The Falsity of Altruism

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Doorsopen
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 09:13 am
@boagie,
boagie;30114 wrote:
Pangloss,Smile
When someone gives in a charitable way, there are two people being served.


YES!!!!! And the 'self' expands beyond 'it's synapses' to become something greater then itself!
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 09:43 am
@Ruthless Logic,
The firing off of synapses in the brain cannot be seen as random for that would not account for learning or memory or meaning, no matter how intriguing a mental picture (or Disney-like cartoon) this might be.
Certain paths seem to be "hard wired" into our brains in common with other animals; these we call instinct (e.g. self-survival). Others seem to be learned (using a fork) from society or from individual repetition; these we call habits, and habits depend upon "memory."
Here, one could conclude that the causes of these simple actions are only materially caused by electrical currents running through the cranium, and their paths by other causes. It is, and is not, the individual lines of a complex program that cause it to function, for it needs a set of rules and instructions and then a goal.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 10:45 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
The firing off of synapses in the brain cannot be seen as random for that would not account for learning or memory or meaning, no matter how intriguing a mental picture (or Disney-like cartoon) this might be.
Certain paths seem to be "hard wired" into our brains in common with other animals; these we call instinct (e.g. self-survival). Others seem to be learned (using a fork) from society or from individual repetition; these we call habits, and habits depend upon "memory."
Here, one could conclude that the causes of these simple actions are only materially caused by electrical currents running through the cranium, and their paths by other causes. It is, and is not, the individual lines of a complex program that cause it to function, for it needs a set of rules and instructions and then a goal.


The existence of a set of rules does not imply a goal.
 
Ruthless Logic
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 11:26 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
As for Ruthless' continued assertion that my discussion is motivated by moral idealism, I'd ask him to point out where I say anything about the merits or demerits of altruism in this discussion. I happen to be a huge fan of Nietzsche's argument against altruism, which is found in Genealogy of Morals, specifically because I agree with Nietzsche that there is no transcendent good that justifies altruism. While I am indeed in favor of altruistic acts, I think that comes from our social nature and has nothing to do with absolute good or evil.(quote)

Wow, I think you got it! Let me add a quote of mine that I posted awhile ago. " Liberalism or Carelessness = The desire to indulge in idealism, while subjected to the constraints of the human condition, an unable to reconcile the realization". You my friend have finally arrived at enlightenment thru the process of reconciliation.


P.S. I will post later (due to time constraint) on the implications of not understanding the human axiom of self-interest and the catastrophic human events that have transpired, because of the lack of understanding the sequence of self-interest.

__________________
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 11:43 am
@Ruthless Logic,
Quote:
Wow, I think you got it! Let me add a quote of mind that I posted awhile ago. " Liberal Ideology or Carelessness = The desire to indulge in idealism, while subjected to the constraints of the human condition, an unable to reconcile the realization". You my friend have finally arrived at enlightenment thru the process of reconciliation.


P.S. I will post later (due to time constraint) on the implications of not understanding the human axiom of self-interest and the catastrophic human events that have transpired, because of the lack of understanding the sequence of self-interest.

__________________


You do realize that within that post he still outright denied your "Human Axiom of Self-Interest" don't you?

He acknowledges that humans can be altruistic, he simply states that it occurs due to our nature as social animals and not some moral code.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 11:49 am
@Pangloss,
Pangloss wrote:
Or we have a person who is acting on the desire to preserve/build his own "honor" in the eyes of others, which would not be a selfless action. A "coward" who would run from the situation and avoid self-sacrifice has simply decided that his physical health is more important than his honor/social repute. But both options involve acting on self-interest. A person who "does good" also benefits psychologically, and this is proven (increases dopamine levels or something). Altruism involves selfless action, and for someone to be truly selfless, they would need to be performing the will without any benefit, including feeling good or elevating their mood.


No, it merely involves someone who is worse off than they were before. If someone purposefully lose all of his or her appendages and live his or her life as a vegetable, yet get some sense of small sense of satisfaction, I would be hard pressed to call that self-interested.

Altruistic actions only require that one purposefully act in a way that one knows will result in the net result being harm to one's self.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 12:01 pm
@Pangloss,
Aedes,Smile

I am sorry if you think I am not reading your posts. I think it is a matter of this topic however, four hundred pages in the previous topic of, " The
Selfish Nature Of All Actions",it was like pulling teeth to get one individual to acknowledge the any action whatsoever must have the will of the individual behind it, and that it is thus first self-serving. Again, my apology if you think me not dealing with you squarely. In all fairness, I could make the same claim.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 01:02 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power;30291 wrote:

Altruistic actions only require that one purposefully act in a way that one knows will result in the net result being harm to one's self.


The definition of altruism that I am aware of does not necessitate doing harm to yourself; it is the selfness concern for or serving of others. Being harmed yourself in this practice isn't necessary for being altruistic, unless you are saying that any concern/action for another which does not benefit the self in some way is harmful.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 01:29 pm
@Pangloss,
This may help.

http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/30607/sample/9780521830607ws.pdf
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 02:25 pm
@Ruthless Logic,
Sure, I've got nothing better to do than sift through a 260 page PDF on self-interest...

