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All my atheist morals

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    L*2*G*XL*2*G*X Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Joy and good are a bit, well, primitive or simplistic as concepts. How about this?

    400px-Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs.png

    L*2*G*X on
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    poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    As cool as Maslow is, that is sociology, right? An analysis of what we need, rather than how we should act. I mean, too much confidence can make you unkind/overbearing/invade Poland.

    What's wrong with happiness as a core concept, extrapolated over time and with the golden rule included?

    Ketherial, that's an interesting point, but if that were true I wouldn't feel guilty about the concessions I've made in life. Or do you mean that my morality is nuanced to the point where my own needs are included?

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
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    GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    No one in their right mind would find a system wherein casual murder of "innocent" people is allowed to be a good system of morals,

    It's a pretty common feature of American foreign policy but that's a whole other thread.

    Gorak on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    poshniallo wrote:
    Now that, Vincent, does open up an interesting question. Namely, can a moral system encompass all the necessary choices of life? Is there a moral system which you can always follow, no matter what situation you find yourself in? Or is being moral a condition you aspire to, but sometimes have to abandon because of practicalities?

    (btw you can definitely see a Christian influence on the second kind of thinking, which I don't see so much out here in Asia.)

    The death penalty question is a good example. If you support the death penalty, do you think it's OK to occasionally kill innocent people, or that it's not, but a necessary evil of the system? And in war, of course soldiers kill innocents....

    Personally I'm the 'try to be moral all the time' type. I think a moral code needs to be something that can be followed in all aspects of life, even if that changes the nature of the code, because if it can be discarded once, it gets discarded a million times. But then I'm a pacifist hippy-with-a-haircut, so I might be odd.


    And as I said before, when you talk about utilitarianism you have to use your brain. Eating cake makes me happy, but then it makes me fat, lonely and diabetic (and I'm a porker so I know what I'm talking about). Enslaving your population Brave New World style makes some people VERY unhappy (the dissenters), makes the population extremely vulnerable (you can't respond well to an epidemic when you're tripped out on soma), prevents human society from ever developing, and probably ignores some deep-seated human psychological needs for challenge, change etc, causing emotional trauma.

    I think the death penalty is a good example. I'm in favor of removing, permanently, those who are too much of a threat to the society in question to be worth keeping around. I am also, however, adverse to killing innocent people. As such, in its current form, I oppose the death penalty.

    However, as with most things, as technology improves, I believe our total pool of knowledge about all things will increase, and our ability to be absolutely sure about who is innocent, and who is guilty, will come closer to being flawless, allowing us to execute those guilty of crimes that merit execution, and spare the innocent.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    there are many good things that do not bring about nor are related to joy.
    This is impossible.
    Ketherial wrote:
    integrity for instance. there are also many joyous things that are not clearly good. heroin for instance.
    Integrity is what it is because it averts sorrow. We did that already. How is integrity by itself good? It isn't. The only that is good by itself is joy. Joy is the source, and the only source, of our ability to even conceive of the concept "good."
    Ketherial wrote:
    it must have some different nuance or concept buried within. otherwise you are just saying good = good, which contributes nothing.
    Yeah, sure. Joy is something experienced. Good is how you describe anything which creates the experience. Maybe I was being too abrupt initially, but I did not mean to imply a logical A = A relationship, but rather that the two concepts define one another.
    Ketherial wrote:
    i dont think you meant to say "good = good". i think what you meant (and please correct me if im wrong) is that joy is a human feeling, and (in a vacuum) what causes joy is ultimately what we consider to be good.
    Yes.
    Ketherial wrote:
    my ultimate point is that your concept of axiomatic goodness seems to be based on perception, on human feelings (e.g. this makes me feel "joyous"). i dont think this provides a complete picture. axiomatic goodness can also be based on goals or ideals, totally separate from whether or not such ideals cause joy.
    No, they can't. And you haven't. Ideals are all defined by joy they cause. Beauty, justice, integrity, all virtues and all ideals are entirely about placing higher-order conceptualizations around what causes joy in all of us as opposed to what causes sorrow. Goals are only about sacrificing lesser joy now for greater later.
    Ketherial wrote:
    regardless of whether or not one has the opportunity to display their integrity, having more integrity is a good thing.
    Despite the fact that I haven't asked you to define integrity yet, I nevertheless reamin confident in standing by my assertion that integrity is only that which tends to cause less sorrow in one's self and others.
    Ketherial wrote:
    more joy is one of the things which i (obviously) think is axiomatically good. i agree with you on that. but so is...

    integrity,
    Rules which sacrifice immediately apparent joys in order to avoid creating unanticipated sorrows.
    Ketherial wrote:
    patience,
    Sacrificing immediate joy, or relief from sorrow, as an investment in potentially greater relief or joy later.
    Ketherial wrote:
    generosity
    Sacrificing ones own joy to create joy or alleviate sorrow in others, and perhaps gain a higher joy for one's self in the process.
    Ketherial wrote:
    bad things would be...

    pain,
    Physical sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    suffering,
    A synonym for sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    malice,
    Intentional acts to cause sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    meaningless things would be material objects, sense of humor, health, etc.
    All of these things are rudimentarily involved in the good and bad concepts you jsut listed.
    Ketherial wrote:
    for me, patience, generosity, integrity, joy, they are ends in and of themselves.
    They aren't. Only joy is. The others, as I have shown, have no meaning at all outside of joy and sorrow. In world without joy and sorrow: patience, generosity, and integrity cannot exist.
    Ketherial wrote:
    i would agree generally with a statement that says generosity is just a tool for obtaining more "good". i think that is a reasonable, albeit semi-meaningless statement. joy however is a totally different issue.
    I think you're missing my intent. You seem to be advocating rule-based or Kantian ethics over hedonism or utilitarianism. I totally agree. In other words, I fully acknowledge that just saying joy is good and sorrow is bad does not provide us the tools we need to achieve greater joy and less sorrow. Just saying, "I want more joy and less sorrow" does not give one the ability to be a perfectly moral being. Concepts like integrity, etc., evolve to help us understand how to avoid sorrow and evoke joy even when the end goal isn't always immediately perceptible. But if the point is to start with the most basic axioms of morality, which was the original intent of this thread, then here they are: joy is good, sorrow is bad.

    Yar on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    yar, apologies for the late response. i dont check this site on weekends.

    i havent quoted your response because i think we are at a standstill. you say joy and sorrow are the only concerns i say no and we go back and forth.

    i think it's time for terrible hypotheticals:

    two men live on separate islands, by themselves, with no one else, unable to cause suffering or joy for anyone. they lead exactly identical lives with respect to the joy / sorrow spectrum. they neither add more nor take more away. one man is more patient than the other. do you feel that one of them is "better" (as in Good) than the other? more moral?

    if you are going to be one or the other, would you always choose to be the one who is more patient? why? why not? would most of the population agree with you? would most of the world consider patience to be meaningless because it does not cause more good or avoid more suffering?

    you can probably guess my personal response. i would always want to be the more patient one, regardless of whether or not it causes more joy or avoids more suffering. i might even choose to be the more patient one if it caused more suffering (upon myself) because i dont think of patience as simply a means for more joy.

    second terrible hypothetical:

    two men are at different ends of the financial spectrum, one rich, the other poor. rich man is very generous with his money, causing much more joy in the world than poor man. in our omniscient hypothetical, we know that if poor man were rich, he would be identically generous. he isnt able to cause as much joy as the rich man, simply because he is physically unable. do we consider the rich man to be more "moral" or "better" than the poor man because he does in fact cause more joy? or do we consider the ideal of generosity to be something worthy in and of itself, regardless of whether or not it causes more joy?

    how about with the mentally or physically handicapped? if they are unable to cause more joy simply because of the limitations placed on them, do we then consider them to be less moral?

    i think both of these hypos support my stance that there are other axiomatic goods separate and distinct from joy or sorrow. i assume you disagree and would be interested in your response of course.

    Ketherial on
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    To the first, what is patience? Is it not minding the passing of time- being able to maintain good spirits, to not lose one's temper, to not suffer from irritation and the like? That seems like it fits pretty well with Yar's position.

    Loren Michael on
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    ImmaterialImmaterial Registered User new member
    edited January 2007
    Forgive me if I repeat something already said, I didn't read through all seven pages (Although some may argue I should, I guess).

    I think that moral codes are created to help maintain order. Their source is a general human understanding that there needs to be a structure in place if harmony is to be achieved, and harmony is desirable.

    Immaterial on
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    jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Immaterial wrote:
    Forgive me if I repeat something already said, I didn't read through all seven pages (Although some may argue I should, I guess).

    I think that moral codes are created to help maintain order. Their source is a general human understanding that there needs to be a structure in place if harmony is to be achieved, and harmony is desirable.

    That's more a description of an ethical code.

    jothki on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Immaterial wrote:
    I think that moral codes are created to help maintain order. Their source is a general human understanding that there needs to be a structure in place if harmony is to be achieved, and harmony is desirable.

    How do you know that harmony is desirable, and something we should pursue, if not through a moral understanding of what a good life is? You're putting the cart before the horse. We value social stability because we value all the good things it brings, such a security, liberty, and happiness. We don't value security, liberty, and happiness because of the social stability they bring, and we certainly didn't decide to start valuing them in some moral-code-genesis designed to maintain order.

    Think of it this way: would an orderly society be a good thing if it were also ruthlessly tyrannical and murderous?
    Ketherial wrote:
    you can probably guess my personal response. i would always want to be the more patient one, regardless of whether or not it causes more joy or avoids more suffering. i might even choose to be the more patient one if it caused more suffering (upon myself) because i dont think of patience as simply a means for more joy.

    It seems that your desire for patience can only rationally stem from either self-interest or from altruism (or some mix thereof). In other words, either you want to be patient because it would be better for you, or because it would be better for someone else. Yet, the terms of the hypothetical explicitly deny both possibilities: you stipulate that patience does not effect the quality of life of either person, and furthermore, that it does not effect the quality of life of anyone else. As such, I submit that your desire to be patient in this instance is irrational.

    MrMister on
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    ImmaterialImmaterial Registered User new member
    edited January 2007
    How do you know that harmony is desirable, and something we should pursue, if not through a moral understanding of what a good life is?

    By definition, harmony is "a pleasing agreement" (Dictionary.com). Because "pleasing" is subjective, we can assume that it satisfies whatever wishes each party has to an acceptable degree. Furthermore, because it is an 'agreement', we can conclude that each party involved is 'pleased'. A harmonious structure wouldn't be something forced upon people, for that wouldn't be an agreement. And in a tyrannical or murderous society, we could hardly call that a "pleasing agreement".
    You're putting the cart before the horse.

    I don't believe so. I stated we inherently seek harmony, which in turn led us to seek peace. Peace can be achieved best through order, and in order we sought harmony because no one likes to get the short end of the stick. To shaft someone would disgruntle them, giving them motivation to act against the order. Moral codes represent our agreements regarding how we act towards each other, and are founded in this idea that the best possible outcome is one in which everyone benefits (Because if everyone benefits, no one has any reason to oppose the system and cause chaos).

    Immaterial on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    MrMister wrote:
    Ketherial wrote:
    you can probably guess my personal response. i would always want to be the more patient one, regardless of whether or not it causes more joy or avoids more suffering. i might even choose to be the more patient one if it caused more suffering (upon myself) because i dont think of patience as simply a means for more joy.

    It seems that your desire for patience can only rationally stem from either self-interest or from altruism (or some mix thereof). In other words, either you want to be patient because it would be better for you, or because it would be better for someone else. Yet, the terms of the hypothetical explicitly deny both possibilities: you stipulate that patience does not effect the quality of life of either person, and furthermore, that it does not effect the quality of life of anyone else. As such, I submit that your desire to be patient in this instance is irrational.

    no, no, no, we keep falling back into the same language problem that yar keeps doing, equating joy with good (and looking back on my post, i think i do it a couple of times too).

    i am proposing that patience is axiomatically good, regardless of how it relates to joy. being patient is an axiomatically good thing, regardless of whether or not patience brings about more joy or sorrow.

    calling patience axiomatically good is no different from calling joy axiomatically good. to pretend like one is more rational than the other is a logical mistake on your part. because we are submitting both joy and patience as bases for unprovable axioms, both propositions are "irrational".

    Ketherial on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    double post

    Ketherial on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    To the first, what is patience? Is it not minding the passing of time- being able to maintain good spirits, to not lose one's temper, to not suffer from irritation and the like? That seems like it fits pretty well with Yar's position.

    it doesnt have to be patience. it could be anything you want to propose as an axiomatic good.

    consider generosity in the second example.

    and just to expand even more:

    let's consider standards. in yar's paradigm, low standards would be a great thing because they would allow us to maximize joy and minimize sorrow.

    we could hypothetically create an individual with standards so low, that they enjoy almost every experience. what we might consider terrible food (say, mcdonalds) he might consider gourmet. what we consider gourmet, he would consider ambrosia. a society with low standards, under yar's proposal is actually a "better" more moral society because the people are more joyous due to their possessing low standards.

    but i dont think that's the result we are looking for. if we could create a society where everyone is content (joyous even) with child labor (including the children), would we be comfortable with that?

    i guess what im trying to ultimately point to, is that joy and sorrow can be heavily influenced by how a person and a society develops. just because i can train a child to be happy with the filthiest of conditions or the most horrible of situations doesnt mean that such actions are moral because they maximize my joy and the child's joy. "not knowing any better" doesnt actually equate to "better" for me.

    some slaves loved being slaves. if we eliminated all the slaves that hated slavery and only considered the ones that loved it, under yar's system, wouldnt it mean that in that little hypothetical society, slavery is perfectly moral and good? i'm not sure i can agree with that. because even if the slaves would suffer more from being free, i think freedom is likely an axiomatic good as well, one that also might outweigh joy.

    Ketherial on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    calling patience axiomatically good is no different from calling joy axiomatically good. to pretend like one is more rational than the other is a logical mistake on your part. because we are submitting both joy and patience as bases for unprovable axioms, both propositions are "irrational".

    Yeah. I could submit that eating celery is axiomatically good too. Whether that's any good as an idea depends on how well our intuitions re: the goodness of celery hold up to examination.

    I think preference satisfaction and happiness stand up a hell of a lot better than patience. I'm not terribly patient. It makes me sad when that fact screws things up for me and others. However, it does not make me sad in and of itself, cosmically. Patience is something I just don't give a damn about (on a first-order level).
    By definition, harmony is "a pleasing agreement" (Dictionary.com). Because "pleasing" is subjective, we can assume that it satisfies whatever wishes each party has to an acceptable degree. Furthermore, because it is an 'agreement', we can conclude that each party involved is 'pleased'.

    So you think that society should ensure that everyone is looked after in a mutually satisfactory way. That's a fairly common moral tradition, commonly referred to as contract theory.

    Where you go wrong is here:
    Moral codes represent our agreements regarding how we act towards each other, and are founded in this idea that the best possible outcome is one in which everyone benefits

    Moral codes not only cover how to act in order to achieve some goal that everyone defines as good. Moral study is also generally directed at what that something should be that everyone should define as good. You think that some sort of harmonious society is what we need aim for: other people disagree, and have extensive arguments on the subject.

    You're also mixing up your historical account of how morality came into being (descriptive claims) with your account of what its content should be (normative claims).

    MrMister on
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    itylusitylus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Hmm.

    I think the problem with the "joy to sorrow spectrum" idea as a way of encapsulating what's moral and what isn't is lacking something...

    ...of course one can do it. I mean, anything that I want to argue for the goodness of, you can say, look, your whole argument rests on the fact that this good thing turns out to be connected with joy (or the avoidance of sorrow). This sort of makes me think of... well, the colour spectrum. It would be quite logical, in a sense, for us to stop saying "red" or "green" or "chartreuse" or whatever and just say the numbers corresponding to wavelengths. (I'd go look 'em up on wikipedia but you get the point without the actual numbers, I'm sure.)

    But there's a set of... psychological associations with any given colour, a history, texture, character, that crimson has that, if I were to hear it described as #12332 (or whatever, random number, that) I would only be able to tap back into by looking up on a chart what colour #12332 corresponded to, and then going, oh right, crimson.

    To put it in terms of the joy stuff; "patience" has a character... you think of someone quietly and bravely enduring pain, or a person impatiently shoving their way to the head of a queue, or the impatient feeling you have with a boxed something or other in your bag that you want to get home and rip open, or standing bored at a train station and counting off the minutes on the clock... it all means something in terms of patience. If you tell me to boil these phenomena down into "joy" or "anti-sorrow" or whatever, then, well, sure, I can do it, but it seems less descriptively precise, and less interesting, that describing them in terms of patience.


    Which might serve a purpose if one could use this "stripped down" description to make clear and simple and accurate comparisons between one kind of experience and another or one person's experience and another's... but I doubt very much that you can.

    itylus on
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    so... not enough poetry?

    Loren Michael on
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    HF-kunHF-kun __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2007
    Qingu wrote:
    Hold on a second. I'm an atheist and I have some pretty strong moral views, but I completely fail to see what one has to do with another.

    Atheism is not a positive belief or ideology (like religion). Atheism by definition is a lack of a particular kind of belief. We all have our reasons for not believing in gods, just like we have our reasons for not believing in fairies or unicorns.

    However, I don't see how not believing in fairies influences my morality one way or another. Similarly, with gods.

    At most, atheists can make a negative statement about their morals—they can claim, for example, that they don't need to follow the morals of a particular religion's scriptures (though they are free to do so).

    I think what this thread is probably going to be about are "secular humanist" morals. Secular humanism is a positive belief system, like theism or communism, with its own assumptions about reality (such as the intrinsic worth of individuality, freedom, rationality and—usually—sentient life).

    I'm a Christian, and I thought that was fucking brilliant.

    HF-kun on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ok I can't inline all of Keth's work since my last post.

    First of all, back to the basic - joy is conceptually inseparable from good. It is literally impossible to conceive of someone experiencing joy and yet saying that the experience is, by itself, a bad experience. It is impossible. Viewed completely irrespective of any causes, effects, future, past, other entities, whatever, viewed entirely in a vaccuum, it is absolutely impossible to describe joy as anything but good. Our entire concept of "good," the very nature and meaning of the word, comes from knowledge of that which creates joyous experience.

    This is not true for patience. Patience, in and of itself, completely separate from its casuses and effects and future and past and other entities, is completely neutral. In fact, it's completely meaningless. There is nothing inherently "good" about the experience of patience. It is only good when it calms you, alleviating sorrow. Or when it helps you to achieve larger, longer-term goals that short-term impatience might sacrifice. Or "bad" when it fails you and causes you to lose temper with a child and make that child unhappy and screw up his chances at a better life.

    As for the island scenario, it makes no sense. A person who is entirely cut off from joy and sorrow cannot possibly be said to be "patient." That word literally loses all meaning in your hypothetical. The only meaning it can possibly have is if you are saying that he is being calm and waiting patiently for rescue, biding his time joyfully, as opposed to getting himself all worked up and upset over being on the island.

    I've got four men on four islands: joyous, sorrowful, patient, and impatient. Everyone knows they want to be joyous and they don't want to be sorrowful. Patient and impatient are conceptually invalid without getting into what joys and sorrows the patience and impatience will wreak. Without that, 'patient' and 'impatient' are nonsense words. What do they mean?

    As for slaves, people feel better without accepting the moral ambiguities of the Civil War. Yes, there were happy slaves, but our social consensus is that the net gain to joy and loss to sorrow is, over time, won by freedom, not continued bondage. And do I need to even bother with your "kill all the unhappy slaves" stuff? Do you consider this slaughter to be a sorrow-neutral event?

    Now, as for a society in which we can set standards so low, everyone is joyous - do you think that's possible? It seems counterintuitve to reality. One of the greatest joys comes in setting your standards higher and higher. I don't dismiss hyptheticals outright, but so many of them run close enough to absurd that you might as well ask, "What if, hypothetically, sorrow made you feel good and joy hurt? What then?" My answer is that although lowering someone's standards to the point where they are happier with the same dogshit is in some respects good for that person, there is never a case where one might have the ability to accomplish such a feat without also containing the ability to instead show that person a way out of the dogshit and onto a life more joyous than lowered standards could ever provide.

    A more tricky hypothetical might be putting us all in the Matrix and pumping our heads full of the best happy-drugs.

    EDIT: Derailing a thread into a debate on weak vs. strong atheism is a fucking cliché around here. Please don't do it; it has happened way too many times.

    Yar on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yar wrote:
    Ok I can't inline all of Keth's work since my last post.

    First of all, back to the basic - joy is conceptually inseparable from good. It is literally impossible to conceive of someone experiencing joy and yet saying that the experience is, by itself, a bad experience. It is impossible.
    I disagree. I can imagine a world in which billions of cows are hooked up to perpetual pleasure machines. For the entirety of their life they experience uninterrupted sensations of maximal pleasure.

    I do not think that such a world is all that good. I would not look at it much differently were the cows to be replaced by people.
    A more tricky hypothetical might be putting us all in the Matrix and pumping our heads full of the best happy-drugs.
    Indeed. I reckon our intuitions just pull in opposite directions though. If I think of a means of convincing you of the error of your ways, I'll be sure to let you know.

    Grid System on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yar wrote:
    Ok I can't inline all of Keth's work since my last post.

    First of all, back to the basic - joy is conceptually inseparable from good. It is literally impossible to conceive of someone experiencing joy and yet saying that the experience is, by itself, a bad experience. It is impossible. Viewed completely irrespective of any causes, effects, future, past, other entities, whatever, viewed entirely in a vaccuum, it is absolutely impossible to describe joy as anything but good. Our entire concept of "good," the very nature and meaning of the word, comes from knowledge of that which creates joyous experience.

    This is not true for patience. Patience, in and of itself, completely separate from its casuses and effects and future and past and other entities, is completely neutral. In fact, it's completely meaningless. There is nothing inherently "good" about the experience of patience. It is only good when it calms you, alleviating sorrow. Or when it helps you to achieve larger, longer-term goals that short-term impatience might sacrifice. Or "bad" when it fails you and causes you to lose temper with a child and make that child unhappy and screw up his chances at a better life.

    like i say to loren, i only submit patience as a possible candidate. how about generosity? is harbored generosity which does not ultimately create any joy less good than generosity which does succeed in creating joy?

    what about compassion, even for the wicked? bravery, even in a situation where such bravery causes more overall suffering?

    the point i am continually trying to make is that the proposal that joy and sorrow are the end all be all is far too limited because it doesnt effectively deal with situations in which we purposely sacrifice joy or purposely choose suffering for things we consider better, "Gooder" than just joy. and i dont mean just better in the sense that less joy now means more joy later.

    a hero battles the villian in the final battle, knowing he will lose. he does in fact lose and the land falls into darkness. we reverse time and the hero, knowing he will lose, instead just sits down, hires a whore and enjoys his last moments. is he similarly as admirable as he was before time was reversed? on the joy / sorrow spectrum, the second situation nets more positive joy. but the first situation, regardless of the result (as they are both the same), create in us feelings of pride, greatness, wonder, good. why? if we are only focused on joy, why would we react in such a way? of course you are free to argue that the second choice of action is more moral and hence better than the first. if you do so, then we will simply have to agree to disagree. my morals and yours are simply different.
    As for the island scenario, it makes no sense. A person who is entirely cut off from joy and sorrow cannot possibly be said to be "patient." That word literally loses all meaning in your hypothetical. The only meaning it can possibly have is if you are saying that he is being calm and waiting patiently for rescue, biding his time joyfully, as opposed to getting himself all worked up and upset over being on the island.

    I've got four men on four islands: joyous, sorrowful, patient, and impatient. Everyone knows they want to be joyous and they don't want to be sorrowful. Patient and impatient are conceptually invalid without getting into what joys and sorrows the patience and impatience will wreak. Without that, 'patient' and 'impatient' are nonsense words. What do they mean?

    you are assuming the conclusion by stating that "they want to be joyous and they dont want to be sorrowful." i can do the same by saying "they want to be patient and they dont want to be impatient" which is likely, equally true. you keep concluding that patient and impatient are nonsense words if they are unnconnected to joy and sorrow, but i still dont really understand your reasoning. you simply state it as if it were self evident. i guess that's the problem with discussing axioms.
    As for slaves, people feel better without accepting the moral ambiguities of the Civil War. Yes, there were happy slaves, but our social consensus is that the net gain to joy and loss to sorrow is, over time, won by freedom, not continued bondage.

    but the problem with your proposal is that it is temporal and as such can be segmented, separated and discussed in a vacuum. in order to make your proposal you must assume that joy and suffering can be measured for any section of time. as such, moral decisions become an empirical analysis. action a creates x joy and y sorrow and as such action a is moral if x > y and immoral if y > x.

    with respect to slavery then, enslavement of the unhappy slaves clearly caused more sorrow and as such was immoral, but enslavement of the happy slaves caused more joy and as such was moral and the best course of action. this is the logical conclusion of your proposal.
    And do I need to even bother with your "kill all the unhappy slaves" stuff? Do you consider this slaughter to be a sorrow-neutral event?

