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Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
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As philosophers understand it, to be an agent in general is not merely to be the cause of certain events in the world, as when the wind blows down a tree. Rather, it is to be a certain type of cause, namely one grounded in the reasons the agent has. In one paradigm case, such a reason will be that the agent perceives that acting in a certain way will help satisfy a desire. Nonetheless, it should be clear that having a desire is different from having a goal. Heat-seeking missiles and chess-playing computers have goals, and in some sense they “perceive” that acting a certain way—veering left or trading queens—will help them achieve those goals. ;) :cheer:

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

Yet intuitively missiles and computers do not have desires and act for reasons: they are not genuine agents. The difference, I believe, is that desires (but not mere goals) involve one’s finding their objects to be worth pursuing—involve one’s caring about their objects. Moreover, to care about something in this sense is to be emotionally affected by what happens to it: to be afraid when it is threatened, to be relieved when the threat passes, to be disappointed or angry when it is harmed, and to be joyous when it is benefited. So dogs and cats, but not missiles and computers, are agents because they have emotional capacities that make it possible for them to care about their ends. :) B)

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

Nonetheless, human agency is distinctive, and I have already hinted at part of its distinctiveness in distinguishing mere liking from the “deeper” valuing or mere caring from genuine loving. We humans, but not “mere” animals, have a sense of our lives as worthwhile or meaningful in part through the things we value and the people we love. Like caring, such valuing and loving are attitudes that are also grounded in our emotional capacities, but these attitudes and the relevant emotions are “deeper”. Thus, we do not merely feel fear when something we value is threatened, we feel anxious about it; and we are not merely satisfied or frustrated with our accomplishments or failures or with those we love, we are proud or ashamed. :) B)

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Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

Thus, valuing and loving involve being emotionally affected in these deeper ways connected to our sense of what is worthwhile in our lives, a sense that is partly grounded in our values and loves. In addition to our capacities to value and love and our sense of personal worth, we humans are free and responsible agents that can be praised or blamed—held accountable—for what we do. Now there is a sense in which we praise or blame a dog for doing such things as scaring away an intruder or making a mess on the carpet. In doing so, we seem to be doing two things: (a) identifying him as the cause of the relevant events and (b) rewarding or punishing him as a way of making it more or less likely that he will do it again. :whistle: :side:

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

This presupposes that there are certain ways we expect the dog to behave, but—and this is the crucial point—these expectations can be arbitrary in that they are ones we simply impose on the dog in a way that need not connected to any broader set of cares or concerns of the dog. In this way, I can train my dog to do a wide range of things from useful tasks to stupid pet tricks. With us humans, things are different. For in praising or blaming you I am holding you responsible for upholding or violating a norm that I thereby recognize as binding on us, and I call on you as freely choosing your actions also to recognize both the norm as interpersonally binding and your compliance with or violation of that norm. :blush:

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

Indeed, there is a whole range of emotions philosophers call the “reactive attitudes” by which we hold each other responsible to such interpersonal norms. These are emotions like gratitude and resentment (by the “victim” of some wrongdoing or rightdoing), approbation and indignation (by “witnesses” to it), and self-congratulation and guilt (by the “perpetrator”). For example, if you carelessly and without apology step on my foot, I might resent you, a resentment I express by saying, “Hey! Get off my foot!”. In thus expressing my resentment, I am calling on you to recognize not just that you have been inconsiderate but also that you (and we more generally) ought not to be. :dry:

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

But I am doing something more. I am recognizing you both as having a kind of standing as one of us who are bound by this norm and as having a kind of authority to hold the rest of us responsible to it as well. That is, I am recognizing you as a participant in a certain human community in which we hold each other to certain norms. (Note the contrast between this case and that of a dog that steps on my foot: while I might get angry at the dog, it would seem odd for me to resent him or hold him responsible, for the dog is not in this way a participant in human community.) :lol:

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Glades
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: 10/17/2016 - 02:01
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These mutual demands that we each recognize the standing and authority—the dignity—of others as participants in a human community are expressive of broader concerns we have for the community and for each other. It is precisely here in being embedded within such broader concerns that the expectations we have for each other as members of human communities differs from the expectations I have for my dog. Such a broader concern for the dignity we each have as members of human communities just is, I submit, our love of humanity, a love that is founded at least in major part by the reactive attitudes we feel in holding each other responsible to interpersonal norms. :P

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

When you hear the word love what do you think of? The feelings you have for your spouse? Your children or family? Your friends? Maybe you think about your favorite food that you love or some activity that you are really interested in (e.g., I love baseball). Some use this word to describe their respect for their country. In the English language, the word love can apply to all of these things and many others. So, when the word love is used, you have to consider the context to understand what is meant. In the New Testament we quickly learn the importance of love in the life of a Christian. But what does the word mean? How important is love to the Christian? :P

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Peter's picture
Peter
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 07/08/2014 - 08:22
Love

There are people who live without love. And they are very unhappy people, even if they don't understand it. And they often don't understand it, because they just don't know what it is, they have nothing to compare with. They don't know what it feels like to love and to be loved. But even without knowing it, there is a desire of loving and being loved deep inside their hearts even if they try their best to deny it. They do it because they are afraid to fail, afraid of broken heart, but they still want love and they still believe that it is possible for them to find it

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