Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Stoppelmann
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Stoppelmann »

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am Hi, Leontiskos,

Thank you for your newest reply and the thought-provoking discussion. :)
You’re welcome, and thank you as well. :)
I wish I had your patience ...
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Leontiskos »

Let me revisit this since I don’t think I answered it very well:
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmWhen you say, "don't pee on me," you are telling someone that they should not pee on you. It seems obvious and commonsensical that this is true, does it not?
No, it does not. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be the case to me, since "should not have" is so heavily correlated with "did" and "should not do" is so heavily correlated with "doing", as illustrated by the kissing example:
Oh? So if you were peeing on someone and they said, “Don’t pee on me,” you would continue peeing on them since their words are so heavily correlated with their opposite? And if you were arrested you would tell the officer that when they said, “Don’t pee on me,” what they really meant was, “Pee on me”?
In the kissing case you claimed “the exact opposite,” namely that “don’t kiss me” means “kiss me.” Here you are claiming something different. Here you are claiming that when someone says “Don’t pee on me” they are not telling their interlocutor to not pee on them, and this is because of the correlations you mention.

The correlations do hold, but they don’t make your case. If you are peeing on someone and they say, “Don’t pee on me,” it is true that “should not do” is correlated to “doing.” In this case it presupposes doing. They are asking you to stop doing what you are doing. But my claims still hold. The person who says, “Don’t pee on me,” is still asking you to not pee on them, and their statement is still a moral statement, meant to alter your behavior. In this case the meaning of, “Don’t pee on me” is not replaced by the fact that they are being peed on; it presupposes the fact that they are being peed on!

More generally, when we tell someone that they should not do something, we do so because we have an expectation or suspicion that they will in fact do that thing. If we had no such expectation or suspicion then we would not preemptively tell them not to do it. For example, even though I don’t want anyone to pee on me, that doesn’t mean I go around telling everyone to not pee on me. Most people have no proclivity to pee on me, and therefore need no such instruction. The fact that an utterance like, “Don’t pee on me,” can have different motives does not mean that the meaning of the statement itself is radically different given the different motivations.

Similarly, although when we truly believe we should do something we simply do it, when we muse out loud, “I really should put more air in my bike tires,” we are engaging in something like a deliberation, a decision, a reminder, etc. Such a thing entails or presupposes that we have not put more air in our tires, but it does not mean that we have not put more air in our tires. The strict meaning of the statement is that more air ought to be put into the tires, and I should be the one to do it. When you point to the entailment or the presupposition you are in no way refuting the base meaning of the statement. The base meaning stands, firm as ever.

Finally, all of these acts are moral acts, involving moral judgments (i.e. judgments about the behavior of rational agents). Even when “I should not do X” entails “I do X,” it still means that they should not do X (or in this case, that they should stop doing X). It remains a statement about how someone should act in the future, and therefore remains moral.

I hope that this is more clarifying than what I wrote in my last post.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, Leontiskos,

Thank you for the continued thought-provoking conversation! :)


Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am
  • LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.
Typically, I wouldn't consider humans to be "rational agents".

[...]

Insofar as humans are considered rational agents, I would then typically corresponding conclude that lions, mice, spiders, and even probably trees are rational agents. Are lions and such rational agents?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:31 pm Oh, I already explained what I meant by this:
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 amFirst, the reason LEp1 focuses on rational agents is because rational agents can act freely and be held responsible for their behavior. Their behavior can be praiseworthy or blameworthy in a way that the behavior of a rock cannot.
Thus trees are not rational agents because they cannot act freely and be held responsible for their behavior.
As I briefly mentioned earlier (and explain in great detail in my book), I generally don't believe that humans can be praiseworthy or blameworthy either, at least not in a way that animals, hurricanes, ant colonies, or even trees cannot be.

I very strongly believe that humans are not rational agents. I bet we can both name many common logical fallacies--which have been well known as common for thousands of years. With the invention of the scientific method, there's other research and discoveries into how utterly irrational humans are. One of my favorite scientific researches is Dan Ariely, and I really like his science book Predictably Irrational which contains information about many interesting and revealing controlled experiments done regarding humans' irrationality.

I believe things like stock market bubbles wouldn't exist if humans were rational agents.

I suppose an unconscious robot very well could be a rational agent. Would you consider an unconscious robot (I.e. rational agent) to be capable of being "immoral" or "evil" or of doing things that "ought not be done"?


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You cannot bring a lawsuit against a tree in a court.
I don't defer to the law about such truths or beliefs. If I happened to wake up tomorrow in Salem during a repeat of the witch trials, I would hardly believe in witches, let alone the binary black-and-white non-continuum distinction between a witch and a human.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Earlier I criticized a sentence of the OP and you conceded that the wording was “poor if not inaccurate.” My criticism and your concession would not be possible if you were not a rational agent who acts freely and with responsibility. If I critiqued a lion he would not sit back, consider my words, and then choose to defend himself or concede my point.
My 11-year-old daughter can do that too--perhaps better than I can. Is she a rational agent?

In fact, I'd say most kids are better at it than most adults.

As the proverb goes, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Does that mean a puppy is more of a rational agent than an old dog?

What if the old dog is not literally an old dog but is just an old closed-minded very racist human?



