The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

Holistic view of human behavior

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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#61  Postby Thommo » Jun 11, 2014 11:54 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Doubtdispelled wrote::lol:


Don't you laugh at me. I'm willing to bet you got older during that period as well... :whistle:

Me? Got older? Don't be silly. I'm in control of - well - everything. :snooty:

Ok, well I'm even more jealous of you now. :(
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#62  Postby Doubtdispelled » Jun 11, 2014 11:55 am

Clive Durdle wrote:And lo, in my local Waterstones the gods led me to pick up

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/a ... ter-review

How to Make a Human Being by Christopher Potter.

The philosopher Martin Heidegger, who was particularly concerned with questions of being, said that no inquiry can proceed without first tackling the fundamental question "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Potter has followed Heidegger's lead, beginning his exploration of the big questions by asking simply "What is matter?" The answer occupies the first third of his book, and takes him deep into the debate between materialists and what he calls idealists (though the players he puts in the latter category would undoubtedly object to their inclusion). He imagines their meeting as a kind of time-travelling intellectual football match: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Samuel Johnson and Lucretius are among the players kicking for materialism (Dawkins is team captain), while Tolstoy, Keats, Proust and Plato are all playing for the idealists. There are no women with the materialists, but three – Marilynne Robinson, Karen Armstrong and Emily Dickinson – among the idealists. Einstein is the referee and, as the governing deity of this book as well as much of contemporary pop science, is feted by both sides. Potter is only a little rueful in noting that Dawkins's team always wins, and is relieved that the other side, captained by William James, doesn't seem to care.

:lol: :clap:
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#63  Postby TMB » Jun 11, 2014 10:48 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Doubtdispelled wrote::lol:


Don't you laugh at me. I'm willing to bet you got older during that period as well... :whistle:

Me? Got older? Don't be silly. I'm in control of - well - everything. :snooty:

You wish
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#64  Postby kennyc » Jun 11, 2014 11:35 pm

Doubtdispelled wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Doubtdispelled wrote::lol:


Don't you laugh at me. I'm willing to bet you got older during that period as well... :whistle:

Me? Got older? Don't be silly. I'm in control of - well - everything. :snooty:


:nono: :nono: :nono:
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#65  Postby Nicko » Jun 12, 2014 12:41 am

TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#66  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 3:32 am

Nicko wrote:
TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#67  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2014 6:50 am

TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but those words in red actually look like your claim, not his. :scratch:
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#68  Postby Nicko » Jun 12, 2014 8:46 am

Thommo wrote:
TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but those words in red actually look like your claim, not his. :scratch:


Um, yeah.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#69  Postby Fenrir » Jun 12, 2014 9:13 am

Since when has the definition of Holistic been "reduced to and explained by a single overriding principle". Sounds like a stretch to me.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#70  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 9:45 am

Nicko wrote:
It's actually quite easy to see how reducing every human behaviour to power-seeking or power-maintenance could be used to "explain" pretty much anything. It's just as easy to see that many of these "explanations" are just going to be ad hoc rationalisations rather than anything with any predictive power.


I agree, however the acid test is the ability to explain and predict, in the same way that evolution by natural selection does, and EBNS is a very fundamental principle that provides a means for prediction and explanation. Its always a risk that something can be so self evident that its has no use. Ironically your comment falls into exactly that category, as it is a simplistic rationalisation about something , and provides nothing useful to the discussion. So I suggest we test my proposal on the basis of how well it explains and predicts things.

Nicko wrote:
You also run into the problem that power is an essentially contested term. Pretty much everyone who's ever looked at the subject in any depth has different ideas about what constitutes power, how it can be used, who has it, how it can be acquired, how it can be maintained, how it can be lost, etc. Probably the most comprehensive look at the concept in a concise format is - IMHO - Steven Lukes' Power: A Radical View.

Then lets not use the term ‘power’ but describe the characteristics that we want to examine. I am using power because it does provide an easy handle to avoid describing every facet. I have no issue with Lukes approach and do not see any conflict with mine. He provides a more elegant description than mine to describe his concept of power as “the probability individuals or groups realising their wills”. From what I managed to find, I could not see that Lukes extended this to relationships with non human species or inanimate entities, meaning we differ only at the level we address, because I would apply the description broader than just people. Perhaps I have missed something in his work but it appears more focussed in human politic and economics but I agree with his basic definition. He also goes into detail on the use of force, conflict (or lack of), persuasion which are all just fine detail

Nicko wrote:
But to return to my original point, every time someone has tried to reduce human behaviour to one factor, they run into the problems famously observed by Karl Popper when he took a critical look at such things as Adlerian psychoanalysis and Marxism, or Noam Chomsky when he deconstructed the Behaviourist view of linguistics: if all you are looking for is how your pet theory explains absolutely everything, you will almost certainly find a rationalisation that can achieve this.


Then perhaps you can expand on what these problems were and I will see if can answer them, or are you saying it just our tendency to rationalise that always takes us down a rabbit hole? If that is the case then we can probably consign everything to the dump.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#71  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2014 9:50 am

TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
It's actually quite easy to see how reducing every human behaviour to power-seeking or power-maintenance could be used to "explain" pretty much anything. It's just as easy to see that many of these "explanations" are just going to be ad hoc rationalisations rather than anything with any predictive power.


I agree, however the acid test is the ability to explain and predict, in the same way that evolution by natural selection does, and EBNS is a very fundamental principle that provides a means for prediction and explanation. Its always a risk that something can be so self evident that its has no use. Ironically your comment falls into exactly that category, as it is a simplistic rationalisation about something , and provides nothing useful to the discussion. So I suggest we test my proposal on the basis of how well it explains and predicts things.


Ok, will I enjoy the second series of the TV show defiance more, less or the same as the previous one?
Who is more likely to overeat me, or my brother?
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#72  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 9:51 am

Thommo wrote:
TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but those words in red actually look like your claim, not his. :scratch:


Actually I was talking about his words describing my words, but unless I want to stay on the roundabout with you, I will respond.
I have provided a response to your cynical comments on movies and eating disorders which have not been responded to, I also provided a range of these in my initial proposal, the whole basis of evolution by natural selection offers a law around the leverage of power over our environment. Why dont you have a shot at unravelling these?
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#73  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2014 9:56 am

TMB wrote:
Thommo wrote:
TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:

The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?


Correct me if I'm wrong, but those words in red actually look like your claim, not his. :scratch:


Actually I was talking about his words describing my words, but unless I want to stay on the roundabout with you, I will respond.
I have provided a response to your cynical comments on movies and eating disorders which have not been responded to, I also provided a range of these in my initial proposal, the whole basis of evolution by natural selection offers a law around the leverage of power over our environment. Why dont you have a shot at unravelling these?


Because you're the one making the claim. I have expressed no opinion over whether there can be a single factor that explains all human behaviour, I am investigating whether there is any meaningful way in which what you've asserted can be described as such.

To be honest I found your response wholly inadequate, since in fact your "explanation" did not explain the result at all - by which I mean that had I asserted the exact opposite (that I preferred later series to earlier ones, or referred to under-eating) your response would have been identical, which is to say that it does not in fact account for what is as opposed to what might have been. As far as I can tell so far your "explanation" of everything explains nothing and has no predictive power. To which end I've asked for further predictions on those same points which you think are explained to provide us a preliminary basis on which to judge empirically whether there's something here.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#74  Postby kennyc » Jun 12, 2014 10:51 am

TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
TMB wrote:Let us suppose that I am either basing my proposition on CT or I am not basing it on RCT, how does your response answer the OP that says either version of the theory is able to reduce human behavior so a single factor, allowing for better prediction and explanation?


The red is what your "theory" - or any other theory that tries to reduce human behaviour to a single factor - does not do.

OK you have made your assertion, now back it up with the logic to support it, and finish it up with some evidence - can you do this?


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Oh Nice attempt at trying to reverse situation. :doh:
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#75  Postby kennyc » Jun 12, 2014 10:55 am

And certainly no attempt to address my question.

TMB please definitively state the difference in your claim and plain ol' everyday evolution.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#76  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 1:36 pm

Thommo wrote:
TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
It's actually quite easy to see how reducing every human behaviour to power-seeking or power-maintenance could be used to "explain" pretty much anything. It's just as easy to see that many of these "explanations" are just going to be ad hoc rationalisations rather than anything with any predictive power.


I agree, however the acid test is the ability to explain and predict, in the same way that evolution by natural selection does, and EBNS is a very fundamental principle that provides a means for prediction and explanation. Its always a risk that something can be so self evident that its has no use. Ironically your comment falls into exactly that category, as it is a simplistic rationalisation about something , and provides nothing useful to the discussion. So I suggest we test my proposal on the basis of how well it explains and predicts things.


Ok, will I enjoy the second series of the TV show defiance more, less or the same as the previous one?
Who is more likely to overeat me, or my brother?


You ask "Who is more likely to overeat me, or my brother", let me be pedantic and since you have omitted a comma in the appropriate place, I cannot comment on who is going to overeat you - we are now trading the same level of trivia, thanks for letting me in.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#77  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2014 1:49 pm

TMB wrote:
Thommo wrote:
TMB wrote:
Nicko wrote:
It's actually quite easy to see how reducing every human behaviour to power-seeking or power-maintenance could be used to "explain" pretty much anything. It's just as easy to see that many of these "explanations" are just going to be ad hoc rationalisations rather than anything with any predictive power.


I agree, however the acid test is the ability to explain and predict, in the same way that evolution by natural selection does, and EBNS is a very fundamental principle that provides a means for prediction and explanation. Its always a risk that something can be so self evident that its has no use. Ironically your comment falls into exactly that category, as it is a simplistic rationalisation about something , and provides nothing useful to the discussion. So I suggest we test my proposal on the basis of how well it explains and predicts things.


Ok, will I enjoy the second series of the TV show defiance more, less or the same as the previous one?
Who is more likely to overeat me, or my brother?


You ask "Who is more likely to overeat me, or my brother", let me be pedantic and since you have omitted a comma in the appropriate place, I cannot comment on who is going to overeat you - we are now trading the same level of trivia, thanks for letting me in.


Well, correct me if I'm wrong but eating is a human behaviour and you did claim to be able to explain all human behaviour. Anyway, I'll consider this failure to manage even one prediction about basic, simple examples of human behaviour falling at the first hurdle.

Anyway, I do thank you for stepping up from saying nothing at all to talking in trivialities. I think this is marked progress. :thumbup:
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#78  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 2:25 pm

Thommo wrote:
Because you're the one making the claim. I have expressed no opinion over whether there can be a single factor that explains all human behaviour, I am investigating whether there is any meaningful way in which what you've asserted can be described as such.


You are correct, but you have not responded with anything substantive when I have given examples.
Thommo wrote:

To be honest I found your response wholly inadequate, since in fact your "explanation" did not explain the result at all - by which I mean that had I asserted the exact opposite (that I preferred later series to earlier ones, or referred to under-eating) your response would have been identical, which is to say that it does not in fact account for what is as opposed to what might have been.


You are correct again, but your imagination surely must be better than this indicates. Let us use another example at the same level as you have approached the one above and see how the theory of natural selection deals with it.
You: “oooh look this living thingy has legs that it uses to move around”
Me: “yes it is a product of natural selection”
You: “ooh look that thingy hasn’t got legs that it uses to move around, it has wings instead”
Me: “well you are a clever boy to have noticed that, and it is also a product of natural selection”
You: “To be honest I find your response wholly inadequate, since in fact your "explanation" did not explain the result at all - by which I mean that I asserted the exact opposite (that I see a set of legs, and on another no legs) and your response is identical, which is to say that it does not in fact account for what is as opposed to what might have been”.

Once again you are correct but like I said this is not rocket science to note that the tendency existing in living things to control things can be seen as a tautology it is valid to say “that which survives, survives”. On first glance it does appear a tautology, however, the last phrase contains the basis of evolution, so in fact far from getting nothing out at the back end, in terms of the theory of evolution this simple fact has great explanatory power.

Thommo wrote:
As far as I can tell so far your "explanation" of everything explains nothing and has no predictive power. To which end I've asked for further predictions on those same points which you think are explained to provide us a preliminary basis on which to judge empirically whether there's something here.


I suggest you first take a shot at the logic of what I have suggested. The argument rests upon a form of reductionism. In the case of something like physics, the nature of matter and laws that define its characteristics, and these characteristics in turn prescribe the characteristics of everything subject to the laws of physics. Hence in a simple form I believe that physics underlies chemistry, chemistry underlies biology, biology underlies culture, at the same time I do believe in emergence acts upon this.

If you do accept the above in principle, I am suggesting the same thing is possible when it comes to describing the behaviour of all living things. If the tendency to try and control outcomes in their favour, I suggest that life itself would not exists because an effect of trying (and being successful) to control things in ones favour (aka power) is survival. Anything that was not inclined to do this would be removed from existence very quickly, while those things that did would progressively get better and better at this because of the existence of competition with other living entities. Once again anything that did not do this at all, or who did not do it well enough, will be eliminated. This means that we are the product of billions of generations of organisms that have been better or the best at achieving favourable outcomes, manifested as life and reproduction.

If this is true then it allows us to look at all human institutions and behaviours and see if this basic principle underlies this. In the case of looking at our major systems, like economic systems, civic systems, religion, science, judicial, education, commerce I would say it is pretty easy to see that the principle of trying to control is evident in all of these. Look at education for example, the objective of education is to produce productive, law abiding and compliant citizens and all education attempts to control for these outcomes. Clearly this is not completely successful, simply because individuals are also trying to stay in control and conflict arises and society evolves as competing forces jostle for control. Marriage is sold as an ideal, yet the relationships between men and women, men and men etc are typified by compromise and conflict, and the emotional and carnal bonds appear to exist in order to prevent fractures. And since sexual reproduction exists in order to get a better re-sort on our DNA that would arise from asexual reproduction, power and conflict should exist at a deeper level.

Trying to use the system to explain trivial everyday phenomena becomes more difficult and less relevant, and trying to use those to ‘fail’ the proposition shows intellectual myopia and laziness if you do not approach the proposition in a methodical way.
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#79  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2014 2:40 pm

I wholly disagree, it is myopic to believe that evolution explaining the diversity of extant life is the same as evolution explaining all behaviour. Evolution inherently involves random variables (and a lot of them) and those random variables denote things for which there is not a full explanation. Misunderstanding the scope of what is explained by TOE is quite obviously going to lead to a lot of very silly conclusions. In short my preference for The Offspring to Nirvana is predicated upon evolution, it is not explained by it.

The same error could be observed if one were to ask "Why is Clifton Suspension Bridge structurally sound?" and receive the answer "physics".
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Re: The human condition - is a holistic view possible?

#80  Postby TMB » Jun 12, 2014 2:56 pm

kennyc wrote:And certainly no attempt to address my question.

TMB please definitively state the difference in your claim and plain ol' everyday evolution.


I am suggesting that the tendency to try and control things to produce favorable outcomes sits at the level below EBNS. I understand EBNS operates on the principle that the fittest survive, and survival defines fitness. The traits that are effective at surviving will tend to dominate and through a process of natural selection will eliminate traits that are not useful for survival. These traits need to be heritable and passed down to descendants and once this is done, the traits in the parents can become redundant. This pretty much affects and explains much of our lives, love and hate, conflict and cooperation, giving and stealing, selfishness and altruism, however I do not see that it directly specifies and describes the act of suicide in positive terms. While it is possible to argue that the act of suicide can be seen as a non adaptive behavior if it happens before the organism has had a chance to procreate, however tying the behavaior back to DNA is problematic. It means that EBNS does not offer much in terms of defining the behavior of suicide, while the idea that a suiciding person is still trying to retain control over outcomes does describe it and is still compatible with EBNS. It also gives a better description of our tendency to remain alive and in control after we have passed reproductive age. Both these examples seem superfluous in EBNS, but aside from that I consider EBNS to be the underlying force that living things can be reduced to. The ability to control outcomes can also be applied to non living entities and while they are not doing this as a result of the volition of something living, but as a result of their material properties, things that are capable of progressing through existence without being made non-existing, have the same outcomes as something that has the volition of control.
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