Morality

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
Kenny
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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:46 am

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
kenny wrote:
Right in this context means the same thing to me as it does to you, as it means to everybody else; but everybody will define it differently.

Contradiction much?

It doesn’t mean it has lost its meaning, it just means the words used to define the term is subjective not objective.

So lemme get this straight...

Not only do you have a subjective morality worldview, where each individual is the moral barometer, but you also have a subjective dictionary world view, where each individual can make up their own definitions of words, to fit their beliefs?

Seriously Kenny,

You need to step back and examine your worldviews.


*Neither categorizing morality subjective/objective, or defining words, qualifies as a “world view”.
*I never said anything about making up words to fit beliefs, I said the words used a description will vary from person to person, even though the meaning will be the same.
Again; how do YOU describe the word “right”?

Under a subjective morality worldview, there is no right. That's my point.


As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

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Re: Morality

Postby RickD » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:16 pm

Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
kenny wrote:
Right in this context means the same thing to me as it does to you, as it means to everybody else; but everybody will define it differently.

Contradiction much?

It doesn’t mean it has lost its meaning, it just means the words used to define the term is subjective not objective.

So lemme get this straight...

Not only do you have a subjective morality worldview, where each individual is the moral barometer, but you also have a subjective dictionary world view, where each individual can make up their own definitions of words, to fit their beliefs?

Seriously Kenny,

You need to step back and examine your worldviews.


*Neither categorizing morality subjective/objective, or defining words, qualifies as a “world view”.
*I never said anything about making up words to fit beliefs, I said the words used a description will vary from person to person, even though the meaning will be the same.
Again; how do YOU describe the word “right”?

Under a subjective morality worldview, there is no right. That's my point.


As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


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Kenny
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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:21 pm

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:Contradiction much?


So lemme get this straight...

Not only do you have a subjective morality worldview, where each individual is the moral barometer, but you also have a subjective dictionary world view, where each individual can make up their own definitions of words, to fit their beliefs?

Seriously Kenny,

You need to step back and examine your worldviews.


*Neither categorizing morality subjective/objective, or defining words, qualifies as a “world view”.
*I never said anything about making up words to fit beliefs, I said the words used a description will vary from person to person, even though the meaning will be the same.
Again; how do YOU describe the word “right”?

Under a subjective morality worldview, there is no right. That's my point.


As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.


Meaningless to who? To you? Or the person holding that worldview. It must be meaningless to you (and perhaps those who share your worldview) because I can guarantee you it is not meaningless to the person who holds such a worldview. But then to them, your worldview is probably meaningless as well; so kinda makes things even.

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Re: Morality

Postby RickD » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:27 pm

Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
*Neither categorizing morality subjective/objective, or defining words, qualifies as a “world view”.
*I never said anything about making up words to fit beliefs, I said the words used a description will vary from person to person, even though the meaning will be the same.
Again; how do YOU describe the word “right”?

Under a subjective morality worldview, there is no right. That's my point.


As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.


Meaningless to who? To you? Or the person holding that worldview. It must be meaningless to you (and perhaps those who share your worldview) because I can guarantee you it is not meaningless to the person who holds such a worldview. But then to them, your worldview is probably meaningless as well; so kinda makes things even.

Again Kenny,

I've repeated this numerous times, it's not meaningless to anyone, it's literally meaningless. Subjectivity takes the meaning of the word away.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

Kenny
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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:50 pm

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:Under a subjective morality worldview, there is no right. That's my point.


As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.


Meaningless to who? To you? Or the person holding that worldview. It must be meaningless to you (and perhaps those who share your worldview) because I can guarantee you it is not meaningless to the person who holds such a worldview. But then to them, your worldview is probably meaningless as well; so kinda makes things even.

Again Kenny,

I've repeated this numerous times, it's not meaningless to anyone, it's literally meaningless. Subjectivity takes the meaning of the word away.

C’mon bro! You can’t be serious. If it were literally meaningless, that would mean nobody values it. The fact that it has value to the people holding that view, refutes your claim.

