02 May 2014

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Dogmatism + News


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Dogmatism.

Miguel, Ruel and I have written an essay on the topic, although mine is
quite short. From my part there are two key issues for us: 1) how what
is the nature of dogmatic beliefs and 2) how can we protect ourselves
against dogmatism? But first some news:

--from Miguel
Tertulia de Matemáticas: Politopos Latinos

Estimado tertuliano,

Te invitamos a asistir a la próxima Tertulia de Matemáticas: Politopos
( https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/8-5-2014 ).

Saludos cordiales,
Tertulia de Matemáticas

--Centro Seoviano
Public lectures at the Centro Segoviano on El Greco by Prof Fanjul: 7,
15 and 21 May

And finally the links to the essays:

--from Miguel
Hi Law,

This is my essay on dogmatism:


--from Ruel
Hello Lawrence,
Below is the link to the essay I wrote for PhiloMadrid on Sunday.

Thank you and see you on Sunday.

---from Lawrence


There is a very good chance that the idea many people have of democracy,
especially politicians, might be all wrong. Some seem to have the
impression that democracy is about having some sort of an election every
four or five years and then the winning group of politicians have a
carte blanche to do what they want, discriminate how much they want,
favour who they want and basically do not hold themselves accountable to

Of course, they are held accountable if they pilfer a thousand Euros
here and there, but nothing is done when the economy is destroyed, real
incomes fall close to poverty levels, allow themselves to be at the beck
and call of some economic sectors and on and on.

This is important for our discussion on two counts: the first is that
this scenario is the natural habitat for the various forms of dogmatism
we can associate with the state and the exercise of power. And,
secondly, dogmatism affects the real lives of people.

Today we accept that our actions have causal effects and that they have
the potential to affect ourselves and others. Some of our actions are
based on innate beliefs we have accumulated over the years. For example,
the fancier the restaurant the less likely they are going to give value
for money. We might even have more complex beliefs that affect our
attitude towards the state or the government. For example, education
should be free.

Our beliefs may or may not be right and although we might defend our
beliefs we generally do not impose our beliefs on others. However,
beliefs based on dogma are intended to be imposed on others. But
someone's belief that people's property should be expropriated or that
people that do not join our religious order should be murdered, are a
different type of beliefs. These types of beliefs, which we call dogmas,
are usually immune to investigation or confirmation. My beliefs might
always be wrong and proved to be wrong, but dogmatism negates the option
of a dogma being investigated let alone proved wrong.

Thus the problem with dogma and dogmatism is not that they are based on
a body of right or wrong beliefs, but rather that irrespective of
whether such beliefs are right or wrong the objective is to impose those
beliefs. The second issue with dogmatism is that they inevitably tend to
favour one group at the expense of others.

This is why our thinking about what is the purpose of democracy is so
vital. Democracy is not a mandate for a selected few to do what they
want, it is not a limitless carte blanche, but more like an agreement to
protect against whims, excesses and disregard for others. Especially
when preachers of dogmas intentionally do harm to others or are
negligent as to whether they do harm to others.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Dogmatism + News

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