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Legault, split from "Secular Morality" thread

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Legault
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 01:12am 

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Joined: 2012-02-15 02:31am
Posts: 29
Darth Wong wrote:
Define "existential meaning".

It's easier to define "existential comfort," which is directly related: the feeling of living a fulfilled and meaningful life. That's what Nehamas and his contemporaries are referring to.

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We're talking about moral codes, and moral codes are simply behavioural rules. They're not there to give you meaning in your life; they're there to tell you what you can and can't do.

Saying this more won't make it any more true. Definitions are flexible, but yours is one rarely employed. But I'll bite for the sake of keeping the discussion going: if you want to conceptualize morality as external rules imposed upon an individual, then what would you call internal rules which guide action?

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Logical arguments make up 100% of the parts of the western philosophy canon which is concerned with establishing that something is logical. Illogical arguments merely lower the signal to noise ratio.

Clarify. If by "logical" you mean that conclusions follow from premises, then most every great philosopher (whether he's an Analytic or a Continental) is completely logical. Plato's conclusions follow as well from their premises as they do for Aristotle. If, instead, you mean that "logical arguments" are only those that can be fit into some formal model (and you'll have to account for which model you're talking about and why), then we may run into some problems.

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I have to back up the statement that if it doesn't appear to exist in our empirical reality, then we can ignore it?

Obviously. An empirical understanding of the world is one particular lens through which to understand reality; but there are competing lenses, such as phenomenology, religion, and chaotic reality theory.

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I have to back up the idea that we should not be making decisions in objective reality based on metaphysical nonsense? I can back it up with Occam's Razor, but you've already established that you don't think much of logic.

I'm surprised you'd invoke a nominalist argument in favor of science. But you can do what you please. The "razor" argument, in its modern meaning (which I assume you take it to mean), is informal logic at best. I'd like to hear your defense anyway, however.

Darth Wong wrote:
By the way Legault, I hope you realize that it's rather obvious that you intend to insist on injecting metaphysical and religious thinking into this discussion, even though the whole point of it, as stated at the outset, is to discuss secular morality. You're now at the point where you're demanding that I "back up" my rejection of that which is unscientific: a classic anti-science dog-whistle.

All philosophy rests on metaphysics, so of course I'm going to bring it up. Your reaction isn't surprising, though; this is exactly the point where bad atheists (scientismists) tend to get defensive (and irrational), insisting that their scientific conception of the world requires no justification. What, are you really going to call me religious for asking you provide a rational account for your worldview?
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Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 01:41am 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Legault wrote:
It's easier to define "existential comfort," which is directly related: the feeling of living a fulfilled and meaningful life. That's what Nehamas and his contemporaries are referring to.

How is that different from "whatever I really like"?

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We're talking about moral codes, and moral codes are simply behavioural rules. They're not there to give you meaning in your life; they're there to tell you what you can and can't do.

Saying this more won't make it any more true. Definitions are flexible, but yours is one rarely employed. But I'll bite for the sake of keeping the discussion going: if you want to conceptualize morality as external rules imposed upon an individual, then what would you call internal rules which guide action?

That's easy: it's internalization of those concepts. It happens all the time, you know: we internalize things if we're sufficiently indoctrinated in them. Tell me, why do you get upset if someone butts into a line? You get upset because you have internalized the social practice of queueing. You believe it is wrong or unfair. And yet, in some societies, people don't particularly care for queueing. This is a fine example of a social custom which has become internalized.

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Logical arguments make up 100% of the parts of the western philosophy canon which is concerned with establishing that something is logical. Illogical arguments merely lower the signal to noise ratio.

Clarify. If by "logical" you mean that conclusions follow from premises, then most every great philosopher (whether he's an Analytic or a Continental) is completely logical. Plato's conclusions follow as well from their premises as they do for Aristotle. If, instead, you mean that "logical arguments" are only those that can be fit into some formal model (and you'll have to account for which model you're talking about and why), then we may run into some problems.

I never said they were all illogical. I said that your statement about the minor nature of logical arguments is false.

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I have to back up the statement that if it doesn't appear to exist in our empirical reality, then we can ignore it?

Obviously. An empirical understanding of the world is one particular lens through which to understand reality; but there are competing lenses, such as phenomenology, religion, and chaotic reality theory.

Those competing "lenses" are worthless in a discussion of secular morality, or indeed, anything useful.

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I have to back up the idea that we should not be making decisions in objective reality based on metaphysical nonsense? I can back it up with Occam's Razor, but you've already established that you don't think much of logic.

I'm surprised you'd invoke a nominalist argument in favor of science. But you can do what you please. The "razor" argument, in its modern meaning (which I assume you take it to mean), is informal logic at best. I'd like to hear your defense anyway, however.

The Occam's Razor argument is simply that terms which are not necessary do not serve a purpose, and are therefore useless. It is nearly a tautology. This metaphysical nonsense you insist on bringing up is useless. It purports to explain things when it merely puts narratives to them.

Darth Wong wrote:
All philosophy rests on metaphysics, so of course I'm going to bring it up. Your reaction isn't surprising, though; this is exactly the point where bad atheists (scientismists) tend to get defensive (and irrational), insisting that their scientific conception of the world requires no justification. What, are you really going to call me religious for asking you provide a rational account for your worldview?

First, you are totally ignoring the fact that this is explicitly intended to be a discussion of secular morality, not religious morality. You are disregarding the parameters of the discussion, the whole point of which was to figure out how morality works when you have no religion, you fucking idiot. Do you seriously not understand how you cannot answer a question about how one builds a non-religious morality code by insisting that we incorporate religion? Stop hijacking the goddamned thread. Second, the scientific conception of the world is justified by the fact that it actually works, unlike every previous method of trying to understand the world. It works for the simple reason that it discards the worthless notion of absolute "truth" and settles for accuracy of observable facts.
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Legault
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 02:30pm 

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Joined: 2012-02-15 02:31am
Posts: 29
Darth Wong wrote:
How is that different from "whatever I really like"?

You strike me as a reductive hedonist, so it might not seem different to you. Most normal people, however, make a distinction between higher and lower kinds of pleasure, the highest of which would be the feeling of a purposive life. But if you want to reduce all feelings of happiness to biochemicals, then there wouldn't be a qualitative difference. Quantitative, maybe.

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That's easy: it's internalization of those concepts. It happens all the time, you know: we internalize things if we're sufficiently indoctrinated in them.

Aside: do you not realize that you've been indoctrinated into New Atheistism? You're coming across as someone who's watched enough Dawkins and Hitchens to be effective at proselytizing naive listeners, but that's no different than the methods of religions of old. Something tells me you were a mighty fine preacher in a past life.

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Tell me, why do you get upset if someone butts into a line? You get upset because you have internalized the social practice of queueing. You believe it is wrong or unfair. And yet, in some societies, people don't particularly care for queueing. This is a fine example of a social custom which has become internalized.

Does this mean that it's impossible for me to have a unique rule imposed upon myself? For example: a person is born into a harsh society that advocates cruelty, yet that person chooses to live a life of humility and charity.

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I never said they were all illogical. I said that your statement about the minor nature of logical arguments is false.

We're just having a confusion of terms, then. My use of "logical" earlier was in the narrower sense I clarified upon. No worries.

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Those competing "lenses" are worthless in a discussion of secular morality, or indeed, anything useful.

And the scientific "lens" is worthless in a discussion of secular morality, or indeed, anything useful.

See? I can play the dogmatist game too. Again, you're acting like a religious nutter, who feels it is "beneath" him to try and validate his world view with rational argument.

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The Occam's Razor argument is simply that terms which are not necessary do not serve a purpose, and are therefore useless. It is nearly a tautology. This metaphysical nonsense you insist on bringing up is useless. It purports to explain things when it merely puts narratives to them.

A fun fact you may enjoy learning about: the term is relatively new, dating back to the 14th or 15th century (can't remember off-hand), and was a nominalist Christian concept that had to do with the problem of universals and particulars. Second, I said that the "modern" form of the razor is weak in that seemingly unnecessary terms or beliefs often are necessary. In other words, the simplest solution isn't always the right one.

Though you didn't address the question here, which is how Occam's razor (the modern variation) can be used to justify scientism.

Darth Wong wrote:
First, you are totally ignoring the fact that this is explicitly intended to be a discussion of secular morality, not religious morality. You are disregarding the parameters of the discussion, the whole point of which was to figure out how morality works when you have no religion, you fucking idiot.

How cute. Do you not realize that the only person who's been subscribing to religious dogma here is you? I know you love how neat and tidy your scientific philosophy seems to be, but it's not the only account of secular morality. I was asking for you to defend your secular account with a rational basis, and I'll extend that invitation again.

By the way, "metaphysics" is not a religious term. The metaphysics of your scientism argues, among other things, that the natural world is intelligible, that it is intelligible to the human intellect, that it is a casual-mechanistic nexus, that it has a one-to-one causal correspondence with no gaps or holes, that it follows rigid natural laws, etc. None of these are religious, but all of these are metaphysical.

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Do you seriously not understand how you cannot answer a question about how one builds a non-religious morality code by insisting that we incorporate religion?

I might be the most committed atheist on this board. I just happen to take the threat of religion seriously enough to learn about it with some integrity. You're free to remain in the dark if it makes your small little world that much more comfortable.

Alternatively, you can put your ostensible commitment to reason to some use, and actually respond to my arguments next time.
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Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 03:54pm 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
I am going to say this very slowly, "Legault".

You accused me of not answering your question about why we should use what you derisively refer to as "scientism".

You also snipped out the last two sentences of my previous reply, where I did precisely that.

