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I was looking for the rigorous philosophical answer.

27 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Yes, because lying to yourself is dishonest and irrational. It doesn't respect reality or truth, which is the foundation of morality.

What specifically do you mean by truth being the "foundation of morality"?

28 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

The OP seems to think that moral evaluation springs fully formed from an arbitrary standard of value.

The act of "Moral evaluation" MEANS evaluating something morally, this NECESSITATES a standard of value/morality ("evaluation" is not an act which can be performed without some standard being used).

What specifically are you saying about the moral evaluation and the evaluation of value in the OP?

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On 11/14/2017 at 12:13 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

What efficacy for living in reality is gained by thinking about anything outside of life in reality?  How does the knowledge of a state after life (literally a zero) improve any efficacy for facing the non-zero, and the great multitude of reality? 

A literal cognitive zero wouldn't have anything for anyone to learn about (or subsequently know about); every fantasy, no matter how outlandish, is a mental rearrangement of previous mental content (which was ultimately derived in some way -valid or not- from reality). Although it makes a handy metaphor, to speak of literal "knowledge about a zero" is a contradiction in terms.

 

One can come close to contemplating a zero, as in certain forms of meditation or the attempt to visualize nonexistence, but even if successful (which I'm not sure is possible) it would not leave you with knowledge - but it would leave you with something.

"They was men who reached the edge of space, saw a vasty nothingness and just went bibbledy over it."

-Kaylee's explanation of the Reavers, from Serenity

That's why I originally responded to the OP with a warning against pondering the experience of death. Staring into the vasty nothingness is very bad for you.

 

Just because we acknowledge its reality and incorporate the fact of it into our cognition doesn't mean that we have to torture ourselves with it. I'm well aware that Al Gore exists in reality, at this very moment, and yet I hardly ever soil my mind with the thought of him.

 

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If survival and pleasure are both part of the standard of value, and if these sometimes conflict with one another, then at least some mixture of efficacious rationality and efficacious evasion would be required.

Only if evasion can actually lead to the kind of pleasure we seek. I've been trying to show that it can't.

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What if I chose "carefree experience" (not "life" nor "a pleasant life") as my pre-moral choice, and my standard of value was "the mental state of being completely care free"? I think it trivial that according to that standard (which I am not claiming is a valid or workable standard) the at least one truth surely can be a disvalue. The same goes for arbitrarily choosing as the pre-moral choice "pleasure as such", or "complete peace of mind".

Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I think "the rational pursuit of tranquility" is a perfect description of some of the millennials I've known.

 

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BUT if the extent of that blindness did not thwart the general pursuit of values in this life... not in any significant way.. and in fact only thwarted the "sight" of a fact whose knowledge is a disvalue (according to the standard in the OP) and pertains only to something which lies outside of life's possibilities and choices and is in any case unavoidable, then that so called Blindness in fact becomes a virtue.

Suppose you'd just fallen from the top of a skyscraper and only had a few more moments to live.

You could face that fact and choose how to spend that time accordingly (reflecting on your life, making one last phone call to a loved one, screaming some well-chosen last words, etc) or you could evade it and squander that time (perhaps continuing whatever text you'd been composing when you fell). Neither option will change your doom one bit and yet one of them is clearly morally superior (on the basis of what you can get from that time).

As mortals we're all in freefall together. The only question is what we choose to do about it.

But you can't choose to do anything about it unless you first know about it. If you evade it then nature will make the choice for you.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What specifically do you mean by truth being the "foundation of morality"?

I mean that to develop a code of values one must first discover things that are valuable. Particular things are either valuable or not, and you need to figure out the truth before you can move on to combining that knowledge into a moral system.

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18 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The act of "Moral evaluation" MEANS evaluating something morally, this NECESSITATES a standard of value/morality ("evaluation" is not an act which can be performed without some standard being used).

You turned "moral evaluation" into a tautology. 

By what standard do you evaluate your standard of value? How do you know if it's a good or bad standard? More fundamental than the standard of value is the standard of knowledge. The OP's standard of knowledge is arbitrary fantasy. This is what allows him to believe that evasion and self-delusion will make the mental anguish go away, when those are the very things causing his pain in the first place. He is evading the joys of this life and obsessing over oblivion. And he is deluding himself into believing that lying to oneself cures mental health problems.

