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Moral Nihilism

Started by xSilverPhinx, January 27, 2020, 02:41:49 PM

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Bad Penny II

Quote from: billy rubin on February 01, 2020, 01:32:16 PM
Quote from: Bad Penny II on February 01, 2020, 12:36:24 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on January 31, 2020, 04:03:04 PM

what frame of reference is there to distinguish between your baby and your bathwater. penny?

My frame of reference, the baby has value, rules have value so I'll keep them.
Dirty old water and the idea that rules come from on high don't have value so they can be tossed.

well there you are. personal aesthetics is one way to do it. but the cannibal may have other aesthetics. and not care about yours. valuez differ from place to place and time to time.

Hallelujah, and may the better aesthetics prevail.
You know Billy, there's not many cannibals around these days.
Take my advice, don't listen to me.

billy rubin

#46
hey recusant

Quote from: Recusant on February 01, 2020, 03:36:00 AM

I think it makes sense to say that absent minds, meaning doesn't exist in this universe (nor does morality). There's at least one logical step missing if you go on to say that therefore meaning doesn't exist. One candidate for this step might be "all aspects of minds do not exist." Or perhaps as a syllogism:

P1. Minds are immaterial, as are all aspects of minds, like meaning and morals.

P2. Only material things exist.

C. Neither minds, meaning, nor morals exist.

Hmm, that seems to contradict reality. Maybe a nihilist will come along and point out how I can find a way to divorce meaning from minds, so that it makes sense to come to the conclusion that meaning doesn't exist.


i would suggest that the syllogism fails because the minor premise isn't true-- mindis certainly material, and morals have no basis for storage or transmission through other than material means.

see, you can hit me in the head with a brick and my mind can be altered, consciousness being an elctrochemical process within a physical organ. interestingly, so can my morals, if you recall the dynamite tamper who took an iron bar through the skull. his brain injury changed him from a responsible hard-working laborer to a drunken gambler, i think. a shift in his morals occurred due to a material change. so if morals are not material (as memories, stored electrochemical information in brain neurons, or other conditioning) this could not have happened. if we say that his behavior changed but his actual morality did not, then we have to explain where that moral information is stored, if not in those same synapses.

but meaning is purpose. to have purpose is to interpret a cause and effect relationship as one derived from a mind. a tree holding back erosion does not have purpose in doing so. it is simply there. but if go live under the tree and allow the tree to hold the slope away from my house, then nothing has changed but the introduction of my mind, and the tree now has purpose it did not have before.

similarly moralities of all kinds can have purposes, and so can have meaning. the purpose of protecting my children from harm is to increase my genetic representation in the next generation. the purpose of flying airplanes into buildings is also to increase the success in territory or possessions of my tribe, and lead to the same thing. the purpose of being honest is to aid my neighbors and by that means to aid myself and my kin, while the purpose of lying to strangers is to injure them to the advantage of the same people. all moral acts, in different contexts.

meaning always exists. but it's an after the fact application of purpose. providing help and providing injury are both moral and immoral in different contexts. therefore, any act can be moral today, here, and immoral tomorrow, there.

so when i say meaningless, that's what i'm referring to. not that morals can't be useful, but that no moral precept and no moral act is in itself identifiable as being moral, independently of context. anything i do can be moral today, and depraved tomorrow. there is no meaning inherent in the moral act that correlates with anything other than local and transient purpose.

Quote
I wouldn't say that my proposed means of assessing morality is better than any other, but I think that it may be more useful than asserting that any attempt to assess morality fails because everything is meaningless.

your system of assessing morality is useful for the purpose your mind has assigned it-- the good of the species. if the purpose of someone's morality is something else, some other system might be more useful. i think morality can always be assessed, if we are clear about just how far that assessment reaches. no morality has its own inherent meaning-- it's always imposed from outside.


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.

billy rubin

Quote from: Bad Penny II on February 01, 2020, 02:26:38 PM
You know Billy, there's not many cannibals around these days.

only because non-cannibals imposed a foreign moral code.

we can thank western religion for that.

then there's that guy in milwaukee


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.

Recusant

Quote from: billy rubin on February 01, 2020, 10:07:41 PM
Quote from: Recusant on February 01, 2020, 03:36:00 AM[snip]

P1. Minds are immaterial, as are all aspects of minds, like meaning and morals.

P2. Only material things exist.

C. Neither minds, meaning, nor morals exist.

Hmm, that seems to contradict reality. Maybe a nihilist will come along and point out how I can find a way to divorce meaning from minds, so that it makes sense to come to the conclusion that meaning doesn't exist.


i would suggest that the syllogism fails because the minor premise isn't true-- mindis certainly material, and morals have no basis for storage or transmission through other than material means.

see, you can hit me in the head with a brick and my mind can be altered, consciousness being an elctrochemical process within a physical organ. interestingly, so can my morals, if you recall the dynamite tamper who took an iron bar through the skull. his brain injury changed him from a responsible hard-working laborer to a drunken gambler, i think. a shift in his morals occurred due to a material change. so if morals are not material (as memories, stored electrochemical information in brain neurons, or other conditioning) this could not have happened. if we say that his behavior changed but his actual morality did not, then we have to explain where that moral information is stored, if not in those same synapses.

Brains are material. The chemical reactions and electrical impulses that course through them are material. We can observe them and measure their physical characteristics. I am unaware of any equivalent physical measurement of minds. A mind is the product of a large number of chemical reactions and electrical impulses interacting in an immensely complex way. Those things produce the mind but they are not the mind.

A brain is not a mind, any more than a guitar is music. You may say, "but music is vibrations in the air and physical objects, therefore it's a physical thing." I don't think so--music is the interaction between vibrations and sentient sound sensors. Without ears to hear and minds to appreciate, music doesn't exist, even if the physical vibrations are there. Jupiter has been producing vibrations for billions of years. But Gas Music From Jupiter didn't exist until there were minds to appreciate it. Similarly, a mind is the interaction between a brain and its environment. In essence, a mind is what happens in a sentient brain--a multitude of events occurring in the brain. It isn't a material thing, but something that happens as the product of a material thing.

Quote from: billy rubin on February 01, 2020, 10:07:41 PMbut meaning is purpose. to have purpose is to interpret a cause and effect relationship as one derived from a mind. a tree holding back erosion does not have purpose in doing so. it is simply there. but if go live under the tree and allow the tree to hold the slope away from my house, then nothing has changed but the introduction of my mind, and the tree now has purpose it did not have before.

Is purpose a physical thing?

Quote from: billy rubin on February 01, 2020, 10:07:41 PMsimilarly moralities of all kinds can have purposes, and so can have meaning. the purpose of protecting my children from harm is to increase my genetic representation in the next generation. the purpose of flying airplanes into buildings is also to increase the success in territory or possessions of my tribe, and lead to the same thing. the purpose of being honest is to aid my neighbors and by that means to aid myself and my kin, while the purpose of lying to strangers is to injure them to the advantage of the same people. all moral acts, in different contexts.

meaning always exists. but it's an after the fact application of purpose. providing help and providing injury are both moral and immoral in different contexts. therefore, any act can be moral today, here, and immoral tomorrow, there.

so when i say meaningless, that's what i'm referring to. not that morals can't be useful, but that no moral precept and no moral act is in itself identifiable as being moral, independently of context. anything i do can be moral today, and depraved tomorrow. there is no meaning inherent in the moral act that correlates with anything other than local and transient purpose.

I think we're more or less in agreement. I maintain that to deny meaningfulness is nonsensical. There is no meaning other than what minds assign. Since meaning is a quality assigned by minds, I'd say it's a category error to attempt to deny its objective existence by placing it in a context independent of minds.

Quote from: billy rubin on February 01, 2020, 10:07:41 PMyour system of assessing morality is useful for the purpose your mind has assigned it-- the good of the species. if the purpose of someone's morality is something else, some other system might be more useful. i think morality can always be assessed, if we are clear about just how far that assessment reaches. no morality has its own inherent meaning-- it's always imposed from outside.

Outside of what, though? Morality comprises an analysis of actions that takes place only in minds. It has "inherent meaning" because meaning is an inherent quality of the way that minds operate.

It won't surprise you when I say that if someone's morality has as its final objective something other than the good of the species, it's a dysfunctional morality.  :blue smiley:
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


billy rubin

#49
perhaps the useful point to continue is the material/immaterial queztion.

i assert that mind is in fact material, being exactly the brain in motion, electrochemically.

the working of the mind--consciouness-- can be observed with electronic instruments. when the physical signals cease, the mind is observed to cease as well. when they return, so doez the mind.

memory is the foundation of consciousnezz. without memory the mind becomes mere reflexive responses to stimuli. memory is physical, and can be located physically in various portionz of the brain.

because mind is consciouznezz worki g with memory, and consciousnesz and memory are material, the mind is material.


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.

Davin

Quote from: billy rubin on February 06, 2020, 10:47:39 AM
perhaps the useful point to continue is the material/immaterial queztion.

i assert that mind is in fact material, being exactly the brain in motion, electrochemically.[...]
The mind is a complex mix of emergent properties from the material brain.

It's easy to simply say that things are simpler than they really are. A painting is only a bunch of goop drying on a canvas. A house is just a bunch of material stacked up. An internet forum is just a bunch of posts.

But in this, even you must see that there is more than merely reducing things down to the parts that make up the whole. Otherwise why are you here having discussions with other people? Just for your personal fun? I mean I can get that, but where is "fun" inside the few chemical substances that make up your person? Is fun something simply material or is it an emergent property? You have your same three choices ahead of you now, admit that you were wrong and accept emergent properties, double down and point to the material that makes fun, or your usual choice of avoiding it altogether.

