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Moral Nihilism

Lock
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1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?
tvellalott
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1/10/2011 12:51:56 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

Belief in moral nihilsm? o.O;
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Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 12:59:38 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation?

I don't have one.

Whence the conscience?

The remnants of socialization and years' worth of psychological conditioning. Old habits die hard, unfortunately.

If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either.

Your knowledge must be rather limited, then.

Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

That's possible. Splitting the atom seemed to be exactly like that.
FREEDO
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1/10/2011 1:12:59 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

Cuz it's the shiit, bra.

Would you like to see my blog post on it?
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Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 1:26:50 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:12:59 AM, FREEDO wrote:
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

Cuz it's the shiit, bra.

Would you like to see my blog post on it?

I don't think an entire blog post is necessary. You could always try summarizing off the top of your head into a brief series of bullet points.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 1:39:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:34:27 AM, darkkermit wrote:
The moral code was created by humans, and is emotive based, not logical based.

1. "The moral code" isn't a thing. There's more than one.

2. An emotive moral code would be absolutely incoherent and useless. Emotions tell you nothing about values or principles, are awful judges of actions, and are inconsistent/dodgy/unclear.
Lock
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1/10/2011 1:40:33 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 12:59:38 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation?

I don't have one.

You have never felt obligated to do anything, for any reason, at any time, ever? This is hardly a believable claim.

Whence the conscience?

The remnants of socialization and years' worth of psychological conditioning. Old habits die hard, unfortunately.

Very hard, it would seem, since all men have a conscience. In fact, find me a man, woman or child without one. According to your thinking you should look to our history.

Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but no man has ever been able to rid themselves of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either.

Your knowledge must be rather limited, then.

Show me a man who has been able to rid himself of either.

Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

That's possible. Splitting the atom seemed to be exactly like that.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:40:33 AM, Lock wrote:
At 1/10/2011 12:59:38 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 12:48:33 AM, Lock wrote:
I don't understand belief in moral nihilism. Whence the feeling of obligation?

I don't have one.

You have never felt obligated to do anything, for any reason, at any time, ever? This is hardly a believable claim.

Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Whence the conscience?

The remnants of socialization and years' worth of psychological conditioning. Old habits die hard, unfortunately.

Very hard, it would seem, since all men have a conscience. In fact, find me a man, woman or child without one. According to your thinking you should look to our history.

Define what you mean, in specific, concrete, listed terms, what you mean by "conscience". Because, if you're equating "conscience" with any semi-rational decision-making process, your definition is a useless piece of garbage.

Whence the feeling of obligation? Whence the conscience? If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but no man has ever been able to rid themselves of either. Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

If either are man made, then they can be done away with by man, but, to my knowledge, no man has ever been able to rid himself of either.

Your knowledge must be rather limited, then.

Show me a man who has been able to rid himself of either.

*Raises hand*

Why? is the effect greater than the cause?

That's possible. Splitting the atom seemed to be exactly like that.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.

I didn't mean in a literal mathematical sense. That's fine, though. We could perhaps look to the spontaneous generation of elementary particles, then.

Also, comment: a lot of your arguments are fallacious appeals to your own personal incredulity. "Hardly a believable claim" "Very hard it would seem, since all men have a conscience" etc.
darkkermit
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1/10/2011 1:52:25 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:34:27 AM, darkkermit wrote:
The moral code was created by humans, and is emotive based, not logical based.

1. "The moral code" isn't a thing. There's more than one.

2. An emotive moral code would be absolutely incoherent and useless. Emotions tell you nothing about values or principles, are awful judges of actions, and are inconsistent/dodgy/unclear.

How are moral codes non-emotive. How can principles of morals even be derived if there is no definition of what is moral?
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Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 1:54:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:52:25 AM, darkkermit wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:39:11 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:34:27 AM, darkkermit wrote:
The moral code was created by humans, and is emotive based, not logical based.

1. "The moral code" isn't a thing. There's more than one.

2. An emotive moral code would be absolutely incoherent and useless. Emotions tell you nothing about values or principles, are awful judges of actions, and are inconsistent/dodgy/unclear.

How are moral codes non-emotive.

The less stupid ones are perfectly rational. People who are moral emotivists don't understand the difference between the goal of moral action and the standard by which you judge actions as being moral.

How can principles of morals even be derived if there is no definition of what is moral?

I'm a moral nihilist--I don't think that anything can be defined as objectively moral, much less that ethical principles can be legitimately derived.
J.Kenyon
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1/10/2011 1:57:41 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 1:57:41 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.
Lock
Posts: 58
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1/10/2011 2:04:04 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim proves nothing, because it is unprovable. I think it safe to say that most people out there would claim a sense of obligation to certain extents. How might they escape their sense of obligation?

Define what you mean, in specific, concrete, listed terms, what you mean by "conscience". Because, if you're equating "conscience" with any semi-rational decision-making process, your definition is a useless piece of garbage.

It is hard to give a definite, concrete definition of "conscience". If you want bare bone semantics, it would be as follows: "motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions".

I think more is to be inferred, though. It is, in a sense, much the same as obligation. The feeling of guilt one has when doing something he may or may not perceive to be morally wrong. Is that what you were looking for?

Show me a man who has been able to rid himself of either.

*Raises hand*

Again, though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim means nothing in the way of logical argument.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.

I didn't mean in a literal mathematical sense. That's fine, though. We could perhaps look to the spontaneous generation of elementary particles, then.

But in a strictly mathematical sense your claim was wrong. What other way of looking a it is there? Your claim was that atomic reactions defy the law of cause and effect, but they do not.

Also, comment: a lot of your arguments are fallacious appeals to your own personal incredulity. "Hardly a believable claim" "Very hard it would seem, since all men have a conscience" etc.

I have my doubts as to whether or not you have purged all sense of obligation in every conceivable circumstance. My doubts mean as little as your claim, though. I was merely thinking out loud; forgive me.

Concerning my other claim, I would ask you to prove me wrong. Show me a mn without a conscience. Besides, of course, yourself, since self descriptions carry no weight.
Lock
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1/10/2011 2:07:17 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:57:41 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

You mean to say that if it would not cut in on your sex life, you would not go to prison, and there would be no negative repercussions, you would have no internal hesitance to shoot a small child who had not wronged you?
tvellalott
Posts: 10,864
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1/10/2011 2:11:12 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:07:17 AM, Lock wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:57:41 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

You mean to say that if it would not cut in on your sex life, you would not go to prison, and there would be no negative repercussions, you would have no internal hesitance to shoot a small child who had not wronged you?

I shot three on the way home today to test my new gun.
"Caitlyn Jenner is an incredibly brave and stunningly beautiful woman."

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Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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1/10/2011 2:15:15 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:04:04 AM, Lock wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim proves nothing, because it is unprovable.

Alright. You started the discussion, though, and made presumptions about the way people work. If you were prepared to do that, you should have been prepared for personal objections.

I think it safe to say that most people out there would claim a sense of obligation to certain extents.

You asked about moral nihilists--not most people.

How might they escape their sense of obligation?

Different methods work for different people. The circumstances of my own situation are pretty complicated, but I could probably sum up with things like desensitization, disillusionment, and a lot of arguments.

Define what you mean, in specific, concrete, listed terms, what you mean by "conscience". Because, if you're equating "conscience" with any semi-rational decision-making process, your definition is a useless piece of garbage.

It is hard to give a definite, concrete definition of "conscience". If you want bare bone semantics, it would be as follows: "motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions".

Okay. If a person doesn't have moral principles, they wouldn't derive motivation from it. Now, the subset of people who have ridden themselves of a conscience is a lot larger.

I think more is to be inferred, though. It is, in a sense, much the same as obligation. The feeling of guilt one has when doing something he may or may not perceive to be morally wrong. Is that what you were looking for?

Sort of. I would point out, however, that feeling guilt doesn't necessarily correspond to the evaluation of oneself as in the wrong, morally speaking.

Show me a man who has been able to rid himself of either.

*Raises hand*

Again, though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim means nothing in the way of logical argument.

You asked me to show you such a man, and I did. If you want me to point you to a woman, talk to annhasle.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.

I didn't mean in a literal mathematical sense. That's fine, though. We could perhaps look to the spontaneous generation of elementary particles, then.

But in a strictly mathematical sense your claim was wrong. What other way of looking a it is there?

Plenty of ways, given that the definition of "greater" is extremely loose.

Your claim was that atomic reactions defy the law of cause and effect, but they do not.

When did I claim that?

Also, comment: a lot of your arguments are fallacious appeals to your own personal incredulity. "Hardly a believable claim" "Very hard it would seem, since all men have a conscience" etc.

I have my doubts as to whether or not you have purged all sense of obligation in every conceivable circumstance. My doubts mean as little as your claim, though. I was merely thinking out loud; forgive me.

I've purged all sense of moral obligation in every conceivable circumstance. The sense of obligation toward pissing, eating, and sleeping maintain their foothold.

Concerning my other claim, I would ask you to prove me wrong. Show me a man without a conscience. Besides, of course, yourself, since self descriptions carry no weight.

That's difficult to do since I don't have the ability to enter another person's mind. Just as it's possible for a heartless criminal to put on a show of civility and traditional righteousness, I'd imagine that many people who have functional consciences put on a show suggesting the opposite.
J.Kenyon
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1/10/2011 2:15:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

Those are practical reasons; I'm referring to a feeling of psychological compulsion. In a hypothetical scenario where someone gives you $50 to torture and kill someone and it's guaranteed that you won't be caught, not many people would be able to go through with it. Even if you're a utilitarian and there is some greater good to be served by torturing someone, most people wouldn't be able to do it.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

By assuming that you're not an axe murdering psychopath? :P
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:19:35 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:07:17 AM, Lock wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:57:41 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 1:47:01 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

You mean to say that if it would not cut in on your sex life, you would not go to prison, and there would be no negative repercussions, you would have no internal hesitance to shoot a small child who had not wronged you?

Probably not. Though, even if I hesitated, that doesn't indicate any kind of moral qualm on my part. It could just as easily indicate that I have no idea what I get out of shooting the child. Prima facie, it doesn't seem like I would have any rational reason for doing it if he hasn't wronged me at all. Basically, you're affirming the consequent:

1. If you have a sense of morality/conscience, you would experience hesitation.
2. You experienced hesitation.
. You have a sense of morality/conscience.

Your logic is only true if the first clause in (1) is a necessary precondition (and the only possible precondition) to hesitation; however, since this is not the case, your reasoning is incorrect.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:24:13 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:15:26 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:02:36 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

Those are practical reasons; I'm referring to a feeling of psychological compulsion.

Practical reasons manifest as psychological compulsion for me. :P I really don't want to go to prison, and the gritty reality of prison life is tightly ingrained in my head.

In a hypothetical scenario where someone gives you $50 to torture and kill someone and it's guaranteed that you won't be caught, not many people would be able to go through with it. Even if you're a utilitarian and there is some greater good to be served by torturing someone, most people wouldn't be able to do it.

That's a really one-dimensional example which assumes that the only value a nihilist would weigh in that situation is the monetary gain; however, a nihilist may have a really weak stomach, may, upon chancing a conversation, really like the person, may be sexually attracted to the person, etc. I think the issue here is that you're mistakenly attempting to group all nihilists together under a single and oversimplified psychological profile.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

By assuming that you're not an axe murdering psychopath? :P

I assumed your definition of normal extended beyond "doesn't murder other people".
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:28:27 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think that there might definitely be some confusion between moral nihilism and straight immoralism. Nihilists don't have any moral qualms with anything, but that doesn't mean that nihilists will necessary engage in those activities. It's the difference between a woman who is merely pro-choice and a woman who is at the clinic getting her 5th abortion.
Lock
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1/10/2011 2:38:14 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think it safe to say that most people out there would claim a sense of obligation to certain extents.

You asked about moral nihilists--not most people.

By "most people" I mean to include moral nihilists. I think it is safe to say that if you legitimately had the power to ensure that no negative repercussions would ensue, then proceeded to hand any given moral nihilist a gun and gave permission to shoot a small child, they would have reservations. You would you disagree? Or would you claim that these reservations are strictly practical? If so, why?

How might they escape their sense of obligation?

Different methods work for different people. The circumstances of my own situation are pretty complicated, but I could probably sum up with things like desensitization, disillusionment, and a lot of arguments.

This is an account of your own personal experience, and is not able to be confirmed.

It is hard to give a definite, concrete definition of "conscience". If you want bare bone semantics, it would be as follows: "motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions".

Okay. If a person doesn't have moral principles, they wouldn't derive motivation from it. Now, the subset of people who have ridden themselves of a conscience is a lot larger.

Okay, but now let's go beyond semantics and think of possible scenarios, such as the one I gave above.

I think more is to be inferred, though. It is, in a sense, much the same as obligation. The feeling of guilt one has when doing something he may or may not perceive to be morally wrong. Is that what you were looking for?

Sort of. I would point out, however, that feeling guilt doesn't necessarily correspond to the evaluation of oneself as in the wrong, morally speaking.

Interesting. Could you elaborate?

Again, though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim means nothing in the way of logical argument.

You asked me to show you such a man, and I did. If you want me to point you to a woman, talk to annhasle.

You gave yourself as an example, but your claim is unprovable. You reference annhasle, but you would rely on her own self description for proof, which is also in and of itself unprovable.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.

I didn't mean in a literal mathematical sense. That's fine, though. We could perhaps look to the spontaneous generation of elementary particles, then.

But in a strictly mathematical sense your claim was wrong. What other way of looking a it is there?

Plenty of ways, given that the definition of "greater" is extremely loose.

Would you rather I put it as "Is the cause>the effect"?

Your claim was that atomic reactions defy the law of cause and effect, but they do not.

When did I claim that?

My apologies, since you did not say those exact words. You implied, though. I asked if the cause was greater than the effect, and you claimed that it was possible and cited the example of atomic reactions. I didn't think it was too far of a leap, but hey.

I've purged all sense of moral obligation in every conceivable circumstance. The sense of obligation toward pissing, eating, and sleeping maintain their foothold.

Consider the given scenario.

Concerning my other claim, I would ask you to prove me wrong. Show me a man without a conscience. Besides, of course, yourself, since self descriptions carry no weight.

That's difficult to do since I don't have the ability to enter another person's mind. Just as it's possible for a heartless criminal to put on a show of civility and traditional righteousness, I'd imagine that many people who have functional consciences put on a show suggesting the opposite.

Exactly. You have no proof it has been done other than what you claim in yourself. Moral nihilists are in the minority here, and I don't mean to appeal to majority, but seriously, the numbers of individuals who claim to have or live by an obligatory sense as opposed tot hose who claim its absence speak for themselves.
Lock
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1/10/2011 2:44:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

You mean to say that if it would not cut in on your sex life, you would not go to prison, and there would be no negative repercussions, you would have no internal hesitance to shoot a small child who had not wronged you?

Probably not. Though, even if I hesitated, that doesn't indicate any kind of moral qualm on my part. It could just as easily indicate that I have no idea what I get out of shooting the child. Prima facie, it doesn't seem like I would have any rational reason for doing it if he hasn't wronged me at all. Basically, you're affirming the consequent:

1. If you have a sense of morality/conscience, you would experience hesitation.
2. You experienced hesitation.
. You have a sense of morality/conscience.

