The debate "All systems of morality are biased and paradoxal. They exist only in the imagination" was started by
July 17, 2020, 7:42 pm.
34 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 20 people are on the disagree side.
That might be enough to see the common perception.
It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.
Cdawgthree posted 17 arguments, Harmony posted 2 arguments, Allirix posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
Cdawgthree posted 2 arguments, diecinueve posted 27 arguments, Harmony posted 3 arguments to the disagreers part.
Aphyllous, Nemiroff, Cdawgthree, Allirix and 30 visitors agree.
Harmony, candice14coza, diecinueve and 17 visitors disagree.
It depends on which happiness is greater, the one you lose now or the one you gain in the future
So if something makes current me happy, but takes happiness away from future me, it's bad?
What about if something makes future me happy, but takes away happiness from current me?
Not everything that makes us feel happy is good, but everything good makes us feel happy. The only things that make us feel happy and are not good are those that take away happiness from someone else, so happiness is the only basis for knowing whether something is good or bad.
So do you agree that you're not using the word happiness to describe the emotion? Or do you believe that if something makes us feel the emotion of happiness then it is necessarily good?
I just said that it is not necessary to eliminate all suffering.
Do you think it's right for rulers to use society only for their own personal means to power without caring about others?
We have already been over this. All societies naturally cause suffering. There is no society that does not.
People use society for their own personal means to power.
The purpose of murder being illegal is to protect society, not your personal happiness.
If society cannot eliminate all suffering, then it must eliminate as much as it can.
What are those many different things for which people use society? What is the purpose of it being illegal to kill?
yes, happiness is what indicates if something is good or bad
Lol, Nazi Germany wasn't destroyed because of what they were doing to Jews. It was destroyed because they lost the war, not because they "didn't make people happy."
Our society doesn't cause happiness for everyone, so what society does? See? This is exactly what I meant when I said that you were pushing for a dystopian society. You are imagining a society that makes everyone happy, when such a society is literally impossible.
Capitalism causes mass suffering.
Communism causes mass suffering.
Fascism causes mass suffering.
Anarchy causes mass suffering.
Any Dystopia causes mass suffering.
Where is this imaginary society that doesn't?
You're asking me what society's goals are, as if it's a sentient being with a will and desires of its own. Society is a tool, used by many different people for many different things. To ask what the goal of society is would be like asking what the goal of power is.
So not the emotion but a catch all term for what we think is good?
By happiness I mean "the feeling we have when something we like happens".
Society seeks survival, but why? Because we like to live, that is, it makes us happy. The same goes for the other things you said.
Killing is illegal because it increases our survival, which increases our happiness.
Survival --> Power --> Stability --> Well-being --> Happiness
The goals of society are typically those, in that order.
If a society does not cause happiness, then it is not a good society. So they destroyed Nazi Germany and slavery.
If the goal of a society is not happiness, then what is it?
Society only exists for its own sake. It certainly didn't exist in Nazi Gemany to make the Jews happy, or for any of the slaves in America's past. Modern society most certainly does not exist to make the poor happy. Almost every aspect of it is designed to use and oppress the lower classes.
You ask why we try to prevent it from falling. We don't. Society isnt something that we inherently value. Many people actively seek to destroy society -- they are called rebels.
Societies, just like castles made of sand, all fall eventually, and for good reason; value comes from within, not from the government.
Society helps us to be happy. We try to prevent society fall because if it fall we would be less happy. According to you, why are we trying to prevent it fall?
If hunger only serves us to enjoy eating, why are there hungry people who cannot eat?
Killing was illegalized because society relies on people to exist. If everyone killed eachother whenever they wanted, society would fall. Therefore, laws are means of practicality rather than morality. By no means does it exist to ensure your happiness, otherwise you would be able to take legal action against things that offend you.
Yes, the function of life is suffering. You cannot name one human action that does not constitute the overcoming of obstacles. Eating is overcoming hunger. Exercising is overcoming poor health. Self restraint is overcoming your immediate desires. Everything requires work in order to be achieved, nothing is free. "All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare."
"I have removed all the suffering, so what remains?" Not happiness. The only reason you enjoy eating is because you get hungry. The only reason you enjoy stimulation is because you get bored, just like the only reason you would enjoy a pain-killer is if you were in pain.
That's not up to you. What I'm saying is that anyone, not just Buddha, would eventually grow to hate the palace walls given enough time. This is not just a philosophy, but a fact of modern psychology. Carl Jung (who created analytical psychology) even uses Nietzsche's dichotomy of Dionysus & Apollo as one of his central concepts. Without the balance of pleasure and suffering, psychological problems will occur.
If you cannot decide what we should or should not do, then how was it decided that killing should be illegal? Laws serve to have the greatest happiness possible in society, killing is illegal because if it were not, there would be much suffering. If deaths could be avoided, there would be less suffering, so they should be avoided. That is why we try to avoid as many deaths as possible.
To live is not to suffering. I have removed all the suffering, so what remains? Happiness, the things I enjoy.
If Buddha enjoys life outside his palace more, good for him, but I would enjoy more having everything I want, and if I get bored, no problem, at any time I could return to my life from before, or to a different life if I want to
When you ask me "should we be able to kill people" you are asking me to make a moral judgement. Any answer I give will necessarily be imaginary. I do not decide what we should or shouldn't do. The law only tells us what we can and can't do because the law exists to establish authority over the masses; it doesn't exist to tell us what is "good" or "evil."
How is it not the life you are describing? "To live is to suffer," yet you've removed all suffering and therefore the essence of life. You have denied the need for growth, change, emotional strength, excellence, and even awareness of your surroundings... so what remains? Nothingness.
Pain itself is necessary, but I'm not saying we "enjoy pain" like some sort of masochist. I'm simply saying that work must be put in to achieve results. Without pain, challenging pain, the pain you see as "unnecessary," there is no personal growth, no excellence, no pleasure from the things you take for granted.
Let me ask you, have you ever heard of Buddha?
Buddha lived his early years in a royal palace and was given literally everything he's ever wanted.
What happened to Buddha?
As time went on, he could no longer find value in his life, so he decided to leave the palace and experience life outside his walls of comfort. He deprived himself of food and the other things he took for granted. Only then did he realize the essence of life: suffering, with pleasure being the mere result thereof.
Should we be able to kill people? If yes, why is it illegal? If the answer is no, why can God do it?
Plants have no consciousness, that is not the life I am describing.
There may be pain but not more than necessary. If I get hungry, I eat something, if I get sleepy I sleep, if I get bored, I play something. If you enjoy a life full of pain more, then God should give it to you, but I enjoy a life without pain more. There are many people who are very hungry and cannot eat anything, and I don't think they enjoy that pain.
No. Lmao where did you even get that idea?
Like I said, nothing is good or bad. "Good" and "bad," same with "beauty" and "ugliness," are mental attitudes towards things, not properties of things in themselves.
A life without wisdom or learning? A life without emotional growth or intimacy? A life without increased awareness of your surroundings? Without sentience?...
What you are describing is the life of a plant or an amoeba. What you are describing is nothingness... "but you do not say "nothingness" : instead you say "the beyond"; or "God"; or "the true life"; or nirvana, salvation, blessedness -- This innocent rhetoric from the realm of religious-moral idiosyncrasy suddenly appears much less innocent when you see precisely which tendencies are wrapped up inside these sublime words: tendencies hostile to life."
The only reason you find pleasure in life is because you know what it's like to feel the inverse. Sadness or pain is precisely why you delight in pleasure. You value food because you've known hunger. You value sleep because you've known exhaustion. You value stimulation because you've known boredom. You value company because you've known loneliness. When you spoil a kid, what happens? They do not value the things they take for granted.
So killing is good?
If the world were perfect we would not need to learn life lessons or be emotionally strong, we would not need to be more aware of our surroundings and the only important thing would be to do what we like, because God would solve all our problems. I don't need sadness to feel alive.
You're assuming happiness is a property of certain things rather than the result of your mental attitude towards said thing. Happiness is something that comes from value, value that we create, not from external things. Experiencing the death of a loved one can teach you important life lessons, it can make you emotionally strong, it can help you empathize with others who have also experienced loss, ect. Pain, even something like stubbing a toe, can teach you to be more aware of your surroundings. It can make you feel alive knowing the depths of human sadness, for only knowing these depths allows us to enjoy the heights. Pain makes us feel human. Pain gives purpose and meaning. It can even be for the best. Not being able to buy a videogame may help you focus on things that are more important. "That which does not kill us only makes us stronger."
sorry. was not meant as a response to your post, but an independent take on the topic.
i agree all system of morality philosophers have found are inadequate.
all philosophies exist only in the imagination, however morality is so conplex, it may be impossible to fully conceptualize it. however, we all know what is wrong and right in most situations from a gut feeling, even if we try to rationalize ulterior motives. i will argue that the musing of armchair ethicists have not had any effect on the course of humanity's development.
i will make a clear distinction between armchair philosophers from aristotle to kant, and humanitarian activists like ghandi, mlk, and mandella. they did not make generalized statements of ethics, but simply identified injustice in specific situations and actively fought against it. they have had an effect; kant and the rest did not.
this is a speculative position that i am not asserting, but simply putting out there in hopes of a challenge that will help me confirm or reject this position. please, prove me wrong :)
What happiness does someone gain when a family member dies? What happiness does someone gain when diagnosed with cancer? What happiness does someone gain from not being able to buy their favorite video game? What happiness does someone gain from hitting the toe with the leg of the bed? The world is full of pains that do not cause any happiness, so it is not the perfect world
But why? Why is this world not the perfect world?
"To live is to suffer, and to survive is to find meaning within the suffering."
Even with the highest degree of suffering, one may always find the highest degree of value within.
Have you ever heard of Camus' Myth of Sisyphus? Even after being condemned to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity, Sisyphus must be happy. Humans create intrinsic value despite their circumstance.
If you need a little pain to be happier, then pain can exist, but not as much as it exists in the real world
But the analogy doesn't allow it. You're alluding to your previous debate where you proposed the existence of an ideal world (through a moral God). If this ideal world is one where hardship and pain do not exist then how can the "difficulty level" change?
If you want a challenging video game, you could get a challenging video game, not an easy one
Would it not quickly become boring if we got everything we wanted without working for it? What if you bought a video game and there was no challenge to beat it? No objectives, achievements, or enemies/obstacles to overcome? What if every opponent you play against in a game or competition just allowed you to win? What if every puzzle solved itself? There is a great Twilight Zone episode that portrays this. The main character is greeted in heaven with all the women he wants and every game of blackjack he plays is a perfect 21. Needless to say, the protagonist soon discovered that he was in hell.
It is true that in this world it takes struggle to find happiness, but if there was a way to find the same happiness without struggle or with less struggle (for example, a god who gives us what we want) it would be better
Then that means there is no true way to seek happiness because seeking happiness is self defeating. What you're describing as the true way to seek happiness does not exist when true happiness is born from overcoming struggle.
(also, I'm not a grammar Nazi by any means, but I've noticed you've been using the word "seak." Seak is a type of soap. Seek means to look for something).
If people become less happy in your explanation, then what you were explaining is not the seak of happiness
But I just explained how it makes you weak?
What do you mean with pleasure? If it is the same thing that I defined as happiness, then no. If being weak makes you less happy, seeking happiness will not make you weak.
So then you admit pleasure seeking is self defeating?
They stop being happy, therefore they did not seek happiness well
What happens to organisms who don't adapt and overcome? In this world, it is survival of the fittest, so what happens to the weak? What happens to those who cannot change in a world that never stops changing?
If you are happy I don't see what is wrong with being bored, stagnant, content, lazy or weak. And I don't understand why you think that by seeking happiness you become that. Just because someone likes to play video games doesn't mean they just like that, and therefore it doesn't mean they just do that.
You are ignoring the part where the other option is to become boring, stagnant, content, lazy, and weak.
Depression is contrary to happiness. If seak happiness and you become a depressive drug addict means that you did not seek it well.
Boredom is contrary to happiness. If seek happiness and you get bored means that you did not seek it well.
You think I mean only immediate happiness, but no, you also have to think about future happiness
What happens when one lives their life seeking pleasure? Do they constantly find pleasure in the same things? Do they not get bored and seek new interests like a child outgrowing their toys? Do we not buy new video games or watch new movies because our desire for new pleasure is unquenchable? What happens when one spends their life doing this? They either crash like a drug addict and become depressed, or they become content and stagnant. They become lazy, unwilling, and unable to adapt to a new, changing, and restless world. They seek nostalgia and repetition as a shield from the harsh new realities they are not apt to face. If pleasure seeking does not make you bored, it will certainly make you boring, but not only that; it will make you weak.
