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  1. #91
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Allow me to butt in here. I know it wasnt addressed at me, but let me say this; practicality is neither noble or ignoble, it is the result that is noble or ignoble. You cant argue gas chambers werent practical in doing what the were designed for; but will you really argue that their purpose was anything but despiceable?
    I was referring to practicality in pursuit of the moral goal, which in this case was the principle I stated earlier about happiness. Because of the moral impact I see the Nazi's final solution having, the more practical means to that goal is, the more morally wrong the result actually is. Do you see? Here the problem just comes from framing what something is practical for. What is practical for exterminating Jews is presumably quite impractical for my moral scheme.

    In the end, I try to just keep my eyes on what is practical for my moral scheme. That is the main frame I want to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    I dont see anything wrong with the concept of happiness for human beings, and perhaps this is the flaw in most conventional moral systems is that they tend to ignore these needs. My beef isnt there. Its in saying that only things useful have value. The goal of use is to bring happiness, but if use happniess has value, what value does happniess have?
    Happiness = value. That is the most succinct way I can put it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Virtue exists for its own sake and is not contingent upon ulterior ends. I think we're talking about two different things, in reality, the original arguement was about virtue, which doesnt have an impact on the material world. Your talking about getting results in the real world for happiness/pleasuure/satisfatcion of human beings, which while noble isnt an ideal in itself, the way Plato argued that ideals exist; for their on sake.
    If that's what a virtue is then I don't believe in virtues and I don't see a reason I ought to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    This is, to put it politely, a bag of bollocks.

    If it's too difficult to determine what is "bad" it's also too difficult to determine what is "good".
    I hope you keep in mind that those words undermine every form of morality equally. Determining good and bad is the only thing morality is about. Thus, if my argument is that my philosophy is merely the optimal alternative, it continues to be so after every philosophy has the same amount of credibility knocked off of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Defining good in terms of itself is....circular.
    We're not defining good is good, per se. We know that happiness or even something we might call "good feelings" or "well being" is not the same thing as philosophical good. In other words, this is just some trouble with the English language. Good is an over burdened word like love. But presumably you understand what I mean by the difference of a feeling, or a state of mind, and a philosophical evaluation. You must, since you know of and possibly subscribe to a philosophy that does not hold them to be one and the same.

    What I'm talking about is kind of like hedonism, it's just less myopic and more altruistic than most people think of hedonism being.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Then pro-life must be the "greater good", since it leads to the "most people". Whether they will be happy or not, well sometimes they will be, sometimes they won't. Who can say? Certainly not you.

    Yeah, it's never as simple as you think, is it?
    Oh, wow. I've never thought of that one before!

    The premise that a being is necessary to have happiness at all is correct, which is at least one reason why I'm not a negative utilitarian. Negative utilitarianism, taken to its ultimate conclusion, should result in the extinction of sentient life forms as the greatest good. That being said, you're right that we don't know if a new person will be happy or not. It's 50/50, and you must keep in mind that a person may not only be unhappy themselves, but may make other people in the word less happy, thus you can't just rate it on how happy the new individual themselves will be. In and of itself it's too random to be for or against the pro-life position.

    That being said, I think you're just wrong in implying that we can't know how happy someone will be or how happy others will be as a result of that person. We can't know deterministically, but we can potentially have a probable idea, and our ability to do so, I suspect, will only improve with the development of technology.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #92
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal+ View Post
    http://findingjustice.org/fourth-of-july-fireworks/
    Talking about the US and July 4th: "With a nation in debt and a world full of needs, it makes you question the wisdom of burning-up $600 million in one day, doesn’t it?"

    It doesn't get burned up, the two issues are totally dissimilar. But my real question is (and this is why I referred to the People's State of Germany), how much of this cost is picked up by the German taxpayer?
    Well, health insurance is compulsory, income based and shared equally between the employer and the employee but you can choose between hundreds of insurers, so the tax payer does not really enter into the direct costs. I would assume that only a small share of the counceling service would be tax financed, a lot of it is offered by private nonprofit groups.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  3. #93
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    If that's what a virtue is then I don't believe in virtues and I don't see a reason I ought to.
    How would you say "virtue" is different from happiness? Are we talking about individual happiness? The happiness of mankind as a race? As you can see, they are very different since an individual can (at least presumeably) be happy at the expense of others and the race/species cannot really be happy since it is not a sentient entity. Rather, it is many sentient entities, who are each concerned with their own selfish happiness. In this mess I ask; what is virtous?

