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Selfishness and making others pay

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Kangaroo
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(scratch the previous reply)

 

Let's rephrase:

 

A1 objective selfishness: The action to gain/keep a self serving value

A2 normative selfishness: The action to gain/keep a self serving value that is pro life.

 

Reference to motive removed.  After some thought, I realize it's not necessary to know the motive. (copied of reply to the other thread)

Pro -whose- life?

 

ruveyn1

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Another rephrasing:

 

A1 objective selfishness: The act of achieving one's own values                   

A2 normative selfishness: The act of achieving one's own rational values       

 

Basically the same thing Nicky says but in my own words.  I was not sure if values pursued selflessly can be called "one's own values" or not. 

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Yes.

 

It is only our behavior which makes the world what it is... not our intentions.

You missed the point completely. Motive is irrelevant  because it's a definition. Definitions aren't statements about what makes the world what it is, they're statements about what is.

Edited by Nicky
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Motive is even less than that. It's only an unrealized potential. Only actions are real. Which is why, as a behaviorist, I couldn't care less why people do what's morally right.

The *why* is the most important part because it is the method which one uses to determine what is right or wrong. Removing the why is intrinsicism, because it would declare that the good is separate from you as an individual. Things aren't good regardless of your motivation, things are good based on how they further your life according to one's knowledge. Motive is not only a potential, but is also a causal factor in which actions that occur. Indeed, you are taking an extreme behaviorist position: the mind/what one thinks is irrelevant when judging. There is also consequentialism: the measurable consequences are all that count, why is irrelevant. I addressed this before, one liners get no where.

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The *why* is the most important part because it is the method which one uses to determine what is right or wrong.

Well, I view that differently. The consequences of our actions are the final judge of whether we do right or wrong. The best of intentions are never an excuse for evil acts.

Removing the why is intrinsicism, because it would declare that the good is separate from you as an individual.

Yes. No one is the good. People can only make the good a reality in this world through their actions.

Things aren't good regardless of your motivation.

People can freely choose not to act on their thoughts and emotions... and in many situations it's in their own best interests that they don't.

things are good based on how they further your life according to one's knowledge.

Again we differ. Good is good regardless of what anyone thinks or feels it is.

Motive is not only a potential, but is also a causal factor in which actions that occur.

Yes. An unrealized potential. But motives are not always a causal factor. Everyone is free to choose to act contrary to their motives at any time.

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Every livng human pursues. It's essential to life just as is breathing.

It is a choice to pursue what you think is right. I can think going to work today is right yet not do it. If morality deals with defining the correct actions to choose to further one's life, surely choosing to pursue what you've concluded as right is a moral issue. 

 

Yes, what one believes is right could in fact be hurtful to their life. However, choosing to disconnect one's mind from their actions by choosing not to pursue what they think is right is equivalent to choosing to not use your tool of survival - seems like a moral issue.

 

No. Morality depends on whether pursuing what you evaluate as right... actually is right.

So if one makes a mistake in their evaluation, they are immoral? 

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Could someone explain selfishness to me a little more? 

Especially with this example: People around are just irrational. It would be easy to start a cult or religious sect where people would give me money. Why is that not selfish? I know it is not. But I am somehow superficial in my understanding.

Thanks!

 

There's a good book that relates to this question: Comrade John, by Samuel Merwin. (The story starts off a bit odd, but gets pretty good. I forget who, but someone on here recommended it.) The antagonist is a man who starts a religious group to gain money and power.. the protagonist (John) is an architect who builds the community in which the converts are supposed to live and work. He didn't care why he was building or who he was building for, he just wanted to build. Long story short, John learns the hard way that this viewpoint was wrong, and almost loses the woman he loved to the power-hungry preacher. And the preacher- if memory serves me right- he gets what he deserves.

 

I think the important point here is that work serves a purpose.. but you have to choose what purpose your work should serve. John was wrong by building for the power-hungry preacher because he chose to do work that served an evil purpose- knowingly decieving and stealing from weak people.

 

Edit:

 

So if one makes a mistake in their evaluation, they are immoral? 

 

@bert: No- that makes them human. The important thing is what you do once you find out you've made a mistake. Do you admit the error and find a way to correct it? Forget about your new knowledge? Lie to yourself and act as if you're right?

Edited by mdegges
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@bert: No- that makes them human. The important thing is what you do once you find out you've made a mistake. Do you admit the error and find a way to correct it? Forget about your new knowledge? Lie to yourself and act as if you're right?

Right - this was more of a rhetorical question geared towards moralist who seemed to imply one couldn't make mistakes without being immoral.  

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@bert: No- that makes them human. The important thing is what you do once you find out you've made a mistake. Do you admit the error and find a way to correct it? Forget about your new knowledge? Lie to yourself and act as if you're right?

You just answered better than I ever could have. :thumbsup:

 

Life is all about finding out if what we think is right actually is right.

Edited by moralist
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