All behaviour is egoistic, ...or not ?

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alex717
 
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2008 06:06 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So committing suicide is egotistic because it affect the person who commits suicide? Is it self-interested too?


Depends under which circumstances he does so.
 
alex717
 
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2008 06:08 pm
@jknilinux,
jknilinux wrote:
Evolution doesn't deal with organisms. It deals with genomes. If a genome is successful, it continues. So, where I said "people", I guess I should've put "genomes". Sorry.

So, how is a genome that tells people to protect their offspring less successful?


This isn't proven, you shouldn't base your argument on scientific grounds, hence this is a philosophy forum.
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2008 06:09 pm
@Wybo,
alex-

I doubt you would sacrifice yourself for religious reasons if I told you that when you die you'll have a neural network "modification" that'll turn you into george bush.

EDIT:

This is because, IMO, you believe (assuming you're religious) that you'll remain Alex and not George when you die- otherwise it's not you who's getting the reward, it's George. You believe you'll remain yourself, and hence a religious martyr is doing suicide out of self-interest for rewards that will come in the afterlife to himherself.
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2008 06:16 pm
@Wybo,
Well, Aedes can help us with the evolution thing... Where is he when you need him?!?! Haha.
 
alex717
 
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2008 06:20 pm
@jknilinux,
Lets have a boxing match, I got Aristotle's ugly ass, you can have Bill Nie. Good luck, Smile
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 03:03 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So committing suicide is egotistic because it affect the person who commits suicide? Is it self-interested too?

Suicide is selfish, as it is 1) devalueing the self and 2) devalueing all other selves.
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 12:30 pm
@avatar6v7,
how is "devaluing the self" selfish?
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 12:53 pm
@Wybo,
Hey, khethil- What do you think?
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 04:26 pm
@jknilinux,
jknilinux wrote:
how is "devaluing the self" selfish?

To claim that you are the sole arbiter of your self
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 04:46 pm
@Wybo,
avatar,

Please explain
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2008 01:30 pm
@jknilinux,
If we say that our bodies and lives are completly ours- we can determine our value, destroy it as we will, then it is to reject whatever stake our families and our freinds, or society as a whole has. We have a duty to these people.
 
alex717
 
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2008 02:15 pm
@jknilinux,
jknilinux wrote:
avatar,

Please explain


I think I know what your trying to say, but try to state your point in finished sentences. Nobody wants to read that elementary babble. And once you do, we will respond.
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 01:43 pm
@alex717,
alex,

I have always stated my point in finished sentences. If there's anything you want clarification on then please let me know, instead of throwing insults around.

avatar-

Are you saying free will is selfish?
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 03:39 pm
@jknilinux,
jknilinux wrote:


avatar-

Are you saying free will is selfish?

No, where did you get that from? We can have free will and choose to be selfish or do the right thing.
 
jknilinux
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 07:45 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar-

You seemed to state earlier that "to claim that you are the sole arbiter of yourself" is "devaluing the self", aka "selfish". To claim that you are the sole arbiter of yourself seemed to mean free will to me.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 06:30 pm
@Wybo,
Nietzsche argued that no action is completely selfless from a logical point of view. Even the most selfless actions have the self in mind, paradoxically. For example, when a person sees someone about to get hit by a car and tries to save them, they are performing the act out of the feeling of empathy, and empathy is the ability to psychologically feel what another person feels and imagining if it were you in the same predicament. So, while the action is a selfless one the thought that caused it is not completely selfless.
 
alex717
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 07:29 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
Nietzsche argued that no action is completely selfless from a logical point of view. Even the most selfless actions have the self in mind, paradoxically. For example, when a person sees someone about to get hit by a car and tries to save them, they are performing the act out of the feeling of empathy, and empathy is the ability to psychologically feel what another person feels and imagining if it were you in the same predicament. So, while the action is a selfless one the thought that caused it is not completely selfless.


Your not empathizing in thought though, your just experiencing (this doesn't make you consciously choose things to benefit yourself) and it would be more of an act of compassion. It is the self which acts out of compassion, but at times compassion may occur when it is not in the self's best interest. Such as times when one may try to alleviate another ones harm and cause greater harm to themselves. This happens because your not being egoistic and deciphering the situation to best suit yourself. Therefore, it is not egoism.
 
read
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 03:44 am
@alex717,
The answer to this question depends sensitively on the precise definition of ego, and each of us may be using a different definition. To approach the question from a top-down perspective, everything we do is motivated by some process within our minds. If you look at a person as a system, they have some input (sensory perception) and some output (speech and behavior), and the output is a function of the input. If you define the entire range of this function as ego, than by definition, all behavior is egoistic. Otherwise, all behavior is not egoistic.

This argument is trivial, but the real question is, when we debate whether or not all behavior is egoistic, are we really conveying any more information than is contained in this trivial argument? We certainly think we are, but I'm not so sure. I'll give the debate a try anyway. :p

I read about a grand tournament wherein a slew of programs designed by different computer scientists took turns playing against each other for many iterations of the prisoners' dilemma. Each program kept track of its total score throughout the tournament, and each program used a different strategy with regard to its opponent's behavior on past iterations. The surprising part is, the most duplicitous, backstabbing programs did not win the tournament. The group of programs that scored the highest had several rules in common.

1) Tit for tat. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, you hurt me, I'll hurt you.
2) Benefit of the doubt. I'll begin by scratching your back, and see what you do.
3) Second chances. Sometimes after you hurt me, I'll still scratch your back, and maybe you'll change your tune. (Sometimes better to risk giving you more points and not getting any back, than to risk getting locked into a pissing contest for the rest of our iterations and never getting any points.)

Remember, these are simple computer programs, with no thoughts or motivations, just hard-coded rules to follow, despite my anthropomorphic portrayals of them. The interesting thing is that without any concept of self-interest or altruism, it is an empirical fact that the "trusting, forgiving" programs made out better than the ones that followed a purely "selfish" strategy.

Well, we're programs, and evolution coded our rules, and our rules are called instincts. Our points are surviving offspring. We're the products of natural selection for the highest-scoring rules, which include our instinctive altruism. The key word is "instinctive" - for many, many generations, we had no concept of ethics or morality, we simply felt like helping each other (because for many, many generations, those with a tendency to feel this way via random genetic mutations scored more surviving offspring.) Today, in addition to our ethics and morality (and sometimes in spite of them), we still feel like helping each other, much as we feel like screwing each other, much as we feel "fight or flight" when something scares us, etc.

Much as we feel like looking out for our own interests. Self-interest is an evolutionary strategy also. You need to survive to mate, and to take care of your offspring. But your genes don't care about you, your genes only care about your offspring. More precisely, your genes only care about your offspring's offspring. Even more precisely, your genes only care about your genes. More precisely still, as simple chemicals, your genes don't have the ability to care about anything - they're simply the ones that got replicated because they're good at getting themselves replicated, using you as a carrier.

My point is, even without any intellectual belief or justification whatsoever, you'd still have altruism. However, the reason for this is because you've evolved that instinct as a survival strategy. So, does that mean altruism is egoistically motivated?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 03:52 pm
@alex717,
alex717 wrote:
Your not empathizing in thought though, your just experiencing (this doesn't make you consciously choose things to benefit yourself) and it would be more of an act of compassion. It is the self which acts out of compassion, but at times compassion may occur when it is not in the self's best interest. Such as times when one may try to alleviate another ones harm and cause greater harm to themselves. This happens because your not being egoistic and deciphering the situation to best suit yourself. Therefore, it is not egoism.


What I meant was that I think Nietzsche was saying that even when we think of other we are thinking of ourselves in some way. It's a sort of paradox. Another good point Nietzsche made was that when we love someone we are afraid to lose them, not because we love them, but because we love the way that they make us feel, and so the ego is always involved. I will, however, agree that it is not ethical egoism. I think his point was that thought is the cause of action. and no thought is completely selfless.
 
read
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 05:10 pm
@hue-man,
Do you personally believe no thought is completely selfless? If so, how do you know?

I can come up with a plausible explanation for any action in terms of selfish motivations, but this does not imply the action is in fact selfishly motivated. Is it not possible for any conscious being to be motivated by regard for the welfare of another, as an end in itself?
 
 

 
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