The seak for happiness does not generate boredom. I defined happiness as "what we feel when something we like happens", so looking for happiness is looking for what we like. If you do not like to be bored then the seak for happiness does not generate boredom.
Abortion does not make anyone suffer, so it is not bad.
Happiness is the only way to make people feel better, so it must be the base of morality.
Exactly. Pain is equally as important. The value of pain, however, is far more than just something to avoid. Actively pursuing struggle and pain will help us grow and mature as individuals, it allows us to achieve our dreams and overcome anything that is in our way, it makes our lives interesting and gives us meaning. "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning within the suffering; that which does not kill us makes us stronger." -Nietzsche
Without the pain of fire we won't learn to never touch it.
But how can your system work at all when it offers no tangible metric by which to systematically categorize human behavior? One could even say with validity that pursuing pleasure only leads to displeasure, which is something I have forgotten to bring up until now.
Struggle is equally as important as pleasure. Pleasure seeking in itself only breeds laziness and boredom. Struggle shapes us into who we are, makes us stronger, and is just as essential as pleasure is in life. Without a balance of the two, one will always fall into a pattern of decadence and nihilism. Judging things based on how much pleasure they cause is counterintuitive to the function of life. We should always embrace struggle and change while avoiding decadence and stagnation.
What's an example of a common action where there isn't a degree of suffering and a degree of happiness?
I imagine almost every real example of bad is born of selfishness (happiness to self or love ones) as opposed to wanting to make people suffer. So when we suffer at the hands of another it's because they receive a benefit. So there is suffering and happiness with almost every real scenario. If your idea falls down during those times it's not that useful.
And that's ignoring the subjective basis. Well-being and happiness are not inherently valued by the objective world. So it doesn't have an objective basis. So using well-being as a basis does allow us to compare actions objectively, but only after we've accepted well-being as the basis for morality.
Laws should only change in cases where my system doesn't work.
What this system means is that happiness and suffering are the only basis for deciding whether something should or should not be done. When something causes happiness but also suffering, this system stops working. But something that does not cause suffering should always be legal, and something that causes suffering and does not cause happiness should always be illegal. For example, plants can't suffer, so killing plants should only be illegal if it makes someone else suffer.
Who is to say which action has which amount of probability? Hitler probably thought his plans had the highest probability to create a better world. His idea of "better" and the probability of his plan's success were both Imagined. Even probability itself is imagined. Everything is pre-determined, therefore there is no chance for phenomena to happen any differently had we replayed the incident.
If your system doesn't apply universally, how can it be a system when every judgement is based off of vague feelings and opinions? Morality is personal. Speaking of, laws are not. Laws are ethical systems, not moral systems. Laws change and are not meant to be absolute.
My system does not work in cases where action causes happiness to one person but suffering to another. In the example of the doctor you cannot know what is right. It only works in cases where the suffering caused or the probability of suffering is very low. The probability that a child is young Hitler is very low, therefore killing him for that reason is not correct. Even if the odds work against us and it turns out that he was a young Hitler, the action of not killing him as a child is still correct because back then the probability that he was was very low.
Is following the rules submitting to the desires of others? So shouldn't there be laws?
You are right that happiness cannot be measured. This is why tangible things or actions cannot apply to morality, even when the action is predicted to be obviously greater than the its alternative. Killing a child seems obviously evil, but what if the child is young Hitler? How can we know any situation is obviously right or wrong when there are too many unforseen circumstances? Lying can lead to someone's death, it can also save people. Killing can also save the lives of many. Who is to say which actions are objectively right or wrong?
The major reason why morality cannot apply to the real world is the fact that all moral judgements only come into existence as SYMPTOMS and therefore cannot be prescribed to any particular phenomena.
How can one expect to be lead by personal value if this system requires them to submit and act accordingly to the values and desires of others?
If you had the choice to save either a doctor or a small group of people, what would your system require you to do? We can only imagine which scenario would be the best. We will never know if the "right" decision was made because the "right" decision never existed in the first place; it was all a matter of opinion.
As everyone finds pleasure and displeasure in different things, to assess the morale of an action you have to see who is affected by that action. It is not the same to hug someone who likes to be hugged than someone who does not like.
Happiness cannot be measured, so there are cases where it is not possible to know if an action is good or bad, however, there are cases in which the happiness caused is much greater than the suffering or vice versa, for example, allowing the murder would cause much more suffering than happiness. In these cases it is possible to know whether or not we should do that action.
Personal value would continue to exist. Everyone values ??their own happiness and can seek it but without breaking the rules so as not to make others suffer.
If you make two people happy at the cost of making one suffer, the total happiness has increased, but not the happiness of each person, since one is less happy than before. In these cases in which one person is happier but another is less happy is where this system does not work, however, it works in cases where the happiness of one person increases and that of others does not decrease or decreases very little.
We have discussed this before, but it is biased because different people find different degrees of pleasure and displeasure from different things, and it is imaginary because pleasure is a reaction, an after-effect, an indicator, and not something tangible. They provide only predictions, and predictions are always imagined. One man may predict one thing while the other doesn't simply because of their perspective or beliefs or biases. Who is to say what the "greatest good" looks like or how to obtain it? Who is to say if one end justifies the means of another or vice versa? What metric do they use? One may say helping the needy and giving them free money is for the greatest good while others believe that this will cause the needy to become dependant instead of learning to overcome their struggles, thus making the situation worse. Then the other could counter that argument and so on and so on. We can never have objective knowledge that one action could be or would have been better or worse. We can only imagine. This is why the system you propose can't have a basis in reality.
Serving a greater good devalues your personal value, for what you value must be subsided to serve the "greater value" (which is just an arbitrary value that does not reflect personal desire).
How is the max sum of everyone's happiness different from the max sum of each individuals happiness? If each individual had maximized their happiness, then is that not the greatest max sum of happiness? Maybe you are not explaining your distinction well enough. Imagine your ideal world existed and everyone maxed out their happiness as much as physically possible. Would the life of a doctor outweigh the life of 3 individuals? Would the murder of one person be permitted if it saved millions of others?
I only assumed you knew what I was talking about because we have discussed most of these topics before.
Why is pleasure and pain imagined and biased?
In the system I said, you cannot baselessly claim that your ideals support the greatest good, I do not know how you came to that conclusion.
Nor do I know how you concluded that serving a greater good defeats the value of good.
(By "greater good" I do not mean that the sum of the happiness of all people is the greatest possible, I mean that the happiness of each person is the greatest possible).
It would be nice that when you make an argument you explain how you came to your conclusions.
Exactly. This is why ethics are superior to morality. Ethics, like a work ethic, are goal oriented and value based. Morals are based on arbitrary and imaginary labels that systematically constrict our perspective of a certain things nature.
Thats called utilitarianism and its no more valid than any other system. Not only is it based on the imaginary and biased pleasure/pain axis, but anyone could baselessly claim that their ideals support the "greatest good" when the base itself isn't supported by anything tangible. Fascists support Utilitarianism, but look at how well these "ideal societies" flourished... This also brings us back to the topic of how a dystopian society will always fail (which we were discussing in another debate section). Nothing good comes for free. A utilitarian form of morality or government necessarily discards all personal value and individuality for the sake of the "greater good." Not only is this nihilistic, as it denies intrinsic value, but value should come from within. Claiming to serve a "greater" good defeats the value of "good" altogether.
That's still just a social construct used to direct behaviour towards what we value. It's a good way to live, but well-being isn't valued by the objective world. It's valued by us.
So what needs to be done is a moral system that is based not only on the will of its creator, but on that of all people in the world.
-No one likes something to happen that they don't like.
-Everyone likes something to happen that they like.
I will call "suffering" what we feel when something we do not like happens and I will call "happiness" what we feel when something we like happens.
Then we can base on happiness and suffering to make a moral system that propagates the will of everyone. The only rules of this system would be.
1. Cause the greatest happiness possible.
2. Cause the least possible suffering.
There are many systems of morality, and each of them contradict eachother in several ways. Any system of morality necessarily exists to propagate the will of its creator and/or proponents thereof -- This is what I mean by "biased."
As for "paradoxal," I am referring to the way morality systematically categorizes things into a fixed perspective of good and evil. This is a false dichotomy of the imagination, not of nature.
Well the laws of nature don't give us morality. They're all just social constructs we use to maximize what we value. And if you clump together all the systems of morality we have invented you get a paradoxical set of rules because different systems value different things. So I think I agree.
What do you mean "biased" and "paradoxal"?