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amThere's also many people who believe that "cancer is evil" and "hurricanes are evil", a few examples of which can be seen from some of the replies in my topic Three questions for people who believe evil actually exists. Does that mean hurricanes and cancer would have to be rational agents for those people to be right? If not, what evidence do you have that you say is immoral/evil is immoral/evil but that what they say is immoral/evil is not?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am in short I do not know what it would mean to morally judge that which cannot act freely. To do so would be to hold responsible that which cannot possess responsibility.
Can you explain what you mean by "act freely"? In other words, can you provide a precise definition for "acting freely", and then also explain how you are able to determine whether something or someone can possess the quality of being able to do that?

Can the typical 5-year-old human "act freely"?

Can the typical dog "act freely"?

Can the typical adult alcoholic "act freely"?

Can the typical spider "act freely"?

Can a typical individual ant "act freely"?

Can a typical ant colony "act freely"?

Can ChatGPT "act freely"?


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThat said, I still haven’t received your definition of what you mean by ‘moral’. Mine is found in LEp1.
It's perhaps ironic, but your definition of 'morality' would still have me be one who does not believe 'morality' exists, since I firmly disagree that humans are rational agents.

It's tough for me to define words I generally don't use (e.g. 'should' or 'ought') and the labels associated with things I don't believe exist. It's like asking me to define unicorn, define fairy, and explain how unicorns differ from fairies. You could ask me, "can there be such a thing as a fairy unicorn, or is fairy-ness and unicorn-ness mutually exclusive? I can firmly say I don't believe unicorns or fairies exist, even though I would probably not be able to give you satisfactory answers to such questions. While I cannot answer those questions myself, at least not well, I am very eager to ask them of the one who claims to believe fairies and unicorns actually exist.

With that said, I did my best to define how I typically interpret the word 'evil' (a.k.a. 'immorality') in my topic: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Presumably, "morality" would just be the opposite of "immorality"/"evil". So a definition of "immorality" is by extension a definition of "morality".

If someone tells me what they mean by a certain phrase or word, I do my best to interpret what say and write accordingly. So if someone explicitly tells me they use the word "bad" to mean "something they like", I will interpret them saying, "Damn, the car is bad!" to be a compliment. I mention that because you've wisely and thoughtfully gone out of your way to provide definitions for some of the terms you use.

However, if I met some random stranger on the street, and he used the phrase "moral statements", going by my understanding of English and how most people, if I was asked to provide a definition for "moral statement" as I understand (i.e. how that random presumably average guy uses it), how's this:

"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.

?

Thus, examples would include:

"X happened but shouldn't have happened."

"You should not have cheated on me."

"That dog shouldn't have pooped on the floor."

"I shouldn't have eaten that."

"I should have studied."

"Governments ought to immediately stop putting peaceful people in prison for victimless like marijuana possession!"

"Not a single personal person should be in prison for victimless crimes like marijuana possession!"

"What Hitler did was legal but wrong!"

"Slavery in the USA was legal but wrong!"

"Abortion is legal but wrong!"

"When you do things you shouldn't, you get punished in a literal hell by a magical creature called the devil."

"When you do something you ought not do, magic karma fairies cause unpleasant things to happen to you to settle the scales of justice in the universe."

"We shouldn't kiss."

"You're right; we really ought not kiss."


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You seem to be converting an imperative into a conditional. “If you want to get paid, then you should/must file these papers.”
Not exactly. For four reasons:

1. I'm not saying there is some single formula for converting a 4-word sentence in the grammatical imperative mood (e.g. "do not kiss me!" or "put down your gun!") into a more clear elaborate sentence with less equivocal and ambiguous meaning. Similarly, in analogy, it's not always clear how to convert a sentence in the passive voice (e.g. "our first kiss will always be remembered") into the more active voice (e.g. "I will always remember our first kiss." versus "you will always remember our first kiss" versus "the boat owners who caught us kissing on their boat will always remember our first kiss"). The "imperative mood" and the "passive voice" both tend to be ambiguous and equivocal and especially context dependent, all of which leads a lot more for projection and misunderstanding.

2. It's not clear what you mean by "imperative" in the above sentence. Are you simply talking about sentences that happen to be written in the "imperative mood" grammatically? In analogy, passiveness in general is very different than the so-called "passive voice" in grammar. The sentence "You will be killed if you disobey me" is in passive voice grammatically but is quite aggressive and not passive at all. In contrast, the sentence "I will do anything you tell me to do" is grammatically in the active voice, rather than the passive voice, but is very passive.

3. I don't understand the use of "should/must" together with slash, since they are near opposites. This is because "must" is typically correlated with what "did happen" or "will happen", while "should" is correlated with the opposite (i.e. what "did not happen" or "will not happen"). In other words, I would think you typically need to either use "should not"/"must" or "should"/"must not"; they still aren't synonyms but they are closer that way.

4. I wouldn't use "if you want" in the translation. So, instead a more accurate translation would be: "To get paid, you must file these papers", or "To not get fired, you must file these papers."




Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThe employer’s directive is still moral a la LEp1. This is because it involves a moral judgment. What moral judgment, you ask? The moral judgment that, “Given what I pay her, she should accede to my request.”
No, sorry, that is not at all what I mean when I say such things.

I do not believe that "Given what I pay her, she should accede to my request."

I do believe that "Given what I pay her, I will fire her if she doesn't accede to my request."

I have fired people in the past. I do not believe those people did anything they "should" not have done; in other words, I do not believe those people are "immoral" or "evil", neither as you use the terms nor as the average person does.



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmWhen you say, "don't pee on me," you are telling someone that they should not pee on you. It seems obvious and commonsensical that this is true, does it not?
No, it does not. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be the case to me, since "should not have" is so heavily correlated with "did" and "should not do" is so heavily correlated with "doing", as illustrated by the kissing example:
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Oh? So if you were peeing on someone and they said, “Don’t pee on me,” you would continue peeing on them since their words are so heavily correlated with their opposite? And if you were arrested you would tell the officer that when they said, “Don’t pee on me,” what they really meant was, “Pee on me”?
No, as I said, it's the opposite.

"Don't kiss me" is correlated with one not consenting to be kissed or not wanting to be kissed, and thus is correlated with no kissing happening.

"We shouldn't kiss" is correlated with one wanting to be kissed.


Incidentally, I wouldn't personally pee on anyone, even if they came right out and said, "I consent to being peed on, please pee on me." Given the choice, I prefer to be alone when I pee, and don't like being watched. Similarly, I don't should on people even when they explicitly ask me to should on them. Perhaps because I have such big smart modest brain, I've frequently been asked by people questions like "X happened; what should I do?" or "I want to become Y; what should I do?"

I have different ways of dodging the question or getting them to rephrase, if I even respond at all. In any case, I don't should on them even when they ask for it, since there are no "shoulds" or "oughts" in my philosophy.



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amWhen I say I disbelieve in "moral" superstitions and that there are no 'shoulds' and 'no oughts' (and no 'try') in my philosophy, I am not talking about any and all statements that attempt to influence a human's behavior.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am But then what are you talking about when you say those things? You keep saying, “I am not saying X. I do not say Y. I would never say Z.” My question is always the same: What are you saying?
I don''t fully understand your question. What am I saying when?

In analogy, I'm not religious, so generally I don't sincerely use the word "sinful". If you ask me what I mean by the word "sinful", it's a loaded question that I cannot answer because I don't even use the word.

In fact, it's really not an analogy because since I don't believe in such superstitions, in my head they all become interchangeable.

If you start talking about or asking what the difference between 'sinfulness' and 'immorality', to me it would be like you talking about or asking about the different species of unicorns, or how to tell unicorns apart from fairies, and whether two categories would overlap on a Venn Diagram.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am What is your definition of morality?
I don't use the word, at least not to refer to anything that I believe actually exists.

I could only tell you how I commonly on average interpret it when I other people use it based on my anecdotal experience of what they mean by the word on average.

What is your definition of "sinfulness"? What is your definition of "evil"? Those aren't rhetorical questions. I think it will help me understand you, even if it's comparing how you define those words versus "immorality" and by extension "morality".

Also, having the the potentially three different definitions might make allow me to just point to one of three and say, "that's it, that clever wording is the way I usually interpret an average person's meaning on average when they say "immoral" or "immorality".

With all that said, here is the definition I provided for "moral statements" (which reflects my default interpretation the meaning of the phrase when other people use it):

"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.


Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amFor instance, the statement, "I will pay you $20 to do the laundry" is a statement that influences my kids' behavior, and I use it and other statements like it often.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am But why isn’t this a moral statement?
For me in general, I don't consider a "moral statement" because I don't believe that my kids are "immoral" or would be "immoral" if and when they say no, meaning if and when they refuse to do the laundry.

Using your definition of "moral", it's simply because I don't believe my kids are rational agents.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am And when the sweatshop owner tells a child, “I will pay you $.25 an hour to make shoes,” is his statement related to morality?
I'm not sure how it could be, so I doubt it.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am According to LEp1 it is a moral statement since it involves the moral judgment that the child will act in a certain way given the incentive.
I disagree because I don't believe the child is a rational agent.

Technically, I don't believe any humans are rational agents.

Presumably, you think some or all humans are rational agents. Do you think newborn babies rational agents? Toddlers? 5-year-olds?

What about dolphins? What about octopuses? What about elephants? What about apes and monkeys?

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amAnd if you utter such a thing with no expectation about any behavior of any kind whatsoever, then one would have to wonder why you even propositioned the child in the first place.
In a philosophically rigorous context, as I've mentioned before, I don't really believe or use the concept of 'why' and 'whyness'. The idea that one event (event A) can be blamed on another specific event (event B) typically doesn't make sense to me. Typically, any why question has infinite equally right answers, so answering it becomes like a ink blot test. It's nonsense about nonsense that can reveal quite a lot about the speaker/thinker who is speaking/thinking the judgemental nonsense. A ink blot is a blank canvass in disguise, and how someone projects onto the blank canvass can give us a lot of information about them.

But, of course, in practice, as a silly irrational human myself, I engage in such nonsense about as much as any other human. Among a million other correct answers, I might say that I offer to pay my kids to do laundry because I'm shamelessly lazy and want the laundry to get done but would rather keep sitting and pay them then do it myself.

It's no more superstition-dependent (or "morality"-dependent) than if I lived alone as the only human on Earth and watered a plant. Watering the plant affects its behavior. As you use the terms, if the plant doesn't grow despite me watering it, does that mean the plant is "immoral"?

As you use the terms, if I lived alone as the only human on planet Earth, is my choosing to water the plant a matter "morality" since attempting to influence the plant's behavior?


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am If you offer a child $20 to do the laundry, then you believe you should do so.
That's just false.

I do offer my child $20 to do the laundry,

I do not believe I should offer my child to the laundry.

That essentially as the same as the coffee example from my much earlier posts in this thread before you joined in (which I am thankful you did):
Scott wrote: February 23rd, 2023, 2:02 pm

Let's look at the following four sentences, all four of which I believe to be true:

1. I, Scott, do not believe we 'should' or 'ought' to drink coffee tomorrow morning.

2. I, Scott, do not believe we 'should' or 'ought' to not drink coffee tomorrow morning.

3. I, Scott, will drink coffee tomorrow morning.

4. I, Scott, don't know if you will drink coffee tomorrow morning or not, and I, Scott, lovingly don't care if you do drink coffee tomorrow or not.


