artful pauper and iambiguous discuss the "objective good"

I thought it might be best if we create a new thread to discuss these things. Otherwise, it will serve only to further derail the “intent” of the The Jewish Problem thread.

Goals are something that we can reasonably measure. If we eat certain foods and we retain our health, we can argue that there is a correlation between that. We might then argue that others should eat these foods as well in order to attain and then sustain their own health. But here you can still bump into conflicting schools of thought. Some argue that we should avoid certain food groups while others insist these are precisely the food groups we should not avoid. Thus the endless debates about eating meats or carbohydrates or dairy products. So: what is the one true “objective good” here? Can this finally be pinned down?

But where I tend to foucus the beam here is on disputes that revolve more around the question of whether human beings ought to be eating animal flesh [or animal products] at all. Is there a way [philosophically, scientifically] to determone this? After all, many vegetarians construe this conflict in moral terms. In other words, health issues aside, is it in fact ethical to consume animal products?

And it is here that I tend to aim the beam at dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

Yes, I certainly agree there are basic objective needs that all human beings must sustain in order that they sustain [i]their very existence itself[/i]. As you note: food, water, shelter. Also, they must sustain a living environment that allows them to reproduce the community. And, finally, they must sustain a capacity to defend that community against enemies.

This would seem clearly to be true objectively. It would not seem to be just a matter of opinion that these things are true.

But, again, where conflicts occur is when the discussion shifts from acknowledging this to discussing how the community should actually go about this. Why? Because in the course of interacting socially, politically and economically, there are going to be the inevitable disagreements that revolve around conflicting moral and political agendas.

When historically has that ever not been the case?

Now, folks like Marx rooted this “scientifically” in political economy. In other words, in the historic, organic evolution that revolves around the “means of production”. But there are any number of additional conflicts that will revolve instead more around social and/or sexual and/or psychological behaviors. Abortion, gender roles, race, capital punishment, homosexuality, hunting, separation of church and state, censorship, social justice, drugs, the role of government. And on and on and on and on.

Yes, that is precisely my point regarding dasein. And the complexities here are staggering when one takes into account the staggering complexities embedded in making a determination as to where nature stops and nurture begins. My own point regarding discussions of the “objective good” are centered smack dab in the middle of that. Which is why I construe “moral objectivism” as a psychological contraption by and large.

Sure, that seems reasonable. But, again, what is “good” here is able to be reasonably measured. The skills and the habits of the various tribes are either effective in sustaining the existence of the communities or they are not. But what then of the moral integrity that many subscribed to regarding “manifest destiny” – a political policy that the U.S. government employed [cynically or not] to destroy the American Indian tribes way back when.

That’s the part that gets all tangled up in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

I hadn’t seen your thread earlier. I have been a bit busy the past couple of days but I recently saw your reference to it in the other thread.

Also, I bolded and underlined a couple of words towards the end. It wasn’t out of a desire to be pedantic, but because I felt they were important to the consideration but only came in later on and I wanted to draw attention to them.

I also apologize for the length, I was trying to be thorough.

I will take this in reference to food groups not in relation to vegetarianism which I will discuss below. I am attempting to feel by way into the subjects so I hope you will bear with me. Also because we are dealing with particulars it might have the result of drawing out the conversation.

So In getting into the minutiae of which foods are healthier for an individual. I am not actually familiar with which debates you are talking about except maybe that from time to time a study might come out that says a certain food turns out to be less healthy or more healthy than previously believed, and in relation to each other food the scales are shifting. On the one hand I would wonder in what way the healthiness of any given food would be best measured. This is a question for what the best method of inquiry is for this particular subject. We would have to know do certain foods interact differently with certain genes or constitutions than with others? In that case it would be difficult to test these things in general studies. Even if each food interacted differently with each individual though I would not say that the healthiness of food is subjective — if this were the case (that different foods reacted differently with different individuals) it would be objectively so, though difficult to know which foods are best suited to oneself in particular.

Another way to look at it would be that, perhaps it wouldn’t be that different foods interact differently with every individual, but when we are currently at a given level of health some particular combination of foods would be better for us than others.

I think it would further be broken down into goals — what measure of health do we desire. So now I think the issue would revolve around whether the goal can be objectively discovered. Each individual would be in different circumstances and with different needs. Without us having discovered what the basic needs are it would be difficult to do a definitive examination of this topic. It seems we agree at least on food, water and (I called it) protection from the elements (though they are similar, protection from the elements brings to mind things like wearing warm clothes in a harsh winter climate). We could then engage in the examination using these fundamental needs alone — I do think it would be imprecise though if there were other needs which we neglected, but I think it can easily be said that these are the least controversial ones. I do think it is worth pointing out that just because there is disagreement does not necessarily mean that there cannot be an objective truth, for example if people disagreed about the earth being on one side flat and on the other side something of a globe shape it would not make that truth subjective, but we may ask for some way (or method perhaps) of knowing for certain whether something is objectively the case or not.

Each individual would be placed particularly in space and time and these would influence which goals they would set out upon at any given moment. We could look at it in a way such as that if someone is a construction worker they might desire to have strong muscles (assuming that they do heavy lifting or some other task that involves strength), and so forth. In which case we would ask which kinds of foods would contribute to muscles — but also inquire whether there are other foods which complete a healthy diet.

I suppose we could also ask what healthiness really is. If we say that healthiness is relative, I personally don’t think we are entering the bounds of subjectivity. What I mean is that one person may be healthier relative to another (for one we could look at someone who is obese measured against someone who exercises regularly and keeps a good diet) but I think the ultimate standard would be measuring healthiness relative to the goal. To do this we would have to look at spatio-historical circumstances. To take an example, if an apple is up a tree, we could measure healthiness by the ability to climb the tree, or else something like mental healthiness, the ability to think of some way to get the apple down, or else the ability to walk to another location to find some other food (and possessing the qualities necessary to obtaining it as well).

As I see it, this is a matter for inquiry — that is, one must always measure and weigh factors (temporal-spatial and goals).

Another factor which is included in those but might not be immediately considered is that a person can change over time or change themselves. For example I may feel incapable (or be incapable) of performing some action now but I could improve myself and be able to perform it in the future. There may be constraints caused by need which limit me from engaging in that process of improvement. For example I might be physically constrained (even chained) by another individual and forced to do what they ask for rather than improving myself. By doing what they ask for I will be granted food and protections. I would say that this situation is objectively worse than that of the master who has me chained for a number of reasons. For one I am at the whim of the master, if he/she decides not to feed me then I will go without, I may also be forced to work more or harder than I would otherwise because that master desires a surplus, and still by obtaining the surplus I have not gained any greater surity that I will be able to continue to eat or gain protection — I am in a position of dependence.

There are a few ways I can think of going at this one.

First we could take it from the primary goals related to spatio-temporal circumstance and build up. Does meat in some way impact our physical constitution badly? In the same vein we might also look at things like whether herding large quantities of animals endangerous our environment and consequently endangers our survival.

Another way of looking at this, I think closer to what you originally meant, is by asking vegetarians on what basis they hold morals to be true (and the same would go for anything that could not be discovered on the basis of examination from fundamental needs in relation to spatio-temporal circumstance).

I want to break this particular inquiry into two. First I will say that if by some means it is discovered than a vegetarian (or any other moral) is subjective, that doesn’t mean that all good is subjective, but only that a given view of the good is subjective. In this case we could also examine if and how that view impacts their relation to other fundamental needs in spatio-temporal contexts.

Secondly we could (without having a vegetarian here to take the role themselves) assume that a vegetarian might say something like, we are killing an animal which does not want to be killed, therefore it is wrong. We might then ask for example, the animal doesn’t want it, but why is it wrong for me when I do want to eat it and I will survive if I do?

Because I don’t have a vegetarian here to engage in the other half of the conversation I can only speculate, but I will try to be fair. The vegetarian might say that to think that way would be heartless. It is true that a purely objective view of the world could be construed as cold, even mechanical. One question we could ask is, is it better to live objectively or subjectively? Does life lose something when we engage with the world entirely on an objective basis?

We could of course try to measure the effects of decisions made subjectively against the criteria of fundamental goals, but I think that would ultimately miss the point of what is being asked in that question. Another question which gets at the issue from a different direction could be, what if the will to live is taken away? For example what if one is confronted by another who wishes to make one his/her slave and will fight us for the opportunity to do so. Is it better then to fight back and perhaps die or to give in and become a slave for the sake of life? I will add though that regardless of that answer we would say that in the objective view it would in any case be better to be the master than the slave. We could then ask whether it might not be better then, from that point of view, to engage in the fight no matter what because one must always strive for what is best, and not merely what is good.

I think the issue is now broken into two categories — subjective and objective. We could say, there is an objective good if we relate it to goals, but we are not sure whether that objective good is higher (or better than) subjective goods.

I might even suggest that the conversation continues to examine that issue — whether it is better to follow a subjective or objective good, rather than whether there is an objective good, if you agree with my analysis thus far that is…

That issue is complicated for a number of reasons. Firstly it splinters off into considerations of so many diverse subjective goods, and secondly we are also at a loss for knowledge as to what criteria to base our inquiry off of — if we relate all subjective good to objective standards, it would not be fair to subjective goods, and if we relate all objective goods to subjective standards it would not be fair to objective goods.

It seems as though we might hit an impasse. I will make an assertion and you can weigh up whether it does justice to the issue.

What I have here tried to describe as the objective method of valuation takes into consideration only life — relating to those goals which allow us to live, on that basis we can examine what is the best method to stay alive as well as which things are good (or bad), and better for living individuals. For example it is good to have one apple, it is better to have two, or it is better to have meat, or fresh greens…

The subjective view, as I am about to assert, maintains that there is something deeper than mere life itself. It is related to the assertion that there is a meaning beyond life. Since we don’t know what lies beyond life (our mind is, so far as we know, intimately tied to life) to assert that there is something beyond life itself is to take up a certain kind of faith.

I say certain kind because even if we hold life as our object we may still consider it an act of faith when we do something not knowing for certain whether our action will result in that which we intended, though we might say that using intelligence we should be able to gauge whether it is so to a much higher degree, an example might be making a long jump over a crevice. If the situation does not occur in some sudden disaster, we could train ourself first by jumping and gauge our competence at long jumping before attempting a more treacherous jump.

The faith of the subjective way would be based on securing some situation which is not wholly known.

On the other hand the subjective way might be basing measurement on themselves — that is, their own thoughts and opinions rather than on an objective standard (outside of themselves). I think that might be why Lys and Aidon call that way of thinking narcissitic, because it holds its own valuations to be higher than those given in the world around us.

Because I have already gone on so long, I am reluctant to engage in this consideration deeply, though political philosophy is actually my favorite topic, and I think it warrants deeper discussion. In other words, the discussion is not off the table.

A couple of preliminary considerations I might suggest. I think that in the sense of objective good, it would be within any individual’s interest to have their own best fulfilled (in regards to spatio-temporal considerations of course), which would include both officials and citizens. In other words (though I am basing this on my thoughts without having engaged in a thorough examination), the objective view would not look at the community as a whole unless it took the highest official(s) of the community as representative of the whole community, or at least weighing the good by its relation to each individual — we could say, the richness of the Roman empire was inconsequential to one of its slaves — unless perhaps that slave could rise up through the ranks and become emperor.

In the context of your example, wiping out natives was certainly bad for those natives who were adversely influenced, though it may have been good for those who benefited (though we might relate that benefit to what they did with or what consequences arose from those ‘benefits’).

We will eat particular foods and, over time, they will either sustain our health or they will not. And biologists, nutritionists, health scientists etc. are able to accummulate empirical data showing the effects that particular foods have on our bodies. But, sure, every individual comes into the world with a different set of genes, with uniquely distinct bodies that may well be better able to tolerate what other bodies do not.

Consequently, the distinction between objective truths and subjective narratives here, while still ambiguous at times, is considerable more amenable to “the facts” than the debates that revolve around the moral component I noted above.

One can consume animal products and be healthy. One can eschew animal products and be healthy. Thus the contention here does not really revolve around health at all, but around morality. Should it be the moral obligation of a rational mind to champion the rights of animals? To refuse to eat their flesh or to consume products made from animals?

How is that determined philosophically, objectively? What is the " objective good" here?

To wit:

But what will this really tell us about the bottom line: Is it moral or immoral to eat animal flesh? In other words, irrespective of how meat impacts our bodies healthwise or how the animals are treated before they are slaughtered.

Yes, you can ask vegetarians to give you an argument. And you can ask meat eaters to give you an argument. Here for example:

But my point is that there does not seem to be an optimal argument – an objective, deontological argument that is able to be derived here by ethicists. Each side makes points that the other side is not able to make go away.

And these exchanges are always construed by me from within the framework of dasein and conflicting goods.

