Naturalism = Nihilism?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
23-07-2014, 10:48 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 09:50 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  Because we live in a world where you have to make choices.....

Who says? Some Cartesian Trickster?

#sigh
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes GirlyMan's post
23-07-2014, 10:49 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
The natural world appears that way to me too...

Shit happens... The universe is indifferent to suffering and death.

But we are not indifferent... Unless you're a cold hearted psychopath with no capacity for empathy.

We, as a species have managed to largely remove ourselves from the brutality of Natural Selection... We are free to determine our own morality.

Compare any two human civilizations from any period in history, and you'll see clear differences in what each culture considers right and wrong... Not to mention the constantly evolving moral status quo in each.

It's very defeatist and lazy to suggest that since nature/the universe are cruel or uncaring, therefore we should be to.

We are conscious, thinking beings who can make decisions for ourselves...

Evolution has shaped us into social animals, who more often than not prefer to live in groups than in solitude, as it is usually mutually beneficial. Because of this, we tend to see acts harmful to the group to be "wrong", and acts beneficial to the group to be "right".

This naturalistic explanation of human morality may seem to be somewhat heartless and uninspiring, but it's the truth.

If your approach is that since there is no absolute morality, therefore anything goes, you can expect to quickly find yourself outside of the group...

[img]

via GIPHY

[/img]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-07-2014, 11:11 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
"This naturalistic explanation of human morality may seem to be somewhat heartless and uninspiring, but it's the truth"

But is it though..? Because, I don't really see many(even the so called nihilists) actually living as if it were true..

"If your approach is that since there is no absolute morality, therefore anything goes, you can expect to quickly find yourself outside of the group..."
^ Not necessarily at all, there are clearly psychopaths living well established social lives.... it wouldn't stop you from pretending to be "good" when you have to.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-07-2014, 11:25 PM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 07:22 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  "Values are objective"......... care to back this up??

Sure. I'll be glad to. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

Life is an objective value. Without it no values are possible. Food is an objective value. Without it you will die. Google "sun eaters" for proof. You may have a preference for certain foods and this is subjective but you have to eat something and you have to have certain minerals and vitamins. Something to drink is also an objective value. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it's not poisonous but it has to have a certain amount of H2O in it.

Reason is an objective value. Our conceptual faculty is an objective value. Truth, honesty, productive achievement, self esteem, purpose and pride are all objective values. Happiness is an objective value and so is love. Individual rights and the freedom to exercise them are objective values. There are countless objective values and do you see what all of these share. They are all required by man's nature for his proper survival. This is also the basis of objective morality.

Why is slavery objectively wrong? It deprives man of his individual rights. Why is murder objectively wrong? Because a man's life is an irreplaceable, objective value. Why is rape objectively wrong? Because freedom from violence and physical coercion is an objective value. Why is lying and fraud objectively wrong? Because the truth is an objective value.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:06 AM (This post was last modified: 24-07-2014 12:22 AM by true scotsman.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 08:04 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(23-07-2014 06:47 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  There can be no conflict between what is right for the individual and what is right for everyone.

Of course that conflict exists.

It's the conflict between self preservation and preservation of the species.

This stuff is hard wired into our brain, allowing us to make super fast decisions in certain situations - jump out of the way of a car to save ourselves or jump in front of the car to snatch up a toddler.

Hi Dom,

I don't think there is a conflict because no one has a right to ask me to sacrifice my life for him. Someone else's need places no obligation on me. If it did then life would be impossible. There is no mouthful of food that someone doesn't need. I would be required to buy everyone a house before I could buy myself one. How could I buy lifesaving medicine for myself or my children while people all around the world are dying of disease.

I agree totally with the fact that we are hard wired to feel emotions but those emotions are automatized responses to our values. If I jumped in front of a car to save a toddler I would be serving my own values because I value life and especially children. However if I knew for certain that I would die diving in front of that car I wouldn't do it. It would be an immoral act according to my code of values because I would be depriving my children of a father and my children are more important to me than a stranger's child. It would be the equivalent of starving my children to feed starving children in Africa. I would definitely die to save my children's lives because they are my top value. I wouldn't die to save you from a car and I wouldn't expect you to die to save me from a car. I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life without my consent.

We are never faced with that kind of choice in reality, whether to save ourselves or the species, because Human life does not require sacrifice. It requires the gaining of values not their sacrifice. What do I care about the survival of the species if I am to be offered up as the meal to be eaten. My philosophy holds life as the standard of value and my own life as my highest moral purpose. A moral code that demands self sacrifice and self abnegation for the good of others does not hold life as its standard but death. This is why the morality of altruism is so evil. It demands that you place the needs of others before your own. It is impossible to practice fully and live and that should give you a clue to its ultimate purpose. Where ever it has been tried it has led to misery and destruction and it cannot lead to anything else.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:14 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
You wrote: What grounds can we stand upon when we wish to call something "wrong"?

The primacy of existence.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:38 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
Look, here's the bottom line.

We can, out of our own predilections and preferences (including your own preference to adhere to some moral code greater than ourselves), decide that we place a lower priority on self interest than on, say, altruism, or upholding abstract ideal of the law, or whatever.

