Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  .This section is about ethics from a psychological standpoint.  Topics include: ( ) Emotion and ethics.  ( ) Thinking and ethics.  ---  1/24/2006

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  (1) Ability, actual and potential.  (2) Potential: abilities and resources.  (3) Wasted potential: lost, destroyed, stolen, misplaced.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  (1) Needs and drives yield (2) Likes and dislikes (emotion), which yield (3) Interests, tastes, motivation, which yield  (4) Priorities, timing: what to do first?, which yields  (5) Focus and direction, plus abilities and knowledge, yield behavior.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  (1) Speed: can you figure out quickly and accurately and completely what to go for in a situation, and not and why?  (2) Focus: can you keep your goals, tactics and reasons in mind in the face of opposition and seduction or temptation?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Affects of psychology on personal ethics development.  (1) Low intelligence.  (2) Pathological psychological states.  (3) Poor memory.  (4) Affects of same on a society's ethical development.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Behavior.  (1) Behavior is not just a psychological issue.  Behavior is also an ethical issue.  (2) Causes of actions, and effect of actions (consequences).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Beware things that break down ethical reasoning.  Cultivate things that develop ethical reasoning.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Both of these are very bad: losing head, and never developing head in the first place.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Creating a mental landscape, a mental world.  Some create it, some take what's given.  Create yours or have yours created.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Desire.  How much unethical action is caused by excessive desire?  Can we block out our desires, like the Buddha said?  Should we?  Are not desires and drives good?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Drive, motivation, urge, impetus and persistence are very important concepts in ethics.  They keep you active.  The alternative is to not think and not act, vegetating and wasting time.  ---  6/9/2000

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion and the epistemology of ethics.  How do you know if something is wrong or bad?  You say to yourself, "I do not feel good about having done this act (or having this act done to me)."  Regret, anger, sadness.  Emotions play a key role in helping us determine what is good and bad.  ---  5/19/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  (1) Feeling good (ex. Mania.  Ignorance is bliss) vs. having something to feel good about (ex. saving a life).  Feeling bad (ex. depression) vs. having something to feel bad about (ex. committing a murder).  (2) What was the best and worst anyone ever felt?  Vs.  What was the thing someone had to feel best and worst about?  (3) Feeling good or bad.  (A) Can be a delusion due to insanity.  (ex. I feel good because I believe I am god).  (B) Can be a mistaken metaphysical perception.  (ex. I feel good about the mirage that I see as a lake).  (C) Can be due to having the wrong information.  (ex. I feel good because someone told me the Cubs won the series, even though they did not).  (D) Can be due to a mood that has resulted from brain chemistry.  ---  06/10/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  (1) Situation variables.  (A) Minor bad thing is really bugging someone a lot (causing emotional pain).  (B) A major bad thing is not bugging someone at all (causing little emotional pain).  (2) The point is that emotional pain is an additional bad thing on top of the original injustice.  Duress and distress must be considered.  Even in cases of unjustified and uncalled for emotional pain?  (3) Is lack of emotional pain when it is called for a good or bad?  Example, oppressed people who are not upset.  ---  2/25/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  (1) When people lose their tempers and kill, or beat wives or kids.  Do we say these people are crazy?  Do we even say they are evil?  Do we just say they have bad tempers?  Do we say they are emotionally immature, unable to handle their own emotions?  What is the status of emotions, esp. anger, in ethics?  (2) When people are blue and kill themselves, we have a tendency to say they were mentally ill.  Are they really crazy?  No.  Are they emotionally immature, like the above case?  Perhaps.  (3) Do children give in to anger, and teens give in to depression?  ---  01/23/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  All pain is not bad, and all pain is not good.  All pleasure is not good, and all pleasure is not bad.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Are there more good things or bad things in life?  Vs.  Is there more happiness or unhappiness in life?  The two pairs are not the same thing.  In bad conditions you can feel happy, or at least determined to act and not get down.  In good situations you can feel unhappy.  ---  07/11/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Empathy.  To feel what others feel.  Is it based on imagination?  Is it aided by reason?  How important is empathy in ethics?  Is all altruistic behavior rooted in empathy?  ---  9/11/1998

