The Instigator
MrTommyBeer
Con (against)
Losing
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The Contender
MIguelVal
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points

Can the concept of hope be perceived on an entirely rational basis?

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
MIguelVal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/17/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 492 times Debate No: 70232
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)

 

MrTommyBeer

Con

Do you think we can think of hope in an entirely rational way? Focusing on religion in particular as a source of hope (for the faithful individual), I'm challenging the atheist, or for any other non-believer. Do you believe that one can logically reason him/herself into believing there is hope for the future? I'd love to read anything you have that you think may be relevant.

Stephen Fry quoted: "You can't reason yourself back into cheerfulness any more than you can reason yourself into an extra six inches in height". This makes me think that hope is intrinsic and forms of hope can only be obtained from outside the boundaries of reason and logic, which I'm sure religious people would agree with.

As an example, a man contemplating suicide requires hope in order to decide not to do it. With positive hope, he can live optimistically for the future. Can the hope, required for the man to live, be attained in a non-spiritual way? Could he logically talk himself out of it?

I can't imagine a thought process which would work. If I were that man, and I only had logic to convince myself not to commit suicide, I would need logical reassurance that the future would be better than the present, or that it will show signs of improvement. But of course there is no way of determining the future for the pessimist, and on context alone I can assume that this man, being suicidal, is a pessimist. Growing up with Catholic influences, am I missing something important?

Let me know anything you feel is relevant; I'd love to see scholars, too :-)
MIguelVal

Pro

Well, first of all, if we are going to base this debate on hope, we need to understand what that means.

By definition: Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large.

After knowing what it is, its important to know from where does it come from... From my point of view, hope it's an emotion. If we think about anger or happiness, these are feelings, we can be happy without knowing why. But if we talk about hope, we can't be hopeful without thinking about it and knowing about it. It's like a connection between our "heart" and our "mind".

So for that reason, because it's a thing from the mind, whether is hoping for a better life our hoping to live longer, etc, its a process that it's running on our brains conscious part, making it rational.

Imagine if a friend of yours was down. Is life wasn't going so well, is girlfriend dumped him, everything was going off track. And he call you for help, and you came into is house, you sat up next to him, and said: Well, I know things are hard for you man, not everything happened as you planned, but you know what? Why are you like that? What can you do about that? Nothing! Now you have 2 options: Spend months sad, lonely, thinking about the past that may never come back, our you go on with your life, knowing that you couldn't do nothing about it, and that you have the power and the right to be happy. Look at you! You are good looking, successful, funny, among other things, you just got to hope for the future!

"In this case, we see 2 things: maybe there are cases where when we are more conscious of our surrounding, we can change our mood, and the way we feel about stuff, and he could find out that for himself. For that reason Stephen Fry was wrong in y opinion . The other thing is that, by knowing is pros as a person, that made him feel better and feel hope."

Every time we talk about hope, even if we are religious, and we hope for god to help us, we always use our mind, our rational basis. Whether is to state the reasons why god should help us, or think why we need help, it can always be perceived as a process of the mind, no matter on what you put your hope on, it can the a god, a person, an object, doesn't matter.

This example and its conclusions can apply to the man that wants to commit suicide, and I can't see a situation were this doesn't applies.

Because of that, my ideia is that hope is always perceived on the rational basis of human kind.
Debate Round No. 1
MrTommyBeer

Con

Your argument appeals to hope as an intrinsic concept, with the involvement of religion, which fails to address the thesis of it being 'entirely' rational.

You describe hope as something positive we can anticipate and even foresee. In your example, the friend supporting the suicidal man offers advice with reference to hope, but takes a religious approach. Saying "everything will be fine" or "the future will be better" - these are not rational at all. The future is obviously unpredictable; there is no evidence to suggest that the future will in fact "be better". The suicidal man could continue to have a terrible life. Rationally thinking, the suicidal man and his friend would have to consider the probability of the future being better. I think this is because a large part of a religious belief relies on faith (a belief in something or someone without logical proof of its existence). In turn, problems faced by the believer are 'solved' by asking for faith that the problems won't exist in future. Applying this to the suicidal man, he is asked to have faith that the future will be an improvement on his current state. I'm sure even most Christians would agree that faith is never rational as it asks the individual to believe in something without proof of its existence.

Hard Materialists don't accept that any seemingly intrinsic characteristic are anything more than physical. Any ideas of emotions, like the aforementioned hope, are nothing more than brain activity. Hard Materialist Gilbert Ryle focused his ideas on the idea of a soul, but are transferable. Ryle argues that a separate and distinct substance like a soul cannot exist. For one, what space does the soul occupy; it cannot simply exist without occupying an area within the body. For the idea of hope, how can this exist without us being able to identify it. There is no part of the brain which we can call 'the hope part'. Hope is seen as non-cognitive, whereas rational thinking and thought processes are linked to cognitive parts of brain, thus it's much more credible to assume that hope is merely brain activity rather than something of instructive value.
MIguelVal

Pro

This question can start to became a little bit ambiguous. If we look at the definition of rational:

-based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings;
-having the ability to reason or think about things clearly.

Take this simple example:
At some point of your life, you will be faced with the need to make a choice. Consider that you have to choose between 2 options. You don't know for sure which one to choose, because they are very similar, or that's what you think, but in fact they are different and they set your life in different directions. You have to mentally consider the best option, and that's what you are going to do, until you reflected enough to say that you want X. By definition, you are being rational, because you used you reason to choose the best one, and putted aside your feelings. You can't predict the future... You can't even say that that you made the right choice... But that doesn't mean that you weren't being rational.

So, you can be rational without knowing the future, without using faith. Of course in religion, it's commonly used a faith-type approach. But responding your question, it's clear that it's possible to see hope as an rational thing.

Ok, you stated that the concept of hope does not take a "place" in our brain, therefore it's not cognitive, not rational.
You are talking to me, arguing, making up all the possible ideas to prove your state. By doing that, you are using your brain, it's neurons, every connection between them, so you can achieve your goal. You may use different places of the brain for the job, so you can't tell for sure were it's the brain part of thinking, rather than it is the left side that is probably doing the job, the logical side. And the idea of thought its abstract, like hope. So with that, tell me: if hope doesn't come from brain activity, were does it comes from?
Debate Round No. 2
MrTommyBeer

Con

MrTommyBeer forfeited this round.
MIguelVal

Pro

Round passed...
Debate Round No. 3
MrTommyBeer

Con

MrTommyBeer forfeited this round.
MIguelVal

Pro

Round passed...
Debate Round No. 4
MrTommyBeer

Con

MrTommyBeer forfeited this round.
MIguelVal

Pro

Round passed...
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
MrTommyBeerMIguelValTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit