Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

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

Post by runamokmonk » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:32 pm

RY
a) We agree that self interest is important and that undue self sacrifice is immoral. We may even agree on where the sweet spot is. But you don’t seem to want to agree that self is the basis for our value system. We would probably make similar choices in avoiding undue sacrifice. Mine would be based on the fact that it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value (the valuer’s own living and thriving). You have not identified a reason to avoid undue self sacrifice other than “to everything there is a season,” which offers no guide at all.
b) You say “values cannot be objective.” Yes they can. For example, it is an objective fact that a drink of water is a benefit and therefore an objective value to a dehydrated man whether his subjective whim prefers it or not.
c) You think there is meaning in "he who loses his life for my sake shall find it" when in fact it is deeply immoral nihilistic self destructive arbitrary authority based nonsense rooted in “sacrifice self for the benefit of your genes” (we are genetically wired to sacrifice for the benefit of our genes, but as I have pointed out before, our genes don’t define morality).
d) I said, “The fact that you are alive today tells me that deep down you agree. Your just a little confused on what's really at bottom.” You say,

You state, "...Mine would be based on the fact that it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value (the valuer’s own living and thriving)......."

Then you said, "b) You say “values cannot be objective.” Yes they can. For example, it is an objective fact that a drink of water is a benefit and therefore an objective value to a dehydrated man whether his subjective whim prefers it or not...."


It is a "fact" that "it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value" because one would be going against ones stated value system.

If one considers it immoral to sacrifice ones own "living and thriving" for another, than the highest value for this person is them self.

But if one had a different value system which held something higher then simply their own living and thriving, then it would be a "fact", that they are being inconsistent if they held their own living and thriving as the highest value, without regard to the value of others also "living and thriving".

This is a hierarchy of values.

To choose ones own living and thriving as highest value is not an objective natural law. To be objective one would look from outside as an alien and say that humans in general tend to value living and thriving, this is including individuals as well as groups. This fact does not make it objective to value your own personal living and thriving as the highest value, it is a subjective value, to value your own living and thriving as the highest value.

Back to the story of the older lady in the boat. The boat is out at sea and she sees her two other survivors with water and food. She holds her living and thriving as highest value. It would be immoral of her to sacrifice her own living and thriving for a lesser value. Why not demand or take food so as to keep valuing? You state that one needs to exist to value. Why should she sacrifice her living and thriving in respect to contracts or property rights? Why are contracts the highest value over her own life?

This question can go for other less severe situations but still serious ones where ones own thriving and the choices that may entail could make life less enjoyable and comfortable for others. Why respect and value the other, or contracts, especially after cost, risk, benefit analysis? Wouldn't it be "immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value"?

As for that matter as well, those who may suffer at the hands of contracts or property rights, could either make them invalid, ignored, or put in place rules so that contracts, laws, rules or property rights don't benefit just the few at the expense of their own living and thriving.

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

Post by Metacrock » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:55 am

yea run amuck! merry Chrsitmas :mrgreen:
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:11 pm

Metacrock wrote:I'm glad to hear that you are still sticking with the confab!

congrats on your daughter's wedding!

Merry Chrsitmas!

I'll get to your comments latter, I will! promise.

:mrgreen:
Thanks Metacrock. We've been enjoying it here. We had a spectacular double rainbow this (Christmas) morning, two very muddy hikes, one to the top of "Sleeping Giant" mountain and the other to a beautiful waterfall, kyaking, snorkeling, boggy boarding, evening cigars, and still a little time for some internet confab.

Merry Christmas to you too.

Rob

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

Post by Metacrock » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:05 pm

Robin Yergenson wrote:
Metacrock wrote:I'm glad to hear that you are still sticking with the confab!

congrats on your daughter's wedding!

Merry Chrsitmas!

I'll get to your comments latter, I will! promise.

:mrgreen:
Thanks Metacrock. We've been enjoying it here. We had a spectacular double rainbow this (Christmas) morning, two very muddy hikes, one to the top of "Sleeping Giant" mountain and the other to a beautiful waterfall, kyaking, snorkeling, boggy boarding, evening cigars, and still a little time for some internet confab.

Merry Christmas to you too.

Rob
that's cool man. I'm spending Christmas with my brother. he's usually alone on holidays. we are reminiscing about favorite Christmases. It's nice.
Have Theology, Will argue: wire Metacrock
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Re: Discussion of Robin Yergensen's ideas on self interest

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:21 pm

Hi runamokmonk,

Merry Christmas! Thanks for engaging again. I was just looking back over our previous discussion and noticed that you had posted to me last, which means that I missed it and failed to respond to you. Sorry about that. It was an innocent error. Rub my nose in it next time. You say,
It is a "fact" that "it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value" because one would be going against ones stated value system.
Here you once again confuse value with whim-based preference. Recall in my 11/13 response I said,
I’m not making this stuff up. Yes, this is my value system, but it is not merely my value system. As I said previously, it is your nature to want to live and thrive. You agree. There are things that you should do in order to obtain that goal, right? Please respond to this. Do you agree or not? Then are these or are these not things that you ought to do? Should you or should you not do the things that allow you to obtain the goal of living and thriving? Would you respond to this please? If you say no, what basis do you have for saying no? And is ethics and morality about those things that you ought to do in an objective absolute sense, or is it about things that you choose to do based on personal whim? Please answer this. What am I missing here? This is an integrated system of objective morality. What are you proposing instead? What is its basis? I’m guessing you have no basis for your position, but I’m eager to hear you respond. Sorry to be so direct, but you do seem to be ignoring some key points, namely that values and morality aren’t whim based and they aren’t derived from some authoritative sky hook. They are rooted in rational self interest. This is the proper basis for why we act in any way. Given these key points, how could it be true that “Any value system could define things that way?”
So again, stating one’s value system is not what validates a value system. Reality is. Our nature as defined by reality to want to live and thrive. So when you say,
But if one had a different value system which held something higher than simply their own living and thriving, then it would be a "fact", that they are being inconsistent if they held their own living and thriving as the highest value, without regard to the value of others also "living and thriving".
While an internal inconsistency in this case does in fact exist, the value system itself is flawed. Why? Because it confuses a lesser value (the living and thriving of others) with a greater value (one’s own living and thriving). Again, this (our preference to live and thrive) is not a consequence of one’s preference. Rather it is the given that is given by objective reality to us, the subjects, the valuers. Yes, there are other preferences given as well, but the others are not at the bottom of the value chain like the valuer is. Remember, values are only coherent in the context of a valuer. You say,
To choose one’s own living and thriving as highest value is not an objective natural law. To be objective one would look from outside as an alien and say that humans in general tend to value living and thriving, this is including individuals as well as groups. This fact does not make it objective to value your own personal living and thriving as the highest value, it is a subjective value, to value your own living and thriving as the highest value.
Of course “choosing” is not “objective natural law.” But if by “objective natural law” we mean consistent conditions that occur in nature as a result of the way reality is, then our predisposed preference as organisms is. The alien looking from outside can observe this to be the case for organisms and even groups/societies. Yes, value is always subjective, but not merely so (by the way, I’m tired of having to say this ad-naseum). The alien may error though, in concluding that persons and societies are essential the same in this way, since it is only persons and not societies who have choices and who choose to act according to a system of values. And you say,
Back to the story of the older lady in the boat. The boat is out at sea and she sees her two other survivors with water and food. She holds her living and thriving as her highest value. It would be immoral of her to sacrifice her own living and thriving for a lesser value. Why not demand or take food so as to keep valuing? You state that one needs to exist to value. Why should she sacrifice her living and thriving in respect to contracts or property rights? Why are contracts the highest value over her own life?

This question can go for other less severe situations but still serious ones where one’s own thriving and the choices that may entail could make life less enjoyable and comfortable for others. Why respect and value the other, or contracts, especially after cost, risk, benefit analysis? Wouldn't it be "immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value"?

As for that matter as well, those who may suffer at the hands of contracts or property rights, could either make them invalid, ignored, or put in place rules so that contracts, laws, rules or property rights don't benefit just the few at the expense of their own living and thriving.
That’s a very good question. Rights reciprocity and the implicitly entailed contractual agreements is in principle and in fact in your best interest because you want others to recognize your rights, so this is your contract with others. To make a case for when you ought to diverge from that principle is to align to the pirates code, to steal when you can and trade when you must, and we all know what society does to pirates. The choice of harmonious being vs. pirate requires that we either honor our contract or we do not, and given our greater benefit to be realized by honoring the contract, we agree that this act of theft is not something that we ought to do. The question then is, is it in your best interest, will you benefit most by breaking the contract in order to live? Some would say that this is an example of an emergency condition that supersedes or is not constrained by our normal guiding principles. I would say that this implicit contract entails the answer. If we state it explicitly it would say, “Because it benefits me most, I am an harmonious being who chooses to recognize the rights of those who agree to recognize my own, without exception.” The benefit then was tied to our very existence as an harmonious being. It is because of this benefit that life had an opportunity to emerge into us. Since this benefit is only realized by an overreaching rights reciprocity principle, it isn’t superseded by opportunistic conditions that contradict it. It would therefore be ignorance of this fact that would allow us to conclude otherwise.

Rob

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

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:49 pm

Hi DT1138,

You say,
It seems to me the issue is the materialistic presuppositions of the atheist.

The materialist says self interest is living a long time and not risking your life too much or sticking your neck out too much for other people, and while doing so, maximizing pleasure. Lots of pleasure and longevity.
I think it’s safe to assume that since you are still alive and (if you were dead you couldn’t be posting on DOXA) and thriving to some degree (as demonstrated by your internet access) that you are basing your actions on many of the very same values (self interest) that I am, you just haven’t connected the dots yet. You say,
The Buddhist says self-interest is release from Samsara's pleasures, which are only purchased through pain, stress, and angst, fuelling the formation via karma of sentient creatures in more Samsara. So the Buddhist sees transcending both pleasure and pain, not maximizing lifespan and pleasure, as the highest good. Since the self doesn't exist in an absolute way, death is not as tragic as in the materialistic vision, and there are reasons to choose a noble death with hardship and less thriving over an ignoble life of pleasure and plenty, if it leads to the cessation of suffering for oneself or others.
Embracing arbitrary authority-based morality claims is immoral (that which you ought not do as defined by objective reality).
The Christian sees self-interest as the beatific vision after death, to live with the full knowledge of absolute beauty, truth, and goodness and to avoid being consumed by sin so that one ends alienated from God forever. On the other hand, the materialist atheists goals can conflict with this since what is pleasurable may not necessarily lead to a purgation of sin in one’s life. Realizing the goodness, truth, and beauty of God in one’s life requires "self-sacrifice" from the materialistic perspective. "I must decrease so that He may increase".
Your strawman of “the materialist atheists goals” of pleasure suggests that you haven’t paid much attention to the dialogue in this thread. You should spend some time reading through it and then offer something a little more consistent with what has already been said. I think it’s safe to conclude that you value truth too. This is your opportunity. Don’t sell yourself short.

Rob

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

Post by runamokmonk » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:45 pm

merry christmas, thank you.

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

Post by runamokmonk » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:45 pm

RY
Here you once again confuse value with whim-based preference. Recall in my 11/13 response I said,
RY
I’m not making this stuff up. Yes, this is my value system, but it is not merely my value system. As I said previously, it is your nature to want to live and thrive. You agree. There are things that you should do in order to obtain that goal, right? Please respond to this. Do you agree or not? Then are these or are these not things that you ought to do? Should you or should you not do the things that allow you to obtain the goal of living and thriving? Would you respond to this please? If you say no, what basis do you have for saying no? And is ethics and morality about those things that you ought to do in an objective absolute sense, or is it about things that you choose to do based on personal whim? Please answer this. What am I missing here? This is an integrated system of objective morality. What are you proposing instead? What is its basis? I’m guessing you have no basis for your position, but I’m eager to hear you respond. Sorry to be so direct, but you do seem to be ignoring some key points, namely that values and morality aren’t whim based and they aren’t derived from some authoritative sky hook. They are rooted in rational self interest. This is the proper basis for why we act in any way. Given these key points, how could it be true that “Any value system could define things that way?”
RY
So again, stating one’s value system is not what validates a value system. Reality is. Our nature as defined by reality to want to live and thrive. So when you say,

I was pointing out that your statement, "....Mine would be based on the fact that it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value (the valuer’s own living and thriving).....", means nothing more in regards to facts then what I described it to mean.

You added in, "the valuer’s own living and thriving", which is your value system. The fact that, "it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value", does not therefore mean that it is also a fact that the greater value is one's own living and thriving.






runamonk quote
But if one had a different value system which held something higher than simply their own living and thriving, then it would be a "fact", that they are being inconsistent if they held their own living and thriving as the highest value, without regard to the value of others also "living and thriving".
RY
While an internal inconsistency in this case does in fact exist, the value system itself is flawed. Why? Because it confuses a lesser value (the living and thriving of others) with a greater value (one’s own living and thriving).....


This is simply a statement of yours that this is flawed because it contradicts your value system.





cont.
....Again, this (our preference to live and thrive) is not a consequence of one’s preference. Rather it is the given that is given by objective reality to us, the subjects, the valuers. Yes, there are other preferences given as well, but the others are not at the bottom of the value chain like the valuer is. Remember, values are only coherent in the context of a valuer. You say,

You keep saying bottom, but it has not been proven that having another value system, which values principles beyond ones own living and thriving, becomes incoherent when existence ceases. In fact, dying for such a value system can be coherent, such as with MLK, which I brought up. The valuer, MLK, valued beyond his own living and thriving. This is a hierarchy of values.


You state that values are only coherent when maintaining existence, but that is only in the case of what is valued. That would be the logical outcome of already having oneself as the highest value in a hierarchy of values, and so would not be at bottom of a value chain, but at the top of the hierarchy of values.






runamonk quote
To choose one’s own living and thriving as highest value is not an objective natural law. To be objective one would look from outside as an alien and say that humans in general tend to value living and thriving, this is including individuals as well as groups. This fact does not make it objective to value your own personal living and thriving as the highest value, it is a subjective value, to value your own living and thriving as the highest value.
RY quote
Of course “choosing” is not “objective natural law.” But if by “objective natural law” we mean consistent conditions that occur in nature as a result of the way reality is, then our predisposed preference as organisms is. The alien looking from outside can observe this to be the case for organisms and even groups/societies. Yes, value is always subjective, but not merely so (by the way, I’m tired of having to say this ad-naseum). The alien may error though, in concluding that persons and societies are essential the same in this way, since it is only persons and not societies who have choices and who choose to act according to a system of values. And you say,


You may be tired of repeating this ad-nauseum but it is your system of values that I am saying is no more based in reality than mine. In fact, I accept the reality that others also value living and thriving, and so take this into account when thinking of fairer and more libertarian political and economic systems. I will also be so blunt and bold as to say that in doing so I am being objective in that I am not simply talking about my own person living and thriving.










RY
That’s a very good question. Rights reciprocity and the implicitly entailed contractual agreements is in principle and in fact in your best interest because you want others to recognize your rights, so this is your contract with others. To make a case for when you ought to diverge from that principle is to align to the pirates code, to steal when you can and trade when you must, and we all know what society does to pirates. The choice of harmonious being vs. pirate requires that we either honor our contract or we do not, and given our greater benefit to be realized by honoring the contract, we agree that this act of theft is not something that we ought to do.


The older lady would value her life and thriving as highest value. The water and food not being shared would be a theft of her living and thriving. It isn't in her best interests, of living and thriving, to be concerned with contractual agreements when she may likely die of starvation or thirst. Her right to living and thriving is not being recognized or reciprocated if the water and food isn't shared. I would consider the contract, or lack there of so as not to share food, a theft of her life and so invalid.



You state the valuer needs to maintain existence to value. Why would she put contractual agreements above her highest value, living and thriving?


If you are talking to me, and all of us about "living and thriving" being the greater value, than how come this living and thriving isn't inherently recognized and at the top of the hierarchy of values, and higher than contractual agreements?




RY
The question then is, is it in your best interest, will you benefit most by breaking the contract in order to live? Some would say that this is an example of an emergency condition that supersedes or is not constrained by our normal guiding principles. I would say that this implicit contract entails the answer. If we state it explicitly it would say, “Because it benefits me most, I am an harmonious being who chooses to recognize the rights of those who agree to recognize my own, without exception.” The benefit then was tied to our very existence as an harmonious being. It is because of this benefit that life had an opportunity to emerge into us. Since this benefit is only realized by an overreaching rights reciprocity principle, it isn’t superseded by opportunistic conditions that contradict it. It would therefore be ignorance of this fact that would allow us to conclude otherwise.

You have a funny way of being explicit. This just looks like a bunch of words when you could have just been blunt because I don't really know what you are saying here for sure. If understood correctly, I get that you are saying the older lady would be more harmonious to accept and respect the contractual obligations that the others did or did not have for her. This would not benefit her at all. So again~


You state the valuer needs to maintain existence to value. Why would she put contractual agreements above her highest value, living and thriving?



In the hypothetical boat situation I would see harmony when the people on that boat recognize the value of each of other living and thriving and so share food and water.

And just as well, with society, those who suffer, or lack autonomy, caused by certain contracts or private property rights, would be acting immorally if they respected a lower value "at the expense of a greater value (the valuer’s own living and thriving)". And so, with this moral system, if consistent, would have as their option to find that the contracts and property rights which lessened or limited their greatest values, as immoral.

You are on here arguing to others that the greater value is 'the valuer’s own living and thriving' which means that you are accepting that others have that same value, otherwise I don't think it would be discussed. There's no piracy going on because the highest value is each person's living and thriving, and reciprocating that, rather than putting contractual agreements or property rights above their "living and thriving".

And even if there were pirating, if living and thriving is the highest value for oneself, and this is without reciprocation because others are not valued the same as one's own will to live and thrive, then where do you even get an appeal against pirating, or for reciprocating contractual agreements? Self interest? Well, as should be obvious, self interest does not inherently equate to valuing the other. Nor does all people holding themselves of highest value equate to all people being held in value. So, it sure seems to me that it makes no sense to appeal to morality of limiting a greater value (oneself) for a lesser value.

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

Post by Robin Yergenson » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:19 pm

Hi runamokmonk,

You say,
I was pointing out that your statement, "....Mine would be based on the fact that it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value (the valuer’s own living and thriving).....", means nothing more in regards to facts then what I described it to mean.

You added in, "the valuer’s own living and thriving", which is your value system. The fact that, "it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value", does not therefore mean that it is also a fact that the greater value is one's own living and thriving.
But if one had a different value system which held something higher than simply their own living and thriving, then it would be a "fact", that they are being inconsistent if they held their own living and thriving as the highest value, without regard to the value of others also "living and thriving".
What we have here runamokmonk is a failure to communicate. I think we need to slow it down. Run through this list, and stop at the first point that you do not agree to. We can focus our effort there to expose the error that exists between us. This isn’t a chess game. This is you and I trying to make progress on identifying true things and exposing false things so let’s not be looking for ways to disagree no matter what, okay?

First, to align on what we mean by objective value:

1. Do you agree that there is a difference between an objective value that is actually beneficial to the valuer vs. a whim-based preference that is actually harmful to the valuer?
2. Do you agree that we should not confuse the two?
3. Do you agree that if a value system corresponds to a hierarchy of values that are actually beneficial in lesser degrees according to that hierarchical order, that it is an objective value system?
4. Do you agree that if you happen to have discovered and embraced such a system, that even though it is your value system, that it is still an objective value system and not merely a subjective value system?

Then to align on the our desire to live and thrive being objective:

5. Do you agree that in general, it is our nature as human beings like ourselves to want to live and thrive?
6. Do you agree that there are things that we should do in order to obtain that goal?
7. Do you agree that these are things that you ought to do? Should you or should you not do the things that allow you to obtain the goal of living and thriving?
8. Do you agree that an objective system of ethics and morality is about those things that you ought to do in an objective absolute sense and that it is not about things that we choose to do based on personal whim?

Then to align on our desire to live and thrive being most basic:

9. Do you agree that values are only coherent in the context of a valuer?
10. Do you agree that if the valuer ceases to exist, that nothing is any longer of value to him, that the very question of “what are his values now?” is no longer coherent, so that the valuer’s entire system of values stands or falls with his existence and that this therefore puts the valuer’s existence at bottom?
11. Regarding my claim that it is immoral to pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value, you are correct that it does not say anything about what the greater value and the lesser value are, but you agree that this claim is a fact, right? And for clarity, the greatest value is the one that is at the bottom of the hierarchy and we encounter lesser and lesser values as we move out from this greatest and most basic value. Our highest value is our deepest value, the value that trumps all other values.

Exploring a different objective value system:

12. If the above points are valid, don’t they also force us to conclude that there are no other objective alternatives?
13. What are you proposing instead?
14. What is its basis?

Since you weren’t able to get my points on contractual agreements either, we should probably delay that part of our conversation since we already have too much on our plate.

Rob

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