Saturday, April 7, 2012

Motivations: Over-Promising on Our Agency, Imagination, and Morality


I would like to bring it back to basics.  What motivates my work?  Social, cultural, political and moral issues.

Most people believe with their eyes.  We are unaware of the extent to which our upbringing, culture, education,  etc. influence how and we they perceive.  This is not a problem so much as a troubling fact.  The problem begins when we think that behavior and perception are as malleable as ideas.  Our contemporary American culture tends to treat ideas as instruments to some given end.  Change the end or ideal, and our behavior and perceptions change, do they not?  No.  We believe with our blood and bones, and while ideas might begin change, they might also beget lies … lies about what we have been doing, made intentionally or not.

I am a moralist at heart.  I do not fear iconoclasm.  But I also harbor a conservative sentiment whispering that publicly breaking sacred cultural idols is often no more than a temper-tantrum.  Rather than breaking, I wish to understand why—and thus I became a philosopher—but this is founded on an existential and practical ground.  

Because I am a moralist, I call “lying” what some might call “mistakes” or “hermeneutics.”  Why?  So many claim ignorance, but it is a vincible ignorance motivated by morally deficient factors.  I say this in an indirect and odd manner because commonsense ideas of freedom, agency, consciousness are all monolithic notions of discredited faculty psychology.  We want to believe these notions because they allow us to suppose more agency and knowledge than we have at the same time we hide in the shadow of those discredited ideas.  Oh, I didn’t even mean that!  But I didn’t intend that!  I cannot be responsible!

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