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Jordan Peterson

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    Playboy wrote: »
    re Fathom

    I'm not sure what you are trying to prove with this interjection?
    Simply that Peterson frequents discussions on gender issues today. Contrary to what you stated earlier Playboy: "Peterson (from the little I know) doesn't seem overly concerned with Gender differences." Today Peterson's positions on gender has drawn scholars and media to challenge him. Doubtful he would be as well known today without these challenges. Hence Google trending last week: Today's gender arguments. Not the old 1999 Maps of Meaning.
    Playboy wrote: »
    Ok now look at the date of the study you referenced and then look at the date Maps of Meaning was written. Some of the science may be out of date.
    Scanning Maps of Meaning now. It's online. Unquestionably out-of-date. Years of advancing cognitive science renders Maps of Meaning scientifically meaningless.
    Playboy wrote: »
    I'm not saying everything in it is entirely correct (and he is prone to hypebole)
    Throughout. Also rambles worse than Talcot Parsons. Run-on paragraphs.
    Playboy wrote: »
    even if everything he says isnt 100% supported by scientific evidence.
    Knocks out his science. What's left? Peterson's highly subjective interpretations of superstitious myths? Religion?
    Playboy wrote: »
    I would point out that it is more of a philosophical work than a scientific work though.
    Can you briefly summarize his philosophy?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,064 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    Playboy wrote: »
    It would be difficult for me to comment without understanding that statement within the overall context of the larger point he is making.
    Maps of Meaning PDF file online. I gave page numbers when quoting. If you wish to further examine the context.
    Fathom wrote: »

    Knocks out his science. What's left? Peterson's highly subjective interpretations of superstitious myths? Religion?

    Peterson's hero discussions in Maps of Meaning (1999) add nothing new to Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) or Myths to Live By (1972).


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,923 ✭✭✭ Playboy


    Fathom wrote: »
    Playboy wrote: »
    re Fathom

    I'm not sure what you are trying to prove with this interjection?
    Simply that Peterson frequents discussions on gender issues today. Contrary to what you stated earlier Playboy: "Peterson (from the little I know) doesn't seem overly concerned with Gender differences." Today Peterson's positions on gender has drawn scholars and media to challenge him. Doubtful he would be as well known today without these challenges. Hence Google trending last week: Today's gender arguments. Not the old 1999 Maps of Meaning.
    Playboy wrote: »
    Ok now look at the date of the study you referenced and then look at the date Maps of Meaning was written. Some of the science may be out of date.
    Scanning Maps of Meaning now. It's online. Unquestionably out-of-date. Years of advancing cognitive science renders Maps of Meaning scientifically meaningless.
    Playboy wrote: »
    I'm not saying everything in it is entirely correct (and he is prone to hypebole)
    Throughout. Also rambles worse than Talcot Parsons. Run-on paragraphs.
    Playboy wrote: »
    even if everything he says isnt 100% supported by scientific evidence.
    Knocks out his science. What's left? Peterson's highly subjective interpretations of superstitious myths? Religion?
    Playboy wrote: »
    I would point out that it is more of a philosophical work than a scientific work though.
    Can you briefly summarize his philosophy?
    Do you have an issue with reading comprehension? Before you try and 'win' it would be useful to listen to what is being said first. The comment I made re Gender Differences was directed at Black Swan and the context of it was contained within a previous post. I asked you to reread the post and I apologised for not being clear. I was discussing intellectual differences between the genders. Gender Identity is an entirely different topic of debate so I'm at a loss as to why you are interjecting to make that point. If you want to discuss Gender Identity then make a coherent point or start a new thread.

    As to your other points all I have to say is LOL. How arrogant must you be to scan a work of that size and then just outright dismiss it? I'm sorry if Peterson doesn’t conform to your political bias so forgive me if I don’t put much faith in your ability to understand his work and make such a judgement. It's a shame that people lack true critical faculties these days due to their entrenched political views and their suspicion of anyone who diverts from the accepted narrative. Your extreme bias is pretty self evident from the way you are approaching the topic.


    There is a good summary here if you care to read it 
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/276984986/Summary-and-Guide-to-Maps-of-Meaning-The-Architecture-of-Belief-by-Jordan-Peterson

    It's not a scientific work; it's a philosophical/phenomenological work that draws on Neuropsychology and Evolutionary Psychology. Some of the science is out of date but that is no reason to dismiss the entire work. If we were to discard every work that contained some outdated science then we would be in a bit of a pickle epistemologically wouldn’t we? 


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,923 ✭✭✭ Playboy


    Black Swan wrote: »
    Playboy wrote: »
    It would be difficult for me to comment without understanding that statement within the overall context of the larger point he is making.
    Maps of Meaning PDF file online. I gave page numbers when quoting. If you wish to further examine the context.
    Fathom wrote: »

    Knocks out his science. What's left? Peterson's highly subjective interpretations of superstitious myths? Religion?

    Peterson's hero discussions in Maps of Meaning (1999) add nothing new to Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) or Myths to Live By (1972).
    With alll due respect why dont you make a point and support it? After a number of posts I still dont understand what you are trying to say.

    Re Joseph Campbell, I have just reread The Hero with a Thousand Faces and I'm bemused by your assertion. Of course Peterson is influenced heavily by Campbell and Jung but it is far from a rehash of their work.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,064 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    Playboy wrote: »
    Do you have an issue with reading comprehension?

    As to your other points all I have to say is LOL. How arrogant must you be

    It's a shame that people lack true critical faculties these days


    MOD: Attack the post, not the poster. This is a standard throughout the site. If you need further clarification regarding this mod reminder, PM me. Do not discuss it here in-thread.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    I've read through all the comments and wanted to add some thoughts, as well as reply to some points made during the course of this thread.
    At least the ones that stood out enough for me to remember as I type this post.

    I've been following his youtube videos from the beginning and for a good few years I think now. Having watched all his lectures and maybe all his videos, I have built up a fairly good picture of who he is and where he is coming from.

    First of all we should acknowledge that JP(Jordan Peterson) has been working on, thinking about and doing his research for at least 2 decades.
    He recently became well known after speaking out against attacks on freedom of speech(which he states is fundamental for thinking among/between groups/individuals respectively).
    These attacks on freedom of speech were tangled up with the transgender issue due to "SJW" activists infiltrating government and universities(HR departments and social studies), while using trans people as the catalyst or weapon to shut down free speech relating to evidence and empirical data being spoken about regarding gender and sexuality.
    This is where the battle between biological and social construction arguments appear.

    The transgender thing is not JP's issue at all. He was concerned with free speech. The transgender issues became a platform where this battle over free speech became prominent because of the media and said infiltration of universities by "SWJ" philosophies.

    I believe his data is well researched and if he was to brandish all the studies he has either run or referenced, his conversations would have no time to even begin.
    For this reason it is difficult for him to have a conversation with people who have not watched most of his lectures. They will not understand where he is coming from in many cases.

    I don't think making generalizations is problematic when you have very little time to make your point in an interview or lecture for that matter.
    The body of work he is drawing from is huge and inaccessible to the lay person or college student. Hence the generalizations, which are mostly used to make a point that has to be simplified enough to be understood at the level of principles.

    Left and Right brain myths
    I saw mention about left and right brain myths.
    I've been arguing against the idea that left and right brain theory is myth for at least 10 years, often getting a really bad reception in the psychology section of this site :D
    I think that sticking too closely to studies and ignoring logic or observation can lead us astray for far longer than is necessary.

    Not to say that things are so black and white, but there is obviously a big difference between the functionality of the left and right hemisphere and how this can effect personality and perspectives on reality among individuals.
    For me it is a huge area of psychology that has been neglected to the detriment of all.

    I could write pages on this topic, and have some interesting theories the last year or two about autism and dyslexia that is appearing to hold water after some recent studies.
    Again science is a little behind what I would call open minded common sense. Which could better be translated as "Left brain judgement is a little behind right brain observations".
    That translation is also loaded with hints on how the two relate to the world and each other.

    Easier though is to share some videos that would quickly bring everyone up to date with more modern science and theories of the left and right hemisphere.

    Please watch if you are in any way interested in human thinking, behaviour, psychology, philosophy etc.

    Jordan Peterson and Iain McGilchrist in conversation.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea4mEnsTv6Q

    This video covers the basics of McGilchrist's research on the left and right hemispheres, as well as another taste of Jordan Peterson's views and thinking when speaking to someone more on his level with regards to neuro psychology/science.


    Iain McGilchrist - "The Master and His Emissary"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRMiHwT0H4M

    This is a nice presentation that goes more indepth on the right and left brain relationship in humans and animals.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,172 ✭✭✭ taxAHcruel


    For anyone interested there is not one but two very long interviews with Peterson on the Sam Harris Podcast.

    Unfortunately the first of the two has been decried as the worst ever podcast Harris has done - even by his most core fans. Basically the majority of the entire 2 hour discussion got bogged down in a single disagreement over what it means for something to be "true". And I have to say it really did strike me as Peterson mostly talking complete nonsense. That one is here dare you wish to invest the time in it. But it is also on you tube if you are the type to listen to interviewes at 1.5x or 2x speeds.

    But the fans of both Harris and Peterson demanded that they try again and by popular demand they did. The result of that one is here. And as the blurb says they discussed "science, religion, archetypes, mythology, and the perennial problem of finding meaning in life" and a lot on how Peterson fights against "political correctness". He was - both times however - the most requested guest Sam Harris has ever had from his fans.

    My advice is listen to the 2nd one 1st and only then decide if you want to invest the time in the original.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    That was a great interview.
    Sam Harris is another person with great depth in analysis.
    On the intellectual conflict of truth between them in the first podcast interview:
    Sam Harris was coming from the perspective of empirical truth.
    Jordan Peterson understood this perspective, but wanted to approach some topics from the perspective of moral truth.
    It seems that the issue was that Sam was unable entertain the moral truth perspective even as a devils advocate, while Jordan was able to accept both.
    However being unable to speak at all from a moral truth perspective, Jordan found himself butting heads over and over with Sam whenever truth became a principle player.

    I think Sam Harris has not read much Nietzsche.
    He seems to be highly focused on empiricism nearly at all costs.
    Also I believe he is more in favour of creating moral systems from empirical data; while Jordan Peterson believes moral systems from empiricism are lacking a fundamental part, that being a higher power, mythology, the framework that founded religious thinking in evolutionary terms.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Yes I too would be in favor of a moral system based strongly in actual real data. Certainly better than one based in imagining things that do not seem to be there in order to ground them. As such I am not really recognizing this distinction between "empirical truth" and "moral truth". In fact I am not all that clear what a "moral truth" even is.

    But I have seen people try to claim something is true, because it being true validated some moral intuition (like being against homosexuality or incest) that they hold but have no arguments for. And that kind of top down, rather than bottom up, approach to reality I think can be quite harmful.

    Kudos on getting through the entire 4 hours quickly though (assuming you just watched it after the recommendation you received above, and had not heard them before) as it took me three days to get through EACH podcast when they first came out myself.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Since Sam Harris came up and not everyone is behind Sam's Paywall I will give some more info there if it is interesting to someone. First the two are set to do a live talk event together in the coming months. Not sure if this is one talk or many, but all of it is in the US so probably not interesting to many here unless he streams the audio like he sometimes does.

    I am not writing this word for word, so much as testing my short term memory ability to listen to a few minutes of audio and then write it from memory so apologies if anyone else is also behind the paywall and finds small errors in what I write here. My memory is good, but not perfect, for that number of sentences:

    Questioner. For the last year I have been listening to a lot of Peterson's material and am in the process of finishing his program "Past and future authoring". Even though there is something about his material that does not feel right that I can not articulate.

    Harris. I have these events coming up with Jordan where I will hash this out. Generally I see how much value people are finding in what he is saying. It is not a mystery to me why that would be. He is giving a very standard Self Help Curriculum with more moral and political urgency. There is a quasi religious undertone to it. I see why that would land with so many people. But I also see that there is a fair amount wrong with it, not grounded in a careful intellectually honest analysis of what we have good reason to believe, and reject. I will save my specific arguments for when we meet. I think he has exposed a hunger for meaning and structure in the secular community that I sensed was there, but never really saw this clearly. It is not a surprise to me that that is there, but it is a surprise how many people are willing to imbibe precisely what he is delivering without issue, because this is a kind of religious communication in the end. But I do think 90% of what he is saying is interesting, worthwhile, but it is being vitiated by the other 10%. It would be nice to strip that 10% out and have a truly honest and interesting conversation about meaning and values and profundity and the sacred. And even the utility of thinking in terms of myths, that could potentially be useful. But I think we have to be honest about what we think is true while we do that.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    If you mean me, I didn't get through 4 hours so quickly :D
    I've been binge watching/listening to these kinds of podcasts and lectures for a few years now.
    I found Sam Harris through the Joe Rogan podcast.
    Must be getting old, I can't seem to watch tv or films anymore. :D

    Despite reading a lot of Nietzsche, the moral truth part didn't really sink in for me until JP spoke about in depth with Sam Harris. Then the overall picture clicked for me, bringing me back to Nietzsche's "God is dead, and we have killed him. What have we done..." Zarathustra speech.

    Peterson is elaborating on Nietzsche's point about morality and the moral framework that has been holding up humanity for a very long time.
    With Atheism came the age of nihilism.
    Meaning a danger to the overall direction humanity might take without a moral map.

    I can also agree that it may be possible to use empirical data to create moral frameworks.
    However underneath those frameworks a prime moral directive would be required, which is what I believe Peterson means by moral truth.
    Programming ethical AI might be a good example of it's use.

    For example, we should create such and such a moral rule for society, because we want humans to have a purposeful and fulfilling life.
    The former is the empirical truth that would rely on facts, the latter the moral truth underpinning the ethical application of said rules.

    For these reasons I tend to agree with Peterson that moral truth should come before empirical truth.


    I'm reminded of all the fantasy books I read years ago.
    Many times I read phrases like " it was a true shot, right to the heart of the beast.." etc etc
    I don't think they meant an empirically correct shot.
    I'm pretty sure they meant a "good" shot, as intended for the target.

    We could say this is semantics, but I think it again highlights the ambiguity we sometimes have with language and meaning.
    Peterson and Harris I see had a conflict in language and definitions.
    You could say that Peterson is coming from a right hemisphere way of thinking and Harris from a left way of thinking.

    It's like two sides of our brain communicating.
    One sees the bigger picture and is grounded in reality, the other focuses on logical in the moment tasks with a more positive perspective.

    I tend to agree with both sides, but see their arguments are applicable in different areas or at different times.
    The synthesis of both is probably what is the "real" truth.
    A combination of moral and empirical.
    What would we call such a truth?
    Synthetic truth?!
    I'm claiming that phrase by the way! :D
    It sounds perfect for the plastic robotic future we are heading in to!


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,064 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    As stated earlier, methinks Peterson seems to appeal more to men than women, and is more in the self-help genre than a modern or postmodern philosopher per se. If men find him helpful, grand. Scientifically, his old Maps book is very dated (e.g., left-right brain metaphor, etc.) from a cognitive science standpoint, and caution should be used when reading Maps accordingly.

    I do consider him fair game from a debating standpoint when his videos or interviews drift off into recent gender-based comments, as some of his gender points appear very pre-1960's paternalistic from cultural and sociological viewpoints; i.e., his stated differences between men and women may better fit the "Ozzie and Harriet Age" than today.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Torakx wrote: »
    With Atheism came the age of nihilism.

    I think one can connect atheism and nihilism only through a pedantic application of the dictionary definitions of the two. When one actually explores both with any intellectual rigor however they quickly diverge and I have yet to find any atheists, despite my working with a great number of them for some time, who can be described as, or who self identify as, remotely nihilistic.

    When one pulls out a dictionary, rather than a philosophy text, about nihilism and reads something like "the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless" then one can certainly map some of that onto atheism with the help of linguistic pedantry. But I see no real utility of forcing the square peg into the round hole really.

    Further it is not like atheism suddenly came along and then nihilism came along as a causal effect. Atheism has been around pretty much the whole time since the first time(s) there was something to be atheistic about. When one looks at old religious texts like the Bible and others they already speak of the unbeliever and the doubters. They were always there.

    I think a better approach that trying to link the two, or say that one brought about the other, is to realize that aspects of both are caused by a third factor. And that factor is nothing more than the practice of not accepting claims on insufficient (or in the case of religious notions like the existence of a god, absolutely no) evidence. Nothing more. And atheism certainly does not preclude finding meaning in life, it just suggests we have failed to find any objective inherent meaning in it. But we very much find out own and it is no less valid for it's subjectivity.
    Torakx wrote: »
    Meaning a danger to the overall direction humanity might take without a moral map.

    I do not see it as a danger, but a safety. A moral map based on a fantasy, divorced from reality, is much more dangerous than a direction taken based on actual evidence..... and the ability to change the map when new data comes in..... compared to religious structures which are resistant to change especially in cases where it might suggest their perfect god was actually wrong on some moral question.