I don't believe any of the above four statements contradict any of the other ones. Do you?

****
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am We don’t generally do things that we don’t think we should do.
I'm not sure what you mean by "we", but I don't think I 'should' do anything (or 'should not' do anything).

In any case, if "should do" just meant the same thing as "will do" or such, we presumably would and definitely could just use "will do", or "did do", "am doing".

As I wrote in the OP, while there are no 'shoulds' and no 'oughts' in my philosophy, there is 'can' and there is 'do' and 'do not' (and by extension 'will do' and 'did do' etc.)

If you simply rephrase what you are saying without 'should' and 'ought' by rephrasing as what you (or someone) actually did or did not do, or will or will not, or is doing or not doing, then please do because I will then understand you much much much much better. :)

Otherwise, I will typically misunderstand you, and think you are referencing some kind of superstitious "evil" or other superstition or such.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am If you walk across the street then you believe that you should walk across the street. If you clip your fingernails then you believe that you should clip your fingernails.
This is definitely not true of me since I do believe I 'should' do anything.

Anecdotally, it's also the exact opposite of the way shoulders (by which I mean people who do commonly use the word 'should') use the word should.

In my anecdotal experience, not only does "should do" not correlate so strictly with "do" but rather the opposite; it is correlated with not doing.

When someone says, "we should not kiss", they are more likely kiss than not in my experience.

When someone says, "I should be studying," they almost certainly aren't studying.

When someone says, "I shouldn't have done that," it almost they did.

The tense doesn't matter much.

If they meant "I was" or "I will", they would typically say "I was" or "I will". The very reason they say "I shouldn't kiss" instead of "I won't kiss" is because they will kiss.




Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am
  • LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.
  • LEp2: Thoughts, utterances, and actions can involve moral judgments.
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am Do you think the statement, "I do not consent to having my butt touched by you" is a "moral statement"?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I have given a definition, and according to that definition it is a moral statement. It is a statement which involves a moral judgment (see LEp2 and LEp1).
Even if I put aside the fact that I don't think humans are rational agents, I still don't see how me expressing my lack of consent regarding have my butt touched is a "judgment about the behavior of rational agents".

Of course, my book and I both talk a lot about transcending judgementalism and such, so maybe it's the word judgement that's throwing me off. Can you explain to me what you mean by the word "judgement"?

As you use the terms, what would a non-moral judgement be like? Can you give me an example of some non-moral judgements people make?

As you use the terms, am I understanding correctly when I say that you believe there is absolutely no such thing as a non-moral judgement about a rational agent?

If so, I think as you use the terms, I also disbelieve in what you call "judgement".

Based on the above, as I understand your definitions of the terms involved, I loosely suspect that I equally disbelief in "non-moral judgemental" and "moral judgements".

When I say I don't believe in what most people call "morality", I think the way to more clearly say that, in your more defined (and very reasonable) lingo, would be that I don't believe in what you call "judgement" at all. To me, if I am understanding how you use the word correctly (which is far from a given), "judgement" itself is just superstitious nonsense.



Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThe relevant premise in the consent interpretation is, “They should not act contrary to my consent.”
I am not sure where you are getting that from, and (I mean this politely) it seems like a total non-sequitur to me.

When I say, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," I do not mean and it does not entail that me saying/believing, "You should act contrary to my consent."

Rather, my meaning with the sentence, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," is purely descriptive non-prescriptive; I am saying something that is almost entirely if not entirely about me. It's not a commentary/judgement or such about how I feel regarding a would-be consent-disregarding butt-toucher who might touch the butts without consent.



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am I don't really use the word 'moral', at least not sincerely, hence why I put it in quotes.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Then perhaps I am right that it is nothing more than a pejorative in your usage?
Politely, it seems to me that's a loaded question, in that it's loaded with the phrase "in your usage" meaning "in [my] usage". There is no in my usage.

I don't judge things as 'immoral' or 'moral', or really use those words at all.

But really the distinction you make between what you call "moral" versus "not moral" is mostly if not entirely moot, in regard to where your philosophy mine differ.

In other words, the difference between what you would call "moral judgements" versus "judgmental that are non-moral" is moot.

I don't believe in what you call "judgement". It's the 'judgementalism' itself that I don't do.

It's thus moot whether that judgementalism happens to be about rational agents ("moral" as you use the term) versus not about rational agents ("not moral" as you sue the term).


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am ...Nevertheless, when one makes a moral judgment they judge some action or behavior to be good or bad. When it is judged to be good we use words like “praiseworthy,” “moral,” “good,” etc. When it is judged to be bad we use words like “blameworthy,” “immoral,” “bad,” etc.
Indeed, agreed. :)

The same can be said if you remove the word 'moral' from the above, and I likewise agree. In other words, I would likewise agree if you said the following:
nobody wrote:When one makes a judgment they judge some action or behavior to be good or bad. When it is judged to be good we use words like “praiseworthy,” “good,” etc. When it is judged to be bad we use words like “blameworthy,” “bad,” etc.
I agree with the above too. ;) :)

By removing the word "moral", it then applies equally to rational agents as well as non-rational agents, and presumably to even non-agents.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Now my purpose in this discussion is to convince you that you very often issue moral statements and make moral judgments.
I certainly do make many descriptive statements (but not "judgements") about humans, and animals, and plants, and things like hurricanes, and superorganisms like ant colonies, and suborganisms like hearts, lungs, and individual human cells, and the inhuman microbiome in each human that they cannot live without.

