Naturalism = Nihilism?
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24-07-2014, 05:55 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(23-07-2014 06:53 PM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  I don't think it offers a rational answer as to why we should, when put in this situation, chose a over b in the following:
a) a action that is "good" for the "whole"(be it our family, group, our species, or all concious life) - but is "bad" for me
b) an action that is "bad" for the "whole" - while "good" for me.

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24-07-2014, 06:26 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
What does this have to do with my question you quoted? why not stick to the topic?

just say "empathy" is not a proper answer... not a intellectual one.

unless you can define "empathy" to mean something more than "acting kind, because it is in our best interest to", then it falls apart when we have to chose between "a" and "b".



I do agree with you though! we should do the right thing because of "empathy"(though I referred to it as "keeping my conscience happy")

But what I think I've realised is that, this is not rational at all, to choose empathy>just yourself; is really a type of "faith".

A Faith that I think we should hold, and we should be honest about...
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24-07-2014, 06:27 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 12:06 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(23-07-2014 08:04 PM)Dom Wrote:  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.

We are herd animals. We have a brain that is hardwired through evolution to kick out thought in favor of swift action in certain situations. This is not a human thing, it's a herd animal thing, we are social animals. Look at the social structure and behavior of wolves, as one well researched example.

Our "heroes" are not really heroes, they simply act according to instinct, there is no thought involved. You don't get to decide. Either the instinct for self preservation will kick in, or the instinct for preservation of the species will. You don't get a say, not in split second decisions.

And that is a good thing, because otherwise you'd face an emergency situation the way my cousin faces choosing what flavor ice cream she wants. Takes her half an hour to decide.

All our philosophizing and and decision making makes but a little bit of difference. The experience and thoughts our brains use to base "decisions" on weighs very little when it comes to split second reactions. The "decision" to snatch that toddler out of danger is a decision imposed by how our specific brains have evolved, it's the collective thought of all of our ancestors. It is not a conscious thought or decision, there is no time for that.

So this entire conversation is limited to situations that are not urgent, like giving your sandwich to a starving person you see sitting by the road. Now your decision is based on information received during this life time, mostly experience and a little bit of thought (processing of said experience).

There used to be a saying - "man thinks and god acts". As usual, god was given the role to fill what we don't understand - "WTF did I just do, I could have died snatching that toddler up..." Of course, it's evolution as a social animal that made us do it...

Just because you can think doesn't mean that thought is actually in control of your actions. Your thought influences your actions in certain decisions and in others it is ignored all together.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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24-07-2014, 06:39 AM (This post was last modified: 24-07-2014 06:43 AM by nietzsche101.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
What!? you just came here to say that all "philosophising"(aka: thinking, discussion) is a waste of time because "It is not a conscious thought or decision, there is no time for that"... ?

hahah, well what are you doing here then?............................??
why should I listen to you? why believe science, or reason, or anything (including your own thoughts, and philosophies)....?

"It is not a conscious thought or decision, there is no time for that"... <- I got "no time" for someone who is telling me that they're not even conscious....
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24-07-2014, 06:52 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 06:39 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  What!? you just came here to say that all "philosophising"(aka: thinking, discussion) is a waste of time because "It is not a conscious thought or decision, there is no time for that"... ?

hahah, well what are you doing here then?............................??
why should I listen to you? why believe science, or reason, or anything (including your own thoughts, and philosophies)....?

"It is not a conscious thought or decision, there is no time for that"... <- I got "no time" for someone who is telling me that they're not even conscious....

Perhaps you didn't read my post? I was talking about split second decisions. They would not be split seconds if you could philosophize about them as they happen.

So you negate that we have instincts that propel us to act in certain situations? You are all current life experiences and evolution has no say? Sorry, but you are not a functional human being in that case, because you will neither grab the toddler nor get out of the way of the car. You'll be thinking until it crushes your skull.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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24-07-2014, 07:38 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 06:26 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  What does this have to do with my question you quoted? why not stick to the topic?

just say "empathy" is not a proper answer... not a intellectual one.

unless you can define "empathy" to mean something more than "acting kind, because it is in our best interest to", then it falls apart when we have to chose between "a" and "b".

It looks like you're about to answer your own question with the second half of your post...


(24-07-2014 06:26 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  I do agree with you though! we should do the right thing because of "empathy"(though I referred to it as "keeping my conscience happy")

But what I think I've realised is that, this is not rational at all, to choose empathy>just yourself; is really a type of "faith".

A Faith that I think we should hold, and we should be honest about...

Keeping your "conscious happy" isn't as irrational as you think. Sure, it's arbitrary, but at the end of the day, your brain is going to reward you with happy drugs when you do certain things. This will be at odds with the potential monetary gain you might get from stealing from someone. That will be at odds for the potential of getting caught and punished.

Morality, and all the risk/reward stuff that gets tacked on when looking for rational justifications is relatively complex. As best as I can tell, you want to behave in a relatively altruistic fashion, and you're looking for a way to justify it. Why isn't "it makes me happier to be nice than to be a jerk" reason enough? If it makes you happy to be nice, why are you worried about this?

You've been presented with rational reasons to avoid bad behavior (punishment/being ostracized) which you've brushed off because they don't always apply. You've admitted you're happier simply being nice. Yes, morality and all the surrounding topics are complex, and ultimately arbitrary. No one is surprised about this. Why do you need a 100% objective, rational incentive to behave "morally"?


Edit:
I don't particularly like the word "faith" for subjectively deciding to act altruistically, but I otherwise agree. Yes, it is arbitrary, and yes, the results are more pleasant, and something most of us would rather live with. The only "faith" here is faith that most other people will live in a similar fashion, which, typically seems to be the case.
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24-07-2014, 07:44 AM
Re: RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 05:35 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  Sorry if I've misinterpreted you...
but are you saying; that what most people would call "virtue", is actually just a negative side effect of genetic development?....

I think virtue would nd considered beneficial to maintaining populations.

I keep bring drawn to see that you want to find some definitive rational logical answer. Just because there may not be one, doesn't mean it's more rational to disregard morality opposed to forging your own moral system or accepting the "social contract" concept of morality.

There's really no more or less rational leaning to either of those.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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24-07-2014, 09:42 AM (This post was last modified: 24-07-2014 10:39 AM by Zippo.)
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
I've been lurking here for two days now, read the morality/righ/wrong discussion and just had to throw in my two cents on this one.
I apologize if somebody mentioned something similar in another posts but I did not go through all of them. (I doubt anybody mentioned anything similar. I ramble on quite a bit)

Regarding morality:

I think it comes down to risk/reward but I'll expand on that by saying it's more of a set of barriers. I guess it goes along the line of empathy/emotion then risk/reward and then fear/punishment. (There's also the fact that most, if not all, individuals live in a society which has its own set of morals, values, laws,etc. I might come back to that later)

What do I mean? Well, emotion/empathy would be how you feel about the action. Would I be comfortable stealing a cookie? Somebody might have stolen a cookie from me in the past and I might consider it a despicable act, or the simple act of stealing a cookie disgusts me (Again, this could de due to values ingrained in a society but, again, I might come back to that later.)

If you get past the empathy/emotion barrier that takes you to the risk/reward part. It IS a delicious cookie so the reward is pretty high. Is the risk worth it? Is the other person a 300lb bodybuilder?

And that's when risk leads into fear/punishment. Would stealing the cookie affect my relationship with the aforementioned bodybuilder? Is he a friend? Am I risking something beneficial to myself in ruining that friendship just for one cookie? Would it affect my relationship with somebody else if I steal that cookie?

Let's change that a bit. It's no longer a delicious cookie and a bodybuilder but it's a coconut and tribesman from X years ago. Would I be viewed as someone who is a danger to the tribe if I steel a coconut? How would my peers in the tribe react to that? How would the chief of the tribe react to that? Would I be kicked out of the tribe and have to face the dangers that exists outside the suppport of the tribe? Are there laws against stealing coconuts?(I said I'd get to the society bit)

So, morality/right/wrong is subjective. Totally dependant on the situation, the person and the society.

Edit: Spelling mistakes
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24-07-2014, 10:00 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 01:14 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(24-07-2014 12:58 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  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.
My uncle had an accident a couple of years back. He was in control of a boat and he had a crash and his friend died.

Although he survived, he wished it was him that had died rather than his friend.

My take on this is that sometimes death is preferable to life.
Someone may feel incredible guilt from surviving, knowing that they could have saved the lives of others instead. I would consider this preference for self sacrifice to be selfish and rational.

I would too. Like soldiers who form such a bond in battle that they would throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies. Absolutely.

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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24-07-2014, 10:02 AM
RE: Naturalism = Nihilism?
(24-07-2014 01:37 AM)nietzsche101 Wrote:  @ Reltzik
"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."
- yeah but it would still exist, much the same way gravity exists whether you believe/understand in it or not..

Very much NOT in the same way that gravity exists. Gravity is an observable, testable phenomenon, and the way in which it is testable also makes it useful and important. We use those same testable aspects and our understanding of them in everything from architecture, to aircraft design, to storage, to walking, to pooping, to not-falling-to-our-deaths, and if it lacked those testable aspects for us to discern, then it would also lack the applications based on those testable aspects, and its existence would also be academic.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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