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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Does progress really exist?
Thread: Does progress really exist? This thread is 11 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 · «PREV / NEXT»
fred79
fred79


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 03:51 AM
Edited by fred79 at 03:55, 21 Jul 2013.

mvass, since when is humanity better than anything else living on the planet? you think, that because you are human, the world, this planet, serves your needs? it's that kind of thinking that is ****ing everything up, man.

and fauch, what good is "good for humanity", when it destroys the environment they're in? you think human JOBS and the ECONOMY put the PLANET in the back seat? what the hell is going on here?

fauch, mvass, you two really need a perspective re-evaluation. humans might be the top of the food chain, but this planet BELONGS to NO organism. WE belong to IT. the fact that we are AWARE of our own power, gives us the RESPONSIBILITY to MEDIATE IT(our power over things) for the betterment of the entire PLANET.

you two should feel ashamed. with our awareness, and our power, comes responsibility. and because humanity CONTINUES to be irresponsible, it will be the END of us.

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 03:51 AM
Edited by mvassilev at 03:55, 21 Jul 2013.

artu:
Quote:
Humans generally feel happier anyway when they are NOT egocentric.
That's because they have a poor understanding of what selfishness entails, for a human. For some reason, it's popularly perceived that "selfish" people care about nothing but money and screwing people over at every opportunity, while "selfless" people care about their friends, are benevolent, etc - and then people say that they'd be happier being selfless than selfish. The people who say this don't see the obvious contradiction in what they're saying. Self-interested people care about what is good for themselves, that is, they want to be happy. If doing things that are associated with the (popularly mistaken) concept of "selfless" is what makes people happy, then that's what self-interested people should do. Once you're doing these things, consciously doing them because they make you happy doesn't reduce their effect. For example, I'm in a relationship because it makes me happy. I interact with my friends because it makes me happy. Etc. I am fundamentally motivated by my self-interest. If someone told me that to be "really selfish", I should screw them over whenever I could get away with it, I'd tell them that they don't understand what my interests are, or what self-interest is about.

Anyway, perceiving Earth as a value in itself conflicts with seeing it properly - as a tool for achieving one's values.

fred:
This planet only serves my needs if I make it serve them. Unless someone uses it, it doesn't do anything - just spins in space. The planet belongs to those who have appropriated it. While humans can make agreements with each other and respect them, with respect to nature we're in a state of nature where might makes right. We don't belong to anyone, as the planet isn't a sentient organism that's capable of making choices. Each person is autonomous and owns themselves and whatever they can obtain, through their own labor, through claiming the unclaimed, or through exchanging with other persons.
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Fauch
Fauch


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 03:58 AM

I never said it was a good thing. it was clearly an error, but now, it has reached such a scale, that most people don't see what they can do except to go along with it if they just want to survive. individually I mean, not as a species.

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fred79
fred79


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 04:00 AM
Edited by fred79 at 04:11, 21 Jul 2013.

mvassilev said:
fred:
This planet only serves my needs if I make it serve them. Unless someone uses it, it doesn't do anything - just spins in space. The planet belongs to those who have appropriated it. While humans can make agreements with each other and respect them, with respect to nature we're in a state of nature where might makes right. We don't belong to anyone, as the planet isn't a sentient organism that's capable of making choices. Each person is autonomous and owns themselves and whatever they can obtain, through their own labor, through claiming the unclaimed, or through exchanging with other persons.


yeah, that's all wrong. just because we are top of the food chain, does not give us any rights beyond anything else living on this planet. it is THAT way of thinking that has got everything so far out of whack.

ok, let me say it this way-

if you were a guest in someone's house, would you feel ok doing whatever you wanted? eating all their food, bringing your kids to live there, until there was no room for the host to move, and nothing for them to eat? you wouldn't consider that EXTREMELY rude?

of course, might makes right, right? well then, what if that host had the ability to wipe you out of existence? would you respect your host THEN?

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Fauch
Fauch


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 04:18 AM

I could quote "1984" war is peace. the goal is for the dominating class to keep its power, and for that their weapon is making the dominated classes work. but they have to keep them poor, and they produce way too much wealth, so they have to find a way to destroy that wealth that will seem acceptable to the dominated classes. through war in that case. but destroying the planet isn't anyone's goal.

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 04:38 AM

fred:
Quote:
just because we are top of the food chain, does not give us any rights beyond anything else living on this planet
True. If cats could attain mastery of the Earth, they would have an equal right to do so, though it's not really correct to talk about rights outside of the context of other persons and their property. Other beings' rights limit what is permissible for us to do. When it comes to dealing with other humans, there are good reasons to agree to limit ourselves in certain ways in exchange for others limiting themselves in the same way. For example, you don't want me to break into your house while you're gone and take all your stuff, and I don't want you to break into mine. There are two ways of accomplishing our desired ends, then. We can both sit in our houses with our guns in our laps, waiting to shoot the other if he tries to enter. It works, but it's suboptimal - I don't want to sit at home and guard my house against burglars all day, and neither do you. We can instead choose the other way of accomplishing our goals - we can mutually agree not to burglarize each other's houses, and that if one of us violates the agreement, some third party will punish the violator. This shows why we should restrict ourselves in our dealings with other humans, but the same reasoning doesn't apply to animals or "the planet" in general. Why should we restrict ourselves in dealing with it?
Quote:
if you were a guest in someone's house, would you feel ok doing whatever you wanted? eating all their food, bringing your kids to live there, until there was no room for the host to move, and nothing for them to eat?
No, because the house belongs to them. They have the right to remove me, and if they can't do so personally, they can call the police. The analogy doesn't apply to the Earth, as any part of it has no owner until someone claims it.
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fred79
fred79


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 05:04 AM

Fauch said:
but destroying the planet isn't anyone's goal.


i didn't say it was. just like cancer, i don't think it knows what it does to it's host, obviously. but that doesn't mean that humanity DOESN'T act as a parasite, instead of an valued asset, to the planet.

@ mvassilev: look, if you don't think "rights" is the correct word to describe my point, fine. but, you DO understand my point, don't you?

why WOULDN'T the same reasoning apply to your environment, and the nurturing it can provide, if it takes care of you? that's like saying, "taking a **** on the dinner table is perfectly acceptable, even though we eat from it".


No, because the house belongs to them. They have the right to remove me, and if they can't do so personally, they can call the police. The analogy doesn't apply to the Earth, as any part of it has no owner until someone claims it.


you're splitting hairs here, mvass. this is beginning to look like one of those religious arguments. if this keeps up, i will have stop responding.

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 05:09 AM

Quote:
why WOULDN'T the same reasoning apply to your environment, and the nurturing it can provide, if it takes care of you?
The environment doesn't provide enough nurturing to live. You have to take it, by force if necessary. And when it does take care of me, it's not going to choose to stop taking care of me if I do something against it - it can't choose to do anything. If I break into your house, you can go to the police and have me arrested (if you have evidence that I did it), which is an outcome I don't want, so I won't break into your house. But if I, say, destroy an anthill, the ants don't and can't have any recourse, so if it benefits me to destroy them, I should.
With humans, it's mutually beneficial voluntary exchange. The environment doesn't have preferences (so nothing benefits it) or a will (so nothing is voluntary or involuntary), so the same standard can't apply.
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fred79
fred79


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 06:10 AM
Edited by fred79 at 06:29, 21 Jul 2013.

mvassilev said:
But if I, say, destroy an anthill, the ants don't and can't have any recourse, so if it benefits me to destroy them, I should.


this is THE problem with humans and their relationship with their environment, in a nutshell. thanks, mvass, for being so candid. that you don't see this is wrong, is the main reason i have no faith in humanity anymore. this is the kind of thinking that makes me have to stop, before i am worked into a fury, and ignore you.

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted July 21, 2013 06:35 AM

mvassilev said:
But if I, say, destroy an anthill, the ants don't and can't have any recourse, so if it benefits me to destroy them, I should.

So it's safe to say you support the right of people to hunt elephants to extinction for ivory?  

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mvassilev
mvassilev


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Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 06:45 AM

Corribus:
There are good reasons to protect elephants, but none of them are out of consideration for the elephants' well-being. As long as people want ivory, they want sources of ivory to exist, of which elephants are one. It's not that elephants have rights, but that people find it beneficial to keep elephants from going extinct. If elephants could be bred for their tusks in the same way that cows are currently bred for their milk and meat, elephant extinction wouldn't be a problem, because they could be protected as farmers' private property. Because I haven't heard of this being done, I assume it's not feasible. Therefore elephants remain a common-pool resource (much like fish stocks), and should be protected to prevent a tragedy of the commons.
But if elephants weren't useful for humans in any way, and eliminating them wouldn't have negative effects on ecosystems (that is, negative for humans), they shouldn't have protection.
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Drakon-Deus
Drakon-Deus


Legendary Hero
posted July 21, 2013 08:26 AM
Edited by Drakon-Deus at 08:27, 21 Jul 2013.

I don't think we should do things like hunting or excessive fishing anymore. Those things were OK  in the past when we had to do it to survive, but now it's rather pointless. We;re not progressing.


Also, zoo's, wtf.


I'm not proud that I'm a human, really. We're the most evil beasts of all sometimes.


But as long as I hang on to honor I hope to be better than that.
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Horses don't die on a dog’s wish.

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baklava
baklava


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Mostly harmless
posted July 21, 2013 08:30 AM bonus applied by Corribus on 27 Jul 2013.

About your selfishness thing, MVass. I’ll start a bit far off but it’ll come together in the end. Well, that’s the plan, at least.

In retrospect, I’m pretty sure we were always similar in a few things. Granted, not too many, but still. The first would be our dashing good looks and razor sharp wit, which do not concern this particular discussion. The second is that - and I think this might be fueled by an incredibly stubborn sense of individualism - we hold a specific attitude when it comes to discussions like these.

Namely, when getting a point across, it’s healthy to make it sound at least a bit more extreme than necessary, add shock value to it, something to jolt the target(s) into reacting. Selfishness is the primary human virtue, masturbating on babies is better than circumcision, the only rational political belief is anarchism, the only rational religious belief is atheism, the only rational economical belief is complete laissez-faire/socialism, whatever. Basically, we take a swing at a well established notion that generally isn’t brought into question except in the monologues of poorly developed bad guys just before getting their arses handed back to them. When our would-be interlocutors bite, we get their attention, and with their attention, we have ourselves a discussion.

Then, before anything, we need to do some explaining. So we elaborate. We defend the opinion, and make ourselves understood. This mellows the situation a bit, allows for our point of view to be acknowledged for what it is, but still leaves enough for people to disagree and continue discussing. This can generally go on for a few cycles, where it’s important to take care that - while it feels good to know people are struggling to find a flaw in our arguments - we don’t water down our point so much that it loses its essence.

Take a glance, for example, at LaVey and his Church of Satan. He perfectly well could’ve called it the Club of Ordinary People With Dubious Fashion Taste Who Think That Envy And Similar Are Perfectly Natural Things, Really. But where would all the publicity and sweet, sweet $$$ be in that?

Now, I believe that your firm and - you’ll agree - idealistic belief in the free market stems from the above mentioned individualism, a strong wish for people to be able to have more control over their own lives, less third party influence, as much personal freedom, choices and options as possible, etc. My own thoughts on that matter went in a different direction, finding laissez-faire something at least as dangerous as it is useful when it comes to individual liberty; not an ideal, but a tool, a piece of machinery to be handled with care, lest our fingers get chopped off.

Perhaps that is the most relevant to the thread’s original topic. Still, I’d rather dig a bit deeper and talk about your notions of selfishness - which I think followed, at least to an extent, the path I described. Not only on HC, of course, but wherever you hand the chance to discuss them.

So, where I think you went wrong is misplacing the sensationalism. To explain the rationale behind extreme individualism, you postulate that selfishness is not only a great thing, but the sole possible way to exist. Altruists are self-deceiving masochists that needlessly harm themselves and set a bad example to everyone. Sure, sounds bombastic, psychotic, thrilling. But the moment you explain what you meant, it loses its edge. In an attempted mind-blowing move, suddenly everything is selfish. Devoting yourself to your wife and kids is selfish. Helping out hungry children is selfish because you feel good afterwards. That’s not an intriguing, controversial, yet undeniably true thought. That’s bad semantics. Overstretching, at best. What is selflessness, then? Helping hungry children not because it brings you joy but out of fear of public disapproval? Getting your girlfriend flowers because you feel obliged to, even though you’d much rather enjoy getting a stress-relieving massage for that money? Is it selfless to do anything you don’t like, for any reason? Or can a man knowingly commit a selfless action at all?

It all leads me to conclude that selflessness is either misguided selfishness (falsely believing things will later turn out better for you if you get those flowers instead of that massage; or that you’d feel terrible under public scorn for not helping out the impoverished so it’s worth the money) or that, well, there is no “selflessness” and that your definition of “selfishness” encompasses anything anyone does. The only purpose behind that entire philosophy, then, would be to equate the “righteous” with the “callous”, the “benefactor” with the “egocentric”. And then we’re talking nihilism, a universally poor choice in justifying one’s actions, especially to other people.

At any rate, the society around us, whose social contracts we so dutifully follow, has generally agreed on the negative connotation of selfishness as materialistic, callous, disregarding of others, lacking empathy and similar. I’m OK with that state of affairs, given that I don’t believe the word itself can hold any meaning beyond it. Wording aside, as for the attempted equating of the guy risking his arse to distribute crates of food and aid across war-torn African villages with Ebenezer Scrooge, I concur that both are acting in their perceived best interest. But although either of them hardly harm anyone personally, I’m still of the opinion that people similar to Scrooge reflect a far less ethical personality under any “social contract” that has the best interests of humanity in mind.

I personally see it as a matter of vision. It’s a scale ranging from short-sightedness to eagle eye - from the murderous psychopath, unable to connect to the feelings of others, drawing instant pleasure from mistreating his victims; over the mobster walking over corpses to get what he wants, yet cooperating with others of his kind and blending with society in order to make things easier for himself; over the opportunistic, sweatshop-using industrial magnate that considers he simply knows how things work and believes he harms no one personally, valuing the long-term safety and peace of not getting directly involved in criminal activities; over the honest family guy that gets pissed off whenever the newspapers mention an increase in drug usage in ghettos and usually hands a coin or two to the wino on the corner; and all the way to those Japs who kept volunteering to help cool those overheating nuclear reactors, knowing it’ll probably get them irradiated beyond salvation. And, of course, a whole lot of gray in between all of these.

Everyone loves a bit of instant pleasure or short-term cheer. But not everyone can always see far enough to shoot for enduring happiness or the fulfillment of having helped, even if to a minor extent, to create a brighter future for mankind and life itself. All in all, you’re right, it all is about some kind of personal gain. It’s just that not all personal gain is the same.
____________
"Let me tell you what the blues
is. When you ain't got no
money,
you got the blues."
Howlin Wolf

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted July 21, 2013 01:23 PM
Edited by artu at 13:24, 21 Jul 2013.

Quote:
Everyone loves a bit of instant pleasure or short-term cheer. But not everyone can always see far enough to shoot for enduring happiness or the fulfillment of having helped, even if to a minor extent, to create a brighter future for mankind and life itself. All in all, you’re right, it all is about some kind of personal gain. It’s just that not all personal gain is the same.


Which was my point when I said it is not logically wrong but short-sighted. The whole if selflessness feels good it's selfish thing also has other problems though. First of all, I must disagree that it has any kind of shock value. If you're familiar with the stuff, it's one of the oldest issues in Ethics. Rather than shocking, I find this level of absolute pragmatism shallow: People never live by rationality  alone and obeying rational laws guided by their own benefit alone does not necessarily make them happier every time. Life is much more dimensional than the calculations of Mvass. If you take into account the theory of psychoanalysis (among many more, just an example), we are not even directed by our rationality, let alone be only consisting of it.

And even if such one dimensional pragmatism worked:
Quote:
The environment doesn't provide enough nurturing to live. You have to take it, by force if necessary. And when it does take care of me, it's not going to choose to stop taking care of me if I do something against it - it can't choose to do anything.

This is plain wrong. Yes, it has no consciousness and chooses nothing but if you do things against it (misuse it), the planet WILL stop taking care of you. Not to mention that nobody wants to live in a world full of domestic farm animals, cactus and concrete gray blocks only. Just look at children, we love elephants because they are elephants. Can love be based on some sort of pragmatism? Maybe, in the broadest sense, since we don't love rats and mosquitoes, there has to be such an aspect, even if it's very vague.However, that aspect/philosophy alone can not determine the future of humanity or what shall be protected or not. It's too short-sighted, one-dimensional and also quite repelling to base decisions with such long-term effects.

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xerox
xerox


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 02:46 PM
Edited by xerox at 14:56, 21 Jul 2013.

Does self-interest need to be "objectively rational"? Take domestic violence. Lots of people stay in abusive relationships out of perceived self-interest yet most people in progressive cultures consider that to be an irrational choice. What being rational is, what acting out of self-interest means, is highly subjective.
____________
Over himself, over his own
body and
mind, the individual is
sovereign.
- John Stuart Mill

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mvassilev
mvassilev


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 06:59 PM
Edited by mvassilev at 19:03, 21 Jul 2013.

Bak:
Selfishness is acting in a way that makes you as happy as you can possibly be over your lifetime. It may not bring you pleasure to pay your taxes, but it beats being fined and/or going to prison. You may not like doing your homework, but it may help you learn, and getting good grades has a positive effect on your chance to get a job you'd enjoy. So, to answer one of your questions, selflessness isn't just doing something you don't like in a local time period, but something that you expect to have a negative effect on your net lifetime happiness. Sometimes, selflessness is misguided selfishness. For example, if you think getting flowers instead of the massage will ultimately make your life better, and it doesn't (and you could've figured that out before making the choice - it's not selflessness if something you couldn't expect happens and affects the outcome), that's a kind of selflessness. However, there's a more important and more malicious kind of selflessness, which is (in a broad sense) treating things as ends in themselves independently of how they affect your happiness. For acts and attitudes in this category, it's not that you're mistaken about what will make you happy, but that you don't care. Returning to the flowers example - if you get your girlfriend flowers because it'll make her happy, and by extension that'll make you happy, that's selfishness; if you get your girlfriend flowers because you think it'll make your relationship better, even though if you thought about it, you'd know it wouldn't, that's the selflessness of mistaken selfishness; but if you get your girlfriend flowers out of duty, "because I'm her boyfriend" (in this sense, "because I'm her boyfriend" isn't shorthand for "I like making her happy, which should be obvious from the fact that I'm her boyfriend" but is literally "because it's what her boyfriend is obligated to do" and nothing more), that's true selflessness, in which there are no selfish motivations.

To say that everyone is self-interested, but people have different interests, and some people make mistakes, is to omit the large category of people who are truly selfless. Take, for example, someone who believes lying is inherently wrong. Not that lying is a generally bad idea, not that lying would have negative consequences if everyone lied, not that lying makes him feel nervous and/or guilty, but that lying is bad completely independently of its consequences. If an ax murderer came to his house and asked him if his wife was there, he wouldn't lie, even if he knew he could get away with it. At no point does his self-interest enter the equation. Or consider people who think protecting the environment is good for its own sake - not because it's useful for humanity (and by extension, themselves), but as an end in itself. Ultimately, that's what this group of people has in common - treating things other than their own happiness as terminal (rather than instrumental) values. If someone considers something to be good or bad independently of its consequences for themselves (even after reflection), they are selfless.

Also, because selfishness is about net lifetime happiness, neither the psychopath nor the mobster is successfully selfish.

artu:
I don't know what it means to live by "rationality alone". Rationality is a tool for "winning" - for figuring out what you want, what the external world is like, and how to get what you want out of the world. ("What you want" need not be selfish in either the common or consistent sense of the word - for example, if you really wanted to fill the universe with paperclips, rationality would help you figure out how to do that.) Rationality can't help you if you don't have preferences or motivations, or if you choose to apply it to the wrong (incomplete) set of your preferences. Nor does rationality guarantee happiness even if you choose to maximize it: if you're living in a war zone, being tortured, are depressed, etc, rationality can help you, but you'll probably still be unhappy - happiness depends on external factors as well as internal ones. Happiness-maximizers can also be mistaken about what makes them happy, and thus make errors in their optimization: for example, marriage is something that should generally make people happy, and so people may count their marriage as contributing to their happiness regardless of whether their particular marriage is going well or not. But if people identify what makes them happy and optimize for it, rationality will make them as happy as they can be under their conditions.
Also, psychoanalysis is pseudoscientific nonsense.
Quote:
it has no consciousness and chooses nothing but if you do things against it (misuse it), the planet WILL stop taking care of you. Not to mention that nobody wants to live in a world full of domestic farm animals, cactus and concrete gray blocks only. Just look at children, we love elephants because they are elephants.
Right. None of this contradicts anything I said. People can like elephants for aesthetic reasons too. I would, however, be hesitant to use aesthetics as a justification for policy, because aesthetics vary from person to person, and more importantly some people may have horrible aesthetic values, such as for a society with no homosexuals, no black people, etc.

Xerox:
There's perceived self-interest and then there's actual self-interest. If there was some alien whose ultimate goal would be to maximize the number of paperclips in the universe, we couldn't call him irrational for doing so. If, in some bizarre scenario, being in an abusive relationship would help the alien maximize paperclips, it would be rational for it to do so. It would be "worse" for it (worse in the human sense), as it would presumably experience pain, but the alien doesn't care about pain avoidance, self-preservation, or even happiness as terminal values, they're only useful inasmuch as they help it fill the universe with paperclips. However, humans aren't paperclip maximizers, and we know enough about human nature (in particular, preferences common to humans) that we can confidently say that given the abused person's own preferences, staying in the abusive relationship wouldn't be what they would choose in a reflective equilibrium (that is, if they sat down, analyzed all their preferences calmly and rationally, tested the ones they weren't sure about, etc).
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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted July 21, 2013 07:34 PM
Edited by artu at 19:35, 21 Jul 2013.

First things first, psychoanalysis doesn't claim to be since so it can not be pseudo-science. Freud's legacy in the psychiatric world however is still strong and his methods and theory is not obsolete.

And you got it all wrong. We don't love elephants or rivers just because they have aesthetic value, the earth and its components have emotional and psychological value for us. We (most of humanity) fell peaceful among them. And valuing the whole thing as a... well whole, instead of atomizing it into "this piece is beneficial and that piece is not" is a mindset. Metaphorically speaking, what you do is no different than taking a painting and saying, "hmmm the canvas must be worth 50 bucks, the paint 15, for transportation and labor, let's add 100 dollars. Why is this painting worth 100.000 bucks!" Just like valuing art (aesthetic value for the sole purpose of aesthetic value), valuing the environment requires a kind of depth, sensitivity and foresight, that is beyond the perimeter of your pragmatism.
Quote:
There's perceived self-interest and then there's actual self-interest.

Which has no objective parameter because the ultimate goal of happiness is subjective AND relative. So, in issues such as this, it all comes down to the notorious bad ol' "common sense." I might also add, no we don't know enough about human nature to determine or accurately guess what's good for them as the way you mean it. (You in specific, are so far from it, IMO.) We know basic stuff, they don't like to get tortured or beaten etc etc. But human preferences are not stored as separate cubicals labeled happy/unhappy. It's much more sophisticated and inextricable than that. I recommend you to read some classical novels (not fantastic and sci-fi etc etc), it may really broaden your perspective on what humans want or not. World is full of people who would define your rational "actual self-interest" as total rubbish and boredom.    

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mvassilev
mvassilev


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2013 07:42 PM

Quote:
We don't love elephants or rivers just because they have aesthetic value, the earth and its components have emotional and psychological value for us.
That sounds like aesthetic value to me.
As for the point about actual self-interest, I think you should reread what I said to Xerox, as you seem to have missed the point.
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artu
artu


Promising
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My BS sensor is tingling again
posted July 21, 2013 07:52 PM

No aesthetic value is appreciating something only for it's beauty as in art. People who want to protect the Earth as an end itself has also ethical agendas. And even if it was so, that doesn't change the criticism of your atomizing.

I am not talking about Xerox's example of abusive relationship, it's not a good example, in fact, it is a very bad example. You're right on that one. But assumed/actual self-interest is an argument you keep on presenting independent of that example. That's why I quoted only that part.

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mvassilev
mvassilev


Responsible
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posted July 21, 2013 08:05 PM

Aesthetic value can be broader than just beauty. For example, a racist could think that a society with no black people would be aesthetically appealing, even though the word "beautiful" would certainly not come to mind when describing it. Or suppose I like arranging things on my desk a certain way. It's aesthetically pleasing to me, but it has nothing to do with beauty. Also, I don't deny that some people treat the Earth as an end in itself (see what I wrote to Bak). They're just wrong to do so.
Anyway, any person's set of preferences are reducible to their subcomponents, that is, what they like, what they dislike, what they prefer, etc. The fact that it consists and is nothing more than its subcomponents isn't a criticism - it's just true.

As for the assumed/actual self-interest distinction, it's quite an obvious one. If you think getting punched in the face will make you happy, but it really makes you unhappy (and you'd know that if you spent  some time thinking about it), getting punched in the face would be in your perceived self-interest but not in your actual self-interest. On the other hand, if getting punched in the face is something you truly enjoy, then it would be in your actual self-interest. The distinction between perceived and actual self-interest exists because people don't always know what's good for them.
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