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Old Yesterday, 10:33 AM   #81
phiwum
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is the basic dilemma about rights, I think. Because you don't have a defensible concept of rights that transcend my pursuit of happiness ("happiness") you must instead appeal to my enlightened self-interest. There's no real reason I shouldn't disadvantage you, unless doing so also disadvantages me.

And there's no real reason for me not to arrange an unequal framework - a dictatorship or tyranny - if I can, and if I think it will benefit me. You have no moral argument against it, just the hope that you can convince me it's in my best interest to leave you be.

Nobody has a right to life. "Murder" isn't immoral. It's just a word for "killing that will cause you a lot of problems with other people, if you're caught".



The belief that people have moral value that transcends your own well-being. Of course it's very difficult to argue, because it's axiomatic. You don't defend it, you use it as a basis for defending other things.

Which came first? The importance of enlightened self-interest, or the belief in moral value?

If enlightened self-interest is the reality, why don't we believe in that? Why did we develop a belief in moral value instead?

We pathologize - literally - people who act strictly out of englitened self-interest. The psychopath and the sociopath are considered defective, simply because they lack a belief in the moral value of others that transcends their own self-interest.

Your two answers encapsulate the entire dilemma, confronted by humanity everywhere. Rationally, you can only defend enlightened self interest. But in reality you think and act, and call upon others to think and act, from belief in moral value that transcends self-interest. And this moral value is not something you can defend. You can only believe in it. And you do.
Ain't often I agree with you, but I do here.
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Old Yesterday, 12:24 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Why?
Because convincing others to work for the good of society is good for you. Whereas it is not in your self interest to do so, in general.i
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Old Yesterday, 02:16 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Because convincing others to work for the good of society is good for you.
Not necessarily. What if my self interest lies against this society? Would it then not be in my self interest to convince others to work against this society as well? What if I prefer the company of a rag-tag band of revolutionaries and criminals over what you'd call "socialized" people, would it then not be completely against my self interest to try to convince them to go work for society instead?

It is hardly a self interest if I'm not allowed to define what's in my own interest. You're just assuming that my self interest is aligned with the result of others working for "the good of society" however that is neither necessarily true, nor true in the actual world.

ETA: Consider a slave society where there is a slave owner and a bunch of slaves. It is only in the slave owner's interest to convince others to work for the good of this society, it is in the slaves' interest to not only work against that society but convince other slaves to do so as well on the same basis. People working for the good of society is only good for you if society works for you.
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Last edited by caveman1917; Yesterday at 03:42 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
How can a moral system do that?

A system of punishments can do that, but that's not the same thing as a moral system.
Okay. Then a system that will do it that "isn't morality." I don't care what you call it or what that changes.

I'm interesting in reducing the suffering and increasing the well being of people. If whatever you consider "morality" falls outside of that, I have no time for it.
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Old Yesterday, 04:28 PM   #85
phiwum
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Not necessarily. What if my self interest lies against this society? Would it then not be in my self interest to convince others to work against this society as well? What if I prefer the company of a rag-tag band of revolutionaries and criminals over what you'd call "socialized" people, would it then not be completely against my self interest to try to convince them to go work for society instead?

It is hardly a self interest if I'm not allowed to define what's in my own interest. You're just assuming that my self interest is aligned with the result of others working for "the good of society" however that is neither necessarily true, nor true in the actual world.

ETA: Consider a slave society where there is a slave owner and a bunch of slaves. It is only in the slave owner's interest to convince others to work for the good of this society, it is in the slaves' interest to not only work against that society but convince other slaves to do so as well on the same basis. People working for the good of society is only good for you if society works for you.
You're right that it is possible that the well being of the society is not good for me. Usually, it is, but not always.

I doubt it changes my point much.
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Old Yesterday, 04:39 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Okay. Then a system that will do it that "isn't morality." I don't care what you call it or what that changes.

I'm interesting in reducing the suffering and increasing the well being of people. If whatever you consider "morality" falls outside of that, I have no time for it.
I think that's reasonable for someone who disputes the notion of objective morality and desires a workable society.

But the result is again just that one should behave unless he can get away with it.

I think that's the best one can expect from this view.
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Old Yesterday, 04:50 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
You're right that it is possible that the well being of the society is not good for me. Usually, it is, but not always.

I doubt it changes my point much.
It only doesn't change your point much if you hold that it is rare that society works against one's interest rather than for it. Yet, as in our example, it is not the slaves who are rare but the slave owners.
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Old Yesterday, 04:57 PM   #88
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But, again, if enough people "get away with it", then their own well being WILL be impacted.

It's not (just) about convincing people that they should support your views, but that objectively it's not even in their own interest if society rules break down. That's why it's called enlightened self-interest, and not "how to con the group into giving you a freebie."

E.g., sure, it may sound great if you can get away with killing some from the other group, taking their stuff, and putting your own group above them. But at that point there's nothing to stop other groups from doing the same to you. Society has splintered and lost control of its groups.

If you want to know where that leads, look no further than South Sudan. It's not great for any of the groups trying to kill each other. Not only they too can die at any moment (and not just in plain warfare, but targeted murders too,) and their relatives may be caught in something like the Bentiu massacre, but they drove the economy into the ground, half of them live in ruins by now, a QUARTER of the population have been displaced, etc.

Nobody who thought they can get away with a little ethnic cleansing when they started the fight is getting any actual benefit from it. They have effectively acted AGAINST their own long-term interests.
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Old Yesterday, 05:43 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
It only doesn't change your point much if you hold that it is rare that society works against one's interest rather than for it. Yet, as in our example, it is not the slaves who are rare but the slave owners.
Totally right. Slavery is very likely to be bad for the slave owner as well as the slave, though not to the same degree.

So what? It doesn't dispel the fact that if something is in one's interest, he ought to do it (presuming no objective morality), regardless of harm to others.
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Old Yesterday, 05:49 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
It only doesn't change your point much if you hold that it is rare that society works against one's interest rather than for it. Yet, as in our example, it is not the slaves who are rare but the slave owners.
Yes, so? If I happen to be in the owner class, perhaps slavery benefits me in the long run. Maybe not, in which case I shouldn't support it, but maybe.

If self-interest is the only issue, then it's not clear that one should be opposed to slavery, depending on his own status. As part of the slave class, I'd think it's a terrible state of affairs. As part of the owner class, I might think it's quite congenial.

To argue that slavery is wrong, full stop, requires some independent notion of human rights (which is hard to justify).
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Old Yesterday, 05:51 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Cheap, plentiful food seems like a slam dunk for enlightened self-interest to me.
Yep, exactly my point.

Quote:
Do your food animals have a moral value that transcends your self-interest?
Well, I think that we all tend to feel that our moral values include some things that transcend our self-interest (as you expressed quite eloquently in the post before this one). To those of us who treat that as meaningful I think that can give us insight into questions like this, and your question here is exactly the right one. Do food animals have a moral value that transcends my self-interest? That's exactly the question I need to answer in order to answer whether or not I think it's right to eat them.

Many people have different answers to that question, which I think is fine, but it does show the difference between a morality that only value's oneself and one that attaches values to other things.
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Old Yesterday, 05:53 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But, again, if enough people "get away with it", then their own well being WILL be impacted.
Which is precisely why I said the enlightened self-interested man would encourage others to behave "morally" while behaving however was in his personal best interest.


It's really, really good for me if others take my interests into consideration. I'd like them to do so. Hence, were I an egoist, I would preach altruism.
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Old Yesterday, 05:56 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post

Your two answers encapsulate the entire dilemma, confronted by humanity everywhere. Rationally, you can only defend enlightened self interest. But in reality you think and act, and call upon others to think and act, from belief in moral value that transcends self-interest. And this moral value is not something you can defend. You can only believe in it. And you do.
/thread
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