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  #1  
Old May 12, '10, 1:05 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Agape and its significance

First, I would like to make a strong suggestion. Please don't use the word "love" when you refer to God, use the word "agape" (divine love). The English language, beautiful as it is, does not differentiate between the different types of "love", and this leads to confusion. It is true, that one of the meanings of "love" is the "divine love", but this usage is by far not the most prominent one. So, borrowing the Greek word of "agape" we can cut down of the possibility of misunderstandings.

Well, this was just a suggestion, the meat is about to follow. Agape means selfless, benevolent, possibly even sacrifical behavior on behalf of others. The definition also includes that this behavior is volitionally driven, usually phrased as "love is an act of will".

Now the question is this: "why is the volitional part considered to be important?". Let's create a new word: "epaga", which means selfless, benevolent behavior, which is NOT volitionally driven, say: "programmed". For the external observer and the recipient of the action it is indistinguishable from "agape". What does the "volitional" part add to it? In my opinion, nothing. Agape and epaga are the same in their effects. No one should care if the benefactor chose to be as he is or was programmed to be as it is. Do you agree, or not? (And if yes, then why not? )
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  #2  
Old May 12, '10, 1:37 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

Quote:
Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
Now the question is this: "why is the volitional part considered to be important?". Let's create a new word: "epaga", which means selfless, benevolent behavior, which is NOT volitionally driven, say: "programmed". For the external observer and the recipient of the action it is indistinguishable from "agape". What does the "volitional" part add to it? In my opinion, nothing. Agape and epaga are the same in their effects. No one should care if the benefactor chose to be as he is or was programmed to be as it is. Do you agree, or not? (And if yes, then why not? )
There are clear differences between human and programmed behaviour:

1. We can choose to be reasonable or unreasonable.
2. We can choose to behave unpredictably.
3. We can understand and explain why we choose to behave as we do.
4. Unlike animals we can force ourselves to act against all our instincts.
5. Unlike machines we can reprogramme ourselves.
6. We are responsible for our thoughts and actions.
7. We can distinguish programmed behaviour from that which is not programmed.
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  #3  
Old May 12, '10, 1:49 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
There are clear differences between human and programmed behaviour:

1. We can choose to be reasonable or unreasonable.
2. We can choose to behave unpredictably.
3. We can understand and explain why we choose to behave as we do.
4. Unlike animals we can force ourselves to act against all our instincts.
5. Unlike machines we can reprogramme ourselves.
6. We are responsible for our thoughts and actions.
So, what is the significance? That was the question. Why does it matter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
7. We can distinguish programmed behaviour from that which is not programmed.
Not necessarily. A perfect emulation (epaga) is indistinguishable from the "real McCoy" (agape). Only the internal workings differ. And even if we could tell them apart, why does it matter?
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  #4  
Old May 12, '10, 2:26 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
[font="Verdana"]So, what is the significance? That was the question. Why does it matter?
It matters because we cause our behaviour and are responsible for what we choose.
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  #5  
Old May 12, '10, 2:35 am
Thing Thing is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

Quote:
Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
First, I would like to make a strong suggestion. Please don't use the word "love" when you refer to God, use the word "agape" (divine love). The English language, beautiful as it is, does not differentiate between the different types of "love", and this leads to confusion. It is true, that one of the meanings of "love" is the "divine love", but this usage is by far not the most prominent one. So, borrowing the Greek word of "agape" we can cut down of the possibility of misunderstandings.

Well, this was just a suggestion, the meat is about to follow. Agape means selfless, benevolent, possibly even sacrifical behavior on behalf of others. The definition also includes that this behavior is volitionally driven, usually phrased as "love is an act of will".

