Instigator / Pro
4
1498
rating
2
debates
50.0%
won
Topic

In a general way, people do what they do because they don't know to do differently.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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3
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2
Spelling and grammar points
1
1
Conduct points
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1

With 1 vote and 3 points ahead, the winner is ...

DrChristineFord
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Category
People
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
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Voting period
One month
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Contender / Con
7
1532
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Description
~ 1,502 / 5,000

I'm trying to prove that the behave from a person depends on his learning through life.

And, the response from a person depends on their growing context, admitting that one person never stops growing in knowledge.

A response from a person is what a person does in a given situation.

If somebody does something, in their way, it doesn't mean that is right or wrong.
But, it means, that person doesn't know how to do "better".

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When I say Do, is not what they do for life.
Do mean an answer to something, or an event starter.

Doing the best that he can, imply also the characteristic of the situation.
This means: if he is stressed, and if he not used to the stress, his answer would also be different than if he is calm or not. But, it also depends if he is used to the stress or not.

Doing not the best way is also doing the best way.
If It is a person that doesn't care about doing the things in the best way.
Because is the way that he learned how to do things.
So, it's his own way, about doing things in his best way.

So, I'm trying to prove:
In all situations, people would do what they thought would be the best.
According to what do the best means (for each person).

When I say a "better" way, It means the way that the person would be more satisfied with.

A way that people do, what they do because they don't know to do differently.

Round 1
Pro
In a general way, people do what they do because they don't know to do differently.

Let's start with a question.

Why did you do that way?
There are many possible answers.

Let's reduce the answer, to something valid. Something scientific.

In a factory, there's only "one" way to do things, the profit one.
If they know how to do "better" they would change. 
("Better", means more profit, in this case).
("One", in this case, means: with some amount of money established, you pay the cost of something done that way).

In people, the way that they would
do,
would be similar,
but changing the profit to satisfaction.

I truly believe if people get used to a more satisfying way they would change.

Why do you watch TV?
Why do you prefer Computers to watch TV,or the other way around?
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So, 
In all situations, people would do what they thought would be the best. 
According to what do the best means (for each person).
When I say a "better" way, It means the way that the person would be more satisfied with.
A way that people do, what they do, because they don't know how to do differently.




Con
Pro's theory is unfalsifiable

Pro is making a claim that is impossible to prove.  She is claiming that people always act to maximize their satisfaction.  If they act against their own interests (in terms of satisfaction) it can only be through ignorance.  If they knew better, they would act better.

It is easy to recall examples of people acting in ways contrary to their own satisfaction.  They give in to addictions, cravings.  They procrastinate.  They are lazy - they don't exercise even though being fit would make them happier.  I say they, but I mean we, of course.  We all do it. 

There are examples the other way - people behaving against their own self interest to help others, the rescue people, to care for people.  People can even hurt, exhaust or impoverish themselves for others.  We've all seen that too.

I hope you will excuse me anticipating Pro's argument here.  I do so because this argument already exists in utility theory and the theory of intrinsic motivation.  That is, people may not realise or express their true motivation.  You may say that it doesn't make you feel good to give up to your job to care for your sick mother, but at some level it must, otherwise why would you do it?  Similarly, at some level you must prefer to watch TV now rather than go for a run.  Otherwise, you wouldn't make that choice.

This theory is unfalsifiable.  Worse, it assumes two things from one piece of information.  The only information we have is the action.  From it, we assume both the action and the motivation.

No, to prove Pro's theory we need two pieces of information.  We need the action and something else.  That could be the expressed feeling of satisfaction, but as we know, people do not act to maximise this in all cases.  Or it could be something else.

Why do we need a theory of satisfaction/motivation?

Humans evolved from simpler animals.  These animals did not have goals and satisfactions, they simply responded to their environment.  Action came first.  It was only many thousands of years later that there were animals with central nervous systems capable of experiencing something like satisfaction.  Therefore, satisfaction is not necessary to explain action.

Nevertheless, humans are obsessed with trying to explain action in these terms.  Even evolutionary scientists talk about the "goal" of particular actions that animals or plants make, or of evolution itself.  Often they will make a friendly comment in the introduction explaining that of course evolution doesn't have a purpose, and we can't assume purpose in relation to plants or animals.  However, once this has been stated, they go on to talk as if you can assume purpose.  They use that language.

What would happen if we didn't make that assumption though?  What if people didn't watch TV to maximize satisfaction, but rather the action just existed without purpose?

Coordination

In order for humans to coordinate, they need to talk in terms of purpose, especially shared purpose.  As Pro described, in the work place, it is a straightforward matter to decide whether an action furthers the organisation's goals or not.  However, not all human action is coordinated.  When an individual is not at work, or not working in a voluntary group, they do not have formal goals any more.

