Why do YOU have principles?

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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#41  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 08, 2016 2:23 am

Fascinating, though not really pertinent.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#42  Postby tolman » May 10, 2016 12:41 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:
The problem, of course, is that effectively no-one has a set of simple principles which are also comprehensive, or a set of clear priorities to govern what happens when principles clash, as any even vaguely useful set of principles obviously will.


I do.

So give me a taste of what your principles are, and the meta-principles which describe their clear priority order.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#43  Postby Cito di Pense » May 10, 2016 6:38 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:Fascinating, though not really pertinent.


Principles are shortcuts so that you don't have to puzzle out your response to a situation in every case. Theories are principles with experimental evidence behind them. Psychobabble is an example of a set of principles with no experimental evidence behind it consisting of exotic interpretations of experimental evidence. Some people might say their single principle is to puzzle out their response from first principles (the kind they think they didn't make up themselves), but we call those folks 'filosofeezers'.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#44  Postby aban57 » May 10, 2016 8:25 am

I don't drink alcohol. Never. It's a principle I've been living by since I was a kid, after some bad experiences with drunk people. I was around 8 when I decided I'd never drink, and 28 years later, I sill never have.
The mechanism behind this is pretty straightforward. I saw drunk people, some had misplaced behaviours towards me, one died because of it, so I decided I would never be like this.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#45  Postby tolman » May 10, 2016 5:04 pm

Would you consider people who do drink alcohol but seem quite capable of behaving themselves when they do drink as being at all wrong/immoral/inferior?

Compared to just making a choice not to drink and sticking with it, what is added by declaring it a 'principle'?

Would the principle extend to never consuming alcohol at all (such as avoiding any sauces made with wine), or does it allow such consumption as long as it would make becoming intoxicated rather difficult?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#46  Postby aban57 » May 10, 2016 5:11 pm

tolman wrote:Would you consider people who do drink alcohol but seem quite capable of behaving themselves when they do drink as being at all wrong/immoral/inferior?

Nope

tolman wrote:
Compared to just making a choice not to drink and sticking with it, what is added by declaring it a 'principle'?

So, wht's a principle then, except a line of behaviour you decide to follow ?

tolman wrote:
Would the principle extend to never consuming alcohol at all (such as avoiding any sauces made with wine), or does it allow such consumption as long as it would make becoming intoxicated rather difficult?

Intoxication is what I'm trying to avoid, so no to your first question, yes to the second :)
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#47  Postby tolman » May 10, 2016 6:06 pm

aban57 wrote:
tolman wrote:Compared to just making a choice not to drink and sticking with it, what is added by declaring it a 'principle'?

So, what's a principle then, except a line of behaviour you decide to follow ?

I'd see a principle as something like a generalisation to be used to (depending on one's perspective) either aid in some future decision where aid is needed, or to justify some decision one could make without the principle.
That is, as some kind of actual or pretended foundation.

In your case, the decision to abstain from alcohol seems to be a single personal decision, with specific reasons, which needs no further aid, support, or justification.

As a slightly different example, I have a couple of friends who don't drink because they know that when they do drink they become rather unpleasant.
I'd find it hard to view their decision not to drink as being translatable into a 'principle', since they have no need of anything beyond the simple knowledge that their personal drinking leads to consequences they don't like.
Similarly, if someone didn't drink because any meaningful drinking gave them foul hangovers, it'd be hard to see their decision as needing (or even being meaningfully assisted by) any kind of 'principle'.

Compared to those situations, how different is your decision?
Would it be fair to say that your decision is something like a decision to avoid drinking because you don't know if drinking would lead to the negative consequences you saw it lead to for other people, and you see the risks as being too great to justify the potential benefits?

If the expected or feared direct consequences of a decision are sufficient in themselves to justify deciding in a particular way, I'm not sure what would be added by a 'principle' which pointed towards the decision one would make based purely on the expected or feared direct consequences.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#48  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 10, 2016 10:01 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:Fascinating, though not really pertinent.


Principles are shortcuts so that you don't have to puzzle out your response to a situation in every case. Theories are principles with experimental evidence behind them. Psychobabble is an example of a set of principles with no experimental evidence behind it consisting of exotic interpretations of experimental evidence. Some people might say their single principle is to puzzle out their response from first principles (the kind they think they didn't make up themselves), but we call those folks 'filosofeezers'.


You have mistakes there. It looks to me as though you mixed contexts together, and failed to appropriately adjust word definitions as you shifted from one to the other.

The word 'principle' in particular, has different shades of meaning and different attributes, depending on the context.

It's a bit similar to the way that the word 'theory' is used. If you try to slip from the hard scientific meaning of the word, into the common street meaning, and then back again, you will either be purposely lying, or simply making a fool of yourself.

Same thing with the word 'principle.' Applying the rigorous requirements of the Scientific context to 'principle,' when you aren't talking about a scientific subject area, is dishonest. So is playing things the other way.

The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things. When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them. They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#49  Postby Cito di Pense » May 11, 2016 10:17 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:Fascinating, though not really pertinent.


Principles are shortcuts so that you don't have to puzzle out your response to a situation in every case. Theories are principles with experimental evidence behind them. Psychobabble is an example of a set of principles with no experimental evidence behind it consisting of exotic interpretations of experimental evidence. Some people might say their single principle is to puzzle out their response from first principles (the kind they think they didn't make up themselves), but we call those folks 'filosofeezers'.


You have mistakes there. It looks to me as though you mixed contexts together, and failed to appropriately adjust word definitions as you shifted from one to the other.

The word 'principle' in particular, has different shades of meaning and different attributes, depending on the context.


In the swamps of 'different shades of meaning', how does one identify 'mistakes' or 'mixing of contexts'? Probably by failing to wibble about the value of 'different shades of meaning' or the 'identification of context'. That still leaves you the problem of explaining how these 'different shades of meaning' are helpful in any way, as opposed to clouding over the fact that people can't talk about these notions coherently in the first place.

igorfrankensteen wrote:It's a bit similar to the way that the word 'theory' is used. If you try to slip from the hard scientific meaning of the word, into the common street meaning, and then back again, you will either be purposely lying, or simply making a fool of yourself.


What context are we in, IF? Science or street? I don't think it's either one where you are concerned. So what's it to be?

igorfrankensteen wrote:Same thing with the word 'principle.' Applying the rigorous requirements of the Scientific context to 'principle,' when you aren't talking about a scientific subject area, is dishonest. So is playing things the other way.


What context are we in, IF? I already asked you once, nicely. Next time won't be so nice.

igorfrankensteen wrote:The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things.


According to whom? Science or Street? Or just the very crudest of dictionary-cribbing? You don't fucking have a clue, do you?

igorfrankensteen wrote:When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them.


What is required, then? Anything? No, I don't fucking think so. The word 'principle' is supposed to astonish, all by itself. If your effectiveness hasn't worked out, you can still talk about your 'principles', but it looks better if they've had some effect. Any effect will do, it doesn't have to be science-y. But you have to declare what it is.

igorfrankensteen wrote:They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.


Rigidity isn't the same thing as foundation. Foundations often have to be rigid, but rigidity doesn't necessarily create a foundation. If you've ever worked in earthquake country, completely rigid foundations are not ideal. Sometimes rigidity just produces dogma. This is hopeless, IF. It looks as if you're trying to simulate academic sophistication using insights that could be gotten in pursuit of a HS Diploma. Your serious tone is phony from the get-go.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#50  Postby tolman » May 11, 2016 2:18 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things. When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them. They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.

Could anyone 'establishing a personal philosophy' do so in the absence of prior experience?

Could any sane person decide to select and stand behind a particular principle without considering the implications of the principle for real-life decision making, with respect to actual past situations or potential future ones

Who would dig a foundation without some idea of what was going to be built upon it, and without knowledge of how foundations worked in general?

Who would dig multiple foundations for parts of some overarching structure without a very good idea of how the various different foundations were going to work together?

You claim to have a set of simple and comprehensive principles and/or some clear set of priority orders for your various principles, yet you seem reluctant to try and give us a meaningful flavour of what they are.

Why is that?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#51  Postby Sendraks » May 11, 2016 2:30 pm

I've not been reading this thread on principle.*





*Principle under construction at this time. But rest assured, there will be such a mighty principle here when the work is complete. Following a full public consultation, establishment of a taskforce, further consultation, budget cuts, overspend, rescoping of the project, eventual procurement and a change in leadership.
"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

"'Science doesn't know everything' - Well science knows it doesn't know everything, otherwise it'd stop" - Dara O'Brian
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#52  Postby laklak » May 11, 2016 7:30 pm

A principle is what you fall back on when you say 'It's not the lousy 5 bucks, it's the principle'. What it means is 'it's the lousy 5 bucks'.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! - Chicken Little
I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that - Oscar Wilde
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#53  Postby zoon » May 11, 2016 8:16 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:
The word 'principle' in particular, has different shades of meaning and different attributes, depending on the context.

It's a bit similar to the way that the word 'theory' is used. If you try to slip from the hard scientific meaning of the word, into the common street meaning, and then back again, you will either be purposely lying, or simply making a fool of yourself.

Same thing with the word 'principle.' Applying the rigorous requirements of the Scientific context to 'principle,' when you aren't talking about a scientific subject area, is dishonest. So is playing things the other way.

The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things. When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them. They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.

The nearest thing to an overarching principle available at the moment does seem to be the likelihood that the material world, including human brains, can be entirely described in terms of the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry. So far, scientists are nowhere near actually achieving such a description of human (or any other) brains, but all the evidence suggests that such a description is possible. This undercuts any attempt to derive first principles from any other intuitions we may have.

From your earlier posts, you are referring in particular to moral principles in this thread, and especially to the way that people often use and bend principles to their own advantage? Since scientists don’t begin to understand human brains for practical purposes of prediction in real time, science so far is largely useless for working out or negotiating the details of morality; for discussing moral principles we are stuck with philosophy. At the same time, those moral principles need to be aligned with, or at least not in opposition to, what little is scientifically known about human brains. Anything which opposes the scientific consensus is probably a mistake.

For example, our tendency to set up moral rules to which we hold ourselves and others is almost certainly (for scientific reasons) an evolved adaptation which enables us to cooperate effectively. From this perspective, moral principles no longer have the status of primary constituents of the fabric of the universe which they have traditionally held. We still need to discuss moral principles in non-scientific terms (because we need to cooperate, and neuroscience is so far almost useless at that level of detail), but we also need to accept the scientific evidence that our moral principles are an aspect of our biology. They are not clear fundamental principles, but messy rules of thumb which depend, like the rest of human behaviour, on a combination of evolved hard-wiring with ongoing calculation and argument. We often need to argue and negotiate with each other, and occasionally, as Joshua Greene’s work shows, with ourselves, to come up with moral principles that work well enough. Science may help with this, so I think that Calilasseia’s posts about Greene’s work were relevant. I find myself agreeing with Wikipedia here:
Wikipedia wrote:….. evolutionary psychology's primary focus is to derive, especially through the deep analysis of hunter-gatherer culture and primate models, what is the most accurate description of general human predispositions (i.e. our innate "hard-wiring"). And as this understanding grows, it will become more and more feasible to redesign culture itself to be more "user friendly" to its human members, according to some standard . After all, in the ultimate sense, culture (like a computer) is a tool to serve its users. Noted primatologist Frans De Waal asserts, "In the words of Edward Wilson, biology holds us "on a leash" and will let us stray only so far from who we are. We can design our life any way we want, but whether we will thrive depends on how well the life fits human predispositions" [9] Thus, the goals of evolutionary psychology overlap with the science of morality.

?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#54  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 11, 2016 10:52 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:Fascinating, though not really pertinent.


Principles are shortcuts so that you don't have to puzzle out your response to a situation in every case. Theories are principles with experimental evidence behind them. Psychobabble is an example of a set of principles with no experimental evidence behind it consisting of exotic interpretations of experimental evidence. Some people might say their single principle is to puzzle out their response from first principles (the kind they think they didn't make up themselves), but we call those folks 'filosofeezers'.


You have mistakes there. It looks to me as though you mixed contexts together, and failed to appropriately adjust word definitions as you shifted from one to the other.

The word 'principle' in particular, has different shades of meaning and different attributes, depending on the context.


In the swamps of 'different shades of meaning', how does one identify 'mistakes' or 'mixing of contexts'? Probably by failing to wibble about the value of 'different shades of meaning' or the 'identification of context'. That still leaves you the problem of explaining how these 'different shades of meaning' are helpful in any way, as opposed to clouding over the fact that people can't talk about these notions coherently in the first place.

igorfrankensteen wrote:It's a bit similar to the way that the word 'theory' is used. If you try to slip from the hard scientific meaning of the word, into the common street meaning, and then back again, you will either be purposely lying, or simply making a fool of yourself.


What context are we in, IF? Science or street? I don't think it's either one where you are concerned. So what's it to be?

igorfrankensteen wrote:Same thing with the word 'principle.' Applying the rigorous requirements of the Scientific context to 'principle,' when you aren't talking about a scientific subject area, is dishonest. So is playing things the other way.


What context are we in, IF? I already asked you once, nicely. Next time won't be so nice.

igorfrankensteen wrote:The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things.


According to whom? Science or Street? Or just the very crudest of dictionary-cribbing? You don't fucking have a clue, do you?

igorfrankensteen wrote:When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them.


What is required, then? Anything? No, I don't fucking think so. The word 'principle' is supposed to astonish, all by itself. If your effectiveness hasn't worked out, you can still talk about your 'principles', but it looks better if they've had some effect. Any effect will do, it doesn't have to be science-y. But you have to declare what it is.

igorfrankensteen wrote:They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.


Rigidity isn't the same thing as foundation. Foundations often have to be rigid, but rigidity doesn't necessarily create a foundation. If you've ever worked in earthquake country, completely rigid foundations are not ideal. Sometimes rigidity just produces dogma. This is hopeless, IF. It looks as if you're trying to simulate academic sophistication using insights that could be gotten in pursuit of a HS Diploma. Your serious tone is phony from the get-go.



Okay, a LOT of hostility in all that, and more mistakes of the same kind.

A selection:

Principles are shortcuts so that you don't have to puzzle out your response to a situation in every case. Theories are principles with experimental evidence behind them.



First, you define the word "principles" without reporting your context, while implying non-scientific social context. This is your personal definition, not mine, and not the same as the most common definitions given in dictionaries. Therefore you can use your definition within YOUR context, of your own life, but not elsewhere. It doesn't apply to the context of this thread.

Next, you declare a definition of "theories," again without establishing context, and again in a way which does NOT match the social context implied by your personal definition of "principles." These are therefore non sequitur.

Psychobabble is an example of a set of principles with no experimental evidence behind it consisting of exotic interpretations of experimental evidence.


More definitions of terms without context, and these terms don't have rigorously defined scientific definitions. Also, they have nothing at all to do with personal principles, which, AGAIN, is the subject of this thread.

What context are we in, IF? Science or street? I don't think it's either one where you are concerned. So what's it to be?



Obvious hostility,and an implied declaration of an unwillingness to cooperate in any discussion with me. If you have a respectful and serious question to ask, please do so.

According to whom? Science or Street? Or just the very crudest of dictionary-cribbing? You don't fucking have a clue, do you?


More hostility, with insults added. You are clearly uninterested in finding out what this thread is about at all. Again, when you would like to have a civil and respectful discussion, and you have a pertinent question to ask, instead of typing out antagonistic rhetorical statements, it might again become useful to read what you have to say.

Until then, I'm sticking to the subject of the thread.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#55  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 11, 2016 11:38 pm

tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things. When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them. They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.


Could anyone 'establishing a personal philosophy' do so in the absence of prior experience?


Could any sane person decide to select and stand behind a particular principle without considering the implications of the principle for real-life decision making, with respect to actual past situations or potential future ones

Who would dig a foundation without some idea of what was going to be built upon it, and without knowledge of how foundations worked in general?

Who would dig multiple foundations for parts of some overarching structure without a very good idea of how the various different foundations were going to work together?


This is EXACTLY what I am trying to get at with this thread. In my experience and observation, MOST people do as you describe, though it's also true that most people don't realize they are "dig[ging] multiple foundations for parts of some overarching structure without a very good idea of how the various different foundations were going to work together." That is what this thread is about.

You claim to have a set of simple and comprehensive principles and/or some clear set of priority orders for your various principles, yet you seem reluctant to try and give us a meaningful flavour of what they are.

Why is that?


I mentioned in passing that I do. Someone asked me to describe my entire personal philosophy and all of my principles, and I ignored them, because (AGAIN) that's not pertinent to the thread subject, and because it would take weeks of writing I would require payment for, and none has been offered.

But I will try to give you an example of how I arrive at what I have, as opposed to what most people have rattling around on a virtual shelf, just behind their equally virtual mind.

I did NOT, by the way, say anything at all about this being "simple." The reason why most people DON'T coordinate the various "principles" they think they have or claim to have, is because it's real work to do so.

Here's an example of an often cited principle that many people claim to hold, but which I thought about for a very long time, before carefully rejecting it:

" The simplest and most direct solutions are usually the best."


Lots of corporate types especially, like to quote this one, usually right before rolling out a "solution" which consists primarily of saying "everyone shut the fuck up and do what I want, because I'm in charge."

After a GREAT many years of struggle and work, I finally concluded (now some time ago) that the best solutions always require a lot of effort to completely understand the entirety of whatever system one is working within, and that means that the simplest responses are only very very rarely the best, because the world is a very complicated place.

So rather than declaring as my principle, that the SIMPLEST solution is what I want, I would say something more along the lines that the best solution, is an ACTUAL solution, and that means that it has to address all the essential concerns involved, regardless of cost. An associated mini-principle worth mentioning with this, is that "one must accept the cost of doing what one believes is the best or most correct thing to do, OR, accept that one really DOESN'T want to do the best or most correct thing."

There's more to it than that as well, but since this is just an illustration, I'll stop there.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#56  Postby tolman » May 12, 2016 1:08 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:
tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:The overall concept of 'principle,' is the idea of starting point; or foundation, or first requirement, or source of other derived things. When establishing a personal philosophy, it is not required that 'principles' have "experimental evidence" to back them up or "prove" them. They only have to be the philosophers' STARTING POINT and FOUNDATION, such that they do not shift or change for him/her depending on the circumstances.


Could anyone 'establishing a personal philosophy' do so in the absence of prior experience?


Could any sane person decide to select and stand behind a particular principle without considering the implications of the principle for real-life decision making, with respect to actual past situations or potential future ones

Who would dig a foundation without some idea of what was going to be built upon it, and without knowledge of how foundations worked in general?

Who would dig multiple foundations for parts of some overarching structure without a very good idea of how the various different foundations were going to work together?


This is EXACTLY what I am trying to get at with this thread. In my experience and observation, MOST people do as you describe, though it's also true that most people don't realize they are "dig[ging] multiple foundations for parts of some overarching structure without a very good idea of how the various different foundations were going to work together." That is what this thread is about.

The reality seems to be that people referring to 'principles' are typically talking about post-hoc foundations they use to explain a building that's already there.
Which seems rather to be what I was saying earlier.

igorfrankensteen wrote:
You claim to have a set of simple and comprehensive principles and/or some clear set of priority orders for your various principles, yet you seem reluctant to try and give us a meaningful flavour of what they are.

Why is that?


I mentioned in passing that I do. Someone asked me to describe my entire personal philosophy and all of my principles, and I ignored them, because (AGAIN) that's not pertinent to the thread subject, and because it would take weeks of writing I would require payment for, and none has been offered.

I just asked for a taste, not the whole five courses.

igorfrankensteen wrote: But I will try to give you an example of how I arrive at what I have, as opposed to what most people have rattling around on a virtual shelf, just behind their equally virtual mind.

I did NOT, by the way, say anything at all about this being "simple." The reason why most people DON'T coordinate the various "principles" they think they have or claim to have, is because it's real work to do so.

Here's an example of an often cited principle that many people claim to hold, but which I thought about for a very long time, before carefully rejecting it:

" The simplest and most direct solutions are usually the best."

That's not a 'principle', it's a generalisation which necessarily points to the presence of exceptions, and so provides no guidance as to what the exceptions may be or how to identify them.

igorfrankensteen wrote:
Lots of corporate types especially, like to quote this one, usually right before rolling out a "solution" which consists primarily of saying "everyone shut the fuck up and do what I want, because I'm in charge."

After a GREAT many years of struggle and work, I finally concluded (now some time ago) that the best solutions always require a lot of effort to completely understand the entirety of whatever system one is working within, and that means that the simplest responses are only very very rarely the best, because the world is a very complicated place.

So rather than declaring as my principle, that the SIMPLEST solution is what I want, I would say something more along the lines that the best solution, is an ACTUAL solution, and that means that it has to address all the essential concerns involved, regardless of cost. An associated mini-principle worth mentioning with this, is that "one must accept the cost of doing what one believes is the best or most correct thing to do, OR, accept that one really DOESN'T want to do the best or most correct thing."

There's more to it than that as well, but since this is just an illustration, I'll stop there.

You seem to have derived that from experience of actual situations, rather than starting from it as any kind of foundation.
Wouldn't someone like you but who didn't give particular credence to the idea of 'principles' be likely to come to a similar conclusion as a rule-of-thumb as a result of the same experience?

Also, it doesn't seem to amount to much beyond a somewhat tautological statement that the best solution is one which is the best solution, for a particular subjective interpretation of 'best', or a heuristic that things shouldn't be simplified too far, without specifying how far is too far.
What the 'essential concerns' are is necessarily subjective, as is how to weigh competing concerns against each other.

Of course, in reality, one also has to balance the benefits of trying to find the 'best' solution against the costs of prolonging the decision-making process.
If someone is involved in anything time-sensitive, then a 'sub-optimal' decision now may be better than an ideal one next week, especially if problems with any solution may only become apparent once a decision is implemented, where an earlier decision may give more time for correction.

Full data is rarely available, and the best decision may be one which is based on all manner of guesses.
Indeed, any decision may be based on all manner of guesses.

Someone could easily make an quite different 'principled' decision to you by following your 'principle' but having different subjective priorities, and you could make different decisions at different times about the same situation by having different subjective priorities, as people (including you) seem likely to have.

The issue I have with 'principles' is that they either seem to be simple, rigid and mutually conflicting, with no clear guide to how to deal with conflicts, or (like the ones you mentioned) so full of wiggle room that they could be used to justify pretty much anything.

Firmly sticking to a principle with lots of room for manoeuvre does seem rather an odd concept.

(Somewhat reminiscent of 'rigidly-defined areas of doubt and uncertainty'. Good old DNA. Hard to believe it was 15 years ago yesterday.)
Last edited by tolman on May 12, 2016 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#57  Postby Cito di Pense » May 12, 2016 5:33 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:Also, they have nothing at all to do with personal principles, which, AGAIN, is the subject of this thread.


So far, your rendition of 'principles' is completely abstract, as tolman is pointing out to you. Asking a question "why do you have principles" assumes your conclusion that personal principles are anything but abstractions and generalizations. You can't get away with asking an idiotic question like "Why do you have abstractions and generalizations?" so maybe it's time for you to get to some specifics. Of course, that's your cue to bloviate further about "shades of meaning".

Even if you get people to tell you what their 'personal principles' are, you'll be hearing nothing but anecdotes. If you don't have anything you yourself can call 'personal principles', then it's no wonder you're fishing for examples on the anonymous internet. It's a staple here to ask somebody else to defend a thesis in order for the challenger, from some position of assumed authority, to do the old Socratic dance on it.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#58  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 12, 2016 9:22 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:Also, they have nothing at all to do with personal principles, which, AGAIN, is the subject of this thread.


So far, your rendition of 'principles' is completely abstract, as tolman is pointing out to you. Asking a question "why do you have principles" assumes your conclusion that personal principles are anything but abstractions and generalizations. You can't get away with asking an idiotic question like "Why do you have abstractions and generalizations?" so maybe it's time for you to get to some specifics. Of course, that's your cue to bloviate further about "shades of meaning".

Even if you get people to tell you what their 'personal principles' are, you'll be hearing nothing but anecdotes. If you don't have anything you yourself can call 'personal principles', then it's no wonder you're fishing for examples on the anonymous internet. It's a staple here to ask somebody else to defend a thesis in order for the challenger, from some position of assumed authority, to do the old Socratic dance on it.


More hostility, and more ingenuous questions.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#59  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 12, 2016 9:41 pm

This is apparently even more complicated subject to talk about than I thought. Most people are totally off target about it, either attacking me for things I didn't say, chatting about current science of neurology items only tangentially related to it, or demanding that hard rules be declared or proven.

None of which relates at all, to what is an observation about common human behavior, and a suggestive question to try to provoke a bit of introversion and further thought.

Tollman:
The reality seems to be that people referring to 'principles' are typically talking about post-hoc foundations they use to explain a building that's already there.


Yes. That is another variation on the more general observation I have made repeatedly, which triggered this thread.

People do this. They go through life, trying to do whatever it is they want to do from one moment to the next. When they hear someone cite something which I am generally referring to as a"principle" in order to enable that person to get what they want, and it seems to work to GET whatever it was, then they might add that "principle" to the virtual bag or box or shelf they have set up in the back of their head for such things.

But MOST people don't really work on making their collection fit together, they just use it like a sort of grab bag of tricks they can use sort of like conceptual cash, to "buy" their way in a given situation. That's one of the big reasons why it's common to hear accusations of hypocrisy being put forward.

It's important to me to address this incredible sloppiness, because when ad hoc, spur of the moment, and uncoordinated "philosophy" is accepted as a general social guidance system, the result is often oppression, and/or social disintegration. For sure, no solid sustainable resolutions of any problems ever result from a flaky foundation such as this.

I'm TRYING to get a serious discussion about it going, in the hope that being AWARE of when people are playing this game, might improve what humans can accomplish. No luck yet.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#60  Postby tolman » May 12, 2016 10:54 pm

The 'principle' you described with regard to decision-making:
igorfrankensteen wrote:So rather than declaring as my principle, that the SIMPLEST solution is what I want, I would say something more along the lines that the best solution, is an ACTUAL solution, and that means that it has to address all the essential concerns involved, regardless of cost. An associated mini-principle worth mentioning with this, is that "one must accept the cost of doing what one believes is the best or most correct thing to do, OR, accept that one really DOESN'T want to do the best or most correct thing."

doesn't seem like obviously more than an experience-derived heuristic.

I admit to being puzzled as to why 'costs' appear to be distinct from 'essential concerns', but leaving that aside, it seems to have enough wiggle room that it doesn't need any obvious work to make it fit with any other principles of a similar heuristic nature, since what the 'essential concerns' are, and how competing essential concerns should be balanced is left entirely in the air.

Someone with a penchant for simple solutions would presumably see the list of essential concerns as basically being shorter than you do.

Indeed, one of the issues I have with 'principles' in general is that people, especially those who claim to follow principles strictly, frequently seem to use the idea of principles as a way of not actually thinking much about decisions, or of pointing to a principle they simply assert as being strongly or overwhelmingly important as justification, with the at-least-implicit suggestion that people who disagree with the decision are disrespecting the principle, whether the principle is religious, nationalistic, or whatever.

Someone saying "Hey, let's just try and think about this from lots of angles and somehow try to weigh up all the competing factors before coming to a conclusion", while someone I'd tend to agree with the approach of, isn't someone I'd think of as someone applying 'principles' in the way the word is widely used and understood.
It would seem to me more like the expression of a personality cautious by nature and/or experience which probably doesn't need any extra real or imaginary scaffolding to keep it like that, unless maybe experience subsequently shows it that it's maybe being excessively cautious.
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