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Excessive emotion: can't think straight.  Inadequate emotion: no empathy or sympathy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  It is our ethical duty to keep ourselves happy and in good spirits.  Because without happiness there is only pain and despair, and that is how people end up killing themselves.  It is our duty to cheer ourselves up, and to have things in our lives that make us truly happy.  If you see yourself becoming unhappy, you are ethically obliged to sort out the problem immediately.  ---  01/12/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Pain and suffering.  Emotion based ethics: primary concern with putting an end to pain, rather than primary concern with puttting an end to injustice.  Arguments for and against emotion based ethics.  (1) Sometimes pain, be it physical pain or psychological pain, is not an accurate guide.  Example, feeling too much or too little pain given an injustice.  (2) Sometimes pain is useful and necessary.  Physical pain is a useful sign that something needs to be fixed.  Psychological pain is a useful sign that something needs to be fixed.  Anger is an energy.  ---  1/11/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Pain: real, possible, probable; now and later.  Delaying gratification vs. planning for disasters.  How much resources to spend to avoid what probability disaster?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Pain.  (1) Types of pain, and judgments on which types are worse.  (2) Life is pain.  How to handle, or deal with, the pain?  (3) Against pain we have only our minds and action.  (4) Pain: momentary pain, average pain, and total final pain.  (5) Which pain feels worse, natural injustice, injustice by others, or injustice to self?  Which pleasure feels best, good done by nature, others, or ourselves?  Which of first set of acts (pain) above are more unethical?  Which of second set of acts (pleasure) above are more ethical?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  Sympathy is an important concept in ethics.  Putting yourself in the place of the other, walk a mile in my moccasins, see how I feel.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  The bullshit you have to put up with.  Only thing we have contra pain is pleasure?  No, contra pain we have justice gained through effort.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  What is the most "emotion based decision" a supposedly rational decision maker (ex. judge) will make?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotion.  You can be deprived without being in pain, if you don't know any better.  It does not make it less unjust if you are not sweating it.  And pain does not make it more unjust?  ---  2/25/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Emotions and ethics.  Ethics are as much influenced by emotional pain as it is by physical pain.  However, emotions are not easily quantified or predicted.  ---  4/29/2001

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Ethics as reflected in personality traits.  Cheap, selfish, considerate.  ---  01/01/1993

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Ethics involves moving from mental states to action.  Actions are by-products of mental attitudes (emotions + thoughts).  The root of ethics is mental.  Ethics is not primarily about actions.  Ethics is primarily about mental states.  The focus of ethics should be on psychology.  ---  1/25/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Ethics of "head" is composed of the following: (1) Ethics of drive.  (2) Ethics of memory.  It is our duty to remember our personal pasts, and also to study world history.  (3) Ethics of future thinking.  It is our duty to forecast and plan.  (4) Ethics of emotion.  (5) Ethics of abstract thinking.  ---  6/10/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Experience and ethics.  Things you did experience vs. things you didn't experience.  Things you chose to experience, vs. things you experienced without asking for.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Experience.  What new experiences can I get?  What haven't I seen?  What am I missing and sorely lacking?  What don't I know? (first hand, emotionally, book knowledge).  World weary travelers, seen and done everything, end of the youthful hope of an endless bounty of kicks.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  For any situation, what are the mental states you want to get into, and what are the mental states you want to avoid?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Goals.  General goal statements vs. specific goal statements.  See psychology, drive, goals.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  It takes imagination to think of what could be.  It takes hope to believe it is possible.  It takes persistence to make it happen.  It takes acceptance because nothing ever turns out as planned.  ---  10/30/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Learning.  (1) Do we have an ethical obligation to think, know, and learn?  What is the argument for it?  If environment affects us, and we can affect the environment, we need to know about the environment.  (2) How much should a person of x abilities in y situation know about z subject (theory of z, history of z, and current world situation of z)?  How much time and money does it take to learn it and keep it in memory (knowledge maintenance)?  In terms of type of knowledge, how much passing acquaintance (familiarity) vs. how much committed to memory?  ---  09/10/1994

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Motivation.  The desire to change the world.  Is it just power and ego drive?  Not do-goody ethics.  ---  09/26/1997

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Personality.  Doing unethical things breaks down your character?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Psychological damage is the most harmful type of harm, worse than any physical or financial harm?  Fragility of a person = their susceptibility to damage or harm.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Psychological traits as ethical ideals.  Rationality, drive, honesty, self discipline, empathy.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Self discipline.  (1) Regularity, rigidity, dogmatism, and ritual vs. spontaneity.  Pros and cons of each, and problems of excess either way.  (2) Self censorship = repression.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Self-destructive behavior (see Psychology, pathological).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Think before you act, unless you have no time to consider hypothetical situations ahead of time.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  (1) Ignorance is a crime, and not thinking is a crime.  (2) To think is ethical, to not think is unethical.  (3) Not giving a subject enough thought is a big unethical act.  (4) Informed vs. uninformed decision making.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  (1) Knowledge vs. ignorance of committing an action, and of knowing its probable results.  (2) Knowledge vs. ignorance of committing an action, and of knowing its ethicalness.  (3) Before, during, after the event.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  (1) Most people do not spend enough time thinking about life and about the true self.  And most people do not spend enough time recording their thoughts.  (2) "Finding out" is usually general knowledge about the world.  "Figuring out" usually focuses on one's own life.  (3) When you cease to obey you must start to think.  If people want to be free then they must think.  ---  02/28/1998

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  (1) What if I decide not to think.  What will the end result be?  (2) What if I did nothing, or bare minimum.  What would the end result be?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Calling an action smart or stupid vs. calling an action good or evil.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Critical thinking and ethics.  Analysis, judgment, deciding.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Decision theory.  All ethical matters take the form of a decision.  Collect all information.  See all options, all alternatives.  Assess your criteria weights.  Assess probability and size of payoff and risks.  Give self plenty of time to think about it.  Think about it.  Make a list of good and bad points.  Ask around, friends, experts.  Perform some thought experiments.  For each choice, what is the amount of payoff, and probability of payoff?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Ethical inertia vs. re-evaluating and changing one's ethical system.  One uses new information to change one's attitudes and one's ethics.  Ethics is dependent on learning.  The more you learn the better your ethics develops.  ---  1/25/1999

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Ethics based on knowledge and reason.  More knowledge = better decisions.  Proper reason (logic) = better decisions.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Ignorance and knowledge.  When a person is (1) Aware or unaware that an act or situation is good or bad, or (2) Aware or unaware of the alternatives they could do.  (3) People don't always realize the full situation, or the full implications of their actions.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Logic and ethics: moral argument.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Most people walking around most of the time are not asking themselves important questions like (1) What is going on in the world?  (2) What can I do to help?  Instead, most people are walking around asking themselves small questions about the trivial details of their lives like (1) How can I get sex?  (2) Who is out to get me, and who should I be out to get?  ---  02/28/1998

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  Opinions or positions and ethics.  (1) To have an opinion, optimal to sub-optimal, on an issue.  To take another's opinion blindly vs. to reason out an opinion.  (2) To not have an opinion on an important issue is bad.  It is impossible not to have an opinion?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  What you know or believe about x determines how you will act on it.  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Thinking.  What's the most complex rational decision we face in everyday life?  (choosing to have kids?).  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Which of the following will win out to influence behavior: thought, emotion, drive, desire, physical fatigue, or ethical system?  ---  12/30/1992

Philosophy, ethics, psychology.  ---  Your unconscious ethical system vs. conscious ethical system.  The ethcial principles contained in them, and the reasons you hold these principles.  ---  12/30/1992

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.