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  1. #21
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Which is why I think the debate is almost irrelevant.

    Don't ask if the power structure is arbitrarily legitimate or illegitmate. Rather, analyze whether or not its instutions are condusive to the good of the people that it encompasses.
    If we're going to contemplate taking that approach, how do you propose to define "good" in this context?
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  2. #22
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    If we're going to contemplate taking that approach, how do you propose to define "good" in this context?

    Well, we all have different ways I suppose.

    If you wanted to get to the very root, I believe in positive utiltiarian ethics.

    But working all the way from the root of my ethical beliefs would take a great deal of writing, and I hope some of things I define as good here can be understood without having to tie it back to the fundamentals of positive utilitarianism.

    So, with that in mind...

    We might say conditions of living are an important part of deciding what is good. Do people have houses, and good health? How much do they have to fear violence? How much can people afford? And let's not think of any of this qualitatively, only quantitatively. More is better.

    Then of course that issue needs to be considered in light of equality. The average does not tell us the distribution. The more equal, basically the better.

    And aside from what kind of condition people are in, what resources they have, and what services they are getting, we also have to ask how they can participate in the administration of society itself. Simplisitcally, encompassing interest is good, narrow interest is bad. Structures of power that encourage authorities to have encompassing interest are desirable. Representation, seperation of power, etc... are the kinds of things that make this so.

    I think you get the point.

    The administrative organization is doing good if it keeps people prosperous and safe, keeps society equitable, and allows itself to be accountable and accessible. Accomplish those goals, and it does not matter what the name of your administration is.
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  3. #23
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    If you wanted to get to the very root, I believe in positive utiltiarian ethics.
    That's precisely what I expected you to say from your previous comments, but I thought I'd rather hear you say it rather than just assuming.


    But working all the way from the root of my ethical beliefs would take a great deal of writing, and I hope some of things I define as good here can be understood without having to tie it back to the fundamentals of positive utilitarianism.
    Understood is one thing, agreed upon is another

    We might say conditions of living are an important part of deciding what is good. Do people have houses, and good health? How much do they have to fear violence? How much can people afford? And let's not think of any of this qualitatively, only quantitatively. More is better.
    Very problematic. You seriously think that human welfare is not or should not be assessed qualitatively? Why is more better? More what, precisely? What defines it as better, avoiding circularity (including recourse to utilitarian presumptions)?

    Then of course that issue needs to be considered in light of equality. The average does not tell us the distribution. The more equal, basically the better.

    And aside from what kind of condition people are in, what resources they have, and what services they are getting, we also have to ask how they can participate in the administration of society itself. Simplisitcally, encompassing interest is good, narrow interest is bad. Structures of power that encourage authorities to have encompassing interest are desirable. Representation, seperation of power, etc... are the kinds of things that make this so.

    The administrative organization is doing good if it keeps people prosperous and safe, keeps society equitable, and allows itself to be accountable and accessible. Accomplish those goals, and it does not matter what the name of your administration is.
    You're showing a remarkable disregard for individual rights as part of the equation at this point. It's sounding rather like the ideals of totalitarian socialism. The communist nations posessed a theoretical framework of accountability in most caes, but in practice, because the rights of the individual were not considered important in the system in comparison with the assumption of the state that it had a mandate to decide what was best for all, there was in practice no accountability, it was reduced to the charade of "show trials" for those who dissented, etc.
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  4. #24
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Very problematic. You seriously think that human welfare is not or should not be assessed qualitatively? Why is more better? More what, precisely? What defines it as better, avoiding circularity (including recourse to utilitarian presumptions)?
    I, as much as anyone, have to recourse to some kind of presumption. That presumption would be that happiness is essentially the purest form of good. And when I said that I didn't want to have to root everything back to this ethic, I meant that I didn't want to have to explain why, step byt step, less violence would lead to more happiness, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    You're showing a remarkable disregard for individual rights as part of the equation at this point. It's sounding rather like the ideals of totalitarian socialism. The communist nations posessed a theoretical framework of accountability in most caes, but in practice, because the rights of the individual were not considered important in the system in comparison with the assumption of the state that it had a mandate to decide what was best for all, there was in practice no accountability, it was reduced to the charade of "show trials" for those who dissented, etc.
    Because I am talking about what is a good result. We can debate what should be individual rights, how much individual rights need to be accounted for and defended, and in what ways these things should be done, as a matter of acheiving those goals, but it is all about those goals. Rights basically pertain to freedom, and freedom is not an end, only a means. And that is the main point I was making. The consequences define how good the means are. If the means of the organization achieve positive consequences we can say it is in some way good, and if it can achieve them optimally, we can say it is the best. It does not matter if it is supposedly a state or a syndicate accomplishing it.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  5. #25
    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I, as much as anyone, have to recourse to some kind of presumption. That presumption would be that happiness is essentially the purest form of good. And when I said that I didn't want to have to root everything back to this ethic, I meant that I didn't want to have to explain why, step byt step, less violence would lead to more happiness, for example.
    Well now, that's a commonplace. Other aspects of this are more debatable, and therefore worthy of debate. I want to ask you at this point what you think of the relationship between the desire to determine the course of one's own life in accordance with one's own beliefs - the self -actualisation principle - and your conception of "happiness", however. So far you don't seem to be taking it into account.

    Because I am talking about what is a good result. We can debate what should be individual rights, how much individual rights need to be accounted for and defended, and in what ways these things should be done, as a matter of acheiving those goals, but it is all about those goals. Rights basically pertain to freedom, and freedom is not an end, only a means. And that is the main point I was making. The consequences define how good the means are. If the means of the organization achieve positive consequences we can say it is in some way good, and if it can achieve them optimally, we can say it is the best. It does not matter if it is supposedly a state or a syndicate accomplishing it.
    I wondered why my head was spinning, and then realised it was from the circularity of your approach. Look, all you really apprear to be saying here is that you consider this to be a good result because you believe in the precepts of utilitarianism, and this is how you see it as being best fulfilled. You haven't particularly said why this state of affairs is to be regarded as ideal outside your particular belief system, and judging by what you're saying don't particularly appear to want to. Do you not then see the procurement of individual rights, liberty, call it what you will, as a meaningful GOAL? You currently appear to be dismissing it as something of minor relevance along the way to an idealised state of material well-being.
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  6. #26
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Well now, that's a commonplace. Other aspects of this are more debatable, and therefore worthy of debate. I want to ask you at this point what you think of the relationship between the desire to determine the course of one's own life in accordance with one's own beliefs - the self -actualisation principle - and your conception of "happiness", however. So far you don't seem to be taking it into account.
    In what sense?

    Does this so-called self-actualization make a person happy? That is the important question I suppose, but this concept of self-actualization strikes me as very vague. It sounds a bit like someone saying they want to do something just because they can, and that not having the ability to do it will make them unhappy, regardless of any actual point or merit in doing such a thing.

    Presumably the major deciding factor here would be what that person's beliefs involve. If I apply reductio ad absurdum, I can say that obviously if a person's beliefs tell them to go torturing other human beings, I cannot comply with their desire to live according to their beliefs. It in other words becomes a matter of cost/benefit analysis. How positive and negative an effect does it have on their happiness, or the happiness of how many others, and what alternative options are there?

    And finally, I don't think self-actualization inherently makes a person happier, plain and simple. What you do with your freedom determines what you feel, not the mere act of exercising it. Freedom is also something that cannot be passively experienced.

    And pardon me of something about these answers does not make sense, but I'm having a hard time understanding your question in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    I wondered why my head was spinning, and then realised it was from the circularity of your approach. Look, all you really apprear to be saying here is that you consider this to be a good result because you believe in the precepts of utilitarianism, and this is how you see it as being best fulfilled. You haven't particularly said why this state of affairs is to be regarded as ideal outside your particular belief system
    Pardon me, but that makes no sense to me. We are talking about ethics/morals here, are we not? How could I define something as good outside of my system for defining something as good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    , and judging by what you're saying don't particularly appear to want to. Do you not then see the procurement of individual rights, liberty, call it what you will, as a meaningful GOAL?
    No. It is not really a meaningful goal. As I said, freedom is a means, not an end. What kind of goal is just a means? The only reason to want freedom, is because you think it will let you get something else you ultimately want. By solely being a means, freedom is a good removed from the source. It is good in so far as it leads to the source. This also means that freedom can be the source of unhappiness. If you want to convince me of the value of freedom in a given situation, you have to show me how it is the best path to happiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    You currently appear to be dismissing it as something of minor relevance along the way to an idealised state of material well-being.
    Actually, I don't know how you inferred that. I was asserting what is the positive state of being, without saying much about how to achieve that state. I only said the social structure that achieves it is good.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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