Discussion on the basis of ethical values

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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#101  Postby archibald » Nov 08, 2013 12:45 pm

4 Hours wrote:

I think human intelligence is greatly exaggerated. Even when people "plan ahead" it is often in the context of achieving things like geometric economic growth year on year which is, in the scheme of things, pretty myopic. As a species we seem to be about as capable of foresight as an algal bloom feeding on a glut of fertilizer, something you have implicitly acknowledged.


It may be greatly exaggerated, I agree, but I wouldn't tend to misanthropy. That sounds like going too far the other way, imo.

For example, I watched a brilliant BBC documentary last night entitled, 'Don't Panic: The Truth About Population', in which it was demonstrated and illustrated how, through various means (namely education and scientific progress) all the societies of the world are moving away from large families towards smaller, sustainable ones, quite dramatically so in many cases (Bangladesh, for example). The data suggests that 'peak child' has passed and that the underlying trend is consequently for overall population growth to slow and eventually reverse (decline).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03h8r1j

Oddly perhaps, I tend towards determinism, philosophically, so I don't necessarily attribute this trend to us being smart. :)
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#102  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2013 12:54 pm

archibald wrote:I wouldn't tend to misanthropy.


I'm with you. I prefer to call what I have "hit-or-misanthropy".

The honourable thing about absurdism is that it doesn't go round trying to make other people feel ashamed of what they believe in.

It turns out that if people are doing something about which it is possible for them to feel ashamed, they will try hard to do so. This explains other people's enthusiasm for egging them on.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#103  Postby archibald » Nov 08, 2013 12:59 pm

Hit or misanthropy. :clap:



#1 regret of the dying according to a palliative nurse: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."


Great chat up line though, don't you think?
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#104  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 08, 2013 1:03 pm

archibald wrote:Hit or misanthropy. :clap:

Great line though, don't you think?

#1 regret of the dying according to a palliative nurse: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."


I guess I have to add my opinion that ethics (shaming) is a tool that people use to try to get other people to change their habits without banging heads. Now, you can say that this is a step in the right direction, but I'm just not sure why you think so. I mean, who's watching to see that we go in the right direction?

This latest turn in our discussion of ethics is just wafting at us the stale scent of sweaty woven footwear, such as is worn inside shoes.
Last edited by Cito di Pense on Nov 08, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#105  Postby surreptitious57 » Nov 08, 2013 1:04 pm

archibald wrote:
It may be greatly exaggerated I agree but I would not tend to misanthropy. That sounds like going too far the other way

It is a wonderful defence mechanism against taking life seriously and because it is directly externally has few side effects
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#106  Postby archibald » Nov 08, 2013 1:08 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
archibald wrote:
It is a wonderful defence mechanism against taking life seriously and because it is directly externally has few side effects


Doesn't the average misanthropist include themselves? :)
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#107  Postby archibald » Nov 08, 2013 1:10 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:I guess I have to add my opinion that ethics (shaming) is a tool that people use to try to get other people to change their habits without banging heads.


So how do you explain your own ethical reactions?

Or are you another Miss Ann Thrope?
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#108  Postby zoon » Nov 08, 2013 1:43 pm

4 Hours wrote:
zoon wrote:I’m not sure if I qualify as a moral nihilist. I certainly don’t think there is any objective, normative moral order to the universe. On the other hand, I do think cooperation at all levels is central to human flourishing, and that our unique evolved ability to cooperate is not yet understood and involves moral emotions.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/0 ... 40593.html

#1 regret of the dying according to a palliative nurse: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." That's a lesson very well worth learning before you are on your deathbed. I think, in contrast to the apparent consensus among moral philosophers these days, that a very large part of the good life is taking a big dump on those who would restrain your ambitions, often for no other reason than that said ambitions are alien to them, though completely innocuous. I feel that I am surrounded by people who are trying to sell me some shit I don't want really want or otherwise trying to manipulate my self- or other-regarding emotions to extract something out of me. Unfortunately for these people, the former are sovereign and I don't have a lot of the latter.
I have made both passive and active misanthropy a central part of my life and am a lot better off for it.

Are the dying patients regretting that they didn’t run amok and start raping and pillaging? - you are surely not arguing that life would be better if everyone did so? You are referring to a very limited aspect of overconformity in the context of a society which generally works well because most people most of the time do follow largely unspoken rules. The modern world, for those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy countries, has opened up an unprecedented range of opportunities in a short time, and it’s frighteningly easy for subgroups to pressure people away from opportunities which would in fact have suited them very well. As you say, it’s often very well worth resisting that pressure. I don’t see any simple answers; resisting social pressure is an excellent move in some contexts, but generalising that resistance to life at all times would be dodgier? As usual, both morality and evolution can be used to argue in both directions here: morality may be primarily about conformity, but an important aspect is the ability to stand up to the crowd. Similarly, humans have indeed evolved in closely cooperating groups, but the unique aspect is that the individuals in the groups are still highly individually competitive.

4 Hours wrote:
zoon wrote:For example, you said that evolution appears to justify rape, the evolutionary counter is that humans are unique in having evolved to cooperate extraordinarily closely within groups, and rape within groups is divisive; it’s not surprising if humans, unlike other primates, evolved to gang up on individual rapists.


Well that explains the Yanomami.

The Yanomami spend an unusual amount of time fighting each other, and as I said above rape is common in the context of warfare between groups. Do the Yanomami condone rape within their villages?

4 Hours wrote:
zoon wrote:You appear to be saying that evolution could not have produced animals with the observed capability that humans have, to think and plan in detail beyond their own lifetimes. You say I am “asserting” this – what alternative do you have in mind? I was drawing the inference that perhaps you think some process other than evolution produced that capability.


I think human intelligence is greatly exaggerated. Even when people "plan ahead" it is often in the context of achieving things like geometric economic growth year on year which is, in the scheme of things, pretty myopic. As a species we seem to be about as capable of foresight as an algal bloom feeding on a glut of fertilizer, something you have implicitly acknowledged.

I don’t think anybody on this forum will argue that humans are incapable of getting things spectacularly wrong, sometimes it takes high intelligence and planning for the future to get into the muddles we achieve.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#109  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 08, 2013 2:41 pm

archibald wrote:For example, I watched a brilliant BBC documentary last night entitled, 'Don't Panic: The Truth About Population', in which it was demonstrated and illustrated how, through various means (namely education and scientific progress) all the societies of the world are moving away from large families towards smaller, sustainable ones


Per capita resource usage increases with smaller family sizes. Hell, I probably use more of the Earth's resources by myself than a typical large rural Bangladeshi family and it's not as though I'm some horrible consumerist even. Take a good long look at this list and tell me if you still think that decreasing fertility actually means squat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _footprint

zoon wrote:Are the dying patients regretting that they didn’t run amok and start raping and pillaging?


No, but that's not necessarily what I'm talking about. What I have in mind is exploiting people economically, just for fun, as well as punishing them for trying to shame me into believing the same things as them, spending a lot of time making caustic comments about how useless humanity is as the global environment goes down the shitter, to make people lose their sense of direction and meaning in the world, and so forth. A degree of antisocial behavior below being a serial killer in other words. I don't so much want to kill people as crush their little spirits.

That being said, if Uncle Sam really needs me to go and relieve overpopulation abroad in a chaotic world of abrupt climate change and the like at some point, I'd be happy to answer the call and do my duty to defend the environment.



zoon wrote:You are referring to a very limited aspect of overconformity


No, it's pervasive. How can you not feel like you're existing in the movie They Live?

zoon wrote:I don’t see any simple answers; resisting social pressure is an excellent move in some contexts, but generalising that resistance to life at all times would be dodgier?


Basically, I look forward to the day when the jobs of people I don't like are taken over by robots and, at that, relatively dumb robots. KICK EM OUT! KICK EM ALL OUT!

zoon wrote:The Yanomami spend an unusual amount of time fighting each other and as I said above rape is common in the context of warfare between groups. Do the Yanomami condone rape within their villages?


Yeah, of women they thieved from elsewhere. As far as I know, their consent isn't of any consequence in these marriages.

zoon wrote:I don’t think anybody on this forum will argue that humans are incapable of getting things spectacularly wrong, sometimes it takes high intelligence and planning for the future to get into the muddles we achieve.


They really don't have what it takes. At all.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#110  Postby zoon » Nov 08, 2013 3:58 pm

4 Hours wrote: What I have in mind is exploiting people economically, just for fun, as well as punishing them for trying to shame me into believing the same things as them, spending a lot of time making caustic comments about how useless humanity is as the global environment goes down the shitter, to make people lose their sense of direction and meaning in the world, and so forth. A degree of antisocial behavior below being a serial killer in other words. I don't so much want to kill people as crush their little spirits.

Misanthropists of the world, unite!
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#111  Postby archibald » Nov 08, 2013 5:11 pm

4 Hours wrote:Per capita resource usage increases with smaller family sizes. Hell, I probably use more of the Earth's resources by myself than a typical large rural Bangladeshi family and it's not as though I'm some horrible consumerist even. Take a good long look at this list and tell me if you still think that decreasing fertility actually means squat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _footprint


Of course it means something. It means that we can make reasonable forecasts that the population is looking like it's going to peak within 50-100 years and then decline. Do you not like a bit of good news or something?

As for ecological footprints, yes, it is a separate issue, and a big problem, but it doesn't necessarily mean everything is going to go to pot. The greatest population growth is forecast to be in Africa and Africa has the potential to feed itself at forecast peak population (according to that BBC documentary) if farming methods improve.

As for how much a person consumes per capita, I reckon that'll come down in the developed counties, because it'll have to. It'll rise in the developing countries. Whether or not the human race can survive at whatever overall level that is until the population drops is unknown. We're going to go extinct at some stage, so I don't worry overly.

This is probably a tad off topic though.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#112  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 08, 2013 6:03 pm

archibald wrote:
4 Hours wrote:Per capita resource usage increases with smaller family sizes. Hell, I probably use more of the Earth's resources by myself than a typical large rural Bangladeshi family and it's not as though I'm some horrible consumerist even. Take a good long look at this list and tell me if you still think that decreasing fertility actually means squat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _footprint


Of course it means something. It means that we can make reasonable forecasts that the population is looking like it's going to peak within 50-100 years and then decline. Do you not like a bit of good news or something?

As for ecological footprints, yes, it is a separate issue, and a big problem, but it doesn't necessarily mean everything is going to go to pot. The greatest population growth is forecast to be in Africa and Africa has the potential to feed itself at forecast peak population (according to that BBC documentary) if farming methods improve.


If farming methods improve, which would require both individually and collectively intelligent human behavior. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I doubt many people ever got rich betting on the power of human intelligence. And, by the UN's reckoning, Ahfreekah is going to lose TWO-THIRDS of its arable land by 2030 if no substantial action is taken against land degradation and desertification:

http://www.un.org/africarenewal/web-fea ... evelopment

I think it's fair to say that the clock is ticking.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#113  Postby 4 Hours » Nov 08, 2013 6:07 pm

Sometimes I think population decline will come a lot faster than you suggest. Heh heh heh...
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#114  Postby Mick » May 09, 2014 2:03 pm

Cali's understanding of assertions is weird. Assertions can be facts; it depends what is asserted. When we assert something, the truth value of the proposition is not always unknown, since some assertions are obviously true on pains of contradiction.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#115  Postby Sendraks » May 09, 2014 2:31 pm

Mick wrote:Cali's understanding of assertions is weird. Assertions can be facts.


When an assertion is found to be supported by the facts, then it ceases to be an assertion.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#116  Postby Mick » May 09, 2014 3:23 pm

Um, no. It becomes more than an assertion, but it is still an assertion, since it asserts something to be true (or false). No proposition expressing a fact can fail to be assertoric--this is tautologous.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#117  Postby Sendraks » May 09, 2014 3:49 pm

Mick wrote:Um, no. It becomes more than an assertion, but it is still an assertion, since it asserts something to be true (or false). No proposition expressing a fact can fail to be assertoric--this is tautologous.


Asserting that something is true or false without evidence to back it up, is an assertion.
Once the evidence is known, the assertion of true or false simply becomes a statement that something is true or false.

You can make an assertion about something which is actually factually correct, but do so without knowing the facts. You can assert something is "true" without actually having a scooby whether it is or not. However, once the facts are known, the assertion ceases to be an assertion.

TLDR - do try to keep up Mick.
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#118  Postby Mick » May 09, 2014 4:42 pm

Sendraks wrote:
Mick wrote:Um, no. It becomes more than an assertion, but it is still an assertion, since it asserts something to be true (or false). No proposition expressing a fact can fail to be assertoric--this is tautologous.


Asserting that something is true or false without evidence to back it up, is an assertion.
Once the evidence is known, the assertion of true or false simply becomes a statement that something is true or false.

You can make an assertion about something which is actually factually correct, but do so without knowing the facts. You can assert something is "true" without actually having a scooby whether it is or not. However, once the facts are known, the assertion ceases to be an assertion.

TLDR - do try to keep up Mick.


No, this is just wrong, entirely.

That's not what it is in the philosophy of language.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/assertion/

That's not what it is linguistics or logic, I should say. Heck, even basic dictionaries disagree with you,
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Re: Discussion on the basis of ethical values

#119  Postby Mick » May 09, 2014 4:42 pm

You confuse assertions with bare assertions.
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