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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-22 03:40pm
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Carinthium wrote:
All the people who have viewed this thread on my end have told me to stop arguing with Stas Bush because he's an idiot. None the less...

C, vain insults don't change the fact that I'm right. I don't know if anarchist morons (because there are smart anarchists, no shit) who "viewed this thread" on your end really even understand the points which are made.
Carinthium wrote:
I would dispute the claim that everybody finds tribalism abhorent. In a more detailed rebuttal, I will point out that every conception of practicality (and there are different ones in different cultures) has implicit within it philosophical claims of what is morally good. More importantly, they usually can't justify said claims. For example, in your case that the survival of the species is a good thing.

You can't "justify" the claim that survival of your own species is good (which is nothing but a word we made up for describing things we like, things that are beneficial for us)? Is it that hard? You realize that the destruction of the species equals also your own destruction. A self-destructive impulse of that magnitude is definetely psychotic. Practicality does not say what is good. The example I made, killing other people for food is not good if food's plentiful (and we consider it a crime), but at times of severe hardship we might actually look the other way.
Carinthium wrote:
You might claim that such a principle is so basic no moral system can dispute it. My counter is the classical moral subjectivist argument- plenty of people, such as C.S Lewis, would have considered the extermination of the species justified in the protection of what they see as higher moral goods (C.S Lewis explicitly said this).

See - this is what I was talking about. Abberations from the norm are destructive to the species. Easter Island was basically such a scenario in miniature. Unless you're perfectly fine with your self-destruction, I see no reason to subscribe to a system of morality like this.
Carinthium wrote:
The implicit claim is that one follows from the other. Your logic is flawed (as some people can suffer more or less than others), but even if hypothetically it were true, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT ONE SHOULD CARE. In addition, you come across other problems- if you are to treat humans as higher than animals based on their intelligence, then shouldn't more intelligent humans be treated as more important (even if to a very minute degree) than less intelligent humans?

So is there an objective scientific observation that would demonstrate normative behaviour (avoiding suffering) as counterbeneficial to the species or not? I'm a bit dissappointed. All caps are the very definition of lame. And why not care, anyway? The objective observer is still human, is he not? There is a difference, of course, but Einstein and a stupid person would cry in agony all the same if their hand catches fire. Since the reaction is similar, I simply consider this a part of the norm, and I consider equal or very similar reactions to be at work here.
Carinthium wrote:
Say you are talking to a nationalist, who says "I care about my own people more than any others" but does not dispute your facts. How can you claim to him that his posistion is in any way inconsistent without appealing to a base principle he can disagree with? There may be no reason for an objective observer to give more weight to the suffering of one being than another- but there is also no reason for an objective observer to give equal weight. There is no reason for an objective observer to give any weight to any suffering. Basically, the whole thing comes down to first principles- which is why I maintain as I did from the start that Moral Individualism deserves a fair hearing.

Nationalist != objective observer. The example just does not have any consistency. So who should be convinced of the reasonability of my stance, the objective observer or a nationalist, who's clearly holding a subjective position?
Carinthium wrote:
No you haven't- why on earth should a type of action being normal and not hindering of the development and survival of the species be a good thing? Rape instincts are natural and don't hinder the development and survival of the species (at least in the case of women who wouldn't have children otherwise), which I suspect is a problem for you.

:lol: Rape instincts (and many instincts in general) are no longer a part of the norm for quite a while, see "sentience". They are counterbeneficial to the species as it stands now. But of course, it would be rather stupid to argue that rape is evil in a pack of the human ancestor apes, don't you think?
Carinthium wrote:
As I said, I am arguing that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism should be put an equal basis here.

I am not sure I'd want to put a moral system which is not based on anything observable on equal basis with anything. That's a sky pixie system. What if the sky pixie tells us to commit to self-destruction, like Easter Island? :lol: C. S. Lewis might have fun for a while, but I don't find that reasonable at all. Materialist viewpoints don't work like this. And materialism is the only sound philosophical current - I guess you'd disagree, but why would it even matter?
Carinthium wrote:
I take it you agree with my claim about if brotherhood was enforced, then?

Something like that is enforced in modern societies. Western nations disallow violence to occur (see police), there are whole nation-states institutions for mutual help (formalized even) and people are encouraged to treat each other as fellow citizens. Not as brothers, but certainly as people working together for a mutual goal, colleagues if you wish. Maybe you hate it, but you're not in Somali yet to my knowledge.
Carinthium wrote:
Maybe most people see totalitarianism as a good thing, but that does not make it an objective good. Anyway, as I said I was justifying my original use of the word 'totalitarian' by reference to the dictionary. In addition: 1- There are de facto governments throughout Somalia, even if not internationally recognised ones. 2- There are de facto laws (and I think de jure laws as well) enforced on the Amish. I am given to understand they are actually harsher than the rest of the U.S.

Well, if real anarchy doesn't work the way you like, too bad for you C. I mean, would you also call a gang on your block a "government" if there's no national government anymore? And if so, where does government start? Maybe there's no anarchy at all. A family is often a form of government as well by your standards. And if most people enjoy your 'totalitarianism' and have fun on the internets and relax, sure this makes it good from a practical viewpoint. I'm not sure you can prove the existence of an "objective good", not in a scientific way at least, so why even care?
Carinthium wrote:
You're being about as scientific as Karl Marx- how can you justify the claim that the survival and spread of the species is an objective good?

Yeah, thanks for comparing me to one of the materialist philosophers whose works I enjoy. :lol: And of course I can justify that if I'm sticking to my materialism. How can you justify the opposite? By appealing to a sky pixie? Sorry, but while matter and the species are observed, just like their behaviour is, a sky pixie is imaginary and cannot be observed by science. Call me back when God can be observed.
Carinthium wrote:
Slipped into the wrong grammar here, as I was trying to speak for a Moral Individualist posistion I do not in fact hold. Moral Individualists would probably argue that human behaviour implicitly acts to defend said rights, or (as in a case I learned of recently) that said rights are granted by God.

Call me back when God can be observed. Or, you know, investigated using the scientific method and not found being just a fantasy.
Carinthium wrote:
Primitive tribes do not in fact follow utiltarian principles on many matters. Examples include religion in general, honour codes (honour-killings being a prime example), and others. Plenty of idealists throughout history have also done things which do not make sense from a utilitarian perspective- I don't think I need to provide examples.

Uh... religion? Primitive tribes have very primitive forms of religion. Which are also easily explained. And they are pretty utilitarian when you think about the level of knowledge that they have. I am not sure honour codes and honour killings are non-utilitarian either. In the absence of government and police utilitarian outcomes have to be ensured somehow. Honour code is a primitive form of formalized social rules, and honour killings in the absence of police serve as means of enforcement of the social rules. The rules themselves arise to increase the survival potential of the tribe.
Carinthium wrote:
Your language is that of moral superiority- something you haven't justified. Finally, you keep ASSUMING that just because science observes humans behaving in a certain way that it is a morally good thing somehow to behave that way. You have not justified this moral claim.

I am not sure I even want to use the terms "good" or "bad". There's nothing that is objectively good or bad. There are, however, objectively beneficial and counterbeneficial things for the survival of the species. Unless you'd want to challenge the survival of species as beneficial by invoking God, there's no real argument against that.
Carinthium wrote:
The Amish ARE A SOCIETY, WITH LAWS. If you murder somebody on Amish ground, the government will punish you. If you commit fraud on Amish ground on a large enough scale, you will be punished. In addition, Somalia has de facto governments in place.

Um... if you want to leave society completely (even one which does not qualify as a government - Somalia's armed gangs hardly qualify as one, I'm sorry) you still have that option. Go to the depth of the Amazon and become a lone hermit, don't interact with any societies, not even ones without government (e.g. tribes). Perfect. This does not occur. I guess people want to live inside a society. :lol:
Carinthium wrote:
The argument that because people want something it is good has been seen as a fallacy since Ancient Greece (ergo you are stupid for believing it, or your education has been lacking). I do not think the hypothetical individualist would be able to justify his positions, but really you can't either. This is NOT a factual debate about what people really want, but a MORAL debate about what is OBJECTIVELY right.

There's no such thing as objective good. If you're too stupid to realize that... :lol: But between matter and fantasy I pick matter.
Carinthium wrote:
That's what I've been arguing from the start, moron! I was discussing another perspective merely to bring it to people's attention!

Useless waste of my time.
Carinthium wrote:
There is probably some reason why it didn't work- if it can be identified, then Unions can be fixed.

I'd say go for it, but you haven't identified that reason.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 12:27am
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Will edit my response to Stas Bush here in a bit. For the moment:

Simon_Jester:
Quote:
Why are these arguments not valid?

The ideal state should work; if it doesn't work, then what's the point? By what standard of 'ideal' is a broken system more ideal than one that works? Is a broken car more ideal than a running one? Is a dead tree more ideal than a living one? Is a dull knife more ideal than a sharp one?


To put it another way- philosophy must be practical because if it isn't it will be a 'broken' system- but how you define 'broken'? By reference to various things you call 'bad'- but you are arbitrarily calling them 'bad' without justifying them.

Your opponents could say that achieving the ideal is worth the consequences- you should be debating the worth of various alleged goods against alleged bads, not appealing to some ideal of 'practicality'.

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How is that not libertarianism?


You're mixing up two different points- one showing how a system can be Moral Individualist but not libertarian, and the other showing how a system can work that is libertarian.

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A social contract exists by default if people follow it. People do follow it, because it's common bloody sense. A few people resent the contract, but so what? You can probably find someone who resents the law of gravity if you look hard enough; that doesn't mean it's not there.

You're making a deep mistake by thinking a "social contract" is a paper document which we opt into or opt out of. It's not; it's an emergent property of what we call 'culture' or 'civilization.' To live as anything but a fearful outlaw you must abide by such a contract. You can agitate to have it modified, but you can't wish it away unless you want to destroy the metaphorical ground upon which you stand.

And as far as I'm concerned that's a perfectly good philosophical justification. I don't understand where you get the idea that philosophy is supposed to work independent of practical concerns.


If you asked somebody who knew no philosophy, they would not say that they had agreed to the laws in place- they would see themselves as obligated to follow them, and not be able to think of a good justification why. Only if you rigged the discussion would you move them towards Social Contract theory. Humans, as a question of fact, tend to conform to the rules of those of higher social status.

If your second paragraph is true, then the term 'social contract' is unjustified as it is nothing like a contract. For myself, I would replace involuntary "social contracts" with voluntary, i.e actual social contracts for those wanted them and let those who desired become outlaws as long as they didn't threaten the rest of us.

See earlier.

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Bullshit.

The overwhelming majority of people in history lived in societies, with interlocking webs of duty, authority, responsibility and power. They had a social contract, in one form or another, and knew it. They knew that people were supposed to do certain things to look out for the common good, that they were in turn expected to not commit crimes or turn against each other. And the overwhelming majority of people, aside from criminals and the occasional whiny intellectual, have consented to this. They may want to change the details, but do you have any idea how rare it really is that someone says "I oppose the idea that society cares for the weak today, so that we may be cared for when we are weak tomorrow!"


See earlier- unless they've come across social contract theory, they don't believe in it. Only intellectuals have dealt with the matter (in general) because (in general) only intellectuals have dealt with social contract theory- and many have opposed it.

Anyway, libertarianism by its nature opposes your last statement. Ideas which imply opposistion to your last statement (even if the people who stated them did not realise this) are at least as old as the French Revolution and probably older.

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Hippie communes exist. I don't mind leaving them alone. I can accept the idea that society has dropouts. What I cannot accept is this ambition to wreck society itself by tearing up the framework that holds it together.

People, by and large, need each other. They need each other for practical things, and also to fulfill each other's higher needs and desires. Without mechanisms to bond people together and create some kind of mutual trust, nearly all people will spend nearly all their time being miserable and unfulfilled.


If people want association with others they can choose it on their own terms. Making society optional does not abolish society for those who want it, however many or few. It does, however (to use arguments that might convince you, even if I doubt their philosophical worth), ensure that those who don't need society but who society wants (a very rare category, I admit) don't have to have the rest of society as parasites on them whilst allowing the smaller units that make up individual societies in such a world to pick and choose its members based on who actually contributes (rather than have to deal with parasites upon society).

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Extraordinary people who want to 'drop out' should be able to make it stick, if they're that extraordinary. Most aren't; delusions of genius are more common than real genius.

And am I talking about violating individual freedom? I don't think so. How free can I be, if I'm at the mercy of wandering 'dissenters' who want to ignore the rules of my society, while still being in a good position to exploit my own willingness to follow those rules? How free would we really be, if we all left each other alone to the whims of fate?

Most people I know, myself included, would be miserable or dead. Probably dead young.


I.e People are pathetic morons who need to coddled.

If people want to harm themselves by dropping out of society when they really can't cope, why not let them? They'll come back having learned their lesson later, after all.

Your next statement summarises a lot of the difference, I think you would agree, between left-wing and right-wing ideas of freedom. However, although you could argue you are sacrificing some freedom to maintain the rest of it you could in no way argue that you aren't sacrificing freedom. You may or may not care and you may or may not realise, but you should at least realise that by having a world of such a nature you are tearing apart the maxim "Men are born free and equal."

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How is that not a social contract?

The social contract exists even among tribes held together by extended family bonds, Carinthium. It's there whenever you have the idea of "follow our rules in exchange for our protection and aid and support and care."

In societies dominated by tribal relations, you don't get to opt out, except by being an outlaw. Who is hunted and hated by all because they are the enemy of all. The man who won't follow rules against stealing or cheating cannot be trusted and left alone; it simply doesn't work.


The difference would be that all such contracts would be explicit, and that force would not be used to uphold them. This would people would be bound to sacrifice only the freedoms they had freely chosen to sacrifice. This is very different from the system of traditional tribes (which I never advocated).

Of course these societies would defend their own property. 'Cheating' is too vague to be enforced without moralising and loss of freedom, but not that many people are stupid enough to be cheated more than once or twice in their lifetimes and few societies would be cheated much by outsiders within a generation as they would learn from the experience.

Quote:
You can ruin someone's life without laying a finger on them. Refusal to admit this is one of the simplest ways to take libertarianism and drive it off a cliff.


You'll have to go into more detail about this objection, as to "ruin someone's life without laying a finger on them" encompasses a lot of different things, each for which I have different argument. Choose which ones to raise and I'll give you my responses.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 12:58am
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Couldn't edit my post, so did the next best thing and added another.

Stas Bush:

Quote:
C, vain insults don't change the fact that I'm right. I don't know if anarchist morons (because there are smart anarchists, no shit) who "viewed this thread" on your end really even understand the points which are made.


There are plenty of people below even your intellectual caliber on this site- I'm trying to avoid the effects of implicit argument ad populorum.

Quote:
You can't "justify" the claim that survival of your own species is good (which is nothing but a word we made up for describing things we like, things that are beneficial for us)? Is it that hard? You realize that the destruction of the species equals also your own destruction. A self-destructive impulse of that magnitude is definetely psychotic. Practicality does not say what is good. The example I made, killing other people for food is not good if food's plentiful (and we consider it a crime), but at times of severe hardship we might actually look the other way.


'Good' and 'evil' reflect core ideas of the mind, not 'mere' concepts (like a word such as 'empire')- the words we use could be different, but any human would have them.

You are appealing here to another alleged good- my own destruction- and another alleged bad- psychosis. Again, you can't establish these alleged good and bad things as good or bad.

Finally, if you are appealing to what ordinary people see as good or bad rather than what is good or bad then we've been arguing different things the entire time. I was never arguing about what ordinary people think of morality.

Quote:
See - this is what I was talking about. Abberations from the norm are destructive to the species. Easter Island was basically such a scenario in miniature. Unless you're perfectly fine with your self-destruction, I see no reason to subscribe to a system of morality like this.


See above.

Quote:
So is there an objective scientific observation that would demonstrate normative behaviour (avoiding suffering) as counterbeneficial to the species or not? I'm a bit dissappointed. All caps are the very definition of lame. And why not care, anyway? The objective observer is still human, is he not? There is a difference, of course, but Einstein and a stupid person would cry in agony all the same if their hand catches fire. Since the reaction is similar, I simply consider this a part of the norm, and I consider equal or very similar reactions to be at work here.


1- It's just another form of emphasis, one level 'above' bold type. I was trying to put particular emphasis on the point.
2- Appeal to empathy (which you have not established), and a flawed one anyway as humans feel in a very similiar way to animals.
3- I've already refuted the idea of benefit to the species being good.

Quote:
Nationalist != objective observer. The example just does not have any consistency. So who should be convinced of the reasonability of my stance, the objective observer or a nationalist, who's clearly holding a subjective position?


I would consider an objective observer to be one who is correct on all relevant factual points. Their moral views don't come into it. Going into more detail- if you're going to call a nationalist an unobjective observer for his moral feelings, why not do the same for a so-called objective observer who displays moral feelings themselves? Your only recourse is an appeal to the norm or appeal to an arbitrary principle.

Quote:
Rape instincts (and many instincts in general) are no longer a part of the norm for quite a while, see "sentience". They are counterbeneficial to the species as it stands now. But of course, it would be rather stupid to argue that rape is evil in a pack of the human ancestor apes, don't you think?


Rape has been in the same posistion it always has been- a part of the male breeding instinct and stigmatised by society at the same time. I also see nothing stupid about claiming rape is evil in a pack of ancestor apes, particularly given that.

To use more examples of my point- genocide, imperialistic warfare, hereditary stigmatisation of a genetic group with no real genetic disadvantages etc.

Quote:
I am not sure I'd want to put a moral system which is not based on anything observable on equal basis with anything. That's a sky pixie system. What if the sky pixie tells us to commit to self-destruction, like Easter Island? C. S. Lewis might have fun for a while, but I don't find that reasonable at all. Materialist viewpoints don't work like this. And materialism is the only sound philosophical current - I guess you'd disagree, but why would it even matter?


Moral Communalism, as I'm establishing here, is also based on nothing.

On matters of fact, yes materialism (if I understand what it is right) is the only sound philosophical current. But all your attempts to derive morality from it fail as you cannot put your first principle on sound footing.

Quote:
Something like that is enforced in modern societies. Western nations disallow violence to occur (see police), there are whole nation-states institutions for mutual help (formalized even) and people are encouraged to treat each other as fellow citizens. Not as brothers, but certainly as people working together for a mutual goal, colleagues if you wish. Maybe you hate it, but you're not in Somali yet to my knowledge.


I don't have the money to head to Somalia or any actual anarchic world region.

Anyway, as you admitted that's not brotherhood. If you're accusing me of inconsistency I will point out that violence comes under the 'human rights' category, making the part under question from Moral Individualism the issuing of taxes (which at the moment I don't pay) plus a few minor things (which I do object to if that's your point).

Quote:
Well, if real anarchy doesn't work the way you like, too bad for you C. I mean, would you also call a gang on your block a "government" if there's no national government anymore? And if so, where does government start? Maybe there's no anarchy at all. A family is often a form of government as well by your standards. And if most people enjoy your 'totalitarianism' and have fun on the internets and relax, sure this makes it good from a practical viewpoint. I'm not sure you can prove the existence of an "objective good", not in a scientific way at least, so why even care?


My whole point was that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism can't establish first principles and so are on equal levels. I was then going to go into why a person might consider being a Moral Individualist instead of a Moral Communalist.

Anarchy is the absence of government or some other coercive ordering power- hence the Amish are not anarchic (nor is the middle of the desert- if I commited murder there I would be punished soon after I was found out). You may claim it is implausible, but that's a very different argument from talking about 'real' anarchy.

I've already discussed your matter of 'praticality'- which derives into several claims of what is good, all which lack establishment.

Quote:
Yeah, thanks for comparing me to one of the materialist philosophers whose works I enjoy. And of course I can justify that if I'm sticking to my materialism. How can you justify the opposite? By appealing to a sky pixie? Sorry, but while matter and the species are observed, just like their behaviour is, a sky pixie is imaginary and cannot be observed by science. Call me back when God can be observed.


You cannot derive from "Humans instinctually want the survival of the species" that "The survival of the species is good."

Karl Marx was almost anti-empirical in his attempts at observations- nobody could seriously call him a scientist despite his claims to being scientific. On factual matters you may be different, but on moral matters you've proved you aren't.

Quote:
Call me back when God can be observed. Or, you know, investigated using the scientific method and not found being just a fantasy.


I never said Moral Individualism was objectively true- only saying it should be on an equal basis with Moral Communalism. I was going to do this not by building the case for Moral Individualism up, but by tearing the case for Moral Communalism down.

Quote:
Uh... religion? Primitive tribes have very primitive forms of religion. Which are also easily explained. And they are pretty utilitarian when you think about the level of knowledge that they have. I am not sure honour codes and honour killings are non-utilitarian either. In the absence of government and police utilitarian outcomes have to be ensured somehow. Honour code is a primitive form of formalized social rules, and honour killings in the absence of police serve as means of enforcement of the social rules. The rules themselves arise to increase the survival potential of the tribe.


I'm not sure if you're using the proper definition of 'utilitarian' (the greatest happiness for the greatest number) or a definition of 'utilitarian' based on the survival of the species here. By the former idea your claim is ludicrous- honour killings to enforce arrainged marriages cause massive suffering for women. By the latter you face problems of human nature (people often psycologically refute to do the utiltarian thing), failures to adjust (some tribes rapidly modernise under pressure, others don't), and so on.

You still haven't refuted my point about idealists- if utiltarianism is so basic, how come so many people, including ordinary people, reject utiltarianism?

Quote:
I am not sure I even want to use the terms "good" or "bad". There's nothing that is objectively good or bad. There are, however, objectively beneficial and counterbeneficial things for the survival of the species. Unless you'd want to challenge the survival of species as beneficial by invoking God, there's no real argument against that.


If there's no objective good or bad, Moral Communalism cannot claim any supremacy over Moral Individualism- hence you lose.

Quote:
Um... if you want to leave society completely (even one which does not qualify as a government - Somalia's armed gangs hardly qualify as one, I'm sorry) you still have that option. Go to the depth of the Amazon and become a lone hermit, don't interact with any societies, not even ones without government (e.g. tribes). Perfect. This does not occur. I guess people want to live inside a society.


First there is the question of if people should have to live away from others to live without society. The second problem, and the more important one- if I commit a murder or some other serious crime, I will be punished as I am still under the jurisidiction of the state. They may even kick me out for interfering with wildlife.

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There's no such thing as objective good. If you're too stupid to realize that... But between matter and fantasy I pick matter.


There probably isn't- hence I win. Thank you for playing.

Quote:
I'd say go for it, but you haven't identified that reason.


I'm saying that since it doesn't seem to make sense on the face of it, it would be justified for scientific purposes anyway to try and figure out the reason and correct it- additionally for better justice in society.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 05:19am
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Carinthium wrote:
'Good' and 'evil' reflect core ideas of the mind, not 'mere' concepts (like a word such as 'empire')- the words we use could be different, but any human would have them.

That's simply wrong. A human who is brought up in complete isolation from human society (e.g. a Mowgli) might not even be able to master the language. And he might have completely alien concepts, which do not correspond to common "good" and "evil" descriptors that we casually apply. Fact is, however, morality itself is a social construct much like language. And just like language, which derives from material existence and is ever-changing, so is morality. Therefore there cannot be "objective good" or "objective bad" or anything along these lines, unless one subscribes to the belief in non-falsifiable, essentially a delusion. Indeed a delusion might lead to one having uncommon concepts of "beneficial", "good", "bad" and "harmful".
Carinthium wrote:
1- It's just another form of emphasis, one level 'above' bold type. I was trying to put particular emphasis on the point.
2- Appeal to empathy (which you have not established), and a flawed one anyway as humans feel in a very similiar way to animals.
3- I've already refuted the idea of benefit to the species being good.

You "refuted" this idea how - by showing that a delusional person may act against the benefit of the species? I'm sorry, but the argument from delusion is hardly a good argument. Besides, good is just one of the mental concepts devised by the species. Exterminate the species, and the artificial construct of morality is gone with it.
Carinthium wrote:
I would consider an objective observer to be one who is correct on all relevant factual points. Their moral views don't come into it. Going into more detail- if you're going to call a nationalist an unobjective observer for his moral feelings, why not do the same for a so-called objective observer who displays moral feelings themselves? Your only recourse is an appeal to the norm or appeal to an arbitrary principle.

Like I said, I fail to see how a nationalist may prove his thesis of superiority outside of racist pseudoscience, so I guess he's not 'correct on all relevant factual points'.
Carinthium wrote:
I also see nothing stupid about claiming rape is evil in a pack of ancestor apes, particularly given that.

:lol: So why is rape bad? Is rape also bad in a pack of cats? Would a cat understand your made-up concept of "bad"? Morality is nothing but a social construct. Outside of society there is no morality.
Carinthium wrote:
Moral Communalism, as I'm establishing here, is also based on nothing. On matters of fact, yes materialism (if I understand what it is right) is the only sound philosophical current. But all your attempts to derive morality from it fail as you cannot put your first principle on sound footing.

I guess I wasn't clear enough - I'm not deriving morality from materialism. Like any other social phenomena, morality is an artificial construct which arises in society and does not arise or exist outside of it, much like language. Survival of the species and benefit of the species are real, existing. Morality, on the other hand, is nothing but a mental concept that a social species (like humans) invents to attain these goals. So morality is a condition-dependent mental construct, entirely subservient to the material conditions that surround us.
Carinthium wrote:
I don't have the money to head to Somalia or any actual anarchic world region. Anyway, as you admitted that's not brotherhood. If you're accusing me of inconsistency I will point out that violence comes under the 'human rights' category, making the part under question from Moral Individualism the issuing of taxes (which at the moment I don't pay) plus a few minor things (which I do object to if that's your point).

Human rights are just a useful concept, much like morality itself. Getting to Somalia is not that expensive - take a plane to a neighboring nation, then ask someon to drive you to Somalia. Alternatively if you find an armed gang is too much of a 'government' for you, forests of Amazon and being a hermit are also easy ways to opt out.
Carinthium wrote:
My whole point was that Moral Individualism and Moral Communalism can't establish first principles and so are on equal levels. I was then going to go into why a person might consider being a Moral Individualist instead of a Moral Communalist.

Morality is a mental construct. Principles of morality are established in the process of social interaction. It is a byproduct of material existence. Therefore it is rather pointless to ask what is good or bad. There is only objective benefit of the species.
Carinthium wrote:
Anarchy is the absence of government or some other coercive ordering power- hence the Amish are not anarchic (nor is the middle of the desert- if I commited murder there I would be punished soon after I was found out). You may claim it is implausible, but that's a very different argument from talking about 'real' anarchy.

Anarchy is not the absence of any coercive power. Your neighbor with a gun may coerce you to do anything, but he does not become a government in the process. And your neighbor might punish you if he finds out you've been beating up his kids, for example, even though there's no government to be found. By your logic any society, even one of two people, is not an anarchy. Besides, a hermit in a lawless territory may kill someone and nobody (except perhaps the relatives of the murdered, if they find out and have the ability for revenge) will punish him, since the territory is lawless. So your claims are lame excuses.
Carinthium wrote:
I've already discussed your matter of 'praticality'- which derives into several claims of what is good, all which lack establishment.

On the contrary, practicality only concerns with the material - i.e. actually existing - species and its survival. It does not require morality. Morality is subservient to practical demands of the material world, nothing more and nothing less.
Carinthium wrote:
You cannot derive from "Humans instinctually want the survival of the species" that "The survival of the species is good." Karl Marx was almost anti-empirical in his attempts at observations- nobody could seriously call him a scientist despite his claims to being scientific. On factual matters you may be different, but on moral matters you've proved you aren't.

You're really dumb if you think there's some objective morality which is not entirely and completely subservient to the material world. This means that you're not a materialist. Not a materialist - delusional. End of story. Morality is an artificial mental invention of one of the many species inhabiting Earth, just like categories of "good" and "bad" are. While humans are material and their desire for survival is an observed fact, we can only judge something objectively as being beneficial or harmful to the material existence of the species. We cannot say there are objective categories of good and evil lest we actually shit on materialism and say Sky Pixie told us what's good and bad.
Carinthium wrote:
I never said Moral Individualism was objectively true- only saying it should be on an equal basis with Moral Communalism. I was going to do this not by building the case for Moral Individualism up, but by tearing the case for Moral Communalism down.

So far your system is based on a fantasy and requires objective morality and objective "good" and "evil" to exist. Such a system is definetely not based on material facts. I, on the other hand, do not claim that I know some objective 'good' or 'bad', but rather only what might be beneficial and counterbeneficial for the species. I think that morality itself is only a useful construct for the social species, nothing more.
Carinthium wrote:
I'm not sure if you're using the proper definition of 'utilitarian' (the greatest happiness for the greatest number) or a definition of 'utilitarian' based on the survival of the species here. By the former idea your claim is ludicrous- honour killings to enforce arrainged marriages cause massive suffering for women. By the latter you face problems of human nature (people often psycologically refute to do the utiltarian thing), failures to adjust (some tribes rapidly modernise under pressure, others don't), and so on. You still haven't refuted my point about idealists- if utiltarianism is so basic, how come so many people, including ordinary people, reject utiltarianism?

Basically I find morality to be of seconary importance to the survival of the species. In fact, a moral construct is only useful so far as it is useful to survive and benefit our existence in the material world. When it is no longer the case, morality has to be modified, just like language. It is a tool of social interaction, nothing more.
Carinthium wrote:
If there's no objective good or bad, Moral Communalism cannot claim any supremacy over Moral Individualism- hence you lose. ... There probably isn't- hence I win. Thank you for playing.

:? How does this even follow? Moral supremacy is in fact irrelevant, this is a made-up thing like morality itself. Moral communalism is not objectively good or bad, but it is useful for the species, its survival and prosperity, for the improvement of social interaction (which in turn helps the species to become more advanced, etc.). In terms of usefulness and survival benefits, some systems of morality are better than others. Just like some military training may be better than other types of training, and like some language may be better suited to communicate certain ideas than other languages. :lol: It does not mean there actually are objective good and bad.
Carinthium wrote:
First there is the question of if people should have to live away from others to live without society. The second problem, and the more important one- if I commit a murder or some other serious crime, I will be punished as I am still under the jurisidiction of the state. They may even kick me out for interfering with wildlife.

If you think that any society, no matter how fragmented, even if it is a bunch of gangs or primitive tribes, is coercive, you should leave all society and become a complete hermit. This is the only logical way to opt out of the agreement.
Carinthium wrote:
I'm saying that since it doesn't seem to make sense on the face of it, it would be justified for scientific purposes anyway to try and figure out the reason and correct it- additionally for better justice in society.

Why? Did you do a cost-benefit analysis of another attempt? Maybe it is not beneficial to do so and at some point people should try another approach instead. You haven't laid out the reasons for a repeat attempt to be preferrable to alternative venues of action.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 05:32am
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That's it- if you're stupid to realise that your use of 'survival of the species' is just an arbitrary standard that substitutes in your mind for 'good', your'e too dumb to argue with.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 05:40am
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Carinthium wrote:
That's it- if you're stupid to realise that your use of 'survival of the species' is just an arbitrary standard that substitutes in your mind for 'good', your'e too dumb to argue with.

If you think there's an objective good, you're not a materialist.

So it goes like this:
1. Social species exists.
2. Social species seeks to survive.
3. Social species develops language and morality as tools of interaction.
4. We can choose a system of morality that we find best-suited for the goal of survival.

So we choose not the "best" or "better" system but rather a system more beneficial for survival in the current circumstances. And that's about as much as we can do while remaining firmly materialist. Your choice is to keep arguing stupid concepts of objective good, evil and God? Fine, but don't waste my time with that delusional trash.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 06:17am
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Carinthium, you ignored my last post, so let's make this easier.

define good.

define bad.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-24 07:05am
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Missed it, actually. Give it a bit and I'll get a response up.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-26 08:17am
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Hi Stas!

I admit that I haven't read a lot about philosophy - I've delved a bit into Karl Poppers work on critical rationalism, but mostly by reading summaries. I'm not remembering having read anything on moral etc.

If I understand the materialist position as briefly outlined in this thread correctly, one could also argue
1. I exist.
2. I exist to reproduce.
3. I was born into a society of beings that share my species, and share basic bodily functions and several modes of thought imprinted in childhood, youth and early adulthood with those beings. Among these modes of thought is the current take on what is considered moral.
4. To reach goal 2., I should choose a system of morality that's best for co-existing with others while at the same time furthering my own good. This system should therefor rely on taking every advantage I can possibly have without making my system of morality obvious to other beings. I should do so untill I have reached a position of power others can't get me out of, at which point I exercise my position as ruthlessly as possible to reach the greatest reproductive success.

Is that correct?

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-26 09:54am
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Aharon wrote:
Hi Stas!

I admit that I haven't read a lot about philosophy - I've delved a bit into Karl Poppers work on critical rationalism, but mostly by reading summaries. I'm not remembering having read anything on moral etc.

If I understand the materialist position as briefly outlined in this thread correctly, one could also argue
1. I exist.
2. I exist to reproduce.
3. I was born into a society of beings that share my species, and share basic bodily functions and several modes of thought imprinted in childhood, youth and early adulthood with those beings. Among these modes of thought is the current take on what is considered moral.
4. To reach goal 2., I should choose a system of morality that's best for co-existing with others while at the same time furthering my own good. This system should therefor rely on taking every advantage I can possibly have without making my system of morality obvious to other beings. I should do so untill I have reached a position of power others can't get me out of, at which point I exercise my position as ruthlessly as possible to reach the greatest reproductive success.

Is that correct?

Note that I'm basically exploring this from a point of view of an observer who is judging the benefits of a species survival, not from a standpoint of a single human with an overpowering reproductive instinct. I am not making claims that morality (or language for that matter) has objective good or bad aspects, only saying that morality and certain systems of morality may be more beneficial for the survival of the species. Individuals, on their own, cannot have a language or a moral system independent of their goals.

"I exist" and "I exist to reproduce" are not exactly relevant to morality which is entirely a social construct. Let's compare two strings: Species exists > Species strives to survive > Species develops language > The more beneficial language is the one which allows the species to survive more efficiently, and I exist > I exist to survive/reproduce... then the chain breaks, since without society there's neither language nor morality. We can say that a certain behaviour might be more beneficial for either your suvival or reproduction, but that's it. We cannot say that this behaviour is a moral (or amoral :lol: ) system, just like a lone homo sapiens in complete isolation from the very birth would, IMHO, never even develop a language or a system of morality. It can only develop a morally neutral system of behaviour. Indeed, does morality matter for Robinzon Cruzoe? Not at all. His own goals are realized by him and him alone, therefore others should never be considered, no society exists.

A bit more on reproduction, survival and sociality. Since a social species survives (or goes extinct) together. For example, if you exterminate every male competitor on the planet, you would have greater reproductive success for you as an individual. However, the species might be doomed as there won't be enough genetic diversity (not to mention that you might accidentally die before reproducing). This becomes irrelevant if an individual cannot harm the species and it reproduces asocially and asexually, i.e. reproduction does not require society and does not depend on society. Human reproductive efficiencly decreases severely if society is lost (or atomized into tiny non-communicating hermit enclaves) and on the other hand, society greatly enhances the reproductive potential.

At point 4 you probably realize that (as many other human goals) survival is a complex task and not just a matter of reproduction. Humans are intelligent enough to realize that survival is no longer achieved by simple mass reproduction. The entire existence of civilization has been a way to remove existential threats to large human populations (possibly even the entire humanity).

In fact, you have a good chance of reproduction in an underdeveloped society with traditional morals (prohibition of contraception), but your own survival goals are hindered - you may die earlier than you otherwise would. So you balance two critical goals, survival and reproduction. In fact survival for humans will take priority over reproduction when the situation goes extreme. Hopeless parents, as awful as this sounds, might eat their children amidst a famine to survive. In case of war the menstrual cycle may stop for years. The organism's first priority is personal survival. Second priority is group survival, since it is tightly interrelated, and reproduction. It is hard to say which goal follows the other. Reproduction is nothing but the means of a species group survival. If another means of survival is found, that would take priority over reproduction I guess. Even for a single individual.

However:
Quote:
To reach goal 2., I should choose a system of morality that's best for co-existing with others while at the same time furthering my own good.

This is generally correct. After all, at some point you might never reach a position of power where you would have greater reproductive / survival success, or you might reach said success without harming others. In case of a developed society, (2) is the more likely case. In case of an underdeveloped society, competition for reproduction is critically important and your moral system is quite justified. Like I said, the human goals (even those which are biologically fixed) are not entirely reproduction. It is also survival and avoiding suffering.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-26 01:23pm
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You should also add something about traits that benefit the group but not the individual reproduction. So altruistic behavior will carry not only their own genes but also that of kin genes.
See the grandmother effect, or things like homosexuality.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-26 05:28pm
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Quote:
Childish really, but I just couldn't help myself.

being on the autistic spectrum is no excuse for being stupid. You have seen how society works and how humans interact. You've presumably come across ideas such as the prisoner's dilemma, where mutual cooperation is the best strategy in repeated long term games (like living with people).
It really isn't that fucking hard to build a model of rational agents in your head that recreate most human reactions.

It isn't that hard at all to try modelling a society where individualism is the highest good and seeing whether it would actually lead to everyone being happy. (hint - see what happens in the prisoner's dilemma. Either you have a nation of short sighted individuals that crashes and burns, or you have a long sighted nation where individuals voluntarily trade in portions of their freedom over mutually agreed goods, like the right not to get killed.
You've take Human Rights as an assumption. This is where they come from.

It is pretty childish to rail against being born into 'slavery.' but it's a society you're free to leave.
Hell. As i understand it Australia has some big open areas with very few people, so if you dislike the society around you so much, you are totally free to move out.


Why should any of this lead to an implicit moral obligation to work with each others, or justify them forcing me to work with others? Why should any of this make me care about society rather than, say, acting like a ruthless sociopathic capitalist? And why, as an AUTISTIC, should I be able to infer this?

You are taking happiness as the highest good. I wasn't taking Human Rights as the highest good, but trying to argue for a Moral Individualist posistion as on equal basis with Moral Communalism. I was then going to argue for why some people might find it preferable.

Your argument about what would happen if everybody acted the same way is flawed because in practice they don't- me changing my behaviour won't change that.

Finally, the problem is that even if I notionally leave society, I am still a citizen of a country. If I murder somebody out in the desert, I will still be subject to Australian law as well.

madd0ct0r wrote:
Carinthium, you ignored my last post, so let's make this easier.

define good.

define bad.


I could easily define words for the purpose of a debate, but doing so would be deceptive in this case- humans don't have implicit definitions of words in their head. If they did, scientific tests would have shown their existence by now (look up the research, they haven't).

In this case I was arguing not for the objective existence of good and bad, but that they exist as implicit concepts in the human mind.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-27 07:50am
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Carinthium wrote:
In this case I was arguing not for the objective existence of good and bad, but that they exist as implicit concepts in the human mind.

No, you were. The question about a system of morality is meaningless in such terms if objectively these categories do not exist. Which some people tried to point out, but you just ignored it. If objective good or bad do not exist, then moral systems cannot be evaluated on the basis of being "good" or "bad", only on the basis of beneficiality for a certain goal. You can't say that among Japanese and English one is worse than the other. You can only say that English or Japanese is better suited to express certain concepts. Morality, like language, is an entirely goal- and construction-dependent construct. But we can still say that while a modern plane and the Wright Brothers plane are both airplanes and both can fly, we find the modern plane a superior means of flight to the Wright brothers plane. Same with morality, all systems are applicable, but some are outdated, unsuitable for the modern condition, or even de-facto unworkable. An airplane which was built with errors cannot fly, so it will lose to both the Wright brothers plane and the modern plane in case we need to fly.
Carinthium wrote:
Finally, the problem is that even if I notionally leave society, I am still a citizen of a country.

Renounce citizenship. There are such procedures in most nations. You can do so either for free or for a modest fee and you'll lose the citizenship. Then move to a territory not controlled by a government de-facto, and there you go.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-27 10:23am
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Carinthium wrote:
I could easily define words for the purpose of a debate, but doing so would be deceptive in this case- humans don't have implicit definitions of words in their head. If they did, scientific tests would have shown their existence by now (look up the research, they haven't).


First of all, you want the work "explicit" here. We don't have explicit definitions of words in our head. We have implicit semantic understanding. In the context of semantic memory and knowledge, 'implicit' refers to our understanding and usage of a concept, and 'explicit' refers to a specifically delineated definition, such as the kind that is necessary in a philosophical debate.

Carinthium wrote:
In this case I was arguing not for the objective existence of good and bad, but that they exist as implicit concepts in the human mind.


Which contradicts your first statement. In any case, focusing on the semantics of "good" and "bad" is a red herring in this instance. You should read something about the neurology and psychology of morality. As it turns out, there are predictable patterns of brain activity, and specific structures in the brain, that are correlated with "thinking" about morality.



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-27 10:51am
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Carinthium wrote:

Why should any of this lead to an implicit moral obligation to work with each others, or justify them forcing me to work with others? Why should any of this make me care about society rather than, say, acting like a ruthless sociopathic capitalist? And why, as an AUTISTIC, should I be able to infer this?

You are taking happiness as the highest good. I wasn't taking Human Rights as the highest good, but trying to argue for a Moral Individualist posistion as on equal basis with Moral Communalism. I was then going to argue for why some people might find it preferable.

Your argument about what would happen if everybody acted the same way is flawed because in practice they don't- me changing my behaviour won't change that.



I'll leave your inability to define good and bad for now (although you seem to think being 'forced' to work with other people in a society is a Bad Thing? Indeed from the way you're arguing it seems like you hold 'Individual Freedom' as the highest good. Please take this line of argument, we get to discuss concepts of real freedom vs ideal freedom. 8)



You can be a ruthless sociopath or autistic and still infer (or derive if your maths is good) the benefits from living in a mutually supporting society. emotions aren't necessary to function socially, some thought is.

For example, I can support Universal Healthcare completely logically.
1) I have no way of predicting my long term future health care needs, but there is a high probability I will need serious care at some point.
2) I have no way of ensuring my income / savings will be sufficient for that event, espcially given the huge range of costs it might be.
3) Therefore some form of insurance would be logical to minimize risk to my future self.
4) Since I live in the UK, the choice is easy, but UHC is, generally speaking, the most efficient form of health insurance - I get the best return on investment, if you like.
5) I therefore support UHC, and oppose politics that attempts to remove it.

Not a single quantum of empathy for my fellow humans required.

Is having to drive on the left hand side of the road a restriction on you individual freedom? Of course, but completely logically for each individual it makes sense for society to pick one side and enforce it.

EMPATHY is not required to understand social strategies and abide by them.
In a mostly honest society, you can reap the rewards from a cheating strategy, but as the number of cheats in the society rise, the marginal benefit of cheating as a strategy is reduced. It's this sort of thing that is suggested as a reason we as a species evolved empathy. Not only did empathetic groups do better, so did empathetic individuals. BUT the logic underpinning it is still there, if you care to dig down.

As for me, a lot of moral questions boil down to 'will i get away with it?', and since I'm also on the autistic spectrum the answer generally is 'probably not, because you can't mimic a normal person well enough.'



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-27 12:31pm
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@Stas
Thanks, that makes sense.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-28 06:22am
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madd0ct0r wrote:
As for me, a lot of moral questions boil down to 'will i get away with it?', and since I'm also on the autistic spectrum the answer generally is 'probably not, because you can't mimic a normal person well enough.'


It also seems that people who advocate the strategy of "become fuckoff powerful" as the suggested logical survival strategy in an amoral world are ignoring two major facts:

1) It's near-impossible, and the road to this position is fraught with total risk (ie. "lose everything") gambles.

2) There is no unassailable position of power

So even in a society of sociopaths, if such a thing could even form in the first place, the proper choice isn't necessarily to be a dick to everybody and only concern yourself with your own well-being. For example, survival of a typical peon is usually more readily assured by NOT rocking the boat and attempting to challenge the established power brokers. Which, incidentally, makes it impossible to acquire huge amounts of power, as you WILL make powerful enemies once you enter that path (because other people will compete with you for the same position, or try to protect their own).



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-28 08:25am
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"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown."

I think you can model " a society of sociopaths" quite well by looking at any group where ruthless behavior is tolerated ie: investment banking or internal party politics.

And even there cooperation ( or choosing the role of 'loyal right hand man' ) might be the optimal long term strategy for you.

maybe we should have a SDnet game of 'Diplomacy' to prove the point?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomacy_(game)



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-28 11:14am
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madd0ct0r wrote:
maybe we should have a SDnet game of 'Diplomacy' to prove the point?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomacy_(game)

Yes please, but this time run without a moderator, since that was how it died the last time around.
Instead may I suggest http://www.playdiplomacy.com/
?

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-28 11:02pm
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Quote:
Which contradicts your first statement. In any case, focusing on the semantics of "good" and "bad" is a red herring in this instance. You should read something about the neurology and psychology of morality. As it turns out, there are predictable patterns of brain activity, and specific structures in the brain, that are correlated with "thinking" about morality.


Could you please extrapolate on this, and go on to explain how this fits your argument on the matter? As far as I can see, it reinforces my point- the human mind instinctively processes some things as morally good or bad. I never claimed to know the details of it.

Quote:
although you seem to think being 'forced' to work with other people in a society is a Bad Thing? Indeed from the way you're arguing it seems like you hold 'Individual Freedom' as the highest good. Please take this line of argument, we get to discuss concepts of real freedom vs ideal freedom.


A slip-up because I have a sentimental love of freedom. I wasn't arguing for it in this particular debate though.

Quote:
You can be a ruthless sociopath or autistic and still infer (or derive if your maths is good) the benefits from living in a mutually supporting society. emotions aren't necessary to function socially, some thought is.

For example, I can support Universal Healthcare completely logically.
1) I have no way of predicting my long term future health care needs, but there is a high probability I will need serious care at some point.
2) I have no way of ensuring my income / savings will be sufficient for that event, espcially given the huge range of costs it might be.
3) Therefore some form of insurance would be logical to minimize risk to my future self.
4) Since I live in the UK, the choice is easy, but UHC is, generally speaking, the most efficient form of health insurance - I get the best return on investment, if you like.
5) I therefore support UHC, and oppose politics that attempts to remove it.

Not a single quantum of empathy for my fellow humans required.

Is having to drive on the left hand side of the road a restriction on you individual freedom? Of course, but completely logically for each individual it makes sense for society to pick one side and enforce it.


You cannot, however, infer a moral obligation in any of these matters. If you happen to have some other sort of morality, it obviously overrides these self-interested ideas. As I mentioned, I sentimentally like individual freedom- hence despite a good idea of the consequences I would oppose people driving on the left hand side of the road? (Though after a certain number of regulations I simply throw up my hands in defeat- I would prefer that one abolished alongside a long list that would actually make the government libertarian in practice)

Quote:
EMPATHY is not required to understand social strategies and abide by them.
In a mostly honest society, you can reap the rewards from a cheating strategy, but as the number of cheats in the society rise, the marginal benefit of cheating as a strategy is reduced. It's this sort of thing that is suggested as a reason we as a species evolved empathy. Not only did empathetic groups do better, so did empathetic individuals. BUT the logic underpinning it is still there, if you care to dig down.


If there were a massive number of cheats society or your actions would increase the number of cheats maybe you'd have a point. You becoming a cheat or sociopath would be statistically insigificant and would influence a statistically insigificant number of people if any towards cheating.

To infer based on a hypothetical that isn't going to happen in this case is a moral assertion, not a chain of logic.

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As for me, a lot of moral questions boil down to 'will i get away with it?', and since I'm also on the autistic spectrum the answer generally is 'probably not, because you can't mimic a normal person well enough.'


It all depends on your strategy. Playing the innocent autistic makes workplace backstabs, if well-timed and well-executed, a lot easier as you try and move up the ranks. Eventually you'll get dealt with but only if you play it badly- one or two backstabs can work.

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It also seems that people who advocate the strategy of "become fuckoff powerful" as the suggested logical survival strategy in an amoral world are ignoring two major facts:

1) It's near-impossible, and the road to this position is fraught with total risk (ie. "lose everything") gambles.

2) There is no unassailable position of power

So even in a society of sociopaths, if such a thing could even form in the first place, the proper choice isn't necessarily to be a dick to everybody and only concern yourself with your own well-being. For example, survival of a typical peon is usually more readily assured by NOT rocking the boat and attempting to challenge the established power brokers. Which, incidentally, makes it impossible to acquire huge amounts of power, as you WILL make powerful enemies once you enter that path (because other people will compete with you for the same position, or try to protect their own).


What about something metaphorically comparable to what Talleyrand would have advocated for France? Become powerful at the expense of your neighbours, but not too much as you'll provoke a coalition against you.

Being a complete sociopath is an advantage over your neighbours already- play your cards right and you can accrue a moderate amount of power in the areas you most desire then attach yourself to somebody higher up who could use your services.

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"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown."

I think you can model " a society of sociopaths" quite well by looking at any group where ruthless behavior is tolerated ie: investment banking or internal party politics.

And even there cooperation ( or choosing the role of 'loyal right hand man' ) might be the optimal long term strategy for you.


