A Momentary Flow

Updating Worldviews one World at a time

While there may be some domains where knowing is half the battle, there are many more where it is not. Recent work in cognitive science has demonstrated that knowing is a shockingly tiny portion of the battle for most real world decisions. You may know that $19.99 is pretty much the same price as $20.00, but the first still feels like a significantly better deal.


He might have been the first Cynic, but Diogenes’ cynicism was not a flood of relentless negativity and bile: unlike modern cynics, he had a profoundly idealistic streak. When asked where he was from, Diogenes said ‘I’m a citizen of the world.’ The word he used was kosmopolites, from which our ‘cosmopolitan’ derives, so strictly speaking he was expressing allegiance with the cosmos; but the term is usually translated as ‘citizen of the world’. This would have sounded heretical to an Ancient Greek: strong allegiance to your city-state was meant to be the source of your identity, security, and self-respect. But Diogenes wasn’t simply trying to scorn orthodoxy and shock those around him. His declaration was a signal that he took nature — the cosmos — as his guide to life, rather than the parochial and often arbitrary laws of a particular city-state. The cosmos had its own laws. Rather than being in thrall to local custom and kowtowing to those of high status, Diogenes was responsible to humanity as a whole. His loyalty was to human reason, unpolluted by petty concerns with wealth and power. And reason, as Socrates well knew, unsettled the status quo. It might be tempting to see this kind of thinking as simply a quaint notion from the museum of the history of ideas — a utopian fantasy. On the contrary, I suggest that it has a special relevance for us in the 21st century.

Nigel Warburton –Cosmopolitanism

TO: Given our evolutionary heritage, could we ever really adopt this meta-morality?

JG: There is no guarantee, but what is the alternative? To keep going with our gut reactions and pounding the table? To try to come up with some Kantian theory to deduce right and wrong from first principles, like moral mathematicians? The question is not, is this guaranteed to work? The question is, do you have a better idea?

Evolution of morality: The brain science of ethical decisions.

The difficulties with freedom are many. Freedom is not a fact, rather an assumption. It is assumed in order to promote the following of a binding law. In the same moment that freedom is accepted it must also be negated. Freedom of practical and speculative reason are mutually dependent upon one another. It can only be speculative in relation to its practical use. On the same hand a practical side can only come about with the assumption of the speculative side. These are the problems within Kant’s philosophy. Further problems occur when one views freedom as a societal reality, even when this occurs only philosophically, such as in respect to Kant’s Metaphysic of Morals. What Kant postulates here as freedom is actually freedom for the citizens and a lack of freedom for all others.

20th WCP: What is Freedom?

If [Nietzsche] glorified brutality, then he meant by this that if humans at some point have freed themselves of all conventional morality, all restraint of the instinct through rationalization…, the right thing [das Richtige] would establish itself, i.e., that the instant humans acknowledge their destructive instincts, then they will lose their power; in place of the man filled with ressentiment, who is angry because he is not allowed to follow his instincts, steps the man who is neither evil nor good in the narrow sense precisely because he no longer has anything to repress.

Theodor Adorno  (via ratak-monodosico)

(via ratak-monodosico)