If all existence ends at death isn't hedonism the only logical lifestyle?

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Pyrrho
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:29 pm
@north,
north;142291 wrote:
the problem with this thread is this ;

hedonism can be as distructive as well as pleasurable , for Humanity

so whats more important self pleasure or the survival of Humanity ?


[INDENT][INDENT]'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.

[INDENT]-David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Part III, Section III.[/INDENT]
Online Library of Liberty - SECTION III.: Of the influencing motives of the will. - A Treatise of Human Nature[/INDENT][/INDENT]

However, if one follows the hedonism of Epicurus, it is not destructive of the world at all. In fact, if everyone in the world were a good follower of Epicurus, the world would be far better off than it is now.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 03:33 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;140246 wrote:
I wouldn't say that pleasure is our motivation in life. However; close to it, only contentment is our motivation. People don't necessarily want to be in a blissful state for their lives, they just want to be free from worry, and feel comfort about their life. This doesn't imply that they require pleasure of any kind. There might be some who say that pleasure is necessary and that is their level of contentment, but I am trying to bring in the whole of humanity. I know there will be exceptions to the contentment rule.


I disagree with the notion that contentment is our ultimate motivation in life. It's probably true that our true motivation in life is subconscious and so contentment can be that motivation without us being consciously aware of it but I don't believe that it is our ultimate motivation. I believe that our ultimate motivation in life, whether we realize it or not, is power.
 
north
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 04:02 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;142304 wrote:
You misunderstand what hedonism entails. Hedonism is the ethical theory which says that pleasure is the only thing that has intrinsic value (valued for its own sake) and that we should act to maximize net pleasure (pleasure in the absence of pain). By that ethic using certain drugs and murdering people would ultimately and almost certainly lead to pain. Therefore a hedonist could conclude that such actions should be avoided. Also, sex and power are not destructive or negative in and of themselves. Temperance and prudence can ward off the negative capabilities of these values.


sorry I did misunderstand , thank goodness

sometimes it is good to be wrong !!
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 05:21 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;142319 wrote:
I believe that our ultimate motivation in life, whether we realize it or not, is power.


I believe that power is simply an attempt to compensate for the one thing that human beings know about their lives, that creatures don't - namely that it is finite. Out ultimate motivation is about filling the sense of lack that underlies our lives due to the knowledge that we will die, and many things can be used to fill that, power being one of them.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 09:28 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142373 wrote:
I believe that power is simply an attempt to compensate for the one thing that human beings know about their lives, that creatures don't - namely that it is finite. Out ultimate motivation is about filling the sense of lack that underlies our lives due to the knowledge that we will die, and many things can be used to fill that, power being one of them.


Some humans seek to live fulfilling lives more actively due to their awareness of death, but other animals also seek to live fulfilling lives according to their natural inclinations. The desire for power can be maximized by one's awareness of their own mortality, but I don't believe that it's the primary motivator. The desire for power can be observed in virtually every living thing.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 22 Mar, 2010 11:04 pm
@richard mcnair,
I cannot believe that any animal 'seeks a fulfilling life' I'm sorry. And the desire for power and fulfilment are unique to H Sapiens. Animals don't 'seek' anything. Such things require the ability to think in the abstract and pursue goals that are not immediately visible.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 09:15 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142451 wrote:
... Animals don't 'seek' anything. Such things require the ability to think in the abstract and pursue goals that are not immediately visible.


Evidently, you have never played fetch with a dog, where the ball or stick has been thrown behind a bush.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 01:48 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142451 wrote:
I cannot believe that any animal 'seeks a fulfilling life' I'm sorry. And the desire for power and fulfilment are unique to H Sapiens. Animals don't 'seek' anything. Such things require the ability to think in the abstract and pursue goals that are not immediately visible.


You think too much of the behavior of your own species. We are intelligent animals, yes, but animals nonetheless. Animal behavior is driven by instinctual evolutionary drives. The desire for power doesn't require human level intelligence. The desire for power only requires evolutionary psychology and the will. The only difference between the human animal and non-human animals in this regard is that the former sometimes engages in abstract reflection. This reflection is nothing more than the articulation of an instinctual drive. All animals have instinctual drives but not all animals have the strength to see their drives realized or the intelligence to articulate them. Non-human animals seek without articulating exactly what it is that they are seeking, but they seek nonetheless.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 02:48 pm
@richard mcnair,
I believe humans and animals are categorically different. Humans are the only creatures capable of self-realization.

As for dogs fetching sticks - there was an amusing story recently of a cranky old ape, a baboon I think, who amuses himself by throwing stones at visitors to the zoo. Zookeepers noticed that every morning before breakfast he would spend half an hour going around his pen gathering ammunition and putting it all in a pile for later. Zoologists were thrilled with this example of abstract planning from a primate, which I am sure that it is.

However I still believe humans and animals are categorically different. If you don't, there is probably nothing I can say to persuade you, so I am not going to try.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 03:10 pm
@richard mcnair,
I don't see how animals seek a fulfilling life. A fulfilling life is a complicated concept, involving things like achievement, having children, following your dreams, doing your duty, retiring in luxury, etc, depending on the person. Animals pretty much live day to day.
 
StochasticBeauty
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 03:27 pm
@richard mcnair,
A lot of this question depends (ethically) on how much you care for others - being half asian and half european I see the difference between interdependent way of thinking and individualism. More importantly see strengths in both.

Humans are social creatures and hedonism isn't sustainably *except* during a growth spurt in an economy. Reminds me of something Robin Williams saying, "cocaine addiction is gods way of telling you your making too much money".

I don't think hedonism is the answer because humans tend to value their experiences relative to others. Plus it is *wrong* for the whole of man; in that, it lacks conscientousness for future generations.

Finally, we are now in an information economy and I think that by very nature this is redifining the concept of enjoyment.

In economics there is a great concept known as diminishing margin of utility. The more you consume something the less you enjoy it. I guess Aristotle maybe right about moderation.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 03:48 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142712 wrote:
I believe humans and animals are categorically different. Humans are the only creatures capable of self-realization.

As for dogs fetching sticks - there was an amusing story recently of a cranky old ape, a baboon I think, who amuses himself by throwing stones at visitors to the zoo. Zookeepers noticed that every morning before breakfast he would spend half an hour going around his pen gathering ammunition and putting it all in a pile for later. Zoologists were thrilled with this example of abstract planning from a primate, which I am sure that it is.

However I still believe humans and animals are categorically different. If you don't, there is probably nothing I can say to persuade you, so I am not going to try.


Humans are animals by definition. It's a biological fact that humans are animals. The fact that we can rationalize our thoughts, be super self-conscious or philosophize doesn't change the fact that we are biological animals. In fact, I sometimes think that other animals are fortunate in those regards :sarcastic:.

I'll tell you another way that humans and animals are categorically different. Unlike other animals, humans are the most vain animals known to man.

---------- Post added 03-23-2010 at 05:53 PM ----------

Jebediah;142714 wrote:
I don't see how animals seek a fulfilling life. A fulfilling life is a complicated concept, involving things like achievement, having children, following your dreams, doing your duty, retiring in luxury, etc, depending on the person. Animals pretty much live day to day.


That's because you're thinking of seeking a fulfilling life as a concept instead of thinking of it as an action. It's not about animals being able to conceptualize instances. It's about animals having an ideal state of life that they instinctively wish to possess.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 04:07 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;142722 wrote:
Humans are animals by definition. It's a biological fact that humans are animals.


Humans are more than a biological phenomenon: this view is simple cultural materialism and reductionism. Humans are material, biological, physiological, psychological, philosophical and spiritual. Each of those terms represents a coherent level of explanation which contains but transcends the levels beneath it. One level cannot be reduced to another. Otherwise, there would be no need for physiology, or psychology, or spirituality.

