Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Metacrock » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:05 pm

I have demonstrated an integrated basis for morality based on rational self interest. You need to demonstrate the error and to offer an integrated basis for your moral presuppositions. You say,
no you haven't. you've destroyed ethical thinking by removing it form a deontologcila perspective.

self interest is BS. We cant' put Self Interest as the motivating factor in ethical thinking. there's no such thing as enlightened self interest and the whole problem is self interested and the way it biases our values and the way we look at things. The Republicans want to murder the poor to protect their self interest.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:33 pm

Hi mdsimpson92,

I had said,
Rob: You say that subscribe to the is-ought problem. It appears to me that there is no problem. No gap. What am I missing here:

a) My predisposed nature to prefer to live and thrive is a fact of reality.
b) In order for my living and thriving to be realized there are actions that I ought to take and other actions that I ought not take.

So where's the gap?
You responded,
mdsimpson: Because you are deriving an ought from an is. The problem comes from using what is descriptive to tell us something prescriptive or normative.
Yes I am deriving an ought from an is. And I’m not seeing any problem in doing it.
mdsimpson: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-moral/#io

I will admit there are ways around this in "certain" areas like virtues but that does not tell how one should act. Just because we are selfish doesn't mean that we should act within our best interests or that that is the primary value.
If you find yourself sitting on a rock with a bag over your head unable to breathe, then given the fact that you want to breathe, should you act in ways to obtain air or should you sit there and suffocate? If the bag is transparent and you are able to read your favorite Steven King novel, which choice is the one that you ought to take, to read until you suffocate or to deny yourself of reading pleasure and focus on removing the sack? And you say,
mdsimpson: Keep in mind I am not against thriving, but I am against the idea of privileging one's own interests over others. What justifies me serving my interest over other individuals? Is because I am more intelligent, stronger, more able to survive?
Not at all.

• Do you agree that your predisposed nature to prefer to live and thrive is a fact of reality?
• Do you agree that there are ways that you ought to act to obtain living and thriving?
• Do you agree that it is the predisposed nature for others to prefer to live and thrive too?
• Do you agree that there are ways that they ought to act to obtain living and thriving?
• Do you agree that it is important to avoid pursuing a lesser value at the expense of a greater value?
• Do you agree that values require a valuer so that our values, those things that benefit us absolutely whether we grasp it or not, can only be our values when we exist?

If you say yes to these questions, then it follows that values should be pursued only when they do not destroy a deeper value, and so long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not. And you say,
mdsimpson: I know that there are many cases in which acting in ones interests benefits the whole "invisible hand" and what not. But there are times and situations where that is not true. What then?
What then? The string of rhetorical questions that I just went through demonstrate why you are the base of your value system. When you act in ways that obtain a deeper value at the expense of a lesser value you are being moral, and when you act in ways that obtain a lesser value at the expense of a greater value you are being immoral. Simple math.
mdsimpson: I will also admit that if you reject foundationalism and prefer something like coherrentism or pragmatism then the is-ought criticism will fall flat.
Maybe you see my claim approach to derive normative actions from nature itself to be “coherent” with reality itself and that in this sense the is/ought problem falls flat. But please not that it is cohering with reality itself is nothing short of absolute truth whether we grasp it or not.

Rob

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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by mdsimpson92 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:44 pm

Robin Yergenson wrote:• Do you agree that your predisposed nature to prefer to live and thrive is a fact of reality?• Do you agree that there are ways that you ought to act to obtain living and thriving?• Do you agree that it is the predisposed nature for others to prefer to live and thrive too?• Do you agree that there are ways that they ought to act to obtain living and thriving?• Do you agree that it is important to avoid pursuing a lesser value at the expense of a greater value? • Do you agree that values require a valuer so that our values, those things that benefit us absolutely whether we grasp it or not, can only be our values when we exist? If you say yes to these questions, then it follows that values should be pursued only when they do not destroy a deeper value, and so long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not. And you say,
So it is preferences? What if (hypothetically) a person was not predisposed to living. Does that negate it? Again, what if the individual and the community interests conflict?
Robin Yergenson wrote:What then? The string of rhetorical questions that I just went through demonstrate why you are the base of your value system. When you act in ways that obtain a deeper value at the expense of a lesser value you are being moral, and when you act in ways that obtain a lesser value at the expense of a greater value you are being immoral. Simple math.
I am getting the vibe of utilitarianism. Or at least consequentialism? Am I correct in this assumption?

I will continue and am not done but I have to study for a Chinese exam. By the way, I am enjoying this whole conversation, thank you.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by mdsimpson92 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:27 pm

Ok another name(or different formulation that is very similar) of the is-ought problem is called the naturalistic fallacy. There is no reason for me to consider what is natural to be good. Just because I am predisposed (hypothetically) does not mean I should be. Moreover, let's say hypothetically, I am not predisposed to selfish action, lets say I value the community or some aescetic more than I value my life. Does that make it right?
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by mdsimpson92 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:31 am

Robin Yergenson wrote:Maybe you see my claim approach to derive normative actions from nature itself to be “coherent” with reality itself and that in this sense the is/ought problem falls flat. But please not that it is cohering with reality itself is nothing short of absolute truth whether we grasp it or not.
No, cohherentism and pragmatism are different forms of epistemology as oppossed to foundationalism that grounds knowledge in what is considered "self-evident" facts. Becuase they don't take foundations and grounding, they completely avoid the is-ought/naturalistic problem. Personally pragmatism has appeal to me, but then that leads to questions as the what is "pragmatic" which comes to the prejudices of the individual.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:26 am

Hi Metacrock,

I had said,
Rob: I have demonstrated an integrated basis for morality based on rational self interest. You need to demonstrate the error and to offer an integrated basis for your moral presuppositions.
To which you responded,
Metocrock: No you haven't. You've destroyed ethical thinking by removing it from a deontological perspective. Self interest is BS. We can’t put Self Interest as the motivating factor in ethical thinking. There's no such thing as enlightened self interest and the whole problem is self interested and the way it biases our values and the way we look at things. The Republicans want to murder the poor to protect their self interest.
But Metacrock, earlier I had asked,
Rob:

• Do you agree that it is our nature as rational beings to prefer to live and thrive? If not why not?
• Do you agree that it is important to avoid pursuing a lesser value at the expense of a greater value? If not why not?
• Do you agree that values require a valuer so that our values, those things that benefit us absolutely whether we grasp it or not, can only be our values when we exist? If not why not?

If you do not agree to these things, please demonstrate the error. If you do agree with these things, then please explain to me how it is that our own life is not at the bottom of our personal chain of values. And please share with us what you do consider to be at bottom and demonstrate why you think so. I have avoided arbitrariness in my demonstration of self interest as the basis for all moral action. Let’s see you try that with your moral system. Please don’t disagree just for the sake of disagreeing. We cannot expect to make progress that way. Where is the error that exists between us?
You responded,
Metocrock: I find your third question kind of hard to follow. I provisionally agree with the three statements but I think in them you continue to reduce the complexities of moral deliberation to a formula based upon science.
I can’t tell if you need me to elaborate more on my third point or not, but you do provisionally agree, and since I haven’t said anything about science we don’t need to go there. So how is it that you can agree with these three conditions and still claim that self interest is BS? You say,
Metocrock: Your view is sloughing off the deontological as a motivation in ethical decision making. Duty and obligation are fundamental.
Rational self interest does lead to contractual agreements that entail duty and obligation. I don’t see how that sheds any light on the integrated basis for morality that I am presenting here.

Earlier you said,
Metocrock: I am very selfish too. I just don't value being so.
That’s too bad. Somehow man in his effort to identify and pursue value has duped himself into believing that the very thing that gives rise to the notion of value needs to be devalued itself. Such a travesty. It’s like a disease that has infected our minds, causing us to view good as evil and evil as good. The good news is that logic still works. Even in our severely confused state we can go back to the source of our confusion and expose the error. The trick is to get to the root, which means that we have to be willing to “test all things.” When we discover an arbitrary presupposition without base, we root it up. So, allow me to lay it out again:

1. It is fundamental to our nature to prefer to live and thrive.
2. If we are to obtain living and thriving there are actions that we ought to take.
3. While there are many values worth pursuing, we must avoid pursuing lesser values at the expense of greater values.
4. So long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not.
5. Since moral actions are those actions that we ought to take, then this hierarchical order of values and actions is what gives rise to objective morality (morality that is actual, that is rooted in reality, in our nature, and the natural order rather than an arbitrary morality based on whim, tradition, and the dictates of others).
6. This is the correct morality for us all whether you and I happen to agree or not.

Now, these statements are either true of false. If you are going to accuse me of “destroying ethical thinking” you are going to have to offer some support for your claim by demonstrating the error rather than referring me to some "deontological" rabbit hole. Given these six points, where is the error?

Rob

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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Metacrock » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:35 pm

I see you expect me to be consistent. Where's the fun in that? Next you will expect me to act like an adult. :mrgreen:

Rob:That’s too bad. Somehow man in his effort to identify and pursue value has duped himself into believing that the very thing that gives rise to the notion of value needs to be devalued itself. Such a travesty. It’s like a disease that has infected our minds, causing us to view good as evil and evil as good.


I'm not doing that. What enables us to value is not just our own selfishness, that's not a very stable value. What enables valuing is the transcendent nature of truth. The society we live in has gone totally material and has totally forgotten and turned against all spiritual things. Value is a spiritual thing.

If you reduce it all to the material valuations of the individual then those can controlled by 1DM. (one dimensional-man).
The good news is that logic still works. Even in our severely confused state we can go back to the source of our confusion and expose the error. The trick is to get to the root, which means that we have to be willing to “test all things.” When we discover an arbitrary presupposition without base, we root it up. So, allow me to lay it out again:
You can't do logic without accepting the transcendence nature of truth.It's basically the concept of non contradiction. so you can't have logic without truth.
1. It is fundamental to our nature to prefer to live and thrive.
we can also direct our thriving to the group rather than the individual. We are able to give ourselves to higher things and care about others. This is the one thing upon which I agree with Mill; there is a distinction between higher pleasure and the swinish pleasure. Swinish values rooted in me ME! MY wants becuase they are ME! the higher values in "what I care about which goes beyond me."
2. If we are to obtain living and thriving there are actions that we ought to take.
we may have to sacrifice lour own living and thriving for a greater good.
3. While there are many values worth pursuing, we must avoid pursuing lesser values at the expense of greater values.
swinish values are lesser. the value system that puts me first above the higher values is lesser.

4. So long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say. IF you are saying you have to secure your own good in order to support things you care about; true but there are also times when you have to give up your own good for those things.
5. Since moral actions are those actions that we ought to take, then this hierarchical order of values and actions is what gives rise to objective morality (morality that is actual, that is rooted in reality, in our nature, and the natural order rather than an arbitrary morality based on whim, tradition, and the dictates of others).
I still don't accept the concept of objective morality, nevertheless, you are getting something out of place, unless I'm not following you accurately. You are doing a bait and switch you stick the necessity of our own participation into the works then make a value higher than the values we would participate to preserve. that's like he corporation becoming an entity that works for it's own survive and thus abandoning the reason for which it was founded.
6. This is the correct morality for us all whether you and I happen to agree or not.
No offense that's a ridiculous thing to say. That's like truth by stipulation. I"m right whether you know it or not. then what's the point of discussion?


Now, these statements are either true of false. If you are going to accuse me of “destroying ethical thinking” you are going to have to offer some support for your claim by demonstrating the error rather than referring me to some "deontological" rabbit hole. Given these six points, where is the error?
I've already apologized for putting it on such a personal basis. we don't have to keep dragging that into it. we aer not saving the world from each other we are just exchanging views.

I think in the comments I've made I've demonstrated what is feel is the problem with each of your statements.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:49 pm

Hi Miles,

You had said,
mdsimpson: I will admit there are ways around this in "certain" areas like virtues but that does not tell how one should act. Just because we are selfish doesn't mean that we should act within our best interests or that that is the primary value.
And I had responded,
Rob: If you find yourself sitting on a rock with a bag over your head unable to breathe, then given the fact that you want to breathe, should you act in ways to obtain air or should you sit there and suffocate? If the bag is transparent and you are able to read your favorite Steven King novel, which choice is the one that you ought to take, to read until you suffocate or to deny yourself of reading pleasure and focus on removing the sack?
I don’t think you responded to that. Could you respond please? I want to see if we can agree that because we are self interested in living and thriving, we should act within our best interests and that lesser values should not be pursued at the expense of deeper values and that your own life is a deeper value than the satisfaction you get out of reading your favorite Steven King novel. Once we agree, we can explore other areas of disagreement.

And I had asked,
Rob:
• Do you agree that your predisposed nature to prefer to live and thrive is a fact of reality?
• Do you agree that there are ways that you ought to act to obtain living and thriving?
• Do you agree that it is the predisposed nature for others to prefer to live and thrive too?
• Do you agree that there are ways that they ought to act to obtain living and thriving?
• Do you agree that it is important to avoid pursuing a lesser value at the expense of a greater value?
• Do you agree that values require a valuer so that our values, those things that benefit us absolutely whether we grasp it or not, can only be our values when we exist?
To which you responded,
mdsimpson: So it is preferences? What if (hypothetically) a person was not predisposed to living. Does that negate it? Again, what if the individual and the community interests conflict?
No it isn’t preferences per se, but the natural order of reality itself giving rise to our nature as rational beings to prefer to live and thrive. Reality is at bottom giving rise to fundamental preferences. Do you or do you not agree that this is the case? Now, there are many occasions where rational beings lose their preference to live and thrive. There are two possibilities for such cases:

1. The need to act in order to obtain living and thriving is not present because it is actual and true that the quality of their life is no longer of a sufficient level to justify maintaining it, so that person is justified to quit acting in any way. An example would be someone in constant pain and torment with no possibility of ever overcoming it.
2. The need to act in order to obtain living and thriving is not present because they are failing to grasp the fact that the quality of their life is still able to be of a sufficient level to justify maintaining it, so that person ought to think things through so that the value of living and thriving can be realized once again. An example would be a man who has lost self esteem and gone into depression over losing his job.

If the interests of the community conflict with what is actually best for the individual, the individual’s personal values (in the context of his or her own life being at bottom) and the choices corresponding to that value system should trump those of the community. Fortunately this condition is rare and most often there is a win-win opportunity for greatest benefit. And you say,
mdsimpson: Ok another name(or different formulation that is very similar) of the is-ought problem is called the naturalistic fallacy. There is no reason for me to consider what is natural to be good.
I agree that trying to derive an ought like “thou shalt not cook a calf in its mother’s milk” would be a naturalistic fallacy, but trying to derive an ought like “If you find yourself sitting on a rock with a bag over your head unable to breathe, then given the fact that you want to breathe, thou shalt act in ways to obtain air.” would not be a naturalistic fallacy.
mdsimpson: Just because I am predisposed (hypothetically) does not mean I should be.
That’s right. Your predisposition is the “is” not the “ought.”
mdsimpson: Moreover, let's say hypothetically, I am not predisposed to selfish action, let’s say I value the community or some ascetic more than I value my life. Does that make it right?
No, but this is so similar to what I just outlined above that I’ll wait to see if you are okay extrapolating. Earlier you guessed that I was aligning to coherentism. I should have proof read my response. Here is what I intended:
Rob: Maybe you see my approach to derive normative actions from nature itself to be “coherent” with reality itself and that in this sense the is/ought problem falls flat. In this case, I agree entirely, simply because cohering with reality itself is nothing short of truth itself, whether we grasp it or not.
I see from your response that that is not what you meant, but isn’t it interesting that this moral system that I am advocating is actually grounded knowledge in what is considered "self-evident" facts? Just so you know, I have been heavily influenced by reading all of Neitzche’s books and some of Ayn Rand’s. And yes, I am also enjoying the conversation with you, Metacrock, and runamokmonk (you need to stay engaged runamokmonk, this is good for us all).

Rob

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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:22 am

Hi Metacrock,

For context, I have claimed,

1. It is fundamental to our nature to prefer to live and thrive.
2. If we are to obtain living and thriving there are actions that we ought to take.
3. While there are many values worth pursuing, we must avoid pursuing lesser values at the expense of greater values.
4. So long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not.
5. Since moral actions are those actions that we ought to take, then this hierarchical order of values and actions is what gives rise to objective morality (morality that is actual, that is rooted in reality, in our nature, and the natural order rather than an arbitrary morality based on whim, tradition, and the dictates of others).
6. This is the correct morality for us all whether you and I happen to agree or not.

From what I can tell, you are not disagreeing with my claims 1-4. Perhaps you agree that they form a coherent system of morality that you might choose to call “swine morality” because you feel that a morality based on rational self interest is as loathsome a thing as you can imagine, hence you associate it with the most derogatory term you can. Your “higher” morality has not been defined yet, but it sounds like it places self at the bottom of the value chain. So then, with yourself being at the bottom, I’m wondering why you haven’t donated all you have to charity. Even your kidneys, liver, and eyes could benefit others, so why do you maintain them for yourself? Think of the lives that could benefit from your sacrifice. Oh, but then, those whom you sacrifice to would be immoral if they didn’t give in the same way. Is this your idea of morality? I mean, you don’t have to look too hard to find an opportunity to give all that you have, right? You are a conscious volitional rational being who can choose to act in a way that realizes self benefit or that sacrifices self for the benefit of others. So what’s the problem? Wait, I’m guessing that not only have you failed to demonstrate to me why you ought to value these others above your own life, maybe you have failed to demonstrate such an arbitrary notion to yourself. Am I right, or are you just keeping your reasons a secret? Maybe you just don’t want to throw your pearls before the “swine.”

Now, I’m still not quite communicating on #4 and 5 so let me elaborate. If you have, oh, say a dog that greets you at the door and offers you a great deal of love and companionship, you get benefit from having the dog, right? But if you are dead or never even existed, can we still say that you get benefit from the dog? Of course not. Your existence is required before the notion of your getting benefit and value from the dog can be coherently discussed in any way. Your existence, your life is required as a precondition for anything to be of value to you. And to be clear, I do not mean value as a whim based preference, I mean value as when something is objectively beneficial to you whether you grasp it as a benefit or not. Since your existence is required for such benefit and value to you to exist, there is never a value that is beneficial to you that can be greater than you. This is because value is not intrinsic. Value requires a valuer. If no valuers exist, nothing has value of any kind. Since the valuer is at the bottom of the valuer’s value chain, and since self sacrifice destroys that deepest value (the valuer’s life), it is acting to gain a lesser value in exchange for a greater value and as such it is immoral. Throwing yourself on a grenade is immoral just as is sacrificing your life in order to donate your vital organs for others who need them is immoral. You say,
Metacrock: I still don't accept the concept of objective morality, nevertheless, you are getting something out of place, unless I'm not following you accurately. You are doing a bait and switch you stick the necessity of our own participation into the works then make a value higher than the values we would participate to preserve. That's like the corporation becoming an entity that works for its own survival and thus abandoning the reason for which it was founded.
Corporations, communities, collectives, are not conscious volitional rational beings. People are. Morality applies to people not corporations. But your analogy does work in one sense. We evolved because it benefited our genes, and it continues to benefit our genes for us to buy into this “sacrifice for the good of the collective” so I understand all too well where your notion of morality came from. And yes, now we are in a position as conscious volitional rational beings to act in ways that result in self benefit, thereby “abandoning the reason for which” we have genetically evolved. Our genes are not volitional or intelligent and we don’t have a contract that obligates us to repay them. As a conscious volitional rational self with self interest, I and others like me are the only ones that morality applies to. I hope I haven’t offended you by being a bit sarcastic. I’m enjoying the opportunity to think this through with you.

Rob

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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Metacrock » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:30 am

I am not saying that your ideas are swinish. Nor do I think there's anything swinish about you. That is not personal. I was just an analogy by reference to Mill about a higher level of the same things. Higher level of self oriented ethics would turn outward toward others.
Corporations, communities, collectives, are not conscious volitional rational beings. People are. Morality applies to people not corporations. But your analogy does work in one sense. We evolved because it benefited our genes, and it continues to benefit our genes for us to buy into this “sacrifice for the good of the collective” so I understand all too well where your notion of morality came from. And yes, now we are in a position as conscious volitional rational beings to act in ways that result in self benefit, thereby “abandoning the reason for which” we have genetically evolved. Our genes are not volitional or intelligent and we don’t have a contract that obligates us to repay them. As a conscious volitional rational self with self interest, I and others like me are the only ones that morality applies to. I hope I haven’t offended you by being a bit sarcastic. I’m enjoying the opportunity to think this through with you.

you put the self above others. that's nothing ore than selfish. Human history is rife with examples of the failure of enlightened self interest. We have both dressed up our position in reality it looks like they are just the same old thing.
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