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DanLane

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DanLane last won the day on November 8 2010

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About DanLane

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  1. DanLane

    Is revenge bad?

    Is there a meaningful difference between revenge and retaliation? Just by connotation I would say retaliation can be delegated, but revenge is something more personal. Either way, in an extreme case like what you're talking about it would be moral to take revenge, with the full knowledge that unless you uncovered new evidence in the process it would also be moral for the police to arrest and prosecute you afterwards. Waiting for the worst of the anger to pass, assisting with the investigation and exhausting other options are still higher on the list of actions to take after being victimized.
  2. DanLane

    Antinatalism

    I hadn't thought of the environmental angle. Of course, most environmentalist movements regardless of label would have to agree that human extinction is the only place to draw the line for enacting their policies.
  3. Pretending to be someone you're not in order to leave a good impression: bad. Boasting to a level of harassment about every good thing you do: bad. Maintaining a positive attitude, good hygiene, and being proud of what your accomplishments say about you: good. It sounds like you have the right priorities, but just in case: being nice/sociable is not intrinsically second-handed, especially towards people you actually admire. All you have to avoid is putting on a facade, and even then, professional behavior and courtesy have contexts in which they are in your best rational interest to maintain. Don't try to leave a good impression, try to leave a correct one, and if you share values with whoever you're interacting with the rest takes care of itself. Again, that sounds like what you're already aiming for, so no objections here.
  4. DanLane

    Antinatalism

    I've never heard someone describe themselves as antinatalist, but part the argument is familiar from various forms of nihilism. As far as "category error" goes, I don't know how they would mean it except, like you said, that they believe the smallest amount of harm invalidates the greatest amount of good. Discussions I've had have led down the path of defining causality, and they generally believe that to take part in any chain of events which ends in disaster is to cause the disaster. Example: You get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and then you hit a pedestrian who dives in front of your car on the way to work. Taking the time to have the cup of coffee caused you to be on a collision course with that pedestrian, so it was an evil act, but you had no way of knowing beforehand. Therefore any attempt to be moral is futile and we should all euthanize ourselves. The best I've been able to do to contest this has been to take the act of making coffee and ask them which part of it increases the likelihood of accidental manslaughter. They either do or do not perceive the basic metaphysical nature of an action, and they either do or do not understand that morality doesn't apply when there is no choice involved. Some people have just had tough lives in which they seem to get more bad luck than good and the good they try to do doesn't pan out. It's hard to persuade someone against their own experience, but maybe you can point out that throughout history, particularly in the past few hundred years (good opportunity to plug capitalism), it has become easier for people to live long and be happy. Random suffering from disease and natural disasters is deceasing precipitously in developed countries, and justice is enforced upon a larger percentage of criminals. This suggests a net force for good rather than evil over time. If their issue is more like the religious notion that straying from perfection at any time makes one unworthy of life there are different approaches, but in my experience nihilist types are more concerned with chaos, resulting from a failure to identify the difference between human action and natural accidents.
  5. By what means do you distinguish between maximum and minimum pleasure? If you apply reason to decide on a hierarchy of values and then seek to achieve as many of those values in as great a quantity as possible without violating anyone's rights, then you probably don't have any real disagreements to settle here. Somebody has been telling you some strange, misguided things about Objectivism, and I think that's the root of this conflict.
  6. DanLane

    A is A?

    Sorry about the misunderstanding, and my lack of clarity in the first few responses.
  7. DanLane

    A is A?

    Misread what you were saying earlier. I kind of skimmed over that part, assuming it would fit in with the rest of your points, which it doesn't. So you're saying that contradictions could potentially exist, it's just that they don't exist based on anything that you have percieved? If you percieve something of a certain nature and conceptalize it, you know that nothing subsumed by that concept is contradictory. Even the elements that haven't been directly accounted for. The sun is one particular object of a known mass. If it were to be in two places at once, it would have to be redefined as something else. It would not be itself and not itself, it would be something previously unknown, with the attribute of being able to be in two places at once. Not a contradiction. As I was trying to say before, you can't even name something contradictory or picture it existing. Nobody can.
  8. DanLane

    A is A?

    If I don't take this seriously, it's because I could go through a billion billion years of a happy life with my epistemology and never be confronted by negative consequences for failing to consider the arbitrary or anything that doesn't exist. Can you say the same about the reciprocal? I won't talk about anti-concepts, pretending to be privy to some secret knowledge of what they are, as though they could be something. Spell out the thing which a consideration of the sum of all human knowledge and all viable propositions is failing to prepare me for? Is it the afterlife? Are we in the matrix? You should know that the matrix works backwards: if you click your heels together three times and say "There is a spoon," everything comes into focus and you enter the real world just in time to dodge the traffic you were impeding during your dream. Nothing imagined can interact with anything that is and change the identity of anything or the outcome of any event, so you have to figure out what the events and identitiess are in order to predict them and use them to your advantage. If the model works, you gain knowledge, in broad context, without a shadow of a faith. It's not pragmatic, in the traditional sense, because you don't get any blissful ignorance out of it and you don't get to dodge any principles or truth.
  9. DanLane

    A is A?

    When you say that the sun not rising at the right time is physically possible, you mean that there is a set of circumstances in which real identifiable things interact with eachother, and that is the result. You aren't saying that it's possible that the universe is actually Earth-centered and the sun is a giant glowing pineapple which dances across the sky. Why not? And, for that matter, aksdfbhei fieruhkj sjghgk kgj g g gg g kjsdhnkf oje ? Don't want to play along with my sarcasm? Describe a thing which is not itself. Knowledge has to be integrated with everything that is, not anything that isn't.
  10. DanLane

    A is A?

    orj owjhrgopw jgjngjkgn asnfgjklglrnlgk rfgjhhjr r gojk e. Sorry, the identities of the words I was trying to type contradicted themselves. But they're still the same words, so you should be able to read them.
  11. Wearing clothes you hate or which contain statements you disagree with is a compromise of principle. Wearing clothes that are "in style" or culturally appropriate simply because you don't care much about the difference is a compromise of degree. Compromising a principle you believe in is never moral, but not all compromise deals with principles.
  12. DanLane

    Ethics scenario

    One that I didn't mention is comparing the value you get out of the existing job to other options you have available. Let's say, ideally, you want to build websites with enough success to be able to pick your own clients. If that ideal isn't satisfied, and some clients' use of the sites is destructive to your values but not necessarily criminal, you have to decide based on your value hierarchy whether you could avoid or negate that problem by working for another company or changing fields. If you're like me and don't mind manual labor, quarrying can make for a good living. If your career does not result in a net product of value which you can point to with pride, something is wrong. I doubt anyone but you has enough context to know whether that's the case. Since I assume you don't have to sign a statement of endorsement of the ideas of your clients at the bottom of their websites, and that you are not aiding them in commiting any crimes by doing your job, the only concern should be your own pride in the sum total of what your work goes into. To that extent, the good cancels out the bad. If the standard of employment was that none of your efforts could end up being used by others to destructive ends, even a quarry worker would have to check up on which buildings' foundations his work contributes to and would have to strike if one of them were Keith Olberman's new studio. Some of the people you work for are themselves working toward the day when your job becomes impossible, but the same people shop at every grocery store, fill up at every gas station, watch every movie, etcetera. They can't live without you, and you can't get away from them while remaining in a division of labor society, but you can make it clear that you oppose their agenda. Plus, when net neutrality kicks in, freedom of speech is gone, and we all retreat to the bomb shelters it would be nice to have someone on the inside.
  13. Greed is a motivation, not an action. It can, at most, be the secondary cause of something. It is defined as the willingness to disregard your own system of morality and take massive losses or commit crimes in order to gain something of little actual value. The "Because Greed" arguement is that capitalism brings out the oh so evil human nature in the best of us, and causes us to uncontrollably steal from or defraud others in a way which ordinary laws are somehow unable to prevent. Therefore we need to be brought under more creative forms of control to save us from ourselves. There is no need to present evidence of wrongdoing if the motive of the suspect's unidentified actions is enough to convict him of anything, and a pointed finger is enough to prove said motive. Why is greed only for money and never for power? Why can the greed of some only be restrained by the endless awarding of power to others? Why are the greedy jews the greedy businessmen so prone to greed while the lawmakers and the majority of voters are not? Why is it greedy to trade willingly for money, less greedy to tax or take it by force, less greedy still to sell it for some third party's political support, and not greedy at all to beg for it in exchange for someone else's blood? "Because Greed" is an empty appeal to emotion relying on the target's implicit hatred and misidentification of human nature (works particularly well on the religious). The hope is that the target will project this view onto a scapegoat and will forget to ask what crimes have actually been comitted and who stands to benefit from the proposed retribution.
  14. DanLane

    Ethics scenario

    They should weigh the good against the bad, assuming some of their duties support sites they agree with. The sites could be said to have esthetical value in themselves regardless of message. The arguements of the people you mentioned are self defeating so giving them a clear, understandable presentation could do them more harm than good.
  15. It's not over yet, but Binswanger seems to be dominating. Barber's getting applause for his strawmen and emotional appeals but anyone listening can hear that he's defaulting on and avoiding the actual topics.
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