moral nihilism

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-05 10:03am

Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Sorry, I should have elaborated: just as one can argue that (as a general rule) organisms prefer pleasure over pain, it is reasonable (despite apparent exceptions) to say that societies prefer prosperity over self-destruction. Ergo, moral values which lead to the decline and fall of a society can be classified as "counter-productive".

Contrary to popular belief drawn from movies, ruthless evil does not always beget victory. In fact, one can easily tie the Nazis' defeat to their moral values: their incredibly ruthless treatment of the Ukrainians, for example, eliminated the possibility of co-operation from people who might have actually been relieved to be released from the yoke of Stalin.
So, to be clear, are you saying that things which prolong or strengthen social order or cohesion are inherently moral and things which weaken social order are inherently immoral?
Social success, not necessarily social cohesion. Sometimes, excessive social order is harmful to success. Look at Admiral Nelson as an example: his victories often occurred because his commanders had more individual autonomy, whereas the Spaniards preferred a more top-down command structure which turned out to be too inflexible for changing battlefield conditions.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-05 10:05am

Bakustra wrote:With regards to the idea that "promoting social order" is the essence of morality, indeed the only course between the Scylla of religion and the Charybdis of nihilism, I find that utter bullshit. Coercion is, at its core, not immoral, but antimoral.
Bullshit. Social morality requires coercion. Individual morality doesn't. By this idiotic logic, it is immoral to force people not to murder each other.
Morality, in every single conception of the subject held by philosophy, has relied on choice- the choice of individuals on what course to take, what rule to follow, what mindset to act under. Coercion destroys choice and takes morality with it- an action taken under compulsion is not moral regardless of what the actor or actress thinks of the action personally, as they cannot make any choices regarding it. Morality only exists when choices are available between moral and immoral actions.
You are ignoring the entire concept of social morality.
While promoting social order may be beneficial to that society, that does not make it right any more than a cuckoo foisting its children upon other birds is right. Social morality only exists when societies enable free choice of what action to take and focus on building a collective morality that all will follow. Anything else is but animal survivalism.
That's idiotic: animal survivalism is the ultimate example of individual freedom and choice. The problem with your cretinous view is that you have to think of things in terms of black and white, good vs evil, ie- "coercion is ALWAYS bad", "freedom is ALWAYS good". No sense of balance.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Bakustra » 2012-07-05 10:12am

Darth Wong wrote:
Bakustra wrote:With regards to the idea that "promoting social order" is the essence of morality, indeed the only course between the Scylla of religion and the Charybdis of nihilism, I find that utter bullshit. Coercion is, at its core, not immoral, but antimoral.
Bullshit. Social morality requires coercion. Individual morality doesn't. By this idiotic logic, it is immoral to force people not to murder each other.
No, it is opposed to the very concept of morality to force people to do or not to do something- morality relies on free choice between immoral and moral actions. It is immoral on the part of the person who compels, arguably, but that is secondary to the antimorality. In any case, stopping someone from murdering someone else is different from forcing them not to do it- the one is built on restricting choice, the other on restricting actions.
Morality, in every single conception of the subject held by philosophy, has relied on choice- the choice of individuals on what course to take, what rule to follow, what mindset to act under. Coercion destroys choice and takes morality with it- an action taken under compulsion is not moral regardless of what the actor or actress thinks of the action personally, as they cannot make any choices regarding it. Morality only exists when choices are available between moral and immoral actions.
You are ignoring the entire concept of social morality.
Social morality still requires individuals to adhere or refuse to adhere to its mores. To say otherwise is to suggest that "social morality" is actually a code for "Laplaceian roboticization", which fails several different laugh tests.
While promoting social order may be beneficial to that society, that does not make it right any more than a cuckoo foisting its children upon other birds is right. Social morality only exists when societies enable free choice of what action to take and focus on building a collective morality that all will follow. Anything else is but animal survivalism.
That's idiotic: animal survivalism is the ultimate example of individual freedom and choice.
The point is that social order is about the survival of the society, which is not inherently moral any more than an animal's survival is inherently moral. The actions taken for survival may be moral or immoral, but that is distinct from the concept of society-survival itself.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-05 10:34am

Bakustra wrote:No, it is opposed to the very concept of morality to force people to do or not to do something- morality relies on free choice between immoral and moral actions.
No it doesn't. See? Now we have two competing assertions about what morality is. The question then becomes: which view is better. You are apparently not capable of recognizing that you can't just declare what is morality by personal fiat, or justify your preferences by simply repeating them.

Your version of morality is inferior for two reasons:

1) It is not based on anything. The social-success model is based on the evolutionary origins of morality.
2) It lacks a feedback mechanism. There is no way to tell whether it's working, because it does not set any goals against which it can be measured, unlike the social-success model. It only declares axiomatic rules to be self-evident, and then justifies itself by appealing to its own rules.
It is immoral on the part of the person who compels, arguably, but that is secondary to the antimorality. In any case, stopping someone from murdering someone else is different from forcing them not to do it- the one is built on restricting choice, the other on restricting actions.
That's hilarious: you are forced to draw a ridiculous hair-splitting distinction between "stopping someone" and "forcing them not to do it", in order to save your half-assed bullshit definition of morality.
Social morality still requires individuals to adhere or refuse to adhere to its mores. To say otherwise is to suggest that "social morality" is actually a code for "Laplaceian roboticization", which fails several different laugh tests.
More bullshit. People do not become robots just because you restrict their choices. Regulation is not roboticization.
The point is that social order is about the survival of the society, which is not inherently moral any more than an animal's survival is inherently moral. The actions taken for survival may be moral or immoral, but that is distinct from the concept of society-survival itself.
Explain how you know that something is moral or not moral, other than simply declaring it to be so.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Bakustra » 2012-07-05 10:56am

You cannot know whether something is or is not moral except by declaring it to be so. One can declare rules, or virtues, or principles on which to hang these declarations, but even your vaunted "social morality" is just the accumulation and reduction of individuals declaring something to be right or wrong. Even saying that social survival and thriving is the highest morality requires the declaration that such things are moral in the first place.

This is in the atheistic context, of course. In the theistic context, we have the divine to declare and absolve us of responsibility. But within the atheistic context, we have no other recourse than to say- "I believe this to be so", and our only path twixt Scylla and Charybdis is the one where we say further, "I believe that this is a good idea, and so I will try to convince others of it". All else- all scientific morality- is just mummery to disguise the fundamental unease of this approach.
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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-05 11:07am

Bakustra wrote:You cannot know whether something is or is not moral except by declaring it to be so. One can declare rules, or virtues, or principles on which to hang these declarations, but even your vaunted "social morality" is just the accumulation and reduction of individuals declaring something to be right or wrong. Even saying that social survival and thriving is the highest morality requires the declaration that such things are moral in the first place.

This is in the atheistic context, of course. In the theistic context, we have the divine to declare and absolve us of responsibility. But within the atheistic context, we have no other recourse than to say- "I believe this to be so", and our only path twixt Scylla and Charybdis is the one where we say further, "I believe that this is a good idea, and so I will try to convince others of it". All else- all scientific morality- is just mummery to disguise the fundamental unease of this approach.
Bullshit. You are just following religious dogma, which says that atheism has no source of morality. And you believe this because you believe that morality is defined as absolute rules of "right and wrong" which can only be declared through fiat. Who says that we have to define morality that way?

The evolutionary origins of morality have been extensively studied. In practice, it has never been this cosmic universal self-evident truth system you speak of. It has always been a behavioural system, part coercive and part voluntary, governing individual behaviour for societies. You speak of what it is, without any reference to the history of what it has actually been or where it came from. Your assertions come straight out of your ass, and you seek to justify that asinine behaviour by pretending that it cannot be any other way.
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"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba » 2012-07-05 01:22pm

Darth Wong wrote: Social success, not necessarily social cohesion. Sometimes, excessive social order is harmful to success. Look at Admiral Nelson as an example: his victories often occurred because his commanders had more individual autonomy, whereas the Spaniards preferred a more top-down command structure which turned out to be too inflexible for changing battlefield conditions.
Okay, social success, which I take from your context to mean the prolongation, strengthening, and continued survival of the society.

So, from this ethical perspective, do you consider Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia from 1984 (or at least, the endstates of those societies postulated by O'Brien) to be moral paramounts, given their nature as societies which have made the undermining of their social success impossible?

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Bakustra » 2012-07-05 02:47pm

Darth Wong wrote:
Bakustra wrote:You cannot know whether something is or is not moral except by declaring it to be so. One can declare rules, or virtues, or principles on which to hang these declarations, but even your vaunted "social morality" is just the accumulation and reduction of individuals declaring something to be right or wrong. Even saying that social survival and thriving is the highest morality requires the declaration that such things are moral in the first place.