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Re: Morality

Postby RickD » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:48 pm

Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
As I said before, right (in this context) only exist in the context of human thought; and human thoughts are subjective.

And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.


Meaningless to who? To you? Or the person holding that worldview. It must be meaningless to you (and perhaps those who share your worldview) because I can guarantee you it is not meaningless to the person who holds such a worldview. But then to them, your worldview is probably meaningless as well; so kinda makes things even.

Again Kenny,

I've repeated this numerous times, it's not meaningless to anyone, it's literally meaningless. Subjectivity takes the meaning of the word away.

C’mon bro! You can’t be serious. If it were literally meaningless, that would mean nobody values it. The fact that it has value to the people holding that view, refutes your claim.

I'm not talking about personal meaning. I'm talking about the literal meaning. THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD "RIGHT" LOSES ITS MEANING WITHIN A SUBJECTIVE MORALITY WORLDVIEW.
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

Kenny
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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:28 pm

RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:
Kenny wrote:
RickD wrote:And as I said before, under that worldview, your morality is as meaningless as your ice cream preference.


Meaningless to who? To you? Or the person holding that worldview. It must be meaningless to you (and perhaps those who share your worldview) because I can guarantee you it is not meaningless to the person who holds such a worldview. But then to them, your worldview is probably meaningless as well; so kinda makes things even.

Again Kenny,

I've repeated this numerous times, it's not meaningless to anyone, it's literally meaningless. Subjectivity takes the meaning of the word away.

C’mon bro! You can’t be serious. If it were literally meaningless, that would mean nobody values it. The fact that it has value to the people holding that view, refutes your claim.

I'm not talking about personal meaning. I'm talking about the literal meaning.

What's the difference?

K

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Re: Morality

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:33 am

The difference in morality being subjective as opposed to objective is clear:
Justification.
An act that is based on a subjective morality can be justified.
Mao believed himself/believed it justified to allow 10 million deaths.
Stalin believed it justified to kill millions of people because they were of a different social class or religious or whatever floated his boat.

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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:The difference in morality being subjective as opposed to objective is clear:
Justification.
An act that is based on a subjective morality can be justified.
Mao believed himself/believed it justified to allow 10 million deaths.
Stalin believed it justified to kill millions of people because they were of a different social class or religious or whatever floated his boat.

So you agreeing with me now?

Ken

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Re: Morality

Postby RickD » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:21 pm

Kenny wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:The difference in morality being subjective as opposed to objective is clear:
Justification.
An act that is based on a subjective morality can be justified.
Mao believed himself/believed it justified to allow 10 million deaths.
Stalin believed it justified to kill millions of people because they were of a different social class or religious or whatever floated his boat.

So you agreeing with me now?

Ken

:pound:
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


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Re: Morality

Postby PaulSacramento » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:11 am

Classic.

Kenny
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Re: Morality

Postby Kenny » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:34 am

You keep making the same mistake.

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Re: Morality

Postby RickD » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:34 am

Kenny wrote:You keep making the same mistake.


:pound:
1 Corinthians 1:9
9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Audie wrote:
"Christianity is not a joke, but it has some very poor representatives."


St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

Nils
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Re: Morality

Postby Nils » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:13 am

Kurieuo,

Finally answers to two of your old posts, this one and the following: viewtopic.php?p=230904#p230904



Kurieuo wrote:
Nils wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:For example, if we take China's one child policy (now two), then it is good and honourable for a woman who gives birth to a child beyond their "child quota" to dash their baby against rocks. Or, should a society need to increase in number, then it is good and honourable for women to dedicate themselves to birthing lots of babies. If these examples, which I came up with quickly off the top of my head, aren't satisfactory to demonstrate that what is good and honourable isn't necessarily that which is beneficial to society, then I'm sure many examples can be produced from history where Marxist beliefs once reigned.


"Honourable" is perhaps not the best word when describing morality. Honour cultures emphasises honour perhaps too much which causes murder of daughters that socialise with wrong men. (We have had a few cases in Sweden among immigrants from The Middle East).
But honour culture apparently serves some purpose in the original environment.

Regarding the Chines woman it is too much to ask a mother to kill her own child to implement a nation-wide birth control program. There are better methods. But the question is not only theoretical. Jared Diamond in his book Collaps (highly recommended if you are interested in anthropology) describes the society on the small isolated island Tikopia in south east Pacific (relatively close to you). On about five square kilometres a population of about 1200 persons have lived for 3000 years without any possibility to get support from outside. To them it was critical to limit the population size and one method among others was killing babies if there were too many. Can we blame them? Was that wrong?

Wikipedia says people migrated there around 10th-13th century (which is 700-1000 years ago). Further, Spanish made contact with them in 1600s. So, no I haven't read him, but I'm not sure how accurate this Jared Diamond guy is in setting up whatever examples he is trying to build his points upon. Just saying.

The correct year is probably 10th-13th century BC. Diamond and Wikipedia say that the Polynesians arrived at the Solomon Islands between 1200 and 800 BC and Tikopia is relatively close. By about 1000 AD the Polynesians had inhabited all Pacific including Easter Island far to the east. Diamond comments that the Spanish contact didn't influence the Tikopian culture much. Western culture was changing the Tikopian culture mainly after 1900.
I have nothing against contraceptions, but disagree with any rational that says it is alright to kill humans due to overpopulation. Overpopulation is to me not the issue to solve. Rather it is and always has been selfishness, greed, hate and the like. Given you live in Europe, and received a European education wherein UNESCO would have major influence, then I expect you'd largely disagree with my views on overpopulation -- since overpopulation is something they really love to push as being the cause of poverty, lack of food and the like. I disagree.

I have never heard of UNESCO influencing Swedish education and I don't understand your view that overpopulation could never be a problem. On Tikopia they had very limited resources and had no ways to get help from outside in case of famine and there were tropical cyclones regularly that destroyed the crops. On that small island it would have been disastrous in those cases to have a too big population. I don't understand how their society could have survived if there was not possible to kill new-borns if there were to many. The Tikopian society was a rather egalitarian society and there is no reason to believe that "selfishness, greed, hate" was the problem.
In response to your question, why can't we blame them? You'll need to explain, because the logic doesn't register why they needed to kill other humans. They are morally wrong if they did such.


The alternative methods were simple methods of contraception but that was apparently not enough. Another method was suicide that was practised by primarily young men that were prohibited to start a family. They went on expeditions using their small canoes with little hope to survive. Was that better than killing young babies? And what has logic to do with this? It's about practical reality and survival.

In the book Collapse Jared Diamond analysis the reason why about ten societies collapsed, from Greenland in the 13th century to Easter Island later on. He also describes three other societies that survived in spite of that they in some respects were similar to those that collapsed. Tikopia is one of these case and he writes ten pages in his book arguing that the critical factor for surviving mainly isolated in about three thousand years was that they managed keeping the population stable at about 1100 hundred persons. Killing some new-born babies was an necessary complementary method to succeed.

The important question is: If Diamond is correct about the situation in Tikopia, was it then right for them to practise killing babies as a last possibility or would it have been better to let the society collapse, perhaps been totally extinguished or from time to time having most inhabitants starving to death.

Nils

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Re: Morality

Postby Nils » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:28 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Nils wrote:
I have noticed that you think that C. S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity is of interest. I have now started to read the first chapters again. (The Doodle Youtubes are amusing but I prefer reading the book. It's easier to follow the arguments in a book).

One important point is in chapter three (page 19 in my edition) where he tries to prove that a position like mine is false:

"Now, of course, it is perfectly true that safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other. It is one of the most important truths in the world. But as an explanation of why we feel as we do about Right and Wrong it just misses the point. If we ask: "Why ought I to be unselfish?" and you reply "Because it is good for society," we may then ask, "Why should I care what's good for society except when it happens to pay me personally?" and then you will have to say, "Because you ought to be unselfish"—which simply brings us back to where we started."

But there are better answers then the final "Because you ought to be unselfish":
[1] - You will probably feel better if you are not selfish because evolution has made us such.
[2] - If you are acting selfish other persons may notice that and dislike you.
[3] - In cases where you need help other persons may refuse helping you or your near.
[4]- You may miss the opportunity to be able to say that you contributed to a better society, which in the long run is very nice to you.


I've numbered your points above.

[1] You will feel better not being selfish because evolution has made us such? To be an adequate answer requires there being some hidden accepted premise I think that could make this a satisfactory answer. That is, saying "evolution has made us such" suggests that there is an end goal trying to be acheived by evolutionary processes. There is a telos that evolution is directing all life towards, which results in intelligent, moral beings like us.

Saying "evolution as made us such" doesn't require any end goal. The standard evolution theory is completely non-teleological. However, it is beneficial to individuals, e.g. dogs, that live in groups to have inherited behaviour (or moral laws) that make a dog share food with others in the group, don't kill the puppies in the group, neither her own nor others. So is there a mutation that favours such behaviour it is beneficial to the group and is inherited by the offspring (This is an overview, the reality it is much more complex).


This then raises the question as to whether the reason the evolutionary process made us such is due to some reason higher than the natural evolutionary processes themselves. Are evolutionary process, for example, obeying a higher purpose established in the natural laws? Or, did we just happen to strike it lucky that we were "blessed" (or "cursed" depending upon how you look on it) with a moral conscience that can make us feel guilty when we are selfish and try to just look after #1 in life?

The standard evolutionary processes don't use "higher" reasons or pure luck. It is difficult to describe it shortly but it is a combination of chance and reality. The latter is the fact that it often beneficial for organism to live in groups and if they do they (we) has to have rules of behaving to each other (morality). If, by chance, a mutation occurs that increases co-operation then this benefits the group and the change will be stable.
If the process all happened by chance and we are the result of such, then it also seems out of place that evolution, which is kind of inherently selfish with respect to survival of genes and particular species, suddenly "decides" to impose something called morality upon us which makes us feel responsible to others, even to the point of giving up our very lives. There seems a better fit with other explanations, such as a super-intelligent being who has particular values and desires the creatures He created to choose to be good and loving. This super being installs certain "bumper bars" if you will, to encourage us to live according to its own values. And so natural laws are setup accordingly, and we have a moral conscience pre-programmed into us such that we will feel guilt, a sense of responsibility to others, understand concepts like fairness and justice and the like. This seems like a more fulfilling and satisfactory explanation to me.

I am uncertain if you understand how evolution is working (I am only talking about the standard theory). It certainly isn't doing anything "suddenly". It's is an extremely slow process over millions and millions year with gradual changes. The first step of morality is that you shall not eat your kids, and then it gets more and more advanced. There is nothing special with giving up your very lives to support your genes. Even some species of spiders do that when male spiders are eaten by the female spiders directly after mating.

I can understand you feel that it is nicer having a super-intelligent being that regulates everything to the best. But to me that is not an argument because I have other reasons not to believe in a super-intelligent being. Also if there would be an intelligent being controlling evolution it doesn't seem to me that he is super-intelligent. There are lots of examples. Just one: Why did he leave to us to eradicate smallpox.
The fact of the matter is also that we can become desensatised to what is right and wrong. Should we not shake it if such simply happened due to chance? We could equally live in a harsh cruel dog-eat-dog world where the survival of the fittest truly reigns supreme. You know, I think I'd feel good if I sold my house and gave away everything I own, but then such would be stupid because it'd mean I'm now out on the street and unable to support myself. It seems to me not being selfish isn't to be found in unintellent natural processes, but is rather something which transcends natural order. And then, if I'm only unselfish to the point that it doesn't pain me, then such seems kind of superficial really.

But my account is mainly not chance dependent. Living in a group or a society is good to humans. Morality is needed when you live in a group. That's all that is needed.
In any case, I see this answer of yours fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally." If you are doing something "unselfish" because you wish to feel good, then you are ultimately doing it for selfish reasons.