    Im not gonna debate the other answers you gave though, because I more or less agree.

  4. #94
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I hope you keep in mind that those words undermine every form of morality equally.
    No they dont. *I* didn't say it was impossible, I said you can't claim to be able to do one but not the other.

    In other words, this is just some trouble with the English language.
    It's a problem with your argument. Let's not blow it out of proportion.

    you must keep in mind that a person may not only be unhappy themselves, but may make other people in the word less happy, thus you can't just rate it on how happy the new individual themselves will be. In and of itself it's too random to be for or against the pro-life position.
    Another little boy was starved, tortured and beaten to death recently in my country because his existence made his mother and father a bit "put out". Your "morality" condones such a thing.

    Boy = 1 person
    Parents = 2 people

    2>1, it must be ok then.

    Morality is not a numbers game.
    That being said, I think you're just wrong in implying that we can't know how happy someone will be or how happy others will be as a result of that person. We can't know deterministically, but we can potentially have a probable idea, and our ability to do so, I suspect, will only improve with the development of technology.
    "We can potentially have a probable idea". What gobbledygook.

    No. We can't. Happiness isn't a binary state.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  5. #95
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    How would you say "virtue" is different from happiness? Are we talking about individual happiness? The happiness of mankind as a race? As you can see, they are very different since an individual can (at least presumeably) be happy at the expense of others and the race/species cannot really be happy since it is not a sentient entity. Rather, it is many sentient entities, who are each concerned with their own selfish happiness. In this mess I ask; what is virtous?
    Happiness of an aggregate of individuals. I won't say either the individual or the human race. A human being can be happy at the expense of others, but the response to this is simply that the needs of the many out-weigh the few. I won't call my morality altruistic, because does not entirely say you treat any other individual's happiness as more important than your own, but it is sort of pluralistic in that it says that the happiness of multiple people is more important than your happiness alone. The right thing to do is whatever maximizes this out of all of your options in a given situation.

    I'm staying away from the word virtue because I still don't think I'm following.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    No they dont. *I* didn't say it was impossible, I said you can't claim to be able to do one but not the other.
    I don't think you understood. I never said it was more difficult to tell what was bad than it was to tell what was good.

    In the case of that statement you quoted, I was talking about the difficulties of deciding if someone should actually merit being killed, which is a much more specific thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    It's a problem with your argument. Let's not blow it out of proportion.
    Junk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Another little boy was starved, tortured and beaten to death recently in my country because his existence made his mother and father a bit "put out". Your "morality" condones such a thing.

    Boy = 1 person
    Parents = 2 people

    2>1, it must be ok then.

    Morality is not a numbers game.
    That is an idiot's over-simplification of my philosophy.

    I keep using the term cost-benefit analysis. I wonder if it's something you actually do. It would help if you understand how it works.

    You see, I find it hard to believe that what those parents did was the least costly way to deal with the fact that they were a bit put off by their child, or even close to the least costly way. The minimal net benefit choice loses to all the ones with higher net benefit. I also agree that happiness is not binary, which is another reason this isn't necessarily a net benefit anyway. I don't know what relief they got out of killing this child, but it probably pales in comparison to the relief the child would have had if spared of being starved and beaten, or all the potential happiness he is guaranteed to never experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    "We can potentially have a probable idea". What gobbledygook.

    No. We can't. Happiness isn't a binary state.
    It doesn't need to be a binary state. It merely needs to be quantifiable at all. What part of probability don't you understand? A world where everything is binary is for deterministic people.

    And I think there's good reason to believe that there is both a minimum and maximum amount of happiness one person can experience. Where exactly those two points are is not necessarily know, but there obstacles to the possibility of such points not existing at all. That makes a tad bit easier, even if it still isn't binary.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  6. #96
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Happiness of an aggregate of individuals. I won't say either the individual or the human race. A human being can be happy at the expense of others, but the response to this is simply that the needs of the many out-weigh the few. I won't call my morality altruistic, because does not entirely say you treat any other individual's happiness as more important than your own, but it is sort of pluralistic in that it says that the happiness of multiple people is more important than your happiness alone. The right thing to do is whatever maximizes this out of all of your options in a given situation.

    I'm staying away from the word virtue because I still don't think I'm following.
    "Happiness for an aggregate of individuals" sounds too simplistic for me personally. I dont understand why happiness for an aggregate of individuals is ethical; on what ethical basis does it rest?

  7. #97
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    "Happiness for an aggregate of individuals" sounds too simplistic for me personally. I dont understand why happiness for an aggregate of individuals is ethical; on what ethical basis does it rest?
    Imagine happiness is a thing that can be quantified. But imagine that (aside from the very imperfect process of empathy) happiness of one individual is not experienced by another individual, and that one individual can only ever be so happy.

    If we take those premises and add the premise you already know I hold, that more happiness is good, then we're left with pretty much no choice but to distribute happiness over a multitude of people in order to increase the quantity of happiness.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #98
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    How would you say "virtue" is different from happiness? Are we talking about individual happiness? The happiness of mankind as a race? As you can see, they are very different since an individual can (at least presumeably) be happy at the expense of others and the race/species cannot really be happy since it is not a sentient entity. Rather, it is many sentient entities, who are each concerned with their own selfish happiness. In this mess I ask; what is virtous?

    Im not gonna debate the other answers you gave though, because I more or less agree.
    A virtue would be something like chastity or honesty. Happiness can be a result of them, but happiness is an emotional state, not a virtue. Beorn was referring to chastity, I think, when he first mentioned virtue in this thread.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #99
    reflecting pool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Imagine happiness is a thing that can be quantified. But imagine that (aside from the very imperfect process of empathy) happiness of one individual is not experienced by another individual, and that one individual can only ever be so happy.

    If we take those premises and add the premise you already know I hold, that more happiness is good, then we're left with pretty much no choice but to distribute happiness over a multitude of people in order to increase the quantity of happiness.
    I think we have divergent and differning perspectives and Im just not sure how to continue this debate. Our differences, are, Im afraid too fundamental regarding the nature of ethics etc. Im gonna start a new thread inspired by this though, as I had some thoughts to add which just dont fit into this context.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    A virtue would be something like chastity or honesty. Happiness can be a result of them, but happiness is an emotional state, not a virtue. Beorn was referring to chastity, I think, when he first mentioned virtue in this thread.
    Right well I can see where the confusion might have started, you and Beorn simply talking about different thigns, perhaps?

  10. #100
    girl with a pretty smile Honor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I am probably toward the other end of the spectrum when it comes to abortion, but I still agree with what you say. I am one of those folks who wants to keep abortion safe, legal, accessible, and very rare. It mystifies me that people on both sides of this debate don't realize how much they (should) have in common when it comes to actual practice and implementation. We are all more on the same side than the ideologues will acknowledge. The highlighted sums it up well.
    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Yeah. It's mostly emotional rhetoric that is really divisive. Making abortion safe, legal, and very rare isn't rocket science but it also would require people to put their money where their mouth is. And that is where these folks that care so much about the unborn generally draw the line.
    It also requires making the abortion debate actually about abortion and not a Mexican standoff between two groups of people with clashing values, each of which are convinced that their values are "right" and should become the societal norm. It seems like the debate about abortion always comes back down to "sex is for marriage and God condemns sex outside of marriage; everyone agree with me" vs "sexual activity is a personal choice and whether or not someone chooses to do it is none of your business; everyone agree with me." If we could just make the debate about abortion itself, as a medical procedure, and discuss what services should be available, what should be the barriers to access, etc we could actually make some progress on this issue IMO. Instead, we're stuck because for many people, the issue symbolizes their religious and cultural beliefs coming under attack.

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