If any of those things are "rational agents", then I make statements about "rational agents".

But I don't think humans are "rational agents".



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmOh, it is not limited to books. We were talking about your book so I mentioned books, but anyone who publishes something believes that others ought to consume it.
I disagree. I do not think that everyone who posts on the Philosophy Forums believes that it would be immoral for others to not read what they post.

Likewise, I don't think it would be immoral for you to not read my book.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I do not believe that a user on the Philosophy Forums believes that everyone should read their post. But they do believe that their interlocutor should read it, especially when the interlocutor has consented to a dialogue.
What about when someone posts an OP (i.e. a new topic)?


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThat softer sense is something like the fisherman who baits his hook with an appetizing bait (for the fish!) and waits in anticipation and expectation for the fish to bite. This is not moral since the fish is not a rational agent, but when he baits the hook he is thinking that the fish ought to be attracted to it. If he didn’t think that he wouldn’t drop the line in the water.
Perhaps we've spent many interesting and thought-provoking words to get this simple way of saying it:

I look at people like you look at fish.

When I see humans doing their human things, to me it's like looking at pretty fish in a fish tank doing their fishy things.

When I throw the bait of $20 to get my kids to take the bait and do my laundry for me, I look at it like you look at fisherman dropping a line in the water.


(All that is, of course, under the assumption I am correctly understanding how you look at fish and fisherman and such.)


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Who decides what we can and cannot control?
I am not sure what you mean by "decides". Do you mind providing a definition for that word?

In any case, are you sure it's a who not a what that does it? Are you sure it's done at all? Who decides that Mars is further away from the Sun than Earth?

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amIf the future can be controlled then the past could have been different.
I do not understand what you mean by the above sentence. Can you explain your meaning a bit more to me?



Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Is your book worth reading? Should people read books that are worth reading?
In regard to the first question, define "worth reading". I think it would have saved you some time and probably still would. Also, considering how interesting this discussion has been without you having it read it, it is hard to even predict how incredibly deep, interesting, thought-provoking, and revelatory a discussion would be with you after you had already read it, meaning you had already read my best answers to the questions you've asked me and will ask me. So not only does it save you the time of asking me those questions, but you get much better and clearly answer reading the book I spent over 5 years working on had edited and critiqued by professional editors before publishing and such. Additionally, after the first edition became a bestseller on Amazon, I made a few small improvements based on the feedback before releasing the current edition which is the 2nd edition. I don't know if any of the relates to what you would call it being "worth reading" though. Perhaps the very idea of worthiness would contradict my tattoo "Just Love Everything" and my thopughts regarding unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness. :)

In regard to the second question, I do not believe people 'should' read anything. Or not read anything for that matter.

I certainly think that someone who says "I should read your book" won't, and I certainly think that someone who said "I should have read your book" didn't, and that someone who says "I should be reading your book" isn't. So, for those reasons, I guess I hope you believe you "shouldn't" read it, so that you will. :)

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am To “value assertiveness” is to believe that you (Scott) ought to be assertive rather than non-assertive, is it not?
I don't think so. A lion might value two delicious dead fresh antelopes over one dead fresh deer (or vice versa). My son's pet eel might value warm living food over freeze-dried dead food.

I believe myself to have spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and the inner peace comes with that. It seems to me that for me to believe there is some kind of superstitious law or such that tells me what I 'ought' to be doing is incompatible with my spiritual freedom. It also seems to me to be utterly incompatible with having inner peace. An addict is in a way slave, sure, and also the addict presumably lacks what I call inner peace. A judgemental 'moralizer' (whatever that means) might be like a slave living under some kind of perceived superstitious 'moral law' (whatever that means), under which to not do what one "ought" to do (whatever that means) according to that 'moral law' (whatever means). Regardless of the exact definition of the terms, it seems to me such a person would be both lacking what I call spiritual freedom (a.k.a self-discipline) and lacking what I call inner peace (a.k.a. "true happiness).

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Perhaps you would say that you direct yourself via ‘oughts’, but you do not direct others via ‘oughts’?
At least as I understand the way most people use the words, it seems incompatible to say that "I direct myself" and "I am directed via oughts".

One who says, "I ought to not be drinking" while they drink, is in some way directing themself (e.g. violating the superstitious law they believe exists), but such a superstitious view of the world seems to be incompatible with inner peace; both because (1) they must therefore think themselves a spiritual criminal according to the superstitious law they believe actually exists, presumably with great shame or self-hatred in most deeply spiritual sense of the words, and (2) they think unchangeable reality as whole 'ought' to be different than it unchangeably is, whatever that means.

I don't use the terms myself at all, and different people can use them differently, but to me when one says "I think the past cannot be changed, but also I think the past ought to be different than it is", then that seems incompatible with that person having what I call free-spirited inner peace.




Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amTechnically, that's not even something I said. It's a title I gave to a thread.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Propositions asserted in the titles of your threads are not things you have said?
In and of themselves alone? Not really.

Imagine the people who chose the title for the movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven".

But it's really a minor point.

I've just never happened to actually say to a person specifically, "Don't should on me."

I've always never happened to actually say "Don't pee on me" or "don't touch my butt", the former because it hasn't come up and the latter because I'm actually happy to have my butt touched.

