divergence from what we commonly see in it. In fact, I think that's one of the most empowering things we can do, in almost any context: behave in such a way as to fulfill our own personal directives and generally better the lives of the people around us, knowing full well when we are actively revising some standard that might otherwise be imposed upon us. Because we can reason, judge, and choose - normative systems be damned.

    Also, anybody who tries to throw a wrench in this with an incest example...can you just not?
    Yeah, this is what I was going for. I wasn't using heteronormative as a debate stop gap. It's just that when a set of conditions and parameters is assumed to be the standard, I have a hard time even entering the discussion because it is a bit gamed.

    39kEWYh.jpg
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    One can say that X is not functioning as X would ideally function in a way that is not maliciously condescending.

    Maybe you could start practicing what you're preaching here, instead of talking about actual human beings as if they were an especially fascinating species of insect.

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
  • agoajagoaj Hey You Pichu I don't like your girlfriendRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Fascinating species of apes actually.

    It's to try to look at things objectively as well, outside your own bias as a human.

    agoaj on
    aqOYSK0.gif
  • PonyPony Registered User regular
    Conflating normative behavior with purpose is folly, I think

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2012
    The problem with the prescriptive argument he's making is that it ignores a large part of what our sexual activity is about: pleasure. While I know he's making it in reference to asexual people, it can very easily be turned into hardcore, fundamentalist screeds of "spill no seed or face eternal damnation."

    If you truly believe this, any time you have intercourse with no real chance or goal of reproduction you're being hypocritical.

    Vanguard on
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Quote splitting is an affront to nature, so I'm going to number my responses:

    1.
    I mean, I can come up with plenty of examples of things that paralyzed legs would be good for if I was thinking far outside the box of goals generally held by people.

    And this is the thing; human goals are not universal, demonstrably so! Any individual in a society can have goals completely counter to those of society, and societies themselves vary enormously in their goals.

    Also a point I think worth mentioning: a quadriplegic doesn't generally hold the goal of walking, and unless you're out exercising neither do you; you hold the goal of 'getting to another location' which is a sub-goal of whatever it is that you actually want to do. I would give no fucks that my legs didn't work if I could just effortlessly levitate anywhere I wanted to go. Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    2.
    There is certainly a place between "having nothing in common" and "having everything in common" that can define a valid category of 'human being'. Also, I never meant to suggest that no human beings have goals in common, most human beings do! But most is certainly not all. Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    3.
    Yes, I actually can prove that the pineal gland doesn't do that: when the pineal gland is lesioned a person's mind remains entirely intact. They can hear, see, talk, do mathematics, and respond to questions that require self-reference and a sense of individuality. They can even do philosophy! All without a pineal gland. What they can't do is produce melatonin. Because that is what the pineal gland does. Produces melatonin. We have known this! We have known this forever! The logic that Descartes used to argue the purpose of the pineal gland was ridiculous anyway; he was basing his notions entirely off the fact that it was the only structure he saw that wasn't redundant. It is not, in fact, the only structure in the brain which isn't redundant. This is why philosophers need to pay attention to science.

    Actually, lesion studies in general are in and of themselves a death-blow to dualism. I would be interested in arguing to you why this is the case.

    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male. Parts of their body fail to match other parts of their body, which is actually a common thread in a number of medical issues. I posted a bit about scientific evidence that supports this notion earlier.

    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body). I think one of the most interesting things I learned recently is that genital development actually follows a smooth continuum between male and female in expressed phenotypes. This is literally to say that a person can be born with genital abnormalities in which they are directly in-between having a penis or a vagina (the scrotum is a direct correlate of the labia majora and the head of the penis is a direct correlate to the clitoris, I could honestly post some seriously interesting images from my slides that are really NSFW). There can also be abnormalities that are not even on the spectrum, but move out in completely different directions. There is no reason to believe that the brain isn't exactly the same in this regard, and while we can very easily identify abnormalities of the external genitalia, abnormalities of the brain are more complicated to detect.

    Alright, this is already a novel, so I'm going to take a break rather than address the rest of your points immediately.

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  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    J, what exactly are 'normal human beings' to you? I feel this has been left a little nebulous. Like, just some statistical average in terms of various social/biological condition?

    No museum needs another upside-down toilet bowl once it has one.
  • Boring7Boring7 Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    _J_ wrote: »
    By definition they are not awesome; they are disabled. Disabled people do not inspire awe; they are not revered.

    Refutation-man strikes again!
    _J_ wrote: »
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    This COMMENT is indicative of a lack of human qualities, specifically empathy.


    Back OT, it is my considered opinion that same-sex attraction among a subset of a tribe's population is evolutionarily advantageous. It offers certain elastic properties to the reproduction/competition/cooperation dynamic.

    And awaaaaay! *swings away on a rope not really attached to anything*

    Boring7 on
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Goldman Sachs may as well be named COBRA.
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ you have to look at what "ideally function" means.

    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I think it's pretty fair shorthand to say that legs that are damaged to the point where they no longer function are bad legs. They are supposed to do X, instead they don't do X. You can say, "But they make great paperweights!" or "They are a very effective lap!" but that doesn't mean they're not bad legs.

    Similarly, I think it makes biological sense to compare things to some sort of reference to determine if they are abnormal or nonfunctional. On small scales, you can talk about how a leg or lung or heart is not fulfilling its necessary goal. A heart pumps blood. If it doesn't pump blood, it's a bad heart. And so on.

    On larger scales, I think you can also talk about biological performance relative to some norm, with the caveat that such norms are partly (though not completely) arbitrary, and also that deviating from the norm is not necessarily a moral failing.

    Most people are right-handed. Left-handedness is abnormal.

    Most people are straight. Gay people are abnormal.

    More fundamentally, the goal of any creature can reasonably be summarized as "live long enough to successfully procreate." Someone who is incapable of procreation, or doesn't want to, can be labeled as abnormal. Does it make them bad people? No. But they are not normal. It needn't even be a negative thing. Someone born with super-high intelligence can also be said to be abnormal. Clearly it's not a bad thing, in this case.

    I want to be clear that I am not arguing from grounds of practicality just as _J_ isn't. Certainly I acknowledge that almost universally people are going to want to use their heart to pump blood and would like a heart that is ideal for this purpose. This is making an educated assumption about them, though. You can't extend this to every person for every aspect of their body or behavior: it seems obvious that we would all want ears that hear and ears that don't hear are "bad ears", but there is a subset of deaf people who don't believe this is the case.

    Also, for your last statement please see my above post. Again, this is a naturalistic fallacy.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Quote splitting is an affront to nature, so I'm going to number my responses:

    1.
    I mean, I can come up with plenty of examples of things that paralyzed legs would be good for if I was thinking far outside the box of goals generally held by people.

    And this is the thing; human goals are not universal, demonstrably so! Any individual in a society can have goals completely counter to those of society, and societies themselves vary enormously in their goals.

    Also a point I think worth mentioning: a quadriplegic doesn't generally hold the goal of walking, and unless you're out exercising neither do you; you hold the goal of 'getting to another location' which is a sub-goal of whatever it is that you actually want to do. I would give no fucks that my legs didn't work if I could just effortlessly levitate anywhere I wanted to go. Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    2.
    There is certainly a place between "having nothing in common" and "having everything in common" that can define a valid category of 'human being'. Also, I never meant to suggest that no human beings have goals in common, most human beings do! But most is certainly not all. Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    3.
    Yes, I actually can prove that the pineal gland doesn't do that: when the pineal gland is lesioned a person's mind remains entirely intact. They can hear, see, talk, do mathematics, and respond to questions that require self-reference and a sense of individuality. They can even do philosophy! All without a pineal gland. What they can't do is produce melatonin. Because that is what the pineal gland does. Produces melatonin. We have known this! We have known this forever! The logic that Descartes used to argue the purpose of the pineal gland was ridiculous anyway; he was basing his notions entirely off the fact that it was the only structure he saw that wasn't redundant. It is not, in fact, the only structure in the brain which isn't redundant. This is why philosophers need to pay attention to science.

    Actually, lesion studies in general are in and of themselves a death-blow to dualism. I would be interested in arguing to you why this is the case.

    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male. Parts of their body fail to match other parts of their body, which is actually a common thread in a number of medical issues. I posted a bit about scientific evidence that supports this notion earlier.

    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body). I think one of the most interesting things I learned recently is that genital development actually follows a smooth continuum between male and female in expressed phenotypes. This is literally to say that a person can be born with genital abnormalities in which they are directly in-between having a penis or a vagina (the scrotum is a direct correlate of the labia majora and the head of the penis is a direct correlate to the clitoris, I could honestly post some seriously interesting images from my slides that are really NSFW). There can also be abnormalities that are not even on the spectrum, but move out in completely different directions. There is no reason to believe that the brain isn't exactly the same in this regard, and while we can very easily identify abnormalities of the external genitalia, abnormalities of the brain are more complicated to detect.

    Alright, this is already a novel, so I'm going to take a break rather than address the rest of your points immediately.

    Yes, there are similar embryonic origins of external male and female genitalia.

    However, that ends once you get inside the body. There are two ductal systems in the embryo before the application the sex hormones that decide the sexual fate of the fetus - the mesonephric duct and the paramesonephric duct. In the female, the paramesonephric duct is allowed to grow into the fallopian tubes and the uterus and such, and the mesonephric duct decays. In the male, the paramesonephric duct is stopped from growing and dies, and the mesonephric duct becomes the epididymis and etc. The only thing males and females share inside the body, embryologically, are the gonads - the testes and the ovaries.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    _J_ wrote: »
    By definition they are not awesome; they are disabled. Disabled people do not inspire awe; they are not revered.

    Terry Fox is an example of a disabled man who inspired awe(and still does for a lot of people).

    Many well known politicians, actors, intellectuals, etc have deal with various forms of mental health issues and have certainly been revered.

    Lucid on
    No museum needs another upside-down toilet bowl once it has one.
  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    Personally, I think anybody who looks at the world differently (which might be due to a disability) can be worthy of awe--I have a strong fascination with blind people, for instance, or the synaesthetic.

    I also think it's not crazy to be awed by or in reverence somebody who manages to overcome hardship (including disability), like blind people who echolocate (how awesome is that!) or paraplegics who play murderball.

    Find more of my writing at The Thieves' Den.
    Currently airing: Killtoberfest 2: Kill Me Twice, Shame On Me.
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Quote splitting is an affront to nature, so I'm going to number my responses:

    1.
    I mean, I can come up with plenty of examples of things that paralyzed legs would be good for if I was thinking far outside the box of goals generally held by people.

    And this is the thing; human goals are not universal, demonstrably so! Any individual in a society can have goals completely counter to those of society, and societies themselves vary enormously in their goals.

    Also a point I think worth mentioning: a quadriplegic doesn't generally hold the goal of walking, and unless you're out exercising neither do you; you hold the goal of 'getting to another location' which is a sub-goal of whatever it is that you actually want to do. I would give no fucks that my legs didn't work if I could just effortlessly levitate anywhere I wanted to go. Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    2.
    There is certainly a place between "having nothing in common" and "having everything in common" that can define a valid category of 'human being'. Also, I never meant to suggest that no human beings have goals in common, most human beings do! But most is certainly not all. Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    3.
    Yes, I actually can prove that the pineal gland doesn't do that: when the pineal gland is lesioned a person's mind remains entirely intact. They can hear, see, talk, do mathematics, and respond to questions that require self-reference and a sense of individuality. They can even do philosophy! All without a pineal gland. What they can't do is produce melatonin. Because that is what the pineal gland does. Produces melatonin. We have known this! We have known this forever! The logic that Descartes used to argue the purpose of the pineal gland was ridiculous anyway; he was basing his notions entirely off the fact that it was the only structure he saw that wasn't redundant. It is not, in fact, the only structure in the brain which isn't redundant. This is why philosophers need to pay attention to science.

    Actually, lesion studies in general are in and of themselves a death-blow to dualism. I would be interested in arguing to you why this is the case.

    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male. Parts of their body fail to match other parts of their body, which is actually a common thread in a number of medical issues. I posted a bit about scientific evidence that supports this notion earlier.

    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body). I think one of the most interesting things I learned recently is that genital development actually follows a smooth continuum between male and female in expressed phenotypes. This is literally to say that a person can be born with genital abnormalities in which they are directly in-between having a penis or a vagina (the scrotum is a direct correlate of the labia majora and the head of the penis is a direct correlate to the clitoris, I could honestly post some seriously interesting images from my slides that are really NSFW). There can also be abnormalities that are not even on the spectrum, but move out in completely different directions. There is no reason to believe that the brain isn't exactly the same in this regard, and while we can very easily identify abnormalities of the external genitalia, abnormalities of the brain are more complicated to detect.

    Alright, this is already a novel, so I'm going to take a break rather than address the rest of your points immediately.

    Yes, there are similar embryonic origins of external male and female genitalia.

    However, that ends once you get inside the body. There are two ductal systems in the embryo before the application the sex hormones that decide the sexual fate of the fetus - the mesonephric duct and the paramesonephric duct. In the female, the paramesonephric duct is allowed to grow into the fallopian tubes and the uterus and such, and the mesonephric duct decays. In the male, the paramesonephric duct is stopped from growing and dies, and the mesonephric duct becomes the epididymis and etc. The only thing males and females share inside the body, embryologically, are the gonads - the testes and the ovaries.

    Aye, we learned that as well, but as for my point the ducts are still both initially present before degenerating, and there are abnormalities of the internal gonads in which both duct systems remain present. I think many (most?) hermaphrodites actually have a single testicle and a single ovary. There are also all sorts of in-betweens in which, for instance, your testicles and mesonephric ducts arrange themselves as though they were ovaries and fallopian tubes.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Winky wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Quote splitting is an affront to nature, so I'm going to number my responses:

    1.
    I mean, I can come up with plenty of examples of things that paralyzed legs would be good for if I was thinking far outside the box of goals generally held by people.

    And this is the thing; human goals are not universal, demonstrably so! Any individual in a society can have goals completely counter to those of society, and societies themselves vary enormously in their goals.

    Also a point I think worth mentioning: a quadriplegic doesn't generally hold the goal of walking, and unless you're out exercising neither do you; you hold the goal of 'getting to another location' which is a sub-goal of whatever it is that you actually want to do. I would give no fucks that my legs didn't work if I could just effortlessly levitate anywhere I wanted to go. Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    2.
    There is certainly a place between "having nothing in common" and "having everything in common" that can define a valid category of 'human being'. Also, I never meant to suggest that no human beings have goals in common, most human beings do! But most is certainly not all. Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    3.
    Yes, I actually can prove that the pineal gland doesn't do that: when the pineal gland is lesioned a person's mind remains entirely intact. They can hear, see, talk, do mathematics, and respond to questions that require self-reference and a sense of individuality. They can even do philosophy! All without a pineal gland. What they can't do is produce melatonin. Because that is what the pineal gland does. Produces melatonin. We have known this! We have known this forever! The logic that Descartes used to argue the purpose of the pineal gland was ridiculous anyway; he was basing his notions entirely off the fact that it was the only structure he saw that wasn't redundant. It is not, in fact, the only structure in the brain which isn't redundant. This is why philosophers need to pay attention to science.

    Actually, lesion studies in general are in and of themselves a death-blow to dualism. I would be interested in arguing to you why this is the case.

    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male. Parts of their body fail to match other parts of their body, which is actually a common thread in a number of medical issues. I posted a bit about scientific evidence that supports this notion earlier.

    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body). I think one of the most interesting things I learned recently is that genital development actually follows a smooth continuum between male and female in expressed phenotypes. This is literally to say that a person can be born with genital abnormalities in which they are directly in-between having a penis or a vagina (the scrotum is a direct correlate of the labia majora and the head of the penis is a direct correlate to the clitoris, I could honestly post some seriously interesting images from my slides that are really NSFW). There can also be abnormalities that are not even on the spectrum, but move out in completely different directions. There is no reason to believe that the brain isn't exactly the same in this regard, and while we can very easily identify abnormalities of the external genitalia, abnormalities of the brain are more complicated to detect.

    Alright, this is already a novel, so I'm going to take a break rather than address the rest of your points immediately.

    Yes, there are similar embryonic origins of external male and female genitalia.

    However, that ends once you get inside the body. There are two ductal systems in the embryo before the application the sex hormones that decide the sexual fate of the fetus - the mesonephric duct and the paramesonephric duct. In the female, the paramesonephric duct is allowed to grow into the fallopian tubes and the uterus and such, and the mesonephric duct decays. In the male, the paramesonephric duct is stopped from growing and dies, and the mesonephric duct becomes the epididymis and etc. The only thing males and females share inside the body, embryologically, are the gonads - the testes and the ovaries.

    Aye, we learned that as well, but as for my point the ducts are still both initially present before degenerating, and there are abnormalities of the internal gonads in which both duct systems remain present. I think many (most?) hermaphrodites actually have a single testicle and a single ovary. There are also all sorts of in-betweens in which, for instance, your testicles and mesonephric ducts arrange themselves as though they were ovaries and fallopian tubes.

    yes testosterone is necessary for the development of the mesonephric duct, and anti-mullerian hormone is necessary to inhibit the development of the paramesonephric duct, so if you have testosterone action but not AMH action, you get dual ductal systems (the opposite of androgen insensitivity syndrome, where you get neither). These are both the responsibility of the Y chromosome, so this issue is present in males and not females. However, the female genital development is always incomplete. I don't think there's ever been a record of functional coexisting male and female organs, and the impossibility of bimodal development suggests that there never will be.

    Paladin on
    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Okay, now for the bottom half:

    If you were interested, my current personal notion (that is not at all solidified) is that 'goals' are an explanatory tool used by the brain to describe behavior, and that they are a byproduct of your conscious process, which has correlates in species that are related to us. Goals are something we assign to observed behavior, and not just in animals but in almost any system in which we see something that can be described as "behavior". This is perhaps too large and off-topic of a discussion to have here, though.

    Also, you're confusing the notion of human being as a category and human beings as a collective. The category is descriptive: a person is a human being if they're associated with what we think of as a human. They have no choice in the matter of whether they are judged to be a part of a category, it's not something you participate in, it's something you are/are not. The only sense of a 'human collective' that we have is society, which is something that any individual person can choose to not participate in (unless they are forced to, of course). Society is also extremely mutable: the goals and norms of society can, and do, change.

    An individual who fits into the category human being doesn't have to have the same goals as society. And, as I was saying earlier, the notion that a person should be changed specifically for the purpose of fitting better into the categorical description of human being is ridiculous. It is like if you had a collection of marbles and you were attempting to categorize them. You come up with this really great categorization scheme where you'll put all the green marbles in one category and all the blue marbles in another category. When you're sorting them, however, you realize to your horror that in addition to blue and green marbles, there are also red marbles! You then, of course, take the only logical course of action and paint all the red marbles blue and green to fit into your pre-existing categories, because clearly all of the marbles need to fit into a category, and changing your pre-existing categories to account for red marbles would be madness. Do you see what I mean?

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  • UrcbubUrcbub Registered User
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    Wow, just wow.

    You know what is a human quality? Compassion. Which you clearly have none of, so clearly you are sub-human. Why don't you go back to your little conservatard bubble and regurgitate your nonsense? Because humans occupy these boards, and until you can fit that description you have no place here.

  • agoajagoaj Hey You Pichu I don't like your girlfriendRegistered User regular
    Urcbub wrote: »
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    Wow, just wow.

    You know what is a human quality? Compassion. Which you clearly have none of, so clearly you are sub-human. Why don't you go back to your little conservatard bubble and regurgitate your nonsense? Because humans occupy these boards, and until you can fit that description you have no place here.

    Yet he's not the one talking about excluding people.
    Well, I guess excluding people is pretty human.

    aqOYSK0.gif
  • UrcbubUrcbub Registered User
    agoaj wrote: »
    Urcbub wrote: »
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    Wow, just wow.

    You know what is a human quality? Compassion. Which you clearly have none of, so clearly you are sub-human. Why don't you go back to your little conservatard bubble and regurgitate your nonsense? Because humans occupy these boards, and until you can fit that description you have no place here.

    Yet he's not the one talking about excluding people.
    Well, I guess excluding people is pretty human.

    Oh no, I was rude to someone who thinks I lack human qualities and think that being dehumanized should be my natural state of being. Nice to see what opinion you side with.

  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Paladin wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    Paladin wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Winky wrote: »
    You can't judge anything in a vacuum; you judge it in relation to some goal and how well it fulfills that goal. If my legs are paralyzed they are "bad legs for walking" they aren't just unequivocally "bad legs"; that doesn't make any sense.

    What would paralyzed legs be good for? What utility would they offer?

    Yeah…we assess utility in terms of goal acquisition. But it seems strange to suggest that every rational agent can posit its own unique goal for every particular thing, and then assess the goodness or badness of that thing with respect to goal acquisition. As a species, I would think that we could have universal goals.

    The other thought I have is: Do quadriplegics lack the goal of walking? They lack the ability to walk, but I’d still think that they would want to walk.

    With respect to asexuality, they…I guess lack the goal of sexuality. But then the question is whether or not a member of the human species can sensibly do that.

    Winky wrote: »
    Can there really be said to be any necessary goals for a human being?

    I’d think so. It seems strange to have a category, “Human being” the members of which have no goals in common.

    That’s why the whole “You can’t say that there is a normal” criticism doesn’t make much sense. If we have a category, human being, there has to be something that members of the category have in common. And my guess is we’d want something more than “featherless bipeds”.
    Winky wrote: »
    I want to make sure; you don't actually support the arcane notion that the pineal gland is some sort of bridge between physical and mental substance, right?

    Because that is most certainly not what a pineal gland does.

    It might be what the pineal gland does. You can’t say for certain that it doesn’t do that. (philosophy 101 argument woo)

    As I posted earlier, we do have strangely Platonic / Cartesian notions about the distinction between self and body. That chart Antimatter posted maintains those nice rigid distinctions that we’d need to get dualism up and running. While we don’t need to get into arguments about what the pineal gland does, we do need to address the mind / body dualism that occurs in the self-narratives some people offer to account for their own sexual habits and self-conceptions of gender.

    One cannot say “I am a woman in a male body” without Descartes.
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Yes, I am taking this way too personally, for reasons I don't fucking care to share with some emotion-free internet asshole.

    I apologize for offending you. It was not my intention for my comments to be taken as personal attacks, or even aimed at you or anyone you know. I was striving to engage the argument in the abstract in order to avoid focusing on any particular person’s life story.

    Again, though, I am sorry to have upset you.


    Winky wrote: »
    Natural selection has no goals, it is literally something that "just happens". Living organisms tend to have physical characteristics and behaviors that enhance the survival of their genes because genes carried by organisms that don't have these characteristics and behaviors tend to survive less. It is nearly tautological: the things that exist tend to be the things that happen to be good at existing. In this manner, survival is the only goal that perpetuates itself, because it is literally the goal of "keep on existing".

    So, goals are something the human mind manifests, rather than something that occurs “in nature” independent of human beings?

    Even leaving aside the question of whether or not squirrels have goals, I think the line of reasoning in the quote may be headed towards a far to individualistic conception of goal-creation.

    I hate to be the one to have to argue this point, but I think we can have societal goals, organizational goals, or team goals. Pick a random sports team. Isn’t “the team” trying to win the game? Or do we want to go with a conception of atomistic persons, and each individual member is trying to win the game?

    If we’re ok with saying “The Chicago Blackhawks want to win the game”, then couldn’t we talk about we-humans as a collective with shared goals?
    Winky wrote: »
    Any particular human being has absolutely no logical reason to support the goal of survival simply based off of natural selection. Just because natural selection has resulted in a species that usually tends towards wanting to survive and propagate doesn't give you any reason to believe that you should want that.

    The problem with this is your opening four words, “Any particular human being”.

    In this quote, you’re privileging the isolated, atomistic particular entity. If Jane doesn’t want to survive then who are we to tell her she’s wrong?”

    The answer is in the next two words, “Human being”. That is a class, a category, a group, a team, an organization, a community in which individual members participate.

    How is it sensible to maintain that Jane is both a radically isolated individual and a member of the group? How can she be both a human being, and share none of the goals / desires of that class? Presumably there is some commonality to be found insofar as Jane participates in the class “human being”.

    Quote splitting is an affront to nature, so I'm going to number my responses:

    1.
    I mean, I can come up with plenty of examples of things that paralyzed legs would be good for if I was thinking far outside the box of goals generally held by people.

    And this is the thing; human goals are not universal, demonstrably so! Any individual in a society can have goals completely counter to those of society, and societies themselves vary enormously in their goals.

    Also a point I think worth mentioning: a quadriplegic doesn't generally hold the goal of walking, and unless you're out exercising neither do you; you hold the goal of 'getting to another location' which is a sub-goal of whatever it is that you actually want to do. I would give no fucks that my legs didn't work if I could just effortlessly levitate anywhere I wanted to go. Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    2.
    There is certainly a place between "having nothing in common" and "having everything in common" that can define a valid category of 'human being'. Also, I never meant to suggest that no human beings have goals in common, most human beings do! But most is certainly not all. Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    3.
    Yes, I actually can prove that the pineal gland doesn't do that: when the pineal gland is lesioned a person's mind remains entirely intact. They can hear, see, talk, do mathematics, and respond to questions that require self-reference and a sense of individuality. They can even do philosophy! All without a pineal gland. What they can't do is produce melatonin. Because that is what the pineal gland does. Produces melatonin. We have known this! We have known this forever! The logic that Descartes used to argue the purpose of the pineal gland was ridiculous anyway; he was basing his notions entirely off the fact that it was the only structure he saw that wasn't redundant. It is not, in fact, the only structure in the brain which isn't redundant. This is why philosophers need to pay attention to science.

    Actually, lesion studies in general are in and of themselves a death-blow to dualism. I would be interested in arguing to you why this is the case.

    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male. Parts of their body fail to match other parts of their body, which is actually a common thread in a number of medical issues. I posted a bit about scientific evidence that supports this notion earlier.

    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body). I think one of the most interesting things I learned recently is that genital development actually follows a smooth continuum between male and female in expressed phenotypes. This is literally to say that a person can be born with genital abnormalities in which they are directly in-between having a penis or a vagina (the scrotum is a direct correlate of the labia majora and the head of the penis is a direct correlate to the clitoris, I could honestly post some seriously interesting images from my slides that are really NSFW). There can also be abnormalities that are not even on the spectrum, but move out in completely different directions. There is no reason to believe that the brain isn't exactly the same in this regard, and while we can very easily identify abnormalities of the external genitalia, abnormalities of the brain are more complicated to detect.

    Alright, this is already a novel, so I'm going to take a break rather than address the rest of your points immediately.

    Yes, there are similar embryonic origins of external male and female genitalia.

    However, that ends once you get inside the body. There are two ductal systems in the embryo before the application the sex hormones that decide the sexual fate of the fetus - the mesonephric duct and the paramesonephric duct. In the female, the paramesonephric duct is allowed to grow into the fallopian tubes and the uterus and such, and the mesonephric duct decays. In the male, the paramesonephric duct is stopped from growing and dies, and the mesonephric duct becomes the epididymis and etc. The only thing males and females share inside the body, embryologically, are the gonads - the testes and the ovaries.

    Aye, we learned that as well, but as for my point the ducts are still both initially present before degenerating, and there are abnormalities of the internal gonads in which both duct systems remain present. I think many (most?) hermaphrodites actually have a single testicle and a single ovary. There are also all sorts of in-betweens in which, for instance, your testicles and mesonephric ducts arrange themselves as though they were ovaries and fallopian tubes.

    yes testosterone is necessary for the development of the mesonephric duct, and anti-mullerian hormone is necessary to inhibit the development of the paramesonephric duct, so if you have testosterone action but not AMH action, you get dual ductal systems (the opposite of androgen insensitivity syndrome, where you get neither). These are both the responsibility of the Y chromosome, so this issue is present in males and not females. However, the female genital development is always incomplete. I don't think there's ever been a record of functional coexisting male and female organs, and the impossibility of bimodal development suggests that there never will be.

    On a tangential note related to fetal androgen exposure and gender identity:

    There's a relationship between the length ratio of your index and ring fingers and your exposure to testosterone during embryonic development. That is to say, if you have a longer ring finger than your index finger it is likely you were exposed to more testosterone as a fetus than someone with a longer index finger than ring finger. It sounds like a silly myth but it's actually got a large amount of evidential support.

    What is perhaps even more interesting is this: MTF transsexuals have been shown to have a higher index finger to ring finger ratio on average than control males (measured before any sort of hormone therapy). This lends credence to the notion that transsexuality is very much a biological thing.


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  • WinkyWinky Frog Rammer Registered User regular
    Urcbub wrote: »
    agoaj wrote: »
    Urcbub wrote: »
    Also, I thought it was interesting that you lamented the amount of “dehumanizing shit” that disabled people have to deal with. Because “dehumanized” means “deprived of human qualities”, which seems like an appropriate sentiment to apply to disabled people, since they, you know, lack human qualities.

    Wow, just wow.

    You know what is a human quality? Compassion. Which you clearly have none of, so clearly you are sub-human. Why don't you go back to your little conservatard bubble and regurgitate your nonsense? Because humans occupy these boards, and until you can fit that description you have no place here.

    Yet he's not the one talking about excluding people.
    Well, I guess excluding people is pretty human.

    Oh no, I was rude to someone who thinks I lack human qualities and think that being dehumanized should be my natural state of being. Nice to see what opinion you side with.

    In _J_'s defense I think he honestly fails to predict and understand the emotional reactions that people have to the things he says.

    I really don't mean this in any disparaging manner and my interactions with _J_ are limited so I don't know the whole story, but I would not be surprised if _J_ has some nature of autism spectrum disorder.

    Which, I suppose, is fairly ironic given the topic at hand.

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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Text wall
    Winky wrote: »
    Posit that someone who is asexual has the goal of "being happy", which seems like a popular and normal goal: for a lot of people never having sex would get in the way of their goal of being happy. However, for the asexual individual the fact that they don't have sex isn't a hindrance to their ultimate goal, so why do they care?

    I worry that the hedonist story renders every act to be a means to obtaining the presumed ultimate goal of happiness. Every person has / constructs their own idea of happiness, and seeks it out through various means. So long as they don’t piss anyone off, we consider them to be behaving ethically.

    Maybe there is more to the human experience than happiness acquisition. Maybe we can structure an idea of the good life, for all persons, and not be construed as either old fogies or Nazis.
    Winky wrote: »
    Also, if you form a category of what a human being is like and a person falls outside of the category, isn't it a bit insane to think that it is necessary to change the individual so that they fit into your category better, rather than expanding the definition? What it means is that your definition of human being is flawed, not that this individual is flawed for not neatly fitting into your categories.

    I’m not sure where this idea came from, but it is very weird.

    In your story, we form a category of what a human being is. A human being exhibits traits X, Y, and Z. Then we stumble upon a “person”, who falls outside of that category, who does not exhibit traits X, Y, and Z. At this point we have to decide between modifying the category, or modifying the person.

    Well, if we’ve defined a human being as exhibiting traits X, Y, and Z, then what would compel us to consider the “person”, who does not exhibit X, Y, and Z, as a person?

    Historically, it was the case that the individual was understood to be flawed. Or, well, not flawed, but just not a person. Since a person does X, Y, and Z, but the thing we’ve happened upon doesn’t exhibit characteristics X, Y, and Z.

    Do you understand why your story is odd? If a human is defined as X, Y, and Z, and we stumble upon something that doesn’t exhibit X, Y, and Z, then why would we consider it to be a human? In considering it to be a human, you’ve presumed something other than X, Y, and Z to define humanness.
    Winky wrote: »
    On a larger scale, _J_, I think that you have to come to terms with the fact that reality does not fit into neat categories, nor do the categories we use in natural language pretend to be neat and structured. Trying to define a set of specific criteria that will describe all instances of what we use in natural language to define human is going to fail you, no matter how you define it! Look at the category of "Living", it is completely impossible to come up with a fitting and useful definition that establishes a clear boundary, and yet it is a common category we all use constantly and effectively!

    Nope. Reality does fit into neat little categories.

    The problem is that people think up the examples you articulated above, where we’ve defined a category to be such that all Xs have characteristic Y, Q, and P. Then we happen upon something that doesn’t have characteristic Y, Q, and P, yet for some bizarre reason maintain that it is an X.

    In contemporary society we’ve gotten to a point where we can define categories in terms of genetics. We don’t have to worry about whether or not this three-legged thing fits into our category of kitty cat (since kitty cats have four legs) since we can appeal to genetic composition.

    That being said, though, most people don’t carry around little genetic testing kits. In our everyday experiences we’re sorta beholden to those older categorical structures.
    Winky wrote: »
    I'm not sure if you're familiar with this exercise, but imagine for me, _J_, the first mammal. Let's suppose that we have clear and definite criteria for what constitutes a mammal that everyone agrees upon (this isn't actually the case). Now, we want to find the first one. I don't mean the first species of mammals, I mean the first individual mammal. Surely, if it's a category formed from definite criteria, and there are mammals on Earth today but there was a point in time before they had evolved, there will have to be a single individual that we can point at and say "this is the first mammal". The notion is absurd! We are saying that looking at a single individual with a tiny, perhaps nearly imperceptible, incremental mutation constitutes an entirely separate category of animal than its parents, siblings and depending on the genetic assortment perhaps many of its own offspring as well! This would be like saying that a man with brown hair constitutes an entirely different taxonomic class than his twin brother with dirty blonde hair.

    The point I'm trying to illustrate is this: our categories don't actually work that way. They are associations, not predetermined by definite rules.

    Yeah, in a post-Darwinian society we start talking about vague categories and ambiguity. I don’t much care for it.
    Winky wrote: »
    Also, we can circumvent dualism when talking about gender identity very simply: mismatched gender identity is not an issue of a mind/body problem, it is an issue of a body/body problem (or, more specifically, a brain/rest of the body problem). The issue is not that they have this non-physical mind that is female attached to the physical body that is male; the issue is that they have a brain (or portion of their brain) that is female inside a body that is male.

    That’s the same problem insofar as it’s positing a super-special quality onto brain / mind that other organs lack. You’re just removed the incorporeal quality. And unless you’re going to be physicalist all the way down, there’s still something incorporeal about the brain. Or, well, I guess that’s a question to ask you: Is the sense of male-ness physical? Is the taste of a strawberry physical? Can femaleness be cut out of a brain?
    Winky wrote: »
    Though, I want to clarify: it is not so simple as a binary distinction (your brain is not just strictly male or strictly female, and neither is your body).

    You type that, but just a paragraph ago you stated that it was binary. Or, you used binary language.
    Lucid wrote: »
    J, what exactly are 'normal human beings' to you? I feel this has been left a little nebulous. Like, just some statistical average in terms of various social/biological condition?

    That is a very difficult question.

    Short answer: It’s not determined by mall surveys. If 51% of respondents enjoy the taste of strawberries, that doesn’t mean that normal people like strawberries. Though, if normal people liked strawberries, then at least 51% of respondents would like strawberries.

    I’d end up defining “normal human being” by an appeal to εἶδος (eidos), or maybe a τέλοϛ (telos). Though, I’d probably go with Plato over Aristotle. Either way, it’s going to come from an ideal realm within which finds the form of human being, or category, if you like, in which all instantiations participate.

    But I realize that is a no-no in 2012. So failing the Platonic route, I’d go with an appeal to societal / communal norms and try to keep that running for a while. When that ultimately failed, I’d try to song and dance through some kind of naturalistic purpose argument rooted in evolutionary development. When that ultimately failed I’d throw the burden back onto my interloquitor and state that there is just no making them happy, and maybe they should offer a definition of normal since they’re so smart. At which point we’d probably abandon the notion that there is a “normal”, and so we’d either have to uphold some notion of vague categories, or just dismiss the notion of “human being” all together, unless we want to settle in the incredibly unhelpful appeal to genetic composition.
    Winky wrote: »
    Okay, now for the bottom half

    That’s what she said.
    Winky wrote: »
    If you were interested, my current personal notion (that is not at all solidified) is that 'goals' are an explanatory tool used by the brain to describe behavior, and that they are a byproduct of your conscious process, which has correlates in species that are related to us. Goals are something we assign to observed behavior, and not just in animals but in almost any system in which we see something that can be described as "behavior". This is perhaps too large and off-topic of a discussion to have here, though.

    By “goal” do you mean “purpose” or “intent” or “orientation” or something like that?
    Winky wrote: »
    Also, you're confusing the notion of human being as a category and human beings as a collective. The category is descriptive: a person is a human being if they're associated with what we think of as a human. They have no choice in the matter of whether they are judged to be a part of a category, it's not something you participate in, it's something you are/are not. The only sense of a 'human collective' that we have is society, which is something that any individual person can choose to not participate in (unless they are forced to, of course). Society is also extremely mutable: the goals and norms of society can, and do, change.

    I’m confused. You say that “category is descriptive”. You also say “categories are something you are / are not”. Those seem different. I’d go with a category as something one participates in. When we say “that’s a dog” what we’re saying is, “That thing participates in the category / form of dogness”; there is dogness in that being.
    Winky wrote: »
    An individual who fits into the category human being doesn't have to have the same goals as society. And, as I was saying earlier, the notion that a person should be changed specifically for the purpose of fitting better into the categorical description of human being is ridiculous.

    Let’s be fair. It’s not “ridiculous”. It’s just not the sort of thing that is currently in vogue. At some point in human history some groups decided to privilege the individual over the society. So, we do that now. Yey.
    Winky wrote: »
    It is like if you had a collection of marbles and you were attempting to categorize them. You come up with this really great categorization scheme where you'll put all the green marbles in one category and all the blue marbles in another category. When you're sorting them, however, you realize to your horror that in addition to blue and green marbles, there are also red marbles! You then, of course, take the only logical course of action and paint all the red marbles blue and green to fit into your pre-existing categories, because clearly all of the marbles need to fit into a category, and changing your pre-existing categories to account for red marbles would be madness. Do you see what I mean?

    Again, your examples are kinda wonky. It’s like in your previous example where we define human being, and then stumble upon a person who doesn’t fit that definition, and so have to change the definition. The stories don’t make sense.

    A human being exhibits characteristics X, Y, Z.
    This thing does not exhibit characteristics X, Y, Z.
    Well, then this thing isn’t a human being.

    Similarly, in your marble example, you’re assuming something that defines “marbleness” independent of color. So, sure, if marbles are Q, P, and then exhibit some color, then a red thing that exhibits Q, P would be a marble.

    But if part of the definition of marble includes “Is blue or green”, then those red things aren’t marbles, because all marbles are either blue or green.

    The thing we do now, to solve this particular problem, is appeal to genetics.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 I told her on Alderaan nothing else was going on.Registered User regular
    'The thing we do now, to solve this particular problem, is appeal to genetics.'

    What, pray tell, would this be implying?

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