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I think J L Austin would say the same. But just because one can read that someone is happy, it does not follow that the experience of happiness is the same for 2 people.

 

The only difficulty is, that I really don't see what the criterion would be. If two people say they're happy, and behave like they're happy, then absent unusual reasons for thinking otherwise, wouldn't it be correct to say they're both happy? Or, if we want to bring Austin in, wouldn't it be queer to say that, while they are both happy, they are not necessarily experiencing the same feeling?

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They have. But I remind you of several stories of the childless being chided for "selfishness".

 

Where? On this thread? I've not seen them....

 

Because boy, I sure don't feel that way. If you're not absolutely positive you want to raise children, and I mean be "all in" for life, please don't have any. If you change your mind after they're here, or otherwise screw it up in some way, I and society, are the ones that have to pay.

A few post starting here.

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What I'm arguing about is the idea that what I will feel emotional about, others must too.

I don't think anyone on this thread advocated that.

 

I assume we are still stuck on pages 2 and 3 (roughly) where omni said it was "abnormal" not to have certain feelings.

 

That and post 338

 

"While you might not feel bad about choosing not to have children, and while it might be the best choice for you, the fact is that if you do not have children, you will in fact miss out on one of life's most intense pleasures. That's not bad or good or right or wrong, it just is what it is."

 

Well, no-one else believes that, do they? I mean no-one actually participating here?

Sorry, do we have to have more than one person holding a particular view before we can debate it?

 

In any case I've come across several people in real life who have espoused the same.

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They have. But I remind you of several stories of the childless being chided for "selfishness".

 

do you then to explain to them that you incredible selfishness and childless status are merely correlated and not a causal relationship?

No, I just tell them about the cost and deliciousness of my last meal at Masa.

ah yes . . . the empirical data.

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I think J L Austin would say the same. But just because one can read that someone is happy, it does not follow that the experience of happiness is the same for 2 people.

 

The only difficulty is, that I really don't see what the criterion would be. If two people say they're happy, and behave like they're happy, then absent unusual reasons for thinking otherwise, wouldn't it be correct to say they're both happy? Or, if we want to bring Austin in, wouldn't it be queer to say that, while they are both happy, they are not necessarily experiencing the same feeling?

I'm inclined to think that the word 'happy' might well be correct, and is useful to describe a range of feelings that we refer to as happy. But I've no idea how one could empirically show that the feelings experienced by happy person A were the same as happy person B's.

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I'm inclined to think that the word 'happy' might well be correct, and is useful to describe a range of feelings that we refer to as happy. But I've no idea how one could empirically show that the feelings experienced by happy person A were the same as happy person B's.

 

Exactly; and it would equally problematic to find an empirical basis for showing that A's feelings are not the same as B's. We are simply taking the wrong model of inquiry here if we cast about for a method of viewing the internal mental events of A and B so that we can compare them, as we might compare two fingerprints, or two signatures. A scientist might suggest comparing brain activity, but you'll rightly say that a match in physical data wouldn't necessarily imply a match in feeling.

 

The correct model is surely to look at what A and B say and do, and locate this within our social and linguistic conventions for identifying cases of "happiness", in which case I think the basis for your concern looks less firm. Of course, this is Wittgenstein's theory, not mine; and probably Austin's approach too.

 

The wrinkle is that one might always be confounded by insincere behavior, or other aberrant factors. Derrida's contribution is to argue that the possibility of such confounding is essential to the case; some view Derrida as leading us, therefore, back into skepticism. I think that's quite wrong, and that Derrida is making a point about the possibility of truth claims in philosophy, and actually accepts the pragmatic reality of successfully understanding each other.

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I'm inclined to think that the word 'happy' might well be correct, and is useful to describe a range of feelings that we refer to as happy. But I've no idea how one could empirically show that the feelings experienced by happy person A were the same as happy person B's.

 

Exactly; and it would equally problematic to find an empirical basis for showing that A's feelings are not the same as B's. We are simply taking the wrong model of inquiry here if we cast about for a method of viewing the internal mental events of A and B so that we can compare them, as we might compare two fingerprints, or two signatures. A scientist might suggest comparing brain activity, but you'll rightly say that a match in physical data wouldn't necessarily imply a match in feeling.

 

The correct model is surely to look at what A and B say and do, and locate this within our social and linguistic conventions for identifying cases of "happiness", in which case I think the basis for your concern looks less firm. Of course, this is Wittgenstein's theory, not mine; and probably Austin's approach too.

 

The wrinkle is that one might always be confounded by insincere behavior, or other aberrant factors. Derrida's contribution is to argue that the possibility of such confounding is essential to the case; some view Derrida as leading us, therefore, back into skepticism. I think that's quite wrong, and that Derrida is making a point about the possibility of truth claims in philosophy, and actually accepts the pragmatic reality of successfully understanding each other.

The problem with looking at what we say and do (and I agree this is all we have to go on when trying to understand someone else) is that it takes us to behaviorism, does it not?

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As others here have said, it's through caring for it, loving it, nurturing it, that you begin to understand parenting. That's what creates the bond. I would gladly, immediately, unthinkingly give my life for any of my three biological children. And know without question or hesitation that had I adopted, it would be equally so."

 

I'm sure you're right, Jaymes. And you know this even without having had the experience of adopting. There are some things we can know, even without having experienced them ourselves.

 

I do believe that parenting is one of life's most intense joys and most intense emotional experiences, if not the most intense. And obviously, those who choose not to have children will not experience that experience. That's not a value judgement, it just is.

 

And there is nothing wrong with saying that something is normal or abnormal. That doesn't make it wrong or right or bad or good. If it were the norm to not want to have children, well then, bye bye species.

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Calvin Trillin: " Either your children are the center of your world, or they are not. The rest is commentary"

 

 

Thre is a lot of commentary on this thread. And big words, complex judgements, enough to make your head hurt. I think it's simpler, though certainly simplifying is not a strength of Mouthfuls. :blink: There are parts of parenting, like parts of work or parts of going to school, or parts of a 10 course meal, that are less enjoyable than other parts. Was the meal fantastic, and are you glad you dined there? yes, but amuse bouche and intermezzo courses were a bit dull, didn't like the way the vegetables were braised, and the lamb in the seventh course was just a bit past rare as I prefer it. But all in all, I am so glad I dined here. Was parenthood great, and were you glad you did it? yes, but I didn't like the part when he was super fussy and I felt isolated, and her princess phase was tiresome because it seemed so predictable, and the car accident and lsot cell phones really set us back on our retirement fund..but all in all, I am so glad I had them.

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...And you know this even without having had the experience of adopting. There are some things we can know, even without having experienced them ourselves.

 

I do believe that parenting is one of life's most intense joys and most intense emotional experiences, if not the most intense. And obviously, those who choose not to have children will not experience that experience. That's not a value judgement, it just is.

 

And there is nothing wrong with saying that something is normal or abnormal. That doesn't make it wrong or right or bad or good. If it were the norm to not want to have children, well then, bye bye species.

1. "I do believe that parenting is one of life's most intense joys and most intense emotional experiences, if not the most intense." Fair enough, this is your opinion.

 

2. Massive leap to "And obviously, those who choose not to have children will not experience that experience." Only if that experience is, in fact, how you describe in 1 and is true for everyone. Nothing on this thread has proven this to be the case.

 

3. "And there is nothing wrong with saying that something is normal or abnormal" [Eta: note again opinion being portrayed as fact.] Omni, do you listen to others' reports on their feelings re this matter? Not a value judgment?: Please look at the literature on stigma, disenfranchised groups etc. Most experts in the field of social anthropology, mental illness, social mores would say that the label of "abnormal" is a judgmental comment.

 

4, Now the use of "normal" appears to be the numerical majority. If not then it would not matter re survival of the species. But, there are many children to adopt in the world, and having children of one's own is not the only way to safeguard the future of the human race.

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