Now the question is this: "why is the volitional part considered to be important?". Let's create a new word: "epaga", which means selfless, benevolent behavior, which is NOT volitionally driven, say: "programmed". For the external observer and the recipient of the action it is indistinguishable from "agape". What does the "volitional" part add to it? In my opinion, nothing. Agape and epaga are the same in their effects. No one should care if the benefactor chose to be as he is or was programmed to be as it is. Do you agree, or not? (And if yes, then why not? )
If you were programmed to be selfless then you Daneel would not be selfless, you would be nothing and it would be your programmer who is selfless towards himself making you just an unconscious appendage of himself. To be selfless yourself you have to be yourself and to be yourself you have to be free which allows you to be selfless if you choose by your own volition to be so.
No greater love can any man have than to lay down his life for his friends; so says the programmer to himself while he presses the button to free the man to act 'by his own volition'.
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  #6  
Old May 12, '10, 3:01 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by Thing View Post
If you were programmed to be selfless then you Daneel would not be selfless, you would be nothing and it would be your programmer who is selfless towards himself making you just an unconscious appendage of himself. To be selfless yourself you have to be yourself and to be yourself you have to be free which allows you to be selfless if you choose by your own volition to be so.
No greater love can any man have than to lay down his life for his friends; so says the programmer to himself while he presses the button to free the man to act 'by his own volition'.
Your analysis is off the mark. The being, whose behavior toward others is programmed to be beneficial still can have the recognition of "self". "It" may not care about maintaining that "self" - therefore it would be "selfless" in this respect.

But, be as it may, it still does not answer the question. The two beings, "A" and "B" exhibit the same behavior, "A" acts from "agape", whild "B" acts from "epaga". To whom does the difference matter? And why?
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  #7  
Old May 12, '10, 3:03 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
It matters because we cause our behaviour and are responsible for what we choose.
And what is the significance of that? A good deed is a good deed, reagrdless of the motivation. If someone gives money to a beggar out of compassion, and someone else gives money just to feel good about himself, the beggar would not know the difference, and even if he would, he would not care.
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  #8  
Old May 12, '10, 3:28 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

Quote:
Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post

It matters because we cause our behaviour and are responsible for what we choose.
And what is the significance of that? A good deed is a good deed, regardless of the motivation. If someone gives money to a beggar out of compassion, and someone else gives money just to feel good about himself, the beggar would not know the difference, and even if he would, he would not care.
If you were a beggar and some one gave you money as if you were a piece of dirt you would throw it back at him if you had any pride... A good deed is not a good deed, regardless of the motivation. An apparently generous deed can be a foul deed...
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  #9  
Old May 12, '10, 3:51 am
Thing Thing is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
Your analysis is off the mark. The being, whose behavior toward others is programmed to be beneficial still can have the recognition of "self". "It" may not care about maintaining that "self" - therefore it would be "selfless" in this respect.

But, be as it may, it still does not answer the question. The two beings, "A" and "B" exhibit the same behavior, "A" acts from "agape", whild "B" acts from "epaga". To whom does the difference matter? And why?
You are only viewing this from the 'beings' pre-programmed perspective. There are other viewpoints to consider.
It, the being, would have to be programmed not to care about self, or to have the choice of selfish or selfless rendered non-existant. For the Ideal Prototype beings in the very Beginning [before errors or viruses]; they would have a perfect sense of self and the choice of what to do for the love of the programmer. For beings malfunctioning and crashing with diverse programming viruses a workaround which forces selflessness is one solution but at the expense of the freedom of the being.

It obviously matters to the 'programmer' or, the Creator, of free beings.
Why precisely and exactly He wishes free beings is His own business, probably.
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  #10  
Old May 12, '10, 4:10 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
If you were a beggar and some one gave you money as if you were a piece of dirt you would throw it back at him if you had any pride...
Well, when one has to choose between starvation and "pride" (which is sinful, ), pride goes out the window. But this is not the point. The beggar has no access to the internal workings of the giver, he only sees a donation. Why should he care about the causes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
A good deed is not a good deed, regardless of the motivation. An apparently generous deed can be a foul deed...
That would be an interesting theory to prove. You say that an "ontologically good action" is only "really good", if it is also "morally good". I am interested in your proof of such a concept.
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  #11  
Old May 12, '10, 4:17 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by Thing View Post
You are only viewing this from the 'beings' pre-programmed perspective. There are other viewpoints to consider.
It, the being, would have to be programmed not to care about self, or to have the choice of selfish or selfless rendered non-existant. For the Ideal Prototype beings in the very Beginning [before errors or viruses]; they would have a perfect sense of self and the choice of what to do for the love of the programmer.
Please leave "love" out of this. We are not concerned with "generic" love, we are concerned with "agape" or epaga".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing View Post
It obviously matters to the 'programmer' or, the Creator, of free beings.
Why precisely and exactly He wishes free beings is His own business, probably.
So we are not privy to that information. Can we agree that apart from that missing information, apart from the creator's perspective - it simply does not matter if the beings in question act out of "agape" or "epaga"? The recipient of the beneficial action cannot tell the difference, and should not care. Now, if you think that he should care, tell me why?
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  #12  
Old May 12, '10, 5:27 am
Slowlearner Slowlearner is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
The English language, beautiful as it is, does not differentiate between the different types of "love", and this leads to confusion. It is true, that one of the meanings of "love" is the "divine love", but this usage is by far not the most prominent one.
I had been taught the same thing. It is untrue. I learned this recently reading my Douay-Rheims. 1 John 4:16: "God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." Charity has same meaning as agape.

These days the primary meaning of charity to most people is generosity to those in need. But Webster's still lists "benevolent goodwill or love of humanity" as first definition.

First assignment before this class discusses agape: Caritas in Veritate
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  #13  
Old May 12, '10, 7:18 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by Slowlearner View Post
I had been taught the same thing. It is untrue. I learned this recently reading my Douay-Rheims. 1 John 4:16: "God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." Charity has same meaning as agape.

These days the primary meaning of charity to most people is generosity to those in need. But Webster's still lists "benevolent goodwill or love of humanity" as first definition.

First assignment before this class discusses agape: Caritas in Veritate
I don't see your point. According to Online Webster:
Charity
Noun
1. A foundation created to promote the public good (not for assistance to any particular individuals).
2. A kindly and lenient attitude toward people.
3. An activity or gift that benefits the public at large.
4. Pinnate-leaved European perennial having bright blue or white flowers.
5. An institution set up to provide help to the needy.

Source: WordNet 1.7.1 Copyright 2001 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
"Charity" is a name that signifies or is derived from: "the charity", "a generous love", "dear", "beloved".

Etymology: Charity \Char"i*ty\, noun; plural Charities. [French charit['e] from Latin caritas dearness, high regard, love, from carus dear, costly, loved; akin to Sanskrit kam to wish, love, compare to Irish cara a friend, Welsh caru to love. Compare to Caress.].
Specifically concerning the Bible:
Charity (1 Cor. 13), the rendering in the Authorized Version of the word which properly denotes love, and is frequently so rendered (always so in the Revised Version). It is spoken of as the greatest of the three Christian graces (1 Cor. 12:31-13:13). Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary.
None of these definitions have anything to do with "emotional type of love". They all refer to a spcific type of love, "divine love", which is perfectly expressed by the word "agape". Let's not multiply the synonyms. There is no ambiguity in the definition. The question at hand: "what is the added value of the volition in this concept?".
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  #14  
Old May 12, '10, 7:30 am
Thing Thing is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by R Daneel View Post
[font="Verdana"]

So we are not privy to that information. Can we agree that apart from that missing information, apart from the creator's perspective - it simply does not matter if the beings in question act out of "agape" or "epaga"? The recipient of the beneficial action cannot tell the difference, and should not care. Now, if you think that he should care, tell me why?
No, I don't think we can agree yet. If you leave out the programmer you leave out the programmers meaning in his program and as such you no longer know if your beings action satisfies the programmers intention in the program. Since the correct response, from the programmers perspective is, action motivated by the divine love of the programmer and the programmers divine love of the being; and the incorrect response is an action by the being not motivated by the divine love of the programmer and the programmers divine love of the being.
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  #15  
Old May 12, '10, 8:24 am
R Daneel R Daneel is offline
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Default Re: Agape and its significance

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Originally Posted by Thing View Post
No, I don't think we can agree yet. If you leave out the programmer you leave out the programmers meaning in his program and as such you no longer know if your beings action satisfies the programmers intention in the program.
Actually I left out the programmer's part intentionally, for the time being. The beings, who behave in a certain manner, do not even know if their behavior is "programmed" or "natural". I am concerned with the programmer's part, too, but only after the interactions of the beings is evaluated. According to you, the programmer's intentions are hidden from us. Therefore we can only speculate about them. But the behavior of the beings is known. We can evaluate their interactions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing View Post
Since the correct response, from the programmers perspective is, action motivated by the divine love of the programmer and the programmers divine love of the being; and the incorrect response is an action by the being not motivated by the divine love of the programmer and the programmers divine love of the being.
Furthermore, the alleged "agape" on the programmers' part is just an assumption. There is no need for the programmer to have any "feeling" toward the creation, he might be totally indifferent, or driven out of curiosity. This programmer is not related to the Christian God in any particular respect. He is merely the creator of those beings who are exactly like us, with one exception: "they have no moral chioces, but they are programmed to act in an objectively good manner". They have ample freedom to make amoral choices.
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