Naturalism = Nihilism?
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25-07-2014, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 25-07-2014 10:06 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 04:40 PM)Stevil Wrote:  This is my starting point.

For me to go down the morality path:
1. What compelling evidence is there that morality exists?

I need a compelling reason to even give a shit enough to consider it. Morality is an appendix which may have served some useful purpose in the past but is now vestigial.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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25-07-2014, 10:08 AM (This post was last modified: 25-07-2014 10:18 AM by nietzsche101.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
@ClydeLee, you seem to just want to play word games, and I can't be bothered with that... but if you are sincerer, then read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_nihilism

"And where is this morality illusion coming from? It's merely the collective of society and evolutionary beneficiary actions. There's nothing more there... What's an illusion? Is it the most valuable and rational thing to follow, perhaps not, but there's only an illusion if you insist absolute morality is involved."
- this seems to fit the bill quite well
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25-07-2014, 10:17 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that nihilism holds to the tenet that meaning in any form is illusionary. That's why I don't identify as a nihilist. I reject the concept of objective meaning for meaning is a construct, but that doesn't mean I regard it as an illusionary construct.

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25-07-2014, 10:25 AM
Re: RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(25-07-2014 10:08 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  @ClydeLee, you just want to play word games, and I can't be bothered by that... but if you are sincerer, then read this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_nihilism

"And where is this morality illusion coming from? It's merely the collective of society and evolutionary beneficiary actions. There's nothing more there... What's an illusion? Is it the most valuable and rational thing to follow, perhaps not, but there's only an illusion if you insist absolute morality is involved."
- this seems to fit the bill quite well

In no way was I playing word games. I didn't see the term moral nihilism applied much, just nihilism which has a definitely darker meaning. By that thought, yes i'm a moral nihilist.

I rambled a bit in editing my last post already about nihilism and how through existential philosophy thought I ponder it and why at times the choice of others may be beneficial. Because I know others are going through the same things too.

Some questions may never have a best "moral" right or least suffering. I can think of a good analogy that comes from Sartre in his existentialism is a humanism essay.. It's a scenario with a Guy when war breaks out and is torn between stating to care for his mother or join the military to assist his country. If his moral goal is lessen suffering, how does he know what's going to do so most? His mother is sick and will surely die without his aid and can his impact aid the war or could he easily die in the war lessening the suffering of no one? We just get put in scenarios where there is no objective answer because we can't see into the future to know. We have to make a choice and live with that choice, i'm not sure what other answers you may be looking for.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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25-07-2014, 10:26 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(25-07-2014 10:17 AM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that nihilism holds to the tenet that meaning in any form is imaginary.

Niow you've got it. Thumbsup

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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25-07-2014, 10:48 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(25-07-2014 09:45 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  @RobbyPants
so you're saying that morality is fundamentally a lie? although it's a "noble lie" that should be kept alive for the sake of holding society together....?

So where to from here? We should actually suppress the truth that "morality is a lie"?....

No, that's not what I said at all. Absolute/objective morality doesn't exist (and it would be a lie for someone to say it were true). I was talking about subjective morality.

It's not "a lie"; it's arbitrary. And it's something arbitrary that most of us seem to be able to agree upon. We accomplish more together than we do on our own. Social contracts are not tenable if we can't agree to cooperate.

How you mange to ignore this every time and turn it into "it's not objective, therefore I have no reason to care!" is beyond me.


I'll ask you again: Do you like Taco Bell and the Internet? And if not Taco Bell, what things in this life do you like to do? Chances are, whatever your answer, it's going to involve the implicit assumption that people aren't going to stab you in the face or steal your stuff at any given minute.


(25-07-2014 09:45 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  if we follow this logic a little further..... is a population brainwashed into believing in heaven and hell really a bad thing??

Given that heaven and hell haven't historically lead to massive good behavior (and a lot of bad behavior has happened in response), I have no idea how you reached this by logical extension.
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25-07-2014, 11:15 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
How are we suppose to agree, if it's all just subjective?


"How you mange to ignore this every time and turn it into "it's not objective, therefore I have no reason to care!" is beyond me."

- Because psychopathy sounds like the rational conclusion from moral nihilism! Why let my conscience(something arbitrary) get in the way of my Hedonism(something real)..?




** "We accomplish more together than we do on our own. Social contracts are not tenable if we can't agree to cooperate."

It seems to me(correct me if I'm wrong) that you want society to still hold a notion of objective morality.... yet because as you say "it doesn't exist", you think we can just construct one for society, out of nothing....
how do you get people to follow it, if they realise it is just arbitrary?

** "I have no idea how you reached this by logical extension"

would they not need to be brainwashed in some sort of way, to take it seriously?
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25-07-2014, 12:27 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  How are we suppose to agree, if it's all just subjective?


"How you mange to ignore this every time and turn it into "it's not objective, therefore I have no reason to care!" is beyond me."

- Because psychopathy sounds like the rational conclusion from moral nihilism! Why let my conscience(something arbitrary) get in the way of my Hedonism(something real)..?




** "We accomplish more together than we do on our own. Social contracts are not tenable if we can't agree to cooperate."

It seems to me(correct me if I'm wrong) that you want society to still hold a notion of objective morality.... yet because as you say "it doesn't exist", you think we can just construct one for society, out of nothing....
how do you get people to follow it, if they realise it is just arbitrary?

** "I have no idea how you reached this by logical extension"

would they not need to be brainwashed in some sort of way, to take it seriously?

Or, perhaps, just maybe, we're innately a lot more alike than we are different, and that's why we survive as a species to this day as opposed to being an unwritten blip in history tens of thousands of years ago.

Here, try it this way:
  • We exist (given)
  • We cooperate well enough to form cities and have trade between nations (given)
  • While there are some psychopaths out there, we cooperate by and large (given)
  • There is no proof that objective morality exists.
Now, if you can't prove that objective morality exists, then, the only morality that "exists" is subjective. And we still have managed to cobble together a pretty impressive society through cooperation, despite that. So, you have two options:

1) Prove objective morality exists to make that wrong, or

2) Admit it's subjective, and the lack of objective morality isn't as bad as you're making it.

I can't make you act in a moral fashion. You seem to like acting in a moral fashion, yet you keep looking for some objective reason to behave that way. That's a hang up you're going to have to get over. I can't help you.
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25-07-2014, 12:57 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  How are we suppose to agree, if it's all just subjective?

Talk? Communicate? It's not hard, we're doing it right now! Some things are pretty easy to agree on, like for instance, no one likes to be killed right? That would suck. So let's all agree that killing is bad.


(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  - Because psychopathy sounds like the rational conclusion from moral nihilism! Why let my conscience(something arbitrary) get in the way of my Hedonism(something real)..?

How in the hell would choosing psychopathic behavior (which can be characterized as antisocial behavior, lack of or lacking empathy and disinhibited behavior) be considered the rational conclusion from moral nihilism?

Do you think that someone not believing there is such a thing as morally right and morally wrong would make them think they can do whatever they want? No, they would still have empathy and understand that there are negative and positive consequences to their actions and the actions of others.

Also, do you really think belief that something being morally wrong actually keeps people from doing that something? If It did, then you’d have an argument, but it doesn’t. There are people who believe something is morally wrong and still do that which they consider to be morally wrong. Thinking that a person’s behavior is dependent on what they think is morally wrong or morally right is an illusion.

More importantly, psychopathic behavior is a mental disorder, which is not something you can choose rationally or irrationally.


(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  Why let my conscience(something arbitrary) get in the way of my Hedonism(something real)..?

How exactly is "We accomplish more together than we do on our own and social contracts are not tenable if we can't agree to cooperate" arbitrary and NOT real?

(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  It seems to me(correct me if I'm wrong) that you want society to still hold a notion of objective morality.... yet because as you say "it doesn't exist", you think we can just construct one for society, out of nothing....
how do you get people to follow it, if they realise it is just arbitrary?

The problem here is that what you think is objective morality is itself constructed by human civilization.

(25-07-2014 11:15 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  would they not need to be brainwashed in some sort of way, to take it seriously?

Is having empathy and learning that there are positive and negative consequences to ones actions considered being brainwashed?
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25-07-2014, 01:29 PM (This post was last modified: 25-07-2014 03:49 PM by true scotsman.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
Nietzche101,


I want to thank you. This thread has been a great help in clarifying my thinking. I have struggled for years to explain objective morality and I have always failed. While thinking about and interacting with topic I have finally figured out why. Moral truths, like all knowledge, are contextual. They are objectively true withing a specific context. I have been suffering from the curse of knowledge. When I have been telling people that values are objective I have been assuming that people would understand the "contextual" part implied by my statement.

Moral values are not a primary. They presuppose the answer to the question "of value to whom and for what?". I have been taking this for granted.

So I'd like to amend what I said to you earlier. Within the context of man's life as the standard of value, the values that I listed in my earlier response are objectively good.

By objective I mean obtains independently of anyone's wishes, feeling, desires or likes or dislikes.

By subjective I mean is dependent on someones likes, dislikes, wishes or feelings.

Would you agree with this?

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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