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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,455
(Continued from previous post)


We’ve already cut down too many.

So at what number should we have stopped? How many fewer houses and how much less paper should we have? Would you rather have trees then have technology that will aid peoples happiness and make life easier? Paper, houses, and all else made from trees has a utility and use. Trees are just there. They dont provide you shelter, you cant write on them, and you still have plenty left over to have a healthy amount of oxygen. So how have you come up with the conclusion that we have chopped down to many? What is your reasoning? Why do you want us to have those trees then have the uilities created from them?
I am relying upon the findings of those who know more about this than I. I know that there is room for controversy. But there needs to be thought, lots of it, rather than lack of it.

It is the responsibility of all of us to be good people.

Based off of your conception of what a good person is? What if my definition of a good person is better then yours? Are you smarter then me?
No. Then I would need to change. I have told you what my definition is. What is yours?
Have you such good judgement that you can guide me in the direction that I should live my own life by?
We can give each other our ideas and advocate for them, while having friendly debate, so that we have a self-correcting process.
If we both contradict each other over what a good person is, and if most people disagree with you on what a good person is, then what gives you the idea that your ideas are so good that everyone should adopt them?
I would certainly want to get feedback and understand why the difference existed.
If your that smart where are the good fruits that have come from your intellect? It seems to me that to tell others what their morality should be you would have to be either God or the smartest most perceptive person alive.
Why? I believe you are telling me that I should believe differently than I do. I do not believe that you think you are God or the most perceptive person alive. You are trying to be of help to me, and you are also trying to see, by my responses, whether you might change your mind.

You are responsible to do that which is good for everyone. You may not accept that responsibility, but what you decide to do will have an impact on others. I wish to live in a world where we indeed care about each other and do our best to make this world as good a place as we can. It is only by virtue of our trying to do so that our world becomes a better place. The more people who try, the better off we are. The more that people don’t try, the worse off we are. All the good in my life, and even my own existence, has been made possible by humanoblasts. And humanoclasts have hindered us from having the kind of life that would be so much better.

How have you the right to tell me my own responsibilities?
I have the right to advocate.
Who gave you this authority?
We can all advocate for what we believe in. This does not mean that we are authorities.
What makes you an expert in this matter?
I don't know what you mean by "expert." I certainly have done a lot of thinking about it over the course of my life and in my profession.
This sounds to me to be a very liberal attitude.
I apparently do not have very typical beliefs.
I believe in your sincerity, I think you want to do good based off of your conception of what good is, but you think your wiser about how people should be conducting themselves then people themselves.
I think that I have some useful ideas, and I wish to contribute them, as a part of doing my part to make the world a better place.
I dont think you are that smart, I dont think that I'm that smart, and I think that of all the goods that I do know about the only one I have a right to judge is the good that is good for myself. I dont know whats best for others, and I dont think that you do either.
I have the impression that you are very pessimistic. It does not sound to me like you believe much in people learning from each other. It sounds to me like you see learning from someone as some kind of act of submission. I regard this as a consequence of our use of punishment in our standard model of child rearing, and think that it is a widespread problem.

Well, you may well have a point, that there is lack of clarity with regard to this. It has to do with the kind of motivation we are talking about. I associate “owe” with the concept of an agreed upon contract, in which A says he will do X for B, if B will agree to do Y for A, and B agrees to the contract. When A does X, B owes doing Y. But I’m not talking about an agreed-upon contract. I’m talking about a fact that what we do has an effect on others and that it is through cooperation that we have lives that are as good as they are. It is the motivation to chip in and help because one appreciates and values what has been accomplished by others, especially since one has benefited so much from their doing so.

How is what your saying different then what is already happening? People by adopting this attitude are not going to come up with new technology or aid progress. People "chip in" and "help" by pursuing their own seperate interests regardless of how it effects everyone else. The more were concerned about how what we say effects others the more we censor our thougths, the more we are concerned about others judgement of us the less were willing to try different things. The more we want to pull people together and create "good" people the more we hard that wonderful individuality which is to thank for all we have.
I see individuality as the creative use of that which has been given to us by others, hopefully in the service of contributing to that process of us all working toward making the world a better place for everyone, now and in the future.

Yes, it’s good to clarify how words are being used. I am using “society” as a general term referring to any group that one can be a member of. The Charlotte Folk Society is an example. The United States is an example.

Alright, but you have been using society in a context here. What society are you trying to chip in to help? Which society that we identify as a group?
Any of them.
That is a fine definiton of soceity as used overall, but it doesnt get at what your self identified group you refer to on this post. Does your concept of society seperate groups that someone opts to join and those one has no choice about.
No.
I for instance didnt choose to be white or American, I did choose to be Libertarian and a part of this philosophical group. I am assuming that your definition of society does not destinguish.
Correct.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,456
(Continued from previous post)


I’m talking about the performers.

Alright, I misunderstood.
Producing good music.

Voluntarily, for their own self satisfaction.
No, for the satisfaction and pleasure of everyone.

No, they perform their roles and work cooperatively to produce something that could not be produced by one person.

For their own self satisfaction. They have no obligations in this matter. They arent doing this for the good of the band. If the band sucks, the members leave. This is not altruism. This is not an example of what I'm talking about. The good of the band is not the purpose behind the members joining the band. No one had to become a member of this philosophical system you espouse and talk them into joining. The good the overall band gets is not gained by the cost of the individual members happiness. Everyone in that situation wins.
Yes, and that is my idea, of everyone working together to make the world a better place, with concern for others as well as self.

The final idea is often some agreed-upon amalgamation of the ideas of individuals.

Yes and that is a compromise. Pure progress never comes from compromise.
I don't know why you say this.
Actions taken by groups can be compromise, but pure inventions which leads to actual progress is never a compromise. Inventors dont compromise vision, they dont have to because inventions are created based off of logical utility or use. Incidentally it is no accident that I have noticed in the world of art that all of the best art is almost always produced when it is left up to the hands of the individual creater not having to compromise his vision. That is why books are almost always better then movies. The best movies are created by the directors who are given the most leeway in making the films. The most imaginative films are indi films far removed from beurocratic Hollywood studios.
That's an interesting idea.
Law making is different, but law making is not progress or creation. We give politicians credit and admiration for rules they lay down. They deserve none. They create no progress. Only individuals create progress. The further removed decisions are taken from the individuals themselves the worse off are the results.
What is the data to support this?
Implementation itself is a different story and you keep overlaping implementation (done by groups) with ideas (always created by individuals). The idea is not an agreed upon amalgamation, the implementation of the idea is agreed upon by the group.
I agree that ideas appear within individual's minds, some of those ideas being very "creative," but what I am also saying is that what emerges in individual's minds depends tremendously upon the context or historical social history that that mind has been embedded in.

I think for any group there are some common goals. That is why they are a group, rather than just a bunch of individuals.

Every group is a bunch of individuals. If not for individuals there would be no group.
Okay.
You have to start at the idea of individuals without losing that idea. You cant understand groups unless you realize first that they are composed of individuals.
I agree.
Most groups consist of individuals who want some result and compromise with the majority to get the results they seek. The two major political parties in this country consist of all types of factions, many of whom are completely opposed to each other but yet reside in the same group. Blue Dog Democrats are nothing whatsoever like Progressive Democrats. In the other direction, Conservative Republicans have totally seperate goals then Libertarian Republicans. All groups use the group as a vehicle for their own means. The bigger the group, the further the common elements in the group disagree. The world's Mormons are far more in agreement and unity then the worlds catholics. Why? Because there are far fewer of them. The larger the group, the more they stray from the individuals who make them up, the more the unity which made that group a group in the first place is lost. The more the unity of the group is lost, the more they stray from effectiveness is getting things achieved together. This is why "Democrats" dont achieve anything, only the Democrat in charge achieves what he wants. When the group gets big enough and powerful enough, it is even more about lack of cohesion in achieving things together. At that point it becomes yet again a vehicle for the achievement in the goals of a powerful individual. First and foremost a group based around ideology is a label and less an attempt to achieve with unity common goals. People become lost in labels and lose their way.
The person in charge, so to speak, is only in charge to the extent that the group allows that to be so.

That doesn’t follow.

I'm showing humility in saying I dont know whats best for someone elses children. I dont know the minds of children so I dont know.
We can all share our ideas and advocate for that which we believe in.

So we agree.

This decision must be decided by a group in authority.
Preceding discussion missing. Not clear what the issue is.

What do you mean by the word “should”? Doesn’t that contradict what you have said? Haven’t you said that I should not believe that I should?

No I havent said that. I didnt say anything about what you decide about what you "should" do. That is your decision to help him or not help him. I'm saying you shouldnt do it because its your responsibility or duty. It should give you satisfaction and the benefits need to outweigh the costs. That is if you want to be a person of self esteem. If you dont, that is your call. I never said what you should or shouldnt do, thats your decision, what I'm talking about is what in my opinion is "survival" centered behavior.
Maybe "survival-centered behavior" contains the issue that we have some difference of opinion about.
To help some one from a sense of feeling obligated to, or feeling its a duty you have to carry out, is to undermine your own existence for the sake of someone elses. That is action which centers around lack of self worth. However, its your call. I dont believe in idea that ethics are universals. They are guidlines. Bad ethics are going to cost you, the responsiblity of them rests on you, not on me.
So what do you think about Humanian ethics?

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,457
(Continued from previous post)



You seem to see the possibilities as two: Either you care only about yourself and care nothing about others, or you care only about others and nothing about yourself. Humanianity says the REUEP applies to everyone, and that includes yourself. The heart and the lungs work together. One without the other will die.

The actions themselves center around your self satisfactions, or others self satisfactions. Its not that you dont care about others, its that you care about them selfishly. Honestly. Not due to altruistic duty. That isnt the same as not caring. You care about others based off of how you honestly feel about them. You can feel honest empathy for a total stranger. You could feel total empathy for someone you know personally. You shouldnt be dishonest about your instincts or needs is my point.
I think I accept all of that.
You shouldnt let the pressures of others moralities dictate your conduct. And the heart and lungs are different then are people relations with each other. If you die I go on. We are not all in this together. My survival doesnt depend on you. Many people trapped on desert islands have survived. There was no society to aid them. They survived through their own ingenuity.
But their own ingenuity was something that was put into them by their total life experience prior to their isolation, namely, what "society" gave them.

It is your judgment that the man is a nobody. There is also the issue as to what Myke makes himself into by being concerned for someone else and being willing to share a little of the suffering.

He makes himself into a punching bag for no good reason that is what he makes himself into. Now he's hungry, this person who has less worth then him is eating his food, and the conditions of neither of them have changed. Tommorow the man still is homeless, Myke still has all he ever did, the conditions of neither have changed. The whole thing is really dumb. He felt a sort of guilt in not helping this total stranger who had less worth then him. By worth I mean that Myke has more resources and more ways of influencing the lives of more people for the better then this stranger. This is the silly behavior that altruist guilt leads to. No one's lives were improved, everyone has lowered there own self esteem and self worth. The bum has lost his self esteem by accepting the fact that he cant feed himself, Myke has lost his self esteem by giving up his worth forth the worth of a lesser value. In this case of altruistic stupidity everyone loses.
I don’t understand why you think Myke has lost any self-esteem. Also, it is just possible that the man he helped may have been affected in such a way as to make him more optimistic and able to make use of some future opportunity to get out of his situation. One never really knows.

Of course no situation is that simple. But obviously you would not have been a firefighter going into the WTC.

Untrue. I have nothing but respect for those firefighters. They were not practicing altruism. If they had killed themselves to save anothers life that would have been altruism. They did not give up their lives for a lesser value. Altruism is giving up a greater value for a lesser value. Since the individual is the greatest value, to give up the cause of the individual to the cause of a group you have practiced altruism by handing over the greatest value to the lesser value. The firefighters did not give up their lives to save the lives of a greater majority, there was no sacrifice, so there was no altruism in that particular instance.
I am having trouble following this, in the context of what you have said in the past.

I’m trying to convert you.

Yes you are. Because you feel you know more about what my morality ought to be then I do.
I am doing the same as you. You are advocating that I change my ethical beliefs, and I am doing the same in return. We are sharing and comparing our ideas about this, hopefully for the benefit of both of us and perhaps for the benefit of others who might be "listening in."

I want everyone to adopt mine.

That is an arrogant attitude. You must be saying you know more then others about what they ought to feel is right or wrong. How do you justify your rationality as being so much better then mine or anyones?
I am simply doing as you're doing, advocating for a way of life that is better than the way we have been living as a species. I think neither of us are satisfied, and both of us would like to make things better if we are able. We are both trying.

I want them to work with each other to try to discover the best ways of implementing the REUEP.

In other words, just like Objectivist thinkers, you want everyone to conform and think just like you.
If you simply looked at the first part of the home page of the http://www.humanianit...­ website, I think you would see that that is not correct.
To develop your standards of right and wrong. I dont think your qulified to make that assertion. Individuals decide on ethics and ethics are not absolutes. If someone adopts a poor ethical stance, they pay for that viewpoint by receiving bad results. One persons idea of "good" should not dictate another persons concept of "good". We are living this life of "absurdism" ( a word for our condition rightly defined by Albert Camus) without any real meaning. We develop our own ethics as individuals. Ethics are carried out and decided by individuals living this life and finding their own individual meaning inside of a meaningless universe. No one is more of an expert on "ethics" then anyone else. There is no expert on a correct conduct of living life because life have no overreaching meaning. Everything is completely obliterated. The only ethical postition is to conduct ourselves in such a way so that we extend our lives as long as possible, and that we dont try to dictate to each other how to live each others lives.
Aren't you trying to tell me that I should not live my life as a Humanian?
No man is more of an expert on what is best for himself then himself. I understand that others views can give a person greater perspective on the puzzle of who he is, but no one will know himself overall better then he will about his own condition. This is the biggest disagreement I have with Objectivism. I dont want everyone to agree on a worldview, we never got anywhere from everyone agreeing.
Without some degree of agreement, we die.
Everyone could be wrong.
Absolutely. We need maximal accuracy of belief .
How many mistakes have been made because of the sentence "Well everyone knows." No, everyone doesnt.
We should always be in the pursuit of more accurate beliefs. This is an ethical belief of mine, and I advocate it to you, as you apparently are advocating it to me.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,458
(Continued from previous post)


Ethics is primarily about the effect of one’s behavior on the group.

Ethics is about the best way of making sense of senselessness and leading a satisfying life. The burden of ethics is placed on every person. They either live a life of criticism and self assessment, or they join some group and find comfort in having faith in some doctrine.
I define "ethics" as that set of beliefs that can be modeled with sentences having the word "should" in them (though of course there are other uses of the word "should" also).

I wish you did.

I dont live for others. I live for my own existence. You want me to accept responsibility for others when I have no responsibility for them being born, or their life conditions, or their feelings for me. I accept no responsiblity for things that I didnt cause.
I am simply talking about helping out.

I think if you were a member of the Mafia, others would endure bad consequences because of your ethical system.

Bad consequences are caused by aggression and force. Force is the cause of all of societies problems. Unjustified force that is. If force is not used to enhance freedom, then force should be done away with. The only just laws are laws that advance freedom. No bad ethical stance can be a bad stance for another person where force is not in some way invovled. Without force, anyone can walk away from bad moralities.
This sounds like something I would tend to agree with. However, there might be problems with the term "justified."

When a good friend comforts you, you haven’t paid money for that.

I get much more satisfaction from a friend who comforts me then a stranger. A friend has more selfish love invested then a stranger. The more I judge a person and their character, the more I feel for a person I know personally. It would be hard to care for a serial killers suffering as opposed to the suffering of a loyal friend. A stranger may feel an obligation to care, my friend is far more likely to care in a more heartfelt deep way.
This sounds like something I would agree with also.

Of course?? What do you mean “of course”? How does it bend? Why? Should it? Were you unethical when it bent?

It bends because of application. Principals are guidlines, they are not universals. This is another way in which I disagree with the Objectivists. Actions should be judged based off of their consequences not off of principals. I adhere to non aggression in such situations whereby it leads to more freedom. If freedom and happiness is best achieved through a little aggression, then the ends justify the means. I dont believe that ethics are universals and are absolu…[cut off, probably too many characters]

Yes I probably agree. I would say that there are general principles and rules of conduct, but that they are also dependent on the circumstances of the situation, and require as much as possible an accurate understanding of the way the world works. All of that is in the chapter on "Basic Concepts: Ethics."
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 42
*Not necessarily. Perhaps incomplete principals. In order for us to become very different socially, we will have to modify drastically our basic model of child rearing.
So you want to tell people how they should be raising their own children? In cases where no abuse is inherent, you want people to raise their children in the way that you feel is best? I dont see any evidence whatsoever which would suggest that poor child rearing is the cause of any of societies problems. My grandfather was a violent drunk who was abusive to my father. My father is a wonderful father who spanked me and my brother on exceptionally rare occasions. As I stated earlier Jeffrey Dahmer had a nice normal childhood and went out and dismembered people and ate them. Ted Bundy grew up in a nice Christian home. There is no tying in these awful seriel killers with poor child rearing. There is no way of tying in my fathers good parenting with awful child rearing. To say, "well there are always exceptions" is to make excuses. Either its child rearing, or it isnt child rearing. If the theory doesnt fit the evidence then there is probably something inherently wrong with the theory. As far as incomplete principals goes, principals are the most basic assertions that there are. Implimentation of principals might be off, but if we try over and over again different implimentations of the same principal and it fails then the principal is probably bad. If another principal is tried and it fits evidence and leads to success it is probably correct. Republicanism and constitutionalism have led to good results. Anything which focuses in on the sacrifice of the individual to responsibility to a group leads to poor results. Its that way for a reason, the reason behind the principals.
*This is using words differently than their normal usage.
Every defines Democracy as majority rules. They just dont think through the logical implications of what true democracy means. If majority rules over rights then the majority is who decides what is right. If the majority decides that you have no right to your home, the majority gets what it wants.
*You seem to consider only the two extremes of absolute independence and absolute obedience. There is also the possibility of individuals benevolently working out procedures which, if followed, will produce a better life all.
Only if those procedures or law inhance freedom are they any good.
*I understand that we have a constitutional democracy, not just one where everything is determined by majority vote. But the basic difference is that our system of government is a contract that we have agreed to go by, pertaining to everyone, as opposed to our being subject to the wishes of whoever is most powerful and able to kill the most people.
Did we? I did not have a say in the matter of the constitution. We didnt choose the document. As far as the constitution goes it is not followed. The wishes of whoever is in power are what is followed. We dont follow the guidlines of our constitution at all.
*I think that we agree to a great extent, but that we use different languages. For instance, you are using phrase "cause and effect thinking." This is an undefined phrase in our discussion. It is not a phrase that I would use. If you read my chapter on "Basic Concepts: Determinants of Behavior," I think you would see what you are talking about discussed in great detail, and you would probably agree.
I dont know how to specify cause and effect thinking more clearly. Look at evidence and base decisions on past experiences.
*I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Indeed, I believe that many people have a depressive worldview, that has been produced by their experiences in childhood, primarily through the use of formal and informal punishment. I say "primarily," because the issues are quite complex.
I dont get that that is the sense of the matter. I believe that you say primarily because you dont want to put the responsiblity of actions on the people themselves. When talking about punishment so far you have said that punishment is the reason for suicide, self loathing and depression. You have stated that without the group we die, without society we die, without aggreement we die. When I said that sometimes soiety gets in the way of individuals being creative and productive you called it "cultural victimization". You say our problems in this culture are a result of child rearing. You have gone so far as to say that, "Individuals are products of groups." You even said that, "Ingenuity was put into them by society" when I was refering to people on desert islands surviving without society. As far as I have seen in every circumstance you have avoided time and again placing any blame for behaior on the individuals themselves. Everything is the fault of child rearing, punishment, guilt or its the achievements of society, culture or the group. Nothing rests in anyone hands. You have avoided terms like individuals and talked about products, agents and victims. I firmly believe that if society were to view things in this way it would lead to total lack of self worth. You talk about individuals being fit and in good shape to further the progress of others. That is what the nazies espoused in their public policies. Everyone was to take maximum care of the self so as better to aid the society or the group. I'm not calling you a nazi, but that is exactly the same as far as that specific instance goes. People have free will, people create their way in life, they are not products. They have self owndership, their ingenuity is not "put into them by society." Ingenuity is the working of an individual mind. Individual minds feed society its ideas. Look up Richard Dawkins idea behind mems. He illustrates how its individuals and their ideas which last past our death and which create progress. Workers and officials would maintain things at a level of total stagnation and society would stand still if it wasnt for individuals and their ideas.
*All of them.
You want all societies to adopt your philosophical system and give up their autonomy. This is dangerous in my viewpoint. I read the front page of the website. It says people's end goals should be others. I very very much disagree with that, and in a society where that is the goal I dont think that anyone would have any self worth at all.
*In the field of ethics, it would be consistency with the REUEP, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future.
Right. So everyones first priority is everyone else. "Were all in this together." Its another way of saying that everyone is enslaved to everyone.
*How consistent their behavior is with the REUEP.
Everyone should behave how you think they should want to behave. Everyone should raise their children based off of your standards. If this is implimented and the children grow up completely screwed up it must be a problem with the way the principals were implimented instead of the principals being bad. These are my fears as pertains to this way of thinking. I hope you see what I'm getting at here.
*And I would consider "happiness" to mean as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 43
That would be fine if it were a personal goal. But you want us all to be in this together. You want us all to agree with how you think we ought to be.
*By behaving as ethically as possible, and thereby having as good an effect as possible within my sphere of influence.
Yes but like I said you arent an ethics expert. There is no such thing. I'm not either. Were both fallable. How do we know our ethical principals are sound? Since life ends and since the universe is going to end one day as well, all of this is meaningless and futile. Its absurd and there is no higher purpose. With death being the great equalizer, how can anyone claim a universally applicable set of ethics? Shouldnt ethics be decided in private based off of what seems right to that particular individual? Do we really need yet another religion to guide what should be up to freethinkers?
*No. Then I would need to change. I have told you what my definition is. What is yours?
I think there are different levels of good a person can be, but basically to qualify as a good person I think that someone should not force themselves on or lie to others. Perhaps not be rude or inconsiderate. If a person can pull that off, I think they would basically be a decent person.
*We can give each other our ideas and advocate for them, while having friendly debate, so that we have a self-correcting process.
Yes but you stated earlier you wanted to convert me.
*Why? I believe you are telling me that I should believe differently than I do. I do not believe that you think you are God or the most perceptive person alive. You are trying to be of help to me, and you are also trying to see, by my responses, whether you might change your mind.
The second half of this is right but the first half is wrong. I want to be challenged, but changing others is not a prerogative for me. I think that this mindset of seeing groups and taking away responsibility (which is what it looks like you want to do) is a dangerous policy if it were ever put into practice forcibly. There is nothing wrong with you advocating it or people following it. If its as bad as I think it is, the burden rests on the individuals. If there is no cost in me for people following it, and no benefit in converting you to my viewpoint (what possible benefit could I accrue from that) then I really have no reason to care. I am challenging these views to test the soundness of my own and to take you up on your saying that hearing other views is the way to grow. I aggree with that. I love conversations with people I disagree with. I feel I test myself by them. If I ever recieve Jehovah's Witnesses at my house you can bet I'm inviting them in for coffee.
*I have the right to advocate.
Yes you do, but you have no way of being an ethical expert for others. Only for yourself. Ethics arent universals, its not like being a chemist or biologist. There are no experts in this field, only thinkers with notions.
*We can all advocate for what we believe in. This does not mean that we are authorities.
So since there are no authorities, then no one is any more an expert in ethics then is anyone else.
*I don't know what you mean by "expert." I certainly have done a lot of thinking about it over the course of my life and in my profession.
How does the term expert apply to other fields. You go to school and get a degree and lean all there is to teach on the matter because whatever it is it consists of facts. This is not true of ethics. There is no one who holds a justifiable background in anything who is able to set forth a rule of ethics which are more valid then anyone elses.
*I have the impression that you are very pessimistic. It does not sound to me like you believe much in people learning from each other. It sounds to me like you see learning from someone as some kind of act of submission. I regard this as a consequence of our use of punishment in our standard model of child rearing, and think that it is a widespread problem.
I dont consider myself to be pessimistic about where humanities going. Learning from someone else is an act of submission. In order to learn you have to break down your beariers and let in new knowledge. That is an act of submission. If you did not submit yourself to new knowledge, you would simply talk and not listen.
*I see individuality as the creative use of that which has been given to us by others, hopefully in the service of contributing to that process of us all working toward making the world a better place for everyone, now and in the future.
Once again you absolutely refuse to lay responsiblity on the person themselves for their contributions. Its not a person who came up with the idea, its "others" who are to thank. How could anyone ever consider himself a freethinking agent with self esteem or be appreciated for his work when its only the results of "others" contributions?
*No, for the satisfaction and pleasure of everyone.
No one joins a band thinking, "I'm helping society by playing music I love." People make music for selfish pleasure. In all realms, realms of art are most certainly the most self centered of them all.
*Yes, and that is my idea, of everyone working together to make the world a better place, with concern for others as well as self.
It sounds to me like concern for others in spite of self.
*I don't know why you say this.
Because progress is the enactment of ideas. Ideas come from the minds of individuals. Ideas are not compromises. Compromises involve groups and groups enact ideas. They dont originate them.
*What is the data to support this?
All around you. Read economics and compare societies which have more centralized planning. As far as laws go they dont create new things (progress). They are ways of controlling how people interact. That hasnt got a thing to do with progress.
*I agree that ideas appear within individual's minds, some of those ideas being very "creative," but what I am also saying is that what emerges in individual's minds depends tremendously upon the context or historical social history that that mind has been embedded in.
In other words individuals are creative because of culture. That is not true and has never been true. Individuals are creative because they think and are critical. Its even less true now because we have endless options of changing what were exposed to. We are a worldwide community now with the internet. We choose our own "societies" more then ever. We are self made. We create ourselves. I could raise my kids in a Catholic community as a Buddhist. Its up to me because I shape myself and my own thoughts. Even neurology now has shown that the brain is plastic. We sculpt our own brain how we choose. We are in charge, we arent products of our circumstances. Our circumstances are the products of us. At least after we reach adulthood.
*The person in charge, so to speak, is only in charge to the extent that the group allows that to be so.
The group has no choice but to put someone in charge. They dont all think together. They dont think as a collective.
*Maybe "survival-centered behavior" contains the issue that we have some difference of opinion about.
My biggest issue has become the lack of recognition that is being given to the individual's responsibility for his life.
*So what do you think about Humanian ethics?
It seems alruistic and destructive. It scares the bejesus out of me.
vincent
user 8236565
Kannapolis, NC
Post #: 44
*But their own ingenuity was something that was put into them by their total life experience prior to their isolation, namely, what "society" gave them.
Of course. Once again no one is responsible for thier actions. They didnt survive by their ingenuity, it was placed into them by society. No one holds any responsiblities for their actions. All responsiblities rest in punishments, child rearing, society or some group.
*I am having trouble following this, in the context of what you have said in the past.
There was no sacrifice of values. Without that there was no altruistic bahavior.
*I am doing the same as you. You are advocating that I change my ethical beliefs, and I am doing the same in return. We are sharing and comparing our ideas about this, hopefully for the benefit of both of us and perhaps for the benefit of others who might be "listening in."
I am not advocating you change anything. I'm simply stating opinions.
*I am simply doing as you're doing, advocating for a way of life that is better than the way we have been living as a species. I think neither of us are satisfied, and both of us would like to make things better if we are able. We are both trying.
Yes we are, but from totally different and incompatible perspectives.
*If you simply looked at the first part of the home page of the http://www.humanianit...­. website, I think you would see that that is not correct.
I have and I am confirmed.
*Aren't you trying to tell me that I should not live my life as a Humanian?
No I'm not saying that. I'm saying that if everyone adopted this viewpoint I dont feel anyone would have responsibliities or self esteem. I'm not saying you should abandon it or not spread it. I'm saying I think its fortunate its not public policy.
*Without some degree of agreement, we die.
Thats not true. How does agreement aid survival? Is man truly not responsible for anything himself in your eyes?
*We should always be in the pursuit of more accurate beliefs. This is an ethical belief of mine, and I advocate it to you, as you apparently are advocating it to me.
Agreed.
*I define "ethics" as that set of beliefs that can be modeled with sentences having the word "should" in them (though of course there are other uses of the word "should" also).
Sounds like a fine definition to me. We really should agree on a few things at least.
*I am simply talking about helping out.
Helping out who, for what, and to what end? That is a vague statement.
Ok. I have to get some sleep. Maybe well talk about this in person soon. I think much psychiatric thinkng I have read seems to use this view. It bothers me because it seems like you dont believe people are responsible for things. Like the quote from the book. I think your using a stolen concept. Your replacing "volition" with everything other then the person. This leads to a total refusal to recognize that people are the agents of their own actions. I cant get behind such a view. Of course I could be wrong. You would probably suggest if I am that it is somehow do to society I imagine. (Just a joke)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,459
Vincent,
Not necessarily. Perhaps incomplete principals. In order for us to become very different socially, we will have to modify drastically our basic model of child rearing.

So you want to tell people how they should be raising their own children? In cases where no abuse is inherent, you want people to raise their children in the way that you feel is best? I dont see any evidence whatsoever which would suggest that poor child rearing is the cause of any of societies problems. My grandfather was a violent drunk who was abusive to my father. My father is a wonderful father who spanked me and my brother on exceptionally rare occasions. As I stated earlier Jeffrey Dahmer had a nice normal childhood and went out and dismembered people and ate them. Ted Bundy grew up in a nice Christian home. There is no tying in these awful seriel killers with poor child rearing. There is no way of tying in my fathers good parenting with awful child rearing. To say, "well there are always exceptions" is to make excuses. Either its child rearing, or it isnt child rearing. If the theory doesnt fit the evidence then there is probably something inherently wrong with the theory.
The problem here is that you are massively oversimplifying the issues. You would have to know far, far more about the family interactions in a particular child’s life than just whether the child was spanked or the parent was alcoholic to see the connection between child rearing and the creation of the human adult.
As far as incomplete principals goes, principals are the most basic assertions that there are. Implimentation of principals might be off, but if we try over and over again different implimentations of the same principal and it fails then the principal is probably bad.
What I am talking about is that to understand correctly what we as a species need in the area of government, for example, is intertwined with what we as a species need in the area of child rearing.
If another principal is tried and it fits evidence and leads to success it is probably correct. Republicanism and constitutionalism have led to good results. Anything which focuses in on the sacrifice of the individual to responsibility to a group leads to poor results. Its that way for a reason, the reason behind the principals.
We are talking too generally here. We have to live together in groups. That involves modifying our behavior. We have to think about the impact of our own behavior upon others. And to the extent that we conscientiously do this, everyone is benefited.

This is using words differently than their normal usage.
Every defines Democracy as majority rules. They just dont think through the logical implications of what true democracy means. If majority rules over rights then the majority is who decides what is right. If the majority decides that you have no right to your home, the majority gets what it wants.
So we have constitutional democracy instead. We agree on basic rights, that protect those in the minority.

You seem to consider only the two extremes of absolute independence and absolute obedience. There is also the possibility of individuals benevolently working out procedures which, if followed, will produce a better life all.
Only if those procedures or law inhance freedom are they any good.
I would say that they are good only if they promote not only the survival of our species but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future.

I understand that we have a constitutional democracy, not just one where everything is determined by majority vote. But the basic difference is that our system of government is a contract that we have agreed to go by, pertaining to everyone, as opposed to our being subject to the wishes of whoever is most powerful and able to kill the most people.
Did we? I did not have a say in the matter of the constitution. We didnt choose the document. As far as the constitution goes it is not followed. The wishes of whoever is in power are what is followed. We dont follow the guidlines of our constitution at all.
I don’t know exactly what you mean. I certainly don’t think we have a perfect system. That doesn’t mean we should have no system.

I think that we agree to a great extent, but that we use different languages. For instance, you are using phrase "cause and effect thinking." This is an undefined phrase in our discussion. It is not a phrase that I would use. If you read my chapter on "Basic Concepts: Determinants of Behavior," I think you would see what you are talking about discussed in great detail, and you would probably agree.
I dont know how to specify cause and effect thinking more clearly. Look at evidence and base decisions on past experiences.
That’s what we tend to do, but imperfectly, because we also base decisions on how we feel.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,460
(Continued from previous post)


I am not sure what you are disagreeing with. Indeed, I believe that many people have a depressive worldview, that has been produced by their experiences in childhood, primarily through the use of formal and informal punishment. I say "primarily," because the issues are quite complex.
I dont get that that is the sense of the matter. I believe that you say primarily because you dont want to put the responsiblity of actions on the people themselves. When talking about punishment so far you have said that punishment is the reason for suicide, self loathing and depression. You have stated that without the group we die, without society we die, without aggreement we die. When I said that sometimes soiety gets in the way of individuals being creative and productive you called it "cultural victimization". You say our problems in this culture are a result of child rearing.
Partly.
You have gone so far as to say that, "Individuals are products of groups." You even said that, "Ingenuity was put into them by society" when I was refering to people on desert islands surviving without society. As far as I have seen in every circumstance you have avoided time and again placing any blame for behaior on the individuals themselves. Everything is the fault of child rearing, punishment, guilt or its the achievements of society, culture or the group. Nothing rests in anyone hands. You have avoided terms like individuals and talked about products, agents and victims. I firmly believe that if society were to view things in this way it would lead to total lack of self worth. You talk about individuals being fit and in good shape to further the progress of others. That is what the nazies espoused in their public policies. Everyone was to take maximum care of the self so as better to aid the society or the group. I'm not calling you a nazi, but that is exactly the same as far as that specific instance goes. People have free will, people create their way in life, they are not products. They have self owndership, their ingenuity is not "put into them by society." Ingenuity is the working of an individual mind. Individual minds feed society its ideas. Look up Richard Dawkins idea behind mems. He illustrates how its individuals and their ideas which last past our death and which create progress. Workers and officials would maintain things at a level of total stagnation and society would stand still if it wasnt for individuals and their ideas.
Groups are groups of individuals. Of course individuals are important. Without them you would not have groups. But those individuals are not in vacuums. They are formed by the individuals around them. They function as parts of groups. If we did not work cooperatively with each other and agree to assigned roles, no one would have time to do anything creative. In fact, everyone would die.

All of them.
You want all societies to adopt your philosophical system and give up their autonomy.
Where does it say to give up one’s autonomy?
This is dangerous in my viewpoint. I read the front page of the website. It says people's end goals should be others. I very very much disagree with that, and in a society where that is the goal I dont think that anyone would have any self worth at all.
Can you quote the sentence you are speaking about?

In the field of ethics, it would be consistency with the REUEP, namely, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future.
Right. So everyones first priority is everyone else. "Were all in this together." Its another way of saying that everyone is enslaved to everyone.
But it doesn’t say that. It doesn’t say that everyone’s first priority is everyone else. It says almost the opposite. Can you please quote the sentences that you are interpreting to mean what you are saying they mean?

How consistent their behavior is with the REUEP.
Everyone should behave how you think they should want to behave. Everyone should raise their children based off of your standards. If this is implimented and the children grow up completely screwed up it must be a problem with the way the principals were implimented instead of the principals being bad. These are my fears as pertains to this way of thinking. I hope you see what I'm getting at here.
I am feeling basically very misunderstood, as if you are taking things I am saying and saying that they are saying the opposite.

And I would consider "happiness" to mean as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible.
That would be fine if it were a personal goal. But you want us all to be in this together. You want us all to agree with how you think we ought to be.
I want us all to agree that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone (that includes the self), now and in the future. Tell me what you think is so bad about that.

By behaving as ethically as possible, and thereby having as good an effect as possible within my sphere of influence.
Yes but like I said you arent an ethics expert. There is no such thing. I'm not either. Were both fallable. How do we know our ethical principals are sound? Since life ends and since the universe is going to end one day as well, all of this is meaningless and futile. Its absurd and there is no higher purpose. With death being the great equalizer, how can anyone claim a universally applicable set of ethics? Shouldnt ethics be decided in private based off of what seems right to that particular individual? Do we really need yet another religion to guide what should be up to freethinkers?
It is easy for something to seem right to an individual that I would not consider right, such as suicide bombing. No, I am in favor of open sharing and comparing of ideas and friendly debate, to reduce the likelihood of making mistakes.

No. Then I would need to change. I have told you what my definition is. What is yours?
I think there are different levels of good a person can be, but basically to qualify as a good person I think that someone should not force themselves on or lie to others. Perhaps not be rude or inconsiderate. If a person can pull that off, I think they would basically be a decent person.
I think a person who also works hard to make the world a better place for everyone would be an even better person.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,461
(Continued from previous post)


We can give each other our ideas and advocate for them, while having friendly debate, so that we have a self-correcting process.
Yes but you stated earlier you wanted to convert me.
Yes. It is called friendly debate. It is what we are engaged in.

Why? I believe you are telling me that I should believe differently than I do. I do not believe that you think you are God or the most perceptive person alive. You are trying to be of help to me, and you are also trying to see, by my responses, whether you might change your mind.
The second half of this is right but the first half is wrong. I want to be challenged, but changing others is not a prerogative for me. I think that this mindset of seeing groups and taking away responsibility (which is what it looks like you want to do) is a dangerous policy if it were ever put into practice forcibly.
See, I don’t know what you mean about putting into practice forcibly. If it were inconsistent with the REUEP, then we shouldn’t do it.
There is nothing wrong with you advocating it or people following it. If its as bad as I think it is, the burden rests on the individuals. If there is no cost in me for people following it, and no benefit in converting you to my viewpoint (what possible benefit could I accrue from that) then I really have no reason to care. I am challenging these views to test the soundness of my own and to take you up on your saying that hearing other views is the way to grow. I aggree with that. I love conversations with people I disagree with. I feel I test myself by them. If I ever recieve Jehovah's Witnesses at my house you can bet I'm inviting them in for coffee.
Okay, so you and I agree about some things. I also believe you would agree with more of what I have to say if you did not have a misunderstanding of what I am saying.

I have the right to advocate.
Yes you do, but you have no way of being an ethical expert for others.
I never claimed to be an expert.
Only for yourself. Ethics arent universals, its not like being a chemist or biologist. There are no experts in this field, only thinkers with notions.
We can all advocate for what we believe in. This does not mean that we are authorities.
So since there are no authorities, then no one is any more an expert in ethics then is anyone else.
I believe that we have varying amounts of knowledge about various areas, and that we benefit by sharing and comparing those ideas.

I don't know what you mean by "expert." I certainly have done a lot of thinking about it over the course of my life and in my profession.
How does the term expert apply to other fields. You go to school and get a degree and lean all there is to teach on the matter because whatever it is it consists of facts. This is not true of ethics. There is no one who holds a justifiable background in anything who is able to set forth a rule of ethics which are more valid then anyone elses.
I prefer mine to those of the suicide bomber.

I have the impression that you are very pessimistic. It does not sound to me like you believe much in people learning from each other. It sounds to me like you see learning from someone as some kind of act of submission. I regard this as a consequence of our use of punishment in our standard model of child rearing, and think that it is a widespread problem.
I dont consider myself to be pessimistic about where humanities going. Learning from someone else is an act of submission. In order to learn you have to break down your beariers and let in new knowledge. That is an act of submission. If you did not submit yourself to new knowledge, you would simply talk and not listen.
Yes, I think your “sensitivity” to the idea of submission leads you to apply it to situations about which I would say the word “submission” did not apply. My learning from you is not what I would mean by my submitting to you.

I see individuality as the creative use of that which has been given to us by others, hopefully in the service of contributing to that process of us all working toward making the world a better place for everyone, now and in the future.
Once again you absolutely refuse to lay responsiblity on the person themselves for their contributions. Its not a person who came up with the idea, its "others" who are to thank. How could anyone ever consider himself a freethinking agent with self esteem or be appreciated for his work when its only the results of "others" contributions?
But what have I ever said that could be interpreted this way? Of course the individual makes his or her contribution. That contribution is an add-on to what others have contributed. We build upon that which has already been built by others. We take what has been created by others and create something new, and someone else may take that and make something new, etc.

No, for the satisfaction and pleasure of everyone.
No one joins a band thinking, "I'm helping society by playing music I love." People make music for selfish pleasure. In all realms, realms of art are most certainly the most self centered of them all.
On the contrary, I think there is much concern for how the work of art will be experienced by others.

Yes, and that is my idea, of everyone working together to make the world a better place, with concern for others as well as self.
It sounds to me like concern for others in spite of self.
Please quote what I have said that sounds that way.

I don't know why you say this.
Because progress is the enactment of ideas. Ideas come from the minds of individuals. Ideas are not compromises. Compromises involve groups and groups enact ideas. They dont originate them.
Yes. See the interaction between the individual and the group. One without the other can’t exist.

What is the data to support this?
All around you. Read economics and compare societies which have more centralized planning. As far as laws go they dont create new things (progress). They are ways of controlling how people interact. That hasnt got a thing to do with progress.
If there is control of destructive behavior, that fosters progress.

(Continued in next post)
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