Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tapping Philosophy: Competition

Hi Tapping,
Thanks to everyone who came out last week for voting, both actual and theoretical. This week's topic will be competition, as written by Michelle McNamara. Of course, tapping philosophy will take place at Yeat's pub at 8:00, meeting for rides at Connelly around 7:30.

The topic:

Competition, is it beneficial to society? To humanity? To the world economy? Is competition rational?

Is competition a never ending struggle or strife between two opposing forces? Does competition end if there is a victor? Or can it continue in another form?
Is competition necessary to life? To survival? Darwinism believed that competition leads to improvement through evolution. Is this necessarily a good thing? If something is becoming extinct, is that good?

Adam Smith thought that competition created incentives for efficiency, but do we lose something critical in the process of competition? Are the ends worth the means?

"Co-operative competition" is a form of competition in which everybody wins ie: Adam Smith's invisible hand. Is this aspect of mutual benefit or gain an aspect of all competition or is having a winner and loser necessary to life? How might we differentiate the competition operative a conception of life success, from that of the competition operative in evolution or even progress? Is it possible to have competition within these categories as mutually beneficial?


Can an individual compete within him or herself? Is it necessary to have separate actors for a scenario to qualify as competition? Is internal competition necessary to self-improvement? What other motivators are there for improvement among people? What other incentives does a person have for self improvement besides competition?

We talked about competing ideologies at one of the earlier tappings, are competing ideologies a positive thing for people? Can this be destructive for people to have two contending ideologies?

Competition originates from the Latin word "competere" which means "to strive together" or "to seek together." The latin word from which we derive competition seems not to have a loser and victor as a necessary aspect of its definition. Can this form of competition be successfully applied to all types of competition?

Can there ever be a victor in sports competition or is competition in sports a never ending attempt to achieve excellence?

Are we driven to compete internally? Is competition always instinctive? Take the example of two people isolated from society with ample resources. Will they compete if their basic needs are provided for them?

"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to smallpox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed." - Charles Darwin

"Competition is a sin" - John D. Rockefeller

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