I will excuse myself from this topic, because everything I have read here so far just involves purely imaginative, scattered, and lofty "arguments" as to the nature of altruism. Speculation and tautological "proofs" are entertaining, but I will stick to the findings of science in this matter.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 02:32 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss,Smile

I am afraid your right, a little hasty on my part, I thought I was on to something which would put this topic to rest.
 
manored
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 04:30 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
This is simply not correct, I'm afraid. If you put your hand on a hot stove and flinch and draw it away, that's simply not at all an act of intent or will. Why not? Because babies, animals, birds, and even insects will do the same exact thing. It's a neurologic reflex that actually bypasses the brain (go look up spinal reflexes).

Is the fact that your heart beats a matter of will? If so, then why is it that someone who is brain dead can have a beating heart?
I disagree. We must not see ourselves only as our personality, as we are not only our personality. Isnt it true, after all, that it was our race, our genes and our early experiences that formed our personality? And can we affirm that animals or insects are not conscient merely because they, aparently, are not smart enough to acknowledge their conscience? And cannot we compare the way we cannot sometimes avoid getting angry with someone to the way we cannot stop our own heart?

Basically what I am saying is that, at least in this reality, we are not only our conscience but also our body.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:36 pm
@manored,
manored;30398 wrote:
I disagree. We must not see ourselves only as our personality, as we are not only our personality...Basically what I am saying is that, at least in this reality, we are not only our conscience but also our body.
I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. My whole point was that there are many actions that we undertake that are NOT a function of our will, and our body is the mediator of that. It's not a matter of will that our cells phosphorylate glucose, and certain complex behaviors that are innate are not a matter of will either.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:42 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

You might add Aedes, that it is also off topic, is not the topic conscious human behaviour? We all know there are subconscious functional processes, but again, it is off topic. Ruthless where are you, this is painful!!
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 07:51 pm
@boagie,
Can we not worry about what is off topic here when we are getting nowhere anyways. Also Boagie, what I meant by the "am I on the right track" was in respect to my earlier posts. I guess the reciprocal altruism is an added bonus. But my intention ironically, was to prove kind of what Aedes just mentioned. It shows a way how altruism can work via no conscious consideration. I was only disputing the possibility of altruism as possible if it fits the cognitive processes available during the situation that was brought up at the start of the thread with the grenades. There is just no time for conscious recoils. it is acting instinctively, and out of reciprocal altruism we can get altruistic actions. (If you want to look at it logically, I'm still trying to figure out the difference).
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:00 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday,Smile

Confusion is typical of the topic, but if we wander aimless from the premise of the topic, it soon becomes entirely confusion----who is on second? If someone is claiming that altrusim is an instinctive response, then again they are not speaking of conscious human behavior, and if they try to apply it to conscious human behaviour, its simply nonsense.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:03 pm
@boagie,
boagie;30458 wrote:
You might add Aedes, that it is also off topic, is not the topic conscious human behaviour? We all know there are subconscious functional processes, but again, it is off topic.
I may have misunderstood one of your posts previously where it seemed you were attributing all action to the will. If so, I apologize.

Yes, the topic is conscious behavior, but remember that conscious behavior is only partly mediated by reasoning. Someone throwing himself on a grenade to save a fellow soldier is probably not acting out a well-reasoned process -- it's impulsive, and it's probably based on his sense of danger to his comrade. And I doubt it's a subconscious calculus based on his own self-interest. Some acts of apparent altruism are more reasoned out, but shouldn't we talk about them separately from impulsive (yet apparently altruistic) acts?

Thus, I agree with Holiday's point here. If you want to talk about how we choose "altruistic" acts as the end result of a reasoning process, we need to exclude impulsive acts in which we run in front of a car to save someone or whatever. We need to talk about the situation in which someone can actually reason through his decision before committing to it.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:08 pm
@Ruthless Logic,
Ruthless Logic wrote:


EXAMPLE: Two soldiers engaged in combat are firing at the enemy from their foxhole, when suddenly a hand grenade lands inside the foxhole and one of the soldiers (A) throws his body on top of the grenade partly shielding the other soldier (B) from the blast and shrapnel, thereby saving the soldier (B), but the act also cost the life of the soldier (A) who threw himself upon the grenade.


Grenades typically only take a few seconds to explode.

As you can see there is just not enough time for conscious cognition. I mean, all behaviour, conscious or not, is a result of cognition. So I am either completely lost, or the example given is a poor one to stop this confusion that happens a lot.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:16 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

I take it you do not buy my previous post indicating the metaphysical nature of self-sacrifice, the interpretation of Schopenhauer. Even with your view of this heroic act of the said solider, do you deny that it was his will that moved him into the path of danger, if not, then how does he deserve any credit. According to you, he did not will it so.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 08:30 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;30469 wrote:
Grenades typically only take a few seconds to explode.

As you can see there is just not enough time for conscious cognition. I mean, all behaviour, conscious or not, is a result of cognition. So I am either completely lost, or the example given is a poor one to stop this confusion that happens a lot.


Maybe this will help:

Quote:
 
 

 
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