Your logic is only true if the first clause in (1) is a necessary precondition (and the only possible precondition) to hesitation; however, since this is not the case, your reasoning is incorrect.

Assume, then, that there is great monetary gain in killing the child. It would then be reasonable to kill the child were there no negative repercussions. Would you claim no internal reservations to going through with the shooting?
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:53:38 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:38:14 AM, Lock wrote:
I think it safe to say that most people out there would claim a sense of obligation to certain extents.

You asked about moral nihilists--not most people.

By "most people" I mean to include moral nihilists. I think it is safe to say that if you legitimately had the power to ensure that no negative repercussions would ensue, then proceeded to hand any given moral nihilist a gun and gave permission to shoot a small child, they would have reservations. You would you disagree? Or would you claim that these reservations are strictly practical? If so, why?

I think that there are probably psychological disincentives to shooting the child. Like I was telling J.Kenyon, the belief that an activity isn't morally reprehensible doesn't mean that you have the desire to engage in that activity. I don't think that there's anything wrong with going out and getting hammered every night, but you don't see me doing it. I wouldn't go to prison, and it would probably get me laid even more, but I think that the costs to my mental and physical well-being are a good deterrent.

If you plan to ask what the disincentives would be for shooting the child, I couldn't give you a definitive list, since nihilists don't all share the same mind or personality. For my own part, however, one disincentive might be that he didn't do anything to me, which means that I have absolutely no reason to kill him. My only incentive would be if it gave me pleasure to kill innocent small children. Since I don't get that pleasure, it would be pointless to shoot.

How might they escape their sense of obligation?

Different methods work for different people. The circumstances of my own situation are pretty complicated, but I could probably sum up with things like desensitization, disillusionment, and a lot of arguments.

This is an account of your own personal experience, and is not able to be confirmed.

That's why I said "Different methods work for different people." I'm not every nihilist, which means I have no way of knowing how they tick.

It is hard to give a definite, concrete definition of "conscience". If you want bare bone semantics, it would be as follows: "motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions".

Okay. If a person doesn't have moral principles, they wouldn't derive motivation from it. Now, the subset of people who have ridden themselves of a conscience is a lot larger.

Okay, but now let's go beyond semantics and think of possible scenarios, such as the one I gave above.

"Possible scenarios" tend to be really simplistic, and, as such, aren't very good at pinpointing the massive amount of subtleties and mental processes that might lead to a position of nihilism.

I think more is to be inferred, though. It is, in a sense, much the same as obligation. The feeling of guilt one has when doing something he may or may not perceive to be morally wrong. Is that what you were looking for?

Sort of. I would point out, however, that feeling guilt doesn't necessarily correspond to the evaluation of oneself as in the wrong, morally speaking.

Interesting. Could you elaborate?

I might feel guilt at betraying a friend, for example. This isn't because of any sense of moral wrongness, but because I value the friendship and the positive emotional feedback I get from that friend. The betrayal may damage or destroy the friendship, and would cut off the positive emotional relations I have with my friend. This means that I would be trading some immediate gratification (probably resultant from an error in judgment) for the loss of a treasured friendship, ultimately resulting in a feeling of guilt (among other negative, often self-deprecating feelings.) Humans are very much social animals, and, though I'm not a psychologist, sociologist, or evolutionary biologist, I would suspect that at least one source of such feelings, then, is that your brain is basically letting you know that you f*cked up socially, in the same way that our physical pain mechanism is the brain's way of telling us that we've f*cked up physically.

Again, though I cannot argue with a self description, your claim means nothing in the way of logical argument.

You asked me to show you such a man, and I did. If you want me to point you to a woman, talk to annhasle.

You gave yourself as an example, but your claim is unprovable. You reference annhasle, but you would rely on her own self description for proof, which is also in and of itself unprovable.

What do you want me to do, then? I don't know very many moral nihilists. You can't prove what the inner workings of your own mind were, much less the inner workings of someone else's mind.

Not so; it seems quite impossible. In the atomic reaction no mass or energy is created. There is a conversion of energy from mass into three things: heat energy, light energy, and kinetic energy. This is an application of E=mc^2.

I didn't mean in a literal mathematical sense. That's fine, though. We could perhaps look to the spontaneous generation of elementary particles, then.

But in a strictly mathematical sense your claim was wrong. What other way of looking a it is there?

Plenty of ways, given that the definition of "greater" is extremely loose.

Would you rather I put it as "Is the cause>the effect"?

That's just a symbolic restatement. It doesn't explain what you mean by "greater".

Your claim was that atomic reactions defy the law of cause and effect, but they do not.

When did I claim that?

My apologies, since you did not say those exact words. You implied, though. I asked if the cause was greater than the effect, and you claimed that it was possible and cited the example of atomic reactions. I didn't think it was too far of a leap, but hey.

I gave a better example: spontaneous genesis of elementary particles. I'm not sure what the technical terms for the phenomenon are, though, since one of the areas in which I'm not particularly well-versed is physics.

I've purged all sense of moral obligation in every conceivable circumstance. The sense of obligation toward pissing, eating, and sleeping maintain their foothold.

Consider the given scenario.

What scenario? The child-killing thing?

Concerning my other claim, I would ask you to prove me wrong. Show me a man without a conscience. Besides, of course, yourself, since self descriptions carry no weight.

That's difficult to do since I don't have the ability to enter another person's mind. Just as it's possible for a heartless criminal to put on a show of civility and traditional righteousness, I'd imagine that many people who have functional consciences put on a show suggesting the opposite.

Exactly. You have no proof it has been done other than what you claim in yourself. Moral nihilists are in the minority here, and I don't mean to appeal to majority, but seriously, the numbers of individuals who claim to have or live by an obligatory sense as opposed tot hose who claim its absence speak for themselves.

So, what you're saying is, you don't mean to appeal to popularity, but you're going to do it anyway because it's convenient for the sake of your argument?
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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1/10/2011 2:58:22 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:24:13 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
That's a really one-dimensional example which assumes that the only value a nihilist would weigh in that situation is the monetary gain; however, a nihilist may have a really weak stomach, may, upon chancing a conversation, really like the person, may be sexually attracted to the person, etc. I think the issue here is that you're mistakenly attempting to group all nihilists together under a single and oversimplified psychological profile.

Ah, you're avoiding the question, I over-simplified the scenario on purpose. There is no practical reason to refrain from torturing and killing this person. The only thing stopping you is a feeling that originates in your right temporo-parietal junction, the part of your brain which controls unconscious moral decision making.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 2:58:52 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:44:26 AM, Lock wrote:
Morally? Not since becoming a nihilist. I feel obligated to eat, sleep, and piss all the time.

Eh, I'm sure you still feel psychologically compelled to behave like a normal human, even if you choose not to label it as a moral imperative.

I assume, by normal, that you mean "not killing people, robbing banks, etc". That is indeed true, but there are pretty good reasons for that.

1. Getting laid usually requires you not to be a crazy person.

2. I don't want to go to prison.

That's actually about it. I think you're being a little presumptuous about the way I act in real life.

You mean to say that if it would not cut in on your sex life, you would not go to prison, and there would be no negative repercussions, you would have no internal hesitance to shoot a small child who had not wronged you?

Probably not. Though, even if I hesitated, that doesn't indicate any kind of moral qualm on my part. It could just as easily indicate that I have no idea what I get out of shooting the child. Prima facie, it doesn't seem like I would have any rational reason for doing it if he hasn't wronged me at all. Basically, you're affirming the consequent:

1. If you have a sense of morality/conscience, you would experience hesitation.
2. You experienced hesitation.
. You have a sense of morality/conscience.

Your logic is only true if the first clause in (1) is a necessary precondition (and the only possible precondition) to hesitation; however, since this is not the case, your reasoning is incorrect.

Assume, then, that there is great monetary gain in killing the child. It would then be reasonable to kill the child were there no negative repercussions. Would you claim no internal reservations to going through with the shooting?

First, it depends on how much monetary gain.

Second, it depends on the psychological disincentives to doing so. If the child is a total dick, I probably wouldn't have reservations. If the child was bright, respectful, and friendly, I might be disinclined to shoot.

Third, you're again making the assumption that a disbelief in morality is the same as a positive motivation to commit acts considered to be "immoral" under a typical ethical paradigm.

Finally, let me answer your question directly. Let's say that I gain near-infinite money, the child isn't friendly to me, I'm not squeamish, and so forth. For the sake of your hypothetical, I'll grant you ideal conditions. In those circumstances, I would not have any reservations about pulling the trigger. Interestingly, however, I assume that your response here will be another appeal to your own personal incredulity that such circumstances could not exist, and that my testimony to the contrary, by virtue of being an unprovable personal account, shouldn't hold any weight, despite the fact that your question was aimed directly at me, suggesting that your intentions were not to ask honestly what my reaction would be, but to disingenuously back me into a corner where I'm basically trapped into giving the answer that you've wanted to hear from the beginning.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 3:05:00 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 2:58:22 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:24:13 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
That's a really one-dimensional example which assumes that the only value a nihilist would weigh in that situation is the monetary gain; however, a nihilist may have a really weak stomach, may, upon chancing a conversation, really like the person, may be sexually attracted to the person, etc. I think the issue here is that you're mistakenly attempting to group all nihilists together under a single and oversimplified psychological profile.

Ah, you're avoiding the question, I over-simplified the scenario on purpose. There is no practical reason to refrain from torturing and killing this person.

I'm not avoiding the question. The fact that you admit to oversimplifying means that you're deliberately trying to engineer a scenario to fit your needs, which in turn means that your whole inquiry is disingenuous crap, for lack of a better phrase. This is especially true given that I could "bite the bullet" and agree to torture the person, but you would just retort with "Yeah right, that's not what you would really do", which I couldn't refute without appealing to my own personal thoughts.

The only thing stopping you is a feeling that originates in your right temporo-parietal junction, the part of your brain which controls unconscious moral decision making.

1. Well, I've been socialized and psychologically conditioned for the overwhelming majority of my life. Like I said at the outset, old habits die hard.

2. You assume that that's the only thing, if it's a factor at all. Sounds like the fallacy of the single cause to me.

3. You assume, of course, that I wouldn't torture the person, which means that you're making an assumption about the way I would act which won't change, regardless of the way I answer. See my above comment about the disingenuousness.
J.Kenyon
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1/10/2011 3:16:08 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 3:05:00 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:58:22 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:24:13 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
That's a really one-dimensional example which assumes that the only value a nihilist would weigh in that situation is the monetary gain; however, a nihilist may have a really weak stomach, may, upon chancing a conversation, really like the person, may be sexually attracted to the person, etc. I think the issue here is that you're mistakenly attempting to group all nihilists together under a single and oversimplified psychological profile.

Ah, you're avoiding the question, I over-simplified the scenario on purpose. There is no practical reason to refrain from torturing and killing this person.

I'm not avoiding the question. The fact that you admit to oversimplifying means that you're deliberately trying to engineer a scenario to fit your needs, which in turn means that your whole inquiry is disingenuous crap, for lack of a better phrase.

It's not an inquiry at all. There are some people born with neurological defects, or who have their moral decision making ability impaired by injury. However, these people are extremely rare and even rarer are people who can persuade themselves through pure reason to behave in one way or another. It's a scientific fact, Cody; there is a discrepancy between what the brain judges to be morally "right" or "wrong" in hypothetical scenarios and how people are compelled to act in real situations.

This is especially true given that I could "bite the bullet" and agree to torture the person, but you would just retort with "Yeah right, that's not what you would really do", which I couldn't refute without appealing to my own personal thoughts.

Hey, you might. I doubt it, and even you might not even know unless you're actually put in that situation.

The only thing stopping you is a feeling that originates in your right temporo-parietal junction, the part of your brain which controls unconscious moral decision making.

1. Well, I've been socialized and psychologically conditioned for the overwhelming majority of my life. Like I said at the outset, old habits die hard.

There's a biological factor, too. Nature plays as big a role as nurture.

2. You assume that that's the only thing, if it's a factor at all. Sounds like the fallacy of the single cause to me.

No, I'm purposely isolating a specific factor to prove a point.

3. You assume, of course, that I wouldn't torture the person, which means that you're making an assumption about the way I would act which won't change, regardless of the way I answer. See my above comment about the disingenuousness.

Like I said, you might.
Cody_Franklin
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1/10/2011 3:27:18 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/10/2011 3:16:08 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 3:05:00 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:58:22 AM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 1/10/2011 2:24:13 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
That's a really one-dimensional example which assumes that the only value a nihilist would weigh in that situation is the monetary gain; however, a nihilist may have a really weak stomach, may, upon chancing a conversation, really like the person, may be sexually attracted to the person, etc. I think the issue here is that you're mistakenly attempting to group all nihilists together under a single and oversimplified psychological profile.

Ah, you're avoiding the question, I over-simplified the scenario on purpose. There is no practical reason to refrain from torturing and killing this person.

I'm not avoiding the question. The fact that you admit to oversimplifying means that you're deliberately trying to engineer a scenario to fit your needs, which in turn means that your whole inquiry is disingenuous crap, for lack of a better phrase.

It's not an inquiry at all. There are some people born with neurological defects, or who have their moral decision making ability impaired by injury.

I don't think that people unable to make "moral choices" are defective, even if born that way.

However, these people are extremely rare and even rarer are people who can persuade themselves through pure reason to behave in one way or another. It's a scientific fact, Cody; there is a discrepancy between what the brain judges to be morally "right" or "wrong" in hypothetical scenarios and how people are compelled to act in real situations.

Then construct that scenario for me in real life. It's a fact that such is often the case, sure, but that psychological disposition is hardly a universal law of nature. Also, I think it's a bit arbitrary to label "dos" or "do-nots" processed by the brain as moral "dos" or "do-nots", since that presupposes A) that moral facts exist in the first place, and B) that our mental state would be that way as a universal default without the ethical socialization or intense years of psychological conditioning during our most impressionable years.

This is especially true given that I could "bite the bullet" and agree to torture the person, but you would just retort with "Yeah right, that's not what you would really do", which I couldn't refute without appealing to my own personal thoughts.

Hey, you might. I doubt it, and even you might not even know unless you're actually put in that situation.

As far as I can tell, I wouldn't complain about it. I might be a bit squeamish at first, like many Japanese doctors who performed human vivisections, but the best way to counter moral conditioning and socialization is with practice and habit.

The only thing stopping you is a feeling that originates in your right temporo-parietal junction, the part of your brain which controls unconscious moral decision making.

1. Well, I've been socialized and psychologically conditioned for the overwhelming majority of my life. Like I said at the outset, old habits die hard.

There's a biological factor, too. Nature plays as big a role as nurture.

Do tell.

2. You assume that that's the only thing, if it's a factor at all. Sounds like the fallacy of the single cause to me.

No, I'm purposely isolating a specific factor to prove a point.

Yeah, and your isolation of that factor makes this whole thing an unrealistic farce.

3. You assume, of course, that I wouldn't torture the person, which means that you're making an assumption about the way I would act which won't change, regardless of the way I answer. See my above comment about the disingenuousness.

Like I said, you might.

Like I said, set up the experiment according to your ideal conditions.