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  1. #41
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    There is no individual drive for survival, anything that looks that way can be reduced to the drive towards personal affirmation.

  2. #42
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Exactly.

    The 'value-centered thinking' which SolitaryWalker considers so irrational is often an attempt at solving the problems which arise when everyone acts hedonistically. When each pursues their own well-being (happiness, contendedness, goals, or whatever) interests come into conflict. Ethical theories propose rules of conduct which resolve these conflicts such as, for example, property rights.
    It is true that people often employ value centered thinking to combat unwise and irresponsible hedonistic behavior. For example, when somebody says, I do not care what any of you want, I will simply do whatever I feel like it. Many will stand up and say, you cannot do that, you must take the interests of others in consideration!

    It is certainly the case that if we institute the proper rules of behavior, we will have a harmonious society, or people will get along with each other. But then again, is such an ethical system complete? It is not complete, because then we still will have unanswered questions. Such as, what do I do with the rest of my life? Or how do I make decisions that are not directly relevant to my interaction with other people? To answer such questions it is important to consider the question of what makes me the happiest and do exactly what leads to such a result.

    On that note, ethics has two aspects. The first aspect is the one that you have mentioned, or ethics of man's relationship to society, and the ethics concerning the decisions man must make that are independent of his relationship to society.



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    Lets forget the latter ethics for the moment. Lets assume that all of ethics is about man's relationship to society. Or in other words, the ONLY purpose of ethics is to ensure that people get along with each other. The question to ask then is, why should people wish to get along with each other? The obvious answer is that because they wish to be happy. If the people have such a perspective in mind, they will see adequate justifications for establishing harmonious relationships with others. In other words, because they wish to be happy, they will seek out ways to get along with others. (Unless of course doing the latter does not conduce to their long-term happiness, which is almost never the case.) Yet, if they do not have such a perspective in mind, they will seek to establish harmonious relationships with others for reasons they do not understand. They will be merely driven by the aforementioned irrational value-cenetered thinking, or in other words, doing what they are 'supposed to do'. This is problematic because very often the endorsed values will not conduce to harmonious relationships between people as in that case people will do not what truly conduces to people getting along, but whatever they should do in order to stay true to their principles.

    Accordingly, the only reliable way to avoid the problem of dogmatically adhering to the principles which do not conduce to establishment of harmony between people is by keeping the long term objective in perspective.

    In summary, ethics has two aspects, one is concerned with man's relationship with society and the other with his own happiness. If a man does not consider the second aspect of ethics he is unlikely to contribute to the ethic that conduces to a harmonious society. Thus hedonism conduces to resolution of conflicts between the members of society more than it causes conflicts because only such hedonism can give people the true motivation to get along with each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    There is no individual drive for survival, anything that looks that way can be reduced to the drive towards personal affirmation.
    What is the difference between a drive for survival and a drive for personal affirmation?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  3. #43
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    What is the difference between a drive for survival and a drive for personal affirmation?
    There is no such thing as a drive for survival. All drives reduce to instinct (personal affirmation, whatever), which has no awareness of concepts like 'survival'.

    The only mechanism at play is that animals that have instincts that cause them not to survive will be killed off. But maladaptive traits will never be fully weeded out because of mutation and variance. Additionally, some traits that are selected for may have maladaptive side effects.

  4. #44
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    There is no such thing as a drive for survival. All drives reduce to instinct (personal affirmation, whatever), which has no awareness of concepts like 'survival'.

    The only mechanism at play is that animals that have instincts that cause them not to survive will be killed off. But maladaptive traits will never be fully weeded out because of mutation and variance. Additionally, some traits that are selected for may have maladaptive side effects.

    Indeed, but why do animals have such instincts in the first place?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  5. #45
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Indeed, but why do animals have such instincts in the first place?
    Natural selection? Determinist physical laws?

    What answer are you looking for?

  6. #46
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    is such an ethical system complete? It is not complete, because then we still will have unanswered questions. Such as, what do I do with the rest of my life? Or how do I make decisions that are not directly relevant to my interaction with other people?
    Be a hedonist if you choose, or not, whatever. Should an ethical theory dictate right and wrong in every given circumstance? It is as though you seek something like a rulebook for life.

    Or in other words, the ONLY purpose of ethics is to ensure that people get along with each other. The question to ask then is, why should people wish to get along with each other? The obvious answer is that because they wish to be happy. If the people have such a perspective in mind, they will see adequate justifications for establishing harmonious relationships with others. In other words, because they wish to be happy, they will seek out ways to get along with others. (Unless of course doing the latter does not conduce to their long-term happiness, which is almost never the case.) Yet, if they do not have such a perspective in mind, they will seek to establish harmonious relationships with others for reasons they do not understand. They will be merely driven by the aforementioned irrational value-cenetered thinking, or in other words, doing what they are 'supposed to do'. This is problematic because very often the endorsed values will not conduce to harmonious relationships between people as in that case people will do not what truly conduces to people getting along, but whatever they should do in order to stay true to their principles.
    Sure, it is possible for people to adopt values which work against peaceable coexistence. Some may even do so on purpose because they have no desire to resolve disagreements and conflicts of interest peaceably, and in which case, have little use for pursuing a rational investigation of ethics.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  7. #47
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Indeed, but why do animals have such instincts in the first place?
    Varying genetic mutations. It happens resulting from a misplaced molecule in the DNA, or more prevalently, (and efficiently -- hence the increased commonality), at least in the local era; chromosome mingling by way of sexual reproduction.
    we fukin won boys

  8. #48
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    There is no individual drive for survival, anything that looks that way can be reduced to the drive towards personal affirmation.
    What the eff are you talking about?
    You mean that survival is less a cognitive activity and just a series of unconscious chain reactions?

    True enough the steps taken to survive are rarely intellectualized. Heartbeat increase and release of adrenaline, slowing of digestion, increase of muscle tensity that's all way too much for us to worry over by deliberation.

    If we had to do all of that intentionally when the bear trundles over the hill, growling and foaming at the mouth, he'd eat us by the time we got to step two.
    Much better to leave this to unconscious and instinctual chain reactions.
    Apparently, evolution figured this one out before you and I.

    But I don't see that it's working toward affirming ones self.
    we fukin won boys

  9. #49
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Be a hedonist if you choose, or not, whatever. Should an ethical theory dictate right and wrong in every given circumstance? It is as though you seek something like a rulebook for life..
    What I seek is not a system of ethics which will have specific prescriptions with regard to how we should act under all circumstances, but rather something that will allow for us to make desirable decisions under all circumstances. Thus, what I suggest is not a set of rules to follow under all circumstances, but a critical evaluation of our circumstances on case by case basis. In other words, simply thinking through each situation to make sure that the decisions you make in such situations are those that you will be happy with.

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    Sure, it is possible for people to adopt values which work against peaceable coexistence. Some may even do so on purpose because they have no desire to resolve disagreements and conflicts of interest peaceably, and in which case, have little use for pursuing a rational investigation of ethics.
    My point was, in order to avoid the problem you describe above, we need rational investigation of ethics, abandoning value centered thinking conduces to such investigation of ethics.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  10. #50
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    My point was, in order to avoid the problem you describe above, we need rational investigation of ethics, abandoning value centered thinking conduces to such investigation of ethics.
    Just because one has values does not mean that one must accept such values uncritically (even the value that one ought not to accept ideas uncritically if possible).

    I should also note that many values may have actually evolved in response to specific adaptive problems which arise in complex social groups.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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