Goodness; the good person; and true justice

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

step314 phil
 
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 03:09 pm
@deepthot,
Quote:

Originally Posted by deepthot http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
Thus a distinction can be drawn between doing what we should without a struggle against contrary desires; and employing what might be called "strength of will," that is, having to control a desire or temptation to do otherwise.


The way I see it there should also be a distinction between the contrary phenomena responsible for there being a struggle between contrary desires. One is (chemical) addiction. When an addiction is in play, the rational side of one's character wants one thing, while the addiction-affected emotions want another. The thing about addictions is that they are very hard for the brain to emotionally recognize as such, and yet can be very harmful. Since there is always a trade-off between false positives and false negatives, the emotions tend to reduce the false negatives (a wrong "this is not addictive" conclusion) by admitting many false positives (a wrong "this is addictive" conclusion). There are two contrary things going on: addictions, and what I call anti-addictions.

As for anti-addictions, I think it is appropriate to humor them somewhat, since the brain can gain insight as to how they work, which allows one to better understand exactly how they might be introducing error into one's life. As for addictions proper, they should be avoided as much as practicable (sometimes, as with food, this is a very tricky thing to do, but at other times, as with cigarettes, alcohol or sodomy, it is a simple black-and-white affair).

Many of the things claimed to be addictive I think really are anti-addictions. For instance, if one wrongly feels one is screwed up, one tends to especially want conformist drivel, because it is better to be controlled by standard television opinion than one's screwed-up emotions. Or if emotionally one sort of thinks the cave monsters in Angband (a computer game) are real, one obsessively won't want to stop playing because obviously if one really is slaying disgusting cave monsters and stops feeling like that is important, likely it is because some monster has got one's hindquarters. There is a very good reason why anger and will have a kind of momentum to them: the momentum protects one from sodomy altering one's opinion. Usually, anger and the other typically insane emotions are not useful and even harmful, but very occasionally they are extremely useful emotions, which shouldn't really be surprising since most at least fairly complex things that people have evolved to possess have some purpose. Anyway, many obsessions and harmful tendencies are actually akin to the opposite of addictions--they arise from anti-addictions defenses going berzerk--and so I am very annoyed (perhaps males so often having to deal with manipulative women making out like sex is addictive might give them a stronger tendency to be slightly anti-anti-addicted, i.e., insanely keen on not allowing patent nonaddictions to be classified as addictions) when people call these behaviors addictions, and prefer to call them anti-addictions.

As for being oneself, that is one of those things that is useful mainly to distant generations. If someone is true to himself, his success or failure will more depend on his own natural tendencies and abilities, which is of benefit because it causes evolution to select for these useful important things. It is very hard, though, to imagine how evolution would select for such tendencies. Being a good person in other ways tends to cause good people to love you more--the rewards are in the present generation. Do something that causes your descendants (on average) to be slightly evolved more, and the benefit will mainly be to distant descendants and their mates, who are not nearly as related to you as you yourself or your children are. People just don't have much in the way of moral motives encouraging them to be true to themselves or to appreciate that in others. Oh sure, there might be a handful of people who will more-or-less think for themselves, because when practically no one else thinks for themselves, well, that might make thinking for oneself a little more practical, but this is hardly an ideal situation.

I theorize there are two things going on, one complex, and one simple but curious. On the one hand, I think female lust has both epigenetic effects and effects on intraejaculate sperm selection. Anyway, though I may be somewhat foggy on the details, together I figure they or something similar conspire to create (in males who think for themselves) a correlation between DNA associated with thinking for oneself (that expresses itself strongly) and DNA that has engaged in much sex with lustful females. Thus, when males think for themselves, it's not just that they are thinking for themselves, it's especially true that the part of them that is good at having sex with lustful females is especially thinking for itself. Males think for themselves mostly just because they feel that will improve their chances of obtaining sex from lustful females. With females it is an entirely different more straightforward situation, I think. A conformist female doesn't measure the reproductive ability of a male just by how much a male is wanted by females, but by how much he is wanted by females who think for themselves. I mean, really, oftentimes a guy is the object of the screams of thousands of adolescent girls just because MTV or Disney created mostly manufactured hype. What's so impressive about that as regards how much girls naturally like him? What a male really wants in order to especially attract girls is not lots of girls per se, but lots of girls who are attracted to him because they have evaluated their own true natures and decided, "yeah, he's what I want". So it's kind of weird, because it's to get conformist girls that guys want non-conformist ones, and thus why occasionally females decide to be not conformist. Males who are naturally attractive to females, and more especially to young females, encourage girls to be true to themselves by coercing them, say, by not emotionally loving them as well as they otherwise would. And also, love might cause a girl to be true to herself because she knows that will make other girls more attracted to the male she loves.