Diplomacy is different from the real world (and even in it backstabs are good if you get the right opportunities) because it will inevitably end up in a fight to the finish. A closer analogy would be European balance-of-power politics between the Treaty of Westphalia and World War I- nobody wants anybody getting too powerful, but they will tolerate some gains especially if you're too small to be on the Great Power's radar.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-29 11:45am
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Carinthium:

Carinthium wrote:
You are appealing here to another alleged good- my own destruction- and another alleged bad- psychosis. Again, you can't establish these alleged good and bad things as good or bad.

Finally, if you are appealing to what ordinary people see as good or bad rather than what is good or bad then we've been arguing different things the entire time. I was never arguing about what ordinary people think of morality.


Carinthium wrote:
As far as I can see, it reinforces my point- the human mind instinctively processes some things as morally good or bad. I never claimed to know the details of it.


Do you really not see that these two arguments of yours are inherently at odds with one another?



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-29 07:12pm
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There is a difference between the humam mind instinctively sees some things as good or bad and there is objectively a difference between good and bad. The human mind instinctively used these concepts, despite them not existing in the real world.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-09-30 03:20am
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Carinthium wrote:
What about something metaphorically comparable to what Talleyrand would have advocated for France? Become powerful at the expense of your neighbours, but not too much as you'll provoke a coalition against you.

Being a complete sociopath is an advantage over your neighbours already- play your cards right and you can accrue a moderate amount of power in the areas you most desire then attach yourself to somebody higher up who could use your services.


This is actually the most risky plan, and the only advantage is that it's actually possible to acquire a modest amount of power as opposed to an extreme amount. Why is it risky? Because if you are only somewhat powerful, it's easy to come on the radar (you can't really count of getting it just right), and easy to be destroyed. So you can't make too many enemies.

Power is actually most secure when you have lots of friends and few enemies. That's my entire point ; Since NO position is unassailable, then if your goal is assured survival, either don't rock the boat, or use your power to make friends - because the most secure position is one where you have lots of allies and few enemies, and it's not like your reproduction/survival chances will be hindered to any significant extent by expending resources on helping people instead of utterly destroying them.

Also, I'm not sure you can automatically call being a sociopath an advantage. Sociopaths are usually charismatic and excellent manipulators, but they tend not to understand the finer points of personal relationships, and thus easily make enemies, too.

Carinthium wrote:
There is a difference between the humam mind instinctively sees some things as good or bad and there is objectively a difference between good and bad. The human mind instinctively used these concepts, despite them not existing in the real world.


You seriously don't see that there's no morality without people?



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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-10-01 06:57am
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This is actually the most risky plan, and the only advantage is that it's actually possible to acquire a modest amount of power than an extreme one. Why is it risky? Because if you are only somewhat powerful, it's easy to come on the radar (you can't really count of getting it just right), and easy to be destroyed. So you can't make too many enemies.

Power is actually most secure when you have lots of friends and few enemies. That's my entire point ; Since NO position is unassailable, then if your goal is assured survival, either don't rock the boat, or use your power to make friends - because the most secure position is one where you have lots of allies and few enemies, and it's not like your reproduction/survival chances will be hindered to any significant extent by expending resources on helping people instead of utterly destroying them.

Also, I'm not sure you can automatically call being a sociopath an advantage. Sociopaths are usually charismatic and excellent manipulators, but they tend not to understand the finer points of personal relationships, and thus easily make enemies, too.


So it's smartest to be cautious in proportion to your diplomatic abilities and make sure that being picked off for your actions is unlikely. Depending on the situation, this may not be necessary (say, if your boss is distracted or if he's an immoral type and you're both too weak to be a threat to him and not a good person to make an example of).

For simplicity's sake, I'll classify socialisation levels into 'low', 'medium', and 'high' ('medium' is about the same as the typical competitor, 'low' is significantly inferior, 'high' is significantly superior for the purposes of this). I'll also admit that the approach of gaining a reputation for unimpeachable moral integrity could be a useful strategy for gaining respect and posistion (though moot in my case and most people's as it's too late for that).

If you have low socialisation skills, making friends is what everybody else is doing and you're worse at it- any hope of sucess requires playing your strengths to the maximum. Being a sociopath is very risky, but could play to your advantage. As I said, with Aspergers I have the additional advantage that (since people don't likely check my Internet posts) a sudden burst of sociopathy would give the advantage of surprise.

If you have medium socialisation skills, making friends is still the approach almost everyone takes. Sociopathic actions can be a useful 'ace in the hole' in this situation- it means a short-term advantage over your competitors, and thus grants a chance to rise above them. Such moves are risky, but the risk can be limited by a small degree of self-restraint to loss of job and reputation (which may be worth it).

If you have high socialisation skills, it isn't that hard to aim for the top. If, however, you are very ambitious it may be worth it to be sociopathic because as you rise through the ranks you will probably get to a point where 'medium' is the best descriptor of your abilities relative to your peers. If you have only high socialisation skills, sociopathy is necessary to garner much advantage out of them unless you're in an industry like sales or diplomacy.

IF your strategy is merely survival and/or reproduction, I would agree with you. But if you have ambition that takes priority then sociopathy is quite useful.

O.K, finally looking at your end comment I realise 'sociopathy' may not be quite the right word. 'Amoral jackassery' would be closer, or perhaps psycopathy. However, if a sociopath can but bring himself to be cautious and a sociopath at the same time my point stands.

EDIT: A significant amount depends on who you are- there are plenty of people (say those with upper-class backgrounds, IQs in the 130-140 range (based on traits which correlate with that, not just the IQs themselves), and others)) who COULD feasibly go for the top, of course.

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You seriously don't see that there's no morality without people?


It depends how you define morality.

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 Post subject: Re: How The Rich Have Suffered Under Obama PostPosted: 2012-10-01 07:17am
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Carinthium wrote:
IF your strategy is merely survival and/or reproduction, I would agree with you. But if you have ambition that takes priority then sociopathy is quite useful.


It's not the only, or even an optimal way, though. I've been criticizing people who seem to think the only viable strategy when you're completely amoral is going all out, grabbing power and then destroying people once you gain it, etc - while this might work in some situations, it won't work in others. Or even most of them. Most of the time, you are most secure when you actually don't ruin people left and right, because there is ALWAYS a bigger fish in the pond, and thus you will always need allies. Thus, even in a world where morality doesn't exist, concepts of virtue, honor etc. were never invented, it pays to foster good relationships with people, for completely rational reasons - or not rock the boat at all, depending on the situation.

Carinthium wrote:
O.K, finally looking at your end comment I realise 'sociopathy' may not be quite the right word. 'Amoral jackassery' would be closer, or perhaps psycopathy. However, if a sociopath can but bring himself to be cautious and a sociopath at the same time my point stands.


A charismatic NON-sociopath has the same potential. Most people in power are not actually sociopaths, though a disproportionate number of them tend to climb the ladder ; In fact, trying to act like a sociopath while not being one is a very suboptimal strategy, because you can't just turn things like empathy on and off. Same thing about being a sociopath in an environment that doesn't tolerate ruthlessnes. You might still go somewhere, but you will step on a lot more toes along the way.

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It depends how you define morality.


There's people who did it for you:

1.conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2.moral quality or character.
3.virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
4.a doctrine or system of morals.
5.moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.

All of those require sentients to be around to even make sense.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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