OK now we're getting somewhere. I like what this guy is on about. A bit from Wik below - but there is lots more on the wik page. I like this stuff, and wouldn't mind having a discussion about this further from those interested or who can express their own understanding of this philosophical perspective - and it's implications for life generally and personally.

This from Wik:

Sextus Empiricus raised concerns which applied to all types of knowledge. He doubted the validity of induction[2] long before its best known critic David Hume, and raised the regress argument against all forms of reasoning:

Those who claim for themselves to judge the truth are bound to possess a criterion of truth. This criterion, then, either is without a judge's approval or has been approved. But if it is without approval, whence comes it that it is truthworthy? For no matter of dispute is to be trusted without judging. And, if it has been approved, that which approves it, in turn, either has been approved or has not been approved, and so on ad infinitum.[3]
Because of these and other barriers to acquiring true beliefs, Sextus Empiricus advises[4] that we should suspend judgment about virtually all beliefs, that is, we should neither affirm any belief as true nor deny any belief as false. This view is known as Pyrrhonian skepticism, as distinguished from Academic skepticism, as practiced by Carneades, which, according to Sextus, denies knowledge altogether. Sextus did not deny the possibility of knowledge. He criticizes the Academic skeptic's claim that nothing is knowable as being an affirmative belief. Instead, Sextus advocates simply giving up belief: that is, suspending judgment about whether or not anything is knowable.[5] Only by suspending judgment can we attain a state of ataraxia (roughly, 'peace of mind'). Sextus did not think such a general suspension of judgment to be impractical, since we may live without any beliefs, acting by habit.

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Comment by Alice on April 21, 2011 at 10:29pm

Reduce suffering – sounds good – and I think we can agree that similar things make life suffer all over the world – this is quite universal – take away our basic needs met and we suffer… there is lots of room for science in that one…

Oppose religious dogma – again lots of room for science – there is no evidence for god or anything else that they go on about…

Oppose tyranny and genocide – mmm tough one, I’m not sure if we can tackle that one – the US are doing a good job of killing a whole lot of people in the name of ‘good’ so how does that work? Good if you’re on the right side of it is suppose.

Egalitarianism – I’m not sure what that means, is it idealistic, utopian idea or realistic and doable? Evidence?

Chocolate milk – big issue here – most chocolate is picked by slaves and children…. Have some ethical issues with that myself – I try to get free trade chocolate when I can – for my ethical conscious – guilt and fear driven for my own benefit and others

I think science make the waters very clear…. But you’re the lawyer… : )

So how much do you make then? You probably own your house by now and have most of your stuff sorted out in terms of needs and also probably have some sort of pension fund??? I’m very curious about how you do it. When ever I do this stuff I work out the odds and tend to leave it alone.

If you’re dealing with huge sums too, surely it’s high risk, and you might loose it all on a big bet that goes wrong. What are you rules?
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 21, 2011 at 9:12pm


My ideas relating to morality: reduce suffering, oppose religious dogma, oppose tyranny and genocide, foster egalitarianism and free access to chocolate milk without showing your papers. I think science makes the water too brackish.

Gambling is my only source of income.


Comment by Alice on April 21, 2011 at 8:33pm

I am quite happy to mix science and morals – I never liked morals anyway – so to mix them with science is for me an acceptance of their existence – otherwise I don’t bother with them… : )

I certainly relate to not wanting to work hard – like a slave to the institution. They say they abolished slavery – but they didn’t – they just changed it slightly so as to trick us into believing that we had freedom. We don’t – they’ve locked up the food and we have to slog our guts out to get it.

But when you look at the odds of gambling – do you actually make money?
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 20, 2011 at 10:47am


Your take on video games and smoking dope is incorrect. Your take on morality is correct. But keep science and morality separate. The science causes unnecessary confusion and concerns an area where our knowledge is incomplete.

As for being a professional gambler I take pride in this accomplishment whereas in lawyering there was no accomplishment. Lawyers are a dime a dozen. Individuals who can make a living wagering on horse racing are few. I drink chocolate milk, sleep late and walk in the country-no more hearings, appointments, monthly nut and legal issues.

Comment by Alice on April 20, 2011 at 1:40am



I know we must agree – if you don’t want to discuss down that road with me I’m fine with that, but I know that we agree, because there is only one reality and we both can see it in front of us… such is my faith… : )

Comment by Alice on April 20, 2011 at 1:37am
OMG I’m speaking with a pot head and a gambler here – how am I meant to expect any sort of sense out of you both?!!
Comment by Alice on April 20, 2011 at 1:36am

I did agree with you up until I read The Moral Landscape earlier this week.

Now I must say that I do believe that it is good to have right and wrong. Having right and wrong are causal factors, that we must implement for the sake of better well being for all concerned and not just for the ones in power at any moment.

Monks raping children is wrong. It must be called wrong and consequences much occur that prevent monks from doing it and children from being vulnerable to it.

We also can’t afford to let religious groups with their crazy ideas about logic take charge with ideas of morality. They aren’t reasonable enough to have that responsibility.

Regarding what works. You smoke dope and play video games because it works for you. If it didn’t work for you, you wouldn’t do it.
Comment by Frankie Dapper on April 19, 2011 at 4:39pm


Human psychology and behavior is not the way you have described it. Addicts would love to do as they will. They cant. In general, the rational approach is more the exception than the rule.

I also think that many of the conclusions John has drawn are logical based on strict materialism. Actually quite courageous too because those conclusions are not pleasant.

I am not ready to go there because of a general skepticism that applies to our ability to understand the universe. 

Comment by John Camilli on April 19, 2011 at 12:18pm

Do we really stop doing something when it isn't working for us? There are many preferences and tendencies of mine that I would alter in a second if I could just flip a switch to do it. If I could suddenly hate videogames, so that I don't waste hours on them every day, I would be much more productive, and I would honestly prefer that, but I can't make myself want it. I want to play videogames. If I could stop wanting to smoke weed, again I would do it without hesitation, but I can't change what I want. I want a joint right now, even though I don't want to want one. Reality can change my preferences, and I am a part of reality, so in that sense I can change myself, but I will only change myself according to causal rules, which may or may not coincide with what I want.


If we say that what we're doing right now is what works, then whatever anybody does is moral, even if they don't feel like it is...because they're doing it. Survival can't be the measure of right or wrong if there is nothing accomplished by survival except more survival. It's circular justification.


If I judge something as "right" or "wrong" or "moral," I am judging something that could not have been any other way; something natural, because it occured in nature. Anything other than what happens is unnatural (and in my mind, impossible), so how could anything other than what happens be called "right" or "moral?" And how could anything that happens be called "wrong" or "immoral?" Logically, I mean. Obviously it happens that people call things right and wrong, but it isn't logical. They only do so because they perceive that it could have been another way, which it couldn't.


I can tell you from a first-hand perspective that once the idea of causality because really thoroughly immersed in one's mind, it destroys one's ability to judge. The preferences of my system are still there, but my judgements of "right" and "wrong" have all but disappeared. Of course, humans don't survive well in this time without making judgements, so it is to the detriment of my survival, but I can't let that be my motivator. And until (or unless) I think of something that can be my motivator, it seems like nothing is.

Comment by Alice on April 18, 2011 at 11:59pm

Glen – LOL – I like chocolate milk too – Bickfords chocolate syrup with fresh whole raw milk… mmm mmm mmmmmm



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