God and Good

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Skydude
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Re: God and Good

Post by Skydude » May 15th, 2020, 10:45 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 9:48 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 7:47 pm


I wouldn't do that because I want to live, and to live one needs to breathe. That need only hinges on a want. If I wanted to die of suffocation, then I'd need to not breathe.

To argue against this, you'd have to argue that people need to breathe whether they want to or not. You'd have to try to support how/why that's the case. So do you have an argument for that?



Sigh. No, that's not what I said. You're taking an example and "universalizing" it a la a hasty generalization. Most wants/needs have nothing to do with remaining alive.



"It was a harm," "It was not good for him," etc. would simply be those other folks opinions. They probably weren't your friend's opinions. This isn't the sort of thing one can be correct or incorrect about.

Now, either argue where you support that it is the sort of thing that one can be correct or incorrect about, and be prepared to directly address objections to your argument so that you can support it against those objections, or stop spouting nonsense.
Sure. It was better for him to live than it was for him to die. His opinion on this is irrelevant. His wants and desires were irrelevant to this question. His body demanded that he live, but his mind outsmarted his body and arranged things so that his body could not reverse his decision--which his body would have done if it could. Just like your body reversed your desire to hold your breath.

These are not matters of my opinion. These are biological facts. And you need to stop accusing people of "spouting nonsense", while doing so yourself.
The body(everything other than the brain)does not make decisions for itself. Certain parts of his brain generated so much of what I could call negative stimuli that his prefrontal cortex began to rationalize that it was better to die than to live another moment in what he was percieving as hell. This is why I said it was not good at the time from his perspective.

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Marvin_Edwards
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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 15th, 2020, 11:17 pm

Skydude wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 10:45 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 9:48 pm


Sure. It was better for him to live than it was for him to die. His opinion on this is irrelevant. His wants and desires were irrelevant to this question. His body demanded that he live, but his mind outsmarted his body and arranged things so that his body could not reverse his decision--which his body would have done if it could. Just like your body reversed your desire to hold your breath.

These are not matters of my opinion. These are biological facts. And you need to stop accusing people of "spouting nonsense", while doing so yourself.
The body(everything other than the brain)does not make decisions for itself. Certain parts of his brain generated so much of what I could call negative stimuli that his prefrontal cortex began to rationalize that it was better to die than to live another moment in what he was percieving as hell. This is why I said it was not good at the time from his perspective.
The question, I think, is whether it is objectively good or objectively bad for him to live. I have no clue as to his personal experience. He had never said anything to me about being depressed. I only learned about that from someone else after his death. Of course, no one ever gets out alive. We all die at some point. The best we can hope for is a good life followed by a good death. Most people go through depression at some point in their life. And most of us get better over time.

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Skydude
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Re: God and Good

Post by Skydude » May 15th, 2020, 11:43 pm

I believe you loved your friend and most likely thought very high of him. It is A sad truth that people's brains can make death seem better than life. I cannot speak for your friend but I will say his existence ended when HE needed it to so we should Honor him and remember what he was instead of mourning what could be.

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Skydude
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Re: God and Good

Post by Skydude » May 16th, 2020, 12:02 am

Good and bad are matters of perspective, for you his living was good and his death bad but we will never be able to know exactly how he felt about it all

Gertie
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Re: God and Good

Post by Gertie » May 16th, 2020, 6:41 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 10:03 pm
Gertie wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 8:58 pm

That's a nice sentiment, but I see it differently.

We are born into this world with certain evolved pre-dispositions, which are then molded by our environment (nurture, culture). Self-care/homeostasis, and as a social species a pre-disposition towards caring for others. Our pro-social pre-dispositions are generally the basis for what we've come to call Morality - cooperation and care for others. But they evolved at a time when we lived in small, tribal groups where we were all probably related, and their neurological manifestations tend to be triggered by up-close-and-personal interaction, and favour those closest in terms of genetic similarity. Hence off-spring and close kin tend to be most favoured, then kith, and strangers are more likely to be treated as a potential threat.

Gods and religion come into the picture as binding belief systems for groups, along with other cultural practices, and provide an authoritative moral law giver.

But we live in a vastly more complex, heterogeneous and globalised world now, which our evolved neurological mechanisms for caring and cooperation weren't 'designed' for. And without a global binding belief system (like a shared religion), we're missing a shared axiomatic grounding for what is Good and Rght. The basics hold, don't kill, steal/cheat, etc, and people like Haidt are working on identifying how those underlying pre-dispositions can still be recognised as playing out in different cultures and ideologies (see Moral Foundations Theory).

But my view is we desperately need a new shared binding grounding for morality which works in our globalised world. I think the most promising work is being done by people like Harris with his niftily titled ''The Wellbeing of Conscious Creatures'', and I like Goldstein's thoughts on ''Mattering''. Because imo the basis for a new universal morality must lie in recognising that it's the qualiative nature of consciousness which brings meaning and mattering into the world, and therefore infers Oughts.
And with the corona virus we're once again stuck at home with our familial tribes. 🙂

I think the basis for universal morality is Matthew 22:35-40, which, as a Humanist, I paraphrase as "Love Good. And love Good for others as you love it for yourself. All other rules are derived from these two."

I don't understand what is meant by "the qualitative nature of consciousness".
Love Good is great, but first people have to agree what Good is. And before that find criteria to base that agreement on. Otherwise we're left with a multitude of subjective inclinations about Good, often clashing, sometimes violently. Inclinations which evolved to work well when we lived a very different way.

I offered Harris's The Wellbeing of Conscious Creatures as the grounding for what is Good.

And I believe consciousness is key, because of its qualiative nature. By which I mean the what it is like 'feeliness' of consciousness, which is what gives us a quality of life, and makes being alive meaningful, important, a fitting basis for morality. I can kick a doll's head in without causing harm if it has no consciousness, but not a person's. Or a dog's. Probably a mouse, maybe an ant.

So wellbeing is rooted in the ability to consciously experience suffering, joy, and everything in between. I claim then that this is the founding justification for morality, and the touchstone by which to consider Oughts, moral duties.

It frees us from the inane back and forth over Subjective v Objective, which the death of God as 'The Good' and authoritative Moral Law Giver left us stuck in, by asking us to think afresh in terms of What Matters. And Mattering is rooted in qualiative conscious experience.

It's not easy in terms of coming up with hard and fast rules, because conscious subjects have different notions about what makes for their own wellbeing. But reality isn't always simple, or problems perfectly solved.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Benj96 » May 16th, 2020, 6:52 am

What is considered "Good" and "Bad" is different for each individual. One would assume that at the very least we could all consider basic physiological needs as unanimously good/beneficial as they sustain our survival but try convincing someone with anorexia that food is good or to someone experiencing suicidal ideation or severe suffering that survival is better than death. So to define good things vs bad things is very difficult for a start. I believe it is because the terms "good" and "bad" are concepts of the conscious mind used to apply relativistic meaning to the environment around it rather than permanent physical qualities of the universe. They are probably derived from objective opposites that occur naturally as a simultaneous result of eachother in the physical dimensions such as positive and negative which we still use to describe things that are good and bad within the realms of language.

So rather than determining a potentially existing deities moral based on "good" verses "bad" in a human sense I'd be more inclined to redefine it as balance between the existence of opposites. An equilibrium. Again egalitarianism/equality appears to play a fundamental role in our highest appreciations of morality.

If there is no evil/error or mistakes then there is by default no good/right choices or virtues and therefore no ability to learn, have a personality or any option to build a character or wisdom out of experience. Opposites create one another by contrast. If a "self" is something that can define it's own agenda, purpose and world view of good and bad; what it desires and what it doesnt, then I suppose ultimate moral would be to allow as much freedom of choice as possible without detriment to another equal unit of "self". In saying that one must consider how their self-directed actions to achieve their own happiness and actualisation can and may impact on how easily another can do the same. If my happiness and success is your failure and struggle for survival then it is not moral. However if I use my happiness and success to facilitate your own achievements then it is moral. In this way a balance between existence of selves is maintained and equal opportunity to be either the "carer" or the "cared for" in each situation that life turns up is permitted. A symbiosis.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 7:46 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 9:48 pm
Sure. It was better for him to live than it was for him to die.
So, the first objection here that you need to address is this: what does "better" even refer to here if it doesn't refer to an assessment that someone is making, where they're stating their preference (what they prefer is "better" to them than what they do not prefer)?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am

Gertie wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:41 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 15th, 2020, 10:03 pm


And with the corona virus we're once again stuck at home with our familial tribes. 🙂

I think the basis for universal morality is Matthew 22:35-40, which, as a Humanist, I paraphrase as "Love Good. And love Good for others as you love it for yourself. All other rules are derived from these two."