    i did not mean to imply murder, but rather segmented consideration of the situation (as mentioned above). under your proposal, every action can be judged separately and empirically. as such, even if we in our limited perspective consider certain general actions to be immoral, such as slavery, we must accept that in the rare instances where slavery caused more joy than sorrow, it was not only moral, but in fact, not enslaving such happy slaves would have been immoral. i find this system to be ridiculous.
    Now, as for a society in which we can set standards so low, everyone is joyous - do you think that's possible? It seems counterintuitve to reality.

    first of all, i think it is totally possible and i think it happens all the time, even now. transfats should have been outlawed long ago. slavery lasted for centuries. some partners have had such a long history of domestic violence that they cannot consider non-violent relationships. mental and physical bullying and abuse go on all the time. child labor in shitty conditions still exists now, because there's nothing better. and lots of these people are happy with what they have. i didnt even know about transfats until recently.

    standards will always be "low" because they are always getting better.
    One of the greatest joys comes in setting your standards higher and higher.

    maybe for you, but not for the amish. or for others. the point is, many people are perfectly satisfied with what they have. they dont imagine there could be any better. while i think that that's a fine lifestyle to choose, i dont know if that's necessarily what i think a moral system should strive for.
    I don't dismiss hyptheticals outright, but so many of them run close enough to absurd that you might as well ask, "What if, hypothetically, sorrow made you feel good and joy hurt? What then?" My answer is that although lowering someone's standards to the point where they are happier with the same dogshit is in some respects good for that person, there is never a case where one might have the ability to accomplish such a feat without also containing the ability to instead show that person a way out of the dogshit and onto a life more joyous than lowered standards could ever provide.

    but again you keep running into the problem that empirical analysis of "feelings" is possible under your proposal. would going back in time and murdering baby hitler be moral under your system? im not sure it would be in mine.

    just as a note, i find your suggestions of absurdity to be totally irrelevent. your own proposal must necessarily assume that joy and sorrow can be measured as if there were some kind metaphysical balancing scale with joy on one side and sorrow on the other (an assumption by the way, which i find to be ridiculous, but at least useful). this entire discussion is situated in the very heart of absurdity. accept that and move on.

    Ketherial on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    MrMister wrote:
    Ketherial wrote:
    calling patience axiomatically good is no different from calling joy axiomatically good. to pretend like one is more rational than the other is a logical mistake on your part. because we are submitting both joy and patience as bases for unprovable axioms, both propositions are "irrational".

    Yeah. I could submit that eating celery is axiomatically good too. Whether that's any good as an idea depends on how well our intuitions re: the goodness of celery hold up to examination.

    I think preference satisfaction and happiness stand up a hell of a lot better than patience. I'm not terribly patient. It makes me sad when that fact screws things up for me and others. However, it does not make me sad in and of itself, cosmically. Patience is something I just don't give a damn about (on a first-order level).

    and i accept that as a fair decision albeit different from my own. i do not however accept outright dismissal of the possibility that axiomatic goods other than joy cannot exist simply because certain individuals only care about how they "feel".

    do you feel the same way about generosity? is it only a means toward creating more joy (e.g. the rich guy who donates 1 million to make people more joyful is more moral than the poor guy who donates his only dollar)?

    what about bravery? i think im a brave person, but i doubt i'll ever have a chance to prove it. meaningless?

    Ketherial on
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    a hero battles the villian in the final battle, knowing he will lose. he does in fact lose and the land falls into darkness. we reverse time and the hero, knowing he will lose, instead just sits down, hires a whore and enjoys his last moments. is he similarly as admirable as he was before time was reversed? on the joy / sorrow spectrum, the second situation nets more positive joy. but the first situation, regardless of the result (as they are both the same), create in us feelings of pride, greatness, wonder, good. why? if we are only focused on joy, why would we react in such a way? of course you are free to argue that the second choice of action is more moral and hence better than the first. if you do so, then we will simply have to agree to disagree. my morals and yours are simply different.

    In this context, I feel that the second is better. Society expects us to behave certain ways to better society (selflessly). We instill these feelings and intuitions in our children, and I'm reasonably certain there's a biological impetus to behave in a selfless, heroic way as well. It's perfectly possible to train people to accept things as good that are clearly not (look at Nazis, slavery, racism), as well as things that are not so clearly ...ungood.

    The first scenario is likely "better" to the rest of us because it fulfills our expectations for heroism, never mind how the hero feels. I suppose that it could similarly be argued that it is better for the hero in a sense because I'm sure there's a certain high that one gets from being a heroic martyr. I would trust the hero in question to make that decision for himself.

    Loren Michael on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    a hero battles the villian in the final battle, knowing he will lose. he does in fact lose and the land falls into darkness. we reverse time and the hero, knowing he will lose, instead just sits down, hires a whore and enjoys his last moments. is he similarly as admirable as he was before time was reversed? on the joy / sorrow spectrum, the second situation nets more positive joy. but the first situation, regardless of the result (as they are both the same), create in us feelings of pride, greatness, wonder, good. why? if we are only focused on joy, why would we react in such a way? of course you are free to argue that the second choice of action is more moral and hence better than the first. if you do so, then we will simply have to agree to disagree. my morals and yours are simply different.

    In this context, I feel that the second is better. Society expects us to behave certain ways to better society (selflessly). We instill these feelings and intuitions in our children, and I'm reasonably certain there's a biological impetus to behave in a selfless, heroic way as well. It's perfectly possible to train people to accept things as good that are clearly not (look at Nazis, slavery, racism), as well as things that are not so clearly ...ungood.

    The first scenario is likely "better" to the rest of us because it fulfills our expectations for heroism, never mind how the hero feels. I suppose that it could similarly be argued that it is better for the hero in a sense because I'm sure there's a certain high that one gets from being a heroic martyr. I would trust the hero in question to make that decision for himself.

    well, i guess we simply have to agree to disagree then.

    do you feel the same way about generosity? is the rich man who donates a tiny portion of his wealth (and who in fact succeeds in making more people joyous) better (as in more moral) than the hobo who donates his only dollar?

    Ketherial on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    do you feel the same way about generosity? is the rich man who donates a tiny portion of his wealth (and who in fact succeeds in making more people joyous) better (as in more moral) than the hobo who donates his only dollar?

    Most people here seem to be offering some form of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a rubric for determining courses of action--the focus is not really on judging people.

    MrMister on
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    KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    MrMister wrote:
    Ketherial wrote:
    do you feel the same way about generosity? is the rich man who donates a tiny portion of his wealth (and who in fact succeeds in making more people joyous) better (as in more moral) than the hobo who donates his only dollar?

    Most people here seem to be offering some form of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a rubric for determining courses of action--the focus is not really on judging people.

    please forgive me, but i cannot help but think you are trying to evade the question. when we choose course of action a over b, we are necessarily judging a to be better than b.

    when yar says joy is the only morally meaningful variable, he must also necessarily conclude that the rich man is better (more moral) than the poor.

    Ketherial on
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    itylusitylus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    MrMister wrote:
    Ketherial wrote:
    do you feel the same way about generosity? is the rich man who donates a tiny portion of his wealth (and who in fact succeeds in making more people joyous) better (as in more moral) than the hobo who donates his only dollar?

    Most people here seem to be offering some form of Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a rubric for determining courses of action--the focus is not really on judging people.

    please forgive me, but i cannot help but think you are trying to evade the question. when we choose course of action a over b, we are necessarily judging a to be better than b.

    when yar says joy is the only morally meaningful variable, he must also necessarily conclude that the rich man is better (more moral) than the poor.

    While I disagree with Yar, I don't think that's right. Remembering that in his system the pursuit of joy or the avoidance of sorrow can be translated back into other values, there's a way to explain why any given action makes sense in terms of one or the other. We can say, the hobo suffers so much from guilt that the suffering he avoids by giving away the dollar outweighs the joy the rich man can purchase for others... or if we wanted to we could argue the reverse.

    Without putting any numbers into your system of translation - if you just say, anything of value can be translated into joy or non-sorrow - then you don't actually commit yourself to any specific position with respect to any particular situation or hypothetical or whatever. Yar and I could have the exact same value system (unlikely, but still...) and yet he could maintain that it's all translatable into joy/sorrow and I could maintain that it isn't.


    Oh, and Loren: no, although I suppose poetry is a good example of something where the same type of logic applies... if I tell you that Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 is effectively saying "my girlfriend is great even though she's nothing like what's described in the hyperbolic language of most poetry", I haven't left out any essential content and yet my translation clearly lacks something when placed alongside the original.

    Perhaps another illustration would work better: an engineer builds a bridge and is explaining to the buyer that it could break in one of two ways: if the load capacity X is exceeded, or if something sets up a resonance on its natural frequency, Y. The buyer says, well, let's just put both of those numbers into one - if I want to just ignore Y, how much do we reduce X by to account for that - is it 5%, 10%, what? The buyer's question can't be answered because the two numbers are fundamentally not translatable into each other... there's an absolute division between the two concepts and you can't turn one into the other.

    At the other end of the spectrum, you've maybe got a pair of terms like "weight" and "mass", which mean different things but are clearly translatable in a direct and consistent way.


    And I guess my objection to Yar's position rests on the idea that language is full of terms which are somewhere on the continuum between these two extremes, which are not perfectly, smoothly, frictionlessly translatable with each other, but on the other hand, are not so alien as to be entirely untranslatable either. I think (although I could be reading it wrongly) that Yar is saying that all positive terms are fundamentally translatable into some variation on "joy", which is the key concept for goodness, and similarly all negative terms are translatable into "sorrow".

    For myself, I would say that the experience of being "happy" is quite distinct from the experience of feeling "joyful", and I wouldn't know how to redescribe "happiness" in terms of joy (or as an amount of joy or as a type of joy) without losing some of the precision and the specificity of the term.

    Which leads to the question, I guess, is this inability caused by a fundamental conceptual disconnect between the two terms, or is it just that I happen not to know the correct way to make that translation? If you want to argue the latter, well, it would certainly help if you were able to offer a satisfactory formula for doing so.

    itylus on
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    jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Well, happiness is certainly a viable substitute for joy in the definition, and is probably a better term to use anyway. Joy is a form of happiness, as sorrow is a form of unhappiness. I think we've just been sticking with joy and sorrow because they were the first viable terms to come up.

    jothki on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    tl;dr: Guys, I've only presented the axiom. I have not presented a system. Now, back to in-lines.
    I disagree. I can imagine a world in which billions of cows are hooked up to perpetual pleasure machines. For the entirety of their life they experience uninterrupted sensations of maximal pleasure.

    I do not think that such a world is all that good.
    You're judging the world, not the experience of joy. They are two different things that I specifically sought to differentiate. The experience of joy by itself out of context cannot possible be seen as anything but good.
    Ketherial wrote:
    is harbored generosity which does not ultimately create any joy less good than generosity which does succeed in creating joy?
    Generosity that precognitively knows it won't create any joy cannot possibly be called generosity - it is anithetical.
    Ketherial wrote:
    what about compassion, even for the wicked? bravery, even in a situation where such bravery causes more overall suffering?
    Bravery that we know causes more suffering is not called bravery. Compassion for the wicked that we know only enables more wickedness is not called compassion.
    Ketherial wrote:
    the point i am continually trying to make is that the proposal that joy and sorrow are the end all be all is far too limited because it doesnt effectively deal with situations in which we purposely sacrifice joy or purposely choose suffering for things we consider better, "Gooder" than just joy. and i dont mean just better in the sense that less joy now means more joy later.
    Yes, that is what you mean. It is literally impossible for that not to be what you mean. You've failed to explain how something is "gooder" without ultimately being about more joy and less sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    a hero battles the villian in the final battle, knowing he will lose. he does in fact lose and the land falls into darkness. we reverse time and the hero, knowing he will lose, instead just sits down, hires a whore and enjoys his last moments. is he similarly as admirable as he was before time was reversed? on the joy / sorrow spectrum, the second situation nets more positive joy. but the first situation, regardless of the result (as they are both the same), create in us feelings of pride, greatness, wonder, good. why? if we are only focused on joy, why would we react in such a way? of course you are free to argue that the second choice of action is more moral and hence better than the first. if you do so, then we will simply have to agree to disagree. my morals and yours are simply different.
    I think as we get into higher-order hypotheticals like these, you'll realize that you and I agree very much on principled ethics vs. circumstantial ethics.