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A morality that works in a subjective world can't be counted on in this universe. Like a map of a wrong city, it is useless in guidance, even if it promises to feel good. In a subjective universe, eliminating fear would remove a threat. In that world, fear creates (the concrete) "threat". Alternatively, the OP is considering fear as metaphysically equivalent to "threat", believing that evading fear is the same as getting rid of "threat". 

There is a deifying of fear, an overvaluing of fear's promise of safety and a logical mistake of equating fear and threat. The OP's morality belongs to a different universe. 

Deifying fear, worshiping fear is to give it a reverence and importance that fear does not deserve. This is due to thought, a belief that attention to fear is high in the hierarchy of values. Fear has its place, encouraging awareness and therefore protecting but fear is not a cognitive tool to determine value. Guidance of morality must be fact-based rather than directed by pain, pleasure or emotion. An evaluation by pain or pleasure, fear or joy may or may not correspond to what actually is a value. 

A partial reality means "not real", even with one deviation. A partially real universe pushes out the real universe from consciousness. The law of contradiction either applies or it does not without an excluded middle. A morality that is not completely based on reality provides guidance for a nonexistent world. Therefore guidance based on "nothing" is guidance that does not exist. The OP claims to adhere to a morality, but he is adhering to nothing. To claim "I am moral" when one's morality is "nothing" is dishonest, fraudulent, diseased and therefore reprehensible.

To be pleased by a fiction that death does not exist can be enjoyed, the same way as we enjoy fiction. A temporary journey into an imaginary world. The fundamental choice is to know or to evade the fact that existence exists. Either way, it exists. Only adherence to a morality that takes an existence that is independent of consciousness into account will help in creating a real (existable) happiness (that is possible).

In this one existent universe, if oblivion is eliminated, fear will disappear (in response). Instead, when fear by itself is eliminated, oblivion does not respond, it remains. Allowing oblivion to remain, letting go of the fear is the only life-enhancing choice available. A fictitious counterfeit morality will prevent the truly possible value from being achievable. 

This solution can be ignored or evaded but only an accurate map indicating possible routes avoids taking roads to nowhere. Where you are is where are, and your destination is where it is. A redrawn feel good map will NOT move locations, it will not bring the destination closer. A map changed through evasion will not change the actual distance to be traveled. To base one's moral code, arbitrarily or unrealistically, with the expectation of happiness will most likely prevent happiness.

To embrace inevitable oblivion is to embrace life qua man which is not a carefree existence. The fact that the OP has chosen life and happiness bounds him to that standard. To achieve or maintain life or happiness he has to follow certain rules and a certain path. His choice shows that he is capable of an act of volition. 

The OP will say "I can't". In this context, it means "I won't, I am too afraid". There is a difference between "it is impossible" vs. "I am not willing". The OP can follow through with his plan but a continuous evasion of the knowing/awareness of a threat does not eliminate the threat. The OP will be under constant bombardment by the truth. Life will become an unnecessary war. The feelings toward oblivion may change temporarily but the threat will carry on to its conclusion. 

The head in the sand is no protection. If the OP is not willing to accept the truth that it is possible to accept the inevitability of oblivion, then the only way open to the OP is a prison of constant lies

Instead, there can be one more exercising of volition to create peace. 

When "awareness of dread" replaces "life" as the ultimate value, the contradiction leads to a dwindling consciousness, a death before its time. A false guidance born of a dependence on a false deity in the form of fear. Fear only has power when it is valuable, revered, worshiped. Like the Greek gods that lost their powers when no one worshiped them anymore. When fear is seen as a companion rather than a God, it allows a real life, to illuminate the path ahead, as the actual ultimate value.

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35 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Guidance of morality must be fact-based rather than directed by pain, pleasure or emotion. An evaluation by pain or pleasure, fear or joy may or may not correspond to what actually is a value. 

This identifies a proposed specific error of the OP, that the standard of value it presupposes is non-objective, and therefor cannot serve as a standard for actual (objective) values.

The rest of your post is an eloquent argument for why a non-objective standard and non-objective value is unworkable.

I am walking away from the edge of the abyss...  a more formal response will follow.

 

I make two observations, 1. you seem to disallow pleasure (or pain) from the standard of value as it leads to pursuit of things which are not objective values. but 2. you seem to allow happiness as part of the standard of value.. which implies (at least) a belief that happiness and survival qua man are never at odds.

Query whether a man knows enough about survival qua man and happiness so as never to misapprehend a conflict between the two.  If there ever were such a conflict, the standard would be difficult or even unworkable to guide action...  if I mistakenly identify a conflict between my life and my happiness... what guides my actions?

 

The implications and the rest of your argument are intriguing and quite persuasive...

again a formal response shall follow.

 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Query whether a man knows enough about survival qua man and happiness so as never to misapprehend a conflict between the two.  If there ever were such a conflict, the standard would be difficult or even unworkable to guide action...  if I mistakenly identify a conflict between my life and my happiness... what guides my actions?

By definition "survival qua man" has happiness as part of its identity (part of its definition). Survival qua man devoid of happiness is really survival qua "plant". You seem to make a distinction that I don't understand. From the smallest to largest field of awareness, everyone can know what "a life worth living" is. That goes from caveman to a partially cyborg human, or from a 12-year-old to an 80-year-old, etc. 

In Romeo and Juliet, they died due to a mistake thinking that a life worth living was not available to them. We are not infallible. But where there is no volition, there is no moral evaluation. You taught me that. So this can't be an ethics question.

What guides action? One's contextual certainty. You already know all of this so I don't know what you are really asking. You may have to give a concrete example. I hope others jump in because my brain is fried.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

By definition "survival qua man" has happiness as part of its identity (part of its definition).

Is it now?  Part of the standard of morality/value?  not its purpose?  Isn't Happiness the goal and the reward, not the standard?

 

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

In Romeo and Juliet, they died due to a mistake thinking that a life worth living was not available to them. We are not infallible. But where there is no volition, there is no moral evaluation. You taught me that. So this can't be an ethics question.

This is an unnecessary confusion.  I am not raising the possibility than someone is blameworthy (according to some standard) for not knowing what makes them happy.  I'm simply asking.. if what makes one happy is difficult to judge ... is it appropriate (directly) as a guide to action, i.e. as  part of the standard?

 

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

What guides action? One's contextual certainty. You already know all of this so I don't know what you are really asking. You may have to give a concrete example. I hope others jump in because my brain is fried.

lol.  You raised an excellent point about "pleasure"... that it cannot be a reliable part of the standard of value... it leads to unworkable evaluations that actually conflict with life.  This is due to the subjective nature of pleasure.

Is a man's purported happiness immune to similar problems?   Can a man's assessment of judgment of happiness be immune to subjectivity such that it can never conflict with his life?  This is not an issue of objective fallibility but one of consistency between a man's judgments about his life and his happiness... can a man think something would be better for his life and at the same time think it would not be best for his happiness?  Is this a problem?  Is it true that his life and his happiness can actually be at odds or is this really a mistake?  Does this mistake (inconsistency) have consequences because it is part of a standard which guides action?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Is it now?  Part of the standard of morality/value?  not its purpose?  Isn't Happiness the goal and the reward, not the standard?

It is the goal and reward, in that way it is part of the definition.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

is it appropriate (directly) as a guide to action, i.e. as  part of the standard?

I suppose if there were minimal facts available, complete unfamiliarity, maybe then, all you have is "gut feel" or intuition. When facts are available, facts win.
 

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

point about "pleasure"... that it cannot be a reliable part of the standard of value... it leads to unworkable evaluations that actually conflict with life.  This is due to the subjective nature of pleasure.

Pleasure pain emotions are not reliable means of cognition and judgment. Agreed.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

can a man think something would be better for his life and at the same time think it would not be best for his happiness?

"a man"? Sure. But a rational man with a clear concept happiness with integrated emotions and thought, no. There is no conflict.

When one has not done his intellectual house cleaning (checked his premises) and lives with contradictions, the problem exists.

Edited by Easy Truth

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