Still, my point is that, pertaining to conflicting value judgments that revolve around issues like this, there is no objective basis on which to resolve them. Sooner or later it all devolves into conflicting arguments defending conflicting goods in a world where, sooner or later, the legal framework will revolve around political economy. In other words, which side has the power to legislate and then to enforce a particular set of behaviors.

The distinction I always make here involves the extent to which someone is able to demonstrate to others how what they believe “in their head” about consuming animal flesh is what all rational men and women must believe in turn in order to be deemed rational men and women.

As you note, the issue gets complicated for any number of reasons and, in the end, we always seem to arrive at one or another impasse. But, from my perspective, that is rooted precisely in the manner in which I have come to understand the nature of any particular human identity [re dasein] and any particular clash of value judgments [re conflicting goods].

For me, however, it’s the same thing. How would someone manage to go beyond what they think “the meaning of life” is such that they are able to integrate what they believe is true here “in their head” and what all reasonable folks ought to believe in turn. After all, there have been literally hundreds and hundreds of sacred/secular arguments/agendas proposed over the centuries in attempts to pin this meaning to one or another mat.

All we seem to have is an existentual leap of faith here. My frame of mind more or less revolves around the assumption [and that is all it is] that, in “using our intelligence”, we are not able to gauge objectively which leap we ought to make. Instead, I always come back to this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then “I” begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

And regarding the example you gave – jumping over the crevice – there really is no moral component here at all. There is a particular [precise] distance from one side to the other and you are either able to jump that distance or you are not.

Lys and Aidon are [to me] quintessential objectivists. They treat moral/political/aesthetic judgments as though they actually were the equivalent of jumping over the crevice! Everything must revolve around their own point of view. And all they seem to do here is to didactically “lecture” us on how the uberman [qua pedant] must think about, well, everything. They hold most folks in this forum in contempt and yet they can’t seem to stay away.

Indeed, you would think that the fate of the whole world hangs on whether or not they can bring the rest of us around.

In my view, they are just one more scholastic rendition of Ayn Rand. And at least Rand [through her novels] made the attempt to imagine her ideas embodied “out in a particular world”. One entirely of her own invention of course [and populated by cartoonish caricatures of human beings] but at least the attempt was made. Trying to bring lys and her intellectual ilk down to earth [they reek of the autodidactic academic] seems to be a hopeless cause.

But how specifically would this be related to the clash between Native American tribes and the moral parameters that were often assigned by some to the notion of “manifest destiny”. After all, from the perspective of many back then “the good” here revolved precisely around spreading the gospel embedded socially, politically and economically in the Enlightenment. For many the tribes were just pagan savages while those who brought about the American Revolution were on the cutting edge of history itself. They reflected “progress” – both moral and political – and it was their duty to spread it as far and wide as possible.

Yes, this is how it does work “for all practical purposes” at any particular historical juncture…and with respect to any particular culture: conflicting goods.

And, in the end, even if it cannot be determined that might makes right, there are always going to be winners and losers.

I think it would be a good idea to take a half-step back from the discussion to resolve a few things together. I think we should become much more clear about what we are trying to resolve (if anything) in the discussion. I would like to work them out with you directly so we know we are discussing to get to the same end and are using the same terminology for the same reasons. I will provide a bit of a response below the attempt to begin a discussion of the conversation’s goal and terminology just to keep the conversation moving forward in hope that you know what I am talking about.

Are we asking if we can know whether a moral position is true and another is not?

If so, how do you define truth? Is what is true something that is objective and/because outside of the opinions and emotions of individuals?

I also think it would be helpful to have some way of distinguishing between the view I am speaking of (which I would like to call objective) and other views. Should we call the other views subjective in general? Do those who hold those views believe them to be subjective or objective? Should we call the first view amoral or immoral, and the second types moral, or does that merely obscure things?

So I gather now you would like the discussion to revolve around morals. I would like to distinguish what I am calling an objective view of the good for a particular reason:

I want to ask you, what are the grounds of moral goods? By what measure are they held to be true?

What I am calling an objective good has its ground in biology and spatio-temporal contingency: biology determines the goals, biology together with contingencies determine possibilities and necessities, and contingencies in relation to biology determines what is good and better.

I call that objective because the original material of our biology was given before the choice of the subject and the original material of spatio-temporal contingency was given before the choice of the subject.

It is possible to change spatio-temporal arrangements, but in doing so we create new contingencies which must be responded to in set ways to cause various actions.

It is possible to influence our biology (and soon perhaps change it completely) but at any given moment we will possess a particular biological arrangement, and spatio-temporal contingencies will be present in a given arrangement, and it is the combination and relation of these factors which determines possibilities and necessities and goods.

So again I am wondering what the grounds are for (should I say other?) moral goods (or else just moral goods and we consider the objective view to be immoral or amoral?)?

I will take the example of vegetarianism:

From the website you linked, I think a number of arguments from the vegetarian side are amenable to an objective view of the good, though still they would have to be weighed by contingencies and against the merits of meat for human health and functioning.

What I am concerned with is particularly the moral arguments given. I will isolate in particular these ones:

So what we need to discover is the grounds of “goodness” in each of these positions. I am not asking here for a definition of what cruelty is, but to get to the bottom of the reasoning as to why cruelty is bad. It is bad for that thing which is subjected to cruelty, I will grant that, but in what way is it bad for the individual subjecting the other to cruelty?

I ask it in that way particularly because discovering a deontological position implies the adoption of an ought — but why is it that the cruel individual should not act that way? What I maintain is that, unless there is an argument tied directly to the relations of biology and spatio-temporal contingency and which considers not only that which is good but also that which is best for the “biological unit”, the moral position against cruelty would have to fall back on something like ‘Because I think (or feel) it is wrong.’ In other words, what I maintain, the moral position against cruelty which operates in this manner would be subjective (inside the subject) and the position which considers biology and spatio-temporal contingencies would be objective (they are outside of or beyond the subject and posited before the subject’s judgement).

I would then further say that the objective point of view is tied to life and reality, and because it considers not only what is good but what is best, is concerned with what is best for life.

The thing is that in order for a legal framework to be effective, it must take consideration of the objective point of view — it must deal with contingencies in order to be effective.

What I am calling the objective view doesn’t try to posit a meaning of life, but merely attempts to look at what is there and discover the natural qualities of these things (biology and spatio-temporal contingencies).

I will relate this to something you said below:

The objective position is not the same as might makes right because it is not even concerned with “right” in the traditional moral sense — that is, it is not concerned with justification. Someone with what I am calling a moral position could use force to subdue another person who adopts what I am calling the objective position. In this case the individual operating under the objective position would not be able to pursue objective ends (in the sense defined with that name). What is of concern here from the objective point of view is not who is justified but a consideration of factors. The objective observer would have to admit that the one who overpowered him was more powerful, and would not engage in ressentiment calling the other bad because he possessed more power, but may look at the goals of more powerful entity and weigh up whether they pursued objective goods on the one hand or on the other were geared towards enacting a deterioration of the biological factors which allow an entity to obtain objective goods (as hitherto described) in an optimal manner and with the possibility of increasing its optimal ability (growth).

It is not of dire concern to me that this position be called in particular the “objective” position, but I feel it warrants that name because is looks to gauge the world by factors outside of the subject’s opinions and feelings and present before/the condition of a subject and his/her aciton.

In the sense that I am using objective, what I am referring to is that the consideration of factors are outside of or beyond the subjective choice of the individual. We may be able to choose what our biology becomes, or how we influence the world, but we do not choose the parameters of what constitutes biology nor the world in terms of spatio-temporal qualities, only arrangements. So part of an objective point of view would be the search for what actually exists (metaphysics and physics—biology, history, etc.) as well as investigating what is good (and better) in terms of the constitutions of interacting bodies.

I am not sure exactly what you wish me to do here. Do you want me to try to gauge whether what the government did to the natives was moral and give a reasoning, or something else?

Insofar as the colonists possessed the ability to conquer the land, they may have been pursuing objective goods as defined above. It would definitely not have been an objective good for any native who had gotten killed to be killed. From the objective point of view, the colonists were not in a morally superior position, but neither were the natives. This is because the objective point of view does not seek to gauge moral values in the traditional manner. The objective point of view is not incapable of seeing that someone is in agony, only that fact is placed in a different place in the consideration. In a measure of goods, it would be good if the natives (or anyone else) fought those who inflicted agony upon them and it would be best if they overcame their adversaries. The reason in this context it is best that they fight is because the threat was on the one hand against their entire biology (they could be killed) and on the other the ability to fulfill their biological goods.

One could say, without contradiction, that in some cases it is better to withstand agony without doing away with the thing causing it — this would be in those cases where to withstand agony would result in a growth of the organism (as opposed to deterioration or annihilation).

[size=85]{{This could be an endless thread … but why in Government??}}[/size]

Some ask that, yes. However, my own focus is more on any possible gaps that might exist between what some claim to know about the “objective good” “in their head” and the extent to which they are then able to demonstrate [empirically, phenomenologically, materially etc.] that all rational people [out in the world interacting with others] must believe the same thing.

Until we have in fact discovered an objective theory of everything – one that allows us in turn to explain objectively our practical interactions – such a definition will always be beyond our reach. Right? Sooner or later we have to take our leaps.

It’s just that some leaps – to math, science, the rules of language etc. – would seem to be considerably more trustworthy [objective] than others. Thus the distinction I would make here revolves around stating as true that the organization PETA exists: … of_Animals

It does exist objectively, doesn’t it? That is a true statement, isn’t it?

On the other hand, is there a way in which we can determine objectively if their philosophy on animal rights is the most rational/logical one to be had?

Or, instead, will conflicts here be rooted largely in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy?

Most of all, I would like any discussion involving definitions and deductions to become intertwined in the world that we live in – a world in which actual flesh and blood human beings make actual existential choices regarding the fate of literally millions upon milions of actual flesh and blood animals.

For me, morality revolves around a rather simple observation: that any human community must establish rules of behavior in order to sustain the least dysfunctional interactions. Why? Because over time we come to want different things and not everyone can have what they want. There needs to be established a methodology by which to order our social, political and economic interactions. Now, that might revolve around survival of the fittest, might makes right, etc., or it might instead revolve around certain philosophical assumptions about human rights and responsibilities.

But: Is there a way in which to settle these conflicts in a wholly rational/just manner? Can we actually inhabit a polity in which philosopher-kings establish these things deontologically – in accordance with the moral duty of all rational men and women.

Or, instead, is the manner in which I construe these interactions re dasein, conflicting goods and political economy a more reasonable framework from which to approach “the objective good”.

Biological imperatives are better suited in discussing those things that we need. Both the vegetarian and the meat eaters must consume food in order to survive. That is an objective truth. And here the contingencies revolve largely around scarcity, the means of production, wealth and power. But who is to say what the most rational human interactions here are? The deontologists? The philosopher-kings? Or those “realists” with the power to enforce laws that favor their own vested interests?

In pursuing [or even obtaining] an objective understanding of human biology – how much closer does that get us to resolving the moral conflicts that revolve around animal rights?

Yes, as long as “goodness” is expressed in this manner, one is basically noting that something is said to be “good” based on the assumptions that are made in “establishing” this. But then those who do eat meat have their own set of assumptions as well. And my point is that philosophers/ethicists do not seem able to consider both sets of assumptions such that they can establish an optimal argument that might be construed as embodying the Objective Good here. Again, as opposed to the “objective good”.

Once one starts with the assumption that it is immoral [cruel] to use animals [any animals] as just a means to human ends, you have made that leap of faith to a subjective point of view. But there are simply too many instances in which arguments can be made to dispute that assumption. Each side can pare down the assumptions of the other side, or offer a conflicting set of assumptions. But where is the ethical argument that integrates the assumptions into a whole [objective] truth? One that revolves around a whole [objective] good.

If there is such an argument, I have yet to come across it.

Here I am always inclined to explore the manner in which I construe dasein: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529

Why, existentially, does an individual come to embrace one set of assumptions rather than another? If we were able to follow this individual around [from the cradle to the grave] we would be able to accummulate the experiences, relationships, points of view etc. that predisposed her to go in this direction rather than that.

The only other alternative is to Imagine that the individaul becomes aware of this, and decides to sit down and think through the issue of animal rights – in order to come up with the one truly objective manner in which to think about it. But here there will always be the inevitable gap between the knowledge that any one individual would be able to accummulate and all of the knowledge that would be needed to be accummulated in order to arrive at the whole, objective truth. In other words, how would this individual be able to grasp this issue objectively given all of the experiences she did not have, all of the people she did not meet, all of the sources of informntion she did not have access to?

Okay, what would be the most effective legal/political framework regarding the rights of anmals? This is either something that can be known objectively or, instead, we concede that it cannot be and embrace one or another rendition of democracy and the rule of law. And this basically revolves around moderation, negotiation and compromise. Within the framework of political economy.

As long as our value judgments here are rooted in contingency, chance and change then we have to acknowledge how each of us as individuals will be swept up in our own unique rendition of them. From my vantage point, there is no objective point of view at all. There are simply things that we either can or cannot establish as in fact true for all of us.