    There are a number of issues here. First, how can he know he will lose? Is he a precog? Second, think to yourself why it is better for him to fight instead. Is he an example to others? Is he following a code of ethics which, although not always guaranteed to create the most joy in each individual in each circumstance, still ultimately creates the most joy for the most people when that code is followed as a rule regardless of circumstance? If you spelled out in detail exactly why you think fighting the villain is the moral choice, and broke it all down to it's smallest bits, you'll find yourself back at what makes the world a better place via more joy and less sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    you are assuming the conclusion by stating that "they want to be joyous and they dont want to be sorrowful." i can do the same by saying "they want to be patient and they dont want to be impatient" which is likely, equally true. you keep concluding that patient and impatient are nonsense words if they are unnconnected to joy and sorrow, but i still dont really understand your reasoning. you simply state it as if it were self evident. i guess that's the problem with discussing axioms.
    Because, as I've said repeatedly, the experience of patience, completely devoid of any context or circumstance, is a neutral and meaningless concept. It does not exist outside of context. You can't even call something "patient" unless you are within a context of events and decisions and such. Joy, however, is joy. It is pleasure. It is conceptually understood without any context whatsoever. And when all context is removed, it is literally impossible to conceive of it as anything but good.

    Patience is will. Joy is experience. Will is only valued for what it wills. Experience is valued for the experience itself.
    Ketherial wrote:
    but the problem with your proposal is that it is temporal and as such can be segmented, separated and discussed in a vacuum. in order to make your proposal you must assume that joy and suffering can be measured for any section of time. as such, moral decisions become an empirical analysis. action a creates x joy and y sorrow and as such action a is moral if x > y and immoral if y > x.
    The problem is that you are assuming conclusions for me, ones that I do not hold. Never have I claimed that anyone but a deity could possibly measure the net gains and losses to total sorrow and joy, or know what they will ultimately be, when making a decision.
    Ketherial wrote:
    with respect to slavery then, enslavement of the unhappy slaves clearly caused more sorrow and as such was immoral, but enslavement of the happy slaves caused more joy and as such was moral and the best course of action. this is the logical conclusion of your proposal.
    The logical conlcusion is the one I already gave you. The general consensus even in spite of the hypothetical happy slave is that ultimately African-Americans are much happier in freedom than in bondage. Maybe you disagree, but that's what we as a society or as a species tend to believe.
    Ketherial wrote:
    under your proposal, every action can be judged separately and empirically
    Absolutely not.
    Ketherial wrote:
    maybe for you, but not for the amish. or for others. the point is, many people are perfectly satisfied with what they have. they dont imagine there could be any better. while i think that that's a fine lifestyle to choose, i dont know if that's necessarily what i think a moral system should strive for.
    Because while those people might have decided that they are happy as they are, you believe that they and the rest of society would be even happier if they jumped on board for socio-economic progress. I think I can agree with that.

    You keep trying to segment this into individual circumstances. I have no interest in that; I laid it out from the beginning that this is not about any particular person's joy or sorrow.
    Ketherial wrote:
    would going back in time and murdering baby hitler be moral under your system? im not sure it would be in mine.
    It wouldn't. I think your fundamental misunderstanding of my position is that you seem to think I've provided a "system." I haven't; I've provided the axiom from which we can argue about systems. "Joy is good and sorrow is bad" is axiomatically true and the base of all morality. I never said that the axiom alone is enough to make a moral decision. You're skipping all of that and trying to apply the basic axioms directly to the most complex moral dilemmas. Well, I guess that's comparable to trying to perform a triple multi-variable integral using only the basic axioms of set theory. The truth is that everything you do in that complex mathetical operation does in fact exist only because of the basic arithmetic axioms, but you probably don't even consider those axioms directly, you use higher-order concepts and operations that you already have learned are reliably derived from those axioms. In this context, "patience" is one of the derived principles. But it is still based solely and entirely on the axiom.
    Ketherial wrote:
    just as a note, i find your suggestions of absurdity to be totally irrelevent. your own proposal must necessarily assume that joy and sorrow can be measured as if there were some kind metaphysical balancing scale with joy on one side and sorrow on the other (an assumption by the way, which i find to be ridiculous, but at least useful). this entire discussion is situated in the very heart of absurdity. accept that and move on.
    I've never proposed this. It is my firm belief that such a scale does not exist in any fashion that a moral being could ever experience, and that it is folly to think that it does. That's why people debate morality but don't really debate mathematics. Nothing I've argued here relies on such a scale for happiness and sorrow, or assumes one exists. If one does exist, it is only for a supernatural being to whom our concept of "morality" is meaningless. Nevertheless, for us, joy is good and sorrow is bad, and we do our best with that. Our concept of morality is inconceivable beyond it.
    Ketherial wrote:
    do you feel the same way about generosity? is it only a means toward creating more joy (e.g. the rich guy who donates 1 million to make people more joyful is more moral than the poor guy who donates his only dollar)?
    You're not talking about simple morality, you're talking about judging someone. Again, you're imputing conclusions that don't necessarily follow from what I've said. I never said that joy is good and sorrow is bad and a person's judgment rests solely on the net amount of joy and sorrow they've created. Going out on a limb here, since you want this to be about judging people, I'd say that a person's judgment is about the net joy and sorrow they've created relative to the amount they reasonably could have created given their nature and nurture. And if someone works hard his whole life just so he can one day donate enough to change hundreds of lives, then yeah, he's better than someone who decidedly drinks his life away and then gives a dollar to ease his conscience.

    Anyway, judging the hobo has little or nothing to do with what the millionaire did. Let's make it a moral decision: Ketherial is presented only one of two options: he can accept 1% of a millionaire's wealth for his favorite charity, or 1% of a hobo's. Which should he take?
    MrMister wrote:
    Most people here seem to be offering some form of Utilitarianism.
    I'm not.
    jothki wrote:
    Well, happiness is certainly a viable substitute for joy in the definition, and is probably a better term to use anyway. Joy is a form of happiness, as sorrow is a form of unhappiness. I think we've just been sticking with joy and sorrow because they were the first viable terms to come up.
    Whatever, I've used several different terms. I felt joy and sorrow were shorter and more appropriate. Joy connotes a more tangible experience whereas happiness connotes a state of being. I think sorrow is a separate experience and should have it's own word, instead of "unhappiness" which is only conceptually defined in terms of happiness.

    It's the whole reason this is axiomatic - I'm talking about whatever you consider to be the general terms for positive conscious experience and negative conscious experience. Positive and negative = good and bad = joy and sorrow = happiness and unhappiness = moral and immoral. It's axiomatic because you can't define good or bad without joy and sorrow and you can't define joy and sorrow without good and bad. You can't define moral and immoral without good and bad. And so on. We just all know as conscious beings that there's the stuff that's positive to our consciousness and the stuff that's negative. That conscious continuum the source of all concepts concerning good, bad, happy, sad, moral, immoral. Itylus' semantics do not constitute any sort of disagreement with me.

