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“Lying: the Grand Detour to Human Potential”
At the start of the Roman Empire, societal culture was changing. Early Romans who had a philosophical outlook on life sought to control their passions as a means of greater life satisfaction. A philosopher of the early Roman Empire time period, Philo of Alexandria, argued that we could find our potential by seeking higher consciousness and using Logos (reason). This is where we shall begin our discussion: the intersectionality of human existence (Ontology) and that which fuels and drives us forward (Teleology).
A modern-day British philosopher, professor Philip Kitcher at Columbia University, has written some influential books that touch on Teleology. One of his noted contributions to the field is what he terms the three attributes for what constitutes good science. Wikipedia quotes Kitcher on the attribute of unification: “A science should be unified… Good theories consist of just one problem-solving strategy, or a small family of problem-solving strategies, that can be applied to a wide range of problems.” This process certainly helps us in our pursuit of sound knowledge.
Finally, in juxtaposition to human potential and our pursuit of integrity of knowledge, we’ll cover the complex human behavior of lying. Sometimes we lie simply to be deceptive, other times we lie for fear of punishment, humans lie for a multitude of reasons. Whether for malicious means or with considered intentions, lying can become a significant detour from experiencing our full and genuine potential. Mark Twain summed it up: “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” We hope you can join us for this fascinating topic on Sunday!
1. Philo of Alexandria, section 5.2 (from passions to virtue)
2. Philip Kitcher: what constitutes “good science”
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