Yes, but while different individuals can all concur regarding “what there is” at a plant where they slaughter cows, once the gears shift to the morality of “what there is” there, there is no “what there is” then. There is only what I believe there should be and what others [with conflicting points of view] believe should be there instead.

So, are philosophers/ethicists able to establish deontologically what there really should be there? Can they in fact establish what is the objective good here?

Okay, but, for many, there is no moral justification for slaughtering animals. But: Because there is an enormous amount of money to be made in slaughtering them, the legal/political framework [at least here in America] is such that, well, might does make it right. At least for all practical purposes. My point then revolves instead around whether philosophers/ethicists can in fact establish the objective good here. I say no. And for all of the reasons I raised above.

Okay, with respect to the slaughtering of animals for human consumption, what are the aggregate factors that a rational man or women should take into account [gauge] when they are themslves confronted with the question, “Should I eat this hamburger?”

How do you go about answering this question? And how are you able to transcend the manner in which I construe dasein, conflicting goods and political economy here?

My point, however, is that there are moral and political objectivists who insist that questions like this can if fact be aswered in a wholly rational manner. Why? Because they insist that, using the tools of philosophy or science [re Sam Harris], we can in fact establish the objective good. And not just the “objective good”. Instead, I root conflicting value judgments like this in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. At least as it pertains to actual conflicting human behaviors predicated on opposing value judgments.

How I would translate that is this: It depends on who you ask.

And that is why [at this point] I always bring God into the picture. If there be an existing God, He is not only able to establish definitively what in fact did happen between the American government and the native tribes, but is able to judge those behaviors morally from an omniscient/omnipotent [transcending] frame of mind.

Sans God, however, we may or may not be able to establish what did in fact happen historically, but we would certainly be much less adept at providing a moral judgment.

And that is because, for mere mortals, value judgments are ever subjective.

I thought about that. I figured that in discussing the “objective good” on a board pertaining to “society, government and economics” there would be a less likelihood that the discussion would be yanked up onto the skyhooks that are definitions and deductions.

Nothing personal though, okay? :wink:

I can see that our approaches to these problems are vastly different. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I hope it would be a reason to learn from each other rather than a reason to feel divided. On the other hand I hope it won’t come to a situation wherein we misunderstand each other, that is why I tried to establish our intentions.

Here is an instance of where we are coming at these issues from very different directions. When I am speaking about this “objective good” (and I have no problem putting it in brackets or calling it for example a biological view of good — though to call it “biological” might be limiting in the case that other external factors come to light which are important for the mode of consideration), I am not speaking at all about something in which others must believe the same thing.

I can’t speak for others who hold similar views, only myself. This view has deep implications that it will be difficult to make clear without delivering some kind of treatise which I do not intend to make.

The reason I am personally interested in this view of the good is because it is an attempt to find a method of looking at the world and acting. I think it is close to the “might makes right” position, but not the same because “might makes right” implies a kind of justification. It is for that reason that I said in the last message that it is in a sense amoral, though it could be construed morally.

I will try to develop this thought while responding further to your post.

PETA exists objectively, yes. Is it’s philosophy on animal rights the most rational/logical? Because the position I am holding is amoral, it bypasses that question entirely, it is just of little concern in one sense.

I would look at it instead like this. People say hurting animals is immoral. Maybe even the government has forbidden it and created some kind of law against it, if I hurt animals then I may incur a fine or I may end up in prison (just imagining that scenario, regardless of what the punishment would truly be). What would concern me is questions like, should I hurt an animal for any given reason? So I would ask, does it promote my biology? Maybe “hurting” the animal is killing it for food, so then considerations like, is the meat of the animal a source of good nutrition, come to the fore.

I would also consider something like, if I kill this animal would something happen to me that is beyond the scope of the law? Will a thunderbolt strike me dead on the spot? If I kill the animal, will the authorities necessarily find out?

I might even ask questions like, if I really want to eat such animals, is there some way I can do it without incurring repercussions which outweigh the benefits? Could I change the political situation so that laws are in my favor? If so, how? Is it by amassing a large army? Is it by studying law and becoming part of the country’s legislature?

And so on, as I entered new situations new considerations would arise. I would also have to consider my abilities. When I say it is amoral it is because with this position I am not really concerned with morals but instead with things like benefits and consequences.

I hope the above has given you an idea about his this has to do with examining the actual world we live in, and not just abstract metaphysical ideas without application.

Again from this point of view I am describing it would work like this. We would look at how political communities are run, or how they could be potentially run (and I don’t mean ideally, I mean something like, is it necessary that, if I am leader, is it necessary that I have the army in the street? Maybe it is not, because the country I live in today does not have it that way, but then again maybe this depends on the intentions behind running the country, but it would be the issue to then discover what is needful to fulfill that intention). These and similar inquiries would be part of an investigation of effects. I don’t think a military dictatorship is compatible with biological growth in the manner I am suggesting because it demands a repression of instincts and a consolidation of forms and conventions. In other words it is not elastic, it is not friendly towards the kind of change inherent in growth.

Maybe if I am seeking political power and so are others who are also highly intelligent, strong, persuasive (in the sense of being demagogues) then I will have to find a way either to get them out of the way or else bring them to my side. I would have to consider factors like whether they are just pretending to be friendly or not. Also remember that when I am considering choices it is in with an eye to the relation between biological and spatio-temporal factors.

If there was a reason why others should adopt this position as you originally suggested, is because if everyone comes to adopt this position, chances are you will be crushed beneath them and potentially die or become a slave, but it is not necessary that you do adopt it. And I don’t mean this cruelly. If you can think of a more effective way to live, by all means adopt it instead.

Just because I or anyone else comes across this mode of thinking doesn’t mean I will be the most effective person that exists, particularly compared to others who adopt something like an ethical Christian point of view. I might be limited by my genes or by some historical contingency out of control, or even smited by a sudden unforseeable occurrence. I might be incredibly weak or dumb. The point also of my position is not to say that I am the greatest, but also to realize when I am weak and not blame it on others, or else if it is some historical contingency, for example a truck suddenly swerves out of control crashes through the building I am in, renders me cripple, at least to be able to see such a thing as part of the context of life, or world, instead of relying on some mystical interpretation to make me feel better.

I actually see Aidon and Lys as at least to a degree philanthropic. The fact that they come here and share their knowledge that they have no doubt worked for is actually an act of giving. If they take pride in what they know that is fine. I have suspected a few of the harsh comments made in threads I have responded to have been towards me as well. I am less concerned with being called a retard than with it actually being true, and it is up to me to decide whether it is in fact the case and the outcome of that inquiry will determine how much real power such words have over me.

Particularly in regards to this last part I have bolded: Whereas you seem to think this is some kind of problem, I actually find it to be the saving grace of my position. If I had omniscent knowledge then life would be unbearable. I would know exactly where to step at every moment, how far to go to be optimally healthy, exactly what to eat, each movement of the hand. I would know what would be behind every door before I opened it. It is lack of knowledge which makes room for freedom. It gives life a mystery and mystique. It is something that makes art valuable. It gives us a connection to the world beyond the rational outlook. This is what Nietzsche would describe as the Dionysian aspect.

In Plato’s Theatetus he writes that to know “the whole” we must have knowledge of all parts, but in order to have knowledge of any part we must have knowledge of the whole to understand each part’s relation to the whole. Consequently we can only have a partial knowledge of parts. This is besides the fact that the whole is really only a hypothesis to begin with, are we even sure that what we call the universe is not infinite? Another way of relating this is to consider numbers, we can conceive of an infinite number if we just keep adding zeroes onto the end, and the same would go for decimals, so even 0.00000002… can go on infinitely. To bring it further down to earth we could say that even with everyone alive observing at every moment, will we observe everything that transpires? We have already moved forward historically and all humans have not even attempted to do this, so we have no doubt missed something. Can we be sure that what we have missed/do miss is not something of vital importance?

I don’t even think all that needs be explained to you since you pointed to the same yourself. Suffice it to say, I think this is a good thing. The closest that comes to a situation where all factors are known is when humans create artificial environments with controlled factors — like a city, or a state, everything is laid down as rules. If we imagine ourselves within the confines of a city, everywhere we look there is the work of human hands. All areas have been designated (named, codes of conduct attached to them) we drive on roads, if you are in a lane you go in this certain direction, when you walk into a building the space is designated and there are certain behaviours that are appropriate to the space (we don’t shit on the door step, we don’t start building within a public library, unless perhaps there is some controlled task prepared for the occassion, or we are breaking a law). In this sense our lives become limited, possibility is limited.

This is actually one of the places I feel I need to apply my mind more deeply. If you remember the thread which originated our beginning this discussion, I am not sure if you noticed I had responded to Lys and I had admitted that I have been unable to differentiate the natural environment from the human environment. I think it can be easy to imagine various wilds without human presence, but how it would work for humans to exist in that presence is another thing.

I will take this opportunity to make a political statement. If I ran a political space, I would actually see to it that there was less labelling of the environment and less constructed spaces.

As I see it there is a valuation in modern society of techne over phronesis (techne being forms of production and I would even consider produced spaces under that label and not just contraptions, and phronesis being practical intelligence, which would include decision making on a broad level as well as applying the mind to more fluid movements — the latter is especially attached to habituation, practice and innate skill).

I suppose this would come closest to your asking for an ought, the problem would be that I do not necessarily think of it as an ought. I would think of it more in terms of what can be and what will be. Questions of ought might come into it, but it would not be in the manner of something like — this must be done or those who do not do it are immoral, stupid, etc… At best it would be along the lines of something like, this arrangement would promote freedom and creativity, though on the other hand it might be precarious, fraught with danger, because it is no so controlled… so for some people the freedom and the opportunity for creation might appeal to them as something desirable, and to others the lack of safety and certainty might make it undesirable.

Regarding the first part, if you want to discuss how to effectively run a country I think that is a discussion for a different thread, it would probably depend on us coming to some agreement about how it should be run before practicable policies could be put in place though.

As to the second part, particularly “There are simply things that we either can or cannot establish as in fact true for all of us” — I still think this issue is getting at something completely different from what I am talking about. When I say I would want to increase my biology, I am pointing to things like physical health and abilities as well as mental abilities. From this point of view it is not really of concern whether others believe it to be true. If I actually attain a high mental ability (and I am not here saying I possess one) and am so able to accomplish things with it (and likewise with the physical aspect) others can think it is wrong, but what is important is that I am able to actually accomplish that which I desire, even if it means keeping others at bay by force.

Do you understand the difference between these views and what they are trying to get at? I still think this is different from might makes right, because from this point of view it is completely irrelevant what is “right” in a moral sense, it matters what the objective situation is, and that I think could be measured… in that, if I could command others to do what I say and they in fact did it, that would be objective, it wouldn’t be a matter of my imagination. It might be a matter of imagination that I think such would be possible, but the point of the perspective I am talking about isn’t to sit around rubbing my hands together saying “ooooo, imagine how powerful I will be!” it is to attempt to gauge the world by what is possible and what is actually going on.

Also, this perspective is not only meant to be a standard for my behaviour. It is meant to be a way of looking at the world without moral interpretations. Even if you want to cut out the “objective good” aspect and say, this person is a slave because they have a chain placed around their neck by this person who now demands them to labour for them, but the slave is happy because they smile and say so (and feel so, assuming I was somehow able to know for certain whether that individual, the slave, truly did feel so). Though I would still personally say, it is better to be the master than the slave.

For looking at a situation like this, some important factors to me are things like, because the individual could make lots of money for slaughtering animals and because politicians are able to be bribed, chances are they will continue to do so barring some disaster (for example ecological) or else some kind of hard willed tyrant who refuses to allow it under any conditions. On the other hand, the politicians (or members of the legislature) have a power to make these decisions. They may be constrained by other government officials either from the same or different departments, I would be curious to find out under what conditions such constraints would be enacted and under what conditions such constraints would be done away with.

I am not sure what you mean by ‘transcending’ the manner in which you construe dasein. In that thread you wrote

Whereas I am not concerned with making my identity more certain.

You also wrote

I also don’t think there is a stable thing called self, that is what I am getting at when I am putting my consideration to spatio-temporal contingencies, these in a sense includes my biology — maybe I let myself get fat, or I break my arm, maybe I have slipped up and now need to retread and find out what I have gotten wrong.

I am in agreement that “truth” is already a decision first and foremost (and this beside the fact that I may not have access to it).

I am of the suspicion (though of course I may be wrong) that you are less concerned with how exactly I would go through the decision making process regarding eating a hamburger than with why exactly I have decided to adopt the position wherein I think it is good or valuable to look at the world in what we have been calling the objectivist position. I think one of the major criticisms you or perhaps anyone could give to it is that because we will never have all knowledge of truth, the objectivist position is really at the bottom of it something other than an approach to the world which is wholly objective — that is, because it relies on leaps of faith where knowledge is lacking. In other words, while I might think I am making the most reasonable objective decision anyone has ever made, I may in reality be engaging in my ultimate undoing and on the path towards the life of a friendless cripple homeless during winter, all because of some circumstance absolutely impossible to forsee.

I already gave something of a response to this above, regarding the Dionysian and Plato’s theatetus, and I will quickly recap that by saying it is the other side of the same coin, it is what makes life mysterious and exhuberant, not merely cold and rational.

To go at it further, I think that this objective point of view is in one way or another something that everyone does at least unconsciously, otherwise we would have no way of effectively interacting with the world. My desire is merely to make that effectiveness more conscious and controlled while still having appreciation for the mysterious quality of existence.

I understand my position as being thrown into existence, it is not something I have chosen, so I am attempting to look at what is here and how it works together. I am not really concerned with the meaninglessness of existence because firstly, there is much more already there (as well as hidden, and that hiddenness itself is something exciting to me), secondly because I believe that meaningfulness in the sense of a “meaning of life” is a mental construct and so a dead end, and thirdly, I have a theory of meaning that is much more closely connected to how we understand meaning in the sense of a word having meaning but is more compound.

My theory of meaning has two interdependent aspects.

First, meaning is created through a narrative we have of the world, it can be made up solely of our personal experiences and it can also have diverse strands of information we have accumulated from various sources but which tell us something about the world. In this context something is “meaningless” when it doesn’t fit into our narrative.

Second, we are at the center of our narrative and this has immense bearing on what is considered a significant part of the narrative — in other words, the fact that we are at the center of the narrative determines the possibility of the narrative because all ‘significance’ will be related directly or indirectly to us as the subject both conscious of and creating the narrative. The prime factor which determines significance is relation to our engagement, the point at which things become an issue for us. These things which are issues for us begin as biological/spatio-temporal contingencies, they are the second layer of the web which reaches out from us as knowing subjects. In order for us to feel positively (and the converse of this would be negative affect) our goals (which begin as biological needs, as babies I mean) our needs must be fulfilled. As we grow older we may come to adopt non-biological goals, but ultimately these will have to be attached to some biological conditioning (for example through punishments and rewards) or at least be imparted to one through a narrative which activates expectation of some biological response (positive or negative) — for example a Christian view of the world imparts an expectation of rapture for those who are righteous and damnation for those who are unrepentant sinners. This keep in mind is said in relation to goals. Information in our narrative may only have an indirect relation to those things which are immediately related to our engagements past, present or expectant.

Since you asked I will give you a brief glipse of the kinds of factors I would consider worthwhile.

Because the question is “Should I eat this hamburger?” I am assuming that one already has the means to attain the hamburger.

Am I hungry? Is there other kinds of food available? Can I reach them without starving or becoming malnourished? Are the other foods currently available better for my health? Can I obtain them without starving first or becoming malnourished to a degree that outweighs the benefits they would give me above the hamburger? Are the costs of other healthier foods within my means? If I use my resources on the other food would it detract from the possibility of doing something else which is more important, and in particular would I have the means to accomplish those more important things if I ate the hamburger instead? Would eating this hamburger endanger my doing something else which is more important than either eating the hamburger (and this in relation to other considerations above, like whether another food source is available which could be eaten without endagering this more important thing — and by more important the consideration would be in relation to the possibility of going without food completely at that moment, an example being if an axe weilding murderer comes towards you down the street while you stand outside the restaurant.)

There are other considerations no doubt. A person would not generally need to go over all these considerations consciously, a lot of it would be done unconsciously or else in a split second, like gauging whether one is hungry or whether one possesses the money or some other resource or skill.

I too think there are conflicting goods, but I also think that each person’s good can be deduced objectively in the manner I’ve gone over in this thread. Political economy already presupposes various notions of goods.

It depends on who you ask because the objective good for any individual revolves around their own being, not because good is subjective.

Do you think it is possible you have mixed up objective good for an individual with subjectivity because you desire a definition of objective-good-for-all-individuals-together? Or else maybe you’ve confused perspective with subjective? To take a simplistic example, if we say that eating is good because it keeps us alive, from the perspective of an individual in space and time, what it takes to obtain food is contingent, this doesn’t make it subjective. In the context of the natives and the colonists, that they themselves triumph is the good.

Here are some more examples of the difference between perspective and subjective:

Say there are two people and they are considering what is the best way to obtain an apple which sits on a table. The first person is within distance to reach out and grab it, the other is about 700 meters away. From the perspective of the first person, the best way to obtain the apple is to reach out and take it. From the perspective of the second person, the best way would be to move towards it in as straight of a line as possible, either walking, running, or using some vehicle depending on the terrain, availability of vehicles, and factors of urgency, perhaps they are in need of exercise as well, or perhaps food is scarce in the region or time that person is living in, and so on.

A different example is if we imagine someone who says they really like junk food and sweets and another person who has decided it is best to be healthy. The first person decides for every meal of the day he/she will eat things like donuts, chips, french fries, chocolates. All of this tastes very good to that person. The second person decides it is best to eat things like deep greens and other vegetables, maybe fish, beans, nuts, fresh berries and the like, and also adapts his/her eating habits to the qualities of situations. Then we could ask, which is better?

The difference between an objective good for an individual and a subjective good is that an objective good exists outside of and regardless of the individual’s opinions and feelings whereas a subjective good is dependent on them.

I think the ultimate paradigmatic question is, can it be good for an individual (for that individual) to be annihilated? I think that the question of good or bad is off the table for an annihilated individual. Questions of good or bad are questions for life and the living, it is for that reason I think we have to examine the qualities which are opened up to us through life for an idea of what constitutes the good. One could say that the subjective mind is opened up to us through life so we should look to it. My response to that is that in order for a subjective mind to have any effect it must first deal with objective circumstances — biology and spatio-temporal contingencies (biology, beyond things like eating for survival, at least in the sense of intelligence). In order for the person who likes junk food and sweets to obtain those things they must deal objectively with the world. An outlook which seeks to develop its biological relations to spatio-temporal contingencies will ultimately develop an advantage, though this may take generations. Otherwise it will be a matter of chance, but still with these factors playing a decisive role.

Yes, I come across that quite frequently here. My own interest in a discussion of the “objective good” revolves more around the manner in which we can situate whatever it is that we think these words means “out in the world” of human interactions that come into conflict. Why do they come into conflict? Because individuals predicate their behaviors on conflicting sets of values.

Then I probe the extent to which these values reflect the predispositions of daseins; and then the extent to which philosophers/ethicists are able to conflate opposing premises such that they can provide us with an optimal argument.

Is there a way to know for certain that consuming animal products is either moral or immoral, or will that always become entangled in subjective narratives:

In my view, if there are actual facts pertaining to the issue of animal rights, then this is something all reasonable men and women should believe. Why? Because the facts are true. And both sides above [from the link] have their own sets of empirical/statistical evidence. There are objective truths that all can agree on. But then they configure those facts into a moral narrative that does not really make the facts of the other side go away. They merely twist them so as to favor their own subjective prejudices. Or they simply ignore the facts that don’t favor their own prejudices.

But that is my point. Different people in different sets of circumstances are able to rationalize their behaviors regarding their relationships with animals. Or rationalize their behaviors away. There is no one-size-fits-all rendition of the “the good” here. No objective good in other words.

And it seems that “for all practical purposes” you would basically agree with this.

But to what extent does this obviate my point about dasein? You choose to either consume or not to consume animal products. And then you focus the beam on what needs to be done in order to facilitate that. Either alone or in the political process. But your initial decision is profoundly embedded in dasein. And how does your strategy here obvate this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction.

Until you are able to understand the manner in which I approach moral conflicts like this from within the confines of this “dilemma”, we will probably not really be able to come in sync regarding these relationships. At times, I read what you think and I am not able to make a perspicuous connection to what I think. It is as though the manner in which we think about these things is out of whack – as though we are in two different discussions. I’m sure in some respects you feel much the same.

For instance:

Yes, but in choosing what you do, you are only able to acknowledge the extent to which this is in fact the embodiment of dasein. Then you turn that into a positive thing. And, again, to the extent that you are able to do this, fine. But that does not stop the slaughter of animals that enrages so many animal rights activists. So basically what you are advocating is more or less the way things are now.

Which, in fact, is my own point of view in turn. At least politically. There is no way to determine what the objective rights of animals are. There is no way to determine what the objective rights of human beings are. So, we just have to muddle through politically – hopefully in the context of democracy and the rule of law. But the extent to which one individual comes down on either side of the issue, is embedded in all of the existential factors that predispose her to go one way rather than another. In other words, there is no one, true, authentic self able to grasp the one, true, authentic behavior. And, in that sense, the “objective good” is merely a social, political and economic construct that ever changes historically and cross-culturally and experientially.

With respect to animal rights, no one has access to the whole because no one has access to an objective theory of everything. And each of us only have access to the parts that we have come to embody existentially – and that is but a tiny fraction of all the parts there are to be had with respect to an issue as complex as this. So what is left then but an existential leap to a particular point of view – here and now. Knowing that in a world bursting at the seams with contingency, chance and change there are any number possible futures ahead of us.

And this is a good thing, except for all the times that it is a bad thing. In other words, over and over and over again with respect to many, many, many conflicting goods – abortion, capital punishment, gun control, gender roles, homosexuality etc. – we are forced to take our own existential leaps of faith precisely because we do not have access to everything that would need to be known. My aim then is to nudge people away from the objectivist mentality – one that insists that we can know The Right Thing To Do. And that is always in accordance with their own God or their own dogmatic Reason.

That’s never my point though. I am less interested in exchanging political narratives than in discussing whether a political narrative can be derived from an “objective good”. In some respects we both seem to agree that it cannot. But the moral objectivists insist that we can. We need but think about animal rights [or abortion, or gender roles or the “will to power” etc.] as they do in order to always do the right thing.

In my view, this is largely a theoretical [abstract] conjecture that, when introduced to moral objectivists on either side of any conflicting set of value judgments, will be dismissed. It would seem to be more attuned to those who are willing to acknowledge that objectiviuty here does not allow one to actually resolve the dispute itself. Not in any deontological sense.

This seems more like the consensus approach to morality. As long as everyone agrees that consuming animal products is moral [or immoral] then that makes it “objectively” true. But that is not what most moral objectivists espouse. Instead, they insist consuming animal products is moral [or immoral] because morality itself is rooted objectively in God or in Reason.

No one is forcing them to consume or not consume animal products — they just agree to either do so or not to do so.

Now, if that is how one wishes to consture “objective good”, fine. All it has to do then is [for all practical purposes] work for them in a world sans God.


This, in fact, is how these things generally work “out in the world”: the name of the game is politics. And that is driven by wealth and power. Meaning it has little or nothing to do with assessing these things philosophically.

Forget transcending. Does someone eat meat? And, if so, how do they rationalize it? And would this not be merely the embodiment of dasein? And if they bump into another who does not eat meat, would he not but rationalize this in turn? My point is then that, at best, folks could agree to disagree about whther one ought to eat meat and, if they live together, work something out so that they have the least dysfunctional relationship. But beyond this philosophers/ethicists cannot go. Or so it seems to me.

Or if, instead, they embrace an objective moral agenda here, they are not able to demonstrate how their point of view transcends dasein and conflicting goods.

Sure, if you simply accept the manner in which you have come to think about your own identity, that can work. But then others who think of themselves in much the same way can then behave in ways that piss you off. Then they can just make the same point.

Indeed, my point is often that many eschew the manner in which I construe dasein precisely because it makes the manner in which they construe “I” considerably more problematic than to just except that who they think they are as “good enough” .

Then we both might agree [more or less] that “I” is prefabricated insofar as we raised to think and feel and behave in particular ways in particular families, communities, cultures, historical eras etc, as children and then, as more autonomous adults, how we come to construe our identities is ever awash in contingency, chance and change. Meaning that who we think we are [particularly in regard to value judgments] is always subject to contingency chance and change. “I” then is ever a work in progress from the cradle to the grave.

My point is that we all go through the same process: we live out our individual lives comprised of individual experiences, relationships, sources of information etc., and these variables predispose us to either eating meat or not eating meat. In other words, there is no “authentic self” able to deduce the objective moral truth about animal rights such that all rational human beings must embrace that point of view. Thus, it ceases to be a subjective point of point – it transcends dasein and becomes the objective truth. Then each individaul is judged solely on whether they do the right thing or not. The right thing being that which a rational man or women would necessarily choose to do .

If someone does in fact eat meat then that is the objective truth. And there is an objective truth regarding the process employed by the meat industry to turn a cow into a hamburger. No leaps of faith required at all when we are dealing with actual facts like this. But shift gears to should someone eat the meat, or should cows be turned into hamburgers – and [in my view] you run smack dab into dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

But I make that distinction here between the meaning of things that are necessarily the same for everyone, i.e. the existence of the internet, and meaning that revolves more instead around moral/political/economic agendas, i.e net neutrality.

Most of us can give a meaningful answer if asked “what is net neutrality?” It revolves around this:

But when asked if it is a good thing or a bad thing we bump into this instead: … -and-cons/

Yes, this is the set of questions that you would ask. Others may ask different questions though. And you and they will have different answers. But what is deemed more or less important here will be largely rooted in dasein. And there is no set of answers to questions like this that I have come across that could be deemed true objectively. There is always the particular context and the particular moral and political prejudice of the individual interacting in that context.

I don’t see how you have established that each person’s good can be objective in a world of conflicting goods. At best one might argue that behaving in a particular way is construed by an individual as an objective good. Then another behaving in exactly the opposite manner can think the same thing of her behavior. And that works fine until “out in the world” these behaviors clash. Then what? Then “objectivity” will revolve around power or around moderation, negotiation and compromise.

And political economy is concerned less with what is good and more with who has the power to enforce a particular set of behaviors when they do come to clash “out in the world”.

You say:

That’s the part that eludes me. Mary chooses to have an abortion because, from her perspective, that’s a good thing. But is it a good thing? If we lived in a world where whatever we happen to believe is a good thing makes it a good thing “objectively”, what kind of world would that be? Instead, in many democratic nations, it is recognized that the morality of abortion cannot be grasped objectively – that, in fact, it is a matter of personal opinion. And so in some circumstances abortions are permitted. But that they are does not resolve the question of whether they are or are not moral. I don’t see how that can ever be more than just a subjective/subjunctive point of view. Or, within any particular human community, an inter-subjective exchange of value judgments.

But reaching for an apple or eating a bag of chips is one thing, slaughtering animals or aborting a human fetus, another thing altogether.

If there is no objective manner in which to determine whether eating animals or aborting fetuses is moral or immoral, how each individual then decides this will be predicated on how all of those existential variables came together in their lives to predispose them to go in all of the different directions there are to go in. Now, technically, this may not be what many philsophers construe to be “subjective” but it sure seems that way to me.

If that individual lives alone and does not choose to interact with others, that would seem more reasonable to me. After all, there is no question of his behaviors impacting others. But once that individual does choose to interact with others, then we are forced to consider the possibiliuty of conflicting value judgments. And once that occurs we are forced to ask ourselves, “is there a way to determine which of the conflicting points of view/behaviors are the most rational, just, moral?”

I say that, sans God, the answer is probably no.

I think what it comes down to is this. I don’t really find the way you approach these subjects useful, relevant, or important. If you want to discuss this aspect I am up for giving it a try, I think that taking that subject will be more in line with your pursuits around Dasein. I can’t promise I will find that discussion useful, relevant, or important either. In reality the way you want to turn the subject, you must admit, reflects your own idea of the good, so even in your own surmise you will find some way to rationalize it and it will be a conflciting good. Here you say as much:

How can one even take seriously the implicit valuation of good and bad that you are attempting to impose on others when your position rests on the proposition that no objective good or bad even exists?

I will response to what you’ve written here though.

I don’t agree that there is no objective good there though. Part of it is that you are asking for a rationalization. Do you think that what animals do “for their own good” is rooted in dasein, or is it because humans possess logos that you think so, because we are able to choose otherwise?

I still see it like this, and I’ve tried to explain this in my past posts. Even if you believe any given thing, animals should be wrapped in swaddling clothes and suckled at the teet, then you will still need to interact with the world in such a way that takes full consideration of circumstance, which will include needing to be biologically fit — protecting the animals from other people, knowing how to wrap it in swaddling clothes… so what I am talking about in regards to being biologically fit actually is above any decision to a degree and is presupposed by any decision, unless one would have a view of the good, sit as a vegetable and judge (or condemn) the world.

As regards that last part, no. At best you are misinterpreting what I am saying and at worst you are putting words in my mouth.

I don’t think it is helpful or important to discover a deontological position. To me at best that would be something used to impose their view onto the world and on others. It’s interesting in this regard that you did skip what I said was my brief synopsis of how a society should be.

In a way it almost seems like you are more concerned with an objective good than I am, except, and I’ve already gone over this, you seem to be desiring that this objective good reigns over everyone and dictates to them what they should and shouldn’t do, whereas I have no desire for such a thing. When I am talking about an objective good I am talking about a way that we can living by knowing the world. Like I said, you say say that biology isn’t important, but it will always remain the case that you need it, and those who have perfected it will get the things of the world they seek and they might hold you back from what you seek. If you think that it is good, or okay, that you might be held back from pursuing what you think and believe then by all means neglect your biology.

Two parts here: First, I have no problem that things turn out in ways that I think are bad. It is not my place to control the world, in any case we both agree we can’t and there will always be something unforseeable. My focus is on myself. Making my biology stronger would also include improving my ability to deal with and not be overcome by adversity.

Second, even in your own point of view these bad things would necessarily be subjective anyway, so not necessarily bad. From my point of view they would be bad for my biological makeup.

If you mean that the objective good means “good for everyone” then I have already suggested the best that can be done is leave the system open and allow for people to improve their biology. Conflicting goods are not going to disappear, but that doesn’t mean the goods that conflict aren’t biological. If we both want an apple, then it would be good for us to get it. If one or the other of us get’s it, it is good for that person and bad for the other. We could say farming more food is good, and both of us farming makes the work go faster, but then again one might say that making someone else farm while receiving the food and pursuing some other task that improves one’s biology to a greater degree is better for that person who has made the other labour for them… This is not an argument that things should be the way they are now, it is, if anything, an argument for the labourer to kick the other person to the curb, but then it is equally an argument for the other person to try to fight back and try to subdue the labourer.

You seem to want to have an objectivity that encompasses what all should do so that all conflicts end — I agree that such is not possible, but I do still think that for the labourer it is best not to have to labour for another, and for the other it is best to be able to get food while improving himself still further on other things (perhaps the means to subdue the other).

I think the thing is you are always looking for this deontology, which would be to impose on other’s one view of the good for everyone, whereas I am not.

In relation to what I wrote, your response makes no sense. What I wrote there was not about a consensus approach. I was talking about subduing another by force and forcefeeding someone (think Guantanamo bay). I said that the situation objectively takes place (as in Guantanamo).

I said this is different from might makes right because just because this objectively happens does not mean it is right, in my point of view. What is objectively good is whether the situation improves biology. I can’t really imagine that what the US is doing in Guantanamo improves their biology, except possibly some individual(s) indirectly, and it certainly doesn’t improve the biology of those subjected to forced feeding, except in that they are kept alive — if perhaps they get out and can be stronger for the situation then perhaps then.

I will also add now belatedly that reproduction is intimately tied to biology.

I disagree, we must first know the world objectively to be able to assess it at all. Besides that, by reducing things to “wealth and power” you are twisting my point even if only a little. Wealth may not be a good thing, if it causes one to sit around and get fat on bon bons while a horde of those you’ve enslaved burst in and tear you to bits, that would not be good.

I suppose my point of view is meant to be rooted in dasein, not transcending it, and I’ve already explained it does not and is not meant to transcend conflicting goods.

Whether people agree or disagree or agree to disagree or one subdues the other is not really of concern to me except insofar as I think it is better not to be subdued but to be able to pursue what is biologically good. Also understand that what I am saying is not always or necessarily an argument to subdue others, it would depend on the context. It’s a little like this conversation, think of the first quote from you I gave, here I will reproduce it:

Your aim isn’t just to nudge people away from this point of view, your aim would be to change their behaviour, so in a sense subdue them. For me, I don’t care what you do, but I will continue to think it is good to pursue my biology and I think that it would be well for you to understand that those who have honed their biology and in particular its relation to spatio-temporal contingencies will find it much easier to subdue others than the other way around.

The point is similar here. It’s not such a big deal if people piss me off just because they piss me off. If this “being pissed off” means in some way that my biology deteriorates or perhaps is even meant to stagnate indefinitely then it would be bad, for me.

I have been using biology on its own but keep in mind that I always mean biology in relation to spatio-temporal contingency. It is my contention that those who have honed their biology in relation to spatio-temporal contingency will be in a better position to do something about being pissed off (or at least deal with it constructively) than someone who has not.

What this reads like to me is that you are again admitting you are after some kind of philosophical mind game — it is already rooted in some belief of yours of the good (see the very top of this post). I never said that who I am is good enough. In my last post I gave multiple instances where my point of view would even point to facts that I had done badly or that I would do well to improve.

It just seems to me that there is no argument for not pursuing the improvement of biology because taken to its extreme that would mean either (at best) stagnation, while others improved theirs (whether inadvertantly or not) and were able to operate in the world better, or else deterioration, in which case I would operate in the world poorly indeed.

Yes, as I said my ideas are rooted in dasein, not intended to transcend it.

I agreed with this. I have spoken from the beginning of spatio-temporal contingency. The difference I suppose is that I am willing to accept a good, that eating meat is good when it is all we have or when it promotes our health most effectively, and the same would go for not eating meat.

So from that second part of the paragraph I have just written above I disagree with this:

The only way that this would be so is if someone would accept either a) death as being a viable good (say for example meat is all there is to eat, that one should starve oneself so as not to eat it) or else

b) that one would accept that it is better to not promote my bodily health while others do and so be in a worse position when it comes to interacting with the world and potentially be dominated by others (this can be physically as in a fight but it could potentially be intellectually as well, and spatio-temporally as in conflicts over goods), or

c) one wishes to push one’s view of the good onto others and maintain it by force.

Let me put you a question, would it be better, worse, or neither better or worse if you could dictate whether there is net neutrality, and even choose who the net is neutral for? Suppose you had the power to decide who would get the internet and who would not, so you could give it to your friends and family (perhaps) and take it away from anyone who struck you as an enemy, or else make the net neutral for all if you decided so? — The question being whether you would think it is best to be able to make that decision and how the power to control its outcome throughout time.

I would also add to that consideration that, if you think it is best to be able to make this decision personally, do you think it would be best to be able to continue making that decision (that is, not have the decision making power stripped from you and then a new decision imposed upon you)?

(This was regarding questions about whether to eat the hamburger)

You are being confused by the fact that people are able to think different things to believe that means all is subjective. Someone could have a similar argument about a non-opinionated fact. “The Earth is flat” “No, it’s round (or round and bumpy)” “That’s what you think.”, such a conversation would not change the fact regardless of whether one or both are right.

I already explained to you why pursuing biology is better above so I won’t do it again, and I’ve mentioned that my ideas are rooted in dasein. Heidegger never meant that people should trascend dasein but realize it and work with it.

I have explained how conflicting goods are not relevant to objective goods for each person. Better biology and a better grasp of spatio-temporal contingencies means a better ability to deal with the world, even deal with others. The behaviours clash in the world, as you say, then the person who has a better handle on biology and spatio-temporal contingencies (even if this means access to technology) will be able to either impose their will on or ignore the other person — that is a fact.

Negotiation and compromise would only be done in cases where individuals share a good and/or neither is able to ignore or impose themselves on the other.

You said before that politics in this sense has nothing to do with philosophy, I on the other hand (as I already said) think it has everything to do with philosophy because if we are dealing with what is true and not merely what we make up then we must know the world, and if that is how the world works then we must know that and not simply ignore it or merely condemn it.

This is different from praxis — being(and acting)-in-the-world. I can ignore the person who says “don’t do that!” and do it anyway. There may be consequences, so it would be best for me to know them and consider them.

Sophia (wisdom) is different because in order to think about things we must know them as they truly are. If you think that making a whole bunch of things up that have no connection to the world is philosophy then you can give me your view of that (I don’t think you believe that).

iambiguous, if we are going to have this conversation you at least have to take what I am saying as I am saying it and not twist it around. I have already explained to you that good is objective for each person because it promotes biology in relation to spatio-temporal contingency, but you are twisting my words to make it seem like I am saying anyone can think any thing is good and then it is good, which I have explicitly not said.

In the case of abortion, reproduction is good for biology, but it may not be the only spatio-temporal factor. There could be considerations such as, was Mary’s lover a good mate? If we was foolish and incapable and Mary chose him then that would already have been a bad decision but a decision that should have been made in the past. If Mary was raped then that is another consideration. If the rapist was a stranger then variables would enter that would make a decision harder to judge.

Mary would do well to consider whether she is able to support the child, or whether it is possible to get someone else to support it. We might consider variables such as our knowledge on the effect adoption has on children, if it would make them in some way biologically weakened, unable to recover or improve etc. Would adopting or even aborting have such an effect on Mary that she is unable to birth another child? (Also consider her age…) Or else ould either adoption or abortion have some unreversible or unavoidable effect of making her biologically stagnant or deteriorate? We might say that if the child could flourish biologically it would take precedence over Mary because it would have a better chance of passing on genes and they would be genes which have developed.

There would be many considerations along those lines — some information might be missing in which case the person would be “guessing in the dark”, so to speak, which may make the chances of a bad decision more likely even though everything has been considered, but the decision would be objectively bad based on the criteria of biology in relation to spatio-temporal contingencies.

While this doesn’t have to do with that particular case of considering abortion directly, somewhat related might be a circumstance where the world is becoming dangerously overpopulated (dangerous to biological continuance and flourishing). Questions might arise about whether it is better or worse to have children. We could say that it is better that children be had at a level which is stable to allow for biological continuance and flourishing — but it might be better for a given individual to cheat and have more children while others have less, though it would be bad for all to cheat if the effect was overpopulation which destroyed the possibility of continuance. Also, on the one hand it might be better to have more offspring, but on the other hand it might be just as well to have only one in the case where that offspring is biologically fitter than all the other offspring combined — in other words if the biologically fitter one is able to dominate the others — these things depend on spatio-temporal contingencies.

It is only different if you let your emotions take over what is being considered. I have gone a little way to demonstrating above how the same ideas can be applied to abortion as to other circumstances.

I already mentioned this position is not concerned with traditional valuations of moral and immoral, but with biologly in relation to spatio-temporal circumstance.

Here is another instance where you have misread me. I never said that it was immoral for an individual to kill himself or be annihilated even in the biological view. I said that if one is dead then questions of good or bad cease to be relevant for that individual, except perhaps in that individual’s new spatio-temporal circumstances (if there be any after death, or else in whatever dimensions that individual would deal with anything that could be called “circumstances”).

So, I was not saying that annihilation is bad or immoral, I said that questions of good or bad are for the living, so it is based on the living we must make these decisions, and the standards of life for humans is our biology.

Let’s just say that with respect to “actual human interactions that come into conflict out in the world that we live in”, how folks come to understand the meaning of “objective good”, has actual existential consequences. And that often revolves not around how they understand the meaning of these words philosophically, but how they either can or cannot accommodate what they think they mean to conflicting value judgments that revolve around conflicting goods viewed subjectively from the perspective of dasein. The rest is political economy.

For me, it is always the extent to which “serious philosophers” are then willing to take their technical definitions and deductions “down here” and situate them in the world of actual conflicting behaviors.

To wit:

I’m not saying that no objective good exist. How could I [or any mere mortal] possibly know that? I’m only suggesting that in manner in which I construe conflicting goods there does not seem to be a philosophical argument that can be made that would allow someone access to an objective valuation enabling them to say definitively whether consuming animal products [or having an abortion, or supporting capital punishment, or embracing the right to bear arms etc.] is moral or immoral.

Bottom line [mine]:

Animals do not have the capacity to consider what they do in terms of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. They are driven by instinct to do only what they have been programmed genetically to do. In fact, certain hard determinists will insist that, when push comes to shove, so are we.

But if we posit some capacity on the part of the human species to choose behaviors freely, we are confronted with the question, “is there a way, philosophically, to know for certain what our moral obligation must be regarding our relationship to all of the others animals?” Sure, there might be. But if someone believes that there is, what is their argument? Where is the empirical evidence to back the theoretical argument up?

All this demonstrates to me is that different people in different sets of circumstances construe their relationships with animals in different ways. But that is basically my point. But then my point in turn is that many moral objectivists [on both sides of any particular conflict] will insist that their own moral narrative is not a narrative at all – but the whole objective truth regarding what the relationship between men and beasts must be – must be universally – for all rational human beings.

One does not need to consume animal products to sustain their biological health. So it is possible to live in a world where no one does. A world where everyone chooses not to because [in the eyes of PETA types] that is The Right Thing To Do.

My point then is that most people think about the “objective good” in this manner. And that the manner in which you seem to construe it would be largely irrelevant in a world where others will judge you [often unfavorably] if you choose to eat meat, or get an abortion or support the death penalty, or own an arsenal of guns. And each side is able to rationalize their point of view such that the other side is unable to make their premises go away. Instead, the only recourse “out in the real world” is might makes right or moderation, negotication of compromise.

I agree. I don’t either. That in fact is basically my aim: to dissuade those moral/political/religious/aesthetic objectivists who insist that our moral obligations here can be known [philosophically or otherwise] that perhaps they cannot be known [objectively] in a world sans God. Which is quite the contrary to what you suspect here:

Okay, so how is one to “know the world” when confronted with the question, “is it moral to consume animal products”? Well, in my estimation, we know this from a particular point of view situated out in a particular world. And we predicate our behaivors on what we think is true here “in our head”. But what is true when that collides with what another thinks is true “in their head”?

You say that you “focus on myself” here. And that is fine as long as others let you. But what if they don’t? What if what you construe to be making “my biology stronger” is viewed by them as a behavior that is morally repugnant? Back again to the abortion wars, right? But this is applicable to all moral conflicts in my view.

And while we both tend to eschew what might be called a “universal morality” you seem convince that there is an element embedded in the “objective good” that is somehow apllicable to all of us when confronted with moral conflicts like animal rights. Whereas to me the distinction revolves more around that which we are able to demonstrate as objectively true percisely because it can be shown to transcend dasein.

In other words, I am not always “looking for deontology” but arguing that, in a world sans God, there can be no deontological morality. Or so [here and now] it seems to me.

What does Guantanamo revolve around but the moral and political assumptions of those on either side of the “war on terror”? And if this isn’t based on dasein, conflicting goods and political economy it is hard to imagine a context more so.

You speak of “improving biology” as though there were not always conflicting interpretations here. Someone eats meat to improve their biology, but what of the biology of the animal he consumes? A woman aborts her unborn baby, because it is now a part of her biology that she wants to be rid of…but what of the biology of the baby? The American government force feeds terrorist suspects in order to keep them imprisoned [or maybe even to torture them] in order to sustain a set of assumptions about the world around us. So, how do we determine if those assumptions reflect the most rational point of view? What is the objective valuation here?

You say that, “we must first know the world objectively to be able to assess it at all.” Okay, with respect to animal rights, abortion, force-feeding prisoners etc what does it mean to know the world objectively?

No, my aim is more to encourage people to think about why they choose particular behaviors given the manner in which I construe these choices as being embedded [more or less] in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. And if anyone is subdued it is me.

On this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction.

In fact, I pursue discussions like this [in part] in order to come up with an argument that might tug me away from this brutally pessimistic reflection of my own moral quandaries.

Yes, and this is the distinction I make between arguments like yours and mine [however far removed they might be in some respects] and the arguments of those objectivists who seem clearly to suggest that how they construe moral conflicts is how all rational human beings must construe them in turn. In other words, if you don’t think like they do then you are necessarily wrong.

Yes, it would be like animal rights activists insisting that Eskimos are behaving immorally because the hunt, kill and consume seals. Even baby seals. But for me it always about context. And sometimes the context is such that you either consume animal products or you die. Some will even argue that this includes cannibalism.

Yes, if you wish to call being an Eskimo who hunts and kills and consumes seals part and parcel of their own “authentic self”, that’s true. But deontological objectivists often insist that moral obligation trascends any particular context. If consuming animal products is always immoral it is our obligation to take the Eskimos out of that environment so that they are not required to hunt, kill and consume the seals in order to survive. After all, once the moral objectivists concedes there are exceptions to the rule who gets to decide what they are?

How would this still not be deeply embedded in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy? How anyone feels about net neutrality will depend largely on what will happen if the issue is decided one way or another. Some will always benefit and some will always fail to benefit. In fact some will lose. If for example the intenet is largely a means for achieving financial gain, everything can get reduced down to that. And, sure, if some had the power to take the internet away from those they detest, they would not hesitate to do so. And then they would rationalize what they did. The point being that there is still no one-size-fits-all argument that reduces the conflict down to the optimal [most rational] point of view. Instread, it is always a profoundly political conflict.

Yes, “technically”, I may be misconstruing the manner which logicians or espistemologists think about the word “subjective”. I use the word in the context of identity and conflicting goods. It’s embedded in the distinction I make between what people believe is true “in their head” and the extent to which they are able to show that what they believe transcends dasein. The earth is either flat or round. Well, it is round. Objectively. For everyone, even if they believe personally that it is flat. And no one argues that even if it is round it ought to be flat. Instead, pertaining to morality, the distinction between what is objective and what is subjective depends on whether or not you are able to actually demonstrate that what you believe is true is in fact true for everyone else in turn.

But you act is though in countless discussions like this folks have not been accusing each other of doing precisely that. And for thousands of years. We often become entangled in debates about pinning down what words mean – pinning down what we can “know” about the meaning of words “out in the world” of human interactions. And the one thing all moral objectivists seem to share in common here is that how they understand the meaning of words is the only rational manner in which the words can be understood.

All I do then is to ask them to bring their “precise meaning” down to earth and implicate it in actual existential conflicts relating to animal rights or abortion or whatever.

Again, for thousands of years now philosophers have feuded over words like this. So, are we any closer to resolving any of the hundreds and hundreds of collisions our behaviors engender in actual flesh and blood interactions regarding value judgments?

Here we are basically in agreement. Each and every existential context is bursting at the seams with questions like this. And since there are countless combinations of answers we are left to conclude that, at best, “objectivity” can only be rooted in how any particular one of us reacts to any particular agglomeration of variables/factors.

But how would our reactions not be the embodiment of dasein? And for every argument that accepted abortion here there would be an argument that rejected it. And in any particular context there will be a legal framework such that, depending on how one answers the question, can result in truly dire consequences: if the answer is [politically] the “wrong” one.

In my view, this is the sort of answer a philosopher might give, but it is an answer that would not make much sense at all to those smack dab in the middle of an actual slaughterhouse or an actual abortion clinic. Of course folks will get more emotional regarding an issue where [literally] life and death is at stake.

I am not sure what you mean with your use of the word “accomodate” in this sentence. Do you mean how they can apply it? And I assume you’re using the word existential in distinction to existentiell, and so trying to point to something like a cosmological situatedness of human behaviour?

This really seems more like a statement that you’re making than a question or something you want me directly to respond to, am I correct?

I still hold by my view of objective good after reading through your response. I will answer it in a moment but I will make a brief statement as to why. When I say the good is objective, and I’ve tried to clarify that it is objective in that it is outside of the realm of opinion, it is because the centrifugal point I am using is biology in relation to spatio-temporal circumstance (which is probably becoming an old and annoying usage to you by now, but anyway…) from the point of view of biology (“point of view” understood metaphorically of course) the good is objective. It is certainly not good for the particular biological structure (whether it be the organism or gene) to die or deteriorate, and the opposites are certainly good, that is to grow and perpetuate.

I think this is relevant to our understanding and philosophical consideration because studies of evolution have been made which show connections between our everyday behaviours and emotions, even our experiences of pleasure, to our evolutionary history. The thing is that our evolutionary history has been long, yet human society, particularly since the advent of modern scientific pursuit, has changed the environment drastically from the time of our earliest evolutionary habituation. We know that humans for example like the taste of sugar because at one point when food was scarce, sources of sugar (and even what we now call “quick carbohydrates”) were one of the best sources of energy. The thing is that now we do not always or necessarily need energy for the same reasons as we did then (depending on our lifestyle) so to eat quick carbs and sugar would render us unhealthy when it once would have made us fit in relation to the environment. The point is that these instincts, emotions and reactions have evolved to help us deal with environmental factors with the minimum of thought, which was especially helpful when our environment was dangerous and needed much activity.

But the issue has not changed — that we as living things, if we are to think about good or bad, live together or anything else, need to maintain our biology. So that maintenance is pretty much bottom level, even Gandhi needs to shit and eat or eventually he will die. The second part is that because our environment is complex and there is conflicting goods as you point out, it is not really enough just to eat, we must also perform a number of other operations to deal with our environment and other people effectively.

Even if the objective good is something else — let’s just say for the sake of argument — one would still have to have maintained their biology to pursue it — unless, and this is the only way I can see, the objective good is dying, in which case it would be best if at birth children were neglected and left to die (I’m not saying this should be done, I’m saying if that were the objective good it would be so), or to never have been born, in which case everyone should stop having children. I have already stated my position. I will respond to your message.

I don’t deal with problems on the level of moral or immoral. I find it, for the reason you are saying, to be a dead end. That is why I think it is better to pursue an objective good in the sense I am relating. I do think things could be added, possibly changed, as new information comes to light… for example we might learn something new about how organisms work, or something about cosmology and our place in the cosmos, or anything else.

My position does not mean there is not a margin for error, there is definitely a margin for error because so much information will be forever out of our grasp as finite beings. This also means there is more room for philosophical inquiry in different directions, more room for creativity and freedom.

In regards to my position about biology, I might say we have a capacity for choice or reason which is not open to animals, but we are faced with the same situation as biological organisms, which means we must survive, or else not survive.

And I have even pointed out that in the case where we think it is best to protect animals or whatever else, if we do not only strive for what is good (maintenance) but also what is better (and situationally “best”) then we will be dominated and unable to defend that good. I do not necessarily hold that good to be the case, but I am saying that my position of an objective good still applies here, the only alternative would be to have someone else dominate over you, that person might murder animals and other humans (maybe they won’t…) and if you have no way of defending yourself or the things you care about then you will be in a position of subjection and only be able to call that person above you bad or evil.

I do not hold a position of what must be universally for all humans. I do say that this is the good and better than any other position though, but I wouldn’t personally obligate anyone else to hold it. I might, though, think it is foolish to neglect one’s biology if one wishes to continue living.

From the point of view I am putting forward, it doesn’t matter if people judge you insofar as they think you are a bad person or evil. It does matter insofar as that person possesses greater ability (this would include things like strength and ability to apply it) — and this is again biology in relation to spatio-temporal circumstances… Even if one has a tank (just a random example) one must also possess intelligence (related to biology) to operate it, and so forth…

I said my position is rooted in dasein, this means that people also need to consider the situation to know what is best, it is complex. My position is not a “one size fits all, here’s what you do” kind of thing. That is why I said my position elevates phronesis over techne… Techne comes closer to being a one size fits all (from the perspective of techne one might propose to end food quandries we build a huge factory farm) from the perspective of phronesis one must constantly make judgements about what is best…

If you remember my political proposition I said some might not like it because it could be dangerous (and I could add it might have more uncertainty than the current political situation). I would defend its inherent goodness on the grounds that it would provide greater opportunity for biological improvement than the current political situation — opportunities for creative exploration, testing one’s capacities, etc.

I would also have to add that because in most competitions (if one takes place) one individual is comes out worse… unless there is some kind of fluke of bad luck then it is probably due to biology (which is not just the genes we are born with, but also our tending them throughout life, intelligence plus physicality, but even consider traits like blindness). Those with ‘worse’ genes are less likely to want the society I am talking about because they might see it as putting them at a disadvantage, particularly if they didn’t possess or at least believe they possessed the creativity and/or resourcefulness to make something work for them.

Anyway, back to the refence of what you were saying about people judging you, to repeat, it doesn’t matter to me if people judge me. If their judgements turn to some form of action then it is an issue for biology in relation to spatio-temporal circumstances. One might not always be able to achieve what is best, though the “best” would exist… The person threatening me not to eat meat might be a whole group of hyper-intelligent 7 foot tall Arnold Schwartzeneggers in their youths weilding sledge hammers, and I just on my own. The best may be getting what I want (if what I wanted improved my biology), but it is highly unlikely I would be able to get it…

I distinguish my position from moral obligations. I did mention briefly that it could be considered moral, but that is an issue for semantics rather than an issue with my position. It might be important (the semantics) but it is not important in regards to the deeper workings of my position.

I think it is fair to say my position has something to do with political realism, but I don’t agree that that has nothing to do with philosophy. My own philosophical ideas cannot be reduced to this position, I am only focusing on it because that is what this discussion is about.

This underlined part I already went over above where I mentioned Arnold Schwartzenegger.

If my biology is stronger (or more fit, which includes things like intelligence not just brute strength) then it will be easier either to convince others or overpower them. And also one has to consider what is best in connection to what is possible situationally (spatio-temporal circumstances) — to bring it to an easier situation, it might be best in the desert to drink some water but if there is none one cannot drink, despite it being what is objectively good.

I am just saying that animal rights and such questions don’t interest me on a moral level.

The question of whether it is good to eat meat interests me on another level, which is whether it is good for my biology. Perhaps it is not, maybe it causes cancer or something else… maybe eating vegetables are just as good as eating meat (so data is found that both are of equivalent nutrition), then other factors would come into consideration, like what does it take to get vegetables/meat — maybe for the quantity of vegetables you need to get your nutritional content they are much more costly in such a way that if you chose them they would keep you from something else of high importance which would improve your biology, in such a case it might be better to choose meat… and so on.

For those who look at the world through traditional moral categories that is so, for those who look at the world from this point of view of biology in relation to spatio-temporal circumstances then other issues come into play… Whether Guantanamo should have been opened (from this point of view, for whoever decided it < that is an important consideration) it should improve biology…

Even if we say that Guantanamo is evil (which isn’t necessarily my position) one must have a constrol of biology in relation to spatio-temporal contingencies (for example intelligence to operate a machine perhaps) in order to end it…

The questions of traditional morality I don’t really find useful or important.

From the point of view of the animal, being eaten (or killed in general) is bad. It would be best if the animal improved its biology so that it could for example escape humans or else possibly overpower them, and so forth.

From the point of view of the baby, being aborted is bad. What is good from the point of view of the baby is being well nurtured and made biologically fit so as to be able to deal with the world (this is what education should ideally be about — preparing people to deal with the world, making them intelligent and teaching them about circumstances and giving them knowledge about how to deal with circumstances. Because we change the environment quite a lot, education is difficult in the modern age because new important information arises constantly and old information becomes obsolete).

There is a lot to unpack in this because we are talking about a lot of specific political historical situations. I already did go over the point of view of the terrorists in Guantanamo briefly in my last post, you can look there.

As regards a society, the best for individuals would be what helps them improve their biology. But of course whoever is able to dominate others (rise highest in the social hierarchy) the best would be to improve their own biology, which could be at the expense of the others. What would be best for those others would be to improve their own biology and not be dominated in such a way as causes them deterioration, stagnation or annihilation.

Knowing the world objectively means looking at what exists. So we say that animal rights centers around things like animal cruelty (practices which harm animals) and killing animals… of course we would look at the specifics of each situation as well (how they are being harmed, which one’s are being killed, what have you).

We could bring this into questions of epistemology, I do not deny that issues of epistemology are relevant for knowing the world, I think those questions and others are integral to my position.

I don’t think that moral categories actually exist though in an objective sense. I’ve already mentioned, being killed is bad for animals, but it could be good for humans who benefit from it biologically. That is my position.

I’ve given an explanation about why I have adopted this position. I said it is open to revision, but revision in regards to other factors which come to light which are outside of opinion and emotion.

The closest I would come to accepting emotion into my equation is this — one might need to satisfy one’s emotions because without doing so one will biologically stagnate, deteriorate, or be annihilated… If one is able to overcome one’s emotions and grow then that is a good thing.

Pessimism is only bad if it causes you to stagnate, deteriorate or be annihilated. If it helps you grow, then it’s good. Sorry I can’t help myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

How I see it is like this. My position is like a tool. It can help you see the world and deal with it, and it can work in some way for everyone regardless of their position. We might say that it could work better for others who are willing to be ruthless, okay, but I don’t think I am the discoverer of this position, so when I tell it to others it is also a way of telling others that there is an element in which this is how the world works, so be aware of it. It is for that reason that I defend the grounds that it is in fact philosophical to make these considerations. It is also related to this that I think it is good, it is the grounds of all goodness and the condition for any goodness. One can stop here, accept that what is good for biology in relation to spatio-temporal circumstances is the only good, or they can use it as a springboard and realize that in order to put anything into practice they will at least have to deal with spatio-temporal contingencies with the use of their biology (senses, limbs, intelligence, strength, etc.) and so it would be good to at least maintain it and better to improve it.

I am skipping a bunch of your comments because a lot of what I’ve said here and in past posts apply to it, and I think this one does as well, by reading through this post and considering it you should be able to apply my answers here already. Think Dasein deals with spatio-temporal contingencies with use of knowledge gained in the past and through possibilities of knowledge inherent in contingences (for example a computer being nearby where you can make a search, if there is time, both being contingencies…) and in regard to the political situation refer to Arnold Schwartzenegger part and discussions about how good biology will aid you in accomplishments…

I discussed emotion in this post now as well. If someone will stagnate, deteriorate or be annihilated because they cannot overcome their emotions, it is best to adhere to them, I only caution that if one let’s one’s emotions overcome oneself at the expense of biology then one will have to deal with the consequences of being biologically unfit for dealing with circumstances (including other people). This is not a form of a threat or you must, it is just practical reasoning.

Also keep in mind that in a case such as your example of working in a slaughterhouse, decisions related to the biological-space-time nexus have already been made (that is, the decision to work at a slaughterhouse). It is also part of my position that people must recognize the ways in which their energy and efforts are being utilized in the world. It is not only if my lifting this boulder helps me become stronger thus improving my biology — the consideration also includes, am I lifting it onto a hill so that it will roll back upon me and crush me? To put this into a more concrete circumstance, we might say that working at a factory or corporation helps me get food, but does the work the corporation does (the total effect of the effort) contribute to a state of being that helps your biology? That is why people accumulate information. You may have read tons of critiques of what corporations do to the planet, or else you might notice the way that society is formed around you with its structures and customs, do these things help or hinder your biology?

And so on…


Since it appears you are very interested in discussing morals in the traditional sense, I will add that the way in which such considerations do interest me is an examination of their grounds, which entails examining some particular moral position and engaging in questioning which asks “On what basis can we know this to be true or good?”.

Central issue, seemingly overlooked: objectively good for whom?

A couple of premises are already implied:

  • there is a general human type
  • the health and well being of this type determines “the good”.

The objective good is from the perspective of the biological structure and so is inherent in the embodiment of that structure, including the elements of the structure. We could say the good is for the genes, and as such each gene vies for its growth and perpetuation.

Being carriers and transmitters of genes we look out from our own perspective.

“The” biological structure.

Belonging to…

God? You?

Socrates fucked you deep and hard.

Where was this implication made?

The biological structure of any given thing, including plants and animals. — and I have been talking about from the perspective of each individual instance, not as conglomerates or a single unity.

But good and bad are human constructs, so we are talking from the perspective of humans.

For me, this revolves around the relationship between the words we use to discuss these interactions in a venue such as this and the manner in which we would actually use those words when confronted with a particular context “out in the world” in which our own moral/political value judgments come into conflict with the moral/political value judgments of others. What is the limit of philosophy [the tools of philosophy] in resolving them? Is there a limit?

For example, suppose you know a woman who is pregnant, doesn’t want to be and is confronted with family and friends and acquaintences who tug her fiercely toward or away from having an abortion. She is struggling to determine what the right thing to do is. Now suppose you said to her:

How will that help her to make the right decision?

On the other hand, she may well be worse off with me. After all, if I point out to her that, in my opinion, such choices revolve around this…

I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction.

…how could that help her? But then I don’t see any reasonable manner in which to not think this way when confronted with conflciting value judgments construed in a world of conflicting goods by conflicted daseins.

Yes, but that is my point. It is a dead end unless you are willing to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all “objective good” when confronted with issues like animal rights and abortion. There is only moderation, negotiation and compromise. Either that or within any particular human community we do what those who have the power to enforce a particular agenda insist we do. One might pursue an objective good in the manner in which you suggest, sure, but only because there is no objective good in the manner in which many moral objectivists here go on and on about. In other words, by embracing their God or their Reason.

Thus for me it is not a question of how large or how small a “margin of error” might be, but of acknowledging that what is deemed an “error” [from either side of an issue] is rooted existentially in any particular individual’s point of view.

I am again trying to imagine those folks who insist that moral obligations can be known objectively reacting to this. Joe insists that in eating meat it replenishes his body and allows him to sustain [strengthen] his biological existence. Jane insists that in eating meat it destroys the biological existence of the animals he consumes altogether.

Thus in the manner in which we both [more or less] consider the meaning of dasein, the only alternatives would still seem to be 1] moderation, negotiation and compromise or 2] either Joe or Jane having the power to enforce an either/or framework when it comes to the consumption of animal flesh.

Now, it may not matter to you that others will judge you here, but it might matter considerably to them how you react to their judgment. Thus out in the world where actual moral conflicts can result in [at times] dire consequences, making philosophical distinctions here will be seen [by most] as largely moot. For the multitude of moral objectivists [as I construe them] it will be taken far beyond “semantics”.

To wit:

Let’s just say that the manner in which you seem to reduce this down to the strenght of your biology would seem considerably more problematic from my own vantage point. And if one consumes animal flesh it simply dismisses altogether the biology of the animals being consumed.

Or, sure, you can simply dismiss it alogether by arguing that “animal rights and such questions don’t interest me on a moral level.” On the other hand, anyone can say that about any moral conflict, right?

And how exactly would the animals go about that? How much more can they improve their biology to escape being butchered at the slaughterhouse? Basically you seem to have taken that existential leap to eating meat. Indeed, so have I. I don’t eat beef but I do eat chicken and fish. But I have no illusion here that I have concocted a philosophical vantage point that really is able to rationalize it.

Same with abortion. There is nothing the fetus can do to improve its chances of not being torn to shreds if it has been decided by the pregnant woman and her doctor to tear it to shreds. For me though that is the tragedy of abortion. One human life must be terminated in order that we not live in a world where women are forced to give birth. At best here we can try to make abortions increasingly rarer.