Summary
There is no reason to suppose that humans always act to maximise their own satisfaction.
Round 2
Pro
Let's go to the other way around.

There's no reason at all to do things.
The reason is given by Humans.


A drug addict doesn't take drugs to his own pleasure, he just does because it's a habit, It doesn't give him any kind of pleasure.
We procrastinate because we know how to do things, we just don't want to do it right away.
We prefer being fat because we don't have the simple pleasure of doing anything.

Helping others doesn't give prizes or self-satisfaction.

So, we animals, plants or humans, run in time to evolution.
Without any purpose or objective except evolution itself.

Anyway, to express the evolution we have to see how evolution comes.
It comes from the ones that do better.

A tree that finds a better solar exposition, or a symbiosis find in nature, this maybe could express what would be better to do.
Even though, it doesn't make it clear, with a word, that the effort that they make was the better way. 
It's with the "next" generation that we can find if it was the best way or not.

So there's no motive.

But the ones that "survive" are the better ones.

Why they don't do differently?
Maybe when they do is when the evolution occurs. Depending if it was the right way or not.

Coordination is just a further step in evolution.
I gave the fabric example because maybe would be more clear.

Let's not use a word the better way. Let's use evolution.

And we arrive at my previous question:
Why they don't do differently?
Maybe when they do is when the evolution occurs. Depending if it was the right way or not.

If these are what it needs, we arrive at my first sentence: In a general way, people do what they do because they don't know to do differently.

And, there is no "clear" reason to suppose that humans always act to maximize their own "satisfaction".
But if they don't the next generation would be probably extinct. 
And if that so people that act without reason probably are already extinct.


Con
There are lots of women who choose to remain childless and who have abortions even.  In order to maximize her evolutionary fitness, any woman in a wealthy family would try to have as many children as possible, given that the family could support all of them.  Women are physically capable of having at least 12 children in a lifetime, and yet very few wealthy women choose this path.  This is not because they are uneducated in the basics of genetics and evolution.  They are aware that not having children, or having few children, will limit their evolutionary fitness.  They simply don't care.  

Alternately, consider the case of a childless couple in their 60s or 70s.  It is too late for this couple to reproduce and there is absolutely nothing they can do to enhance their evolutionary fitness.  Yet, they continue to act.  They continue to make decisions.  

Pro has shifted the argument from being about satisfaction to being about evolutionary fitness, thereby weakening her position.  Humans often act against their own evolutionary fitness, even when fully aware of the alternatives.  Further, many actions that humans take have demonstrably no effect on their evolutionary fitness, and yet those actions continue to be made.
Round 3
Pro
Well,
There's some truth about women having children or not. 
There are some people worried about that.

Somehow is something that humans have to deal with the modern times.
Somehow is "fairer" like this (to ourselves) but it's a risk in numbers (to the humanity).

But, none of this says that we don't do (something) because is not the best we can do.
People sometimes don't have children because of economic fear, or a choice learned from their parents.
There are many fears in people that make them freeze.

You know,
I guess this is being seen all wrong.
Make the best you can, doesn't make us all with large glasses and with a book of instructions to all the situations.
But maybe the way around, Humans with flaws. 
Not much time ago, we were without sewers, making our needs in a hole.
Making the best we can mean, that somehow having a W.C., with pipe water, where we can not only relief ourselves, but also, wash our hands, gives the best solution for our needs than in the past.
But we are not yet all there yet.
That's what's worries other people with the natality.
Not exactly that, but some people that are not so developed (instructed) are bigger in numbers because they yet see the natality a blessing.
In Man evolution's, there were some back steps. (Greek, Romans, etc...)

But even if the evolution "fails"on a larger scale, it doesn't mean that we don't continue to do the best we can.
Because in the ones that prevail, the ones that would do better, would be the more successful ones.  

It's not an urge about explain things.
Evolution exists, with that word or not.
We might want to ignore it, but it's there, day after day.
As the earth is not the center of the universe.

Trying to ignore evolution, is almost so wrong as doesn't see.

But none of this makes us doing the best we can. We do the best we can because is the way that we manage to live, (somehow survive).
It's not because we could do better. It's because is what we can do.
It's not because we are smarter, but because we don't want to be dumb.



   



Con
If "best" means evolutionary fitness, Pro's argument fails.  If it means a subjective sense of satisfaction, it fails.  It can only succeed if its meaning stays elusive, and at that point the argument is circular. 

If "best" is to have a meaning that is linked to evidence, then there also needs to be a "worst".  What would a person doing their worst be like?  Someone who fails to reproduce?  A lazy person?  Someone who lives an unhealthy life?  Someone who is careless and dies in an accident?  Someone who murders other people?  All those types of people exist.

How can we resolve this.