None of them are things I would under any array of reasonable circumstances, like if someone had peanut butter all over their hands and tried to touch my butt while I was wearing a brand new pair of jeans.

Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amIf you are interpreting as me meaning, "I believe it's immoral for you to touch my butt" or in other words "I believe it's evil for you to touch my butt", then you are simply misunderstanding what I mean. I don't believe in such moral superstitions.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You haven’t told me what you mean. Only what you don’t mean. It’s quite evasive.
I'm sorry; I thought I had told you what I mean. Let me do it now:

If I say, "don't touch my butt", I mean, "I do not consent to having my touched by you."

Keep in mind, that's solely a descriptive non-prescriptive statement by my about me. It is neither predicated on nor does it entail some judgement against people who touch butts without consent (e.g. "People who touch butts without consent are evil!").

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I keep pointing out that you are swimming in moral statements according to my definition in LEp1. You keep asserting that you are not making moral statements, but you won’t tell me what you mean by ‘moral’ and you don’t seem to accept LEp1.
I accept that LEp1 reflects how you use the word "moral".
For the sake of clarity, when talking with you, I am happy to do my best from this point forward to avoid using the word "moral" in any other way besides the way you have defined in LEp1.

I don't believe humans are rational agents, so I don't think any statements or judgements by humans about humans are "moral" (as you use the term) because I don't think humans are rational agents.

I don't think some sexual predator who goes around touching people butts without their consent is a rational agent. In the same, I don't think a lion who eats an antelope is a rational agent.

I can and do describe what humans and other non-human animals do, much like I can describe the weather and weather patterns.

In other words, I can and do make descriptive statements about humans, animals, plants, and other things like weather.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You said:
Scott wrote: February 27th, 2023, 4:24 pm
Leontiskos wrote:To be clear, are you claiming that you wish to never say or do anything that would influence another person to act in one way rather than another?
No, I am not saying that.

[...]

Just as there a crucial difference between the coercion and persuasion in politics, there is a difference between imposition and voluntary free-spirited cooperation, and by extension between aggression and assertiveness, or between dishonesty manipulation and honest communication, or between requesting or encouraging or influence someone to do X versus believing it would be immoral for them to do X. While political the key difference is centered around literal violence (and by extension the dichotomy of consent), spiritually the key difference is centered around the dichotomy of control, namely in terms of accepting what one cannot control.
I interpret this to mean that you are willing to influence others via persuasion, voluntary free-spirited cooperation, assertiveness, honest communication. You are unwilling to influence others via coercion, imposition, aggression, dishonest manipulation, and violence. Or more bluntly, you think the former are good and the latter are bad.

[Color added.]
I agree with your first two sentences, but not the last one.

I wouldn't necessarily say I disagree with the last one, because, in being blunt, it's a bit unclear and ambiguous.

What I can is that I don't think I engage in the kind of 'judgement' you reference in LEp1, not towards rational agents nor other agents nor anything or anyone.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Further, you think that we ought to accept what we cannot control, and that we ought not attempt to control what we cannot control.
I do not think that.

I do think we 'ought' to do anything.

I can tell you what I have done, am doing, and will do. I can tell you what I believe you have done, are doing, or will do. I can tell you what I my son's pet eel has done, is doing, or will do. There is no 'oughts', not in my philosophy or view.

Talking to someone who sees 'oughts' can be like talking to someone who sees invisible ghosts. David Hume called it the Is-Ought Problem. I see plenty of things that, that were, and that will be. I can understand the negation of each of those: "is, "was not", "will not be". I can understand subjective probabilities based off the interplay between knowledge ignorance such as "I probably won't win the lottery tomorrow". But these 'oughts' of which some speak are ghosts I never see. I can't tell you too much about these ghosts because I've never seen them, and I don't think they exist.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am All of these are moral beliefs and propositions via LEp1 and LEp2. Attempting to influence another’s behavior through persuasion is a moral act.
No, it's not, because--spiritually speaking--I look at look at humans more like you look at fish, or trees, or even the weather.

And when I say you, I mean you. I've talked to a lot of people about these ideas, and in my anecdotal experience the vast majority don't share my view or yours. In my anecdotal experience, most people do think animals can be "evil", for instance. Granted, a significant percentage of people think the world flat and that there was a once literally a talking snake who was himself in fact very "evil". But I've talked to many people who aren't religious at all, don't believe in talking snakes, but who do think animals can be "evil" (as they use the term).

I don't think humans are rational agents.

Many people think many non-humans animals are rational agents.

If I am understanding you correctly, you seem to think humans, including very young human kids, are rational agents, but non-human animals are not. Is that right?

Ironically, of the three categories of viewpoints above, I'd bet yours and mine combined are still in the minority. In other words, in my anecdotal experience, the middle one seems to be the belief most people hold, even though both you and I disagree with it.



Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You did this because you believe that you ought not contradict yourself, no?
No. I do not believe I 'ought' to not contradict myself. I do not believe I 'ought' to do anything.

Since humans are so irrational, and I am human, I actually contradict myself often.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Why do you keep using quotes around “ought”?
Generally, I don't use the term. So when you ask me, "Scott, do you believe you ought to do X", I will reply that "No, I do not believe 'ought' to do X". I quote the word because I'm quoting you. I wouldn't use it otherwise. I also believe that helps avoid the misunderstanding there are other 'oughts' I do believe in.

If I randomly said (without quotes or such), "I don't we ought to eat cookies," it could unwittingly give the false impression that there is ome other alternative that I do think we "ought" to do. By quoting the word, I hope it helps avoid that misunderstanding. I don't think we "ought" to eat cookies, and I don't think we "ought" to not eat cookies, and I don't think anyone or anything "ought" to do anything.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Are you going to tell me that when you send your close friend a text message you have no expectation that he will read it?
That depends what you mean by "expectation".

In my book, I briefly mention "expectation" in the chapter, "(Type 2) Temporal Enabling or Codependency (Abusive or Toxic
Pseudo-Love)".

I can and do certainly make predictions about the future, including how I predict others will behave, and how different behaviors by me now will predictably result in different behaviors by others in the future (including future Scott, who in the lingo of my book is a completely different person). How else would I (or a good AI) even play the game chess?

When confident predictions go wrong, they are revealed as miscalculations. I make those all the time. Since humans aren't rational agents, and since Scott is human, Scott makes a lot of miscalculations.


Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am Or are some 'oughts' unrelated to morality? For me the human world is filled to the brim with morality and normativity. To try to reject 'moralizing' would be like trying to reject breathing.
I wouldn't recommend you try to do anything, not even trying to not try.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am This felt very much like a recommendation:
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amAs I wrote earlier, perceived implication is the mother of misunderstanding. I worked on the book for 5 years. I mean what I say and I say what I mean, so reading between the lines or perceiving implications, particularly while reading that book, will almost certainly lead to misunderstandings.
This is like saying, “Walking without ice cleats, particularly when the ice is wet, will almost certainly lead to injuries.”
That is something I might say, indeed.

It was the word 'try' and 'trying' that I don't recommend. What I mean by that and the reasoning is in my book.

But of course Master Yoda can explain it pretty well too.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am This bears on the future-past question, assuming it was not rhetorical. If we should not worry about what is beyond our control, and the past is beyond our control, then
I never said "we should not worry about what is beyond our control".
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am why be sorry? About anything? Is it possible to make mistakes? Mistakes imply ‘oughts’; they imply good and bad. As do successes.
Those questions are answered quite directly on page on page 157 of my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All in the paragraph contain the words "the transcendence of the feeling that there ever really is anything to forgive. But I doubt neither that paragraph, nor the page its one, nor the chapter its in will be agreeable or even understood as intended if read out of order. The argument and premises for page 157 are on pages 1 through 156.



Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am Or if someone makes a promise to you, then they ought to fulfill it. If your brother promised to be the best man at your wedding then you would surely form the judgment that he ought to attend the wedding, no?
No. I don't think someone is "immoral" or "evil" or such because they break a promise.
[/quote]
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Ah, but I never asked you about immorality or evil.
My apologies. To use your words to answer your question, I do not think people "ought" to keep their promises.

I might at human breaking a promise much like I'd look at dog pooping on the floor while its owner (maybe me?) is away at work. To look at such a thing, and say it "ought" not have happened to me is like pointing at kitchen and saying, "there it is! There's invisible ghost." I see the kitchen, I see the stove, but I don't see this ghost of which you speak and of which you ask about.

Humans break promises. Dogs poop.

It's ironic that those who 'expect' otherwise would often 'blame' the pooping dog or promise-breaking human for the disappointment that inevitably seems to follow from such 'expectation'.

Can one have impossible 'expectations' and what I call inner peace, or must one choose between the two? I suppose it depends how one defines 'expectation'.

Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amAs I explain in my book, I believe in unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness, and I believe in fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot control.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am What does this mean but that one should be unconditionally loving and forgiving? Or that you (Scott) should fully and unconditionally accept that which you cannot control? And if no one ought to do one thing or another, then how could there ever be anything to be forgiven? To believe in forgiveness is to believe in things to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a deeply moral reality.
It does not mean those things. It took me 5 years of work to explain what I do mean, and why I believe it to be true, as clearly and concisely as I did in the 200-page book. If I was to re-do it here, I'd write a lot more than 200 pages, and it would be less clear and understandable.

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Presumably you sometimes struggle with this idea of control. Presumably you sometimes wrestle with movements within yourself to not-accept something which you cannot control. And what causes you to try to hold to your philosophy? It is the belief that your philosophy is the right way, the better way, the good way, the path that you ought to walk, etc.
I don't try, and I don't really know what it would mean for my philosophy to be "the right way", "the better way", "the good way", etc.




Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Feelings can have a moral character as well, particularly anger. When you get angry it is because you believe, among other things, that something is not right.
That's your belief, and you are entitled to it, but I don't share it. Politely and respectfully, it seems like superstitious nonsense to me.

As I see it, anger is just a subset of fear, which is namely when an animal's Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is triggered, colloquially called the fight or flight response.

It's like hunger. When a lion sees a delicious antelope walk by, it can trigger hunger. When an antelope sees a hungry lion, it can trigger an SNS response.

Someone can look in the same kitchen I'm looking and see ghosts. But I don't see them. I see what I am describing above.



Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Usually when I talk to moral relativists like yourself
I don't consider myself a "moral relativist". As you use the terms, it's particularly because I don't consider humans (or other animals) to be rational agents.

I don't think what you call "moral" is relative. Rather, I think it doesn't exist.

That might make me a "moral nihilist" as you would use the terms, but someone earlier in this thread referred to me as "spiritual anarchist" and I like that term. Nihilism in regard to what you call "morality" and by extension what would be "moral law" or "moral rules", while presumably accurate, seems bland to me; I like the cooler idea of being a "spiritual anarchist" in regard to those "moral" laws and "moral" rules as well what you call non-moral judgements (i.e. those that happen to be about irrational agents, or even non-agents). 8)

I don't really care if the judged thing is a rational agent or not, because it's the judgement itself that I don't share.



Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Leontiskos »

Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am
  • LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.
  • LEp2: Thoughts, utterances, and actions can involve moral judgments.
  • LEp3: Utterances which are imperatives are utterances which involve moral judgments.
  • LEp4: Conditional statements do not involve moral judgments, and therefore are not imperatives.
(For reference)
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm Hi, Leontiskos,

Thank you for the continued thought-provoking conversation! :)
You’re welcome! :)

I should let you know that my time is getting short. I plan to again reply to you once this weekend, but after that it will probably be Eastertime before I will have enough free time for a reply (around April 9). If we haven’t concluded our conversation by this weekend I will ping you around Easter to see if you’d like to continue. If not, no problem. I realize that a hiatus can undermine a conversation.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am
  • LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.
Typically, I wouldn't consider humans to be "rational agents".

[...]

Insofar as humans are considered rational agents, I would then typically corresponding conclude that lions, mice, spiders, and even probably trees are rational agents. Are lions and such rational agents?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:31 pm Oh, I already explained what I meant by this:
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 amFirst, the reason LEp1 focuses on rational agents is because rational agents can act freely and be held responsible for their behavior. Their behavior can be praiseworthy or blameworthy in a way that the behavior of a rock cannot.
Thus trees are not rational agents because they cannot act freely and be held responsible for their behavior.
As I briefly mentioned earlier (and explain in great detail in my book), I generally don't believe that humans can be praiseworthy or blameworthy either, at least not in a way that animals, hurricanes, ant colonies, or even trees cannot be.
Hmm, well this could be another long tangent… I am tempted to say we should just circumvent it, as it feels like a rather unnecessary tangent. So my suggestion is that, for the sake of our conversation, the “rational agent” of LEp1 can be replaced by “human being.” I hope you believe in human beings? My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings. “Rational agent” is simply a more philosophically precise way to talk about the genus into which human beings fall, but if you don’t like that term it won’t affect my point.

Actually, in order to avoid repetition let me just set out some standard responses that I wish to refer to. Since these are made up dialogues I will refer to “S” rather than “Scott.”
  • LEr1:
    1. S: I do not believe in morality, ‘oughts’, ‘shoulds’, etc.
    2. Leontiskos: I think you are mistaken and that many words you write betray your claim. LEp1 is meant to capture, in a single notion, that reality which you profess to not believe in.
  • LEr2:
    1. Leontiskos: “LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.”
    2. S: I don’t believe in rational agents.
    3. Leontiskos: Then replace ‘rational agents’ with ‘human beings.’ My purpose with LEp1 is only to set out a proposition which can be used to assess LEr1.1. If I can show that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings then LEr1.2 is vindicated. I have no need to convince you that human beings are rational beings.
  • LEr3:
    1. S: I don’t believe anyone ‘should’ do anything. I don’t believe anyone ‘ought’ to do anything. I don’t even know what such words are supposed to mean.
    2. Leontiskos: If you don’t know what a word refers to then it is not possible to claim that you do not make use of the thing to which the word refers. All you can say is that you don’t use the word. In order to say that you do not make use of the thing to which the word refers, you would have to actually know what the word means.*
* For example, suppose someone is dining with me. They are eating a salad with a fork and a knife. They say to me, “I don’t believe anyone should ever use a ‘fork’.” I respond, “Do you know what a fork is?” They say, “No, I have no idea what a ‘fork’ is. I don’t think ‘forks’ even exist. People who talk of ‘forks’ are speaking about some sort of superstitious mumbo-jumbo.” In fact what is happening here is that the person is using a fork without knowing its name.

(“LEp1” => Leontiskos’ proposition 1; “LEr1” => Leontiskos’ response 1)


...So LEr2 is my formal response to your denial of rational agents. Nevertheless, I will offer some quick responses to your comments on this topic which is tangential to my thesis.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmI very strongly believe that humans are not rational agents. I bet we can both name many common logical fallacies--which have been well known as common for thousands of years. With the invention of the scientific method, there's other research and discoveries into how utterly irrational humans are. One of my favorite scientific researches is Dan Ariely, and I really like his science book Predictably Irrational which contains information about many interesting and revealing controlled experiments done regarding humans' irrationality.
When someone says that humans are rational agents or rational animals they are not claiming that each and every human being is super smart and logically consistent. That would be a misunderstanding. Humans are rational animals or rational agents precisely because they can identify logical fallacies and the scientific method. Non-rational animals like snakes don’t talk about logical fallacies or the scientific method.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You cannot bring a lawsuit against a tree in a court.
I don't defer to the law about such truths or beliefs. If I happened to wake up tomorrow in Salem during a repeat of the witch trials, I would hardly believe in witches, let alone the binary black-and-white non-continuum distinction between a witch and a human.
You seem to be quibbling. Would you consider bringing a lawsuit against a tree or not? If you would then I might actually believe you when you say that trees are rational agents.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Earlier I criticized a sentence of the OP and you conceded that the wording was “poor if not inaccurate.” My criticism and your concession would not be possible if you were not a rational agent who acts freely and with responsibility. If I critiqued a lion he would not sit back, consider my words, and then choose to defend himself or concede my point.
My 11-year-old daughter can do that too--perhaps better than I can. Is she a rational agent?
Yes, by all means.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amThere's also many people who believe that "cancer is evil" and "hurricanes are evil", a few examples of which can be seen from some of the replies in my topic Three questions for people who believe evil actually exists. