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richardbaxter

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  1. 'The #MeToo Backlash'

    There is no reason to assume that males should be treated the same as females. Ignorance regarding difference of nature is probably the cause of the "me too" movement. Even the predatory/dehumanising conclusions are a failure to appreciate the motivations of the affective complement (and thus respect their intellect). A sex is primarily responsible for the opposite sex - this is the contention of a rational organic being. And this responsibility is the only reason sex identity (gender) exists. Gender divorced from responsibility is disordered. There is nothing wrong with males being gynocentric as defined (the protection of women and children). In fact, it is the duty of males to be gynocentric. Females by their nature are correspondingly androcentric - why the time spent discussing persons? It is not just a desire to compete; it is a desire to care for others including the integrity of themselves and their prospective partner. Likewise, why is self-objectification so prominent? It is not just 1st order mimesis (the imitation of another's apparent desire as inferred through the collective experience of the advertisement); it is a desire to please (2nd order mimesis; the desire to fulfil another's desire). The fact this imitation may occur with respect to a plastic ideal generated by immoral characters is irrelevant. As for the ostensible exploitation; it is difficult for a person to remain convinced that they are the centre piece of attention when they are just one in an endless wave of objects. And an attraction to resources gained through competition does nothing to validate a person's motivation in offering the resources. It is ironic that true equality can only be maintained by respecting differences, and that fake equality (tyrannical equity) is the inevitable consequence of underestimating our evolutionary nature. For this reason I would consider "men's rights" just as deluded as an unnatural (technologically uninformed) feminism. It is a far cry to assert moral progress with next generation pornography addiction rates approaching 80%. That is a hell of a lot of prostitution required for a gender fantasy. Regarding due process, the general conclusion of caution is sound. The motivation for a female to shift blame in the context of a prior relationship is a lot higher than for a male because a reputation of fidelity more greatly affects their prospective reproductive fitness. In the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, a male's decision to share resources was strongly affected by the trustworthiness of the partner because they could never be certain of their relation to the offspring, but a female's decision to share (reproductive) resources was less strongly affected by the trustworthiness of the partner because they could always be certain of their relation to the offspring and the male was prototypically polygamous. But we must be considerate of the fact antisocial behaviour is (both physically and evolutionarily) dangerous for females, and so can only be enacted in a group. So this provides us with a unique opportunity to be informed of a general problem which would otherwise be more difficult to express. I can't but help think there might have been better, faster, and therefore less damaging ways for this lesson to be learnt, but now that it is finally been spoken it should not be suppressed.
  2. When moral compromise subsists, it is not a question of where we want to go, and more a question of where other people will take us.
  3. A nation only has claim to land taken on moral grounds to the extent that it remains moral - This principle appears to limit the evolution of a society (and explains modern policy).
  4. What Is Moral?

    1. This is not a premise as such, it is a claim; and the justification for the definition follows. 2. The logical imposition referenced only follows precisely for like entities. This is a qualifier. Any system of ethics suffers from the same constraint; how does its implementation account for different grades of sentience - see thread “Why is human life worth more than animal life?”. Although there may be an ontological difference between non-sentience and unique/sole instances of sentience, we don’t treat all such entities alike (there are 2 empirical factors which determine this treatment besides genetic proximity and reciprocal altruism; the sensitivity of the subject and the morality of the subject). Yet this is the only principle available to derive right treatment of differences (putting ourselves in another’s shoes) - despite all such inferences being imperfect due to a lack of absolute knowledge of the complete/entire system. 3. If two entities are identical then they are equally valuable by any standard of value (because they are interchangeable). 4. The golden rule is not claiming an objective standard (see 6.), it is a logical (moral) principle/maxim which is practically constrained by imperfect knowledge (who are the active/affected parties, no 2 entities will ever be identical so how should these differences/gradations be weighted). Assuming perfect self/universal knowledge of all actors, the principle could however be theoretically applied to derive the objective good; thus it is a demonstration of why morality is logical consistency (see 1.) ——The golden rule is not a specifically Christian ethic, it predates Christianity and is shared by a number of religions; the New Testament reference comes from the Torah. 5. It depends on their sentience (see 2.) 6. This is an epistomological not an ontological limitation; it has no influence on 1. 7. Arguably not because someone with sufficient knowledge of a person would be inclined not to dehumanise them (unless they were out of their mind). Important here is the distinction between conscious and unconscious error (8). Although a master mind contemplating mass extermination of a people is arguably being knowingly inconsistent (compromise with respect to the logic inherent in the golden rule), his persuaded/propagandised minions are not necessarily - they might think they are being consistent but only being in error with respect to the true nature of the facts. 8. It depends on their sentience (see 2.)
  5. What Is Moral?

    To be moral is to be logically consistent, and to be immoral is to be logically inconsistent. The reason A1 acts in their own interest is because they value themselves, but if all like sentient entities (A2, A3, A4, etc) are equally valuable, then there is no reason for A1 to treat others different than how A1 would him/herself expect to be treated by them (the golden rule). Hence a) morality is objective not relative. There is no such thing as moral evolution; only changes in knowledge, circumstance and technology. Yet b) there are no “moral absolutes”. Even taking/killing/using can be justified if the perpetrator would expect to be treated that way if the situation were reversed (e.g. provocation). Traditionally we assign these actions as theft/murder/rape etc when the condition of logical inconsistency holds. Who is to be the final arbitrator in the matter however? Only someone with absolute knowledge of all parties can ever know what is universally moral (preferable), but just because we don’t know or can never know what is wrong doesn’t make it right. It is just plain wrong. Likewise, moral imperatives (oughts) only exist to the extent that logical consistency exists. We only have reason to be moral to the extent that we have reason to be rational. If someone chooses to act irrationally however there is no reason for anybody to trust them (which is the traditional prelude to ostracism). Furthermore, for someone to disrespect reason is to signify direspect for nature: the force that conferred on us the Reason we take for granted as true in the declaration of any logical proposition (including the inference that there is a probability our universe evolved to produce reasonable creatures). And for a contemplative teleosian this is to disrespect creation (or another agent in the equation). This provides a metaphysical dimension to morality, often mistaken for its philosophical basis. In reality however, we can easily conceive of an immoral god. Finally, there is reason to differentiate conscious from unconscious inconsistency in human relations; for which the terms evil and wrong (missing the mark aka sin) are generally associated. This has influence on meta judgement or conscience. Even without libertarian free will, we can still accept the justice of social consequences (punishment) for rejection of truth, because all such rejection coincides with some fleeting affective pleasure which would not exist otherwise. We instinctively reject the coherency of moral error in the face/light of truth and feel guilt as a consequence (cognitive dissonance), needing to make amends or get one’s honour back.
  6. Here is a good counter argument to the effect of 50k years of divergent evolution on observed racial differences; Flynn, J. (2018). Intelligence, Society, and Human Autonomy. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Nature of Human Intelligence (pp. 101~115). Cambridge University Press.
  7. I had a look at the dictionary definitions and I agree that they are very restricted. I wonder how many people claiming to have faith (or trust) in someone would admit to having a) absolutely no evidence (philosophical) for their working model, or b) absolute certainty in their conviction. People take gambles on things or events, but they have faith in persons. Some relationships (eg love) would be impossible without faith.
  8. Although I appreciate the video and the general thesis (the importance of respecting natural law), I have 5 criticisms of points made within 'The Truth About Untruth | Postmodernism Exposed'; 1. Nature being the dream of a deity is consistent with deism and is independent of mysticism/interventionism. 2. An awe of nature is independent of mysticism/interventionism. 3. Faith is not the rejection of evidence, it is simply a commitment to a response following a probability assessment based on data with no certain answer. For example, a lady walking on the beach of a deserted island picks up a beautiful gem stone. Perhaps they conducted a probability assessment in which there was a 70% chance it could have been artificially produced, and they therefore believed this to be the case. Perhaps they conducted a probability assessment in which there was only a 10% chance it could have been artificially produced. Here they might still respect the possibility of there being an artificial creator of the gem stone. They might even act with faith by not claiming it as their own. Likewise, we have faith in the existence of other minds (it is a deduction based on a number of assumptions; a) I think therefore I am, b) the association of mind with matter, c) human beings being materially alike). 4. Animism is not insanity, it is the default philosophy of a human being (child). Take a walk in an unknown forest at night for example, or stay in the wilderness over a windy night. We have a natural tendency to anthropomorphise (perceive agency). Likewise, there is no obvious reason why some objects (arbitrary subsets of energy in the universe) should have internal awareness associated with them and others should not. According to materialism, the universe would function perfectly fine without it. Hence the philosophical reconsideration of panpsychism. 5. Reason cannot be derived from consistencies in nature, because reason must be assumed true in order to analyse these consistencies.
  9. An argument for ontological materialism as pertaining to philosophy of mind (i.e. naturalistic physicalism); 1. Assume that there must be some substrate which defines a) when mind emerges (mental instantiation) and b) how mind operates (mental laws). i) This needn't be the same substrate in both cases, and ii) we needn't have access to it (the substrate would operate perfectly according to its laws of nature regardless). What philosophical evidence do we have that i) it is the same one, and ii) we have access to it? Note the only substrate we have access to is the physical substrate. ii) Why should a sentient being have access to the stuff (substrate) from which their mind arises (a) and which defines how mind operates (b)? 2. Mind (by definition?) requires access to an objective reality (operates on some sense data). 3. We infer that the substrate controlling how mind operates (b) is the physical substrate (brain), which we by definition have access to. - Therefore we may well have access to the substrate which defines when mind emerges (a) also. - And it may well be the same one (i). i) Why should the substrate from which mind arises (a) and which defines how mind operates (b) be the same one? (evidence #2) 4. We infer that the substrate for the operation of mind (b) evolved according to the laws of nature. - Therefore the substrate from which mind arises (a) may also have evolved according to laws of nature. - And it may well be the same one (i). [assumptions are enumerated]
  10. I think there is a strong case to be made that any entity which plays games with the relations between two hydrogen powers should be held responsible.
  11. Moral Relativism question

    This framework also allows for two kinds of immoral action; actions which contradict reality but are not known to contradict reality, and actions which contradict reality and are known to contradict reality (logical fallacies/compromise). I would classify the second as evil, and the first more generally as mistakes. Note this is probably where the concepts of mortal and venial sin arise (or say conscious evil versus unconscious evil). Of course if one does not like to use religiously loaded words they can replace them with arbitrary symbols; but the concepts won't go away. Regarding (moral) "absolutes"; Obi-Wan Kenobi: You have allowed this dark lord to twist your mind, until now, until now you've become the very thing you swore to destroy. Anakin Skywalker: Don't lecture me, Obi-Wan! I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the dark side as you do. I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new Empire. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Your new Empire? Anakin Skywalker: Don't make me kill you. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic, to democracy. Anakin Skywalker: If you're not with me, then you're my enemy. Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. [draws his lightsaber] Regarding absolute morality/relativism; Obi-Wan: I have failed you, Anakin. I have failed you. Anakin Skywalker: I should have known the Jedi were plotting to take over! Obi-Wan: Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil! Anakin Skywalker: From my point of view, the Jedi are evil! Obi-Wan: Well, then you are lost! Anakin Skywalker: [raises his lightsaber] This is the end for you, my master.
  12. Moral Relativism question

    Morality is by definition absolute in any given circumstance (there is a right and wrong), but "moral absolutes" generally apply across time/culture so their existence is questioned. There appear to be some moral absolutes (such as not murdering or exploiting people), but I would argue that these are artefacts of a more general principle. "I'm sure this goes against everything you've been taught, but right and wrong do exist. Just because you don't know what the right answer is - maybe there's even no way you could know what the right answer is - doesn't make your answer right or even okay. It's much simpler than that. It's just plain wrong."
  13. Moral Relativism question

    Morality is action or will in accordance with truth. Immorality is logically contradictory behaviour, such as treating another how one would not wish to be treated oneself. If both persons have a shared humanity (and all things being equal), then it makes no sense to treat another different than one would have themselves be treated by others. If one is going to respect the authenticity of their own dignity or desires, why not another's. Such a definition doesn't define moral behaviour in all circumstances (because it depends on assumptions regarding expectations of treatment by others, and these are dependent on concepts of natural law, universal order etc - take for example the trolley problem), but I think it is the principle upon which all morality is based. Pretty much all religious morality derives from the principle (although it often introduces another agent into the equation).
  14. Why am I me and not you?

    Thanks Andi it is really interesting to hear your perspective.
  15. Why am I me and not you?

    Nice Andi - very practical :). What we want to know is that final change to the reconstructed physical system (e.g. x neural connections) where you no longer experience reality and someone else does. Because if there is such a change it implies something determines when a new instantiation of sentience is assigned, and if there isn't - that we live in a pantheistic world. With respect to finding out how the brain works, I agree that this is an extremely worthwhile enterprise for a number of reasons (in fact so important that a significant proportion of all research should be directed towards the human connectome). But assuming we found out how it works, and it behaved according to the known laws of physics (or any others discovered within the existing paradigm), mental properties could confer no advantage on the physical system. Nor could we ever know for certain which systems exhibited them. So it begs the question, what are they there for; and why would they be restricted to such complex information processing systems? Perhaps they are an inherent property of all matter/energy and consciousness exists in gradations, etc. Furthermore (although this is getting increasingly off topic), I hope you appreciate that we have just defined a method to resurrect a body, which moreover according to the materialist framework will be the same person. It is fortunate the laws of nature are so fine tuned as to necessitate an infinite multiverse. Because with an infinite multiverse there are going to be an infinite number of exact copies of our bodies anyway. So let's put all the sola materialist assumptions in the box and see what we get; resurrection of the body, reincarnation, and life after death. Wait, what? Is there an error somewhere? Was it perhaps the assumption that design optimisation can't involve evolution based on a simple algorithm and unlimited computational resources? (Cf planet earth from the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy). Maybe it was realism itself and we are living in a simulation? (Cf discreetness/quantisation of nature + indeterminism). Such would concord with the assumption that we are reasonable creatures; but it doesn't explain the source. I do think it therefore worth promoting open mindfulness. For the sake of science it is profitable to assume that all reality will ultimately be accessible to it - but should we be projecting this ideal as a philosophy?
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