A software program is only a bunch of on/off bits getting run through a machine that simply follows the instructions. And yet here we are arguing over the internet. Without emergent properties, computers would be still be huge and mostly useless. And yet here we are.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

billy rubin

Quote from: davinYou have your same three choices ahead of you now, admit that you were wrong and accept emergent properties, double down and point to the material that makes fun, or your usual choice of avoiding it altogether.


i'll select choice number four, davin.


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.

Davin

Quote from: billy rubin on February 06, 2020, 04:27:10 PM
Quote from: davinYou have your same three choices ahead of you now, admit that you were wrong and accept emergent properties, double down and point to the material that makes fun, or your usual choice of avoiding it altogether.


i'll select choice number four, davin.
That's actually choice number three, your usual.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

xSilverPhinx

Quote from: Siz on January 31, 2020, 08:25:50 AM
Quote from: xSilverPhinx on January 30, 2020, 12:13:01 PM
Quote from: Siz on January 27, 2020, 03:26:11 PM
1. I live under the assumption that what I perceive (sense) IS reality. That is pragmatism stripped to it's most naked state!
2. There is no objective meaning within or for existence within a multi-/uni-versal context.
3. "Morality" and "existential meaning/purpose" are human/animal abstracts informed by organic firmware and social software.
4. I am limited by my human/animal programming.

:chin:

In the case of your first premise would you say that when you perceive (external stimuli translating to subjective experience) someone doing something you feel is the right thing to do in a certain situation then such 'moral action' is real? If yes, then what are the implications for moral nihilism?
The action isn't moral. I might subjectively agree or disagree. I might diasgree on a primary, immediate personal level, but accept the validity of the action in light of secondary or tertiary implications with which I do agree/accept.

I percieve the notion of morality to be unacceptable (where morality is considered inherrent). However good or bad I judge an action, my subjective experience does not preclude a belief that there are better modes of existence (both personally and as a species). I do not appreciate being the subject of the prejudice associated with another's opinions where they assume those opinions to bare the weight of some higher authority (predominantly objective morality or god). I recognise the need for social cohesion, which requires a fair code of behaviour. The Golden Rule is the fairest code there can be (notwithstanding it's own contentions). I simply seek to make The Golden Rule understood to be the authority, instead of a presumed autocratic higher authority which trumps subjective opinion by default. The new, preferred Golden Rule World Order then becomes my reality.

Contrary to Recusant's theist-like comparison, surely it is the moralist whose codes of conduct exist in some exalted realm?!

I do not assume a superior position as an amoralist - there is no superior. But there is equity, parity and fairness.

Or, I can do WTF I choose as it suits and risk exclusion or penalties.

:thumbsup:
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


xSilverPhinx

This is getting very philosophical :tellmemore:
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


xSilverPhinx

How exactly do you define the 'mind' though? I'm under the impression that it means different things in this billy rubin versus Recusant and Davin debate. :notsure:
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


Davin

It probably means different things to everyone. Some versions deny reality, some make unfounded assumptions, some make founded assumptions, and some are based on demonstrable facts. Most versions are a mix of all of the above. To say that a mind doesn't exist because it's resides in a material shell, is equivalent to saying that software doesn't exist because it runs in a purely material and physical shell. And to deny emergent properties is contradictory in its nature, because there is no particle for denial.

I know that I can't fully define mind, but I think I did well enough with the mind being a complex mix of emergent properties, and would add the implication that it results in a consciousness.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

billy rubin

i dont see any emergent propertiez from tbe phyzical brain. everything i know about the mind iz consistent with a material hypothesiz.

but then i dont see "emergent properties" anywhere, az i understand the term.


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.

Davin

Quote from: billy rubin on February 07, 2020, 04:30:35 PM
i dont see any emergent propertiez from tbe phyzical brain. everything i know about the mind iz consistent with a material hypothesiz.

but then i dont see "emergent properties" anywhere, az i understand the term.
If I heat up a piece of wood in an environment with enough oxygen, do I simply get hot wood or does something emerge from the mixture?
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

billy rubin

you firzt get hot wood.

then as volitile compounds vaporize in the presence of accumulated heat, you get outgassing from channels or interstices.

if their temperature exceeds their flashpoint, they combine with the oxygen to yield heat, light, carbon dioxide, water, and chemical byproducts from non-oxidized compounds.

the increased heat from the exothermic reaction ignites non-volatile fuels, which continue to burn until tbey are exhausted, generating 8more light and more heat.

when nothing is left but carbon, it continues to oxidize at a lower temperature until the remnant consists of non-combustible ash, which cools.

nothing emerges from thiz scenario that cannot be predicted and explained from ordinary material procezzes. if thats what "emergent propertiez" means, then i dont see anything with mind and consciousnezz that cannot be explained in a similar way.


Given that most people struggle with legible handwriting already, the added complexity of cursive is an unnecessary burden. It is more practical and efficient to stick to standard print writing.