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Why do some people fail to see Objective Morality?

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I was trying to suggest starting with the fundamental argument about the nature of values and of life and the resulting relationship between them.  I think with most people this would work better than a very general, abstract argument about the possibility of an objective morality.  If you want to persuade someone who believes in primacy of consciousness, you probably need to start there. 

If you are dealing with someone who thinks Ayn Rand is horrible and depraved, there are two strategies.  One is to delay mentioning her name.  The other is to get at why they think so and address that.

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"Good" is not perceptually given, it has to be conceptually grasped. The question might be used as in invitation to explore what objective means as posited in that context.

First Objective does not mean Universal Second, without the choosing of life, there is no ought.  Only with an aim can you ought do something “if” you want to bring about your aim. A human b

Except when he is drowning..   [I agree btw]

26 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

You still haven't told us how this started.  That might help.

The discussion repeatedly is triggered by something like:

"If we weren't so selfish the world would be a better place"

"You have to vote with other people in mind and it would solve our problems"

which eventually leads to:

There is no morality that we would agree on because it has to come from a place of truth, and truth doesn't exist.

The Lunch on Wednesday, never got to Objective morality, it got stuck on Objective reality.

A conversation meanders, it's not a peer reviewed philosophical treatise.

Once it got to "existence exists", the response was "that's your opinion, there are other ways to think about it".
I hadn't heard that response before.
When I asked "what other ways are there?"
Response was "I'll grant you existence did not come from nothing, that maybe it has always existed. But I don't agree that existence exists."

I asked "Then what is the "it", that you know?"
Response "I don't know anything"
I tried "Do you know that you don't know?"

That pissed one of them off and I was accused of playing logic games. That I was using a mathematical system to trap them into agreeing with me. That I was a master at that and real life is not math.

Some of the responses are weird like a circus act. Things like "The best minds in the world have determined that we don't know the truth about anything". This was a lawyer with a German background.

Fortunately the lunch (Beef Stroganoff) itself tasted very good.

I delved into their resistance and some of it became apparent.

There is this fear that "since Ayn Rand trained people on becoming inconsiderate and selfish" that the logical beauty of her arguments and stories are there for manipulation and they have to have their guard up.
So there is this nonsensical rejection of simple logical statements. The biggest problem is when the "self evident" is a threat. So the problem is NOT the arguments themselves, it's that I (the presenter of the argument) am the threat.
Since it is my argument they should watch out because my interest is to turn them in to narcissists.

It will take time.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:
5 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Is your set of amoral humans dead or alive? Are we talking about living people or corpses?

You'd have identify your context and define "amoral" first. An amoral Christian is not an amoral Objectivist etc.

They're your context and your word, so you can identify and define them however you like. Previously you described someone who wants absolutely nothing as being in the state of amorality. Then in a recent reply you told me that people who want nothing are dead. So I'm trying to confirm whether the amoral people you described are alive or dead, according to your philosophy.

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19 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

The discussion repeatedly is triggered by something like:

"If we weren't so selfish the world would be a better place"

"You have to vote with other people in mind and it would solve our problems"

which eventually leads to:

There is no morality that we would agree on because it has to come from a place of truth, and truth doesn't exist.

The Lunch on Wednesday, never got to Objective morality, it got stuck on Objective reality.

A conversation meanders, it's not a peer reviewed philosophical treatise.

Once it got to "existence exists", the response was "that's your opinion, there are other ways to think about it".
I hadn't heard that response before.
When I asked "what other ways are there?"
Response was "I'll grant you existence did not come from nothing, that maybe it has always existed. But I don't agree that existence exists."

I asked "Then what is the "it", that you know?"
Response "I don't know anything"
I tried "Do you know that you don't know?"

That pissed one of them off and I was accused of playing logic games. That I was using a mathematical system to trap them into agreeing with me. That I was a master at that and real life is not math.

Some of the responses are weird like a circus act. Things like "The best minds in the world have determined that we don't know the truth about anything". This was a lawyer with a German background.

Fortunately the lunch (Beef Stroganoff) itself tasted very good.

I delved into their resistance and some of it became apparent.

There is this fear that "since Ayn Rand trained people on becoming inconsiderate and selfish" that the logical beauty of her arguments and stories are there for manipulation and they have to have their guard up.
So there is this nonsensical rejection of simple logical statements. The biggest problem is when the "self evident" is a threat. So the problem is NOT the arguments themselves, it's that I (the presenter of the argument) am the threat.
Since it is my argument they should watch out because my interest is to turn them in to narcissists.

It will take time.

There are some people in the world you will never reach, others, you might but with so much effort it is clearly not worth it, and then there are those who are open and intellectually honest and intellectually independent... those last are worth discussing issues, if you enjoy the process as well.

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49 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

There are some people in the world you will never reach, others, you might but with so much effort it is clearly not worth it, and then there are those who are open and intellectually honest and intellectually independent... those last are worth discussing issues, if you enjoy the process as well.

I agree, you have to choose your battles. Sometimes it becomes tiring and worthless so I cease to interact with a certain person. But there is more to it. 

One can disagree on abstract philosophy and agree on other things.

And there are other areas of learning that they possess even if they don't agree on everything.

In many cases, disagreements are about misunderstanding or different uses of words. It's valuable to identify those areas.

But my fundamental answer to Objectivist friends that ask "What is the point in hanging out with these people?" is:

They are "the human condition". They are reality. They are not my imagination.

They are neighbors that you have not met. They are also people who vote, and who's vote counts as much as yours.

One has to understand the environment around them ... to survive.

Understanding the enemy is part of that. Although, in this case, they are NOT necessarily the enemy.

But they can help me understand the dangers around me.

The one thing that encourages me is that a few years ago, some of them were totally aghast that I admired Ayn Rand. 

Now, people who admire Ayn Rand are not horrifying to them. It's actually a dramatic improvement if you have experience it.
 

Edited by Easy Truth
meant to say .. not necessarily the enemy
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The public relations issue with Ayn Rand will ultimately be handled when they meet us, when they meet a person that has ideas the enhance their lives, that protect them against some of the nonsense they are trapped in. They change their view.

When you unshackle people from ideas that won't let them thrive, they are willing to dump their negative view. They are grateful. But it has to come from a partner or friend, not an adversary.

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10 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But they can help me understand the dangers around me.

Is that your objective? To find out why they think what they think?

You're going about it the wrong way. You're going into it expecting a debate and hoping to win by shouting "the power of logic compels you". You don't some particularly interested in convincing them, other than you are somehow supposed to fix them. If you want to understand them, you need to ask them for clarifications rather than demonstrating how wrong they are. Of course you will insert what you think is correct during discussion, but it really is pointless to be adversarial during a lunch conversation. 

Besides, once you really understand why somebody thinks what they think, it's much easier to present examples that are really meaningful to them. Convincing people isn't a matter of arguing from the logical structure with metaphysics as the basis. Just like forming concepts where you don't begin at the most abstract level, you want to communicate on more directly conceivable and perceivable levels of abstraction. Talk about ethics and how people you admire act. Talk about pieces of art that speak to you. Think about achieving goals. Work backwards from there. 

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13 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

You're going into it expecting a debate and hoping to win by shouting "the power of logic compels you".

Yes, I depend on it, I count on logic to persuade. Do I have too much confidence in logic? Logically congruent statements have a beauty that charms people. Contradictions and absurdities also have a great effect.

14 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

You don't some particularly interested in convincing them, other than you are somehow supposed to fix them.

I wouldn't go that far in describing the situation as fixing them. There is observation going on too, it's not just persuasion. And sometimes they are right about something and I am wrong. I get persuaded. Or my formulation does not cover the situation properly. Like I missed something. I get myself fixed too.

15 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

If you want to understand them, you need to ask them for clarifications rather than demonstrating how wrong they are. Of course you will insert what you think is correct during discussion, but it really is pointless to be adversarial during a lunch conversation. 

Agreed. I will focus on clarification now. We'll see how honest I am about that. I may have a tendency toward persuasion rather than clarification.

16 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Just like forming concepts where you don't begin at the most abstract level, you want to communicate on more directly conceivable and perceivable levels of abstraction. Talk about ethics and how people you admire act. Talk about pieces of art that speak to you. Think about achieving goals. Work backwards from there. 

That is how it naturally happens, I don't necessarily start the conversation. It's not a class where I'm giving a lecture. But perhaps I have to watch out for the fact that sometimes I think its funny when they are "obviously" contradicting themselves. Because ... it is funny.

17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Besides, once you really understand why somebody thinks what they think, it's much easier to present examples that are really meaningful to them.

Yes, I hope to get there  ... if it will go there and I haven't run out of interest.

What they are interested in, ultimately, as are we, is "what system would work best to help me flourish (individually)". They just won't say (individually).  

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14 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

 One is to make headway with metaphysics and epistemology. 

Without that headway made, one might be only convincing someone to transfer from subjectivist self-sacrifice (feels good and humble, the show impresses others) to subjectivist egotism (feels self-aggrandizing and superior, puts on a display to others).

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9 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, I depend on it, I count on logic to persuade.

What I mean is that there is a lot more than listing a set of facts as if facts alone will force someone to believe what is true.

To take it another way, sure, there are people that seek logical consistency, or like really well structured arguments. Or, they seek very clear examples to illustrate or demonstrate what you are talking about. Using logic from there can be enough without using any other techniques of persuasion.

Some people just aren't all about logical consistency. Sometimes there is validity to intuitions, and passions are important to human life and experience. These things aren't about logic. Yet they are important to thinking and are involved with what we believe to be true or false. For these people, they need to see the connection between life and logic in more vivid terms than sheer logic or syllogisms. They need emotional connections - as does anyone. In a way, discussing art can be the way in to talk to these people and understand them.

People won't be strictly one or the other, and even then, what you should do isn't always obvious. Sometimes you need to talk to somebody's strengths and preferences: if somebody likes logical consistency, it might be best to appeal to that preference because they are used to it. At the same time, you might need to talk to that person's weaknesses. Somebody who really emphasizes logical consistency might overlook or even ignore the importance of intuitions and passions. They might respond well to the alternative outlook.

 

Edited by Eiuol
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The question today was framed as "What right do you (meaning me individually) have to be certain that something is wrong or bad"?
But it was completed with "What right do you have to be certain about anything?".

For Doug: It started with a question about a book "would God create anything other than Paradise" so it meandered into some core philosophical questions

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On 4/30/2021 at 11:01 AM, Easy Truth said:
On 4/30/2021 at 10:11 AM, MisterSwig said:

So I'm trying to confirm whether the amoral people you described are alive or dead, according to your philosophy.

A person who always wants absolutely nothing, is permanently unconscious. I'm not sure if that is being alive.

I don't think such a person could choose to want nothing, due to being permanently unconscious. This subset of humans is therefore post-morality. They are essentially dead, almost certainly on life support due to brain death, and so post-humanity, arguably not really a subset of human beings. Humans are not permanently unconscious. Even a normal (non-irreversible) coma patient has the potential of regaining consciousness. The permanently unconscious are either dead or in the final stage of dying, perhaps being kept alive by machines. 

Edited by MisterSwig
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On 5/1/2021 at 12:47 PM, Easy Truth said:

The question today was framed as "What right do you (meaning me individually) have to be certain that something is wrong or bad"?

This is a loaded question. It assumes you need a right to be certain of something's value. Certainty comes before valuation and rights. You must first be certain that something exists before you can evaluate its worth and your claim to it.

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

This is a loaded question. It assumes you need a right to be certain of something's value. Certainty comes before valuation and rights. You must first be certain that something exists before you can evaluate its worth and your claim to it.

Yes, I agree. But if they get to "why do you act like you are certain when you could be wrong?", it will harder to answer. I think they think that certainty is equivalent to "never being wrong".

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52 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, I agree. But if they get to "why do you act like you are certain when you could be wrong?", it will harder to answer. I think they think that certainty is equivalent to "never being wrong".

"You could be wrong" is a proposition, and without evidence it's an arbitrary proposition. Typically people will point to man's fallible nature as evidence that "you could be wrong" about anything. But the capacity to be wrong is not the same as the possibility of being wrong. To say something is possible requires evidence pointing directly to that possibility.

Let's say you're certain that you're reading my post right now. Is it possible that you're not due to your fallible nature? No, because being fallible doesn't exclude certainty, it simply excludes infallibility.

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