One of the realizations that has most surprised me as I've gotten older is just how rare it is for people to actually think things out for themselves. In particular, it is very rare for people to put more than a trivial amount of effort into figuring out what their own nature is; sadly, most just assume that their nature is mostly what people in general or their favorite large group of respected people take it to be.
 
salima
 
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 07:24 pm
@deepthot,
step314-
your post has a lot of interesting points, but much is off topic. i would like to hear more-have you thought of doing a blog or can you start a new thread?
a blog may be better because some of the issues you raise may cause people to emote very strongly. i am particularly intrigued with your ideas of male and female motives and behavior, but threads with that sort of subject often run amok and end up being closed.

---------- Post added 08-17-2009 at 06:56 AM ----------

addictions are also an interest of study to me and i would like to hear more of what you have observed.
 
step314 phil
 
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 11:10 pm
@deepthot,
Yes, Salima, I tend to be rather scatter-brained about things, jumping from one thing to another. When I am not that way, my writing tends to be forced and not as interesting. Perhaps I shall start a blog here, mentioning in my first entry summaries of my main opinions and interests, and go from there as people express interest (if they do).

The main point I was trying to make, I suppose, was that if there is a notion of morality, justice, etc., that amounts to something, it should correspond to a concept that could be useful in explaining how at least some people actually naturally are. True, I agree with Locke that people don't innately have propositions or even ideas (such as a conception of morality), but like Locke I do believe that people have innate tendencies. One of those tendencies, that people have to various degrees, it seems to me, is to make sense of these tendencies, to try to abstract from them propositions that explain their tendencies. Once these propositions are created, things that are implied by the propositions as being tendencies become tendencies (abstracted ones). In other words, what people would expect to like from their understanding of themselves and external reality, they end up liking just because they expect to (unless there is some innate tendency that contradicts, in which case new abstraction is called for). Life is too complicated to have an innate tendency for everything it would be quite useful or even necessary to have a tendency about.

If a morality is not followed or requires willpower to follow on account of emotion being against it, then one possibility is that either addiction or insanity is twisting the emotions away from what they would be otherwise. That's the only case I think willpower is useful. A second possibility is that the person has a poor understanding of his own tendencies, for instance because he hasn't observed them very seriously or because he hasn't bothered abstracting from them or because he is not clever enough to make elegant rules that explain well his observed tendencies, or because his understanding of himself is just based on his faith in someone else's wrong opinion or lies, and so he doesn't see that he is innately moral in the sense that the concept actually assists in describing his innate tendencies better than whatever concepts he employs. A third possibility is that the morality as defined is not a very useful concept, i.e., that some other notion of morality would be a better fit to the concept useful in describing what good (in a vague sense) people are. A fourth possibility is that, yes, some people are naturally moral, but that some are not or are much less so, e.g., because they are naturally selfish. I think all of these possibilities apply to some degree in explaining why people often feel or behave differently from what it seems to me deepthot considers moral, as indeed is the case with most fairly good moral systems. A fifth possibility is that someone can be moral in the sense that he is motivated by morality and yet have a misunderstanding of the full consequences on eternity of various behaviors, and thereby fail in applying morality (but this does not much apply here, since deepthot seems to be limiting his discussion mostly to the basic axioms of morality).
 
Pathfinder
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 05:36 pm
@deepthot,
I think that there are many facets of the qualities that most of us use to define the character of a person. And morality, values, integrity etc. are almost always dependent on the individual definition of what a person believes and practices themselves.

