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-   -   Philosophical Semantics, Part I (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23193)

kdt26417 04-21-2012 09:56 PM

Philosophical Semantics, Part I
 
This is a spin-off from a discussion about the Lorax scale on Polyamorous Percolations. I can't say if or how this thread will affect that forum, but I'm a curious man, so I've wanted to create a thread around the following riddles. (There are seven riddles.)

Note: You don't have to answer all of these questions exhaustively, especially if you feel that brief answers to one or two questions will kind of explain what your answers would be on the remaining questions. Make your answers as long or short as you desire. You can even tweak the questions if you want.

Riddles #1 and 7 are the ones I especially desire your answers for. Try to answer those two if you possibly can. (The rest are like extra credit.)


Riddle #1:
  • Assume there exist three hypothetical people: Person I, Person II, and Person III.
  • Assume that all three of these people are polyamorous.
    • Person I is slightly polyamorous.
    • Person II is moderately polyamorous.
    • Person III is extremely polyamorous.
  • What reasonable conclusions (or educated guesses) can you draw about each of these three people? Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Riddle #2:
  • Assume there exist three more hypothetical people: Person IV, Person V, and Person VI.
  • Assume that all three of these people are monogamous.*
    • Person IV is slightly monogamous.
    • Person V is moderately monogamous.
    • Person VI is extremely monogamous.
  • What reasonable conclusions (or educated guesses) can you draw about each of these three people? Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.
*If you prefer, you can drop the word "monogamous," and use "monoamorous" instead, in Riddles #2 thru 6. Let me know if that's your preference.


Riddle #3:
  • Assume there exists a Person VII.
  • This person is half-monogamous, half-polyamorous.
  • Is that possible? If not, why? If so, how?
  • Draw any conclusions (or guesses) you can about this person. Describe your (intuition or) reasoning.

Riddle #4:
  • Assume there exists a Person VIII.
  • This person is polyfidelitous.
  • Which of the following labels would (statistically) most likely fit this person (assuming xe's "middle-of-the-line" polyfidelitous):
    • slightly polyamorous?
    • moderately polyamorous?
    • extremely polyamorous?
    • slightly monogamous?
    • moderately monogamous? or
    • extremely monogamous?
  • Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Riddle #5:
  • Assume there exists a Person IX.
  • This person is a swinger.
  • Which of the following labels would (statistically) most likely fit this person (assuming xe's a "middle-of-the-line" swinger):
    • slightly polyamorous?
    • moderately polyamorous?
    • extremely polyamorous?
    • slightly monogamous?
    • moderately monogamous? or
    • extremely monogamous?
  • Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Riddle #6:
  • What do each of the following mean?
    • slightly polyamorous,
    • moderately polyamorous,
    • extremely polyamorous,
    • slightly monogamous,
    • moderately monogamous,
    • extremely monogamous.
  • Describe your (intuition or) reasoning on each one.

Riddle #7: What does it mean to be "more polyamorous?"


I'll give my own answers to the above riddles after a few other posts have trickled in.

lovefromgirl 04-22-2012 03:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kdt26417 (Post 133429)
Riddle #1:
  • Assume there exist three hypothetical people: Person I, Person II, and Person III.
  • Assume that all three of these people are polyamorous.
    • Person I is slightly polyamorous.
    • Person II is moderately polyamorous.
    • Person III is extremely polyamorous.
  • What reasonable conclusions (or educated guesses) can you draw about each of these three people? Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Well, they're all human, since you said "people". Since you have not defined slightly/moderately/extremely or told us anything further about these hypothetical people, I cannot draw any further conclusions.

Quote:

Riddle #2:
  • Assume there exist three more hypothetical people: Person IV, Person V, and Person VI.
  • Assume that all three of these people are monogamous.*
    • Person IV is slightly monogamous.
    • Person V is moderately monogamous.
    • Person VI is extremely monogamous.
  • What reasonable conclusions (or educated guesses) can you draw about each of these three people? Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.
*If you prefer, you can drop the word "monogamous," and use "monoamorous" instead, in Riddles #2 thru 6. Let me know if that's your preference.
Again: we know they're human because they're "people". We know no more than that.

Quote:

Riddle #3:
  • Assume there exists a Person VII.
  • This person is half-monogamous, half-polyamorous.
  • Is that possible? If not, why? If so, how?
  • Draw any conclusions (or guesses) you can about this person. Describe your (intuition or) reasoning.

As most definitions are relative, the vaguest guess possible is that here is a person who can take or leave polyamory and be happy either monogamous or polyamorous.

Quote:

Riddle #4:
  • Assume there exists a Person VIII.
  • This person is polyfidelitous.
  • Which of the following labels would (statistically) most likely fit this person (assuming xe's "middle-of-the-line" polyfidelitous):
    • slightly polyamorous?
    • moderately polyamorous?
    • extremely polyamorous?
    • slightly monogamous?
    • moderately monogamous? or
    • extremely monogamous?
  • Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Well, what does this person think? Forget the statistics for a minute--what does zie consider middle-of-the-line? How would zie define any of those terms? Perhaps I am coming at this too mathematically, longing for "let" statements and agreed-upon terminology.

Quote:

Riddle #5:
  • Assume there exists a Person IX.
  • This person is a swinger.
  • Which of the following labels would (statistically) most likely fit this person (assuming xe's a "middle-of-the-line" swinger):
    • slightly polyamorous?
    • moderately polyamorous?
    • extremely polyamorous?
    • slightly monogamous?
    • moderately monogamous? or
    • extremely monogamous?
  • Describe the (intuition or) reasoning behind your answer.

Impossible to say, really. There are swingers who are poly, swingers who are mono, swingers who are just swingers...

Quote:

Riddle #6:
  • What do each of the following mean?
    • slightly polyamorous,
    • moderately polyamorous,
    • extremely polyamorous,
    • slightly monogamous,
    • moderately monogamous,
    • extremely monogamous.
  • Describe your (intuition or) reasoning on each one.

To me--and only to me--I can pop these along a continuum not unlike the Kinsey scale, where a 0 indicates "extremely monogamous" and a 6 indicates "extremely polyamorous". The problem is that when I puzzled this out in my head, I realised I needed two axes, and I haven't yet come up with the exact scales for each. So.

Quote:

Riddle #7: What does it mean to be "more polyamorous?"
Personally, I append "than thou" and let the statement stand.

nycindie 04-22-2012 03:50 AM

Oh. My. Word.

What an exercise! What is the point?



Omigosh I would love to see Sourgirl chime in on this!

Shadowgbq 04-22-2012 05:52 AM

I see a fallacy in this sort of question, in the form of an implied premise. It is possible that monogamy is simply an unnatural state of mind that is conditioned into us due to conformity & religious/patriarchal tradition. I wouldn't want to examine myself to figure out if I'm mono/poly any more than I would examine myself to see if I'm opposed to slavery. I believe that any possessive relationship is arrogant, contradictory and self-defeating. It's not a matter of sexual orientation, but of ignorance vs. enlightenment.

lovefromgirl 04-22-2012 06:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shadowgbq (Post 133460)
I see a fallacy in this sort of question, in the form of an implied premise. It is possible that monogamy is simply an unnatural state of mind that is conditioned into us due to conformity & religious/patriarchal tradition. I wouldn't want to examine myself to figure out if I'm mono/poly any more than I would examine myself to see if I'm opposed to slavery. I believe that any possessive relationship is arrogant, contradictory and self-defeating. It's not a matter of sexual orientation, but of ignorance vs. enlightenment.

Self-examination is always relevant to one's interests. If you are alive and conscious, you can still learn. Arrogance and ignorance happen when humans forget this part.

Shadowgbq 04-22-2012 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lovefromgirl (Post 133465)
Self-examination is always relevant to one's interests. If you are alive and conscious, you can still learn. Arrogance and ignorance happen when humans forget this part.

Very true. But what I'm saying is, if non-possession is right and people-owning is wrong, my self-examination shouldn't be about whether I'm a polyamorist or a people-owner. Nobody should examine themselves to figure out if they're a "It's okay to beat up little kids-ist." I'm not saying monogamy is tantamount to physical violence, I'm explaining the principle that IF something can be shown to be objectively immoral & unnatural, at that point it should be removed from consideration as just another subjective sexual orientation.

lovefromgirl 04-22-2012 07:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shadowgbq (Post 133469)
I'm explaining the principle that IF something can be shown to be objectively immoral & unnatural, at that point it should be removed from consideration as just another subjective sexual orientation.

...so, what monogamous religious types do unto us, we should do unto them?

Forcing anyone to be what zie isn't is immoral and unnatural to me. This includes the monogamous/monoamorous among us. Jane Monogamous is not hurting me by practicing what she perceives as correct, and so I have no reason to ask her to change. How is she immoral for loving as it suits her?

Shadowgbq 04-22-2012 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lovefromgirl (Post 133472)
...so, what monogamous religious types do unto us, we should do unto them?

Absolutely not. For one thing, such folks rarely use reason, just bromides, appeals to superstition, and so on. There are one or two decently compelling arguments for monogamy in my opinion, but they're not the ones we normally hear. "But it just feels right somehow" is not an argument.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lovefromgirl (Post 133472)
Forcing anyone to be what zie isn't is immoral and unnatural to me. This includes the monogamous/monoamorous among us.

