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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › For Those Reading "Homo Rationalis" (The Book entitled For Every

For Those Reading "Homo Rationalis" (The Book entitled For Everyone: Rational-Ethical Living and the Emergence of "Homo Rationalis")

A former member
Post #: 347
true. ultimately my answer was we're all here on the earth just to fart around and have a good time.

I'm still of this opinion.

But, all these impediments in our shared world keep on cropping up, such as coercion, struggle for status,
our collective inability to share equitably scarce resources..in group and out group fighting, etc.

So, I'm thinking that their must be some issue with me. I'm the terminus of a long line of humans
who haven't really changed biologically that much from the first humans.

I do see, that a lot of change in the individual procured a lot of what I see as progress in the way life is not
to me so brutish to a larger segment of people.

So, I'm struggling too get a grip on an UEP, ultimate ethic principle, of which I can only say at this
point for me is completely arbitrary.

A UEP to me, would alleviate all the impediments from my first goal of wanting to fart around and
just have a good time.

But, a UEP which is based on arbitrary values, faces many hurdles. So, I'm hopeful to look
towards science to steer humanity in a best of all possible worlds..

Some people say that they've written down a non-arbitrary UEP down on paper Universally Preferable Behaviour A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics, of which they contend, I believe them to say, is non-arbitrary (this point may be wrong..they may just have a book another arbitrary way of being/living).

All we would need to do is read it, and the rest of the world problems would be solved.

Arbitrary I mean, is like, since I was born in the lucky sperm club I get either sunshine and roses or if not in the lucky sperm club just piss and vinegar.

I do not like pain, suffering, and early death for myself or for anyone else. Just the opposite in fact, for myself and everyone, I want 'good things'.

However, different people may prefer another UEP such as having their very own throne of skulls more
than an arbitrary UEP of a long and happy life full of generosity, kindness, for everyone, and creative problem solving.

Why this doesn't happen I'm still agog.

But, at some point in our human bio-engineered future, we may carve out a new human like organism
which may adhere to some non-arbitrary ultimate ethical principle.

But, for now, I'm a pleasure seeking zimboe wanting the best for myself and everyone.
biggrin

But, I have regard that science will keep reaching in to human behavior to say what is a more accurate
moral and ethical belief systems for humans..

However, I do not suspect that even this this will ever be more than another arbitrary set
of guidelines on a how to live a 'good' life of just farting around.




Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,345
Derik,

I want to feel happy. (Motivational state)
If I live according to the REUEP, I will feel happy. (Belief)
I want to live according to the REUEP. (Motivational state)

Now look again at this construction through the lens of your quote above:

I want to (or "I should") feel happy (higher level ethical belief)
If I live according to the REUEP, I will feel happy. (existential belief)
I want to (or, again, "I should") live according to the REUEP. (lower level legitimated ethical belief)
Derik, you keep making this mistake. That “syllogism” (not a logical syllogism) is simply a modeling of the development of a more specific motivational state from a more general motivational state by virtue of a belief. It has been thoroughly described earlier in the book. It has nothing to do with legitimization. It has only to do with explanation. Your insertion of [(or “I should”)] is your distortion of what is being said to make it look like a legitimization. It should not be there. You are representing me as saying something I have not said. This is an example of your misrepresentation of my ideas.

Instance #2: the in-person discussion we had two CPDG meetings ago

Terry, you, and I were chatting about the ascension chain of ethical principles, and you'll recall there came a point when I asked why you adhered to the REUEP--very much in the same way you describe two people undertaking a "why" progression in the third of your quotes above! The terminus of your answers in my chain of "why?" inquiries was "Because it makes me feel good". Now if you assert that, in ascending from the rational-ethical principle to your personal compulsion to feel good, we somehow left the ladder of "legitimating" and stepped onto an alternate ladder of "explaining", I'm utterly at a loss of how we can proceed in any constructive way.
But that is exactly what happened. You were pressing me at that point in time, it seemed to me, to explain why I am committed to the REUEP. I was not legitimating the REUEP; I was partially explaining the best I could why I was committing myself to something that could not be legitimated. I do indeed feel good committing myself to the REUEP. You feel good, I gather, committing yourself to some ethical principles that you believe have been given to us by God. That would not mean, that you believed that you should be committed to those principles only because you felt good doing so, and that if you didn’t feel good doing so, you should not adhere to those principles. You are not saying that you should obey God only if it makes you feel good to do so, I’ll bet. It should, I would think, be obvious to you and everyone else that I was not saying that I should do whatever would make me happy, one example being the REUEP. That would not be consistent with the REUEP.

If "I want to feel good" carries a different meaning from "I should feel good" at the top rung of a "why" ladder, the onus is on you to demonstrate how these two are different.

No, Derik, the onus is on you, I believe, to demonstrate how those two things are the same. The sentences are not the same, and I would not say the second one, which you are putting in my mouth, so to speak. They are two different sentences. To use your terminology, they are at the top of two different “why ladders.” The word “why” can mean different things. And the two sentences are two different answers to why questions, one being explanation and the other being legitimization. Why do you contend that they are the same? I feel good about committing to the REUEP. That is one (small) part of a total explanation. But it is not a legitimization. There is no higher level ethical principle that I am committed to than the REUEP.

Some people feel good about stealing, or being a suicide bomber; that doesn’t mean they should do those things. You might ask a person why he did something, and he might say “for revenge.” If you then asked him whether he thought that was the right thing to do, he might easily say “no, but it felt good to do it.” Just because it feels good to do something doesn’t mean that one should do it. Explanation is not legitimization.

I simply do not understand how you can be persisting in this distortion of what I have written.
Derik T.
user 23955602
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 112
Bill,

I'm very much at peace with the fact that you and I may disagree on the rational-ethical principle being non-ultimate. It's worth noting, however, that I do not consider your book invalidated--on the contrary, many precepts that are children of the rational-ethical principle remain good ideas regardless of whether the principle is superdominated by another.

The points in your last post seem to suggest there is no ethical precursor to choosing the rational-ethical principle as one's ultimate ethical principle. Such a choice is mysteriously "aethical". As I was reflecting on this and paging back through some of your earlier posts, I stumbled across the below:

If you have convinced anyone to adopt the rational-ethical principle, Bill, I'd guess their making the shift was as much a function of their trust in you (or your station, expertise, life experience, etc.) as in the rigor of your logic.
And neither of these would be good reason to commit to the REUEP. I do not logically demonstrate that the REUEP can be deduced from a higher level ethical principle (otherwise it would not be an ultimate ethical principle), and just having trust in me would not be a good reason, especially since there are millions of people (at least) who could be just as trustworthy. I do not claim to be more trustworthy than everyone else, nor do I advocate that you or others commit to the REUEP as an act of trust, of me or anyone else.

Any who so adopted the rational-ethical principle did not do so "because they came to the self-realization that they liked the same painting".
Then they are doing so for the wrong reason, in my opinion. I hope that they will come to the “self-realization” that the REUEP is indeed something they will like and will therefore adopt.

If choosing the rational-ethical principle to be one's UEP cannot be legitimated, how can there be "good reasons" and "wrong reasons" as you claim above? Am I to assume that you consider "Because it makes me feel good" a "good reason" and not a "wrong reason", despite the fact that the choice is also somehow arbitrary and bereft of ethics?
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,346
I'm very much at peace with the fact that you and I may disagree on the rational-ethical principle being non-ultimate.
Well, in the first place, what you seem to be saying is that you don’t see value in exploring further why this disagreement exists. That would be consistent with the postmodern solution to prevention of breakdown of relationship due to difference of opinion, namely, to say the equivalent of “Well what’s true for you may not be what’s true for me, so let’s just move on.” As the book points out, this has negative consequences. I don’t know exactly what you mean by “at peace,” but I believe that it is important to explore difference of opinion to see why it is there, with the goal of arriving at agreement. That is what will ultimately lead to a much better way of life, in my opinion.

But in the second place, there is still a kind of inaccuracy in what you are implying. I don’t know whether I have contributed to this inaccuracy, but I would like to clarify what it is.

To begin with, let us be clear that when you use the term “rational-ethical principle” you are actually referring to what in the book is called the “rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle.” There is nowhere in the book anything called the “rational-ethical principle.” And the reason that it is called the “rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle” is that by definition it is an ultimate ethical principle.

So next we need to clarify what an ultimate ethical principle is. It is a principle that says what we should or should not do that is used ultimately to legitimate all other ethical beliefs (including rules of conduct and principles), but which itself is not legitimated by a still higher-level ethical principle. A person legitimating an ethical belief by showing that it is consistent with a higher-level (more inclusive) ethical principle, and then doing the same in turn for this next higher level principle, ultimately will have to stop somewhere and accept arbitrarily a highest, or ultimate, ethical principle. (There will of course be reasons for that person having that ultimate ethical principle, so his or her doing that can be explained, but the principle itself, by definition, is one that the individual does not legitimate by showing that it is consistent with an even higher-level ethical principle.) So an ultimate ethical principle is one that an individual chooses, for whatever reasons, as his or her highest level ethical principle, that he or she agrees all of his or her other ethical beliefs should be consistent with.

Next, we need to be explicit about what the “rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle” is, as stated in the book. It is 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. That is the way it is defined in the book.

(Actually, in the book I attempted to make the sentence structure easier by first referring to “as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible” with the single term “the good life,” immediately defined for the purpose of the statement in this manner, but I have found people getting hung up by the recognition that the term “the good life” could be defined in other ways also, and then wondering about what the “correct” definition should be, a problem noted in the chapter on Basic Methods in This Book. So I am currently taking out this term “the good life” just to avoid this inappropriate tendency toward confusion. I now believe the principle really is just as readable without that linguistic facilitator.)

Now we need to recognize that there could be a large number of ultimate ethical principles, conceivably one for every individual. In actuality, however, there tends to be a certain amount of agreement. The book points out that there is an ultimate ethical principle that comes naturally to us as a group animal. It is that “we should do whatever X wants us to do, X being whoever or whatever is most powerful.” Group animals tend to have power hierarchies, and we humans are obviously not an exception. Now my term for this ultimate ethical principle in the book is the “authoritarian-ethical ultimate ethical principle.” I used that term because “authoritarian” seemed the closest term in our usual language for what I was referring to. It could be called something else. What it is called is just a label for it.

(I may have introduced an opportunity for misinterpretation by subsequently referring to X as the “author” of those things that X wants us to do. This was a linguistic convenience, utilizing the fact that “author” is part of the word “authoritarian.” You have used it to confuse issues by talking about me being the “author” of the REUEP because of being the “author” of the book, etc. This would be taking possible meanings of the words used in a label to go back and modify the original idea. This would be something like saying that a chair commands one to sit in it because that is what the chair of a meeting does, i.e., directs what is to happen.)

I might add here that I do not necessarily think that the term “rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle” is an optimal one. It was the best label I could think of at the time, but if the words used in the term are contemplated closely enough, complaints could be offered to the effect that there could be other ultimate ethical principles that were just as rational as that one, in that the whole process of legitimization was a rational one (using the rules of logic and the rules of evidence), the only difference being in the choice of the ultimate ethical principle. Currently, I would probably prefer the term “Humanian ultimate ethical principle,” but the term “Humanian,” referring to advocacy for “Humanianity” did not exist yet, and I would still worry about using “Humanian” because of the predictable unfamiliarity with, aversion to, and ridicule of the term. Unfortunately, any term would be subject to some sort of misinterpretation or misrepresentation, because of the term itself being used as more than just a label, as described above.

Finally, we need to clarify what the book is saying about the ultimate ethical principle. It is saying that although the predominately-used ultimate ethical principle is that authoritarian-ultimate ethical principle, there is occurring more and more the replacement of it with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle (as the terms are defined in the book). This does not mean that people are using those labels. It is referring to what the labels are standing for. And I do believe that this process is occurring, and that it is the most basic process involved in the third exponential change our species is undergoing, a change that will result in our living drastically better than we have ever lived before on this planet, a way of life we have not yet seen but can indeed imagine, if we are willing to engage in such imagining.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,347
(Continued from previous post)

I would also like to add that probably many, many people never think in terms of an ultimate ethical principle. There are many people who give little consideration to the question as to what the right thing is to do. There are many people who feel quite satisfied to say, “Well, yes, I do things that are wrong, but that doesn’t bother me very much, and I see no reason to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the right thing to do, because it just doesn’t get you anywhere,” etc. If you looked closely, however, you would probably find that they did have at least a small feeling that there were things they should or should not do, and probably their answer as to why they should or shouldn’t would be to avoid getting into trouble, a manifestation of the authoritarian-ethical ultimate ethical principle (ultimate in that they would not be able to go beyond saying this in answer to the question as to why they should or should not do those things).

It's worth noting, however, that I do not consider your book invalidated--on the contrary, many precepts that are children of the rational-ethical principle remain good ideas regardless of whether the principle is superdominated by another.
On the contrary, you are indeed considering the book invalidated, in that the book itself even states that it is more than just a collection of some ideas, many of which are good.

The points in your last post seem to suggest there is no ethical precursor to choosing the rational-ethical principle as one's ultimate ethical principle. Such a choice is mysteriously "aethical". As I was reflecting on this and paging back through some of your earlier posts, I stumbled across the below:

If you have convinced anyone to adopt the rational-ethical principle, Bill, I'd guess their making the shift was as much a function of their trust in you (or your station, expertise, life experience, etc.) as in the rigor of your logic.
And neither of these would be good reason to commit to the REUEP. I do not logically demonstrate that the REUEP can be deduced from a higher level ethical principle (otherwise it would not be an ultimate ethical principle), and just having trust in me would not be a good reason, especially since there are millions of people (at least) who could be just as trustworthy. I do not claim to be more trustworthy than everyone else, nor do I advocate that you or others commit to the REUEP as an act of trust, of me or anyone else.

Any who so adopted the rational-ethical principle did not do so "because they came to the self-realization that they liked the same painting".
Then they are doing so for the wrong reason, in my opinion. I hope that they will come to the “self-realization” that the REUEP is indeed something they will like and will therefore adopt.

If choosing the rational-ethical principle to be one's UEP cannot be legitimated, how can there be "good reasons" and "wrong reasons" as you claim above? Am I to assume that you consider "Because it makes me feel good" a "good reason" and not a "wrong reason", despite the fact that the choice is also somehow arbitrary and bereft of ethics?

I believe that you have identified an interesting issue. What you are basically saying, it seems to me, is something like, “Bill, if the ultimate ethical principle is arbitrary, and is used to legitimate all other ethical principles, then how can there be good reasons and wrong reasons to choose that ultimate ethical principle?” In other words, what do the words “good” and “wrong” mean in that context?

But we need to look at how I used those words, in what context. So look again at that part of our dialogue. When I say they are doing so for the wrong reason, I say that that is in my opinion. (And my earlier statement along the same lines was just my opinion.) My opinion arises from my own ethical philosophy. I am against pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and their method of choosing an ethical principle, namely, simply because of trust in an individual, is the kind of method that, in my opinion, has led to much human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death. Now you may not mind having some human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and you may have reasons for having the opinion that their method is a good one. I seriously doubt that you would. If there is such difference of opinion, I believe, according to my Humanian ethics, that that difference of opinion should be explored in depth.

So I believe I have clarified why in my opinion the REUEP is better than the AEUEP. My opinion stems from my use of the REUEP. Someone, perhaps like yourself, may state that in his opinion the AEUEP is better, stemming from the use of the AEUEP. So I will state that I want, as much as possible, to stop the human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death that we have endured living according to the AEUEP. And you may say that you don’t mind that much the human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death we have endured as long as we are doing what God wants us to do. I think little by little our species is beginning to arrive at the same opinion that I currently have, meaning that more and more we are looking at what causes human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death and trying to stop doing those things, rather than trying hard to live by the ethical guidelines that God wants us to live by, especially since we can’t seem to agree on what those ethical guidelines really are. (For instance, does He really want us to stone our persistently disobedient children to death? And if a woman presents herself to an animal for sex, in addition to putting her to death, does He really want us to put that poor animal to death also?)

So I advocate that we work on enhancing our efforts to reduce human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death (as well as increasing our joy, contentment, and appreciation), for everyone, now and in the future, through all those methods that would have those results (in addition, of course to promoting the survival of our species in general). That is what I advocate that we commit ourselves to doing. In my “value system,” that would be doing good, doing the right thing. What do you advocate?

We never have more than just our opinions as to what is good and right. But we are much more able to accomplish what we want to accomplish if we have agreement as to what those things are. In fact, without some degree of agreement, we die.
Derik T.
user 23955602
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 113
I believe that you have identified an interesting issue. What you are basically saying, it seems to me, is something like, “Bill, if the ultimate ethical principle is arbitrary, and is used to legitimate all other ethical principles, then how can there be good reasons and wrong reasons to choose that ultimate ethical principle?” In other words, what do the words “good” and “wrong” mean in that context?

But we need to look at how I used those words, in what context. So look again at that part of our dialogue. When I say they are doing so for the wrong reason, I say that that is in my opinion. (And my earlier statement along the same lines was just my opinion.) My opinion arises from my own ethical philosophy. I am against pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and their method of choosing an ethical principle, namely, simply because of trust in an individual, is the kind of method that, in my opinion, has led to much human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death. Now you may not mind having some human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and you may have reasons for having the opinion that their method is a good one. I seriously doubt that you would. If there is such difference of opinion, I believe, according to my Humanian ethics, that that difference of opinion should be explored in depth.


The circularity of what you've said in bold above is quite striking. Unpacked, it goes something like...

Bill adopts REUEP.
One of Bill's reasons for adopting the REUEP is because it makes him feel good.
Based on the REUEP, this is a good reason for adopting the REUEP.

...or let's bring in another REUEP acolyte...

Bill advocates REUEP to Dave.
Dave adopts REUEP because he trusts Bill.
Bill's ethically-based opinion is that Dave should have adopted REUEP for a better reason.
Dave is confused--he thought all reasons for adopting an ultimate ethical principle are devoid of ethics.

- - -

I am "at peace" that we may continue to disagree on the rational-ethical principle being non-ultimate because I am beginning to realize our limitations, both yours and mine. Your limitation might be described as "cognitive inertia". After hundreds of hours of thought, writing, discussion with others, more thought, and on and on, you have a considerable amount invested in the rational-ethical principle being ultimate. This generates a colossal amount of "inertia", a freight train of sorts that will not easily yield to the 3-5 gentle nudges per week that I provide in our exchanges. Put differently, I'm quickly learning that, what with my poor rhetorical skills, I would have to undertake a multi-month or multi-year dialogue with you to be able to have any influence strong enough to approach something like agreement.

A good segway into my own limitations, of which the below are only a few:
- lack of intelligence
- lack of written communicative ability
- lack of philosophical expertise
- many pursuits in life, leaving < 2% of my time available to work on agreement between the two of us
and on and on.

And after all, this forum is called "meetup", right? I joined this group primarily to make friends, so if it does appear that your and my limitations might make agreement less than probable, is it postmodern sloth to put an arm around each other and toast a beer to life anyway?
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,349
Derik,

In what you have written below, I believe you continue to misrepresent my viewpoints and the viewpoints presented in the book. My observation is that the way you do this is to take comments out of their contexts and, aided by the ambiguities of language (most words having more than one meaning), assign slightly different meanings to those comments, such as to make them different from what I would say and different from what they mean in the book.

I believe that you have identified an interesting issue. What you are basically saying, it seems to me, is something like, “Bill, if the ultimate ethical principle is arbitrary, and is used to legitimate all other ethical principles, then how can there be good reasons and wrong reasons to choose that ultimate ethical principle?” In other words, what do the words “good” and “wrong” mean in that context?

But we need to look at how I used those words, in what context. So look again at that part of our dialogue. When I say they are doing so for the wrong reason, I say that that is in my opinion. (And my earlier statement along the same lines was just my opinion.) My opinion arises from my own ethical philosophy. I am against pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and their method of choosing an ethical principle, namely, simply because of trust in an individual, is the kind of method that, in my opinion, has led to much human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death. Now you may not mind having some human-induced pain, suffering, disability, and early death, and you may have reasons for having the opinion that their method is a good one. I seriously doubt that you would. If there is such difference of opinion, I believe, according to my Humanian ethics, that that difference of opinion should be explored in depth.


The circularity of what you've said in bold above is quite striking. Unpacked, it goes something like...
And please note that your term for “misrepresented” is “unpacked,” as we shall see.

Bill adopts REUEP.
One of Bill's reasons for adopting the REUEP is because it makes him feel good.
The misrepresentation going on here has to do with the different meanings of the word “reason.” We are again talking about the difference between explanation and legitimization (as the term is used in the book). I indeed suspect that one of the causes of my adopting the REUEP is that it makes me feel good, and if so, one could say that that was one of the “reasons” (causes) of my doing so, and thus a partial explanation. But it is not a “reason” in the sense of a justification or legitimization, for doing so. Just because something makes one feel good does not mean that it is a good thing to do. I say this over and over, but you ignore my saying it. There are many reasons why someone does a particular thing. Those reasons can be judged to be good or bad reasons, but that has nothing to do with the “goodness or badness” of the decision itself. One can do something good for bad reasons, bad because doing things for those reasons might also lead to bad decisions in addition to the good ones.

Based on the REUEP, this is a good reason for adopting the REUEP.
No, I have never said this and would never say it. As I have just stated, this “feeling good” would not necessarily be a good reason, in the sense of justification or legitimization, because there are some things that make us feel good that cause pain, suffering, disability, and early death. So I am NOT saying, “It is the-right-thing-to-do (i.e., what should be done) to do whatever makes one feel good, so if adopting the REUEP as one’s ultimate ethical principle makes one feel good, one should do so.” I am NOT saying this. Adopting the REUEP as one’s ultimate ethical principle may result in feeling good, and this therefore may be among the causes of doing so (through operant conditioning), but it would not be a justification for doing so (at least in my ethical belief system). And there would be much, much more to add to the description of the causes of adopting the REUEP as one’s ultimate ethical principle, including the causes of doing-so-causing-one-to-feel-good. So you are again misrepresenting me and the book. And you are persisting in doing so, even though this specific issue already has been addressed.

So let’s again clarify that the legitimization of an ethical principle presumably is by showing that it can be logically deduced from a higher-level (more general or inclusive) ethical principle and some belief(s) about the way the world is, was, or will be (called “existential beliefs” in the book, to differentiate them from “ethical beliefs”). And let’s clarify that one cannot go on legitimizing each higher-level ethical principle with an even higher-level ethical principle forever, so that for an individual, he or she will stop with whatever principle he or she decides to stop with, and that principle, for that individual, will be that individual’s ultimate ethical principle. This is all I mean by the ultimate ethical principle being arbitrary, by definition. And this is just using the terms as they are used in the book.

(Recognize that it is possible that some people may perhaps not agree on this legitimization criterion, i.e., logical consistency with a still higher-level ethical principle and one or more existential beliefs, and we could look at what they would require instead to legitimate an ethical principle, but I believe that by far most people would, with thought, agree on the utilization of this criterion. It is even hard to imagine an alternative criterion, though you might find it interesting to try to imagine one. In all that I am writing here, I am assuming that we are using as the legitimization criterion for an ethical proposition (e.g., belief, principle) logical consistency with a higher level ethical proposition and one or more relevant existential propositions, or beliefs.)

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,350
(Continued from previous post)

...or let's bring in another REUEP acolyte...

Bill advocates REUEP to Dave.
Dave adopts REUEP because he trusts Bill.
Bill's ethically-based opinion is that Dave should have adopted REUEP for a better reason.
That is correct, in that, in my opinion, the reason that would be better would be that he wants to see our species survive and he wants to see as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible, and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, on the part of everyone, now and in the future, and he believes that we can increasingly learn to make decisions that are more likely to bring about these results. (This description of his “wants” that I just stated is not an ethical principle; it is a description of a motivational state, i.e., what the individual wants to do.) Adopting a system of ethics just because it has been proposed by someone that is trusted does not protect against making mistakes that could lead to PSDED. For example, one might trust a Hitler. This opinion of mine is based upon my own ethical set of beliefs, which I believe are ultimately consistent with what I am labeling the REUEP.

Dave is confused--he thought all reasons for adopting an ultimate ethical principle are devoid of ethics.
The misrepresentation here is made possible by the vague words “devoid of ethics.” It can be asked of any decision or behavior, contemplated, attempted, or completed, whether doing so is the right thing to do (what one should do), and this would include the adoption of an ethical principle and even perhaps the choice of an ultimate ethical principle. The judgment as to the rightness of that action (“adoption…”) would depend upon one’s ethical belief system and therefore ultimately upon the ultimate ethical principle of the person making that judgment. What is being judged is the rightness of the decision. This is not the same as the legitimization of the principle itself. Because of my accepting the REUEP as my ultimate ethical principle, I can indeed come to the conclusion that someone else doing so did it for the wrong reason, i.e., trusting me rather than wanting as much JCA and as little PSDED for everyone, now and in the future, and believing therefore that our decision-making is important in bringing that about. The best reason, in my opinion (since I am Humanian), for accepting the REUEP is wanting what the REUEP says we should promote and believing we can make a difference if we try.

I am "at peace" that we may continue to disagree on the rational-ethical principle being non-ultimate because I am beginning to realize our limitations, both yours and mine. Your limitation might be described as "cognitive inertia". After hundreds of hours of thought, writing, discussion with others, more thought, and on and on, you have a considerable amount invested in the rational-ethical principle being ultimate.
This is a misrepresentation of my ideas. You again use the term “rational-ethical principle,” a term that I do not use. If you mean by that term the principle that I have put into words and have labeled the “rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle,” then whether that principle is an ultimate ethical principle depends upon the individual whom we are considering. My reason for calling it the REUEP is because of my thesis, namely, that that principle, or something very like it, is just beginning to almost completely replace the much, much more prevalent principle, that I have labeled the authoritarian-ethical ultimate ethical principle, for our species. Examples would include decision-making that gives no consideration to whether it is consistent with Biblical teaching but instead is dependent entirely upon the predicted effect on our species (with regard to pain, suffering, disability, and/or early death), such as the acceptability of slavery. So, for instance, the principle that I have labeled as the REUEP is not, probably, your ultimate ethical principle.
This generates a colossal amount of "inertia", a freight train of sorts that will not easily yield to the 3-5 gentle nudges per week that I provide in our exchanges. Put differently, I'm quickly learning that, what with my poor rhetorical skills, I would have to undertake a multi-month or multi-year dialogue with you to be able to have any influence strong enough to approach something like agreement.
What you have written includes a very subtle implication that I am wrong, you are right, and you can’t convince me because I am unable to give up my beliefs and admit you are right, in part because it would take much greater skill on your part to overcome this terrible resistance.

A good segway into my own limitations, of which the below are only a few:
- lack of intelligence
- lack of written communicative ability
- lack of philosophical expertise
I’ll bet that most people who are following all this (if they are) do not believe that you believe you have significant limitations in these areas. I’ll bet that most people who know you will believe that you are saying that it would take almost superhuman intelligence, written communicative ability, and philosophical expertise to make Bill correct his erroneous thinking, this being a kind of insult.

- many pursuits in life, leaving < 2% of my time available to work on agreement between the two of us
and on and on.

And after all, this forum is called "meetup", right? I joined this group primarily to make friends,
This meetup is for those interested in exploring philosophical ideas, not for making friends. Hopefully, you will make friends in any activity you participate in, assuming you treat people appropriately.

so if it does appear that your and my limitations might make agreement less than probable, is it postmodern sloth to put an arm around each other and toast a beer to life anyway?
It is not anything I want to do. You are I believe misrepresenting (intentionally or unintentionally) the content of my book, which I consider an important contribution (whether anyone else believes so or not), so I intend on trying to understand what you are saying such as either to come to realize that I am mistaken or to achieve the ability to demonstrate the error in what you are doing. My goal is that of achieving accuracy of belief, not making friends at any cost.

Please note that you avoid answering most of my questions. If there are any of yours that I have not answered, please call them to my attention.

Do you have an ultimate ethical principle? If so, what is it? If not, why not? Do you have an ethical principle that would lead you to believe that it would be wrong under certain circumstances to live by the principle 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?

I ask the above questions because the purpose of this thread is to discuss the ideas presented in the book, and if you believe the ideas presented in the book are incorrect, then I would hope that you would present what you believe to be the correct alternative ideas.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,351
I have one other observation, Derik.

I notice that, over and over, you present what you state you consider a serious defect in the book, and why. In response, I present how I consider that what you have presented does not appear to be a defect, but instead is, usually, a misunderstanding/misrepresentation of what the book has said (or of what I have said in a meeting), putting forth much effort (and spending much time) to create that presentation. This is followed by no response to what I have written. In other words, with very few exceptions, you do not either say that I have been successful in demonstrating the misunderstanding/misrepresentation, or say in what way my presentation did not address what you had said. You just go on to the next attempt to describe a presumed defect.

I would not do that. I would consider it important, if I had publically described a defect in a person’s book and then had learned I had made a mistake, I would feel strongly that I should acknowledge my mistake and let the person know that he had been successful in his effort to demonstrate my mistake. I would not just ignore his effort.

On the other hand, if there still is a difference of opinion, I believe that that difference should be explored in greater depth to clarify much better the exact place where the divergence of agreement occurs, and why. And it is the exploration in depth of difference of opinion that is the purpose and value of this message board. That is how real progress in the development of wisdom and understanding occurs.

Your lack of such responses to my responses leaves me wondering why you are doing what you are doing. You have said that you are doing so because you care about me and love me, etc., but I can’t see how doing this could be an act of caring and love. Perhaps you can understand why it is hard for me to feel convinced of that.

So I hope you will reconsider and address some of my responses. For instance, for each statement that I make, you can indicate whether you agree or not, and if not, why not. That is what I am doing in response to your presentations. Do my responses make sense? If not, why not? And I mean my specific responses (as quoted), not your summary of them, since that is where things seem to go wrong.

Thanks, Derik.
Derik T.
user 23955602
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 115
I notice that, over and over, you present what you state you consider a serious defect in the book, and why. In response, I present how I consider that what you have presented does not appear to be a defect, but instead is, usually, a misunderstanding/misrepresentation of what the book has said (or of what I have said in a meeting), putting forth much effort (and spending much time) to create that presentation. This is followed by no response to what I have written. In other words, with very few exceptions, you do not either say that I have been successful in demonstrating the misunderstanding/misrepresentation, or say in what way my presentation did not address what you had said. You just go on to the next attempt to describe a presumed defect.

I can see how this would be frustrating, so I hope you can believe I mean no ill intent by not responding to all of your presentations. Let me take a moment to provide a window into my rationale of not undertaking a to-and-fro friendly debate ad infinitum.

Promises are very important to me, and I make a concerted effort to prioritize keeping them. I recall having made one to you in reference to this book--that I would read it carefully in the order written. My commentary on this thread goes over and above this promise in order to provide some record of my thoughts as I read it--both on strengths and potential defects--that may or may not be of value to you.

I must admit, there have been no responses of yours that have compelled me to adopt an alternate perspective on the potentially incorrect/unclear areas of the book I've noted. When I stop responding to presentations and move on, I am implicitly acknowledging one of two observations:
- the "yield" of intellectual new ground covered is infinitesimally small--we are "relitigating" old content over and over with diminishing returns
- your tone through word choice (e.g., "vandalism", "trashing") or word presentation (e.g., bolding, exclamation points, etc.) indicates you are experiencing an amygdala hijack

In both cases, I usually conclude that any further discussion would serve neither the goals of intellectual exploration or love, so I move on.

So I hope you will reconsider and address some of my responses. For instance, for each statement that I make, you can indicate whether you agree or not, and if not, why not. That is what I am doing in response to your presentations. Do my responses make sense? If not, why not? And I mean my specific responses (as quoted), not your summary of them, since that is where things seem to go wrong.

All acts of love have boundaries/limits (save one notable exception on which I've based my own ultimate ethical principle). I might give a homeless man $50, but I wouldn't give him $50,000. In the same way, I must impose a limit on the time I spend on this message board that falls short of what you're asking me to do above if I'm to still have time to keep my promise to you and read your book carefully in the order it was written.
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