Yes, but in that sense any action for any motive is selfish. Is it possible to do anything if you don't think that you feel better in some way if you do it, for instance getting appraisal from your conscience? If you believe in God it will be the same. You may do the good and right for some reason for instance that you don't want to go to hell or that you love God and feel good when you obey his rules. In the end you are ultimately doing it for selfish reasons.
[2] If I'm acting selfish others may not like me. Seriously? I know many selfish people, in fact, it seems to be the most selfish people who rise to be very wealthy and gain a whole lot of fame. Nonetheless, again I think this fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally."

If you have two apples, to whom do you prefer to give the extra apple? To the one that usually is selfish or to the one that is usually generous? Re the last question, see above.


[3] Again, because we know so many people have a moral conscience, we can actually prey upon such. There is still help available to me if I'm a complete **** to others, I just need to claim depression or put on some tears perhaps, look pathetic so others take pity. We can manipulate other people and very selfish people are often experts at this. There are ways people can connive to get what they want from others. Nonetheless, the reason you present once again fulfills, "except when it happens to pay me personally."

Well, it is sometimes smart to be a "free rider" but few persons are that smart that they manage in the long run. And it may be dangerous in critical situations where resources are scare and you really need help.

[4] I might be able to contribute to a better society if I'm selfish and able to gain much wealth and power. In addition, I can at the same time enjoy life more fully if I'm living life my way, have a mansion, having boat parties on a million dollar boat and the like? People would love me for such things, like they love others who do such. You seem to think being selfish and bettering society is exclusive to each other, but I don't see how. Nonetheless, on this last point of yours it still fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally."

I am not saying that it in some cases isn't possible to both have a pleasant life and contribute to society. But in most cases it is difficult to achieve, you may have to sacrifice something but of course, you will get something in reward, personally, otherwise you would never do it.

Generally about my four examples. They could be explained and elaborated in more detail and they are not always valid, not for all persons and not in all circumstances. But I think they are generally true.

Nils wrote:So there is no circularity.

Indeed, to the contrary, it still seems there is circularity.

Again, Lewis argument was:
."If we ask: "Why ought I to be unselfish?" and you reply "Because it is good for society," we may then ask, "Why should I care what's good for society except when it happens to pay me personally?" and then you will have to say, "Because you ought to be unselfish"—which simply brings us back to where we started."

Other ways to answer is:
- If you care about yourself and your family in the long run it is difficult to behave so that you will have a good society for you and your family in the future if you only looks at what pays you in the short run.
- If everybody cared of the society only when it happens to them in the short run, then the society would break down. Therefore the society has to enforce morality that condemn such behaviour and we are back to my first four arguments.

So, the answer is "Because it is best to you in the long run". There is no circularity.

Given all your reasons for being "unselfish" are ultimately built upon there being some sort of personal gain ("selfish" reason), then they fail to be reasons for why we should be unselfish. Indeed it seems CS Lewis stands correct, there is no reason for us to be unselfish than that we ought to be unselfish. But why ought we? The reason for such seems to supercede our physical lives.

I here refer you to true unselfishness found in Jesus' own teachings, such levels go beyond how many understand the golden rule, which can be summed up as, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Note, the golden rule actually seems built upon selfishness IF the reason you are doing to others is because you want something in return.

None of your examples could explain TRUE unselfishness, the type found in Christ's teachings which involves loving others to the point of sacrificing your life for them, or loving your enemies even if they hate and will continue persecuting you:

  • "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13)"
  • "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:43-48)


I don't buy your distinction between TRUE and other unselfishness. See above. (But Kant also tried to make a distinction)


I sometimes wonder why people are so repulsed by Christ's teachings. Maybe it's more a matter of people liking Christ, but not liking Christians they know or liking how many Christian appear to be dumb and stupid. BUT, I wonder how much of that is really just unjustified stigmas and labels, particularly since much of modern thought and science is built upon the shoulders of bright individuals who were Christian.


I can't answer for "people". I personally is not "repulsed" by Christ's teaching but I am not impressed. And there is no Christian I don't like even if I don't know but a few. And finally I don't think it is important if science and modern thinking is done by Christians or not. Good science is good independent of the scientists general views.

I still have to comment:
viewtopic.php?p=230886#p230886
It will take some time reading more about Structuralism

Nils


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