I would never want to force anyone to be anything.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lovefromgirl (Post 133472)
Jane Monogamous is not hurting me by practicing what she perceives as correct, and so I have no reason to ask her to change. How is she immoral for loving as it suits her?

Because she asks her partner to "belong to her" in a fashion that some of us will argue is selfish, malevolent and destructive, even if consensual. That said, she isn't hurting you, just the person she will end up breaking up with, divorcing or (if extremely lucky) being old & repressed next to.

I have the right to peacefully argue that we have a failed, illusory relationship culture that should be blown up completely if at all possible. You have the right to say I'm all wet. They are just my views & nobody is forced to agree or even read them.

nycindie 04-22-2012 09:10 AM

Shadowgbq, monogamy does not equate with ownership and just because someone is monogamous does not mean they automatically think they own their partner. And polyamory is not more enlightened. It is bullshit to say it is. It is bullshit to make pronouncements about monogamy and polyamory being one thing or another, because it is the people involved in relationships that make them what they are. There are plenty of possessive and dictatorial idiots running around saying they're poly, fucking anything that moves, and treating their partners like property. And there are plenty of open-minded enlightened people practicing monogamy and doing so with loving kindness, supporting their partner to be the best they can be, and embracing their autonomy. If you haven't ever met anyone like that, then perhaps you've been hanging around in some pretty crappy circles.

These are simply two types of structures for relationships. Neither has any inherent meaning or value. What does have meaning and value are the ways in which people treat each other and approach their relationships. Waving some poly flag doesn't automatically make people more adept at love.

However, getting back to the OP, I think this whole exercise is a waste of time. I don't need to identify myself on any sliding scale of anything. I think this is just another way to try and fit people into boxes. I don't give a shit whether I fit into some cookie cutter image of poly or anything else when I am relating to my loves. These questions are just intellectual masturbation. What I prefer to ask myself is: how I can create the kinds of loving relationships I want in my life, and what kind of impact do I make on the people I love and care about? Those, to me, are more relevant than where on some imaginary spectrum I should position myself.

Shadowgbq 04-22-2012 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 133478)
Shadowgbq, monogamy does not equate with ownership and just because someone is monogamous does not mean they automatically think they own their partner. And polyamory is not more enlightened. It is bullshit to say it is. It is bullshit to make pronouncements about monogamy and polyamory being one thing or another, because it is the people involved in relationships that make them what they are.

First things first, I am sorry for raising your ire. My understanding is that this is a place to exchange ideas and that nobody is going to be cursed at or called a heretic for sharing hers or his. You seem to be making a lot of absolute pronouncements while talking about how upset you are about my making absolute pronouncements.

I didn't say I thought polyamory was a perfect, ideal paradigm. It's not. People who self-label poly often share a lot of ideas with the people who self-label mono, such as the subjectivism you're preaching to me right now. I actually belong to a new school of relationship philosophy that began about 7 years ago, but that's neither here nor there. It doesn't make me superior to anyone because I didn't invent it, other people did, and I followed their example. But I'm not a 'poly' and I'm not the first person to criticize our relationship culture in general.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 133478)
There are plenty of possessive and dictatorial idiots running around saying they're poly, fucking anything that moves, and treating their partners like property.

Possession is possession, posing is posing. My argument is that these things are bad no matter how people manifest them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 133478)
And there are plenty of open-minded enlightened people practicing monogamy and doing so with loving kindness, supporting their partner to be the best they can be, and embracing their autonomy.

Conditionally, except & until.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 133478)
These are simply two types of structures for relationships. Neither has any inherent meaning or value. What does have meaning and value are the ways in which people treat each other and approach their relationships. Waving some poly flag doesn't automatically make people more adept at love.

This ignores that monogamy itself, by definition, is a system of claiming most of your partner's sexuality as your sole entitlement. Polyamory is also a paradigm in which people are expected to reflect certain concepts in their treatment of one another, such as compersion, hierarchy, etc. It's as if you're saying, "Anarchy & Communism have no inherent meaning or value, what does have value is whether people decide to have no government or a massive one and what those systems do for them."

At this point you may say that it indeed wouldn't matter, only the individuals in each society and how cool they are. I submit that a society's choice of authoritarian/anti-authoritarian system would illustrate a lot about what they value. Cause and effect.

Since I don't subscribe wholly to either monogamy or polyamory as a basis for social interaction, I'm not waving a flag for either one. But it's curious to think that neither paradigm has anything to do with the morals, values, or personalities of the people shaping or taking part in them. I'm down with your individualism but mindful that people's choices reflect who they are.


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