Yes, this is basically what it comes down to. But it comes down to this by and large because mere mortals do not have access to a moral argument that could be embraced by all as within a framwork that revolves around a set of ethical obligations. Each situation is [in some respects] different from all other situations and each individual [in some respects] sees these situations from their own existential vantage point. All that is available then is the extent to which they can agree that some aspects of the situation are true for all rational human beings. And then [from my perspective] in acknowledging the limitations of philosophy [and its tools] in arriving at an optimal frame of mind. I don’t believe there is one. Or, rather, I have not come across an argument that convinces me that there is.

No, not in the “traditional sense” but in the context of actual flesh and blood human beings struggling mightily to grapple with “the agony of choice in the face of uncertainty”. I am nothing if not an existentialist in that regard. And one way in which to obviate that is to embrace one or another denominational God or one or another metaphysical Reason. Which basically is the sort of thing that moral objectivists [as I construe them] do.

But I am also a moral nihilist in turn. Which is to say that in the absense of God [an omniscient/omnipotent vantage point] there is no moral perspective that is necessarily good or bad, true or false. There are only the rationalizations or the philosophical contraptions that we concoct to stuff whatever it is we finally decide to do inside of.

So, what I tend to pose to them is more along this line: “On what basis can we know this to be true or good objectively?”

If there was a particular case of a pregnant woman considering an abortion that I was speaking with, I wouldn’t present her those questions in the same abstract generalizing way because there would be a definite number of relevant contingencies to consider, so questions along the lines I posed would be asked in relation to her circumstances.

The “best” outcome would be that the woman remains healthy and is able to grow, she has her baby and is able to take care of it and it is able to be healthy and grow. The problem is that might not be possible, and that is probably the reason why she might (or others might) consider abortion. The nearest the outcome could possibly come to this would be next best. In order to actually consider a scenario we need specific circumstances. Perhaps the girl is poor, alone (her mate ran out on her or was abusive) and there is no adoption agencies. Does the girl know if she could take care of the baby alone? Sometimes people can climb out of even harsh adversity but it will take effort (intelligence, skills, maybe luck in connection with spatio-temporal circumstances…) because there is uncertainty because not all factors are known does not mean there isn’t a “best” scenario, objectively, even best scenario in relation to circumstances…

On the other hand, a thing I think you want to consider is whether this girl might get emotional to the state of despondency, maybe depression to the point of becoming suicidal, these things become part of the factors to consider. Can it be known for certain whether this particular girl will be able to overcome her emotions and become stronger for it, either in the case of keeping (under adverse circumstance) or aborting the child? It might not be known before a decision is made, so one has to decide in the dark… so yes, there is a limit of human judgement, but I still stand by the assertion that there is an objective good (insofar as “good” is a human construct).

I will break this into two conditions. First, we can drop assertions of good and bad entirely because they are human constructs — I don’t think this will turn out “good” though, because we have constructed them for a reason, which is to aid our conscious navigation through the world, we can say “that is bad for you” because it is bad for your biology (poisonous perhaps, will hurt you , perhaps).

Second, we can say that philosophy is useless because there is this realm of uncertainty that all must face, even if it is not a realm of something like ‘we don’t know if this choice will turn out badly or not’ but instead something like ‘these both seem good and not enough variables are known as to whether one will turn out better than the other’. I wouldn’t call that a grounds for doubt of philosophy because philosophy is an effort to continue examining the world (not just variables) and being able to answer questions like what is good and connecting them to reasons… There won’t always be philosophers around to help people answer questions on this practical level, and people might still be wrong even if they have taken into consideration all important variables available. We could then ask something like, how should we understand that aspect of human life?

What I have presented here is not an end of all thinking, it is perhaps at best a stage. More must be considered like cosmology, epistemology, maybe physics, anything that contributes to our grounds for knowing.

I said at the end of my previous post I would ask about traditional moral questions “what is the grounds for knowing that is true and/or good?” if some ground can be uncovered, either now or in the future when new information comes to light then I will definitely not reject it just because I feel I have uncovered “the” view of the good here.

What I said immediately above connects to what you wrote in that sentence.

To me the option 1] here would take place under two conditions, first because either of them does not have the power to enforce the decision on the other (as in option 2) or because both of them do not wish to consider what is good for their biology and have subordinated it to other considerations. If they have subordinated it to other considerations, whether they are aware of it or not, neglecting biology will have an influence on other interactions in their lives (what they are capable of, what other people are able to do for them) — also put this into perspective that, since this is about meat, I do think it is possible that an argument which is objective in the sense I am describing could be made for eating a vegetarian diet… I am not sure whether such information has been discovered as yet, but in the case it does it could turn out in the sense I am describing that eating a vegetarian diet is better for one’s biology than eating meat…

So until we know it, there is something like a leap of faith, but then again there would be such for someone engaging in moral decisions, the difference would be what one wishes to base their moral decision off of… That person might even say, I believe in the future that some information will be uncovered that proves that not harming animals is objectively better than doing so, or, even if it is not uncovered it is only because humans are fallible, but I believe that it exists.

It depends perhaps on how far you are willing to extend this faith. I am suggesting that we extend the faith perhaps as little as possible and take into consideration those variable we do know first and foremost. This would be part of an understanding of the world or humanity’s place in something like a “cosmological order”, but this is also why I say that more knowledge may contribute to a changing even of my own position, but my method would be to base my judgements off of knowledge which is known and as little as possible off of leaps of faith, which may be inevitable… but then again that inevitability is something like, if some mishap befalls me, how should I take this?

I have been thinking also that my assertions about death could be refined. In one sense I would say as a living person considerations about living should come first, in another sense I would say that death is a natural part of (human) life (at least) and so in that sense must be understood as natural and not entirely “bad” — I suppose whether we should kill ourselves or not is something like a leap of faith… as it seems to me, at least worldly considerations of good and bad would be less of an issue for the dead, if (and this is a big if and not even something I believe in inherently) something is after death then the circumstances of whatever state that might be would define what is good or bad (if anything of the sort could be said to exist or be necessary as a mental construct).

So you want to ask something like, how should we feel about enacting on another thing something which is bad for it from a biological point of view?

(Or maybe you don’t care about that last “biological point of view”, though I would still assert that it is the guiding priciple because no one would ask something like, is it moral to paint this barbie doll’s feet green? unless it affected a living thing, perhaps making a child emotional to the point of “harming them” in some way, if such a thing were possible)

I would probably in this case, as I said at the end of my last post, begin by examining the alternate point of view, that we should not, and ask questions like why should we not? and so on, until I have found the grounds for it. I already mentioned above about the leap of faith which must be taken by all and could be asserted by moral objectivits of the sort you are considering.

I suppose another question which could be asked is, to what degree should we take leaps of faith (or over what extent, what measurable chasm (metaphorically) should we brave)?

One thing to consider though is that there are two types of “leaps of faith”, one which looks at the variables which are known and/or can be known and makes a decision and a second one which decides to take a leap of faith despite the awareness that it contradicts or deliberately ignores that which is known. I think that the second one warrants the name “foolishness” if anything does.

I would say that there is something along the lines of a leap of faith in opening a door without knowing what is behind it (and perhaps moreso if it was the door of a strange building in the middle of the night — perhaps one is on the way to a friend’s house who lives in the “bad part of town”) or going to an interview, or setting out in the morning for a hunt (for example for a tribal community), the faith that we will obtain the good we set out for and avoid negative occurences (for example coming home from the hunt empty handed), because if we knew for certain what the outcome of any of these actions would be, if the outcome was something “bad” we would most likely (unless we were dumb perhaps? I don’t know how to put it in softer terms) try or do something else which promised a better outcome (either attempt adopt a different goal or a different method of achieving the original goal).

Taking that question in depth (to what degree should one take a leap of faith) might very well render us something very valuable — though I would say it would be valuable in relation to variables which can be known for certain and less so because our answers would rely on other leaps of faith, else we risk building a religion.

It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that you don’t mean for me to answer these questions exactly but instead are trying to point out indirectly that animals (like for example cows) have no way of improving their biology so as to escape humans. You may be correct. I will mention though that the way they would go about it is by doing those things which help them biological grow and adapt (running perhaps, eating healthier foods than grass, if it is possible for their digestive system, maybe not…) what you seem to be considering is that the animals can’t do this — maybe in a way similar to a human who cannot improve themselves quick enough or to an adequate degree so as to deal with threats (for example) in their environment.

I think that is so, that it could be impossible for either animals or humans to perform these actions adequately. A question I might ask is why has what we call existence been thrust upon us which has these qualities? Can we answer that question (“why”)?

A consideration that I myself find important though is, let’s just imagine we say, let’s be kind to each other and never hurt each other or other things. What will we do if there is someone bigger and stronger who has no qualms hurting things? Then we might say, we can hurt things if it is in self defense. But even to be able to react we would need the ability (intelligence, prowess) to deal with that threat, so we have to have taken care of our biology sufficiently or else we are stymied. I also think that point of view “let’s be kind to each other” is short sighted because of actual variables, like limited resources within any given area.

Kin groups (like small scale tribes) are often willing to share resources to a greater degree than strangers are…

If you want to consider all these things, by all means, I do myself quite often… it is in large part from making these considerations that I have come to the position I currently hold. I think you might find though that if you take a position which wishes to eradicate or subdue all those who wish to get those things which are good for them you will ultimately find yourself accepting a totalitarian society with a vast proliferation of laws and social forms to control people.

If you wish to examine variables in light of their effects on a society of many individuals (whether you have considered the grounds of various moral positions or not — though I would personally recommend an inquiry into and consideration of such grounds) then you should, it could be valuable, though it is outside the bounds of this particular discussion.

I think what I’ve gone over here has answered the content of your post so I won’t address the other comments you made directly.

Yes, morality here is rooted in contingency. Which, over time, is rooted as well in chance and change. There is no best outcome, only a “best” outcome.

In a sense we are saying the same thing in different ways. You focus on strenghtening biological health and I focus on dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. But other objectivists “transcend” this [if only “in their head”] and posit the one true morality that is predicated on one or another God or on the “metaphysical” reasoning of someone like Ayn Rand [idealism]…or the “scientific” reasoning of someone like Karl Marx [materialism].

So “for all practical purposes” objectivity [the objective good] revolves more around attaining particular goals rather than ascertaining anything analogous to the “meaning in life”.

Where I tend to aim the beam here are on those instances in which we interact socially, politically and economically and then, in pursuing what we construe to be in our own best interests [biologically or otherwise], we clash. But then my own predicament becomes entangled further in this…

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values “I” can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction…or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then “I” begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

…and I am then unable to disentangle myself from it. And it is this particular assessment of moral interaction that tends to discomfit some [in exchanges like this one] because they begin to wonder if it is not also applicable to them in turn. In fact, to all of us in a world sans God.

It is true of course that one can toss all of this aside and [more or less] equate the “objective good” with that which you do. Or with one or another religious or political agenda. That simply does not work for me. Once I acknowledge that 1] my moral/political values are in large part merely a reflection of my own particular existential trajectory and 2] are no more or less rational than the values of those who have become predisposed to the opposite point of view, I become entangled again in the dilemma. I am never able to achieve a frame of mind that approaches a “cosmological order” [even if only a man made one] and I am not able to imagine any new knowledge that might disentangle me from my predicament. In other words, I have come to acquire a “philosophy of life” that I cannot seem to talk myself out of.

I’m simply noting that, in order to attain the goal of furthering our own best interests [again, biological or otherwise] we choose behaviors that might impede others in their own quest to attain the same. With those who choose to eat meat the animals die. With those who choose an abortion the unborn baby dies.

And, in all of this, there is the inevitable gap between what we think we know about any particular situation, what the particular situation actually encompasses, and all that would need to be known about the situation in order to come closest to grasping it objectively. Or “objectively” when it involves a moral and/or a political leap.

My point is more that in posing questions like this we have to acknowledge that oftentimes there are no answers that can satisfy those on both sides of any particular moral conflict. There always have to be winners and losers when value judgments collide. Or, perhaps, more accurately, degrees of winning and losing. Then there is only “working it out” or one side being able to impose their own “solution” on the other side. Above all though, there is no place for philosopher-kings here. Or deontologists. Or so it seems to me.

Basically, what I do is to ask those who proffer a moral or political opinion to examine just what factors they did take into consideration in arriving at their own particular point of view. Then I introduce them to the manner in which I construe dasein here. Then conflicting goods. Then political economy.

And then I ask them to explore the limitations that might be imposed on philosophers if they strive to ascertain objective truths here.

And it seems reasonable to me that a totalitarian state is more likely when you bump into those [in a position of power] who insist that there is but one right way in which to behave. Their way.

On the other hand, the world today is basically owned and operated by folks who are not really concerned with these “philosophical” relationships at all. Instead, their focus is on 1] cheap labor 2] natural resources and 3] markets.

It is the Henry Kissingers of the world that call the shots by and large. The Bilderbergers. The amoral crony capitalists.

And their “moral calculations” revolve around dollars and cents.