You then finished with a rhetorical flourish about how I am not applying reason because I am avoiding your question, even though you snipped out the part of my reply where I answered it. You even claimed that I am saying that science is truth, when the last sentence of my reply said the exact opposite, and when I have never even hinted at any such claim in the first place.

You will revise your answer or I'll erase your worthless sophistic name-dropping condescending strawmandering ass from the board, because I have better things to do with my time than deal with this kind of blatant misrepresentation.
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Legault
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 05:21pm 

Redshirt


Joined: 2012-02-15 02:31am
Posts: 29
Darth Wong wrote:
I am going to say this very slowly, "Legault".

Why is my name in parentheses, "Darth Wong"?

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You accused me of not answering your question about why we should use what you derisively refer to as "scientism".

You also snipped out the last two sentences of my previous reply, where I did precisely that.

I must have done so accidentally. What two sentences are you referring to?

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You then finished with a rhetorical flourish

That was my turn of phrase, thanks. Please don't steal it.

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about how I am not applying reason because I am avoiding your question, even though you snipped out the part of my reply where I answered it.

Again, I don't know what you're referring to.

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You will revise your answer or I'll erase your worthless sophistic name-dropping condescending strawmandering ass from the board, because I have better things to do with my time than deal with this kind of blatant misrepresentation.

Let's relax now. You have board power, fine, but you don't strike me as the kind of guy who'd ban someone just to win an argument. You and I seem to have a mutual difficulty in understanding one another, so those two key sentences that I apparently left out may help bridge things.

EDIT: You must mean this gem here ->
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Second, the scientific conception of the world is justified by the fact that it actually works, unlike every previous method of trying to understand the world. It works for the simple reason that it discards the worthless notion of absolute "truth" and settles for accuracy of observable facts.

I confess that, since it was attached to an angry diatribe against the very fiber of my being, I only skimmed this section, but this is a nice jumping-off point. So what you're arguing is that science isn't to much "true" as it is "useful," yes? Something tells me that this isn't all you mean. Do you really believe that religion is as much "true" as science is? Either way, it begs for questions like this: what do you mean by "works"? What is the value of technology if science, lacking truth-value, can't provide a higher purpose to this progress?

And the most important question of all: if science lacks absolute truth-value, then why in heavens should it be applied to questions about morality? Is it because it has the "most" truth-value? How do you know this, and what do you mean by it?

Last edited by Legault on 2012-02-17 05:29pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 05:25pm 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Legault wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:
You also snipped out the last two sentences of my previous reply, where I did precisely that.

I must have done so accidentally. What two sentences are you referring to?

What part of "last two sentences of my previous reply" are you too fucking stupid to understand, exactly? I told you exactly where to find what I'm talking about, and you're playing dumb and pretending you have no idea what I'm referring to?

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Let's relax now. You have board power, fine, but you don't strike me as the kind of guy who'd ban someone just to win an argument. You and I seem to have a mutual difficulty in understanding one another, so those two key sentences that I apparently left out may help bridge things.

It looks to me like you're deliberately playing games now. I don't know how much more clear I can be than "last two sentences". You can look at my post, scroll down, and find the last two fucking sentences without a roadmap, correct? Stop playing dumb and admit that you grossly misrepresented my argument.

I smell the stench of troll on you, and these games you're playing are not helping to clear the air. I don't ban people to win arguments, but I do ban people for lying.
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Legault
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 05:32pm 

Redshirt


Joined: 2012-02-15 02:31am
Posts: 29
Darth Wong wrote:
What part of "last two sentences of my previous reply" are you too fucking stupid to understand, exactly? I told you exactly where to find what I'm talking about, and you're playing dumb and pretending you have no idea what I'm referring to?

No worries; I found it. Responded too, via editing my last post.

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Stop playing dumb and admit that you grossly misrepresented my argument.

Sorry, but "misrepresented" isn't the right word choice. I've had discussions with people of your dogma countless times. You just jumped from the "science is truth" position to the "science works" position without me noticing, but we've cleared that up now.
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AdmiralKanos
PostPosted: 2012-02-17 05:44pm 

Lex Animata


Joined: 2002-07-02 11:36pm
Posts: 2629
Location: Toronto, Ontario
I've had enough of your lies, so you're history. I never said that "science is truth"; I just said that everything else is useless. And I'm not buying for a second that you didn't know what you were doing when you snipped out that part of my reply, nor do I believe for a second that you are just accidentally putting words in my mouth and saying that I claimed "science is truth" when I said no such thing. You're a dishonest shit.

By the way, I did see your little edit, where you pretend that if science is not truth, then religion is just as good as science. If you're too stupid to understand the scientific philosophy, and the difference between accurate modeling and "truth", that's not my problem. Go look it up yourself on the Internet. Frankly, I think you're actually a fundie who's pretending to be an atheist so you can spout the usual anti-science fundie bullshit without having to defend religious dogma. But either way, I've got better things to do than waste time on liars like you.

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