What one man sees as courage might be perceived by another as sheer stupidity. If courage is a quality that would be used to define a man a good man, and yet is seen as the exact opposite from two different points of view, than is it possible for good to be defined at all given this dilemma?

This same problem arises within the religious communities where a man may be acting according to what he believes his righteous God would ask of him, and yet, those who do not follow that ideology may be defining that man as a murderer. Is the definition of good altered by individual definition or is it immovable?

I believe the essence of life to be fully entangled in the thorough evaluation of this curiosity. I believe that until humanity can answer these questions harmoniously that man will never understand the true dynamic behind what it means to be human.

I think that the immovable truth of life itself is hidden in how we manage to calculate the thinking on this matter. How we relate to one another and learn to cooperate is directly and critically bound to how this universe will evolve.

Many people have the ideology that man is simply a molecule among gazillions of molecules, and that how we live our lives has no affect on the universe as a whole. Others believe that it is each of us alone that creates the universe as we live within it. Our own gods as it were.

I believe that the human has some critical place in this universe that has yet to be realized, and that we are slowly but surely evolving toward that goal. What has set that goal, and what importance it has to creation as a whole, is yet to be determined, but there is certainly something about the dynamics of humanity within this universe that sets us apart.

Thus we constantly strive to define who and what we are. In the meantime the differences between good, and whatever the opposite of that is, remains blurred and a work in progress. I think that when we can all finally understand the true meaning of what is 'good', and define it with one accord, humanity will then suddenly turn the page to an entirely new existence which will be completely unlike the one we have known for these few thousand years now. THAT is my God; and THAT is what I live to look forward to.

---------- Post added 08-23-2009 at 07:06 PM ----------

The following is a cut from my blog, I hope that Justin will allow a spam here for the sake of developing this thread. I am extremely intrigued by this conversation and topic and would very much like for it to evolve into a detailed dig into the human psyche.


"Man is not an unconscious life force acting inconsequentially with the world around him. Man acts with absolute awareness of the choices and decisions he makes, and what degree of intelligence, love and wisdom he applies in these decisions is based upon the degree of knowledge, character and experience he has attained. And his moral character, or lack thereof, will result in the application of love instead of hate, or vica versa.Which applications are best for the survival of a man will vary according to the situational circumstances of any particular event, but the moral character of a man never varies according to external circumstances. The moral character of a man is always based immediately and completely on his decisions to act out of love or hate, compassion or indifference, and concern or uncaring. None of these are changed by environment or situational circumstances. This truth is the only constant in the universe.Love is what it is regardless of nature, environment or necessity.

Of all life on earth, it is the ability to understand love that makes man unique. Whether this is common throughout the universe or not is unknown. But this is what separates us from the animals in our world, as well as the barbarians.These virtues mean nothing if all we have them for is simple survival. Because the highest love that can a man can give is in the form of sacrificing his own survival for those he loves. These virtuous characteristics are evidence of a part of man that is not bound to the material aspects of his existence. Bodily functions and material needs that we require to be healthy, productive and comfortable are all physical. But virtue and character are a part of a mystery that man cannot explain.The mystery of the spirit! That which makes a man who he is, despite what he may be physically.

The spiritual aspect of man is unique from every other life form that we know of, and it is the obvious critical juncture between what we know as life and death. Our spirit is what grows as we learn from our experiences. And it is how we know that we exist. It is also the 'missing component' of a corpse that leaves it lifeless. What happens to this mysterious inner spirit upon death? What is this life force that makes us more than physical material? And what is this Creator that makes it all possible?It is in the quest to solve these mysteries that one is lead to knowledge and truth. It is by the seeking to solve these mysteries of life that man gathers the most crucial truths, and gains wisdom through them. Spirit, life, and creation. They are all bound together in a circle of truth that cannot be altered.The truth of a Creator may forsake us, and we may be responsible for our own character, but there are clues to be found in this creation of what is beneficial and what is destructive. And with regard to the spirit of man, there is no doubt that love is beneficial, and that the aquiring of knowledge is productive."

Pathfinder,
from the blog Natural Logic
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 12:39 am
@Pathfinder,
Pathfinder;85197 wrote:
...This truth is the only constant in the universe. Love is what it is regardless of nature, environment or necessity.

Of all life on earth, it is the ability to understand love that makes man unique. ...

The spiritual aspect of man is unique from every other life form that we know of, and it is the obvious critical juncture between what we know as life and death. Our spirit is what grows as we learn from our experiences. And it is how we know that we exist. It is also the 'missing component' of a corpse that leaves it lifeless. ... there are clues to be found in this creation of what is beneficial and what is destructive. And with regard to the spirit of man, there is no doubt that love is beneficial, and that the aquiring of knowledge is productive."

Pathfinder,


Well said !

What do you think are the odds that this will be taught in the Philosophy Departments of leading, respected establishment universities, such as those in the "Ivy League."?

...not that the Hartman/Katz approach -- which teaches pretty much the same concepts albeit in technical language -- is faring much better today, but at least one university Philosophy faculty is giving it some respect, and a graduate fellowship in Research in Formal Axiology has been endowed. That's a start.

To talk about love and spirituality in a university setting is very much like shouting "Love" to a deer in the forest. People often will run away - 'in the other direction.'

However a new movement is making inroads. It is called "Positive Psychology", was largely inspired
early on by Dr. Abraham Maslow, is looking into topics such as: measuring love, optimism, peak experiences, emotional highs, working in 'the zone', etc.

And the new science of Moral Psychology is advancing by leaps and bounds. It has large philosophical components so far as it emerges from Moral Philosophy into a legitimate science.



 
Pathfinder
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 05:57 am
@deepthot,
I think it's always a matter of timing Deepthot.

Such teaching would not have been so easily cast aside in the 60s during the peace movement of the hippie and beatnik era in the US.

And of course many eastern philosophies have carried a similar tune for thousands of years.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 06:06 am
@Pathfinder,
Pathfinder;85197 wrote:
This same problem arises within the religious communities where a man may be acting according to what he believes his righteous God would ask of him, and yet, those who do not follow that ideology may be defining that man as a murderer. Is the definition of good altered by individual definition or is it immovable?

It's brainwashing someone into believing a false ideology to attain an end, in this case murder. It isn't a case of "good" in anyones eyes other than the killers and im not really sure what your asking.
 
Pathfinder
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 06:12 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;87579 wrote:
It's brainwashing someone into believing a false ideology to attain an end, in this case murder. It isn't a case of "good" in anyones eyes other than the killers and im not really sure what your asking.


Not posing any question at all Carline.

Simply showing that some people may attempt to define what is righteous and good by their own ideological beliefs. For instance if you are a Christian, than you would be of the view that Joshua was not a murderer because he acted with God's permission to perform a necessary evil.

This not my personal way of thinking, just an observation of humanity. Ideology cannot be false of true. Ideology is free from those determinations because of its composition. Ideology is the reality of a person's belief.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 06:15 am
@deepthot,
Yes but in the case of the suicide planes and bombers their ideology was based soley for that purpose, ie,that they were brainwashed into believing it was the right thing to do just so they get some naive sucker to kill. Nobody knows that if you kill you will go to heaven and be surrounded by naked women, that was said by a man not God and no doubt to serve one purpose only - to get someone else to do their dirty work for them.
 
Pathfinder
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 06:29 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;87582 wrote:
Yes but in the case of the suicide planes and bombers their ideology was based solely for that purpose, ie,that they were brainwashed into believing it was the right thing to do just so they get some naive sucker to kill. Nobody knows that if you kill you will go to heaven and be surrounded by naked women, that was said by a man not God and no doubt to serve one purpose only - to get someone else to do their dirty work for them.


I tend to agree with what you are saying but I am not sure what your point is. Are you in some disagreement with anything I have posted above?

It seems that you are saying that good is more obvious than the way I have addressed it, and I would also agree with that as well. As I said, these are not my personal ideologies, just observations of the human mindset as a whole. I do make personal declarations in my blog, but you need to sort out the observation from the ideology here.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 06:53 am
@deepthot,
I'm not disagreeing on anything, I'm a bit dopey Pathfinder and I wanted to clarify what you were saying and express what I think, that you can call them ideologies if you like but at the end of the day it's just some power freak brainwashing the gullible.
 
step314 phil
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 07:49 am
@Pathfinder,
Pathfinder;85197 wrote:
And morality, values, integrity etc. are almost always dependent on the individual definition of what a person believes and practices themselves.


I think it is a mistake to apply this argument to morality, etc., to the extent it has been applied. One could say the same thing about myriads of definitions. For instance, take the mathematical notion of function. Some people define functions vaguely as a rule that to any element of a domain set associates an element of some other set. Some consider it the same thing as its graph. Some consider it the ordered triple consisting of its suitable domain set, its graph, and a suitable target set (that need not be the same thing as the function's range). Some might more tend to think they are working with function symbols than actual functions, and so might consider what some people consider functions as actually function symbols. Some definitions are better than others, but mostly no one in math is obsessing and throwing up his hands saying the concepts are "always dependent on the individual definition of what a person believes and practices themselves", even though some of the simplest concepts are precisely that way. For some reason, this pessimism happens to an unusual degree with respect to moral philosophy.

What would make a good, useful definition of morality? It should define something akin to what people consider the word to mean. It should define something it would appear reasonable to believe that some people might possess (to various degrees). Also, all else equal, it should define the more interesting and useful concept and do so elegantly. It's the same sort of thing that applies in math. For instance, defining function to mean "ordered pair" would be bad because that would be ridiculously and pointlessly contrary to prevailing usage. Defining functions to be objects that provably don't exist would be horrible. Defining functions as the same as their graphs is elegant, but defining them as triples seems useful in various places (e.g., algebraic topology) in making arguments less wordy, and it is just a matter of whether the usefulness of the latter definition is worth the extra complexity, which most mathematicians think indeed is the case, and so the latter definition is preferred by most mathematicians (though, of course, they also use the notion of a function's graph).
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 2 Sep, 2009 04:05 pm
@step314 phil,
step314;87623 wrote:
... What would make a good, useful definition of morality? ...It should define something it would appear reasonable to believe that some people might possess (to various degrees). Also, all else equal, it should define the more interesting and useful concept and do so elegantly. I.


Hi, step

I see you know some Math. Hence I trust you will not be put off by my use of some Formal Logic in the response that follows.

In Post #7 of this thread I offered a definition of morality and a justification for it. Let me at this time explain how it originated.

Dr. R. S. Hartman had this definition of "x is a good C" based upon previous work done by George Edward Moore. One of the first requirements for this to be so is that x be a member of the class-concept, C. Thereupon "good" then serves as a quantifier -- an axiological quantifier -- in isomorphism with the Universal Quantifier in Logic. It is the "all" case. [And "has value" or " is valuable" is isomorphic with "some" in Logic Valuable serves as an Existential quantifier - to use the jargon of Logic.]

x is a C in symbols (when the "is" is the is-of-class-membership) reads: x epsilon C. Then I came upon the special case of this, arriving at the formula:
x epsilon X.
How interpret this? Because my primary field is Ethics, I understood it to mean: an individual is a member of the unit-class bearing his proper name. For example, the fellow known as bertie is a member of the class named "Bertrand." (Better known as Bertrand Russell.)
The question then arose, What name shall we give to this formula? I decided to give it the name "Morality." That seemed most appropriate for all the reasons given in Post 7 above.

So the formula 'x epsilon X' is, in my ethical system, named "Morality." It means an individual person being himself. But just as value is a matter of degree, with things being more or less valuable, so is morality a matter of degree. Some folks have more morality than others, or than they had themselves previously. For example, a person gives up shoplifting and other petty theft because now they want to be a "good person.", harming no one.

Many other derivations follow from this definition, such as that we should all strive for authenticity (in contrast with phoniness); and that we should set high ideals for ourselves as goals, and work to reach them.

By "high" ideals I mean to aim for the character traits listed in the original post in this thread, when a good person was described. We can aim for goodness. We can set this as a goal. We will likely fall short, but we can aim high. And when we do fall short we will be that much further ahead in our moral progress.

All of this fits in neatly with the frame-of-reference which is named ETHICS. It is explained in greater detail in the manual I wrote, ETHICS; A College Course. And it is further elucidated in a second, more popularized, more readable booklet with the title: LIVING THE GOOD LIFE. A link to the first is here:
http://tinyurl.com/24swmd
A link to the second, briefer, essay is here:.http://tinyurl.com/24swmd

Steps, perhaps your knowledge of mathematics can be put to good use in the field of Ethics. Take the model I offered for Ethics and extend it by finding a branch of Math whose symbols can be interpreted in terms of Ethics, thus yielding some Theorems and Lemmas that can serve as hypotheses to later be empirically verified.. As you will note in the final pages of the LIVING document, the use of Non-Linear Dynamics, as employed in Chaos Theory, helps to explain apparent contradictory human behavior in terms of the notion of "attractors".

If you wish to cooperate in this project, send me a private message to that effect. The first step will be to study those two treatises, and to read Dr. Hartman's paper entitled "Axiology As A Science" in which he explains how values can indeed be measured with precision. (You can google this paper.)

Cordially,

deepthot
 
step314 phil
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 11:44 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;87761 wrote:
Thereupon "good" then serves as a quantifier -- an axiological quantifier -- in isomorphism with the Universal Quantifier in Logic. It is the "all" case.


I looked in your online book about this, and am afraid I don't really get it. Maybe a better less excessively spectacular way of putting it is that the good (in your system) is maximally having a self that is ideal (or minimally having a self that is not ideal)? "For all" can be thought of as an infimum (its truth value is the minimum truth value of what it quantifies over). But notions of order, supremums, etc., occur much more broadly than in logic.

The relation between morality on the one hand and finiteness, the countable, and the uncountably infinite on the other seems so bizarre I am even more sceptical (I didn't find the explanation). If three things add a certain way, and that way is reminiscent of how these concepts add, well, so what? You've only got three things. I just sense too much reaching for spectacular connections. And yes, I'm very sceptical, because of course people often throw math concepts around to make things look scientific.

deepthot;87761 wrote:
Steps, perhaps your knowledge of mathematics can be put to good use in the field of Ethics. Take the model I offered for Ethics and extend it by finding a branch of Math whose symbols can be interpreted in terms of Ethics, thus yielding some Theorems and Lemmas that can serve as hypotheses to later be empirically verified.


Been there, done some of that. Don't know about the empirical verification, though. The most relevant perceptions are reflections--those one has of one's own thoughts and feelings--I can see them better. Is that empirical? People mostly should see that modern science mostly discounts subjectivity not because reflection somehow has some magic bias which scientists bravely guard against at every opportunity but because it's hard to convince people that what you say goes on in your head really does (especially when they are insensitive people), whereas experiments are harder to fake and can be convincing even to the most clueless of administrator types. And mostly scientists, like other people, prefer to convince people they're right than to be right because the former pays better and it's hard to be right in unique ways.

Math can be important at times in moral philosophy. I think chaos theory is overhyped. But simpler concepts such as geometric sequences are fundamentally important. For instance, it is convenient in my moral system to divide beauty into various components, the first corresponding to what is beautiful in itself (akin to talent), and each of the others corresponding to love of the previous component. This allows me to think of goodness as love of beauty and also to think of beauty as part talent and part goodness, and yet not have circularity. Since it is reasonable to suppose that basically people love in others the same sort of love that they themselves possess (i.e., that the sort of love that is beautiful is really the love that constitutes goodness), it would follow that the components should be weighted like a geometric series. For instance, if I love (in another) love of talent half as much as I love talent, then I would probably love love of love of talent half as much as I love love of talent, because then a most beloved person would love similarly (with similar weights) to how I love, and the reason love is selected for by evolution is that people with similar loving ideals tend to love each other. Thus, we see that love and beauty are geometric sequences with ratio the fraction of beauty that is love. Yes, I'm not totally precise about the various concepts or justifications, but I'm close enough that I really think this geometric sequence is relevant, and yeah, it's cool.

It's interesting to look at what happens without the geometric sequence. E.g., if you just consider talent as beautiful (the limiting case as the ratio approaches 0), then what you'd need to love in others to increase what you find beautiful would be different from what you consider beautiful (talent)--so it would be awkward and dangerously dependent on the time period you've got in mind for when you aim to make the world more beautiful. It could lead to excessive praise of rampant capitalist competition or Hitler types killing people because they are viewed as unskilled. Somehow it reminds me of what I always thought Ayn Rand is too near (and so I haven't read her). On the other hand, if you want beauty to just be love with nothing concrete, that reminds me of the little I've read of Kant, who if I remember right seemed to think the best ideal is the one that is the most idealistic. But I think that really such an ideal is an ideal that resolves into uselessness, because if there is nothing concrete to love, well, the whole definition becomes circular or like a geometric series with ratio 1, which diverges. Being useful is beautiful, and so it is good to love usefulness. My guess is that Kant was one of those misogynist people who mostly thinks evil is just the extent to which something resembles a female who (loving his usefulness to her in this regard) uses one male to get another male jealous. Granted, occasionally a female may because of an addiction to depravity do this to encourage one male or the other (or both) to be more depraved, a dreadful thing, but to think it therefore wrong to love usefulness, really. Ah well, I'm going off course again, and I might be too lazy or busy to start a new thread.
 
Pathfinder
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 05:00 am
@deepthot,
What a world this would be if everyone would just do as they pleased without any consideration for anyone else but themselves,,,,,hey, wait a min.......
 
Adam101
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 04:11 pm
@deepthot,
"A good person would be one who has everything you would want a person to have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc. Such an individual would be morally good. He or she would possess morality. For "morality" may be defined as: Moral value."

Some people want different things, though, so who's to say what's morally correct when "the want" is something fluid? Are you morally correct, or good, because you do what "they" want? This could lead to some real problems down the road.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 02:25 am
@Adam101,
Adam101;94649 wrote:
"A good person would be one who has everything you would want a person to have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc. Such an individual would be morally good. He or she would possess morality. For "morality" may be defined as: Moral value."

Some people want different things, though, so who's to say what's morally correct when "the want" is something fluid? Are you morally correct, or good, because you do what "they" want? This could lead to some real problems down the road.


You are correct - and it is a good rejoinder to what Rich was arguing in the thread on happineess that you originated - that if we go by people's opinions (or [unenlightened] wants) as the standards for Ethics, we would run into all kinds of problems -- insuperable problems!

But you miss the point of what I wrote: I gave (in this thread and in my others) definite criteria for recognizing morality. My booklets to which I offered links earlier go into more detail on this very topic, explaining it more fully. Here I will merely define it as "self increasingly corresponding with an improving Self-image", or, more-concisely stated, as "self being true to Self." It's opposite is hypocricy - of which we see plenty, especially in politicians in the U.S. Senate where tthe hypocrisy is so thick . ....But I digress..

You quote me as saying, 'A good person would ...have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc.' Is it your contention in your post here that you don't agree with my description of a high Self-image to which a person can actually correspond by the example of his or her life? Are you disagreeing that when a person lives up to those criteria I offered morality is presen in that person? You personally wouldn't call such a person "moral"?

If though you would; and so would William; and the next reader, and the next, then what are we disputing about?

Do you think for a moment I am not aware that there are many 'sleepwalkers' as Gurdjeyev called them -- many unenlightened people?
(Look how many eligible voters voted for G.W. Bush, or who didn't vote at all.)

If you don't want a person to authentic, and to believe in the double/win in his interactions with you, then you may end up paying a price. Yes, I might have phrased it poorly, I am claiming that the moral person is not a phony. He or she is real. It isn't "what they want..." but it was you I was addressing in the above quote.
Can you agree (with the analysis in my posts - and with my novel paradigm for Ethics, taken as a whole)?

I know that an entire culture can be ignorant and superstitious, so that it would be unwise to use what people say or do as our primary guide. I know that two wrongs do not make a right. I know there are a lot of non-reasonable and unreasonable people around. I just hope that you and I are not among them.
 
Adam101
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 02:45 am
@deepthot,
"You quote me as saying, 'A good person would ...have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc.' Is it your contention in your post here that you don't agree with my description of a high Self-image to which a person can actually correspond by the example of his or her life? Are you disagreeing that when a person lives up to those criteria I offered morality is presen in that person? You personally wouldn't call such a person "moral"?"

Hmmm. I imagine that the person you described would generally be moral, but I feel like it's a weak foundation. I feel like, even though a person is all those things, he or she could still take immoral actions in being honest, because sometimes a lie is the best thing to do, imo. I could give some examples, but it's clear that people can do what's generally bad for good and what's generally good for bad. I can lie to keep myself from getting killed, or be kind so I can get close to someone and steal from them easier. Being kind is generally what you would want in a person, but not in the case of the latter. Lying is generally bad, but if it saves your life or the lives of others, how can you say you're acting immoral? I guess I am saying that: I don't necessarily think that this person, because he has all "positive" traits, will be moral...whatever positive means.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 12:20 pm
@Adam101,
You write: "I feel like it's a weak foundation."

That is not the foundation!!!!

I can tell you haven't done the follow-up reading that I recommended for Steps - who actually did do it; as did Salima. In my manual, ETHICS: A COLLEGE COURSE, I give the foundation, in terms of the (general)structure of a concept It has to do with intensions and extensions, and the Axiom of Value.

And in LIVING THE GOOD LIFE there is an entire mini-chapter on lying and honesty which takes up the very points you make about telling a lie, and when it may be moral to do so.
Please do some homework before showing up the professor. I am now retired from the classroom, being close to 80 years old, but it is possible that I have given the subject some study at length before venturing to offer my model to the world.

Before publishing my manual on the internet, I read up extensively on the topic of "happiness" in every book I could find on it in my world-class library here as well as in both Time Magazine, and in Ode Magazine, each of which has numerable references to the topic.

John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham worked hard on the topic, and yet the world since then has found lots of flaws in their theories. This is understandable, since - as Formal Axiology has demonstrated - every system has flaws. I devote many pages to "happiness" in my manual, ETHICS.... Hence I assume we are on the same side.

{I also go on the assumption that "success" is a topic relevant to moral philosophy; and "peace", and "conscience", and "integrity." All of these require our analysis, to enhance clarity, and I will soon initiate a thread on the structure of integrity, and of personal refinement. showing how fractal geometry helps do the analysis.}

When - in the current documentary on National Parks, assembled by the master archivist, Ken Burns - he quotes F. D. Roosevelt as saying, that the reason he is sending our the Civilian Conservation Corps to improve our Parks is "to build happiness", it sent a thrill up my spine. Presidents don't talk that way any more. ....unfortunately. ...Except maybe in Nepal.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 02:25 am
@deepthot,
I shall now offer a proposal for an ethics based on scientific facts about human nature:

Why not ground our ethical claims in a scientific account of human nature and what counts, for a human being, as flourishing. [I shall quote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here]


"Claims about what constitutes flourishing for human beings no more float free of scientific facts about what human beings are like than ethological claims about what constitutes flourishing for elephants. In both cases, the truth of the claims depends in part on what kind of animal they are and what capacities, desires and interests the humans or elephants have.


"The best available science today (including evolutionary theory and psychology) supports rather than undermines the ancient Greek assumption that we are social animals, like elephants and wolves and unlike polar bears. No rationalising explanation in terms of anything like a social contract is needed to explain why we choose to live together, subjugating our egoistical desires in order to secure the advantages of co-operation. Like other social animals, our natural impulses are not solely directed towards our own pleasures and preservation, but include altruistic and cooperative ones."


This basic fact about us should make more comprehensible the claim that for example, justice, charity, courage, and generosity are at least partially constitutive of human flourishing - as well as acts of kindness and authentic transparency of motives in contrast with deceipt.



Even though I have {in this thread, and in my manuscripts, a link to one of which is found below in my signature}
 
 

 
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 01/20/2022 at 06:05:52