This is true REGARDLESS of whether there is some objective moral code. That it exists would not alone compel us to adhere to it. That a particular moral code might not prove objective, would not require us to reject it as a preferred guide to our actions.

Nor would a system of supernatural punishments or rewards (another proposed definition of objectivity) compel obedience. They might succeed in enticing or extorting obedience, but they also might not. The only thing they would do (besides feeling kinda just in a don't-screw-over-the-good-guy sort of way) is blur the line between moral behavior and selfish behavior. Is someone who does charity because she believes in an eternal reward for it, really acting out of charity?

So with all this said... what difference would the objectivity of a morality (in any sense other than a property of general universal applicability) make? We'd still be free to disagree with it. We'd still be free to reject it. We'd still be trying to muddle our way though it as best we could. We'd still have difficulties with knowability and be stuck with our best approximation of good morality as a social construct, regardless of whether our approximation was more an effort of socially engineering a better society in pursuit of perfection, or discovering some existing objective morality. And whether we're seeking some objectively true morality, or simply trying to produce the best social construct of morality that we could, our methods would be exactly the same. How would we go about it differently? Without believing in some sort of supernatural deity, afterlife, karma, et cetera, there appears to be no practical distinction at all. This has always seemed like a wholly academic question to me, useful only for whiling away long hours at the cafe between classes. I don't see what you hope to get out of it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:46 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 08:28 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Ya' got it ass backwards. Nihilism entails atheism, but atheism don't entail nihilism.
I don't think you can start off as a theistic nihilist and then reach the conclusion of becoming an atheist.
A theist would not be nihilist. They would probably believe that their purpose is to please their god, to obey it and follow its moral code, or at least try to, with the excuse of "oh well, I'm just human" up their sleeves Blink

But if someone is a nihilist then they are free to ponder questions such as "what is the purpose of my life?", "Is it possible to determine if an action is wrong?", What does "wrong" mean? "If there is no such thing as right and wrong then why don't we go around killing and stealing from each other?".

I have asked all these questions and the answer I came up with was nihilism.
We don't have an inherent purpose, there are no rights and wrongs, we don't go around killing people because that endangers our own lives.
It's a very logically sound conclusion and stems from an understanding that there is no authority dictating a purpose or a moral standard.
My own authority over myself is merely an opinion. It isn't a morality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:54 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 08:03 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(23-07-2014 06:24 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  The theory of evolution alone seems to tell me that any state of mind working against our own personal(material) well-being is not a very natural function of the brain

Wrong again. Evolution promotes the survival of the GROUP, not individuals.

Not that Wiki is a definitive authority on such matters, but...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_selection
Quote:Group selection was used as a popular explanation for adaptations, especially by V. C. Wynne-Edwards.[1][2] For several decades, however, critiques, particularly by George C. Williams,[3] John Maynard Smith[4] and C.M. Perrins (1964), historically cast serious doubt on group selection as a major mechanism of evolution. However, some scientists have pursued the idea over the last few decades, and group selection models have seen a resurgence since the mid-1990s with increasing popularity.

However, to address nietzsche101's statement
"The theory of evolution alone seems to tell me that any state of mind working against our own personal(material) well-being is not a very natural function of the brain"
It has been very natural for humans to hunt animals into extinction, even though it meant that we run out of food.
We are also happy to compete economically and with our lavish lifestyles to such a point that we know we are destroying the Earth i.e. global warming. And yet we continue because we can't help satisfying our own selfish desires.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
24-07-2014, 12:58 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
Nietzsche101,

You wrote: Is there a rational answer(which doesn't involve a soul) which can answer why we do/should chose the self sacrificing option, over the one of self preservation??


I really don't think there is a rational justification for self sacrifice. I have never seen one. What we get are always appeals to some authority like God or vague appeals to the will of the people. It is a tricky subject because there are many definitions of sacrifice. According to Objectivism, sacrifice means the giving up of a value for something of lesser value or of no value. So if I help someone because it gives me pleasure to do so that is not a sacrifice. My help is a payment in trade for the values I see in that other person. In order to sacrifice you have to "give til it hurts". Simply giving what you can afford gives you no credit with the altruists. If you suffer then you get more cred. If you sell everything you own and live in a tent and donate the money to charity well then you are really moral. But the way I see it production of wealth is far more moral than giving it away because it has to be produced first before it can be given away.

The term "altruism" was coined by Auguste Compte in the middle of the 19th century and I use the term the way he meant it to be used which was literally to live for the sake of others, sacrifice your good for the sake of others with nothing in return. He was a totalitarian and he believed the common people should sacrifice their own desires and plans for the desires and plans of the state or the good of the "people". Hitler used the term in the same way and his speeches are full of the need for the individual to sacrifice his own good for the good of the "people". Just read his speeches and see how many times "self sacrifice" and "altruism" appear.

I get very nervous when I hear politicians talking about the need to sacrifice because throughout history people who say such things have had no problem with sacrificing millions upon millions of their own citizens. Stalin comes to mind. Hitler too.

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
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: