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All humans are innately self-serving.

debate_power
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6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.
You can call me Mark if you like.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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6/25/2015 8:18:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Did you know that another user whose economic views are the polar opposite of yours posted pretty much the same thing weeks ago? :P
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Sidewalker
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6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

How exactly does terminating your existence further your interests? How is a soldier who dives onto a grenade to save his buddies furthering his own selfish interest?

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

You think it costs money to see yourself in a positive light?

Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

So you are saying you don't care about your friends?

On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?
"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
PeacefulChaos
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6/25/2015 10:00:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

If you put it that way, the terms "self-serving" and "selfish" become somewhat meaningless. What you are essentially stating is this:

"The reason I do things is because there is some motivation or desire for me to do so."

Obviously.

But that's not what self-serving means (i.e. doing what you want isn't the same as being self-serving). For example, let's say I get very happy when I see other people happy and doing well; thus, I do good things for other people in order to see them be happy. In this scenario, I have a clear motivation and am doing something that brings me happiness, but this is not the same as being self-serving, even though they are similar.

Self-serving is having concern for one's own interests before those of others. If an individual was truly self-serving, they wouldn't regularly engage in altruistic actions, since they are more concerned with their own interests than with others. This is different from someone who is concerned with other people's interests as opposed to their own, consequently making them altruistic.

So while you can clearly argue that altruism is based on what you want to do, this is not the same as being self-serving.
Surrealism
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6/25/2015 11:17:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

He perceives dying with the knowledge that he saved lives as being better than living with the guilt that he let people die. Humans are social creatures, and our happiness is tied to that of others. Humans are also rash creatures, and tend to take impulsive actions.
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PeacefulChaos
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6/26/2015 10:25:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 11:17:21 PM, Surrealism wrote:
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

He perceives dying with the knowledge that he saved lives as being better than living with the guilt that he let people die. Humans are social creatures, and our happiness is tied to that of others. Humans are also rash creatures, and tend to take impulsive actions.

How is this being self-serving? A true self-serving individual who considers the interests of others more important than their own interests wouldn't think that way. The reason the soldier would feel guilt that he let people die is because he considers others people interests before he considers his own. It is thus not a self-serving action, but an altruistic one. A self-serving form of thinking would be:

"I can't allow myself to die, for I consider my life over those of my comrades; thus, I will run away from the grenade and live."
debate_power
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6/26/2015 3:22:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

How exactly does terminating your existence further your interests? How is a soldier who dives onto a grenade to save his buddies furthering his own selfish interest?

It's not that hard to see... the idea of his buddies' survival pleases him, and that outweighs his wish to live.


Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

You think it costs money to see yourself in a positive light?

To some people, it does.


Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

So you are saying you don't care about your friends?

I care about my friends in a self-serving way. I care about them because I benefit from it. I suppose I should have worded that differently.


On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

Well... I didn't say he JUST served himself... but he liked the idea of his friends surviving enough to throw himself on that grenade. The idea of their survival pleased him.
You can call me Mark if you like.
debate_power
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6/26/2015 3:23:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:18:56 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Did you know that another user whose economic views are the polar opposite of yours posted pretty much the same thing weeks ago? :P

Strange, huh?
You can call me Mark if you like.
debate_power
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6/26/2015 3:28:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 10:00:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:

Obviously.

But that's not what self-serving means (i.e. doing what you want isn't the same as being self-serving). For example, let's say I get very happy when I see other people happy and doing well; thus, I do good things for other people in order to see them be happy. In this scenario, I have a clear motivation and am doing something that brings me happiness, but this is not the same as being self-serving, even though they are similar.

Self-serving is having concern for one's own interests before those of others.

Yes... and that's what type of concern humans have. They don't help others unless helping them benefits them.

If an individual was truly self-serving, they wouldn't regularly engage in altruistic actions, since they are more concerned with their own interests than with others.

But they regularly engage in those "altruistic" activities BECAUSE they ultimately care about themselves. They get emotional gratification from it that they value over what they give away. It's a matter of valuation.

This is different from someone who is concerned with other people's interests as opposed to their own, consequently making them altruistic.

They're ultimately concerned about seeing themselves in a positive light or getting positive emotions/negating negative ones like fear from the helping.

So while you can clearly argue that altruism is based on what you want to do, this is not the same as being self-serving.

It absolutely is the same as being self-serving. Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word "altruism". I don't really believe it exists.
You can call me Mark if you like.
Sidewalker
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6/26/2015 3:50:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 3:22:10 PM, debate_power wrote:
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

How exactly does terminating your existence further your interests? How is a soldier who dives onto a grenade to save his buddies furthering his own selfish interest?

It's not that hard to see... the idea of his buddies' survival pleases him, and that outweighs his wish to live.


Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

You think it costs money to see yourself in a positive light?

To some people, it does.


Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

So you are saying you don't care about your friends?

I care about my friends in a self-serving way. I care about them because I benefit from it. I suppose I should have worded that differently.


On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

Well... I didn't say he JUST served himself... but he liked the idea of his friends surviving enough to throw himself on that grenade. The idea of their survival pleased him.

So you are just going to define any behavior, and any thought, as self-serving and call that an argument? Caring only about yourself is self-serving, caring only about others is self-serving, not caring about anything is self-serving, and caring about everything is self-serving.

You are just playing word games here, you aren't making any point at all if you are just going to shoehorn everything into some kind of strange "self-serving" definition that fits everything.

There's plenty of evidence that human beings aren't necessarily self-serving, look around you and you will see altruism, self-sacrifice, selflessness, there are examples of these things all over the place, just calling them all self-serving is inane.
"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
Saint_of_Me
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6/26/2015 4:31:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

Everything you just said about "the human condition" and, specifically, our "hardwired" survival instincts is true.

And virtually ANY Evolutionary Biologist or Psychologist would readily agree.

And it has indeed served us well! We homo sapiens are truly the Last Apes Standing. Since the dawn of humanoid bipedal primates some 5 million years ago, with Australopithecus afarensisthere have been no less than 27 sub-species of the species homo.

And we prevailed!

Can't do that by bein' a nice guy.

"Nice primates finish Last!" LOL
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
000ike
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6/26/2015 4:36:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

How exactly does terminating your existence further your interests? How is a soldier who dives onto a grenade to save his buddies furthering his own selfish interest?

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

You think it costs money to see yourself in a positive light?

Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

So you are saying you don't care about your friends?

On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

The answer to all of these questions is contained in the post you just quoted, which means that you may have missed what was being argued.

Debate_power, firstly, recognizes that certain behaviors may appear selfless, or may appear to be motivated by some moral exigence. But he goes on to say that this selfless behavior is nested within a larger self interest. Key here is the sense of gratification and fulfillment accompanying so-called selfless acts. If you didn't feel good about yourself for doing good things, then you simply wouldn't do them.... and that suggests that every choice we make is contingent on a personal reward.

True and earnest selflessness would necessitate a moral apathy -- you feel nothing positive from doing good things, and yet do them anyway.

This observation, while definitely accurate, should be taken to mean that this selfishness is a bad thing. If ethical behavior is necessarily founded on self-interest then so be it. It works for our society! So don't be so quick to repudiate this position.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Surrealism
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6/26/2015 8:37:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 10:25:48 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/25/2015 11:17:21 PM, Surrealism wrote:
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

He perceives dying with the knowledge that he saved lives as being better than living with the guilt that he let people die. Humans are social creatures, and our happiness is tied to that of others. Humans are also rash creatures, and tend to take impulsive actions.

How is this being self-serving? A true self-serving individual who considers the interests of others more important than their own interests wouldn't think that way. The reason the soldier would feel guilt that he let people die is because he considers others people interests before he considers his own. It is thus not a self-serving action, but an altruistic one. A self-serving form of thinking would be:

"I can't allow myself to die, for I consider my life over those of my comrades; thus, I will run away from the grenade and live."

His desire to not feel the guilt of letting people die manifests itself as a statement of caring about others. Caring about others is programmed into people by evolution, and it naturally makes us happy making other people happy. The soldier will die happier knowing he saved lives than living with the guilt that he didn't.
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PeacefulChaos
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6/26/2015 8:48:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 3:28:54 PM, debate_power wrote:

But they regularly engage in those "altruistic" activities BECAUSE they ultimately care about themselves. They get emotional gratification from it that they value over what they give away. It's a matter of valuation.

This does not mean they are self-serving. Again, simply because I do something because I desire to do so does not make me a self-serving person. It is only when I do something that places my interests above others that it makes me self-serving.

Saying they get "emotional gratification" is the exact same thing as saying "They do things because they want to do them." They want to help people; therefore, they do. This is something commonly accepted. I merely fail to see how this means they are self-serving people.

Fulfilling your desires = / = self-serving


This is different from someone who is concerned with other people's interests as opposed to their own, consequently making them altruistic.

They're ultimately concerned about seeing themselves in a positive light or getting positive emotions/negating negative ones like fear from the helping.

You cannot make the judgement that they want to see themselves in a positive light. You CAN make the judgement that they become happy when they help other people out (and that's why they do it), but these are not the same. For example, I sometimes participate in service activities because I enjoy helping others out - it makes my happy. This does not make me self-serving, however, because I am placing the interests of others over my own. Once again:

Fulfilling your own desires/wants = / = self-serving

They are not the same, even if they sound similar.
PeacefulChaos
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6/26/2015 8:50:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 8:37:14 PM, Surrealism wrote:

His desire to not feel the guilt of letting people die manifests itself as a statement of caring about others. Caring about others is programmed into people by evolution, and it naturally makes us happy making other people happy. The soldier will die happier knowing he saved lives than living with the guilt that he didn't.

I agree.

So, how does this make him a self-serving person? Being self-serving is putting the interests of others over your own. Even if it makes him happy that he has saved the lives of others, this does not mean he placed his own interests above those of his comrades.
difference
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6/26/2015 9:15:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 10:25:48 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/25/2015 11:17:21 PM, Surrealism wrote:
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

He perceives dying with the knowledge that he saved lives as being better than living with the guilt that he let people die. Humans are social creatures, and our happiness is tied to that of others. Humans are also rash creatures, and tend to take impulsive actions.

How is this being self-serving? A true self-serving individual who considers the interests of others more important than their own interests wouldn't think that way. The reason the soldier would feel guilt that he let people die is because he considers others people interests before he considers his own. It is thus not a self-serving action, but an altruistic one. A self-serving form of thinking would be:

"I can't allow myself to die, for I consider my life over those of my comrades; thus, I will run away from the grenade and live."

Would it still be self-serving if his actions were the same (save himself) but did it for his family (assuming he had one)?
PeacefulChaos
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6/26/2015 9:18:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 9:15:45 PM, difference wrote:

Would it still be self-serving if his actions were the same (save himself) but did it for his family (assuming he had one)?

Sorry, could you clarify? I didn't quite understand what you're asking, since you said "his actions were the same" but you also said "save himself."

If his actions were the same, he wouldn't be saving himself. He would be sacrificing himself to save the lives of his comrades/family.

You also ask "would it still be self-serving," but I didn't think it was self-serving in the first place.

That's why I was a bit confused by what you meant. Hope you can clarify, thanks.
difference
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6/26/2015 9:30:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 9:18:25 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/26/2015 9:15:45 PM, difference wrote:

Would it still be self-serving if his actions were the same (save himself) but did it for his family (assuming he had one)?

Sorry, could you clarify? I didn't quite understand what you're asking, since you said "his actions were the same" but you also said "save himself."

If his actions were the same, he wouldn't be saving himself. He would be sacrificing himself to save the lives of his comrades/family.

You also ask "would it still be self-serving," but I didn't think it was self-serving in the first place.

That's why I was a bit confused by what you meant. Hope you can clarify, thanks.

I was referring to "I can't allow myself to die, for I consider my life over those of my comrades; thus, I will run away from the grenade and live."
I ask if it'd still be self-serving if he saved himself for his family, if he had one at home
PeacefulChaos
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6/26/2015 9:41:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 9:30:06 PM, difference wrote:

I was referring to "I can't allow myself to die, for I consider my life over those of my comrades; thus, I will run away from the grenade and live."
I ask if it'd still be self-serving if he saved himself for his family, if he had one at home

Okay, that makes more sense. I should've realized that's what you were referring to.

If he saved himself for his family, it would be arguably subjective as to whether or not it is self-serving, and it would also depend on his specific motivation behind such an action (since determining whether or not something is self-serving would depend on the intent of the action).

For example, one could argue that his action is no longer self-serving, since he is clearly concerned with the well-being of his family and recognizes that he needs to survive in order to support them; thus, his primary concern is with the interests of the family.

Another could argue that he considered his family's interests over the families of the comrades, and since he values his own family more, this would make his action a self-serving one (even though this technically isn't what is meant by self-serving).

In such a situation, we are met with two decisions that would put the interests of others above the interest of the individual involved, but it would also inevitably create a severe consequence that could be interpreted to mean "he didn't consider their interests."

At the same time, however, both actions are well-meaning and place the interests of others above the individual involved; thus, while both will result in undesirable outcomes (since they are in an undesirable situation), I wouldn't consider either to be self-serving due to the intent behind the actions.
Sidewalker
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6/26/2015 10:04:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 4:36:53 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 6/25/2015 8:48:31 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:50:23 PM, debate_power wrote:
I say this because I believe humans only do things when they further their interests in some way, even if they terminate their existences on purpose.

How exactly does terminating your existence further your interests? How is a soldier who dives onto a grenade to save his buddies furthering his own selfish interest?

Even altruism, according to my view, is based on self-reward. Money, or other wealth that can be held in the hands, is not an objective measure of pleasure or fulfillment, and according to my view, those who give away money that they consider theirs (or which is legally theirs) to the poor are doing it out of pure self-interest because they prefer to give the money away, for whatever reason... I feel that, most of the time, philanthropists give away money so they are able to see themselves in a positive light.

You think it costs money to see yourself in a positive light?

Thus, people don't really care about others- at least, not at the core level... they care about themselves, and do things that others consider beneficial to them when doing those things gives them some sort of gratification. My friends give me happiness and companionship, just as yours no doubt give you the same. I benefit from being their friends. I am their friend because of my benefits, and because I care absolutely about myself.

So you are saying you don't care about your friends?

On a different (and way more dark) note, look at how non-suicidal humans behave when guns are pointed at them in order to give them a choice between death and something else. Because they prefer living to dying, they choose the non-death option because of their preferences to live. The human survival instinct is just as powerful as those of other animals. Sure, they may be choosing something despicable over death, but they still act absolutely in self-interest when they choose that despicable thing. Can you blame someone for not wanting to die? I can't.

What about the soldier who threw himself on the grenade, I'm sure he didn't want to die, but he made the ultimate sacrifice because he didn't want his friends to die, how is that self serving?

The answer to all of these questions is contained in the post you just quoted, which means that you may have missed what was being argued.

I didn"t miss it, I just think it"s inane and pointless.

Debate_power, firstly, recognizes that certain behaviors may appear selfless, or may appear to be motivated by some moral exigence. But he goes on to say that this selfless behavior is nested within a larger self interest.

Yeah, I know, he just denies that selfless behavior is actually selfless, there"s no coherent argument, no logic, he just interprets everything as selfish and proclaims it to be so.

Key here is the sense of gratification and fulfillment accompanying so-called selfless acts. If you didn't feel good about yourself for doing good things, then you simply wouldn't do them.... and that suggests that every choice we make is contingent on a personal reward.

That is an unfounded statement, and an unfounded statement doesn"t suggest anything except an attempt to force the facts to fit the conclusion. He"s actually contending that the soldier that sacrifices his life for his fellow men does so because it feels so good to do so, he"s selfish because he trades his life for a second or so of the wonderful feeling associated with lying on a grenade that is about to explode.

True and earnest selflessness would necessitate a moral apathy -- you feel nothing positive from doing good things, and yet do them anyway.

LOL, it"s the "No true Scotsman" fallacy, sorry, but rhetoric doesn"t modify a false assertion. It would not necessitate a moral apathy, it would simply necessitate a moral sense of putting the interest of others above your own.

This observation, while definitely accurate,

Nope, this unfounded assertion, while definitely inane to the point of being preposterous.

should be taken to mean that this selfishness is a bad thing. If ethical behavior is necessarily founded on self-interest then so be it. It works for our society! So don't be so quick to repudiate this position.

You need to do more than just proclaim that ethical behavior is founded on self-interest, there is absolutely no logical reason to make such a proclamation. There is nothing logical about simply redefining the word self-interest to suit your agenda and fit your conclusion. Selfish and selfless are two distinct terms, they are opposites, and dogmatically proclaiming that they are equal isn"t logical.

We can certainly recognize that Mother Teresa found life personally satisfying because she had transcended the realm in which her own materiality was located. She had truly adopted a perspective that defined life as good in terms of the contribution she made in others. It most certainly was not for the experience that comes from being acknowledged, but for the genuine experience of joy she felt in service to others. I believe she transcended her own ego consciousness and extended her awareness and being to include the experience created in others by her work. She actually thought this way, she had overcome her consciousness of material being and entered a completely different realm, a spiritualistic realm. Hers was a realm in which she was truly one with her fellow man. I believe there is indeed a genuine personal exaltation, a pure and unadulterated experience of pleasure in this transcendence of the self which she accomplished, but it is completely misleading to the point of preposterous to interpret that as self-serving and attribute it to selfishness. She served others and she was selfless, it is nothing but a meaningless semantics game to equate serving others with serving yourself, and equate selfless with selfish.

There are selfless acts and there are selfish acts, and they are not the same acts, denying that there any difference in what the words selfish and selfless are referential to is simply pointless.
"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
Surrealism
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6/26/2015 10:43:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 8:50:27 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/26/2015 8:37:14 PM, Surrealism wrote:

His desire to not feel the guilt of letting people die manifests itself as a statement of caring about others. Caring about others is programmed into people by evolution, and it naturally makes us happy making other people happy. The soldier will die happier knowing he saved lives than living with the guilt that he didn't.

I agree.

So, how does this make him a self-serving person? Being self-serving is putting the interests of others over your own. Even if it makes him happy that he has saved the lives of others, this does not mean he placed his own interests above those of his comrades.

I believe it is self-serving because if you take away the guilt, then he has no reason to save anyone. If he feels no guilt for not saving anyone, then he won't save the. That's why he saved them in the first place. Hence, he is self-serving, while happening to serve other people at the same time.
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PeacefulChaos
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6/27/2015 12:59:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 10:43:55 PM, Surrealism wrote:

I believe it is self-serving because if you take away the guilt, then he has no reason to save anyone. If he feels no guilt for not saving anyone, then he won't save the.

Again, that's just stating the obvious.

"I do things because there is a reason for me to do them."

Obviously, if you take away that reason, then you wouldn't do it anymore, would you? This fact is rather irrelevant to whether or not the individual is self-serving.

That's why he saved them in the first place. Hence, he is self-serving, while happening to serve other people at the same time.

Self-serving means to place the interests of others above your own interests. The very fact that he feels guilt is proof that he cares about his comrades more than he cares about his own life. As you said:

"His desire to not feel the guilt of letting people die manifests itself as a statement of caring about others."

In conclusion, I fail to understand this line of thinking:

1. He feels guilt.
2. He feels guilt because he cares about his comrades.
2. Therefore, he is self-serving.

It doesn't follow.
PeacefulChaos
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6/27/2015 12:59:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 10:43:55 PM, Surrealism wrote:

I believe it is self-serving because if you take away the guilt, then he has no reason to save anyone. If he feels no guilt for not saving anyone, then he won't save the.

Again, that's just stating the obvious.

"I do things because there is a reason for me to do them."

Obviously, if you take away that reason, then you wouldn't do it anymore, would you? This fact is rather irrelevant to whether or not the individual is self-serving.

That's why he saved them in the first place. Hence, he is self-serving, while happening to serve other people at the same time.

Self-serving means to place the interests of others above your own interests. The very fact that he feels guilt is proof that he cares about his comrades more than he cares about his own life. As you said:

"His desire to not feel the guilt of letting people die manifests itself as a statement of caring about others."

In conclusion, I fail to understand this line of thinking:

1. He feels guilt.
2. He feels guilt because he cares about his comrades.
2. Therefore, he is self-serving.

It doesn't follow.
Surrealism
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6/27/2015 1:08:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/27/2015 12:59:08 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/26/2015 10:43:55 PM, Surrealism wrote:
In conclusion, I fail to understand this line of thinking:

1. He feels guilt.
2. He feels guilt because he cares about his comrades.
2. Therefore, he is self-serving.

It doesn't follow.

The point is that guilt motivates him to do this because guilt feels bad. If guilt felt good, he wouldn't do it. He's acting on the effects on his own happiness, which is of course influenced by the happiness of others.
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PeacefulChaos
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6/27/2015 7:32:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/27/2015 1:08:35 PM, Surrealism wrote:

The point is that guilt motivates him to do this because guilt feels bad. If guilt felt good, he wouldn't do it. He's acting on the effects on his own happiness, which is of course influenced by the happiness of others.

"If guilt felt good ..."

This "if" statement is not only an incoherent concept, but is also irrelevant. We must consider what that guilt is and why it is there. The guilt is produced in the first place because he considers his comrade's interests over his own. This very fact means that, by definition, even if he is doing this because it makes him happy, he is not self-serving.

Self-serving does NOT mean that you do things because they make you happy. I defined self-serving earlier.

I have already agreed with you that the reason he is behaving in an altruistic manner is because he desires to do so. But fulfilling your desires is not the same as being self-serving.

If your own happiness is based on the happiness of others, then you are, by definition, not self-serving.
PeacefulChaos
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6/27/2015 7:36:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I do understand what you're trying to say. If it didn't make him happy, he wouldn't do it in the first place, so the only reason he's doing good things is because it ultimately makes him happy.

But, like I said, that isn't what self-serving means.
Surrealism
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6/28/2015 3:31:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/27/2015 7:32:57 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/27/2015 1:08:35 PM, Surrealism wrote:
If your own happiness is based on the happiness of others, then you are, by definition, not self-serving.

I disagree. The direct motivation of your actions is the production of happiness for yourself, even if one side effect of that is production of happiness for others.

However, we're on the verge of a semantics debate. I say that because he's following his interests which just happen to follow from the interests of others, he's self-serving. You say that because his interests follow from the interests of others, he's not self-serving.

I don't think there is much ground to cover there.
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Sidewalker
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6/28/2015 6:37:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/28/2015 3:31:57 AM, Surrealism wrote:
At 6/27/2015 7:32:57 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/27/2015 1:08:35 PM, Surrealism wrote:
If your own happiness is based on the happiness of others, then you are, by definition, not self-serving.

I disagree. The direct motivation of your actions is the production of happiness for yourself, even if one side effect of that is production of happiness for others.

However, we're on the verge of a semantics debate. I say that because he's following his interests which just happen to follow from the interests of others, he's self-serving. You say that because his interests follow from the interests of others, he's not self-serving.

I don't think there is much ground to cover there.

On the verge of a semantics debate?

Your argument is nothing but semantics, You want to change definitions and equate opposites, all you are saying is selfish and selfless have the same meaning, it's purely semantics. You are just playing word games and calling it philosophy.
"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
Sidewalker
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6/28/2015 6:50:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/28/2015 6:37:08 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 6/28/2015 3:31:57 AM, Surrealism wrote:
At 6/27/2015 7:32:57 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 6/27/2015 1:08:35 PM, Surrealism wrote:
If your own happiness is based on the happiness of others, then you are, by definition, not self-serving.

I disagree. The direct motivation of your actions is the production of happiness for yourself, even if one side effect of that is production of happiness for others.

However, we're on the verge of a semantics debate. I say that because he's following his interests which just happen to follow from the interests of others, he's self-serving. You say that because his interests follow from the interests of others, he's not self-serving.

I don't think there is much ground to cover there.

On the verge of a semantics debate?

Your argument is nothing but semantics, You want to change definitions and equate opposites, all you are saying is selfish and selfless have the same meaning, it's purely semantics. You are just playing word games and calling it philosophy.

Oh wait, I thought this was still debate-power talking, sorry.

Either way, you are right in saying there is not much ground to cover here, it still all comes down to semantics.

You can certainly make the case that Mother Teresa was a hedonist, kind of the point I was making above, but it's just an exercise in being silly. There are selfish acts and selfless acts, the words designate, denying that is strictly semantics.
"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