I don't understand what is meant by "the qualitative nature of consciousness".
Love Good is great, but first people have to agree what Good is. And before that find criteria to base that agreement on. Otherwise we're left with a multitude of subjective inclinations about Good, often clashing, sometimes violently. Inclinations which evolved to work well when we lived a very different way.

I offered Harris's The Wellbeing of Conscious Creatures as the grounding for what is Good.

And I believe consciousness is key, because of its qualiative nature. By which I mean the what it is like 'feeliness' of consciousness, which is what gives us a quality of life, and makes being alive meaningful, important, a fitting basis for morality. I can kick a doll's head in without causing harm if it has no consciousness, but not a person's. Or a dog's. Probably a mouse, maybe an ant.

So wellbeing is rooted in the ability to consciously experience suffering, joy, and everything in between. I claim then that this is the founding justification for morality, and the touchstone by which to consider Oughts, moral duties.

It frees us from the inane back and forth over Subjective v Objective, which the death of God as 'The Good' and authoritative Moral Law Giver left us stuck in, by asking us to think afresh in terms of What Matters. And Mattering is rooted in qualiative conscious experience.

It's not easy in terms of coming up with hard and fast rules, because conscious subjects have different notions about what makes for their own wellbeing. But reality isn't always simple, or problems perfectly solved.
We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is about the basic motivations of human behavior. At the base of the pyramid are the physiological needs for air, water, food, homeostasis (protection from extremes of heat and cold), sleep, etc. And at this level an individual's "real needs" are scientifically objective. Things get fuzzy and gray as we move up the pyramid to things like "self-actualization". But since we have a solid foundation of objectivity at the physiological level, we might hope for the possibility of objectivity as we move up the pyramid.

I haven't read anything by Harris since he screwed up free will. My impression is that he is one of today's pop cult leaders, similar to Alan Watts back when I was in college.

Morality could certainly be described as caring for the well-being of oneself and others.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 8:07 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am
We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.
Holy crap. Enough with that idiocy already.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 8:17 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:07 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am
We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.
Holy crap. Enough with that idiocy already.
Do you have a different definition of "good"? Bring it to the table. Stop attacking me and start attacking the issue.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Sculptor1 » May 16th, 2020, 8:17 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am

We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.
That would depend on who "WE" are. I also depends on whether or not this good is in conflict with the individual, societal, or species needs, and who seems most important at the moment.
One man's good is another woman's evil.
And what might be good for society is not necessarily good for the individual or the species; any combinations thereof.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 8:22 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:17 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am

We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.
That would depend on who "WE" are. I also depends on whether or not this good is in conflict with the individual, societal, or species needs, and who seems most important at the moment.
One man's good is another woman's evil.
And what might be good for society is not necessarily good for the individual or the species; any combinations thereof.
Yeah, that's certainly a valid point. The balancing of individual needs with those of society was especially clear when people were drafted into the war in Viet Nam. And then there is the threat of climate change to the species, through our burning of fossil fuels.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Sculptor1 » May 16th, 2020, 8:24 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:22 am
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:17 am


That would depend on who "WE" are. I also depends on whether or not this good is in conflict with the individual, societal, or species needs, and who seems most important at the moment.
One man's good is another woman's evil.
And what might be good for society is not necessarily good for the individual or the species; any combinations thereof.
Yeah, that's certainly a valid point. The balancing of individual needs with those of society was especially clear when people were drafted into the war in Viet Nam. And then there is the threat of climate change to the species, through our burning of fossil fuels.
So, do you think that the Vietnam war was a good idea?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 8:38 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:17 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:07 am

Holy crap. Enough with that idiocy already.
Do you have a different definition of "good"? Bring it to the table. Stop attacking me and start attacking the issue.
"Stop attacking me"--this is supposed to be a philosophy board. Be able to defend your claims against objections, and be able to defend your defenses against further objections, until all objections are settled, in a direct, specific manner. What you've been tending to do is just walk away after a rather half-hearted attempt at a sketchy defense, and then you just repeat the same claims again.

"Good" is simply a term of preference. In a moral context, it's a term of preference about personal and interpersonal behavior that the assessor feels is more significant than etiquette. The behavior that S prefers, either in itself, or because of aspects or consequences that S prefers, is considered good to S. "Good" is always to someone.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 9:02 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:24 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:22 am


Yeah, that's certainly a valid point. The balancing of individual needs with those of society was especially clear when people were drafted into the war in Viet Nam. And then there is the threat of climate change to the species, through our burning of fossil fuels.
So, do you think that the Vietnam war was a good idea?
It seemed to be a good idea at the time. But it turned out to be not so good.

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