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How much is a human worth?

Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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10/26/2013 10:28:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I was told this morning by a guy who shares the same name as me that a human being largely consists of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and a bunch of other elements and that the sum total of our worth is about US$7. He didn't cite a source, but when looking at it from that point of view, it largely makes sense. This is basically what we are and how much we are worth.

However, I pointed out that one could argue that the elements arranged in such a complex system to allow it to do almost anything would give it a value higher than $7. Unfortunately, the fallacy in my argument was assuming rarity=value. Thus 7 Billion humans means no one human is worth anything. Humans are far more useful in a state of elements, where they can be bought and sold for money. I did eventually realise that he committed the same fallacy as I did by assuming that value is determined by rarity by stating that the sum of all our components is $7.

Since value is a meaningless word that human consciousness experiences, I was wondering if there was anyone here who thought human life has any worth? Are humans valuable? If you believe that human life has a fundamental worth, can you describe why using an objective basis?

Otherwise, it should be that we believe human life has no value since it is a fact of nature. We are all collections of molecules reacting with other molecules and being displaced through time and space.
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Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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10/26/2013 10:35:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It depends what kind of value we are talking about.

If we are talking about value that is dependent on some one else "valuing", then yes, there are clearly humans who value other humans.

If we are talking about value that exists outside of a valuer....................well there may be no such thing.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
popculturepooka
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10/26/2013 10:50:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end."

-- Kant

I.E. Humans have intrinsic, incommensurate worth.
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Illegalcombatant
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10/26/2013 10:54:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/26/2013 10:50:27 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
"Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end."

-- Kant

I.E. Humans have intrinsic, incommensurate worth.

How can we justify the claim that humans have value that is not dependent on a valuer ?
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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10/27/2013 3:03:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/26/2013 10:28:43 PM, Smithereens wrote:
I was told this morning by a guy who shares the same name as me that a human being largely consists of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and a bunch of other elements and that the sum total of our worth is about US$7. He didn't cite a source, but when looking at it from that point of view, it largely makes sense. This is basically what we are and how much we are worth.

However, I pointed out that one could argue that the elements arranged in such a complex system to allow it to do almost anything would give it a value higher than $7. Unfortunately, the fallacy in my argument was assuming rarity=value. Thus 7 Billion humans means no one human is worth anything. Humans are far more useful in a state of elements, where they can be bought and sold for money. I did eventually realise that he committed the same fallacy as I did by assuming that value is determined by rarity by stating that the sum of all our components is $7.

Since value is a meaningless word that human consciousness experiences, I was wondering if there was anyone here who thought human life has any worth? Are humans valuable? If you believe that human life has a fundamental worth, can you describe why using an objective basis?

Otherwise, it should be that we believe human life has no value since it is a fact of nature. We are all collections of molecules reacting with other molecules and being displaced through time and space.

Why would you define the worth of anything in terms of the raw materials value of the substances it"s made of? Do you really think your computer is worth only the plastic, resin, and ounce or so of metals it"s made of?

It makes even less sense with a human being; first of all the cost of extracting the raw materials is greater than the value of the raw materials. As with anything, worth is based on underlying perception of the value of tangible and intangible factors, its instrumental worth, its intrinsic worth, all aspects of it come into play.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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10/27/2013 2:38:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 3:03:03 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 10/26/2013 10:28:43 PM, Smithereens wrote:
I was told this morning by a guy who shares the same name as me that a human being largely consists of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and a bunch of other elements and that the sum total of our worth is about US$7. He didn't cite a source, but when looking at it from that point of view, it largely makes sense. This is basically what we are and how much we are worth.

However, I pointed out that one could argue that the elements arranged in such a complex system to allow it to do almost anything would give it a value higher than $7. Unfortunately, the fallacy in my argument was assuming rarity=value. Thus 7 Billion humans means no one human is worth anything. Humans are far more useful in a state of elements, where they can be bought and sold for money. I did eventually realise that he committed the same fallacy as I did by assuming that value is determined by rarity by stating that the sum of all our components is $7.

Since value is a meaningless word that human consciousness experiences, I was wondering if there was anyone here who thought human life has any worth? Are humans valuable? If you believe that human life has a fundamental worth, can you describe why using an objective basis?

Otherwise, it should be that we believe human life has no value since it is a fact of nature. We are all collections of molecules reacting with other molecules and being displaced through time and space.

Why would you define the worth of anything in terms of the raw materials value of the substances it"s made of? Do you really think your computer is worth only the plastic, resin, and ounce or so of metals it"s made of?

It makes even less sense with a human being; first of all the cost of extracting the raw materials is greater than the value of the raw materials. As with anything, worth is based on underlying perception of the value of tangible and intangible factors, its instrumental worth, its intrinsic worth, all aspects of it come into play.

.....so $8.50? God you're stingy.
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Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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10/27/2013 2:40:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 2:38:32 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 10/27/2013 3:03:03 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 10/26/2013 10:28:43 PM, Smithereens wrote:
I was told this morning by a guy who shares the same name as me that a human being largely consists of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and a bunch of other elements and that the sum total of our worth is about US$7. He didn't cite a source, but when looking at it from that point of view, it largely makes sense. This is basically what we are and how much we are worth.

However, I pointed out that one could argue that the elements arranged in such a complex system to allow it to do almost anything would give it a value higher than $7. Unfortunately, the fallacy in my argument was assuming rarity=value. Thus 7 Billion humans means no one human is worth anything. Humans are far more useful in a state of elements, where they can be bought and sold for money. I did eventually realise that he committed the same fallacy as I did by assuming that value is determined by rarity by stating that the sum of all our components is $7.

Since value is a meaningless word that human consciousness experiences, I was wondering if there was anyone here who thought human life has any worth? Are humans valuable? If you believe that human life has a fundamental worth, can you describe why using an objective basis?

Otherwise, it should be that we believe human life has no value since it is a fact of nature. We are all collections of molecules reacting with other molecules and being displaced through time and space.

Why would you define the worth of anything in terms of the raw materials value of the substances it"s made of? Do you really think your computer is worth only the plastic, resin, and ounce or so of metals it"s made of?

It makes even less sense with a human being; first of all the cost of extracting the raw materials is greater than the value of the raw materials. As with anything, worth is based on underlying perception of the value of tangible and intangible factors, its instrumental worth, its intrinsic worth, all aspects of it come into play.

.....so $8.50? God you're stingy.

Or it could be more than that. If you were born of a prostitute who got knocked up on the job, the price would depend on how much she was paid to give the guy a good time. But all it really costs to make humans is time, and time isn't worth a whole lot.
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ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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10/27/2013 2:45:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Karl Marx would argue that you're worth the human labor time put into your production. Since more and more time is put into changing and improving us every day, we are infinitely valuable.
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Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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10/27/2013 2:49:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 2:45:21 PM, ClassicRobert wrote:
Karl Marx would argue that you're worth the human labor time put into your production. Since more and more time is put into changing and improving us every day, we are infinitely valuable.

I certainly am not putting in time or labor to improve myself.
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Zaradi
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10/27/2013 2:54:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 2:51:17 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
There is something eerie about this discussion being framed almost exclusively as a question of economic (or material) value.

This comment is worth 215 pesos.
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Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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10/29/2013 9:40:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 2:51:17 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
There is something eerie about this discussion being framed almost exclusively as a question of economic (or material) value.

Not necessarily. One could frame it in replacement value, which would be infinite for a human being.
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Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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10/29/2013 11:06:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The answer should be clear; we are worth practically nothing. If an asteroid took us all out right now the universe would be essentially the same, nothing would really be effected objectively. In reality, we are just a bunch of advanced apes on a floating blue ball in a bizarre universe. We mean the world to each other subjectively. I mean, my mother is worth so much to me, and my family. But of course, this is all subjective.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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10/29/2013 4:25:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/29/2013 11:06:24 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
We mean the world to each other subjectively. I mean, my mother is worth so much to me, and my family. But of course, this is all subjective.

Why would the subjectivity of the thing render it less real or serve to discredit it?
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
Rational_Thinker9119
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10/29/2013 4:39:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/29/2013 4:25:12 PM, Poetaster wrote:
At 10/29/2013 11:06:24 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
We mean the world to each other subjectively. I mean, my mother is worth so much to me, and my family. But of course, this is all subjective.

Why would the subjectivity of the thing render it less real or serve to discredit it?

I'm not saying it does render it less or discredit it, I am just saying that none of the stuff you and I think matter really objectively matter in the grand scheme of things, it matters to us on this tiny spec of dust called Earth subjectively. I am only qualifying a difference, I am not stating that one is superior to the other.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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10/29/2013 4:49:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/29/2013 4:39:18 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 10/29/2013 4:25:12 PM, Poetaster wrote:
At 10/29/2013 11:06:24 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
We mean the world to each other subjectively. I mean, my mother is worth so much to me, and my family. But of course, this is all subjective.

Why would the subjectivity of the thing render it less real or serve to discredit it?

I'm not saying it does render it less or discredit it, I am just saying that none of the stuff you and I think matter really objectively matter in the grand scheme of things, it matters to us on this tiny spec of dust called Earth subjectively. I am only qualifying a difference, I am not stating that one is superior to the other.

Got it. My question was a bit a loaded, but harmlessly so, I think. I just wanted to see if you were assigning axiological weight to the indifference of the "grand scheme perspective", because this would be as much of a category error as personally devaluing things because of that indifference (which you clearly don't do).
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker