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Moral Nihilism should be moot...

Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 1:36:27 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I know this has probably been done before, maybe even is being done currently but anyway...

I get and agree with the basic premise of moral nihilism as abstraction, an intellectial concept, but in practical terms what use is it?

Though we may acknowledge the truth of it, we are still left with ingrained moral programming and guilt responses. Which though may be sometimes repressed for our benefit, also exist to make society possible and to maximise happiness.

A practising moral nihilist would have to embark on a course of psychological self-harm to remove all traces of 'morality'. A painful process, unlike to benefit anyone.

If people adopted moral nihilism in their day to day behaviour what would society look like. Would it not be a rather hellish and dystopian place?

Everyone would be pursuing their own parochial self-interest, kept in check only by fear of punishment (which is not as effective a constraint as moral conditioning even though one is derived from the other to an extent). It net terms human happiness would suffer, and to me human happiness is a reasonable if arbitary value to place as the raison d'etre of a moral system.

Moral Nihilism may be a logical academic position, but as a moral position it is utterly irrational.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Dazedinday
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1/14/2011 2:13:50 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
If everyone were moral nihilists, then it would be most reasonable to make everyone a 'psychopath'. They are unable to feel guilt, thus 'true moral nihilist'. They'd probably legalize a certain brain surgery that makes everyone a psychopath.

Of course, there would no longer be the need for stupid charities, stupid caring for the old, caring for the retarded...
There would no longer be arguments about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, because nothing is inherently right or wrong, and that they just are.
Many laws we have right now would never have been made, or may have been abolished.

Since the allowing of 'killing' inherently endangers society as a whole, it would probably be disdained as a whole- but it might occur more amorally, and more frequently.

It's how I imagine it.
belle
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1/14/2011 2:15:08 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
you're operating on an awfully narrow conception of self interest here. i'm pretty sure you would agree that we're all better off living in a modern society than we are without it, right? given that, it is in my interest to engage in activities that perpetuate society such as cooperate with others and refrain from harming them for no good reason. by preforming such actions in an environment when i can reasonably expect others to do the same, i am better off than i would be if i followed your conception of "self interest" which seems entirely a-rational and not desirable. the temptation to cheat always exists, but thats what punishment is for. we're really very good cooperators.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Dazedinday
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1/14/2011 2:15:17 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:13:50 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
If everyone were moral nihilists, then it would be most reasonable to make everyone a 'psychopath'. They are unable to feel guilt, thus 'true moral nihilist'. They'd probably legalize a certain brain surgery that makes everyone a psychopath.

Of course, there would no longer be the need for stupid charities, stupid caring for the old, caring for the retarded...
There would no longer be arguments about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, because nothing is inherently right or wrong, and that they just are.
Many laws we have right now would never have been made, or may have been abolished.

Since the allowing of 'killing' inherently endangers society as a whole, it would probably be disdained as a whole- but it might occur more amorally, and more frequently.

It's how I imagine it.

And if you're wondering about my position, then my answer is that I don't agree with moral nihilism. Why try so hard to get rid of something that does 'good' in the overall scheme of things?
belle
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1/14/2011 2:16:46 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:15:17 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:13:50 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
If everyone were moral nihilists, then it would be most reasonable to make everyone a 'psychopath'. They are unable to feel guilt, thus 'true moral nihilist'. They'd probably legalize a certain brain surgery that makes everyone a psychopath.

Of course, there would no longer be the need for stupid charities, stupid caring for the old, caring for the retarded...
There would no longer be arguments about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, because nothing is inherently right or wrong, and that they just are.
Many laws we have right now would never have been made, or may have been abolished.

Since the allowing of 'killing' inherently endangers society as a whole, it would probably be disdained as a whole- but it might occur more amorally, and more frequently.

It's how I imagine it.

And if you're wondering about my position, then my answer is that I don't agree with moral nihilism. Why try so hard to get rid of something that does 'good' in the overall scheme of things?

because you care about the truth rather than believing whatever makes you feel good....?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:21:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:13:50 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
If everyone were moral nihilists, then it would be most reasonable to make everyone a 'psychopath'. They are unable to feel guilt, thus 'true moral nihilist'. They'd probably legalize a certain brain surgery that makes everyone a psychopath.

True moral nihilists would serve their own self-interests, which would not extend to forcing people to have brain surgery to become psychopaths (or sociopaths whatever the distinction is). This is more, what if everyone just was a practising moral nihilist.


Of course, there would no longer be the need for stupid charities, stupid caring for the old, caring for the retarded...

There would still be charity, of a sort. But the giver would have to expect tangible benefits, as opposed to acting out of alturism or a desire for self-satisfaction for ticking some sort of moral box. Political leaders for instance would likely distribute food to the poor, thus hoping to purchase some form of loyalty or aquiesance.

There would no longer be arguments about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, because nothing is inherently right or wrong, and that they just are.
Many laws we have right now would never have been made, or may have been abolished.

Since the allowing of 'killing' inherently endangers society as a whole, it would probably be disdained as a whole- but it might occur more amorally, and more frequently.

It's how I imagine it.

I would imagine murder would occur more frequently, not that society would be a constant blood bath but that murder would be uncommon. People would likely keep themselves to themselves, or develop a very complicated form of etiquette based around the avoidance of causing offence and/or the implied threat of violence.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
tvellalott
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1/14/2011 2:33:31 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't see the problem. Acting in self-interest and acting for the good of humanity are not mutually exclusive.
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Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:37:32 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:15:08 AM, belle wrote:
you're operating on an awfully narrow conception of self interest here. i'm pretty sure you would agree that we're all better off living in a modern society than we are without it, right? given that, it is in my interest to engage in activities that perpetuate society such as cooperate with others and refrain from harming them for no good reason.

I addressed that very thing. I am not employing a parody of self-interest, but rather genuine self-interest unrestricted by guilt. Only by fear.

by preforming such actions in an environment when i can reasonably expect others to do the same, i am better off than i would be if i followed your conception of "self interest" which seems entirely a-rational and not desirable. the temptation to cheat always exists, but thats what punishment is for. we're really very good cooperators.

Do you not commit crimes due to guilt, or fear of punishment?
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:38:33 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:33:31 AM, tvellalott wrote:
I don't see the problem. Acting in self-interest and acting for the good of humanity are not mutually exclusive.

You have simply not allowed yourself to imagine the scenario, thats all.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Dazedinday
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1/14/2011 2:40:51 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:21:29 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
True moral nihilists would serve their own self-interests, which would not extend to forcing people to have brain surgery to become psychopaths (or sociopaths whatever the distinction is). This is more, what if everyone just was a practising moral nihilist.

Why wouldn't it be their self interest to make people think as they do? The more people that think like they do, the more they get their way. Plus if there was any opposition, then it would be a simple matter of converting one to rid of opposition. This in no way serves their self interests?

There would still be charity, of a sort. But the giver would have to expect tangible benefits, as opposed to acting out of alturism or a desire for self-satisfaction for ticking some sort of moral box. Political leaders for instance would likely distribute food to the poor, thus hoping to purchase some form of loyalty or aquiesance.

There is another word for that. And that is not charity. I believe it is more closer to 'investment' and 'bribery'.

I would imagine murder would occur more frequently, not that society would be a constant blood bath but that murder would be uncommon. People would likely keep themselves to themselves, or develop a very complicated form of etiquette based around the avoidance of causing offence and/or the implied threat of violence.

But there would be the big difference of 'option'. While many people in the competitive business may find homicide out of option, in a society of amoralism- homicide may be a common option to keep competitors out of business. It serves their self-interests yes?
belle
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1/14/2011 2:41:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:37:32 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:15:08 AM, belle wrote:
you're operating on an awfully narrow conception of self interest here. i'm pretty sure you would agree that we're all better off living in a modern society than we are without it, right? given that, it is in my interest to engage in activities that perpetuate society such as cooperate with others and refrain from harming them for no good reason.

I addressed that very thing. I am not employing a parody of self-interest, but rather genuine self-interest unrestricted by guilt. Only by fear.

but thats nothing to do with guilt. its about the obvious fact that if you mistreat someone they will mistreat you back, and recruit their friends and relatives to do the same. meaning that if you define "self interest" as whatever is most convenient at the moment then you are entirely missing the point. treating people well is in my self interest because its the best way to get them to treat me well in return. and thats nothing to do with the moral notions held by those people, but with their parallel reasoning and self interest.

Do you not commit crimes due to guilt, or fear of punishment?

i don't commit crimes because i think its stupid to do so, punishment being part of that equation.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:46:42 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:41:16 AM, belle wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:37:32 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:15:08 AM, belle wrote:
you're operating on an awfully narrow conception of self interest here. i'm pretty sure you would agree that we're all better off living in a modern society than we are without it, right? given that, it is in my interest to engage in activities that perpetuate society such as cooperate with others and refrain from harming them for no good reason.

I addressed that very thing. I am not employing a parody of self-interest, but rather genuine self-interest unrestricted by guilt. Only by fear.

but thats nothing to do with guilt. its about the obvious fact that if you mistreat someone they will mistreat you back, and recruit their friends and relatives to do the same. meaning that if you define "self interest" as whatever is most convenient at the moment then you are entirely missing the point. treating people well is in my self interest because its the best way to get them to treat me well in return. and thats nothing to do with the moral notions held by those people, but with their parallel reasoning and self interest.

That would be covered by fear, you are totally strawmanning me!

Your representation of what I regard as self-interest is the traditional straw man presented against nihilists but utterly absent from my posts. As with real life, less intelligent people will have a poorer perception of what constitutes self-interest, but the fact remains that self-interest however it is interpreted is commonly held in check by morality, remove it entirely and you have fear only. Which appears to be far less restrictive.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:50:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:40:51 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:21:29 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
True moral nihilists would serve their own self-interests, which would not extend to forcing people to have brain surgery to become psychopaths (or sociopaths whatever the distinction is). This is more, what if everyone just was a practising moral nihilist.

Why wouldn't it be their self interest to make people think as they do? The more people that think like they do, the more they get their way. Plus if there was any opposition, then it would be a simple matter of converting one to rid of opposition. This in no way serves their self interests?

They would end sharing a similar moral outlook, not become more easier to control. This would not be a case of converting the opposition. In fact logically a moral nihilist may very well want to remain the minority, a wolf amongst the sheep.


There would still be charity, of a sort. But the giver would have to expect tangible benefits, as opposed to acting out of alturism or a desire for self-satisfaction for ticking some sort of moral box. Political leaders for instance would likely distribute food to the poor, thus hoping to purchase some form of loyalty or aquiesance.

There is another word for that. And that is not charity. I believe it is more closer to 'investment' and 'bribery'.


See Roman charity.

I would imagine murder would occur more frequently, not that society would be a constant blood bath but that murder would be uncommon. People would likely keep themselves to themselves, or develop a very complicated form of etiquette based around the avoidance of causing offence and/or the implied threat of violence.

But there would be the big difference of 'option'. While many people in the competitive business may find homicide out of option, in a society of amoralism- homicide may be a common option to keep competitors out of business. It serves their self-interests yes?

Yes, there would be more murder. But murder would still be uncommon as in, you would likely not encounter it every day, but it would always be going on.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
belle
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1/14/2011 2:51:11 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:46:42 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:41:16 AM, belle wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:37:32 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:15:08 AM, belle wrote:
you're operating on an awfully narrow conception of self interest here. i'm pretty sure you would agree that we're all better off living in a modern society than we are without it, right? given that, it is in my interest to engage in activities that perpetuate society such as cooperate with others and refrain from harming them for no good reason.

I addressed that very thing. I am not employing a parody of self-interest, but rather genuine self-interest unrestricted by guilt. Only by fear.

but thats nothing to do with guilt. its about the obvious fact that if you mistreat someone they will mistreat you back, and recruit their friends and relatives to do the same. meaning that if you define "self interest" as whatever is most convenient at the moment then you are entirely missing the point. treating people well is in my self interest because its the best way to get them to treat me well in return. and thats nothing to do with the moral notions held by those people, but with their parallel reasoning and self interest.

That would be covered by fear, you are totally strawmanning me!

Your representation of what I regard as self-interest is the traditional straw man presented against nihilists but utterly absent from my posts. As with real life, less intelligent people will have a poorer perception of what constitutes self-interest, but the fact remains that self-interest however it is interpreted is commonly held in check by morality, remove it entirely and you have fear only. Which appears to be far less restrictive.

if thats covered, as you say, then you were strawmanning yourself, because in your first post you implied that society would begin to degenerate, whereas by using my conception of self interest no such degeneration would take place. and in any case, just because people stopped believing that morals were real imperatives, it doesn't follow that they would stop having moral emotions. at most they would likely evaluate their moral intuitions more carefully and be more willing to change them if they didn't seem desirable. people would still get caught lying and cheating and still get in trouble for it from other people... there would just be no illusions about what was happening.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Cerebral_Narcissist
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1/14/2011 2:59:49 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:51:11 AM, belle wrote:
if thats covered, as you say, then you were strawmanning yourself, because in your first post you implied that society would begin to degenerate, whereas by using my conception of self interest no such degeneration would take place.

I made no such reference, I said it would be darker, more violent and dystopian. It would still be a functional society. And you made no such case againstg that.

and in any case, just because people stopped believing that morals were real imperatives, it doesn't follow that they would stop having moral emotions.

Already addressed in the first post. <sigh>

at most they would likely evaluate their moral intuitions more carefully and be more willing to change them if they didn't seem desirable. people would still get caught lying and cheating and still get in trouble for it from other people... there would just be no illusions about what was happening.

To repeat. Assuming that everyone was a practising moral nihilist, everyone would pursue their own self-interest without constraint by guilt or ethics but instead by fear... which would be factored into the self interest really.

A moral person.
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught. Plus his kids would be upset... oh wait I'll be upset as well cos like killing is wrong.

A moral nihilist (practising that is).
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught.

See that the latter scenario provides fewer objections? It's a silly example I know but surely that illustrates my point.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Dazedinday
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1/14/2011 3:12:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago

They would end sharing a similar moral outlook, not become more easier to control. This would not be a case of converting the opposition. In fact logically a moral nihilist may very well want to remain the minority, a wolf amongst the sheep.

Well, I was under the impression of 'what if the world tried to be amoralistic?' Then I guess you've just debunked your own topic I guess.

Ah well, we've had differences of opinion. Although yours will certainly not change mine.
belle
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1/14/2011 3:15:31 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:59:49 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:51:11 AM, belle wrote:
if thats covered, as you say, then you were strawmanning yourself, because in your first post you implied that society would begin to degenerate, whereas by using my conception of self interest no such degeneration would take place.

I made no such reference, I said it would be darker, more violent and dystopian. It would still be a functional society. And you made no such case againstg that.

darker, more violent, dystopian... sounds like a degeneration to me.

and in any case, just because people stopped believing that morals were real imperatives, it doesn't follow that they would stop having moral emotions.

Already addressed in the first post. <sigh>

sure. you "addressed" this by saying that people would have to eliminate their moral emotions, assuming such a thing was even possible. you of all people, being the saddest person on ddo and all, should know that you can't just turn your emotions on and off at will. its a given fact that people have moral emotions. moral nihilist simply claim that there is no rational basis for forming these moral emotions into moral imperatives.

To repeat. Assuming that everyone was a practising moral nihilist, everyone would pursue their own self-interest without constraint by guilt or ethics but instead by fear... which would be factored into the self interest really.

A moral person.
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught. Plus his kids would be upset... oh wait I'll be upset as well cos like killing is wrong.

A moral nihilist (practising that is).
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught.

See that the latter scenario provides fewer objections? It's a silly example I know but surely that illustrates my point.

considering others emotions isn't "moral" if you care about them. also you forgot to add "how would i feel if i were jim? thats not really fair..." or "and if everyone went around killing people and stealing their money? what would happened then?"
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
TheSkeptic
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1/14/2011 4:29:56 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
What belle is probably getting at (I didn't read the entire conversation) is some Hobbes-contractarian proposal for a nihilist society - seems most plausible. I don't deny that moral nihilism has significant political and practical consequences, but perhaps we can work with some moral fictionalist attitude and go from there.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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1/14/2011 8:14:03 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Moral nihilism is moot because anyone living in the actual confines of the definition are sociopaths. Most people who claim to be nihilists are anything but in practical terms, and they live inconsistently with their avowed philosophical interests.

They forget that the world doesn't need an objective moral in order to live with morals. Everyone, except sociopaths, live with a set of morals. Morality is, inarguably, the basis for law.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
Sieben
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1/14/2011 8:27:35 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Moral nihilists don't like, lack reason or empathy. They just don't think moral propositions can be true (or false). To them, saying something is immoral has as much truth content as saying chocolate icecream tastes good. But just because it has no truth content doesn't mean they go around eating random flavors of icecream... it isn't behavioral anarchy.
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mattrodstrom
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1/14/2011 8:39:15 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 8:27:35 AM, Sieben wrote:
Moral nihilists don't like, lack reason or empathy. They just don't think moral propositions can be true (or false). To them, saying something is immoral has as much truth content as saying chocolate icecream tastes good. But just because it has no truth content doesn't mean they go around eating random flavors of icecream... it isn't behavioral anarchy.

I have an understanding of how things ought to be... it's built upon what I care about...

I'm naturally compelled to affirm it/embrace it.

just because I realize that compulsion is due to my nature... and that the way things ought to be is not a Universal aspect of things... and that there is no way things Should be w/o a given, subjective, perspective...

doesn't mean that "morality" doesn't exist.. it means it's due to our nature.. and is perspective based.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
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Danielle
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1/14/2011 8:54:57 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 8:39:15 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
just because I realize that compulsion is due to my nature... and that the way things ought to be is not a Universal aspect of things... and that there is no way things Should be w/o a given, subjective, perspective...

Matt, you say the way you type is the way you speak. Do you really speak like that? Do you pause randomly in between words? Just because..... you allegedly type.... like you're mentally handicapped..... because.... it seemingly takes you...... 5 minutes to get through a sentence...... doesn't mean you... have to..... TYPE... like that on DDO.... because... it's REALLY annoying.... including your highlights.... your emphasis... everything...

I mean I know you don't care - and you don't have to - but it's been mentioned by a handful of people now lol. If you told lovelife to stop being annoying, wouldn't you want her to oblige? :P It's truly off-putting to even bother reading your posts. I mean that in a constructive way.
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Danielle
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1/14/2011 8:55:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Also, I'd like to think that I type the way I speak haha and it's with proper grammar :P Commas indicate pauses, etc.
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mattrodstrom
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1/14/2011 8:58:37 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 8:55:43 AM, theLwerd wrote:
Also, I'd like to think that I type the way I speak haha and it's with proper grammar :P Commas indicate pauses, etc.

hahaha
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Danielle
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1/14/2011 9:17:30 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 8:14:03 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Moral nihilism is moot because anyone living in the actual confines of the definition are sociopaths.

No. A sociopath is someone who disregards the rights of others. I'm pretty sure moral nihilists like Cody and Ann believe in and respect rights. Sociopaths also do things like lie incessantly, torture animals, are irresponsible, etc. Basically they exemplify certain traits that I don't think it's fair to push on all nihilists. As Sieben explained, nihilists don't lack empathy or reason but merely feel moral propositions cannot be declared true or false.

Is female genital mutilation immoral?

Objectivist: Yes/No
Subjectivist: Yes/No depending on culture
Nihilist: It's neither inherently moral or immoral

(but that doesn't mean they want or advocate cutting a girl's vagina)

Most people who claim to be nihilists are anything but in practical terms, and they live inconsistently with their avowed philosophical interests.

Well this is you once again not understand the terms you're passing judgments on. Nihilists don't lack an ethical system per se -- they just don't think they can say something is or isn't inherently moral or immoral (even if they do in every day conversation). From our last convo, I remember how caught up you get with terms insisting that morality HAS to exist. Sure, standards of morality definitely exist and are even subjective by culture - that's obvious. The philosophical question is whether or not something truly has a moral value. Some say the subjective nature of morality indicates that no true moral standard exists, and then one's "morality" (or what they feel is an appropriate standard of living) is just derived through other means: culture, emotions, experiences, reasoning, etc.

They forget that the world doesn't need an objective moral in order to live with morals. Everyone, except sociopaths, live with a set of morals. Morality is, inarguably, the basis for law.

Eh, I think this is mainly a semantics issue for you if I remember. Nihilists don't live "without morals" in the way you're assuming or projecting they do.
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PARADIGM_L0ST
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1/14/2011 10:22:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 9:17:30 AM, theLwerd wrote:
At 1/14/2011 8:14:03 AM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
Moral nihilism is moot because anyone living in the actual confines of the definition are sociopaths.

No. A sociopath is someone who disregards the rights of others.:

What are rights without morals? Therein lies the problem.

I'm pretty sure moral nihilists like Cody and Ann believe in and respect rights.:

Agreed, but the question is what reason do you guys have to?

Sociopaths also do things like lie incessantly, torture animals, are irresponsible, etc.:

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Basically they exemplify certain traits that I don't think it's fair to push on all nihilists.:

I'm not equating nihilists to sociopaths, I'm merely saying that sciopaths exhibit true nihilistic tendencies because of their total lack of morality. Everyone else simply lives contradictory lives.

(but that doesn't mean they want or advocate cutting a girl's vagina):

But why not, is the question?

Well this is you once again not understand the terms you're passing judgments on. Nihilists don't lack an ethical system per se -- they just don't think they can say something is or isn't inherently moral or immoral (even if they do in every day conversation).:

But neither you or I believe there is an objective moral value. You say that you don't lack an ethical system, and neither do I. What then makes the difference between you and I?

From our last convo, I remember how caught up you get with terms insisting that morality HAS to exist.:

Only in the sense of being consistent, not that there is some cosmic arbiter. It is true that most intelligent beings have some kind of system of morality. Society works based upon that system of ethics, our laws only make sense within the confines of that morality. The two are inextricably linked, and both serve a vital function.

Would you argue that morality and altruism serve an evolutionary purpose?
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1/14/2011 10:54:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 1:36:27 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
I know this has probably been done before, maybe even is being done currently but anyway...

Lol. Yeah...

I get and agree with the basic premise of moral nihilism as abstraction, an intellectial concept, but in practical terms what use is it?

Though we may acknowledge the truth of it, we are still left with ingrained moral programming and guilt responses. Which though may be sometimes repressed for our benefit, also exist to make society possible and to maximise happiness.

1. What moral programming? Emotional reaction =/= morality

2. Guilt responses do exist. But they are a faulty premise to base "morality" off of.

3. Society can exist amorally. And how is happiness maximized with morality?

A practising moral nihilist would have to embark on a course of psychological self-harm to remove all traces of 'morality'. A painful process, unlike to benefit anyone.

1. Self-harm? There is nothing harmful about disregarding something you have found to be false.

2. How is following what you deem to be true and disregarding the rest *not* beneficial? Plus, I prefer to remain logical -- I'm not concerned with emotional responses or the idea that I *need* morality. What a waste of time.

If people adopted moral nihilism in their day to day behaviour what would society look like. Would it not be a rather hellish and dystopian place?

1. Amoral =/= no accountability for actions

2. Hellish and dystopian? Living under illusion is my hell which is exactly what you are doing.

Everyone would be pursuing their own parochial self-interest, kept in check only by fear of punishment (which is not as effective a constraint as moral conditioning even though one is derived from the other to an extent). It net terms human happiness would suffer, and to me human happiness is a reasonable if arbitary value to place as the raison d'etre of a moral system.

1. Are you saying that people don't pursue their own self-interest in a society with morals?

2. Fear of punishment is not the only implication of an action that would discourage actions which are deemed unfavorable or not beneficial.

3. How do you know happiness would decline? And what a horrible premise for moral action!

Moral Nihilism may be a logical academic position, but as a moral position it is utterly irrational.

It's the antithesis of a moral position.
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1/14/2011 10:54:45 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 3:12:09 AM, Dazedinday wrote:

Well, I was under the impression of 'what if the world tried to be amoralistic?' Then I guess you've just debunked your own topic I guess.


That was not my topic and I've not debunked a question.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
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1/14/2011 11:00:20 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 3:15:31 AM, belle wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:59:49 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 1/14/2011 2:51:11 AM, belle wrote:
if thats covered, as you say, then you were strawmanning yourself, because in your first post you implied that society would begin to degenerate, whereas by using my conception of self interest no such degeneration would take place.

I made no such reference, I said it would be darker, more violent and dystopian. It would still be a functional society. And you made no such case againstg that.

darker, more violent, dystopian... sounds like a degeneration to me.

That is entirely a matter of perception, a social darwinist might hail it as progressive.


and in any case, just because people stopped believing that morals were real imperatives, it doesn't follow that they would stop having moral emotions.

Already addressed in the first post. <sigh>

sure. you "addressed" this by saying that people would have to eliminate their moral emotions, assuming such a thing was even possible. you of all people, being the saddest person on ddo and all, should know that you can't just turn your emotions on and off at will. its a given fact that people have moral emotions. moral nihilist simply claim that there is no rational basis for forming these moral emotions into moral imperatives.

There was more than one sentence in the first post! Seriously!


To repeat. Assuming that everyone was a practising moral nihilist, everyone would pursue their own self-interest without constraint by guilt or ethics but instead by fear... which would be factored into the self interest really.

A moral person.
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught. Plus his kids would be upset... oh wait I'll be upset as well cos like killing is wrong.

A moral nihilist (practising that is).
Hmm if I kill Jim, I could steal all his money! Oh but wait I am bound to get caught.

See that the latter scenario provides fewer objections? It's a silly example I know but surely that illustrates my point.

considering others emotions isn't "moral" if you care about them. also you forgot to add "how would i feel if i were jim? thats not really fair..." or "and if everyone went around killing people and stealing their money? what would happened then?"

True people would still care, love etc. This would be factored into the self-interest calculation.
The consideration of fairness, and empathy would not be relevant to a moral nihilist however.
The Kantian style argument would be factored in by some of the more intelligent moral nihilists. But I don't think people have ever actually not stolen or not murdered due to it.

The question remains, would a nihilistic society be happier?
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
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1/14/2011 11:00:44 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/14/2011 2:13:50 AM, Dazedinday wrote:
If everyone were moral nihilists, then it would be most reasonable to make everyone a 'psychopath'. They are unable to feel guilt, thus 'true moral nihilist'. They'd probably legalize a certain brain surgery that makes everyone a psychopath.

1. I'M a moral nihilist and I assure you that I am not a psychopath.

2. I do feel guilt. I just do not use it as justification for disallowing an action.

3. Why would I want everybody to be a psychopath? That doesn't sound entirely pleasant.

Of course, there would no longer be the need for stupid charities, stupid caring for the old, caring for the retarded...

1. Charities I have no problem with. I have no problem with people caring for the old. And I take care of the retarded. Are you saying that morality makes you help the poor, old and sick? Since such help is voluntary and not mandated, I have no problem with it's existence. And if morality is the only thing that makes you help others, that's interesting. Even without morality I help others. Hmm...

There would no longer be arguments about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, because nothing is inherently right or wrong, and that they just are.

And that's bad?

Many laws we have right now would never have been made, or may have been abolished.

And that's bad?

Since the allowing of 'killing' inherently endangers society as a whole, it would probably be disdained as a whole- but it might occur more amorally, and more frequently.

Morality does not ensure moral actions. Just like amorality does not ensure psychopaths running around a society killing, looting and raping.

It's how I imagine it.

You are misguided.
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