Why do YOU have principles?

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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#61  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 14, 2016 11:52 am

tolman wrote: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.


You have some things right and some you're still "criticizing the plot because you don't realize you're looking at the glossary." I made that saying up just now. I'll get to it.

"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."

Excellent. THIS is what I am focusing on. People who THINK they have principles, but actually don't. Instead, they have a collection of what WOULD be real principles, had they actually understood them and taken them seriously, instead of simply using them as cover stories, excuses, or bludgeons.

What makes something a principle or not, IN THIS CONTEXT, is how the person who claims to follow it, actually apply it.

The kind of people you are describing (who are EXACTLY who I am describing), are using the IDEA that something is a "Principle," to hijack otherwise unsupportable authority over others.

Simple example from here in the US: lots of people hear about the First Amendment, and decide it's up to THEM to decide what it means from one moment to the next. They proclaim that "Freedom of Speech" means that they can say whatever they want without anyone being allowed to object, in one sentence, then declare that it means that they can shout over what their opponents say, in the next. They THINK Freedom of Speech is a Principle. But it is not actually a principle, TO THEM.

"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."

Okay, THIS is where you are "looking at the glossary and think you're looking at the plot." You are talking about a situation where someone claims to be applying principles. However, you left the principles themselves out of the story, and talked about HOW they were or were not being applied, and then complained that there were no principles involved. Essentially, you confused a description of an application of principles, with the principles themselves; and then complained that I was defining principles incorrectly.

But on the whole, I think we're coming closer to being in agreement; it's a matter of figuring out how to talk about it, so that we aren't at cross purposes.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#62  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 12:50 pm

I don't see I was saying much above I wasn't saying many posts ago.

As for your 'principle' regarding thinking about decisions about solutions to problems, it's not clear how your 'applying' it wouldn't involve so much in the way of subjective judgements about what the 'essential concerns' were and how to balance competing ones that you couldn't potentially apply the principle and come up with any decision you wanted at the time.

And if you do try hard to be consistent in decision-making, as you claim, and as I have no reason to doubt, it's hard to see how you'd do that without your either relying on you naturally tending to weigh various factors similarly at different times, or having experience of how you think you weighed such factors in the past and trying to make sure you acted similarly in a given decision.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#63  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 14, 2016 1:55 pm

tolman wrote:I don't see I was saying much above I wasn't saying many posts ago.

As for your 'principle' regarding thinking about decisions about solutions to problems, it's not clear how your 'applying' it wouldn't involve so much in the way of subjective judgements about what the 'essential concerns' were and how to balance competing ones that you couldn't potentially apply the principle and come up with any decision you wanted at the time.

And if you do try hard to be consistent in decision-making, as you claim, and as I have no reason to doubt, it's hard to see how you'd do that without your either relying on you naturally tending to weigh various factors similarly at different times, or having experience of how you think you weighed such factors in the past and trying to make sure you acted similarly in a given decision.


You've misidentified a process of mine as being a 'principle' again. Hence why you criticize it as including subjective judgments.

What I THINK you are trying to say here, is related again , perhaps unwittingly, to the core concern that identifying what a personal principle actually IS, is critical. Essential to this subject area, and to the overall idea that principles are useful and important.


Hint: behind the decision making which does include weighing factors, is the PRINCIPLE, that all solutions need to account for both desired principles, and all real factors bearing on the results. The principle is WHY different decisions can be selected when situations are SIMILAR but not IDENTICAL.

Making a knee-jerk rigid and repeated choice, in spite of varying factors, would be indicative of someone having a principle different from mine, to IGNORE varying factors.

And again, this particular is a distracting SIDE ISSUE, not the reason for the thread.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#64  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 3:24 pm

You seem to misunderstand me, which is presumably at least partly my fault.
I wasn't trying to talk about you making the same decision in similar situations, but of weighing particular factors consistently in different situations, as opposed, for example, to consciously or subconsciously choosing to assign weights to various factors on a per-situation basis in order to produce or justify a decision you (or rather some less-principled version of you) might want to do for other reasons, the way that many people do.

Also, I thought you'd said that something like 'Always consider all the essential factors when trying to make the best decision, regardless of 'cost'' (or something like that) was what you were suggesting as one of your principles?

Though it's not clear to me why any 'costs' wouldn't be numbered among the relevant factors to consider rather than some apparently distinct things not to be regarded as relevant, though maybe I don't quite understand what you mean by 'costs'.
I'm sure you understand that some people could take a version of your principle and use the 'regardless of cost' part to ignore factors they'd rather not weigh up. Someone could try to justify some of the most reviled social policies in history by considering negative aspects of the policies as just being 'costs' that had to be borne, typically by other people.

Nor is it clear how two or more of your principles could conflict, or how you might work out what to do in such a scenario.

Nor, as I mentioned, is it clear how the principle you described is fundamentally different from someone else's 'experience-derived understanding' of things to be aware of when making trying to find the best solution to a problem.

If someone were to simply try to think of all the relevant factors, try to measure, judge, or guess what the impact of different decisions were with respect to those factors, and try to somehow do a balancing act or calculation regarding those potantially quite different factors, that wouldn't seem to be different to you following your principle.

The most obvious potential difference would seem to be you having an explicit commitment to trying to do that for each important decision or solution.

The difficulty of knowing when one has thought of all relevant factors, and the subjectivity of trying to assess the impacts of different decisions and doing an overall calculation as objectively as possible would seem to exist for you basically as they would for someone who hadn't declared it a matter of principle.

Possibly you have various other principles which would be relevant to particular potential factors in making a particular decision, but it's not clear how you would try to weigh such principles against each other, or what would be added by bringing principles into it compared to someone who had strong feelings about various things but didn't see what parleying their feelings into principles would add.

With regard to feelings, would it really be unfair to say that your principle with regard to the 'best solution' was substantially down to your various historic feelings about solutions you or other people have chosen or rejected in the past?

When it comes to the kinds of decisions which would seem to need the most guidance, aren't they typically the ones where it's very hard for people not to be subjective, as well as ones where various 'principles' are most likely to be in conflict?

Do you think your principles help you to be more objective, and if so, how?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#65  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 3:42 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:1) 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."

2) 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.

3) 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.

If the 'two principles' are the two things you mentioned in paragraph 3), the second (mini) principle seems to be basically just an extended explanations of '...regardless of cost'.
Possibly it's also meant as a statement that people should take responsibility for all the consequences of their actions, though in reality most people would tend towards something more like 'all reasonably foreseeable consequences', even if they may still feel varying amounts of responsibility for consequences which weren't reasonably foreseeable.

I do get the feeling that a couple of hypothetical situations from you might make things a lot clearer, especially in showing how you think you might come to a different conclusion than someone similar to you with similar life experiences but who didn't particularly buy into the idea of principles, or someone similar to you who did, but had the a more conventional [wrong?] idea of what principles were.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#66  Postby zoon » May 14, 2016 4:02 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote: Hint: behind the decision making which does include weighing factors, is the PRINCIPLE, that all solutions need to account for both desired principles, and all real factors bearing on the results. The principle is WHY different decisions can be selected when situations are SIMILAR but not IDENTICAL.

Making a knee-jerk rigid and repeated choice, in spite of varying factors, would be indicative of someone having a principle different from mine, to IGNORE varying factors.

And again, this particular is a distracting SIDE ISSUE, not the reason for the thread.

The reason for the thread would be people using principles to gain advantage in arguments, rather than feeling bound by them? I’m not clear how this is going to be avoided in practice, except to the extent that if it’s too blatant it doesn’t work, it needs to be done with a degree of subtlety in order to be effective. For example, if the principle being invoked is that people should keep promises, then if the claimant is known to break promises freely, they are more likely to be mocked than listened to.

I think the principle you mention above: “that all solutions need to account for both desired principles, and all real factors bearing on the results” is the only principle of yours which you have so far identified in this thread? Like almost any principle involved in real-world human decision-making, this is far more complex in practice than it looks. If it’s taken to its logical conclusion, it would stymie any decision-making at all, since in any real scenario there are unknown factors, and the known ones are not fully understood. In practice, though, anyone using that principle would not take it to this reductio ad absurdum; they would be looking for a reasonable trade-off between dithering indefinitely and jumping in with both left feet. Similarly with keeping promises, take the scenario where someone has promised to help with decorating a friends flat, and turns up at the appointed time explaining that their mother has just had a stroke, but they had to leave her on the floor and come because they couldn’t break a promise. Any competent adult knows that there are times when breaking a promise is the only thing to do, but this doesn’t mean that the principle is useless, only that it has grey areas which are liable to be hijacked when an argument begins.

As you say in the OP:
igorfrankensteen wrote:..many people have never directly and consciously taken personal responsibility for all that they think they believe in. And it is this unconscious disconnect between a person's principles and their own lives, which leads to a ton of the most fundamental and enduring relationship problems of all kinds, for all of us.
At the same time, I’m not clear what alternative you have in mind? There’s much to be said for sorting out the most obviously contradictory of the rules of thumb by which one lives, but the chances of finding a reasonably simple and coherent collection of principles to live by which an intelligent opponent is unable to tear some sizeable holes in, is essentially zero; we are far too complicated, we don’t understand ourselves. The nearest thing to a fundamental belief I have is that everything including our brains follows mathematical laws of physics and chemistry, but this is (a) useless, or worse than useless, as a positive guide for social life (it’s more of a corrective to woo), and (b) subject to experimental falsification, it may yet turn out to be wrong.

Learning that principles are often used unconsciously in contradictory or hypocritical ways, by others and by oneself, is an enduring theme in literature? The only likely chance of any clear answers is in understanding our brains as the mechanisms they almost certainly are, which is a long way off and would bring problems of its own?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#67  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 4:46 pm

zoon wrote:Similarly with keeping promises, take the scenario where someone has promised to help with decorating a friends flat, and turns up at the appointed time explaining that their mother has just had a stroke, but they had to leave her on the floor and come because they couldn’t break a promise. Any competent adult knows that there are times when breaking a promise is the only thing to do, but this doesn’t mean that the principle is useless, only that it has grey areas which are liable to be hijacked when an argument begins.

And, of course, the grey areas are the ones where decisions are typically difficult, even for someone really trying to make the best decision (for whatever version of 'best' someone has chosen to adopt.)

zoon wrote:As you say in the OP:
igorfrankensteen wrote:..many people have never directly and consciously taken personal responsibility for all that they think they believe in. And it is this unconscious disconnect between a person's principles and their own lives, which leads to a ton of the most fundamental and enduring relationship problems of all kinds, for all of us.
At the same time, I’m not clear what alternative you have in mind? There’s much to be said for sorting out the most obviously contradictory of the rules of thumb by which one lives, but the chances of finding a reasonably simple and coherent collection of principles to live by which an intelligent opponent is unable to tear some sizeable holes in, is essentially zero; we are far too complicated, we don’t understand ourselves

Indeed.
Possibly the first steps for many people are to recognise that their rules of thumb (or 'principles') are guides which are possibly the least use in the most difficult decisions, and recognise when they are (or are at risk of) using 'principles' as a means to reduce their responsibility by an appeal to principles, as an excuse for not actually thinking, and when they are using principles as a justification for a decision they arrived at for different or more complicated reasons, or for reasons they don't fully understand, or to give emotional decisions a thicker veneer of rationality than they deserve.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#68  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 14, 2016 6:42 pm

zoon:
The reason for the thread would be people using principles to gain advantage in arguments, rather than feeling bound by them? I’m not clear how this is going to be avoided in practice, except to the extent that if it’s too blatant it doesn’t work, it needs to be done with a degree of subtlety in order to be effective.


My concern is not primarily with outright liars and deceivers. My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

That's why I titled this "why do YOU have principles." I'm after the kind of people who THINK THEY ARE LIVING BY PRINCIPLES, but who are really just going moment to moment, and using catch phrases to fend off guilt or complaints.

It takes lots of work to coordinate a set of principles, that's probably why so many people "hire it done," by choosing a religion or other master to just tell what to do.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#69  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 14, 2016 6:51 pm

zoon:
I think the principle you mention above: “that all solutions need to account for both desired principles, and all real factors bearing on the results” is the only principle of yours which you have so far identified in this thread? Like almost any principle involved in real-world human decision-making, this is far more complex in practice than it looks. If it’s taken to its logical conclusion, it would stymie any decision-making at all, since in any real scenario there are unknown factors, and the known ones are not fully understood.


Yeah. Absolutely. MOST principles are much more complex than any short description can encompass. Some are so difficult to elucidate, that entire libraries can be written about them, and still not really express them thoroughly. That's why I resist trying to spell out my own principles here, as I said before, it's not that I'm hiding them or don't know what they are, it's that they aren't the kinds of things that two or three sentences would explain in a way which wouldn't trigger another barrage of objections about the details. And the details of my, or anyone eles' personal principles are not what I am trying to focus on.

I am trying to stay on trying to develop an awareness or a process to have an awareness, of when one is, or is not, ACTUALLY dealing with true personal principles.

Because I think it's a very valuable thing to be able to do for oneself, and it does help fend off many manipulative people, and other fools.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#70  Postby Cito di Pense » May 14, 2016 7:49 pm

tolman wrote:Possibly the first steps for many people are to recognise that their rules of thumb (or 'principles') are guides which are possibly the least use in the most difficult decisions, and recognise when they are (or are at risk of) using 'principles' as a means to reduce their responsibility by an appeal to principles, as an excuse for not actually thinking, and when they are using principles as a justification for a decision they arrived at for different or more complicated reasons, or for reasons they don't fully understand, or to give emotional decisions a thicker veneer of rationality than they deserve.



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:rofl: :clap: :dance: :rofl: :clap: :dance: :rofl: :clap: :dance: :rofl: :clap: :dance: :rofl: :clap: :dance: :rofl: :clap: :dance:

If you think that's being snide, it isn't. People generally hate making what they think of as a 'decision', because it rules out what they think of as some future 'possibility' they're loath to abandon and not because they fear taking 'responsibility' for what does eventually become of their 'decisions'. People get stuck talking in terms of 'principles' and 'responsibility' because they still haven't gotten religion out of their systems. The psychobabblers have this all covered with descriptors like 'borderline', 'impulsivity', and 'risk-taking behavior'.

If you want 'snide': You can always take this crap over to the Never-Ending Free Will Thread, now playing in a sub-forum near you, where I''ll be happy to address snidely any up and coming theories about 'decisions', which are moments to dither over because somebody already doesn't trust herself.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#71  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 7:55 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

Why are 'principles someone got told' necessarily worse than 'principles someone made up for themselves'?

As far as principles go, both seem to have the same potential drawbacks of using principles as excuses to stop thinking, as excuses for things someone decided for other reasons, etc.

You seem to be making a false dichotomy between working everything out for oneself and being handed it on a plate.
Someone explaining principles they want someone to share doesn't simply have to throw the principles at their target and run away. If they and their audience are reasonably bright, they can try to explain why they think the principles are worthwhile, and in what kinds of ways they can conflict and have conflicted with other principles.

Would it have been horrible if someone had told you and shown you that good solutions can be difficult and involve trying hard to identify, quantify and balance all the relevant factors?
Would that not have been a good starting point even for someone like you?
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#72  Postby Cito di Pense » May 14, 2016 7:56 pm

tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

Why are 'principles someone got told' necessarily worse than 'principles someone made up for themselves'?


You have to admire IF's dedication to 'originality' in matters of 'principle'. Above anything else, IF wants somebody to admire his 'principles'. Philosophical dick-swinging at its very best.

tolman wrote:If they and their audience are reasonably bright, they can try to explain why they think the principles are worthwhile, and in what kinds of ways they can conflict and have conflicted with other principles.


If you do that, you give up all pretense to 'originality', because, when you 'justify' your 'principles', you're definitely going to have to cite some authority figure, or else wander off into hopeless abstraction, as IF has done, to avoid having to cite his sources, meaning he got his principles from someone else.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#73  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 8:25 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:MOST principles are much more complex than any short description can encompass. Some are so difficult to elucidate, that entire libraries can be written about them, and still not really express them thoroughly. That's why I resist trying to spell out my own principles here, as I said before, it's not that I'm hiding them or don't know what they are, it's that they aren't the kinds of things that two or three sentences would explain in a way which wouldn't trigger another barrage of objections about the details. And the details of my, or anyone eles' personal principles are not what I am trying to focus on.

As for your attempts at describing one of your principles, if you tried to describe it in more detail, possibly it would have somewhat less wiggle room for all manner of subjective judgements than it clearly does in short form, but it's hard to see how you could go very far down that road without ending up with something that was unwieldy in practice or less principle-like in nature

Indeed, the larger and more detailed the construction was, as well as having clearly been built on your own past experience, I suggest the more likely you'd be to have to add to it in the light of future experience, which isn't what most people would consider to be any kind of 'foundation'.

If someone could write a library about what their 'principles' were, it would suggest to me they didn't understand the basic concept.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#74  Postby tolman » May 14, 2016 8:31 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:MOST principles are much more complex than any short description can encompass. Some are so difficult to elucidate, that entire libraries can be written about them, and still not really express them thoroughly. That's why I resist trying to spell out my own principles here, as I said before, it's not that I'm hiding them or don't know what they are, it's that they aren't the kinds of things that two or three sentences would explain in a way which wouldn't trigger another barrage of objections about the details.


igorfrankensteen wrote:
tolman 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.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#75  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 15, 2016 2:40 pm

tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

Why are 'principles someone got told' necessarily worse than 'principles someone made up for themselves'?

As far as principles go, both seem to have the same potential drawbacks of using principles as excuses to stop thinking, as excuses for things someone decided for other reasons, etc.

You seem to be making a false dichotomy between working everything out for oneself and being handed it on a plate.
Someone explaining principles they want someone to share doesn't simply have to throw the principles at their target and run away. If they and their audience are reasonably bright, they can try to explain why they think the principles are worthwhile, and in what kinds of ways they can conflict and have conflicted with other principles.

Would it have been horrible if someone had told you and shown you that good solutions can be difficult and involve trying hard to identify, quantify and balance all the relevant factors?
Would that not have been a good starting point even for someone like you?


You are again (eagerly?) jumping on semantic details, and completely missing the point.

* adopting and integrating principles you hear about by way of someone else, is different than writing down some clever phrase someone says, and trying to use it like a cheap handgun, which you seem to have the ability to understand, though you appear to be avoiding doing so here.

"As far as principles go, both seem to have the same potential drawbacks of using principles as excuses to stop thinking, as excuses for things someone decided for other reasons, etc."

Yes. AGAIN: this isn't about WHAT the principles are, it IS about how someone uses them. When you use them as "excuses," then, AGAIN, it means that to YOU, they are not actually PRINCIPLES.

"You seem to be making a false dichotomy between working everything out for oneself and being handed it on a plate."

Nope. That's you, ignoring what I actually write, and or leaping to unsupported erroneous conclusions about what I do write.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#76  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 15, 2016 2:45 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

Why are 'principles someone got told' necessarily worse than 'principles someone made up for themselves'?


You have to admire IF's dedication to 'originality' in matters of 'principle'. Above anything else, IF wants somebody to admire his 'principles'. Philosophical dick-swinging at its very best.

tolman wrote:If they and their audience are reasonably bright, they can try to explain why they think the principles are worthwhile, and in what kinds of ways they can conflict and have conflicted with other principles.


If you do that, you give up all pretense to 'originality', because, when you 'justify' your 'principles', you're definitely going to have to cite some authority figure, or else wander off into hopeless abstraction, as IF has done, to avoid having to cite his sources, meaning he got his principles from someone else.


You also have entirely ignored that I NEVER said that originality is the key to establishing the validity of principles.

AGAIN: something is a PRINCIPLE to you, if you USE it as a principle. If you use it as a cover story, a bragging point, an excuse... and you fail to apply it consistently in your life...

THEN IT ISN'T A PRINCIPLE TO YOU.

Even if EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH AND THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE treats something as a principle, and you don't, then FOR YOU, it is not a principle.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#77  Postby Cito di Pense » May 15, 2016 3:51 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
tolman wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote:My concern is with the many people who don't even realize that they ARE using what they think are 'principles,' but which are actually just "stuff they heard" which seems to work either to make them feel okay about something questionable they did, or work to shut people up who oppose them, or perhaps simply because they heard their parents say them when they were kids.

Why are 'principles someone got told' necessarily worse than 'principles someone made up for themselves'?


You have to admire IF's dedication to 'originality' in matters of 'principle'. Above anything else, IF wants somebody to admire his 'principles'. Philosophical dick-swinging at its very best.

tolman wrote:If they and their audience are reasonably bright, they can try to explain why they think the principles are worthwhile, and in what kinds of ways they can conflict and have conflicted with other principles.


If you do that, you give up all pretense to 'originality', because, when you 'justify' your 'principles', you're definitely going to have to cite some authority figure, or else wander off into hopeless abstraction, as IF has done, to avoid having to cite his sources, meaning he got his principles from someone else.


You also have entirely ignored that I NEVER said that originality is the key to establishing the validity of principles.


Don't fucking purport to lecture me about what I've ignored. You haven't said anything, yet. I was only guessing as to what you were after, which you've now gone on about for a few pages, and nobody but you is the wiser about what you're after.

You haven't said a goddamned thing about what establishes the validity of principles. As tolman has pointed out, you basically say that you have to write (or at least read) an entire library before you can base your principles on a 'foundation'. You haven't said what constitutes a foundation, except 'thinking about them a lot'. Well, you can learn the principles of physics and along the way, you're going to have to think about them a lot, but eventually you're going to have to show you know something about physics. So, IF, eventually you're going to have to show you know something about principles, other than that you can find them in a library, or better yet, tucked safely up your arse.

You say shit like, "people claim they have principles, but when they tell you what their principles are, it turns out they're not really principles". How the fuck do I know if somebody's read an entire library in order to come up with his principles.

As usual, you started the thread wth:

igorfrankensteen wrote:
Anyway: what I'm asking this for, is to get to the varied motivations people have for developing, establishing, and then promoting life principles.


And somebody actually told you: Principles are short cuts that save time in rationalizations not pursued. They're not universally applicable, even for the individual. As soon as you claim something as a life principle, somebody asks you "Well, what about the following exceptions...?"

Do you really want to waste more of everyone's time with more blow-hard excuses about what you didn't mean when you started, when you didn't have a fucking clue about what you really wanted to say in the first place?

igorfrankensteen wrote:I have found that many people have never directly and consciously taken personal responsibility for all that they think they believe in.


All? Who the fuck is going to take responsibility for it all? On your say so? Do you believe in skepticism, IF? What a confusion that's going to give you. Maybe you just believe in belief.

igorfrankensteen wrote:something is a PRINCIPLE to you, if you USE it as a principle.


At first blush, that looks like a meaningful sentence, but it isn't. It's circular reasoning at its best, because the whole point is to establish how we'd use it as a principle. Something is a hammer to you if you use it as a hammer. Not if it's a potato. When all you have is a potato, everything harder than a potato looks like a hammer.

Astonishingly bad bullshit, IF, from the very start. Do you claim to have received a college education? You'd ask for your money back, but you know who should take responsibility for why you haven't expressed yourself more clearly. Take some responsibility for THAT.

I agree with you about one thing: A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

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?

#78  Postby tolman » May 15, 2016 4:36 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote: Nope. That's you, ignoring what I actually write, and or leaping to unsupported erroneous conclusions about what I do write.

I wasn't ignoring what you wrote.
I was simply asking why you appear to consider that there's something fundamentally inferior with principles having largely come from other people?

I'd already made clear many posts ago what I consider to be downsides of 'principles' in common usage, but they seem equally at risk of happening whatever the source of the principles.

If someone came up with their own principles and just used them as excuses for not thinking, and post-hoc justifications, that they'd come up with them on their own would seem to be entirely irrelevant.

One of the things I would take as a warning sign of likely lack-of-thinking is the extent to which someone bangs on about how principled they are. Someone who understood and admitted that their principles were only a guide and their decisions necessarily had a meaningful subjective element would seem rather more likely not to try to hide behind principles, or to dismiss dissenting voices rather than trying to learn from them.

But enough about that.

I'm more interested in your claimed principles, which are simple and comprehensive (and/or come with a clear set of priorities to govern their use), but which are far too complicated to explain, which I'm sure you'll understand does look rather odd..

How do you manage to have clear priorities if the principles are so complicated?

How do the principles get so complicated without being loaded with special cases and becoming less a 'foundation', and more a Sagrada Família?

What process did you use to work out which set of principles was right in the first place?

At what point in your life did you realise you knew enough to make a complete set of principles to follow to in future?
I don't do sarcasm smileys, but someone as bright as you has probably figured that out already.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#79  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 15, 2016 8:38 pm

Cito post 77:
I will take your latest lengthy collection of insults and demonstrations that you haven't read what I said, and conclude that you don't want to discuss this subject. It's not logical for me to deal with you further in this matter.

Tollman: I am working elsewhere on my own writing out what I have learned, and what principles I have formulated or adopted, and how they interact, and finally how I deal with inevitable seeming conflicts. But it isn't pertinent to this thread, so I wont go into it here. But thank you for your interest. The time may come that you will be able to give my musings your own consideration.
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Re: Why do YOU have principles?

#80  Postby ughaibu » Nov 08, 2016 3:55 am

zoon wrote: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.
But this "principle" is false, so what would be the point of holding it?
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