Tortoise's Egoism

I’m going to argue from semantics, since that’s sort my thing around here, right? :unamused: :stuck_out_tongue:

It seems like you’re redefining ‘want’ too explicitly. What you’re talking about seems to be more about ‘needs’. What do people ‘want’ to do versus what they ‘need’ to do? A person does not want to cut off their leg, so it is nonsensical to say that it’s true. However, you are using ‘want’ in a more profound way–to say that the person actually wants to live and must cut off their leg. Some people do choose wanting one thing over wanting to live however…

Pragmatically, it’s more accurate to say: “The person does not want to cut of their leg, but they need to cut off their leg.” By expressing the situation in terms of ‘want’, your description can be regarded as unreasonable, because it is not practical to say: “The person wants to cut off their leg.” even under the context of wanting to live.

This is a good point, although #1 is inaccurate as I explained.

I disagree about society. There must be something regarded as society, because humans are fundamentally social animals. We have an instinctual obligation to serve some form of society (very small, big, or very big, etc.), because we require other people to have a chance at ‘happiness’, or at least ‘contentment’ in life. Now, the things that can be seen as arbitrary in terms of a society are its rules, laws, ethics, morals, etc. Though, that does not mean that the society-itself is arbitrary. An undescribed ‘society’ paints no picture.

About legally owning somebody until they are eighteen, yes that is an arbitrary rule based on our societal laws. Your parents only “own you” insofar as you accept the societal constructions that you’ve grown up in.

‘Prefer’ actually seems like a better terminology. Then, the situation necessarily invokes the context of one option over another. When you simply state, “do I want to cut my leg off?” there is not necessarily a further context…

“Do I prefer to cut my leg off?” Well, do I prefer to keep it attached and die, or do I prefer to live? I prefer to live, therefore I will cut my leg off. I don’t want to cut my leg off, because it’s painful, but then again I do want to live.

That’s a good point about ‘society’ being metaphysical. I would say that ‘society’ shouldn’t be skewed into the realm of metaphysics, because as you’ve stated, it does become arbitrary and useless like ‘American society’. Though, ‘society’ should be kept practical and reasonable, because it is a good description of how and why humans are social animals.

For example, you can say that a community is an expression of your society. This can be practical and not arbitrary, but I’m not sure how and why ‘society’ does become metaphysical. Maybe when the concept of a cohesive ‘society’ grows too large (ie. including too large of a population), the social structure to which it refers breaks down and becomes meaningless due to its lack of context…

I don’t know; it’s an interesting topic.

I think the difference here is between wanting something for the sake of something else, or wanting it for its own sake. There’s also the difference between doing what we really want and refraining from doing things we don’t want. There are cases in which none of the options available to us are things we really want, but we are forced to pick the least undesirable one.

“Metaphysical” may be too harsh a word - I think “abstract” is better. I don’t think they’re necessarily the same.

Have you checked out MacIntyre’s notion of a narrative life and Sandel’s idea of an encumbered person? Your egoism is in keeping with liberalism, but I’d double check it against those notions just to be sure where you stand.

Seems obvious

I think that wanting to do something and doing something for ones own interest is not quite the same thing. I may be wrong
TORTOISE’S EGOISM (Individualism?)

The Claim:
“You, as an individual, have no debt to “society”, no debt to your parents for anything you accept from them until your eighteen, and have no unchosen obligations.”

The Argument:
Regarding society: I don’t even think there’s a such thing as society. Even if there is, there is most certainly no obligation to serve it. Why would there be? One’s place of birth is quasi-random and completely arbitrary; basing someone’s obligations on anything arbitrary is ridiculous.

Regarding parents: Until you are eighteen, they legally OWN you. Now, they don’t legally own you to the extent that masters owned slaves: there are legal limits to their power. Physical punishment is legal; physical abuse is illegal. They have to educate you in some manner, whether that be educating you themselves, sending you to public school, or sending you to private school. They also legally cannot neglect your physical needs. Other than those basic rules, THEY OWN YOU. Would you say an emancipated slave owes his master because his master raised and took care of him for most of his life? Of course not. Why would an offspring, then, owe a parent for anything the parent did for/to the child before it became 18?

Regarding unchosen obligations: Quite simply, I see that as an oxymoron.[/quote]
You dont owe them, but are you realy comparing parents to slave masters. Hopefully parents do things out of love for their children, and normally the children love them back, its out of love and respect that the children should return the kindness. Not out of debt