Making iambiguous's day

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:48 pm

Which brings up 'negotiation'.

Surely, not all moral principles are negotiable? :evilfun:
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:40 pm

phyllo wrote:Well, you're asking for the morality to be approved by sociopaths. That's giving them control over the contents of the morality.


Ah, I see. Like I said, I'm trying to decipher Biggy's criteria. I personally wouldn't need my morality approved by the sociopath.

phyllo wrote:Which brings up 'negotiation'.

Surely, not all moral principles are negotiable? :evilfun:


Depends. How important is it (morally speaking) to avoid the conflict and war that would ensue over not negotiating your principles?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:40 pm

phyllo wrote:
Are you arguing here that you explicitly exclude God? That's news to me.
Practically every argument that I have presented to you, has excluded God. But you keep putting Him back in.


I apologize. I had thought that you were one or another rendition of a...Christian? Perhaps I have you confused with someone else.

But let's start fresh. Pertaining to conflicting human behaviors derived from conflicting value judgments you are not an advocate for a religious perspective?

Or [like me] that you once were but are not now?

Let's pin this down, okay? The existence or non-existence of God is absolutely crucial to the points that I raise on this and on other threads.

And I am particularly confused because in the very next breath...

On the other hand, I have never really been able to pin down how you actually view these relationships at the intersection of God and Reason.

phyllo wrote: God gave people Reason so that they could solve their problems.


....you mention Him. :wink:

And, by all means, site a few examples of how you, in using these "external tools", are yourself able to integrate God and Reason into your interactions with others that come into conflict re the sort of things that Gib and I are discussing re prong #2 above.


phyllo wrote: I don't remember what prong2 means.


Well, admittedly, I am still not entirely certain myself of the manner in which Gib differentiates Prong #1 from prong # 2. As near as I am able to understand it so far, #1 revolves around human consciousness itself [the nature of it] while #2 revolves more around its use value and its exchange value when the conscious minds of mere mortals come to collide out in a world of conflicting goods.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:23 pm

phyllo wrote:
...between arguments made regarding the most reasonable manner in which to send astronauts to Mars [as an engineering feat] and the most reasonable manner in which to decide whether we ought to given all the problems right here on earth that those billions of dollars money might be used to help solve or mitigate [as a moral quandary].
And the decision is made in the same way by thinking and evaluating - risk/reward - cost/benefit -doable/nondoable.


Note to others:

Please hazard a guess as to why he refuses [over and again] to address the actual distinction that I do make here.

As an engineering feat the mission is either accomplished or it is not. Dasein is not relevant in getting the math and the science right. And since the mission was approved by the powers that be the conflicting goods [while still existing] is not relevant to those who seek to accomplish the mission. They are after all wholly committed to it.

As a moral quandary, however, which side is able, in turn, to definitively establish that accomplishing this mission is the moral obligation of a rational human being?

Or, instead, that the moral obligation of a rational human being is to spend that money and to utilize that manpower on more pressing needs/priorities at home.

My argument however is that philosophers do not seem able to demonstrate that the sociopath is necessarily wrong [irrational] in choosing self-gratification as the moral font in a world without God.

And the fact is that many construe the aborting of babies or the execution of prisoners or the slaughter of animals or the waging of war to be the equivalent of sociopathic behavior.



phyllo wrote: If you can't solve the problem of the sociopath raping and murdering women ... what's the point of moving on to abortion?
You are admitting that you have no method or technique for making decisions.


You can arrest the rapists and the murderers. You can punish them. You can reconfigure the upbringing of children so that [perhaps] there are fewer rapists and murderers. There are any number of practical solutions.

But that still leaves the philosophers [the ethicists] with the task of devising an argument that demonstrates why the sociopath is necessarily irrational in arguing that sans God, self-gratification is a reasonable moral font.

And I suspect there are considerably more babies killed through abortion than women raped and murdered by sociopaths.

And why is it necessarily wrong for those in the pro-life movement to see abortion itself as a sociopathic behavior?

And I am only pointing out that, in being confronted with conflicting goods [and the arguments of the sociopath] I am still entangled in this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

Though I am still enormously curious as to why/how it is not applicable to you when your own behaviors come into conflict with others.

I know, I know: You already addressed it. We are "stuck" here.

There you go again, making the assumption that only those who think about these things as you do are able to "increase their understanding of humanity" in, say, the optimal way?

So, again, what is the "appropriate morality" with regard to the aborting of human babies? Which side has clearly "lost some aspect of their humanity"?

And how does one's belief in God factor in here?


phyllo wrote: I know. Your position is that there are no better or worse way of thinking about these things. In effect, you have turned off your brain. How can it be described in any other way??


Note to others: Is that my "position"? Have I "turned off my brain"? Or is this really more about Phyllo [and all of the other objectivists here] arguing that if you don't think exactly like "one of us" -- "naturally" for example -- than it is you who have "lost some aspect of your humanity".
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:05 pm

phyllo wrote:
Which brings up 'negotiation'.

Surely, not all moral principles are negotiable? :evilfun:
gib replied:
Depends. How important is it (morally speaking) to avoid the conflict and war that would ensue over not negotiating your principles?

Reminds me of this :
The following is an old story due to George Bernard Shaw. It seems more appropriate with Groucho however.

GROUCHO (to woman seated next to him at an elegant dinner party): Would you sleep with me for ten million dollars?

WOMAN (giggles and responds): Oh, Groucho, of course I would.

GROUCHO; How about doing it for fifteen dollars?

WOMAN (indignant): Why, what do you think I am?

GROUCHO: That’s already been established. Now we’re just haggling about the price.

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/03/07/haggling/
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:02 pm

I had thought that you were one or another rendition of a...Christian?
"one or another rendition"

I have been talking to you for years and you still don't know shit about me.

I'm just "one or another rendition" of a stereotypical objectivist. =D>

Thanks a lot. :-"
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:13 pm

phyllo wrote:Reminds me of this :
The following is an old story due to George Bernard Shaw. It seems more appropriate with Groucho however.

GROUCHO (to woman seated next to him at an elegant dinner party): Would you sleep with me for ten million dollars?

WOMAN (giggles and responds): Oh, Groucho, of course I would.

GROUCHO; How about doing it for fifteen dollars?

WOMAN (indignant): Why, what do you think I am?

GROUCHO: That’s already been established. Now we’re just haggling about the price.



Except it's more like being forced to choose between two sacred values--both of which are important to uphold; it's like the troly scenario: which do you choose to save? Five people tied to a track or one person tied to a different track? The train is barreling down the track and it's headed towards the five people, but you can throw a switch which will redirect the train onto the track with the one person. <-- It's not your fault. You didn't ask to be put into the position of having to make this choice, but you are in that position and you do have to make the choice. Either way, you *could* be held responsible by a belligerent party itching to cast blame on you.

This is where the is/ought distinction hits home with a painful sting: "Ought" tells us how the world should be, the ideal state of things, where "is" tells us how the world really is. Ideally, we wouldn't want anyone to die. Ideally, we would want to keep our principles without war breaking out between ourselves and those who disagree with our principles. But given the way the world actually is, we are often forced to choose between our principles, and it's never a pleasant decision to make; it grates on our conscience. But we can nevertheless come to some kind of resolve over the "best" decision within the limit parameters that define the situation we find ourselves caught in.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby phyllo » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:46 pm

I'm going to bow out of this thread now so that you and Mr Big can continue your discussion.

Sorry for the interruption.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:23 pm

phyllo wrote:I'm going to bow out of this thread now so that you and Mr Big can continue your discussion.

Sorry for the interruption.


No worries. Glad to see others participating.
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Men must be taught as if you taught them not. And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
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Here lies the body of William J, who died maintaining his right of way.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:29 pm

gib wrote:
That describes how you live your life, but I was asking about your approach to engaging with people, and objectivists in particular, in any attempts you might undertake towards resolving your dilemma. It seems, from my encounters with you in this thread, it's not the traditional objectivist one (arguing for why you're right), but rather an inquisitive one.


Fortunately [or unfortunately] I rarely engage with people anymore. Other than virtually. And even that has largely become just another distraction embedded in my own rendition of waiting for godot.

Mostly what I do here is to look for arguments that might poke a few holes in mine. I wonder: Have I finally talked myself into a philosophy of life that I can no longer talk myself out of?

After all, in the past I once subscribed to any number of philosophies that I [with the help of others] managed to talk myself out of. But this one has admittedly stuck around the longest.

iambiguous wrote:My main contention is that the objectivist frame of mind is more a psychological contraption [a defense mechanism] than a philosophical argument.


gib wrote:Well, in my view, all philosophical arguments are defense mechanisms.


Yes, but some arguments are more clearly applicable to all of us than others. That is always the distinction that I look for.

iambiguous wrote:No, not really. I'm still largely at a loss in understanding how "for all practical purposes" your understanding of consciousness [embedded in prong #1] has any "use value" or "exchange value" out in the world of human interactions that come into conflict.


gib wrote:I've been telling you that it doesn't. You seem to be stuck on the assumption that if I am to have an approach towards resolving conflict between myself and others, that approach must involve my theory of consciousness somehow, as if the only way, even as an alternative to the objectivist approach, to approaching conflict with others is by bringing your "ism" to the table in one way or another.


The difficulty I have revolves more or less around this: How can one have a "theory of consciousness" without [eventually] connecting the dots between human consciousness itself and the behaviors chosen by individual minds out in a particular world bursting at the seams with conflicting value judgments? One way or the other "consciousness" is involved.

gib wrote:I feel my best chances at success would be to suggest new, healthier, more cooperation-inducing ideas that start with the other person's beliefs and values. <-- You do understand, this is the key essential difference between the traditional objectivist approach (as I'm calling it) and the subjectivist approach, don't you?


Until I am able to get a better grip on how you situate/integrate dasein, conflicting goods and political economy into your "subjectivist" perspective, I can only note again that I don't see your point here as anything other than another way of embracing what I do: moderation, negotiation and compromise in a democratic political context.

But: whether one set of behaviors is "healthier" than another is true [from my point of view] only to the extent that particular people in a particular context [here and now] can agree that they are. Whatever "works" in other words. But that's not the same as demonstrating that they are "in fact" healthier.

There are still no moral values that can be demonstrated to reflect an optimal frame of mind.

Unless of course I'm wrong and there are.

gib wrote:...TBH, at this point, I'm not entirely sure I know what your dilemma is...


My dilemma reflects the following assumptions:

1] that my moral/political values are derived subjectively from the life that I lived. Thus, for example, I support a woman's right to choose an abortion because the aggregation of all of my actual experiences that I had predisposed me existentially to take that particular political leap.

2] Concommitantly, it does not appear possible for philosophers or scientists to either discover or to invent a set of values/behaviors said to reflect the obligation of a rational human being to either support or not to support abortion. And both sides have arguments that the other side's argument don't make go away.

3] Finally, whatever I might personally believe about the morality of abortion, out in the world with others what counts is the extent to which I am able to enforce my own values if they do come into conflict with others.

And then to others, I ask: How is this not the same for you?

iambiguous wrote:[My dilemma] is applicable to everyone. Well, if in fact it is. And, admittedly, I have no capacity to demonstrate that it is. Merely that, here and now, it seems reasonable to me that it is.


gib wrote:Ok, but this is why I'm getting confused about what your dilemma is. Sure, it's applicable to everyone, but what are you more concerned with--how it applies to others or how it applies to you--this will tell me which is more of a dilemma to you. Based on your response just above, it seems I was right to second guess your concern over your own 'I' fragmenting as you seem, based on what you said, to have a relatively strong sense of self given that you identify it with the substantial, objective, etc., etc., etc., world around you (thus confirming what I said: the real empirical world has far more sway over one's beliefs than mere philosophical contemplations).


Since my interactions with others has now more or less ground to a halt, I'm less concerned about these things than I am curious as to how others react to my dilemma. And thus in exploring how it is not deemed to be a dilemma in their own life.

And, yes, I is as substantial to me as it is to others. At least in the either/or world. Only with respect to my identity as a factor in the accumulation of value judgments --- in the is/ought world --- does "I" manifest itself.

gib wrote:On that point, there's also a bit of confusion, on my part, over prong #2 of your dilemma. You talk about real-world consequences, but what are you more concerned with here--what's more of a dilemma to you: the fact that we have to deal with inter-personal conflict, or the fact that objectivists have not (or cannot) arrive at a demonstrably correct argument about all things moral?


Again, less concerned than curious. Curious to find out if I ever will come upon an objectivist agenda that strikes me less as a psychological contraption and more as a philosophical argument that really does give me pause. A frame of mind that actually succeeds in challenging my assumptions above.

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote:True, but that does not make the sociopath's rationalization [self-gratification] any less persuasive to me.


gib wrote:Really???


Yes. It can be construed as a persuasive argument. It is a perfectly reasonable assumption to make in a godless universe. Which is to suggest that philosophers are unable to demonstrate that it is instead necessarily irrational.


gib wrote:This can only be the case if you're actually cooperating with the sociopath to establish reasons why he should kill you (agreeing to stick to reason is a form of cooperation with your contender), which tells me that you're interested in exploring the sociopath's justifications only to the extent that you're interested in a bit of armchair philosophy.


Rationalizing a behavior because you believe that in a godless universe any behavior can be rationalized is a frame of mind that many, many, many individuals literally act out from day to day. And, in particular, when, first and foremost, you strive above all else to satisfy your own wants and needs.

How then does the philosopher come up with an argument able to demonstrate that this sort of reasoning is necessarily wrong?

gib wrote:But if a sociopath actually had you cornered in a dark grungy basement with a knife in his hand ready to kill you, and he took a moment out to justify why he was killing you (like the villains often do in the movies before they attempt to kill the good guy), I highly doubt that Biggy would sit there contemplating the sociopath's reasons: hmmm... well, let's think about this for a second; he does raise some interesting points. In a world sans God, what reason does he not have to satisfy his own self-gratification...


Any reason at all will do. Or no reason at all. You need God here or the sociopath's frame of mind would seem to fit snuggly into this: "in the absense of God, all things are permitted".

Isn't that why we invent Gods and all of the other secular objectivist contraptions: to make that go away?

If only "in your head"?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:55 pm

phyllo wrote:
I had thought that you were one or another rendition of a...Christian?
"one or another rendition"

I have been talking to you for years and you still don't know shit about me.

I'm just "one or another rendition" of a stereotypical objectivist. =D>

Thanks a lot. :-"


Over and again I have noted that in my own opinion a moral and political objectivist is someone who believes there is in fact a right way and a wrong way in which to behave with respect to conflicting value judgments; and that unless you are "one of us" and behave in a way deemed to be "rational" or "ideal" or "natural", you are behaving badly.

Necessarily so, as it were.

And I suspect that I might come to know you considerably better if you ever do get around to noting particular behaviors of yours that have come into conflict with others [over value judgments] and then noting in turn the manner in which both philosophy and religion were pertinent to the behaviors that you did choose.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Only_Humean » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:22 pm

iambiguous wrote:Mostly what I do here is to look for arguments that might poke a few holes in mine. I wonder: Have I finally talked myself into a philosophy of life that I can no longer talk myself out of?


I disagree with your self-perception. Whenever you're faced with serious philosophy, you retreat to the argument that "you're actually only arguing against the fundamentalists and objectivists who claim that they are certainly right". You're not looking for a philosophy of life; you're looking for the religious certainty you lost.

Of course, this is only my perception.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:14 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Mostly what I do here is to look for arguments that might poke a few holes in mine. I wonder: Have I finally talked myself into a philosophy of life that I can no longer talk myself out of?


I disagree with your self-perception. Whenever you're faced with serious philosophy, you retreat to the argument that "you're actually only arguing against the fundamentalists and objectivists who claim that they are certainly right". You're not looking for a philosophy of life; you're looking for the religious certainty you lost.

Of course, this is only my perception.


Given the extent to which I construe these discussions as embedded inextricably -- perhaps ineffably -- in the complexity of human psychology, sure, there might be some truth to this.

On the other hand, what do the serious philosophers [or the moral objectivists] really have to say here regarding the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy as pertinent to understanding the existential dynamics embedded in actual conflicting behaviors derived from conflicting value judgments.

How, philosophically, is this...

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

....a frame of mind either more or less applicable to your own behaviors?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:37 pm

What does the word objective mean?

The word objective means that the truth-value of some given proposition is determined by reality (what really is) rather than by mind (what one thinks is.)

In this sense, I am not only an objectivist, I am a total objectivist. Total objectivism is the philosophical position according to which there is no category of propositions that is not objective. What this means is that every proposition, no matter of what kind, is either reflective of reality (true) or not (false.) This means that I am a moral objectivist as well.

What I am not is a passive objectivist.

Passive objectivists are people who do not want to make an effort to perceive reality. They do not want to expand, to step out of, their perceptual horizon, instead demanding that reality makes itself apparent to them, by becoming visible within their own narrow perceptual horizons. Indeed, these people believe that true perception is effortless and that whatever cannot be perceived in this effortless manner is quite simply not true. Or rather, not demonstrated to be true.

I am an active objectivist in the sense that I believe that in order to perceive reality, to know what is true and what is not true, one must make an active effort to expand one's perceptual horizon.

From the point of view of active objectivism, the purpose of demonstration is to help other people perceive reality, not to justify oneself by trying to fit reality into the narrow perceptual horizon of passive objectivists.

I am writing this post because earlier I claimed that truth, or rather morality, comes from within rather than from without. This is not true. Truth does not come from within, it comes from without. What comes from within, in reality, is effort to perceive reality. And this is what I really wanted to say, but failed to.

The confidence that passive objectivists have in judging the truth-value of other people's propositions is built on nothing other than these people's continual failure to make what they see fit inside the passive objectivists' narrow perceptual horizons.

Iambiguous is in a state of limbo (which is how he calls his nuclear shelter) quite simply because he does not want to get outside of it.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Faust » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:08 pm

What are "existential dynamics"?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:40 pm

Faust wrote:What are "existential dynamics"?



Well, I root this in human interactions in which the manner that I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy are most applicable.

And this is generally relating to those social, political and economic interactions in which we move from either/or [things that are true for all of us] to is/ought [things which are one way that some insist ought to be another way instead].

For example, there is the manner which Americans go about the business of electing presidents every 4 years. There are particular procedures in place, particular behaviors chosen, particular steps taken etc., which result in one or another candidate entering the Oval Office in January.

In other words, it's not just someone's subjective opinion that we hold primaries and caucuses, that we have debates between the candidates, that the general election is held on the first Tuesday in November, that the two parties almost always coming out on top are the Democrats and the Republicans.

No, instead, the manner in which I construe the "existential dynamics" here revolves more around those who insist that either the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate is the more rational or ethical choice. That's the part rooted subjectively in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

The latter in particular applicable regarding the manner in which wealth and power plays a role in this political process.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Faust » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:56 pm

Ohhhhhhhhhh.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:32 pm

The disease of relativism, its cause, must be understood.

In order to judge which one of the two options is better, to determine their rank, one must bring them in relation. Intellectually speaking, one must remember both options in order to be able to compare them. Biologically speaking, this means that the two energy flows -- yes, options are energy flows -- must be brought in close proximity, which is to say, they must be compressed.

The function of the force of will is precisely this gathering together of all external stimuli in one place. The consequence of this is the formation of the centralized structure that we call reason.

In the absence of the force of will, however, the structure decompresses, and its energy flows become separated and individualized. This process, however, does not result in the reversal of the process of no-reason evolving into reason, but in the devolution of reason into a caricature we may call post-reason. (Nietzsche was critical of reason precisely for this reason. His "restored reason" refers to the original reason reconstructed from this post-reason.)

Because decompression increases the distance between options, it makes it difficult to bring them in relation, in which case, no judgment can take place. In such a case, one cannot think of one option without immediately forgetting the other option, which leads to the illusion of equality.

Relativism follows.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:48 pm

Faust wrote:Ohhhhhhhhhh.


Unless of course I'm wrong. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:43 am

iambiguous wrote:How, philosophically, is this...

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

....a frame of mind either more or less applicable to your own behaviors?


I don't believe that in any moral decision I might just as well have chosen the opposite, and neither do you.