    The danger comes from thinking there IS a map, and this map is revealed to us from a higher power. The safety from that danger comes from realizing we are the map makers, and there is no perfect map but one we simply strive to improve incrementally every time we use it. Mapping our way through new territories, and then modifying that map every time we use it to go back over those territories. Just like real people made real maps in the time before mapping technologies and satellites.
    Torakx wrote: »
    I can also agree that it may be possible to use empirical data to create moral frameworks.

    I do not think it is "may" but "must". What is morality if not the structure by which we evaluate the right and wrong of our actions? And what is science if not the methodology by which to understand what the result of actions will be, and why? If one is based on judging the result of our actions, and one is based on understanding the result of actions, then they by definition become inextricably linked.
    Torakx wrote: »
    However underneath those frameworks a prime moral directive would be required, which is what I believe Peterson means by moral truth.

    And I think a structure similar, if not identical, to what Harris suggests is more than enough to provide that. His way of articulating this is to imagine the worst of all possible universes and simply recognize that every aspect of morality and why we have morality is based on us making moves away from that scenario. The moment you recognize this you start to see a continuum, and a direction we want to move on that continuum. And that is while not a complete, certainly a foundation structure upon which to build "prime moral frameworks". To steal Harris' phrase here, this makes morality more a navigation problem than anything else. But while there is 1000 routes to 1000 pretty equal destinations, we still recognize we want to travel west not east overall.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    I think you are correct about interpretations.
    I would probably be best fitted into the category of an agnostic atheist and I found much meaning in life while acknowledging it is most likely objectively meaningless overall.
    What I mean and I believe Nietzsche too, is that society overall as a collective can be heavily effected by the loss of a higher power.
    The burden of existence is dropped on the individual much more than when there was a God.
    This is great, in that it's a call to responsibility to the individual. But maybe too dangerous for the collective without some kind of common ground.

    This doesn't mean that many individuals will not be able to find meaning. Just that the "crowd" while transition from a higher power to self empowered, will often suffer the negative effects of nihilism in between.
    I've went on this journey myself passing from extreme religious beliefs to self destructive nihilism, to philosophy.
    But not all will study as I have to grow in this direction and this is where I still find some value in Jordan Peterson's views on religion for the masses.

    There may be a bridge needed to reach Sam Harris's view or morality, for the average person.

    On your final point.
    I am still unsure about these ideas overall.
    There is a lot to consider, in relation to our evolution with regards to morality and sentient thought.

    That idea of thinking of the worst case scenario and morality being a running away from that is a good point.
    I see this as our morality evolving and as the place we found our prime directives.
    But where we are going might be just as important.

    Peterson has a good way of motivating people.
    He says that we should imagine the worst case scenario to motivate us to action away from it, as well as a best case scenario to motivate us towards a better life.
    An analogy or this might be hell and heaven. Two motivators to living a "good" life.

    How might this fit into our conversation with regards to religion, morality in general and Sam Harris's views on objective morals?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    I think I am not impressed by concerns over the loss of a higher power mainly because I recognize there was no reason to think we had it in the first place. It was all just us as individuals being us as individuals and projecting that onto an imaginary higher power. So couching discussion on it in terms of "loss" seems to be little more than a category error to me. We have lost nothing, but gained. Gained an understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. Gained an understanding of our propensity towards things like narrative and pathetic fallacy and hyper active agency detection and the intentional stance.

    It just seems wrong to me therefore to speak of any of that in terms of loss and new burdens as nothing was lost and the burdens were always there. We have not "lost" anything. We have gained.

    I also think there is a "higher power" we can appeal to, even if describing it in that term is not helpful. And that is things like human discourse, human relationships (on the small end of things like couples, up to the larger end of societies as a whole) and human interactions all of which have a "more than the sum of their parts" aspect that is our "higher power".

    I was incomplete in my description of Harris' views on the moral continuum. At one end sure he imagines the worst of all possible universes, and argues that acknowledgement that any step away from that, big or small, admits instantly of a continuum. But he of course establishes the other end of that continuum too. The best of all possible universes that maximizes the most amount of well being for the most amount of agents. And the moment one admits of such a continuum is the moment morality becomes little more than a navigation problem where there is instantly right and wrong moves one can make on that continuum. And that is all the foundation one needs to build a moral foundation or framework.

    I am unsure where you think our evolution comes into this specifically. You refer to it in general but without specifics. I know when he is not reaching the intellectual heights of name calling people "pricks" or "son of a bitch" and telling them he wants to "slap" them and how he has no respect for people who would never want to fight him.... or that he feels that with women the ability to fight them is "forbidden to me"............. or that feminists "unconsciously long for masculine dominance".............. Peterson does seem to claim that biology and evolution dictate gender roles and behavior. But I have not dug deeply on what he and/or you might mean by things like that.

    I think science can not be ignored, and is in the center of the table, when discussing morality. And evolution is certainly included in that. But when it is referred to specifically I merely become justifiably cautious. Because all too often people appeal to evolution to suggest some moral or societal precept they hold to is somehow "objective" or "meant to be" because of some variable or other that evolution has produced. Gender Roles is only an example and I do not want to derail this thread into a gender debate...... but the difference should be recognized between allowing the evolution of things like gender to inform our debate.... which is a good thing......... and people who want to widen the separation between the genders to keep men and/or women in their place/role...... and appealing to "because evolution" as a retrospective justification for that..... which is not a good thing at all.

