Philosophical question

 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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24 September 2019 17:42
 

Do you agree with this statement, and why or why not? -

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

I am very fond of Murphy’s Law when it’s worded in this way.  I’ll explain why later.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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24 September 2019 19:32
 

Disagree.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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24 September 2019 19:44
 

Disagree based on personal experience.  Sometimes things go very right even when they could go very wrong.  I like Murphy’s law, but I don’t take it literally.  It’s more of a cynically comical statement.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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25 September 2019 00:27
 

for every complex process, there are so many ways in which it can go “wrong” from your perspective - there isn’t enough time in universe to sample them all; and that assumes that you get to try over and over again.

 
 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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25 September 2019 10:06
 

The statement has an appearance of cynicism, but I think it has more depth than stating that things tend to go wrong for people.  It certainly provides a good launching point for philosophical discussion.

I can re-word the statement into, “Anything that can go right will go right.”  If there is a desired outcome and a person has control over the circumstance, that person will most likely exercise their control to produce the “right” outcome.  Because of this, substituting the word “right” for the word “wrong” causes the statement to become ambiguous, whereas the original meaning is reasonably clear.

I view Murphy’s Law as a statement on how the path of least resistance affects human enterprise/ingenuity.  Sometimes things go wrong simply because not all outcomes are foreseen.  Murphy’s Law can be taken as a nudge toward prudence instead of a statement from cynicism.

 
nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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25 September 2019 10:34
 
TwoSeven1 - 25 September 2019 10:06 AM

The statement has an appearance of cynicism, but I think it has more depth than stating that things tend to go wrong for people.  It certainly provides a good launching point for philosophical discussion.

I can re-word the statement into, “Anything that can go right will go right.”  If there is a desired outcome and a person has control over the circumstance, that person will most likely exercise their control to produce the “right” outcome.  Because of this, substituting the word “right” for the word “wrong” causes the statement to become ambiguous, whereas the original meaning is reasonably clear.

I view Murphy’s Law as a statement on how the path of least resistance affects human enterprise/ingenuity.  Sometimes things go wrong simply because not all outcomes are foreseen.  Murphy’s Law can be taken as a nudge toward prudence instead of a statement from cynicism.

Cool thoughts.

It seems to me that referring to some everyday circumstance as going wrong would most likely not imply moral weight to the “wrong.” Keep in mind that, within the definition implied by the context you provided in the OP, there are at least two kinds of “rights” and “wrongs,” and you seem in your above post to directly insert morality into the equation. One wrong is outside the bounds of morality, and the other wrong defines morality or at least inspires moral consternation.

Also keep in mind that things going wrong for one person or group (or any energy-driven entity) can typically often cause some other person or group (or entity) to experience things going right.

 
TwoSeven1
 
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25 September 2019 12:31
 
nonverbal - 25 September 2019 10:34 AM
TwoSeven1 - 25 September 2019 10:06 AM

The statement has an appearance of cynicism, but I think it has more depth than stating that things tend to go wrong for people.  It certainly provides a good launching point for philosophical discussion.

I can re-word the statement into, “Anything that can go right will go right.”  If there is a desired outcome and a person has control over the circumstance, that person will most likely exercise their control to produce the “right” outcome.  Because of this, substituting the word “right” for the word “wrong” causes the statement to become ambiguous, whereas the original meaning is reasonably clear.

I view Murphy’s Law as a statement on how the path of least resistance affects human enterprise/ingenuity.  Sometimes things go wrong simply because not all outcomes are foreseen.  Murphy’s Law can be taken as a nudge toward prudence instead of a statement from cynicism.

Cool thoughts.

It seems to me that referring to some everyday circumstance as going wrong would most likely not imply moral weight to the “wrong.” Keep in mind that, within the definition implied by the context you provided in the OP, there are at least two kinds of “rights” and “wrongs,” and you seem in your above post to directly insert morality into the equation. One wrong is outside the bounds of morality, and the other wrong defines morality or at least inspires moral consternation.

Also keep in mind that things going wrong for one person or group (or any energy-driven entity) can typically often cause some other person or group (or entity) to experience things going right.

I’m not following what you say here.  Where did I raise the topic of morality in this thread?

 
burt
 
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burt
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25 September 2019 13:55
 

In a teleological enterprise there will almost always be many ways that something can go wrong whereas going right generally requires careful supervision. There are only a few paths to the goal but many ways the train can go off the rails. This shows up, for example, in competitive games where the winners are often not those who make an amazing play or two, but rather the ones who minimize their number of mistakes. 

A tangentially related observation: back in 2012 I was in Paris and visited the Louvre for a day. in one of the ancient Middle Eastern rooms the center of the room was occupied by an about 20 foot high massive pillar with carved bulls at the top. Around the pillar were sixteen horizontal cylinders (eight at the bottom and eight at the top, both in two sets of four) with ends carved in what looked like daisy petals. The plaque read “Pillar from the palace of Darius I, Persepolis.” So, about 500BC, from the palace of the Great King, the King of King. I was interested in the carvings on the cylinders. In particular the mathematical problem of how to carve the petals symmetrically. So I counted the petals on one of the cylinders and got 16, and thought, okay, you take a square, then offset it three more times, easy. I counted a few more cylinder ends and got 16 again so was feeling okay about that until I came across one that counted to 17 (and it looked a bit off, too). Turned out that several of the cylinder ends had 17 petals rather than 16. I had a good laugh imagining the project manager seeing this error, thinking about having to redo the entire thing, then shrugging and muttering “good enough for government work.” But this not-easily-noticed error would have introduced a slight psychic dissonance into the palace, especially if there were other pillars with similar errors. A couple of weeks later I was in Athens and walked up to the Parthenon. Looking at it, even as a ruin, I had the thought “sometimes we get it right” and speculated that this contrast might indicate a reason the Greeks defeated the Persians.

 
TwoSeven1
 
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25 September 2019 16:39
 
burt - 25 September 2019 01:55 PM

In a teleological enterprise there will almost always be many ways that something can go wrong whereas going right generally requires careful supervision. There are only a few paths to the goal but many ways the train can go off the rails. This shows up, for example, in competitive games where the winners are often not those who make an amazing play or two, but rather the ones who minimize their number of mistakes. 

A tangentially related observation: back in 2012 I was in Paris and visited the Louvre for a day. in one of the ancient Middle Eastern rooms the center of the room was occupied by an about 20 foot high massive pillar with carved bulls at the top. Around the pillar were sixteen horizontal cylinders (eight at the bottom and eight at the top, both in two sets of four) with ends carved in what looked like daisy petals. The plaque read “Pillar from the palace of Darius I, Persepolis.” So, about 500BC, from the palace of the Great King, the King of King. I was interested in the carvings on the cylinders. In particular the mathematical problem of how to carve the petals symmetrically. So I counted the petals on one of the cylinders and got 16, and thought, okay, you take a square, then offset it three more times, easy. I counted a few more cylinder ends and got 16 again so was feeling okay about that until I came across one that counted to 17 (and it looked a bit off, too). Turned out that several of the cylinder ends had 17 petals rather than 16. I had a good laugh imagining the project manager seeing this error, thinking about having to redo the entire thing, then shrugging and muttering “good enough for government work.” But this not-easily-noticed error would have introduced a slight psychic dissonance into the palace, especially if there were other pillars with similar errors. A couple of weeks later I was in Athens and walked up to the Parthenon. Looking at it, even as a ruin, I had the thought “sometimes we get it right” and speculated that this contrast might indicate a reason the Greeks defeated the Persians.

I wonder how many people notice that difference between the cylinders.  Probably not many at all…

That mismatch would be the type of information I’d put on a sign, or include in guided tours.  Things like that are interesting to me when they are observed in ancient architecture because so many of the designs emphasize symmetry.