Might you just as well set fire to an orphanage, after blocking the fire exits, as not? No further qualifications, they're not plague orphans or actually robots plotting to destroy the world, just regular orphans as you've experienced them. Could you not think of an argument against doing so?

Of course you could. And an argument isn't a cast-iron way of changing human behaviour, but it is at least an argument.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:21 pm

Only_Humean wrote:
iambiguous wrote:How, philosophically, is this...

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

....a frame of mind either more or less applicable to your own behaviors?


I don't believe that in any moral decision I might just as well have chosen the opposite, and neither do you.


But this basically reflects the subjunctive reaction that most will have to behaviors that are deemed to be particularly ghastly. We ourselves simply cannot imagine not being appalled morally by those behaviors.

Yet had circumstances been such in my life that I came to embrace a sociopathic frame of mind, then any and all behaviors are sanctioned if 1] it gratifies me and 2] I am willing to accept the consequences of being caught by those who are in fact appalled by what I do.

And this all becomes entangled in a profoundly problematic intertwining of variables rooted in nature and variables rooted in nurture. Which in turn becomes embodied in any particular individual's life.

But: What is the philosophical argument [in a world sans God] establishing that setting fire to the orphanage and blocking the exits is necessarily irrational and immoral?

Sure, subjectively, I can think of any number of arguments for not setting that fire. And it is true that, given the manner in which existentially I have become "me", I can't imagine doing it myself. But in my view that is not the same as establishing that those who do choose to do so [for whatever personal reason] are essentially, objectively, ontologically...Evil.

Isn't that precisely why the Gods are invented? So that behaviors of this sort are not able to be rationalized by mere mortals?

Besides, you speak of setting fire to that orphanage as though there are not any number of folks in the pro-life movement who basically argue that the killing of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of unborn human babies each and every year is not in fact all that much more irrational and immoral.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Faust » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:29 pm

iam - You have consistently failed to justify why anyone should consider a sociopath just as capable as you or me in making moral judgments. By definition, the sociopath is not as capable.

But: What is the philosophical argument [in a world sans God] establishing that setting fire to the orphanage and blocking the exits is necessarily irrational and immoral?


There is none and there are people who say there is one.

My friendly advice is to get over this. There is no conclusive argument against this act (outside of a specific context). No argument ever means anything at all outside of some context. No utterance means anything at all outside of some context. No political negotiation means anything outside of some context.

It is not productive to ask which philosophical argument accomplishes anything outside of a context. That context includes culture and it includes assumptions.

That's just the way it is. Why can you not accept this? You ask the same question over and over - but there will still be people who think that Rationalism, or "objectivism" even means anything.

So what?

Yes, gods are invented to provide the ultimate appeal to authority. So what?

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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby gib » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:09 am

iambiguous wrote:Well, admittedly, I am still not entirely certain myself of the manner in which Gib differentiates Prong #1 from prong # 2. As near as I am able to understand it so far, #1 revolves around human consciousness itself [the nature of it] while #2 revolves more around its use value and its exchange value when the conscious minds of mere mortals come to collide out in a world of conflicting goods.


](*,) Why don't you just quote me. I said:

gib wrote:Well, let me put it this way: if prong #2 can be summed as: conflict with others, then prong #1 can be summed up as: conflict with one's self.

I realize there's a lot more to it than that, but I think for our purposes that's a good enough "rough and ready" interpretation.

Prong #2 happens all the time all around the world--it more or less arises naturally--but prong #1 arises only through the realization that you've made plain several times:

iambiguous wrote:If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.


Notice that this ends with "I" fragmenting. So this realization, which few people come to despite their being enmeshed in prong #2, results in one being conflicted with one's own self. The self "self-desctructs" so to speak


^ That's prong #1.

I'm not sure how you meant "#1 revolves around human consciousness itself [the nature of it]" but it definitely doesn't requiring an understanding of my theory of consciousness (otherwise I'd be the only one who could potential be caught in prong #1). Again, though my theory is certainly my "ism", these conflicts you're talking about--whether prong #1 or prong #2--have nothing to do with it. I mean, I'm sure the nature of consciousness has a lot to do with it, but it doesn't hinge on my "ism"--you could have an entirely different theory of consciousness, and you will still have prong #1 and prong #2 as "dilemmas" that we all have to deal with in this world, and if this other theory of consciousness turns out to be true, I'm sure you could draw some pretty substantial links between it and prongs #1 and #2. But even given that, prong #1 has way more to do with your theory than mine--it has to do with the self "fragmenting"--not consciousness being the foundation of being (<-- though that obviously has implications for everything <-- Literally!).

IOW, I take your meaning of the self "fragmenting" as a "dilemma". Wouldn't you feel something like Sartre's existential angst if you felt yourself "fragmenting"? Wouldn't that be a "dilemma"? <-- And can't that be distinguished from the dilemma of being in conflict with other people? Does a pro-choice advocate feel herself "fragmenting" every time she disagrees with a pro-life advocate? I would think when it comes to conflict with others, we do everything in our power to keep ourselves together--we would need to in order to feel we are right (thereby allowing ourselves to argue our point). So in a sense, not only is there a distinction to be made between prong #1 and prong #2, but they might be polar opposites--prong #2 being the dilemma of how to win when pitted against the other, prong #1 being the dilemma of how to deal with one's own self-destruction (i.e. fragmentation) when submitting to the other. <-- I don't think any one or other particular theory of consciousness has much to do with this--except in the trivial sense that this sometimes happens to people in virtue of being conscious human beings.

iambiguous wrote:Fortunately [or unfortunately] I rarely engage with people anymore. Other than virtually. And even that has largely become just another distraction embedded in my own rendition of waiting for godot.

