Objective morality

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Robin Yergenson
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:38 am

Hi Metacrock,

I had said,

12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.

To which you responded,
One of the reasons I keep losing interest in discussion here is because you just don't listen. You don't respond to the things l say.
Now there’s the pot calling the white porcelain plate black :roll: . And you say,
Like here. You are still assuming that utilitarian assumptions are the only logical assumptions are so natural they are just givens and we don't have to justify them. They are not givens, you do have to justify them and you can't.

Because they assume that the individual is just a cog in the machine and they reduce the individual to an aggregate. I don't accept that I insist that you try to justify it. But you refuse to do so because you keep assuming it's a given.
I’m not a utilitarian, I sincerely think that my logical assumptions have been supported and justified, I think that you are wrong for claiming that I haven’t, and even more wrong for saying that I can’t. Now, let’s see who’s not listening and who’s not responding in a substantive way to the argument. Please help me understand what part of this seems arbitrary and unsupported:

a) Do you agree that we lack of omniscience, or do I need to support my assumption?
b) If you agree that we lack omniscience, then doesn’t it follow that we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit, or do I need to support my assumption?
c) If you agree with a) and b), then are you saying that you do not think that harmonious rights reciprocity is generally more likely to result in benefit to the actor than choosing to prey on others, or do I need to support my assumption?
d) If you agree with a), b), and c), then are you saying that you do not think that it follows that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways, or do I need to support my assumption?

Rob

Robin Yergenson
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:55 am

Hi runamokmonk,

I had said, “I am not telling you what your deepest values should be. I am telling you what your deepest value in fact is. I am stating facts regarding what is of greatest benefit to you as an organism whether you agree or not. Disagreeing with facts is the very definition of error. Facts aren’t something that you or I choose. They are just facts that are actual and that comport with reality.”

To which you replied,
No need for a debate then. If it is factually, my deepest value, than there is no need to debate or convince. It would be an actual fact and there would be no one sacrificing their life for another.
We can all be benefited when others help us understand essential facts that we had failed to recognize as such. And you say,
But that is not a fact of the human organism now, or in history.
As long as organisms of any kind have existed, some things have in fact been beneficial to them whether they were intelligent enough to realize it or not, and other things have in fact been harmful to them whether they were intelligent enough to realize it or not. And as long as value is that which benefits an organism, then thinking something is a value when it is really a disvalue erroneous thinking whether realized or not. And you say,
And also, that contradicts the fact that other animal organisms have risked, and sacrificed, for others in their species.
No, not in the least. The fact that most organisms act to benefit their selfish genes is a consequence of their inability to think well. It does not in any way mean that morality is defined by those things that volitional beings ought to do to benefit their selfish genes.

Rob

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Metacrock
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:13 am

I’m not a utilitarian, I sincerely think that my logical assumptions have been supported and justified, I think that you are wrong for claiming that I haven’t, and even more wrong for saying that I can’t. Now, let’s see who’s not listening and who’s not responding in a substantive way to the argument. Please help me understand what part of this seems arbitrary and unsupported:[/quote]

It's a long thread. there may be something I've missed. I admit I haven't read every single post on every single page. I am sorry to ask but maybe it would help if you reiterate those reasons.
a) Do you agree that we lack of omniscience, or do I need to support my assumption?
O yes we lack that.

b) If you agree that we lack omniscience, then doesn’t it follow that we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit, or do I need to support my assumption?
Yes
c) If you agree with a) and b), then are you saying that you do not think that harmonious rights reciprocity is generally more likely to result in benefit to the actor than choosing to prey on others, or do I need to support my assumption?
sure, but this seems to be headed right back for the barn. I'll hold off until we finish.

d) If you agree with a), b), and c), then are you saying that you do not think that it follows that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways, or do I need to support my assumption?
yes, BUT you seem to be assuming "well I've proved that we should act in ways htat foster harmony and togetherness in order to have benefit, so doesn't that mean that we derive the moral good form the outcome?" No it doe not.

you are still assuming values without proving them and acting like this is moral thinknig because it's about values. not your justifying the axiom of deriving good form the outcome.

you already start the process with the assertion that benefit is the good and yet you are not proving that.
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runamokmonk
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:38 pm

I said
No need for a debate then. If it is factually, my deepest value, than there is no need to debate or convince. It would be an actual fact and there would be no one sacrificing their life for another.
RY replied
We can all be benefited when others help us understand essential facts that we had failed to recognize as such. And you say,

You cannot tell me what my deepest value is as an organism. Nor can you state it an essential fact. If it were a fact than there would be no one sacrificing for another, and most especially their own life.

To turn around from the fact that some organisms have and will sacrifice their lives for another, and say you know the what real fact is, is not basing this on objective reality.





I said
But that is not a fact of the human organism now, or in history.
RY said
As long as organisms of any kind have existed, some things have in fact been beneficial to them whether they were intelligent enough to realize it or not, and other things have in fact been harmful to them whether they were intelligent enough to realize it or not. And as long as value is that which benefits an organism, then thinking something is a value when it is really a disvalue erroneous thinking whether realized or not. And you say,

Look at what you say, "And as long as value is that which benefits an organism, then thinking something is a value when it is really a disvalue erroneous thinking whether realized or not.".

You define value as that which benefits an organism.

That is your value system, your definition of what a value is factually correct to be.

In reality, this is not the deepest value of all organisms.





I said
And also, that contradicts the fact that other animal organisms have risked, and sacrificed, for others in their species.


RY responded
No, not in the least. The fact that most organisms act to benefit their selfish genes is a consequence of their inability to think well. It does not in any way mean that morality is defined by those things that volitional beings ought to do to benefit their selfish genes.

The fact that an organisms has risked and sacrificed for another contradicts and falisifies your claim that, "value is that which benefits an organism", and that this is an organisms deepest value.

In the quote right above you state, "The fact that most organisms act to benefit their selfish genes is a consequence of their inability to think well."

Yet, in your same post, you state, "value is that which benefits an organism"

Then you state,
It does not in any way mean that morality is defined by those things that volitional beings ought to do to benefit their selfish genes.


How, do you even separate benefiting selfish genes from, "value is that which benefits an organism"?

Rationality?

This rationality is a means to an end. And the end, in this case, is that which benefits an organism or the subject. The initial value for the organism is coming from passions, or sentiments or emotion. Or maybe even preference. But rationality and objectivity is not the basis of the initial value. The value system is not objectively or rationally based.
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:57 pm

RY
No. I am not telling you what your deepest values should be. I am telling you what your deepest value in fact is. I am stating facts regarding what is of greatest benefit to you as an organism whether you agree or not. Disagreeing with facts is the very definition of error. Facts aren’t something that you or I choose. They are just facts that are actual and that comport with reality.

"I am not telling you what your deepest values should be."

"I am telling you what your deepest value in fact is."

And then, " I am stating facts regarding what is of greatest benefit to you as an organism whether you agree or not. "

You are defining this as the deepest value.

I falsified that. An example, fireman risking and sacrificing his life for another.

You are inserting, "value is that which benefits an organism", as factually based when it's not fact based or objective.

It is not objective, as in facts independent of mind. Nor objective in impartiality.

Value as that which is net benefit to a subject, or an organism, is subjective.

Using your logic, the fireman can say his sacrifice is based on an objective morality since the lives he puts himself at risk to save is a fact based net benefit to those organisms. The fireman might even sacrifice his life one day.

Why isn't that an objective morality*? Because it's a "whim"? The word whim does not change that it is factually beneficial to those who are rescued.

(*I would not call this an objective morality though.)
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:31 pm

RY in reply to mdsimpson92
I’m not claiming that children choose contracts. I’m claiming that since self benefit is the proper basis for objective morality, and since rights reciprocity is generally in the best interest of rational beings to enter into, it is what we ought to do. And since our success as a species has resulted in large part due to our ancestor’s having grasped that fact to a sufficient degree, we wind up being born into a society that has rights reciprocity as one of its preconditions. Until we demonstrate otherwise, it is assumed that we’re on board with it. Do you agree?

Previously, RY
We get a great deal of value from personal relationships. And yes, culture is part of the complex set of conditions that need to be taken in context when identifying proper moral actions. The hitman who kills predators who have broken their implicit contractual agreement to recognize the rights of others may actually have a moral basis. The hitman who kills innocent harmonious people has himself broken that implicit contract. Since the contract is in our best interest to honor, and since honouring it only when it is convenient is no contract at all, we “ought” to honor it fully, but this moral ought is rooted in rational self interest, not the will of society, not the will of our genes, and not will of some external authority.

Indentured servitude was a contract as well.

I can say this is wrong because I value fairness and autonomy. From the heart (a deeper place), based in love, and love is from and who God is.

How do you say such a contract is wrong?







I also said,
"People today agree to contracts from economic, political and environmental pressures. The one who arranges the terms of the contract usually gears it in their favor and can afford lawyers."

The fact that the human organism needs basics, such as food, water, and a home on top of other psychological needs, needs work to pay for these things. These requirements for life can be taken advantage and so the less powerful human organism is at the "whim" of those who do control the means to life. (A marxist, might use the term "means of production".).

Then those who own this means, require their rights of ownership to be respected.

Using the logic of, value being that which benefits the organism, this can be justified, and can also be argued to be unjust.

It can be argued for and against.

If against, then both some rights and some contracts would be altered or changed.

Similar with indentured servitude, the master could argue it is in his benefit as an organism. And the indentured servant could argue it is not in his benefit as an organism to continue with the contract.

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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:52 am

I find a strange inconsistency in that Robin says "I am not a utilitarian then turns around and obviously stakes value on outcome. He assumes value is benefit. Values is not always benefit at least not in the immediate sense. Now maybe he allows for a Mill's sort of answer that's there's a higher sense of value that derives form a higher sense of benefit. But if that's his argument he should make it plain.
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met
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Re: Objective morality

Post by met » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:35 pm

Robin Yergenson wrote:Hello to met coming from Shanghai (I’m here on business),

I had said,
12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.
To which you responded,
I've been told that game theory experiments suggest that's NOT really what's in our individual (materialistic) self-interests. What's in our individual self-interests is to LOOK to others like we're acting in harmonious ways, while REALLY acting in predatory ways. That, they say, is the best real strategy, and we could probably make arguments like that quite sensibly from RL experiences too, don't you think? (In fact, I think we are all very concerned with that, with our image, with putting the best possible spin on ourselves, being seen by others in the best possible light...)

... So, if being "good" only in appearance is really the best thing for our own interests, how do you base moral action on "greatest benefit for you as an organism?" It might be "best for everyone on average, but many, or most, of us tend to view ourselves as at least a little ABOVE average.
Yes, that sounds right. Very good point. So then, consider the following two options (not an exhaustive list). To LOOK to others like we're acting in harmonious ways:

1. We can take the pirate’s code of “steal when you can, trade when you must” as our guiding principle and go about life tricking people into thinking we’re “good” while cleverly stealing and preying upon them whenever possible, or
2. We can recognize how difficult the web of deception is to maintain and opt instead to actually recognize and guide our choices and actions by honoring the implicit rights reciprocity contract that is the basis for civilized society.

Now, if one of these is more likely to yield success at living and thriving, that’s the one that we ought to do. Do you agree? And which one would that be? For either choice, please support your answer.

Rob
Nice pirate's reply from Shanghai! :) Now, I will have to try to be as pirate-y as I can in return....

Moral action - "right and wrong" - should apply equally to everyone, no? So, I might agree because I'm a reasonably comfortable Western person, but I wonder if that's always the case, harmonious action being in our own best interest?

Consider Bill Gates. At one point, Microsoft made him a lot of money using predatory, pirate-ish tactics, and ended up facing anti-trust suits and then convictions on four separate continents. But, by then, Microsoft was in that 'too big to fail' category, so all it really received from any of it was a slap on the wrist. Nothing compared to the profits those tactics had already reaped. So, was it really in Gate's best interest to run his business more 'harmoniously?'

Sim'ly, and in contrast, consider the case of a smart tough, illiterate young man living in some third-world shantytown with very little opportunity for schooling. 'Ought' he to become a drug-dealer and killer, if that is his only way out of his situation, or is living harmoniously really in HIS best interest, too? Seems unclear to me that it is.

All this may show that it is in the best interest of many of us - the planet's middle-class, so to speak - to keep as level a playing field as possible, maximize the utility of harmonious living for everyone, but I think it sure casts doubt on the idea that the 'ethical' choice is always the best one for ALL the people ALL of the time, which seems to to be the claim you are making. Does that mean, for you, the enlightened self-interested choice is always the ethical one, no matter what it is? ... And is that really a sufficient basis for morality? .... Wut'chu think?
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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Robin Yergenson
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:53 pm

Hi Met,

Shanghai has been interesting but so hot and muggy. You say,
Moral action - "right and wrong" - should apply equally to everyone, no? So, I might agree because I'm a reasonably comfortable Western person, but I wonder if that's always the case, harmonious action being in our own best interest?

Consider Bill Gates. At one point, Microsoft made him a lot of money using predatory, pirate-ish tactics, and ended up facing anti-trust suits and then convictions on four separate continents. But, by then, Microsoft was in that 'too big to fail' category, so all it really received from any of it was a slap on the wrist. Nothing compared to the profits those tactics had already reaped. So, was it really in Gate's best interest to run his business more 'harmoniously?'
Yes, I consider moral obligation to universally apply to us all, but not to apply absolutely, in that “right actions” are not without context but instead follow when taken in context with all the relevant conditions. As for the Bill Gates example, I’m not convinced that “pirate-ish tactics” were employed. There is a very big difference between stealing/preying on people and being extremely successful creating new products that beat the competition. I’m pretty much a libertarian capitalist kind of guy who sees little basis for the notion of monopolizing as criminal, but let’s not turn this into a conversation on lasier faire capitalism. Harmonious rights reciprocity doesn’t require us to give up being competitive, nor does it require us to share our wealth. It only requires that we not steal the wealth of others. And you say,
Sim'ly, and in contrast, consider the case of a smart tough, illiterate young man living in some third-world shantytown with very little opportunity for schooling. 'Ought' he to become a drug-dealer and killer, if that is his only way out of his situation, or is living harmoniously really in HIS best interest, too? Seems unclear to me that it is.
Given that harmonious rights reciprocity in general results in greater long term benefit than predation, and given that breaking that contract generally results in self harm, we need to look for pathes forward that maintain the contract. While there can be extreme emergency situations that warrant exceptions, being a smart tough kid in shantytown is not one of them. And again, we aren’t promoting harmonious rights reciprocity as an absolute that is independent of context, but as a context dependent universal principle. And you say,
All this may show that it is in the best interest of many of us - the planet's middle-class, so to speak - to keep as level a playing field as possible, maximize the utility of harmonious living for everyone, but I think it sure casts doubt on the idea that the 'ethical' choice is always the best one for ALL the people ALL of the time, which seems to be the claim you are making. Does that mean, for you, the enlightened self-interested choice is always the ethical one, no matter what it is? ... And is that really a sufficient basis for morality? .... Wut'chu think?
Tit-for-tat game theory supports my position. While those who don’t reciprocate contractual agreements may benefit in the short term, because there are repeated rounds of play, they always loose out in the end. It’s simple logic. We aren’t making choices with the assumption that there is only one round of play. Rather, as beings who cannot foresee the future, we need to play the game under the assumption that there will be multiple rounds that follow. And yes, enlightened self-interested choice is always the proper basis for morality, no matter what the situation is. I’m enjoying our discussion. You really stay on point.

Rob

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Re: Objective morality

Post by met » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:20 pm

Robin Yergenson wrote:Yes, I consider moral obligation to universally apply to us all, but not to apply absolutely, in that “right actions” are not without context but instead follow when taken in context with all the relevant conditions. As for the Bill Gates example, I’m not convinced that “pirate-ish tactics” were employed. There is a very big difference between stealing/preying on people and being extremely successful creating new products that beat the competition. I’m pretty much a libertarian capitalist kind of guy who sees little basis for the notion of monopolizing as criminal, but let’s not turn this into a conversation on lasier faire capitalism. Harmonious rights reciprocity doesn’t require us to give up being competitive, nor does it require us to share our wealth. It only requires that we not steal the wealth of others. And you say,
In any case, whether you agree with antitrust law or not, MS DID use pirate-ish tactics. Simply by operating OUTSIDE those laws - on four continents - while pretending to be good corporate citizens. They could afford to do so because the wealth and power they already held had already put them in that 'Too Big To Fail' category, so they were basically untouchable for it. The penalties they incurred were minimal and did little to offset the profits.

Is that ethical behavior? (Really, I'm still trying to understand your grasp of "ethics" here.)
Given that harmonious rights reciprocity in general results in greater long term benefit than predation, and given that breaking that contract generally results in self harm, we need to look for pathes forward that maintain the contract. While there can be extreme emergency situations that warrant exceptions, being a smart tough kid in shantytown is not one of them. And again, we aren’t promoting harmonious rights reciprocity as an absolute that is independent of context, but as a context dependent universal principle.
OK. Suppose the smart tough kid has a mother AND a grandmother who both desperately need operations . Is it then ok?
Robin Yergenson wrote:Tit-for-tat game theory supports my position. While those who don’t reciprocate contractual agreements may benefit in the short term, because there are repeated rounds of play, they always loose out in the end. It’s simple logic. We aren’t making choices with the assumption that there is only one round of play. Rather, as beings who cannot foresee the future, we need to play the game under the assumption that there will be multiple rounds that follow. And yes, enlightened self-interested choice is always the proper basis for morality, no matter what the situation is. I’m enjoying our discussion. You really stay on point.
Thanks! :) Suppose our kid only kills and runs drugs for a few months, just long enough to bankroll a legit education and career. What then? ;)
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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