(If you haven’t read the first three parts of this series, you’re just asking for a spanking. Go here.)
Firstly, I must point out that we are, at this time, dismissing defining the final term in the generator: U, save to say that it, through a complexity requiring its own chapter , for now will be put as “that which is good, right or true” and specifically not the opposite. If you prefer you may think of U, for now, as being generally positive and ~U as being generally negative. U stands for eudaemonia.
There are some things about these topics that can be said for certain, we will call these things rules. In the Philosophy Generator (left) we have letters to symbolize ideas and lines to associate those ideas with others. Our concern with these lines, that is to say, the reason for which we examine these associations, is to extract origin. So it can then be said that, for the PG, if we are in agreement that a.) The terms defined are all inclusive and mutually exclusive. (For instance: It is true that there is no S that is N nor N that is ~U or there is no P that isn’t either X or S unless it is also L) and b.) The definitions and associative links are accurate and relevant (ie. If we are correct, complete and theoretically sound); then we have every right to draw conclusions from the rules created by the Philosophy Generator.
1.) Paradigms, are groups of associations built from either experiential or social norms or some combination thereof.
P > (X v S) v (X . S) If it’s P then it’s (X or S) or (X and S.)
Our ideas about everything are determined either by us or for us. This, in and of itself, is quite enough of a pill for some people to swallow. What I would consider a very obvious fact can be nothing short of unbelievable to others. This is the foundation upon which every other conclusion we’ll make is built. Other philosophers, some friends of mine, would contest this starting point and if they were able to either prove or disprove the existence of “free will,” might think they could crush my argument and win the day. The question of free will asks, “Are we able to exercise control over our decisions or is everything determined?” The Philosophy Generator says the answer is “Both.” You do have the ability to direct your choices, both consciously and unconsciously and you have determined traits that must be followed. There is a boundary set here determined by the rules of existence. As such, the options within the boundary are finite but those options are numerous, indeed seemingly infinite. The idea of will, is definitely in play and part of the Generator , the idea of freedom is not relevant to the discussion. Ultimately, it is because Determinism insists that “events” (and therefore “ideas,”) are caused by the needs of their predecessors that brings “freedom” into the equation. This is a causation that you can follow back as far as you care to. It is another one of those things that a person could devote an entire career exploring, many have. To put it simply, answer: “What situation could possibly arise where you wouldn’t choose what you must?” Free will, in my opinion, is a mere question of responsibility, either you have it and take it, or you don’t, the necessity of it is a matter of opinion. Despite our inability to know if we are the originators of our own thoughts or in control of our own beings or destinies we can understand the differences between paradigms built from either experiential or social norms. We can understand that we succumb to our will through our behaviours and that our motivations can be hidden from us. Our reality must be that we can only know what it is possible to while taking comfort in the exponential growth of what being possible encompasses.
2.) There is no such thing as a paradigm that is a naturally occurring social norm.
S > ~N If it’s S then it’s not N.
Social norms must be developed into a paradigm that is then shared. In contrast, an experience can just “happen,” without the development of any paradigm, except the one being built by the experience and any new immediate associations. To argue that a grouping of individual experiences collect into a social experience is to defy our definitions. A group of individuals is not an individual any more than a grouping of individual experiences is one social experience. A social norm is also built entirely from influence, an experiential norm is exactly the opposite, it cannot be both unless it is shared and if it is shared, it is L, not N. To say the words “there is no such thing as a naturally occurring social norm,” may seem obvious, even trivial by our definitions, until one considers the truth of what this means.
3.) All social norms are engineered. Social norms that can’t be experienced are not natural.
S > L If it’s S then it’s L.
(L .~X)>~N If it’s L and not X then it’s not N.
A learned social norm is gained through instruction or influence. Instruction and influence are methods to design an outcome and that is engineering. It may or may not be a conscious effort to learn it on your part, or to teach it on their part, this is not at issue as one can be aware of being instructed without knowing of motives as easily as one can pass on lessons learned without understanding the possible implications of the lessons and vice versa. Intention does have its place in our considerations and will be given its due diligence soon enough. It is not our place to speak to the motives of the engineers, nor may it even be possible. For what if we have engineered a particular paradigm ourselves? It is certainly possible for an individual to concoct any number of incorrect ideas. (How many times in your life have you improperly deduced what someone seemed to be implying?) It might seem that this “Accidental Engineering” seems ill-defined, perhaps impossible, but we are not speaking of blueprints or locomotives, only paradigms. Our thoughts and ideas are “built”from something: What we have learned we have contrived, it is what we have built in our minds, either by ourselves or with others, either intentionally or not, either with awareness of it, or not. Ultimately we will find that the judgement of any sources’ intention or associative effectiveness is up to you. The only thing to be concluded by accepting this rule as a reality is that everything we have learned outside our experiences has, at the least, the same likelihood of being necessary as not and, if we are able to point to engineering, we should be able to point to the Engineer. Every paradigm we can build from eXperiential norms has the potential to be influence free as a Natural necessity. We can have “engineered experiences,” by Learning things either through observation, (influence,) or through lesson, (instruction,) but we can also learn things on our own. Once someone else’s paradigms are involved, it must be a social norm and the potential for necessity is diminished. If experiencing the Social norm is impossible, if it is a lesson that you can neither test nor prove, the opportunity for potential necessity becomes zero. This is not to call into question the eudaemonic worth of any particular social norm, it simply means that one loses the opportunity to prove the paradigm Natural by its lack of any experiential quality.
In a very real way the influence of Social norms is the most predominant threat to your happiness, authenticity, productivity and promotion. Regardless of the motives of the influencer it is your awareness or lack of it that will determine your ability to adjust, absorb, deny or combat any particular paradigm. If you aren’t aware of any particular paradigm’s influence on your own ideas, if you cannot even realise its existence and/or power you are unable to do anything other than succumb to it. Sometimes this inability will pose no threat to you or your ideas about things, such as in the case of someone teaching you how to play a particular game. Contrast this idea with the more detrimental and powerful realisation that someone has been playing games with you. Whether it’s a friend, employer, teacher, advertiser or government influence is everywhere, without contemplation and evaluation you have no way of knowing if said influence is worthy of adoption.
Let us not fail to notice the relevance of the implications made by the fact Social norms cannot be considered N. This is not a comment on the “naturalness” of societies to adopt particular behaviours based on biology, habit or necessity. (For instance, it’s highly unlikely that, considering our current evolutionary model of existence, homosexuality could move to becoming the preference of the human species. However, it is quite easy to imagine a biological scenario where this outcome would be more likely.) When we say that a Social norm cannot be naturally occurring we mean that the universality of necessity is an individual’s experience. Any determined social necessity would be a matter of opinion, or it would already exist.
4.) Nature provides what is necessary.
N > U If it’s N then it’s U.
We needn’t get into a definition of eUdaemonia beyond that of our previously stated generalizations of “good” and “bad” to express the importance of this rule. It should be stated that we are, in this rule, like in all possible comments on the Philosophy Generator, speaking only of Paradigm. To argue that all possible natural phenomena are “natural” or that all natural phenomena are “good” is not our concern. We are not seeking to debate any “Naturalistic Fallacy,” nor at this point, even what “good” is. For the most part, it is for you to decide U. When we speak of N, we are only saying that there are paradigms that fit into our definition of what N is. Other, Learned paradigms we can, or at least could, have an opportunity to change. With N, we have no choice. Like many philosophical concerns we are more impressed by what the statement doesn’t say. As stated previously, naturally occurring experiential norms are required by us. There is no need to evaluate that which existence insists upon. (Which, incidentally, is a great definition for “nature.”) We need only evaluate that which we can dismiss as not being N, such as L. N is safe. Therefore, as N is necessary and automatically eudaemonic it seems that it is only the things that we can learn that pose any threat to our potential for U.
The reason we are unable to simply state that all possible experiences are not automatically eudaemonic is that we are just as able to trick ourselves as we are to be programmed by others. One would think that we would be less likely to fall prey to our own illusions and delusions than to those of someone else but this seems no less likely, particularly in the reality we now find ourselves.
There are other logical conclusions to be drawn from the Philosophy Generator but I think I have rambled on long enough for now. Perhaps some bright people here would care to take a stab at these ideas. Please be gentle, I'm a writer first and a philosopher second.