    Yar on
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    Marblehead JohnsonMarblehead Johnson Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    EDIT: Nevermind, I'm being poorly interpreted.

    Marblehead Johnson on
    Magus` wrote: »
    It's human nature to derive meaning from that something that actually lacks it in order to suit your goals.

    Dismayed By Humanity Since 1992.
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    Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Um, this isn't really about atheism versus religion.

    Loren Michael on
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    Marblehead JohnsonMarblehead Johnson Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I know, that's the point I was making. Discussing athiesm's inherent morality doesn't make sense.

    Marblehead Johnson on
    Magus` wrote: »
    It's human nature to derive meaning from that something that actually lacks it in order to suit your goals.

    Dismayed By Humanity Since 1992.
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    ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2007
    I know, that's the point I was making. Discussing athiesm's inherent morality doesn't make sense.

    Shh baby. You're not getting it.

    Shinto on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I know, that's the point I was making. Discussing athiesm's inherent morality doesn't make sense.

    I kinda thought the "atheist" part of the discussion was really just meant to highlight the idea of where we can get our morals (regardless of whether or not we all share the same ones) as we are not prone to taking them from a higher authority.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I kinda thought the "atheist" part of the discussion was really just meant to highlight the idea of where we can get our morals (regardless of whether or not we all share the same ones) as we are not prone to taking them from a higher authority.
    And right now we're still discussing whether acceptance of "joy, good; sorrow, bad" is enough to found the atheist ethic. As long as we can accept that axiom as true, as opposed to "God is Great" or whatever, then we can move on to develop whatever kinds of moral or ethical systems that we think logically stem from that, without ever needing to debate someone on whether or not religion is required for morality.

    Yar on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yar wrote:
    tl;dr: Guys, I've only presented the axiom. I have not presented a system. Now, back to in-lines.
    I disagree. I can imagine a world in which billions of cows are hooked up to perpetual pleasure machines. For the entirety of their life they experience uninterrupted sensations of maximal pleasure.

    I do not think that such a world is all that good.
    You're judging the world, not the experience of joy. They are two different things that I specifically sought to differentiate. The experience of joy by itself out of context cannot possible be seen as anything but good.
    My point is that while it may be true that joy is good, it is not necessarily true - and I would say it is in fact false - that joy is identical to good.

    Your axiom is insufficient.

    Grid System on
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    BlutrasereiBlutraserei Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yar wrote:
    And right now we're still discussing whether acceptance of "joy, good; sorrow, bad" is enough to found the atheist ethic. As long as we can accept that axiom as true, as opposed to "God is Great" or whatever, then we can move on to develop whatever kinds of moral or ethical systems that we think logically stem from that, without ever needing to debate someone on whether or not religion is required for morality.
    I kinda thought the "atheist" part of the discussion was really just meant to highlight the idea of where we can get our morals (regardless of whether or not we all share the same ones) as we are not prone to taking them from a higher authority.


    (tl;dr, lemme know if I missed something somewhere)



    And you all plan on not having to discuss the athiest/religious perspective?

    I'm going to avoid the bias as much as possible being Christian myself, but...what? Why is it nessecary to develop a moral code separate from anything else? Morals are inherant within us regardless if you believe in any gods. I remember reading somewhere once...believe it was C.S. Lewis...about moral/celestial law (curse my memory and lack of book on hand) being something innate within all human beings whether you pay any attention to God or not.


    So...Vincent!: Your statement assumes that Christians or any other religions for that matter derive their morals, in whole, directly from scriptures or higher authority...when in fact the simple drive to be good people is where it comes from...same with Atheists. Granted there's a bunch of jackasses out there that get it wrong on so many levels, i.e.: Islamic extremists, Fundamentalists of any kind, and therefor its safe to assume that morality fails because of a lack of understanding or completely decayed moral fiber. Don't blame the scriptures or higher authority....but ever failing human wisdom.


    And...Yar!: *confused* Is the atheist goal simply to become the antithesis of all world religions yet still maintain the most basic functions therof? Please explain the idea behind seperating yourself from religion and/or God...yet maintaining the essential idea of the Golden Rule or Ten Commandments.


    Edit: random quote tag at the end O.o

    Blutraserei on
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    ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Your statement assumes that Christians or any other religions for that matter derive their morals, in whole, directly from scriptures or higher authority-

    Isn't that almost the entire point of religion? To give a moral code?

    Æthelred on
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    BlutrasereiBlutraserei Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Aethelred wrote:
    Isn't that almost the entire point of religion? To give a moral code?



    Umm no.



    It's but a fragment of it...and if one is so morally lost that they need to cling to something to provide them moral fiber then...well..I would question whether or not they were still alive inside or not.


    The only excuse would be if you grew up someplace where there was already a severe lack of morality amonst those in local society.....and even then I'm sure theres still a very strong sense of right and wrong built into such a person..but this is digression..


    The context of religon as I and any other reasonable human being sees it is a belief in God...not belief that something MUST dictate every single thing in your life. The things I believe I believe not because I'm told to do so but rather because they hold some resemblence of sense to me. Sure, I have skepticism every now and again, but thats the whole point of faith...to "Not listen to the lies of the world.". I've had it explained to me that God is an umbrella..or rather holds one. Yes..it is feasible to go out from under that umbrella...but you're gonna get hella wet..yet you're not forever banned from going back under the umbrella. See..again...Morality is but one aspect.

    To get back to the actual thread topic...my confusion stems from why the Atheist moral base must be different from anything else when all essential human morals are pretty much the same....what's the point? It's pretty much taking an idea that's supposed to entail not believing in God/Religion or anything of the sort...yet damn near making another religion out of it. I've never seen a more argumentative and persistant zealot than a Strong Atheist...and I don't mean that in a negative way :P .

    Blutraserei on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Ketherial wrote:
    please forgive me, but i cannot help but think you are trying to evade the question. when we choose course of action a over b, we are necessarily judging a to be better than b.

    We are saying that a person in our situation should do a rather than b. However, that doesn't necessarily translate into a systematic methodology for weighting people's virtue--which makes sense, because Utilitarianism doesn't really care about 'virtue' very much anyway. Mostly it only cares about people's moral fiber insofar as encouraging them to be morally fibrous winds up advancing the greater good.
    when yar says joy is the only morally meaningful variable, he must also necessarily conclude that the rich man is better (more moral) than the poor.

    No: if anything, one would say that "a person should promote joy as best they can" in which case the poor man has fufilled their obligation just as much as the rich. Your analysis is flawed.

    MrMister on
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