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 Post subject: Apathy
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Any thoughts on what causes apathy and how to respond to it?

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:03 pm 
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I don't have any thoughts and apathy. And I don't care how you respond to it.

(you knew that was coming, so I got it out of the way)

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:09 am 
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the short version

i don't know and i don't care

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:17 am 
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Apathy is a result of not seeing a good to be attained that is worth the effort to attain it.

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:11 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Apathy is a result of not seeing a good to be attained that is worth the effort to attain it.

That's the part that confuses me. Someone suffering apathy can verbalize the benefits of any given action, but they fail to see how the effort is "worth it." What's going on there?

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:17 am 
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Is there any difference between apathy specifically and any other kind of failing on the part of an akratic person?

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:28 am 
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gherkin wrote:
Is there any difference between apathy specifically and any other kind of failing on the part of an akratic person?

You tell me. The cause of akrasia is worth discussing in and of itself. I'm not sure (one way or the other) that being of the opinion or belief that A is better than B leads me necessarily to desire A over B. If not, then it wouldn't seem that apathy is a symptom or type of akrasia; rather, it may prove to be a cause. Because if we do what we desire, and if what we desire is not necessarily connected to what we believe (as apathetic people might attest), then we might believe A is better than B, but not desiring A or B particularly, we may do B, which is against our better judgment, but it may be as simple a matter of not seeing that it is worth it.

That raises the question, "Then does the apathetic person not believe that B is not worth it?" So perhaps we can't get away from beliefs here. But I don't find that particular question all that helpful--at least not at this stage of my thinking. I can't see how if you can fully recognize the benefits of B--if you can rationally see why it ought to be done--that you might conclude that it isn't "worth it." There seems to me some contradiction in here somewhere. But that would seem to suggest that if we could just point to the contradiction and resolve it, then the apathy would disappear, and THAT in turn doesn't seem realistic to me.

Thus, my question.

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:34 am 
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You guys and your fancy schmancy words...making me look up definitions.

akrasia [əˈkreɪzɪə]n
(Philosophy) Philosophy weakness of will; acting in a way contrary to one's sincerely held moral values
[from a-2 + Greek kratos power]
akratic adj

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:35 am 
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Person wrote:
You guys and your fancy schmancy words...making me look up definitions.

akrasia [əˈkreɪzɪə]n
(Philosophy) Philosophy weakness of will; acting in a way contrary to one's sincerely held moral values
[from a-2 + Greek kratos power]
akratic adj

At least you cared enough to look it up!

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:37 am 
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jac3510 wrote:
You tell me.

I'm not trying to suggest that apathy is a symptom or type of akrasia. I'm not meaning to make any positive suggestions. Rather, it appears that the questions you're asking about apathy are exactly the sorts of questions that are asked about akrasia, and since I think you can find a much larger body of literature on the problem of akrasia than on apathy, perhaps noting that apparent link can be of some help to you. (It's not clear to me exactly why you talked about desires just now, though, I must admit.)

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:14 am 
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gherkin wrote:
I'm not trying to suggest that apathy is a symptom or type of akrasia. I'm not meaning to make any positive suggestions. Rather, it appears that the questions you're asking about apathy are exactly the sorts of questions that are asked about akrasia, and since I think you can find a much larger body of literature on the problem of akrasia than on apathy, perhaps noting that apparent link can be of some help to you.

Ah, I see. Akrasia is a difficult enough topic (for me, anyway). I think you are right, that the types of questions are the same. But I wonder if the answers would be all that related, since akrasia relates primarily to the choices we make, whereas apathy relates primarily to the value we judge to be present or lacking in a thing.

Quote:
(It's not clear to me exactly why you talked about desires just now, though, I must admit.)

I was speaking loosely. I take it everything we do we in some sense want to do (on some level).

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:47 pm 
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jac3510 wrote:
I can't see how if you can fully recognize the benefits of B--if you can rationally see why it ought to be done--that you might conclude that it isn't "worth it."

If you can't see how an apathetic person, who can fully recognize the benefits of B, might conclude that it isn't "worth it", then - if I undestand you correctly - it may be because you are assuming that people act according to how their rational mind wants them to act, which isn't always the case. Human beings are much more complex than that.


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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Jerome_2 wrote:
Are you talking about apathy in general, or apathy towards learning about christianity?

The parable of the sower(Luke8:4-8), and the parable of the sower explained (Luke8:11-15), probably sums up pretty well the different types of people when it comes to apathy.

You can take the kind of people Christ describes in Luke8:11-15 and pretty much apply it to any situation.

For example, some people may start off wanting to learn about something, but when they are presented with a problem that requires, 'figuring out,' or study they give up, because it seems like too much effort. These could be considered the people who fell away during testing in the parable.

Other people may be apathetic because they are selfish, they run after their own selfish desires rather than applying themselves to what they intrinsically know they should be doing. This requires suppression of the intellect and conscience, these type of people could be considered the one's who get carried away or distracted by the riches of the world.

We should also remember that Satan doesn't want us fulfill our plans according to God's will, so we are also in a spiritual battle(Ephesians6:12) when it comes to apathy. Satan doesn't want you to fulfill God's will for your life or for you to come to the knowledge of the truth, so he can mislead you through any number of means. These would be the people whom the devil misleads.

Then there are the people who use their faculties for the right reasons and perservere through hardships. These are the ones who bear fruit through patient endurance.

As for responding to it, Christ tells us how to deal with apathetic people(Matthew10:14, Matthew18:17).

I was referring more to apathy in general. A lack of interest in spiritual things is certainly an interesting issue, but that leads quickly and squarely into the questions of grace, the will, cooperation, election, etc. Maybe it doesn't have to go to that way, but that's the way I'd be inclined to explore that question. I'm thinking, though, more from the perspective of moral philosophy and how we account for and respond to people who find themselves in a place where they know what they ought to do--where they can rationalize and explain all the reasons why they ought to do A rather than B--but they simply don't care. The initial answer provided here is that they don't care because they don't see the value in it, which seems to suggest a distinction between being able to see the right thing to do and seeing the value in doing the right thing (and by 'right,' I have much more in mind than just doing the morally correct thing--I mean doing anything which we "ought" to do--a young man ought to study hard so that he can get an education, etc.). That, to me, is harder to account for. And if I can't account for it, I don't know how to respond to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:55 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Apathy is a result of not seeing a good to be attained that is worth the effort to attain it.

Whatever. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:23 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:19 am 
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Teenagers seem to suffer from this naturally. Just kidding about that but I often wonder about what causes people to get to a point of not caring and I can see it in many people that have burned the candle at both ends and then they get worn out and then just don't care any longer about anything. Depression also seems to bring on apathy and yet when we loose ourselves in the service of others as Christ says to do we tend to forget our own problems and focus on others.

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:45 pm 
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Jerome_2 wrote:
Like I said you can take Christ's example and pretty much apply it to most kinds of explanations.

Take your example, someone is confronted with a moral dilemma and they choose one thing over another. You say they, 'simply don't care,' I'm not sure whether you mean they don't care in general or they don't care to choose the right option. They do care though, they care to choose whatever option it is they have chosen over the right option. This could be for any number of reasons, they are apatheitc, but they are apethetic towards the correct option, not their own selfish desires.

Let's just leave the theology out of it. I just don't think that parable applies, and that debate would distract from the point you are trying to make. We can leave this on the level of moral philosophy. I say moral philosophy (or, in Kantian terms--always dangerous--practical reason) because I recognize that apathy really is a moral issue. But I'll take that up in the next section.

As to apathetic people not caring, there is a sense in which you are correct. Everything we choose (I presume) is something we choose because we desire it. That's what I was getting at with my comments to gherkin above. I don't know that absolute indifference really means anything. But on second thought, maybe it does. Because if the will is free, then it undetermined. I think we need to be careful here about suggesting that on some level, the apathetic person wants what he ended up choosing merely in view of the fact that he chose it. That sounds very close to saying that the person's will was determined by something they wanted. understand that there are cases in which the intellect perceives good imperfectly in a variety of situations and therefore the will is indeterminate. But here you are choosing between goods. When you talk about apathy, the problem seems to be that the intellect perceives a type of goodness, but not true goodness, since goodness speaks to desirability. The type of goodness they seem to perceive is what I might call functional goodness, or better, usefulness. I know a college degree would be useful, but I don't see the value in going through the effort to get it (even though I may be able to enumerate all the things that would make it valuable). I'm not saying you are wrong here (insofar as I have understood you), but I am saying that whatever we say, we need to be careful to preserve the freedom of the will.

Quote:
Proper use of our faculties or talents is the morally correct thing to do, I would say use of our faculties is also a moral issue. The end goal towards the proper use of these faculties should be for the glory of God. Faith most likely plays a big part in how people use their faculties, that could also include the likes of furthering your education.

Again, I agree that apathy is a moral issue. I wonder if laziness doesn't enter into the picture here. If a person doesn't see the value in hard work, they may choose not to do it, not caring about the results. That type of apathy is clearly immoral since it makes the person a sloth.

But I still wonder about people who are otherwise hardworking but, perhaps having gotten burned out, they become depressed and just lose all sense of value generally. Some people go through the motions in that state. Some just give up. I'm not saying an apathetic person can't behave properly and make the correct choices. I am asking, though, what it is that makes a person unable to perceive the goodness or the desirability of a thing, particularly when they can enumerate the benefits of acting in a certain way. What is going on when a person ceases to care about cultivating the life that they have been given? I realize it is a terrible sin to not take care of this life. But what of people who take care of it out of habit or obligation but fail to see the value in doing so? People can't survive long in that state . . . not and be remain sane, anyway.

Of course, here I'm assuming that apathy has something to do with depression and a loss of a sense of the value of life itself, but that seems to be a fair assumption. Yes, no?

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 Post subject: Re: Apathy
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:41 pm 
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jac3510 wrote:
Any thoughts on what causes apathy and how to respond to it?


Apathy is the opposite of love. I would venture to say that the apathetic person lacks love.

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