I think the reason that you wish to avoid contemplating this possibility is to avoid the unique responsibilities that comes with being human. It is obvious that our activities are now responsible for the destiny of the human race, many other species and the state of the environment. So to say we are just another creature is not a satisfactory attitude in my view.

---------- Post added 03-24-2010 at 09:08 AM ----------

Acknowledgment of our unique attributes is not vanity, it is sanity
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 04:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142732 wrote:
Humans are more than a biological phenomenon: this view is simple cultural materialism and reductionism. Humans are material, biological, physiological, psychological, philosophical and spiritual. ...



You left off one: Humans are also delusional. They believe all sorts of nonsense and falsehoods about themselves and about the things around them. And consequently, they often imagine themselves to be more than they are.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 04:33 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142732 wrote:
Humans are more than a biological phenomenon: this view is simple cultural materialism and reductionism. Humans are material, biological, physiological, psychological, philosophical and spiritual. Each of those terms represents a coherent level of explanation which contains but transcends the levels beneath it. One level cannot be reduced to another. Otherwise, there would be no need for physiology, or psychology, or spirituality.


You say the word reductionism as if it's a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with reductionism as long as it's not greedy. I have as much of a problem with greedy reductionism as I do with your greedy inductionism.

What animal isn't material, biological, physiological and psychological? All of these terms imply the others. I don't know exactly what you mean by spiritual, but in the context that I use the word I would say that all animals are spiritual. The psychological can be reduced to the physiological and the spiritual can be reduced to both. The belief that none of these terms or fields can be reduced to the other is very presumptuous.

jeeprs;142732 wrote:
I think the reason that you wish to avoid contemplating this possibility is to avoid the unique responsibilities that comes with being human. It is obvious that our activities are now responsible for the destiny of the human race, many other species and the state of the environment. So to say we are just another creature is not a satisfactory attitude in my view.
You seem to be a very presumptuous person to say that I wish to avoid our responsibilities. I never said anything about my position on human responsibility and I wont start now, because that's not my point. I'll leave it to you to guess what my position is on the issue of an agent's responsibility for the actions that it ultimately takes.

jeeprs;142732 wrote:
Acknowledgment of our unique attributes is not vanity, it is sanity


We're not the only animals that have unique attributes and I'm not denying that we do. I'm denying that those unique attributes disqualify us as animals.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 04:54 pm
@richard mcnair,
They don't disqualify us as animals. They qualify us as something MORE than animals.

---------- Post added 03-24-2010 at 09:55 AM ----------

Pyrrho;142740 wrote:
Y And consequently, they often imagine themselves to be more than they are.


There is also no reason why they can't imagine themselves as less than they are.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 05:03 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;142722 wrote:

I'll tell you another way that humans and animals are categorically different. Unlike other animals, humans are the most vain animals known to man.


That's because you're thinking of seeking a fulfilling life as a concept instead of thinking of it as an action. It's not about animals being able to conceptualize instances. It's about animals having an ideal state of life that they instinctively wish to possess.


So when you turn off your car, it is "resting" because it's "tired". The action is important, not the concept or the thinking. That way leads to silliness...

I don't get why you are acknowledging the important difference, but arguing with someone who is saying there is an important difference :listening:

You are trying to convince him of something he hasn't denied and presumably accepts, unless you are saying he thinks humans don't have basic drives?
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 05:16 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142751 wrote:
They don't disqualify us as animals. They qualify us as something MORE than animals. ...


Humans are more than animals in the same way that dogs are more than animals, or that pigs are more than animals. They are simply different types of animals, each with unique characteristics of its type.

However, we might want to get back to the topic of the thread rather than continue this derailing of it. A new thread could be started, if anyone really wants to discuss this.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 05:31 pm
@richard mcnair,
I don't think this derails the thread at all. The fact is that one unarguable difference between humans and animals is that humans can contemplate death, and wonder if the inevitable fact of their own death is a factor in how they should live their lives. Plato said that all philosophy is a preparation for death. John Donne said 'Death, where is thy victory, grave, where is thy sting'? Now I don't think that any secular philosophers are comfortable with reflections of this kind. They would like to suggest that we are just animals and that is all there is too it. So I am not derailing this thread in the least, and I am sure Richard McNair who started it, would agree.

---------- Post added 03-24-2010 at 10:33 AM ----------

Isn't is possible that the reason you must insist we are just animals is because the possibility that we are something more might have real philosophical ramifications that you don't want to deal with?
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 06:40 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;142764 wrote:
I don't think this derails the thread at all.



Just to remind you of the topic of the thread:

richard_mcnair;140229 wrote:
If all existence ends at death isn't hedonism the only logical lifestyle?

Now on the reverse side of this I would agree with the people who say that having lots of beliefs about the afterlife can also be tremendously unhealthy to say the least, but if we are just randomly evolved biological beings whose existence ends at death, and everything about everything can be explained by the natural sciences, then is there anyway to found convincing, solid, unimpeachable arguments for any other lifestyle other than hedonism?



So the question is, if there is no afterlife, then what implications does that have for ethics, and does this mean that hedonism is the only logical lifestyle? I have answered that in posts 7 and 12.


jeeprs;142764 wrote:
The fact is that one unarguable difference between humans and animals is that humans can contemplate death, and wonder if the inevitable fact of their own death is a factor in how they should live their lives.



But that is not unarguable. The simple fact is, we do not know what is going on in the brains of the various animals, like dolphins. Maybe they contemplate death all of the time, and have existentialist angst about it. Or maybe they are not so silly as to do that, and think about more important things. But the simple fact is, we do not know whether they think about such things or not. And since we do not know, we ought not pretend that we do.

Historically, people have said various things differentiate people from animals, but many of those things have been proven false by greater study. For example, at one time it was believed that tool use separated people from animals, but we now know that is false. The fact that people had not noticed animals using tools before was no proof that they did not, and people should have realized that, but in their arrogance to differentiate themselves from other animals, they pretended to know what they did not know.

In the future, maybe we will figure out what is going on in the brains of other animals, and then we may find out that your claims are simply false. But even if your claims turn out to be true, right now, they are things that you could not possibly know, so you ought not pretend that they are known when they are not.


jeeprs;142764 wrote:
Plato said that all philosophy is a preparation for death. John Donne said 'Death, where is thy victory, grave, where is thy sting'? Now I don't think that any secular philosophers are comfortable with reflections of this kind.



Nonsense. Epicurus wrote:

[INDENT][INDENT]Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply the capacity for sensation, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terrors for him who has thoroughly understood that there are no terrors for him in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.

Letter to Menoeceus[/INDENT][/INDENT]

According to Epicurus, death has no sting. And it has no sting precisely because it is the end of all sensation (i.e., because there is no afterlife).

(Before someone asserts that Epicurus claimed that there are gods, and is therefore not secular, of course he did write that there are gods, but if he had denied the existence of the gods he would have gotten in trouble, and the gods serve no function in his philosophy. Indeed, he gave an early version of the problem of evil, and explicitly stated that the common conceptions of the gods were all wrong, and that one need not ever worry about the gods ["A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness." Principle Doctrines]. As it was, he was thought by many to be an atheist, but if my memory is correct, he managed to avoid being formally accused of such a thing in court.)


jeeprs;142764 wrote:
They would like to suggest that we are just animals and that is all there is too it. So I am not derailing this thread in the least, and I am sure Richard McNair who started it, would agree.



We can only wait and see if Richard McNair states such agreement or disagreement. But regardless, I do not see that it matters to what was stated in the opening post whether or not people are simply animals. The issue is, if there is no afterlife, then what implications does that have for ethics? I say, it has no impact on ethics whether there is an afterlife or not; it would only affect long-term planning and nothing more. I expressed this idea in post 12.
 
 

 
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