Mostly what I do here is to look for arguments that might poke a few holes in mine. I wonder: Have I finally talked myself into a philosophy of life that I can no longer talk myself out of?

After all, in the past I once subscribed to any number of philosophies that I [with the help of others] managed to talk myself out of. But this one has admittedly stuck around the longest.


Ok, so it seems like your approach--indeed, your "dilemma"--is an inquisitive one with an eye for persuasive objectivist arguments. <-- You described this a few times in this threads as just a matter of curiosity... just wondering if you might be wrong after all, that there might be an objectivist argument that holds water even by your standards. It seems like you've encountered a dead-end of sorts (in something like a philosophical maze) and you're looking for a reason to backtrack--but not so much to return to a previous point you were once at (at least, not as an end in itself) but just to give yourself the opportunity to try another path.

^ This *may* be why we're having such difficulty understanding each other. I'm trying to suggest a different path but I'm failing to appreciate that I first need to help you backtrack and arrive where I'm currently at (it doesn't do much good for one to tell another "go that way" when the one is no where near the spot where the other's at).

You've rejected objectivism and arrived at nihilism. I've rejected objectivist and arrived at subjectivism. It seems that in order to backtrack, you have to embrace some form of objectivism once again just in order to attempt a different path--and you seem to realize this on a semi-conscious level which is why you're always on the lookout for a convincing objectivist argument.

Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to convey to you the technique of going anywhere you want in the maze, going down any which path you want. And this difficulty is not just with you, but is typical of any objectivist (or anyone who is still clinging to a past objectivism). They say: what's objectively real is just where I'm at. Anywhere else is not reality. I say: it's all just one big frickin' maze--it doesn't matter where you're at. This allows me to move about the maze freely--and in the end, find the exit; I like to delve into other people's thoughts and perspectives which is the same as delving back into the maze, but I often make the mistake of aiming for a common "meeting place"--like a foyer (metaphorical for common/conventional, usually objectivist, perspectives on the world)--and with you I've been failing to appreciate you're not there. I *think* I understand where you are though, so I'm not focused on trying to find the path to you, but rather to explain how to get back to the common foyer. But maybe this is my mistake: how well can I really understand the path you've walked if I keep failing to help you backtrack?

One question that arises in my mind at this thought is: you say your inquisition into objectivist perspectives is just a matter of curiosity. How serious are you then about backtracking? If it's just a matter of curiosity (a little armchair philosophy) then that implies you don't mind continually hitting your head against the brick walls that constitute the dead end you've found yourself in. But if you are serious, and you sincerely want to find a way out, then it has to be more than just a matter of curiosity. This really has to be a dilemma for you.

iambiguous wrote:Yes, but some arguments are more clearly applicable to all of us than others. That is always the distinction that I look for.


Yes, and those arguments are typically brought in to defend the ego against threats that are applicable to all of us--moral theories about why sociopaths are evil, for example--we are all threatened by the possibility of others wanting to harm or kill us (kind of leads us to the boundary between Freudian defense mechanisms and Jungian defense mechanisms).

iambiguous wrote:The difficulty I have revolves more or less around this: How can one have a "theory of consciousness" without [eventually] connecting the dots between human consciousness itself and the behaviors chosen by individual minds out in a particular world bursting at the seams with conflicting value judgments? One way or the other "consciousness" is involved.


Admittedly, everyone's "ism" will have some impact, directly or indirectly, to a large extent or a small extent, on the way they approach conflict with others. But is it so inconceivable that when they connect the dots, the final dot (i.e. how to engage with others) isn't just: I have to convince him of my point of view. Is it not conceivable, especially with a theory of consciousness, that the final dot you come to is more like: in order to convince this person not to enter into conflict with me, I have to reconfigure their consciousness (and not necessarily to be configured like mine).

What do you think would work better in a conflict between an atheist and a theist? Should the atheist attempt to convince the theist that God doesn't exist? Or will he have more success if he convinced the theist not to cast the first stone?

It's a lot like the relation between a scientific theory and the technology that is possible from that theory. If you want to convince another of your scientific theory, you *could* try arguing it until you run out of breath. But you're much better off demonstrating it to them with whatever technology is possible given your theory. <-- This is not to say that my approach is to demonstrate to others that my "ism" is correct, but more that there are alternatives to just arguing your case as a means of ending conflict (in effect, other people's minds are my technology). Connecting the dots, in other words may just be: I believe X is true --> X implies technology Y is possible --> If I implement Y, that will end the conflict.

Now it's true that this may sound like a form of manipulation and deception--brainwashing in effect--on par with what sleazy politicians, lawyers, and salesmen often do--but on this point, I always emphasize the difference between a tool we can use (like technology) and our intentions on what to use it for. It's like a knife--morally neutral in and of itself--but put in the hands of a surgeon, it can be used to heal, yet if you put it in the hands of a murderer, it can be used to kill. It comes down to what you want to do with a technology of consciousness: help people or harm people.