    Certainly all evolution "wants" is the fecundity of it's genes. And any standard of morality based on the agendas of evolution would be an awful one. We should be aware of our evolutionary past when discussing morality, but we should be equally aware that we have, and hopefully continue to, shake off it's shackles and agendas while we do so.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    July 14th apparently Harris and Peterson will be coming to Dublin.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    Reviewing 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018) by Peterson. First, his definitions of "Being" and "Chaos" were unclear. Second, his writing appears to rely heavily upon Jung and Freud. Third, he associates "chaos" with feminine perspectives and behavior. Fourth, Christian paternalism was associated with order opposing "chaos." Fifth, it falls into the self-help genre like his earlier Maps. Sixth, his writing probably appeals more to men than women.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    I think I am not impressed by concerns over the loss of a higher power mainly because I recognize there was no reason to think we had it in the first place. It was all just us as individuals being us as individuals and projecting that onto an imaginary higher power. So couching discussion on it in terms of "loss" seems to be little more than a category error to me. We have lost nothing, but gained. Gained an understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. Gained an understanding of our propensity towards things like narrative and pathetic fallacy and hyper active agency detection and the intentional stance.



    It just seems wrong to me therefore to speak of any of that in terms of loss and new burdens as nothing was lost and the burdens were always there. We have not "lost" anything. We have gained.

    I also think there is a "higher power" we can appeal to, even if describing it in that term is not helpful. And that is things like human discourse, human relationships (on the small end of things like couples, up to the larger end of societies as a whole) and human interactions all of which have a "more than the sum of their parts" aspect that is our "higher power".

    I was incomplete in my description of Harris' views on the moral continuum. At one end sure he imagines the worst of all possible universes, and argues that acknowledgement that any step away from that, big or small, admits instantly of a continuum. But he of course establishes the other end of that continuum too. The best of all possible universes that maximizes the most amount of well being for the most amount of agents. And the moment one admits of such a continuum is the moment morality becomes little more than a navigation problem where there is instantly right and wrong moves one can make on that continuum. And that is all the foundation one needs to build a moral foundation or framework.

    I am unsure where you think our evolution comes into this specifically. You refer to it in general but without specifics. I know when he is not reaching the intellectual heights of name calling people "pricks" or "son of a bitch" and telling them he wants to "slap" them and how he has no respect for people who would never want to fight him.... or that he feels that with women the ability to fight them is "forbidden to me"............. or that feminists "unconsciously long for masculine dominance".............. Peterson does seem to claim that biology and evolution dictate gender roles and behavior. But I have not dug deeply on what he and/or you might mean by things like that.

    I think science can not be ignored, and is in the center of the table, when discussing morality. And evolution is certainly included in that. But when it is referred to specifically I merely become justifiably cautious. Because all too often people appeal to evolution to suggest some moral or societal precept they hold to is somehow "objective" or "meant to be" because of some variable or other that evolution has produced. Gender Roles is only an example and I do not want to derail this thread into a gender debate...... but the difference should be recognized between allowing the evolution of things like gender to inform our debate.... which is a good thing......... and people who want to widen the separation between the genders to keep men and/or women in their place/role...... and appealing to "because evolution" as a retrospective justification for that..... which is not a good thing at all.

    Certainly all evolution "wants" is the fecundity of it's genes. And any standard of morality based on the agendas of evolution would be an awful one. We should be aware of our evolutionary past when discussing morality, but we should be equally aware that we have, and hopefully continue to, shake off it's shackles and agendas while we do so.

    Sorry, I'm useless at doing multi quotes.
    But I'll try..
    I think I am not impressed by concerns over the loss of a higher power mainly because I recognize there was no reason to think we had it in the first place......It just seems wrong to me therefore to speak of any of that in terms of loss and new burdens as nothing was lost and the burdens were always there. We have not "lost" anything. We have gained.

    You wrote "..mainly because I recognize..."
    I too recognize these things. We are both holding the same perspectives on a personal self relating level, or so it seems to me.
    However that does not change the view of the majority of humanity.
    If you read my last post carefully you will see I agree and my concerns are for the majority who are unable to find their way to a positive view of the objectively meaningless position that humanity seems to hold in this universe.
    I gave an anecdotel story of my own progression through nihilism and how I see this effecting people on a large scale.
    This form of nihilism could be said to exist also in the anti free speech rallies taking off big time in Canada right now.
    But I think just glancing across Petersons reactionary responses to this can make it seem like it's about race, gender and sexuality, when really he is concerned about this form of nihilism and a dive into chaos.

    On a side note, I am more in line with Nietzsche in many ways.
    Sometimes we need the darkness to keep us on the straight and narrow paths. But we also need the opposite, so Peterson and company having a verbal duel about free speech and political correctness is to me just a natural progression of the death of "God" and I presume when the war is over, we will be destroyed or more likely raised up to the next stage of our evolution.
    This is why Harris and Peterson both see the need to talk.
    They both understand this I'm sure and while they disagree on some fundamental principles, or maybe just definitions, they both know they are on the side of order.
    That's not my side by the way. I am an eternal fence sitter :D

    Many of us do find our way out and on the other side is freedom and courage for an adventure.
    I like the word adventure, it always reminds me of "Advent" + "Venture"
    Again two polar sides. Emergence and expectation of arrival in one.
    I am unsure where you think our evolution comes into this specifically. You refer to it in general but without specifics.
    I should have been more specific. Although I was unsure how to broach such a deep topic when I stillhaven't made up my mind on it myself.

    All that about gender roles etc, was not what I was thinking when writing about morality, with evolution and sentience being something I have more thinking to do on.

    I think our brains developed sentience naturally due to our rapidly changing environment. This self awareness brought the question of our existence, and in ignorance "we" looked up to the stars and dreamed of Gods.
    This went on for far longer than this short time where we now have many who question those dream and beliefs.
    For that reason I suspect there are neurological reasons we may still need a higher power, on average.
    Again I say, as a society, while we go through this nihilistic phase, there will be chaos and a push back for order.
    I think in the interim we should not throw away the idea that some may need an authority or higher power to give meaning or direction to their lives.
    Why I think this is a long conversation...

    Just one perspective of many.
    I look at how governments tyrannize over us and call it democracy and free markets. While the average voter has no clue about how the government or economy even functions, let alone the law.


    I will refrain from replying too much to your last comment about gender and evolution.
    I see where you are coming from with a progressive view and tend to agree.
    But I think there is information you have not considered. Maybe in another thread this could be expanded on.
    Certainly all evolution "wants" is the fecundity of it's genes. And any standard of morality based on the agendas of evolution would be an awful one. We should be aware of our evolutionary past when discussing morality, but we should be equally aware that we have, and hopefully continue to, shake off it's shackles and agendas while we do so.

    That's an appealing sentiment.
    As the eternal fence sitter I at first really liked that whole paragraph;
    on second reading, I had a thought that evolution is always happening and has always been happening to us. It is why we are still here.
    No matter what we do, if we live or have a will to live, we evolve and adapt.
    I suppose when I speak of evolution, I mean all that word encompasses..

    I'm reminded of an interesting experiment I read about not long ago.
    Some Japanese scientists managed to get some kind of algae or mold to navigate a maze that was modeled after Tokyo or the underground transport system... something like this.
    The result was that it managed to evolve itself in that environment and remodel the underground transport system to be way more efficient.
    It managed to do this so quickly and efficiently, apparently because it is evolving faster.
    Those scientists looking down at this organism evolving to navigate a city maze, could be seen in parallel with our own evolution.
    What shackles exactly are we trying to shake off? Do we yet understand even how they function or what they are?

    This seems a good way to highlight some reasons why I have a lot of respect still for evolution when it comes to the shaping of our morality.
    Nested, or maybe better said, entangled in this evolution, was/is our belief systems.

    I do also see society evolving intellectually and "spiritually" in a similar way.
    A clashing of opposites, where the best suited to survive, will survive, purely because it is best suited and adapted at the right time and place.


    I hope we can discuss more on these things, however I may not be around in a few days and for a good while; or easily able to access the internet.

    In case I don't get a chance to comment in the next few days.
    I will say that if I was stranded on an island with Sam Harris, we would be in total agreement that we should do things rationally and with a grounded purpose towards the best possible and logical ways to survive.
    We would most likely work very well with a mission and self reflection.

    If I was stranded on an island with 300 people, I might start a religion or sports events, to keep such a crowd from losing hope. in that time I would prefer to have Jordan Peterson stranded with me.

    "Madness is something rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule" -Nietzsche

    Our views as individuals seem similar.
    When we speak of the crowd, we tend to part ways.
    Is it any wonder, considering Nietzsche's thoughts :)


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,064 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    Peterson's use of Freud may be problematic, given that Freud is only of historical importance today. Freud's case studies had serious non-random sampling problems. For example, women examined by Freud were from a SES level that could pay his fees, and those that could not were excluded. Freud also committed a ecological fallacy when he generalised his case studies to a larger population. If I were Peterson, I would avoid Freud, as well as the old left-right brain metaphor that is no longer treated as valid or reliable today by cognitive science.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    or that feminists "unconsciously long for masculine dominance"..............
    Helene Deutsch's position. Colleague of Freud.
    Peterson does seem to claim that biology and evolution dictate gender roles and behavior. But I have not dug deeply on what he and/or you might mean by things like that.
    Peterson advocates Nature over Nurture?
    But when it is referred to specifically I merely become justifiably cautious. Because all too often people appeal to evolution to suggest some moral or societal precept they hold to is somehow "objective" or "meant to be" because of some variable or other that evolution has produced.
    Herbert Spencer's survival of the fittest theory.
    Black Swan wrote: »
    Peterson's use of Freud may be problematic, given that Freud is only of historical importance today. Freud's case studies had serious non-random sampling problems. For example, women examined by Freud were from a SES level that could pay his fees, and those that could not were excluded. Freud also committed a ecological fallacy when he generalised his case studies to a larger population. If I were Peterson, I would avoid Freud, as well as the old left-right brain metaphor that is no longer treated as valid or reliable today by cognitive science.
    Agrees with my science homework.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    4 Sentences and I do not know what you mean by any of them :) If you could expand on any of them it might be easier.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    What is the old right-left brain metaphor exactly?
    Maybe I am confusing it with something else, and possibly some are confusing Peterson with a version that he does not subscribe to.
    Is there something he is quoted to have said that has been debunked by scientific experiments?
    FMRI has been really helpful in answering a lot of these questions.

    His interview with Iain McGilchrist might help people see how he feels about this topic to some extent.
    Peterson uses all the latest studies and experiments to inform his lectures, as far as I know anyway.

    Personally I think the left-right brain metaphor is fairly accurate as a metaphor when describing behaviour and abilities.
    However it's a generalization and often a metaphor so we do not need to go into semantics.

    We know that in general language is on one side and spacial skills are on the other.
    One old myth is that the right side is the creative one and the left is the logical one.
    This obviously is not fully true, but that's not what Peterson thinks or I for that matter.
    Both sides have creative and logical functions, they just work differently and often one much more than the other in many areas of cognition.
    The right sides creative function is much wider in it's reach across neuronal connections, making it more divergent. The left side is limited in reach and more compartmentalized/organized; it stays more on topic and is less divergent in nature.
    you could say that the left side is very exclusive and focused, while the right is more inclusive and sees more widely into the distance,if that makes sense.
    For example, if I speak about a person being very right brain dominant, all I mean is that they show traits that the right hemisphere is often more responsible for.
    I don't think it should be taken as being so polar. Of course they use the left side too in that hypothesis.
    As someone who is dyslexic, I am pretty sure I use my right side to process a good deal of language. Nearly all of my most used and most capable cognitive functions are associated with the right hemisphere; but it does not mean I don't have a whole lot going on in the left at the same time.

    This whole science has debunked the left-right brain theory, is so damaging to progress in knowledge of neuroscience.
    It really depends on what theory we speak of.
    I think there is probably some underlying truth left in even the most ridiculous of these theories and to discard anyone's ideas because they mention the left or right brain might be doing knowledge or wisdom a disservice.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    4 Sentences and I do not know what you mean by any of them :) If you could expand on any of them it might be easier.
    Fathom wrote: »
    Helene Deutsch's position. Colleague of Freud.
    You quoted "or that feminists unconsciously long for masculine dominance." Helene Deutsch was a Freudian that suggested a theory of women's personality that would agree with this quote. That "feminists" unconsciously long for masculine dominance." Karen Horney took the opposite position suggesting that males envied the vary visible ability of females to procreate, and females did not want to be dominated by males consciously or unconsciously.
    Peterson advocates Nature over Nurture?
    You suggested that "Peterson does seem to claim that biology and evolution dictate gender roles and behavior." This is a Nature position in the Nature vs Nurture argument. B.F. Skinner in Beyond Freedom and Dignity challenged this, suggesting that humans were born with a blank slate, and that Nurture was vastly more important than Nature in the making of personality, motivations, etc. Skinner was a behaviorist that suggested the operant conditioning theory of human behavior, which would oppose Peterson's notion that "biology and evolution dictate gender roles and behavior." A middle position was suggested by Hutt, a researcher in the biology of behavior, where both Nature and Nurture contributed to "gender roles and behavior."
    Herbert Spencer's survival of the fittest theory.
    You had commented "But when it is referred to specifically I merely become justifiably cautious. Because all too often people appeal to evolution to suggest some moral or societal precept they hold to is somehow "objective" or "meant to be" because of some variable or other that evolution has produced." Herbert Spencer took Darwin's Theory of Evolution and addressed "some moral and societal" consequences, suggesting that such things as behaviors, norms, morals, and social outcomes were also subject to evolution.

    The 4th point addressed what Black Swan had posted above regarding the scientific method. I am taking research methods at my university, and she is a methodologist that teaches research methods and data analysis.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Ah thanks for the reply. I thought you were adding something to the discussion so I was unsure what your sentences meant. It looks like in all 4 cases you were merely labelling the positions? Still not sure why or what that added, but at least I am a BIT clearer now :) I am already aware of the people and ideas you named, I was just more confused on why you made a post doing nothing but naming them. I was / am not really seeing how it was a reply to me exactly. Or was it that you were just pointing out that Peterson is, at best, merely regurgitating other (sometimes bad) ideas from others and is in no way bringing anything new? If so, then thus far I have to say that is a position I would share with you.
    Fathom wrote: »
    You quoted ...dominated by males consciously or unconsciously.

    Can not say I take either position all that seriously myself. Be it Peterson, Deutsch or Horney. It does not gel with anything I have observed, any evidence I have seen, or any rationale I have seen offered. But the ingroup-outgroup narrative of "You want to be us / like us / envy us" is one I do see often in many partisan contexts. It seems to be a narrative that appeals quite often to the human mentality in such groups.

    I am certainly yet to see Peterson offer much in the way of support for such an asserted position, assuming I have described the position accurately. And I guess this thread is about him and his views rather than similar views held by others.
    Fathom wrote: »
    This is a Nature position in the Nature vs Nurture argument. B.F. Skinner in Beyond Freedom and Dignity challenged this, suggesting that humans were born with a blank slate, and that Nurture was vastly more important than Nature in the making of personality, motivations, etc.

    I am somewhere in between. I think only a fool ignores the differences between the sexes. But I also think we have manufactured so many differences at the level of society and culture..... many of which we instil through gendered play, gendered media, and gender narratives..... that we often lose sight of which differences are real and which are artificial.

    Certainly time and time again I have seen people appeal to these narratives and then crumble and/or retreat when asked to back any of them up. For example on threads discussing same sex parenting it is often claimed children "need" or "deserve" a parent of each sex/gender. Yet not only do such people fail to explain exactly why that is except to repeat the mantra of "men and women are different"....... but studies (which said people have a tendency to dismiss with narratives like "Ahhh all academia is liberal run with a liberal agenda to justify liberal lifestyles") in fact show children of same sex parents faring just as well if not better than their peers.

    But I look forward to finding more details on this from Peterson as what I have read/heard so far was vague on the point. I have not yet heard him describe exactly HOW biology and evolution dictate any such things and I have not yet really heard WHICH roles and behaviours he is specifically referring to or it just a more general assertion with no real substance. The devil is in the details I guess. I am currently listening to the first of two interviews he did with Jocko Willink, perhaps I will get some details there but so far all he has done in the interview is offer seemingly contradictory explanations of what he thinks "evil" is and means.
    Fathom wrote: »
    Herbert Spencer took Darwin's Theory of Evolution and addressed "some moral and societal" consequences, suggesting that such things as behaviors, norms, morals, and social outcomes were also subject to evolution.

    Again not entirely sure what to take from merely naming another person who espouses a similar idea. What I said was "But when it is referred to specifically I merely become justifiably cautious. Because all too often people appeal to evolution to suggest some moral or societal precept they hold to is somehow "objective" or "meant to be" because of some variable or other that evolution has produced." and simply name dropping Spencer does not seem.... at first glance.... to add to this, take from this, or really reply to this in any way. Not meaning in any way to slight you, I just still do not really see what your replies are for or where they are going or what you intend.

    But what you do write here is a little different to what I was describing. I too firmly believe such things are subject to evolution. In that I also subscribe to many parts of the general theory of memetics, and memetic evolution. And I believe memes, like genes, both evolve and get selected for and against every bit as much. But this is different from the concern I was raising. There is a chasm of difference between saying societal norms and morals are subject to evolution, and the cautiousness I describe around a move I see made often that somehow evolution validates some moral precept a speaker holds. One can subscribe to ideas and be cautious around them at the same time. Sometimes it is a must in fact.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    Yeah I don't particularly enjoy when Peterson talks about evil.
    Maybe because I feel resistant to labeling a behaviour in a moral sense, when I would prefer to understand it's origins and reasons instead.

    Pretty sure sadistic behaviour is a form of fear of oneself and/or life, at the core.
    Following Nietzsche's writing a lot, I don't like to say that evil should not exist.
    Peterson recently spoke of the death penalty and how it is probably fitting in some circumstances, but that he had issue with who gains that power.
    I believe for now that this is a regressive view and harms progress when these things will continue to exist, when using the death penalty as a "solution".
    It's not really much of a solution and I think it's more of a revenge strategy than anything else.
    A way to distance the self from that part of it's shadow aspects.

    If respect for life could be called sanity, then surely anyone who ends up sentenced to death, might also be insane.

    Is respect for life(or lets say within our own species) an important aspect of sanity?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    I had to stop the podcast for awhile that I was listening to, but I will get back to it. Maybe his descriptions of "evil" become more clear later on. But so far they seem to be completely contradictory. I await the punchline and "aha" moment later in the podcast though. It is here and I currently paused at 2:22 into it.

    But he seems to assert that "evil" is a real distinct thing that exists in and of itself. I am not clear what he actually means by that. Is he personifying it like in the form of a Satan type character? Is he asserting the existence of an objective morality (and if so where does it come from) for which "evil" is one end of that continuum? Or is it in fact nothing but a "placeholder" term and his calling it "real" is just increasing the signal-to-noise ratio?

    It seems when you listen to him further that option 3 is the correct one. As he then goes on to describe many of the worst atrocities in mankind (of course Nazi Germany figures highly here, as do some of the more heinous incidents of mass shootings in the US) and breaks it down into understanable and likely entirely true tit-bits about human psychology and how even good people can be influenced to heinous crimes if done in a particular fashion. Because of how our mind works and our psyche can be manipulated.

    And the more and more he speaks on that topic, most of which I agree with, the more and more his "real evil" just seems to become a synonym for the human condition itself. He is just using the word "evil" to describe things we already have perfectly serviceable words and concepts for. And I am seeing no advantage to making that move really. Except possibly to pre-empt the accusation that his perfectly valid descriptions of how good people or vulnerable people can perform egregious and horrible acts are in fact "trivializing" or "normalizing" such acts. Perhaps by hiding behind the concept of a "real evil" he can sell the narrative he wants to sell, but in a form that intends to hamper those that would find his explanations of such evils to be too trivial. THAT would be a perfectly understandable move as it is a problem we see time and time again. I see it often in, for example, the discussions about pedophilia. Where any attempt to foster an understanding of the condition is entirely falsely seen as an attempt to normalize it or excuse it.

    But as I said, I have more than an hour left to listen to and there might be a punchline coming that means everything about is me speaking too soon, and in complete ignorance, of where he is actually going with this. I will report back if this is so. Take any silence from me as confirmation that it was not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    I think I agree on the signal to noise ratio theory.

    The most memorable example I've heard of his views on evil, is the story of the war camp guard in Nazi Germany making people carry sacks of salt up and down a courtyard, simply to waste their energy and demotivate them.
    The pointlessness of their suffering seems to be the defining part of that evil.

    That's a good point on pre-empting accusations of normalizing sensitive topics.
    It makes clear he finds these things despicable, while also allowing him to explore them at the same time.
    A way to distance himself as much as possible. or maybe express his emotions on this.
    I can't really resonate with the idea of calling anything evil, while trying to remain objective.
    I watched that whole Jocko Wilson podcast and found it uninformative. Nothing new there I think.
    It seemed to be a rehash of this evil topic and pretty depressing, especially without any new knowledge gained after watching it.

    I wouldn't recommend it the same way I wouldn't recommend reading the Gulag Archipelago, if you already can imagine how cruel people can be.
    It does not seem to be progressive or informative.
    No closer to a "why", maybe a "how" though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3WpmuoKTTk
    This debate is more related to what we discussed with regards to the underpinning of objective truth with moral truth.
    Less so from what Peterson says and more so that other guy sitting on the right.
    Might be worth a listen.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 47,064 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Black Swan


    @ Torakx (you asked earlier about this)
    The left brain and right brain distinctions were very popular during the 1980's, with some authors taking this very seriously (e.g., Peterson in Maps). Some contended that the left-brain dominant persons were more logical and the right-brain persons more artistic, etc. Others treated it only as a metaphor back then to stimulate discussion about very early results suggesting the specialisation of brain functions, but not specifically left or right dominance. Today such left-right brain discussions have been considered myth in light of advancing cognitive science.

    Source:
    https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/smg/Website/braincourse/brainlearning/unit1_sec2.html


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 8,147 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Fathom


    Black Swan wrote: »
    @ Torakx (you asked earlier about this)
    The left brain and right brain distinctions were very popular during the 1980's, with some authors taking this very seriously (e.g., Peterson in Maps).
    Several pages in Maps favor left & right brain thinking by Peterson.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,824 ✭✭✭ Torakx


    @Black swan
    Lucky for all I'm on mobile..can't write much.

    Maybe logic and creativity need more refined definitions when using left/right brain metaphors.
    The right brain is capable of more divergent thinking afaik.
    And the left more cable of linear thinking.
    But both have ability in those two areas.
    Speaking on average of course.
    Will take a look at that shred link when I get to a pc, thanks :)


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