> >>So Bruno says that:
> >>a) "I am a machine."
> >>b) "...no man can grasp all aspect of man"

A and b above both make sense to me.

> >>Jef and Brent say that we are machines
> >>who (that?) philosophize.

I'll agree that was implied by my statement.

> I suggest we start out by concentrating on the fact that Brent and Jef
> don't agree with Bruno's b) above.

Note that I would in fact agree with both a and b above.

 > (And also perhaps Bruno doesn't
> agree with himself (Bruno's a) vs. b) above)).  If we truly are
> machines, then by definition we should be able to (in theory) figure
> out the "list of instructions" that we follow.  But wouldn't this be
> grasping all aspects of ourselves?  If not, then what part of ourselves
> is outside of the realm of being able to grasp, and if so, how can we
> say we are machines in a totally closed rationalistic/naturalistic
> world?  Brent and Jef's paragraphs sound mystical to me, as mystical as
> any other "first truth" assumption.

I intentionally adopted a mystical tone in response to Tom's assertion
about "modern philosophy" being the "death of humanness" since I was
trying to relate to someone who appeared to be saying that there's
something essentially special about the human experience.

So I agreed, trying to show that from the subjective point of view,
the human experience certainly is extraordinary, but that it's all a
part of an objectively knowable, but never fully known, world.

My viewpoint is mystical to the extent that Albert Einstein and
Buckminster Fuller were mystical, acknowledging the mystery of our
experience while remaining fully grounded in an empirical but never
fully knowable reality.

To go to the heart of Tom's assertion about complete self knowledge,
in order for a system to fully "know" something, it must contain a
complete model of that something within itself, therefore the system
that knows must always be more complex than that which it knows.

It seems to me that much endless discussion and debate about the
nature of the Self, Free Will and Morality hinges on a lack of
understanding of the relationship between the subjective and objective
viewpoint, and that each tends to expand in ever-increasing spheres of

Expanding the sphere of subjective understanding across an increasing
scope of subjective agents and their interactions provides
ever-increasing but never complete understanding of shared values that
work.  Expanding the sphere of objective understanding provides
increasing scope of instrumental knowledge of practices that work. 
Combining the two by applying increasingly objective instrumental
knowledge toward the promotion of increasingly shared subjective
values is the very essence of moral decision-making.

Paradox is always a case of insufficient context.

- Jef
Increasing awareness for increasing morality

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