Furthermore, I find that the best way to engage in the shared invention of new ideas with another is by applying the technology to myself simultaneously with the other--I must buy my own bullshit, at least temporarily--it's sort of a way of testing my own merchandise--if I'm not convinced by it, why would the other person be?

iambiguous wrote:Until I am able to get a better grip on how you situate/integrate dasein, conflicting goods and political economy into your "subjectivist" perspective, I can only note again that I don't see your point here as anything other than another way of embracing what I do: moderation, negotiation and compromise in a democratic political context.


Yes, and that's pretty much all it is. I'm not saying it's anything more than that--well, except that my subjectivism makes it a bit easier for me to do this (in my opinion).

iambiguous wrote:But: whether one set of behaviors is "healthier" than another is true [from my point of view] only to the extent that particular people in a particular context [here and now] can agree that they are. Whatever "works" in other words. But that's not the same as demonstrating that they are "in fact" healthier.


I know, but most of the time, those who are in conflict would probably agree that resolving their issues and arriving at a peaceful settlement between them is "healthy"--or at least it's something they most likely both want.

Admittedly, there will be some who want nothing but to go to war and "defeat" those they are in conflict with, but like I said, my approach wouldn't always work with everyone.

iambiguous wrote:There are still no moral values that can be demonstrated to reflect an optimal frame of mind.


Yes, but again, I'm not arguing that my approach will demonstrate the most optimal moral perspective to be had, just that it would be more effective (in my opinion) than the traditional objectivist approach at resolving conflict. Again, this raises the question of what is more of a dilemma for you: resolving conflict or proving who's right (morally speaking) (<-- both of which are prong #2, keep in mind).

iambiguous wrote:3] Finally, whatever I might personally believe about the morality of abortion, out in the world with others what counts is the extent to which I am able to enforce my own values if they do come into conflict with others.


^ This seems to be the most telling of the nature of your dilemma. I'm guessing that by "enforce" you mean "convince"--to demonstrate objectively that your values are correct (and if that doesn't work to convince the other, then at least you know you're right). It would make sense, therefore, that you're ever on the lookout for an objectivist argument to actually demonstrate a true morality, for in that case, you'd feel like you actually have something with which to enforce your values.

It may make no difference to you, but my values happen to be of such a nature that I feel they need only be "applied," not "enforced". Enforcement implies conflict, but upholding your values and applying them to the real world need not always involve conflict (think about feeding the homeless--will the homeless, or a homeless shelter, fight you in your attempts to live up to your moral codes of feeding the homeless?). If my moral values are to work with the other person to invent new shared truths starting from his/her point of view (even if the other person is not aware that this is my pursuit), there's very little in the way of conflict standing between me and my moral goals (unless the person is a relentless contrarian by nature).

iambiguous wrote:Since my interactions with others has now more or less ground to a halt, I'm less concerned about these things than I am curious as to how others react to my dilemma. And thus in exploring how it is not deemed to be a dilemma in their own life.

Then I take it that, as a matter of mere curiosity, this isn't really a dilemma for you (at least not one you lose sleep over); the real dilemma, I take it, is captured in what you said above: the fact that you live in a world in which your values must be enforced (despite having no firm grasp on a solid objective foundation for your values). And given that your interactions with others has (more or less) ground to a halt, I take it this dilemma is a thing of the past. Am I wrong?

And, yes, I is as substantial to me as it is to others. At least in the either/or world. Only with respect to my identity as a factor in the accumulation of value judgments --- in the is/ought world --- does "I" manifest itself.


So I take it you've resolved the dilemma of prong #1--you have a strong sense of self grounded in the either/or world, a self that doesn't fragment so easily.

iambiguous wrote:Again, less concerned than curious. Curious to find out if I ever will come upon an objectivist agenda that strikes me less as a psychological contraption and more as a philosophical argument that really does give me pause. A frame of mind that actually succeeds in challenging my assumptions above.


And do you actually hope that this happens? Hope it doesn't happen? Don't care?

If it's just a matter of curiosity, then I would think the answer is: if you find an objectivist answer that gives you pause, your curiosity will be satisfied (a good thing, I guess). If not, you will continue to be curious indefinitely (a bad thing, I guess).

iambiguous wrote:Rationalizing a behavior because you believe that in a godless universe any behavior can be rationalized is a frame of mind that many, many, many individuals literally act out from day to day. And, in particular, when, first and foremost, you strive above all else to satisfy your own wants and needs.

How then does the philosopher come up with an argument able to demonstrate that this sort of reasoning is necessarily wrong?


Well, I'm not sure what you mean by reasoning here, or "rationalizing a behavior"? In a world sans God, if there really is no grounds for morality (as you say), what's being rationalized? The sociopath can't be arguing for the moral righteousness of his pursuit of self-gratification. What is he rationalizing then? The fact that it's not immoral? The fact that he can't help it? The fact that it could be beneficial to others as well? What?

iambiguous wrote:Any reason at all will do. Or no reason at all. You need God here or the sociopath's frame of mind would seem to fit snuggly into this: "in the absense of God, all things are permitted".

And are you seriously going to listen to that? In a dark grungy basement while he has you cornered with a knife?

Isn't that why we invent Gods and all of the other secular objectivist contraptions: to make that go away?

I supposed it's one of the reasons, sure.

If only "in your head"?


Perhaps, but think about this: if it actually works (i.e. it convinces us not to slit each other's throats), then it works in the real world. That means, thought--perspectives, opinions, even prejudices--can be useful, at least sometimes--at resolving conflict--and this remains true even when you don't believe in said perspectives, opinions, prejudices; this is where my subjectivist approach comes in handy. You don't have to presently believe. You just have to recognize the utility, the effect, of the belief--and if the objective truth of your beliefs matters less to you than your health and the health of your relation to others, then it becomes worthwhile to consider possibly adopting said healthy beliefs, even if you don't presently have them, for the sake of living peacefully with others.
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby Only_Humean » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:48 am

iambiguous wrote:But this basically reflects the subjunctive reaction that most will have to behaviors that are deemed to be particularly ghastly. We ourselves simply cannot imagine not being appalled morally by those behaviors.


What does "morally appalled" mean?

Yet had circumstances been such in my life that I came to embrace a sociopathic frame of mind, then any and all behaviors are sanctioned if 1] it gratifies me and 2] I am willing to accept the consequences of being caught by those who are in fact appalled by what I do.


Sociopaths are irrelevant to the argument. People can behave immorally; it's not a law of physics we're dealing with.

But: What is the philosophical argument [in a world sans God] establishing that setting fire to the orphanage and blocking the exits is necessarily irrational and immoral?


What would count as a valid philosophical argument, to you? Hypothetically, that is. What criteria of success are you demanding?

Sure, subjectively, I can think of any number of arguments for not setting that fire. And it is true that, given the manner in which existentially I have become "me", I can't imagine doing it myself. But in my view that is not the same as establishing that those who do choose to do so [for whatever personal reason] are essentially, objectively, ontologically...Evil.


Who said anything about immoral acts requiring the actors be "ontologically evil"?
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Re: Making iambiguous's day

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:20 pm

Faust wrote: iam - You have consistently failed to justify why anyone should consider a sociopath just as capable as you or me in making moral judgments. By definition, the sociopath is not as capable.


In other words, only your own assessment of this is fully in accordance with the manner in which all rational men and women are obligated to think about it. It is the philosophical equivalent of 2 + 2 = 4.

Now, obviously, if we conclude that "by definition" a sociopath is "a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience", and we assume that this involves a clinical condition "in the brain" then we would be punishing their anti-social behaviors as though it were within their capacity to control them.

And, perhaps, it is not. Indeed, perhaps, in a wholly determined world, it is not within the capacity of any of us to control our behaviors. Sure, there's always that path to go down.

My conjecture however is that, assuming some level of autonomy, it is not necessarily irrational for a man or a woman to conclude that in a Godless universe self-gratification is a reasonable moral font. Thus their "extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience" is derived less from an abnormal or defective brain and more from a reasoned -- reasonable? -- point of view.

They just do not share your own sense of what it means to be reasonable in interacting socially, political and economically with others.

But: What is the philosophical argument [in a world sans God] establishing that setting fire to the orphanage and blocking the exits is necessarily irrational and immoral?


Faust wrote: There is none and there are people who say there is one.

My friendly advice is to get over this. There is no conclusive argument against this act (outside of a specific context). No argument ever means anything at all outside of some context. No utterance means anything at all outside of some context. No political negotiation means anything outside of some context.


Again, from my frame of mind, this is the objectivist frame of mind. There is no philosophical argument here because you have concluded that there is none. As though this in and of itself establishes that.

Now, I would agree that the fact of the fire -- if in fact there was a fire -- either can or cannot be established such that it is true for all of us. The fact of the fire [and the facts embedded in the consequence of the fire] transcend the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein.

But once we leave the world of either/or and enter the world of is/ought, there will be those who argue that the fire can be rationalized [for whatever personal reason and no matter the context] or that the fire can never be rationalized and is essentially wrong, immoral, evil. In all contexts. That we can establish a deontological frame of mind here.

Faust wrote: It is not productive to ask which philosophical argument accomplishes anything outside of a context. That context includes culture and it includes assumptions.


Well, the context that I have chosen is one in which a particular individual behaves in an extremely anti-social manner because she has come to conclude that her own self-gratification is the default when deciding whether to do or not to do something. And for whatever personal reasons [rooted in dasein] she has chosen to burn down the orphanage. What then is the most productive philosophical argument that she can be confronted with?

Faust wrote: That's just the way it is. Why can you not accept this? You ask the same question over and over - but there will still be people who think that Rationalism, or "objectivism" even means anything.

So what?


Unlike you, I do not just assume that because I believe this [here and now] that makes it so. I simply do not think about conflicting value judgments in this way. And in part this revolves around all of the times in my past when I always came up with the same answers to questions like this until one day the answers changed.

Or am I to just assume that this time the answers I propose [re moral nihilism] are in some Hegelian sense the embodiment of my one true self. Am I now the embodiment of the final synthesis?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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