This is in the atheistic context, of course. In the theistic context, we have the divine to declare and absolve us of responsibility. But within the atheistic context, we have no other recourse than to say- "I believe this to be so", and our only path twixt Scylla and Charybdis is the one where we say further, "I believe that this is a good idea, and so I will try to convince others of it". All else- all scientific morality- is just mummery to disguise the fundamental unease of this approach.
Bullshit. You are just following religious dogma, which says that atheism has no source of morality. And you believe this because you believe that morality is defined as absolute rules of "right and wrong" which can only be declared through fiat. Who says that we have to define morality that way?

The evolutionary origins of morality have been extensively studied. In practice, it has never been this cosmic universal self-evident truth system you speak of. It has always been a behavioural system, part coercive and part voluntary, governing individual behaviour for societies. You speak of what it is, without any reference to the history of what it has actually been or where it came from. Your assertions come straight out of your ass, and you seek to justify that asinine behaviour by pretending that it cannot be any other way.
Oh, dear, you seem to be punching yourself in the face there, since you are far closer to "this cosmic universal self-evident truth system" than I. I am suggesting that morality is a subjective, human construct. You are suggesting that there is some sort of basis for morality outside the subjective convictions of humans, though you certainly dare not clarify as to whether this basis is through evolution (naturalistically fallacious) or through society (fails the laugh test). But I see that you are substituting catchphrase for intellect here, with the inquisitorial accusation that I have been religiously brainwashed, no doubt under the nefarious auspices of Opus Dei, insisting on the evolutionary origins of morality to explain why coercion is a moral necessity when it is not found in any of the proposed primitive or premoral systems of behavior among other animals... In short, go fuck yourself if you're going to be this much of an ass.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by hongi » 2012-07-05 04:22pm

Darth Wong wrote:It's always a bad sign when you ask someone to explain his reasoning, and he thinks you want to hear his life story.
It's impossible to examine someone's philosophy without examining that person himself. You need to know who I am in order to know why I think the things I do. I've long since given up the presumption that I can explain my ideas objectively without reference to my subjective feelings and motives and history.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Vaporous » 2012-07-06 12:06am

Why is the fuck are "forced" and "coerced" being conflated with "mind control" in this thread? People are "forced" not to commit murder in the sense that they are given positive incentives to reinforce their tendency to have sympathy and empathy for others, and negative incentives in the form of the threat of police punishment and prosecution. That's about it.
You need to know who I am in order to know why I think the things I do.
Yes, but we're not interested in why you think the things you do right now. We're interested in whether those things make any sense.

I'm not sure if the objective/subjective debate has any merit here. It's objective in the sense that it applies to a measurable and definable standard. It's subjective in the sense that this standard is largely man made or man altered for particular ends and has no "cosmic eternal anchor" to rely on.

I'm just going to spitball a few things here and see if any of them are useful.

1)We're defining morality based on behaviors that encourage social success. This is a pretty good model because it is grounded in the proven evolutionary roots of morality, and it should be possible to measure whether or not it meets its goals.
2) Social morality is arbitrary in the sense that we'll take it for granted that the existence and continuance of groups is, in general, a good. I don't think anyone here can reasonably argue that society is undesirable unless you're big on human extinction. We're also assuming that human suffering and death is a bad thing because we aren't sociopaths.
3)We have to figure out what, other than existence, constitutes social success. Which societies, if any, are desirable and which are undesirable? Those that are most stable? Those that are most free? What standard do we use to choose which values separate a good society from a bad one? Societies that are most adaptable might make a good choice, since an adaptable society will presumably last the longest by reacting most effectively to changing conditions.
4)The 1984 problem. It's a reduction to the absurd, but the point it raises is "When is a society undesirable enough that it warrants destruction and replacement?" Presumably it would have to be a society without a mechanism for adaptation and change which doesn't promote human thriving.

all of this is shot through with moral assumptions about humans not dying/living in agony being good. I justify this by the admittedly arbitrary standard of "We're human, so fuck you." A huge problem with debates about ethical philosophy is the idea that any ethical system that ever contains a contradiction in it must be discarded. We can't get away with that shit because morality is supposed to be practical, and in practice you use whatever works the best and the most often. How would science work if we threw out every experimental result that had any margin of error?

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by hongi » 2012-07-06 02:38am

Yes, but we're not interested in why you think the things you do right now. We're interested in whether those things make any sense.
My original post was in response to Simon_Jester's question:
Why not? Why do you believe those things? Why do you believe them, instead of some other different things?
He did want to know why I believe the things I do.
We're also assuming that human suffering and death is a bad thing because we aren't sociopaths.
I don't agree with the blanket condemnation of suffering. You don't have to be a sociopath to think that suffering can be a good thing. Suffering can be character-building and redemptive. It can also destroy people and leave them shattered, but then I don't argue that it's always good do I?

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Simon_Jester » 2012-07-06 07:38pm

I was kind of hoping hongi believed things for reasons that would be intelligible to me. Instead the answer turned out to be "I was born thinking these things" or something like that, in which case there's not much for me to do but shrug and walk away.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by hongi » 2012-07-06 08:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I was kind of hoping hongi believed things for reasons that would be intelligible to me. Instead the answer turned out to be "I was born thinking these things" or something like that, in which case there's not much for me to do but shrug and walk away.
Dude, I didn't say that I was born thinking these things. I don't know how you could have gotten that idea. I said that my experiences throughout life has persuaded me, and also because I haven't found any of the arguments against moral nihilism or for moral realism convincing. Now I know that no one's likely to be convinced by my own subjective experiences, which is fine since I don't want to convince anyone that moral nihilism is correct, but I was hoping that someone would offer a good defense for moral realism or defeat my moral nihilism. Most of this thread has been people asking me about my beliefs, which I've answered to the best of my ability, but I still want someone to tell me where I'm going wrong in my thinking.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Channel72 » 2012-07-07 01:49pm

hongi wrote:Dude, I didn't say that I was born thinking these things. I don't know how you could have gotten that idea. I said that my experiences throughout life has persuaded me, and also because I haven't found any of the arguments against moral nihilism or for moral realism convincing. Now I know that no one's likely to be convinced by my own subjective experiences, which is fine since I don't want to convince anyone that moral nihilism is correct, but I was hoping that someone would offer a good defense for moral realism or defeat my moral nihilism. Most of this thread has been people asking me about my beliefs, which I've answered to the best of my ability, but I still want someone to tell me where I'm going wrong in my thinking.
One way to look at it is to simply take a pragmatic approach: if you personally want to behave ethically, then who cares if you can justify it philosophically? Due to various evolutionary mechanisms, most human beings want to behave ethically, because being a non-contributing, selfish asshole all the time usually makes you feel like shit. (It's a well-established observation that humans love positive feedback from peers.)

Of course, not everyone feels this way; people who don't feel this way are either extremely bitter due to repeated hardships, or they are simply sociopathic. The only thing we can do about these people is regulate their behavior through social institutions, while the rest of us try to lead productive, ethical lives, doing what little we can to make the world better for everyone.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-08 01:34am

Bakustra wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Bullshit. You are just following religious dogma, which says that atheism has no source of morality. And you believe this because you believe that morality is defined as absolute rules of "right and wrong" which can only be declared through fiat. Who says that we have to define morality that way?

The evolutionary origins of morality have been extensively studied. In practice, it has never been this cosmic universal self-evident truth system you speak of. It has always been a behavioural system, part coercive and part voluntary, governing individual behaviour for societies. You speak of what it is, without any reference to the history of what it has actually been or where it came from. Your assertions come straight out of your ass, and you seek to justify that asinine behaviour by pretending that it cannot be any other way.
Oh, dear, you seem to be punching yourself in the face there, since you are far closer to "this cosmic universal self-evident truth system" than I. I am suggesting that morality is a subjective, human construct. You are suggesting that there is some sort of basis for morality outside the subjective convictions of humans, though you certainly dare not clarify as to whether this basis is through evolution (naturalistically fallacious) or through society (fails the laugh test).
Your amazing stupidity does not validate your point, nor does your habit of saying that something you disagree with "fails the laugh test" without explaining the logical underpinnings of this "laugh test". You are literally arguing that it must be wrong because of the way you personally react to it, fucktard.

You say that it's a "naturalistic fallacy" to say that morality comes from evolutionary roots, but that statement assumes that we are claiming morality to be a universal good. You are saying it's fallacious because it's fallacious to say "it's natural, therefore good". In other words, you completely miss the point, which is that no one is saying that our system of morality is a universal "good". We are saying that it is good for humans. It may be a fallacy to say "it is natural, therefore good" (implying "universal good"), but it is not a fallacy to say "evolutionary pressures demonstrate that it is good for our species".

As often happens when imbeciles try to use logic, you throw the names of fallacies around without properly understanding what makes them fallacies in the first place, or bothering to understand what your opponent is saying.
But I see that you are substituting catchphrase for intellect here, with the inquisitorial accusation that I have been religiously brainwashed, no doubt under the nefarious auspices of Opus Dei, insisting on the evolutionary origins of morality to explain why coercion is a moral necessity when it is not found in any of the proposed primitive or premoral systems of behavior among other animals... In short, go fuck yourself if you're going to be this much of an ass.
This paragraph is just more of your utterly worthless blather, repeating your idiotic assumptions in more verbose and florid format. You can't cover up your stupidity with sheer verbiage.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Terralthra » 2012-07-08 02:07am

hongi wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:I was kind of hoping hongi believed things for reasons that would be intelligible to me. Instead the answer turned out to be "I was born thinking these things" or something like that, in which case there's not much for me to do but shrug and walk away.
Dude, I didn't say that I was born thinking these things. I don't know how you could have gotten that idea. I said that my experiences throughout life has persuaded me, and also because I haven't found any of the arguments against moral nihilism or for moral realism convincing. Now I know that no one's likely to be convinced by my own subjective experiences, which is fine since I don't want to convince anyone that moral nihilism is correct, but I was hoping that someone would offer a good defense for moral realism or defeat my moral nihilism. Most of this thread has been people asking me about my beliefs, which I've answered to the best of my ability, but I still want someone to tell me where I'm going wrong in my thinking.
If I may?

I think that the issue we're running into here is one of purpose. Specifically, most naturalist humanists I know believe that codes of morality have a purpose to their existence: to harmonize value sets among individuals which must interact.

Society - as a collection of individuals - at times creates conflicts among individuals to which there is no solution in which everyone wins (trivially obvious, I think, but I can give examples if you dispute this). Typically, in such scenarios, most people involved favor a solution which benefits them at the expense of others over the reverse. Stalemate. A moral code, whether interpreted as a legalistic framework, personal decision-making process, etc., allows for resolution of these disputes. The resolution is not guaranteed to be a best-outcome for every involved individual, but it at least has the guarantee that it is in sync with the value sets of the moral system.

Now, with varying moral codes come various underlying value systems. Religious ones tend to favor religious values, whether those be enlightenment, obedience to divine mandate, or what have you.

Moral nihilism, as you've laid it out, does not seem to have any underlying value system beyond "what seems right to hongi." Ok...and? How do you expect anyone else to buy into this value system? I don't see any realistic persuasive argument doing this as your moral system has been explained. If you don't expect anyone else to agree with your moral code, what good is it? If no one else can buy into your moral code (and its underlying value set), how can it fulfill the purpose of a moral code - to guide interactions between persons? I have my moral code and value system based on what I think is right, you have yours...what do we do when we get into a conflict with no win/win?

Moral systems based on a value set with which people might agree would tend to solve that problem better, no?

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Questor » 2012-07-08 03:49am

Terralthra wrote: I have my moral code and value system based on what I think is right, you have yours...what do we do when we get into a conflict with no win/win?
This is where you get into the interesting thought experiment of: If someone comes up and beats Hongi to a pulp, does he report it to the police? Obviously, what the perpetrator did was moral to them, and one shouldn't use the strong arm of the law to impose someone else's morality on the perpetrator, no matter the cost to Hongi.
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I'm deliberately constructing this question because I think it might expose a flaw in Hongi's logic, I'm not advocating the beating of Hongi to a pulp.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-08 04:10am

I have long been convinced that most people cling to simple moral principles like Hongi's "coercion is always bad" rule or "I don't think for myself, I just agree with my preacher" for their very simplicity: they like them because they are so easy to use. Simple rules give you a way to pass easy judgements with little thought, zero research, and no possibility of recrimination.

Feedback-based and outcome-based morality requires a much more scientific approach: now you have to gather data, analyze it, and worse yet, accept the possibility that you might have chosen wrong, and that the data will show that something you thought would benefit people actually hurts more people than it helps. That's nowhere near as pleasing to the ego as absolute statements of "right and wrong" in which you can never possibly be proven wrong because your judgement is not based on any kind of testable criteria.
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by hongi » 2012-07-08 06:22am

Questor wrote:This is where you get into the interesting thought experiment of: If someone comes up and beats Hongi to a pulp, does he report it to the police? Obviously, what the perpetrator did was moral to them, and one shouldn't use the strong arm of the law to impose someone else's morality on the perpetrator, no matter the cost to Hongi.
Spoiler
I'm deliberately constructing this question because I think it might expose a flaw in Hongi's logic, I'm not advocating the beating of Hongi to a pulp.
Darth Wong wrote:Hongi's "coercion is always bad" rule


I don't know who the fault belongs to, me for not explaining my beliefs well enough or you for not understanding them.

I don't have anything against the idea of the law, which I've described as a codification of someone else's morality. It's true that I have no objective grounds to criticise someone who beats me up who thinks that's right. Because he is in the right. But I have subjective grounds to seek revenege, because I might see that beating as bad. And I'd also be right to consider it as bad. I have no problem with using the law to achieve my purposes of revenge.

I never said coercion was always a bad thing. That's exactly the opposite of what I've been saying. If I've said anything in the past five pages, it's that I don't support such definitive statements. Coercion can be good and can be bad, coercion is good and is bad.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Bakustra » 2012-07-08 09:37am

Darth Wong wrote:
Bakustra wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Bullshit. You are just following religious dogma, which says that atheism has no source of morality. And you believe this because you believe that morality is defined as absolute rules of "right and wrong" which can only be declared through fiat. Who says that we have to define morality that way?

The evolutionary origins of morality have been extensively studied. In practice, it has never been this cosmic universal self-evident truth system you speak of. It has always been a behavioural system, part coercive and part voluntary, governing individual behaviour for societies. You speak of what it is, without any reference to the history of what it has actually been or where it came from. Your assertions come straight out of your ass, and you seek to justify that asinine behaviour by pretending that it cannot be any other way.
Oh, dear, you seem to be punching yourself in the face there, since you are far closer to "this cosmic universal self-evident truth system" than I. I am suggesting that morality is a subjective, human construct. You are suggesting that there is some sort of basis for morality outside the subjective convictions of humans, though you certainly dare not clarify as to whether this basis is through evolution (naturalistically fallacious) or through society (fails the laugh test).
Your amazing stupidity does not validate your point, nor does your habit of saying that something you disagree with "fails the laugh test" without explaining the logical underpinnings of this "laugh test". You are literally arguing that it must be wrong because of the way you personally react to it, fucktard.

You say that it's a "naturalistic fallacy" to say that morality comes from evolutionary roots, but that statement assumes that we are claiming morality to be a universal good. You are saying it's fallacious because it's fallacious to say "it's natural, therefore good". In other words, you completely miss the point, which is that no one is saying that our system of morality is a universal "good". We are saying that it is good for humans. It may be a fallacy to say "it is natural, therefore good" (implying "universal good"), but it is not a fallacy to say "evolutionary pressures demonstrate that it is good for our species".

As often happens when imbeciles try to use logic, you throw the names of fallacies around without properly understanding what makes them fallacies in the first place, or bothering to understand what your opponent is saying.
First of all, please don't use the plural we to refer to yourself, thanks.

First of all, you're saying that if a moral system is derived from evolution, it is therefore superior to all other moral systems. That is the naturalistic fallacy right there- a "natural" system is superior to the "artificial" ones developed by philosophers. Neat way to justify rejecting the sum of philosophy which you don't like all at once- it's "artificial", and therefore inferior to your preferred "natural" system. Fallacious way to determine which system is best, though!

Secondly, my good sir, if someone put together a rigorous proof of humans being armadillos, we could work out exactly where they went wrong, in premises or in methodology, or we could note that this result is laughable and thus dismiss it preemptively. The "laugh test" is a simple phrase to describe a heuristic shortcut whereby we safely ignore results so incompatible with observed reality that they are outright laughable. As an example, claiming that society produces objective morality where individuals do not is laughable because society is made up of individuals and without a proposed Gestalt-consciousness unique to societal formations which is of a different order, the result is that by adding together the subjective moral codes of disassociated individuals we can achieve objective morality. Surely even you can see how that argument falls apart at that point.
This paragraph is just more of your utterly worthless blather, repeating your idiotic assumptions in more verbose and florid format. You can't cover up your stupidity with sheer verbiage.
No, I'm mocking your arguments here. You outright said that I must have been religiously brainwashed because I noted that theistic moral systems, by invoking a superhuman entity, can claim objectivity and thus absolve people of responsibility for their moral codes. I guess that counts as an endorsement of theism in your book? You also have claimed that evolutionary morality justifies the need for coercion. The only way that you can look at an evolutionary morality without either a) writing just-so stories about our earlier ancestors or b) concluding that existentialism and nihilism are better fitted for the human condition than Aristotleian ethics because they're newer is by c) looking at possible examples of moral behavior in animals, and in social animals, most premoral or primitive moral systems are built around rewarding for generosity and kindness and punishing for stinginess and cruelty not through coercive actions, but through association and ostracizing, which are only coercive in meaningless senses.

EDIT: But this methodology does reveal that you're very personally uncomfortable with the idea that morality is subjective, and so seek solace in a constructed morality around scientific findings that justifies your personal feelings. For example, eugenics can strengthen a society, but I'm damn sure you'd find the idea of killing congenitally diseased or disordered children to free up resources for others abhorrent. Your presented morality cannot distinguish this society from a presumed ideal form of our society without your personal, subjective beliefs on why eugenic infanticide and/or abortion are immoral, which is why your entire argument fails- it cannot provide the objective morality you are claiming it is. It rests on the pillars of your prejudices. Remove those, and it comes tumbling down.
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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-08 11:37am

Bakustra wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Your amazing stupidity does not validate your point, nor does your habit of saying that something you disagree with "fails the laugh test" without explaining the logical underpinnings of this "laugh test". You are literally arguing that it must be wrong because of the way you personally react to it, fucktard.

You say that it's a "naturalistic fallacy" to say that morality comes from evolutionary roots, but that statement assumes that we are claiming morality to be a universal good. You are saying it's fallacious because it's fallacious to say "it's natural, therefore good". In other words, you completely miss the point, which is that no one is saying that our system of morality is a universal "good". We are saying that it is good for humans. It may be a fallacy to say "it is natural, therefore good" (implying "universal good"), but it is not a fallacy to say "evolutionary pressures demonstrate that it is good for our species".

As often happens when imbeciles try to use logic, you throw the names of fallacies around without properly understanding what makes them fallacies in the first place, or bothering to understand what your opponent is saying.
First of all, please don't use the plural we to refer to yourself, thanks.

First of all, you're saying that if a moral system is derived from evolution, it is therefore superior to all other moral systems. That is the naturalistic fallacy right there- a "natural" system is superior to the "artificial" ones developed by philosophers. Neat way to justify rejecting the sum of philosophy which you don't like all at once- it's "artificial", and therefore inferior to your preferred "natural" system. Fallacious way to determine which system is best, though!
Wrong, moron. I'm saying that the history of evolution has demonstrated that social co-operative ethics works. I am using historical data to establish the effectiveness of a method. As I said, you are clearly too stupid to understand the argument I'm making; you saw only that I was referring to nature, and assumed you had an opening to accuse me of the naturalistic fallacy because your mind is too feeble to grasp the logic.
Secondly, my good sir, if someone put together a rigorous proof of humans being armadillos, we could work out exactly where they went wrong, in premises or in methodology, or we could note that this result is laughable and thus dismiss it preemptively. The "laugh test" is a simple phrase to describe a heuristic shortcut whereby we safely ignore results so incompatible with observed reality that they are outright laughable. As an example, claiming that society produces objective morality where individuals do not is laughable because society is made up of individuals and without a proposed Gestalt-consciousness unique to societal formations which is of a different order, the result is that by adding together the subjective moral codes of disassociated individuals we can achieve objective morality. Surely even you can see how that argument falls apart at that point.
Wow, what a brilliant point, except that I never claimed society "produces objective morality", you stupid asshole. I claimed that it produces a form of morality which benefits society, and we humans are social animals. The very first thing I said about this subject is that there's no such thing as objective morality, and that morality is merely a social concept. You can't grasp that, so you keep misinterpreting that as "social morality is objective". It's hilarious how you go on at length about how I'm wrong about things I did not actually say, all while patting yourself on the back for #winning.
This paragraph is just more of your utterly worthless blather, repeating your idiotic assumptions in more verbose and florid format. You can't cover up your stupidity with sheer verbiage.
No, I'm mocking your arguments here. You outright said that I must have been religiously brainwashed because I noted that theistic moral systems, by invoking a superhuman entity, can claim objectivity and thus absolve people of responsibility for their moral codes.
No, I'm saying that you've been religiously brainwashed because you keep assuming that anyone who defends a system of morality must be arguing that this system of morality represents "objective morality", ie- a universal good. Only religion claims this to be a requirement of morality, or that the only alternative to this silly notion of universal good is to adopt total nihilism. You keep relying on this assumption even when I repeatedly point out that it's wrong; that's why I conclude that you are doing it subconsciously, due to religious brainwashing.
I guess that counts as an endorsement of theism in your book? You also have claimed that evolutionary morality justifies the need for coercion. The only way that you can look at an evolutionary morality without either a) writing just-so stories about our earlier ancestors or b) concluding that existentialism and nihilism are better fitted for the human condition than Aristotleian ethics because they're newer is by c) looking at possible examples of moral behavior in animals, and in social animals, most premoral or primitive moral systems are built around rewarding for generosity and kindness and punishing for stinginess and cruelty not through coercive actions, but through association and ostracizing, which are only coercive in meaningless senses.
Again, you are obviously too stupid to understand what I'm saying. I'm not saying that evolution justifies coercion; I'm saying that evolution explains where morality comes from and what it accomplishes, ie- that it is innately social. Coercion is justified by practicality: it is necessary to make people work toward that goal in modern societies of millions of people, which our minds never evolved to handle. It is also necessary to deal with sociopaths.
EDIT: But this methodology does reveal that you're very personally uncomfortable with the idea that morality is subjective, and so seek solace in a constructed morality around scientific findings that justifies your personal feelings. For example, eugenics can strengthen a society, but I'm damn sure you'd find the idea of killing congenitally diseased or disordered children to free up resources for others abhorrent. Your presented morality cannot distinguish this society from a presumed ideal form of our society without your personal, subjective beliefs on why eugenic infanticide and/or abortion are immoral, which is why your entire argument fails- it cannot provide the objective morality you are claiming it is. It rests on the pillars of your prejudices. Remove those, and it comes tumbling down.
What a moron. The first thing I said was that there is no objective morality, and you are now playing Dr. Fraud, trying to psychoanalyze me for my obvious discomfort with the absence of objective morality. Learn to read, dipshit. As for eugenics strengthening society, historical examples of eugenics have actually been failures. Spartan eugenics led to an inbred society with declining population, which was eventually destroyed by its neighbours and slaves. Historically, the most successful empires have been the inclusive ones, which attempted a form of multi-culturalism dating all the way back to Persia and Rome. But hey, feel free to continue dismissing the concept without bothering to give it serious attention; that is clearly your modus operandi after all.
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"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Bakustra » 2012-07-08 01:45pm

So now you're carefully rephrasing yourself in order to go from "this particular socially coercive thing that I call ethics is the best moral system because of science" to your current "social ethics are generally recognized as better than antisocial ethics". Well, while I can hardly fault someone for retreating from pinheaded positions, I have to wonder why you didn't advocate this position in the first place, since it's so milquetoast as to attract disagreement from only the most hardcore of libertarians.

In addition, I see I have given you too much credit, since apparently you are actually endorsing eugenics, if "continue dismissing the concept without bothering to give it serious attention" was written according to the syntactical conventions of standard English. If not, I have to wonder what the hell you're referring to, then.
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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?
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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Darth Wong » 2012-07-08 09:08pm

In other words, Bakustra cannot read English, and has no answers to the points raised, so he just grossly misrepresents my position yet again and pretends I'm rewriting my words even though anyone can go back to PAGE ONE and see that I've been saying that morality is not "objective" from the very beginning.

What the hell is your goddamned problem? You grossly misrepresented my position, you got caught, ANYONE can go back to page one and read what I said in my very first post which proves you wrong, and you refuse to admit it so you try to convince everyone that I'm "backpedaling" by reminding you of what I said in the first place.

Worse yet, after I explain that eugenics was not successful in history, you somehow interpret that as support for eugenics. I can only conclude that you are either a fucking idiot or you are deliberately and unrepentantly distorting my position in order to avoid admitting error.
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by Questor » 2012-07-08 11:48pm

Hongi, what, in your view, is the purpose of an ethical system? In other words, why are we having this conversation?

Is it just so you can pretend to be some kind of persecuted minority?

Are you trying to be one of the "cool kids" by declaring yourself to be an "x nihilist"?

Are you just spouting random shit?

If you're here for a serious discussion of your moral system - and lets be frank, a serious discussion's going to involve criticism - then lets do that. Instead of telling us that you intuit things to be true, how about you lead us down a philosophical path that makes it make sense. I've given you a number of starting points, use them.

If you feel this is getting side tracked, and want a more focused discussion, we have avenues for that on this board as well.

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Re: moral nihilism

Post by hongi » 2012-07-09 01:03am

Darth Wong wrote: Social success, not necessarily social cohesion. Sometimes, excessive social order is harmful to success. Look at Admiral Nelson as an example: his victories often occurred because his commanders had more individual autonomy, whereas the Spaniards preferred a more top-down command structure which turned out to be too inflexible for changing battlefield conditions.
Do all societies succeed in the same way? And how would you recognise social success when you see it?

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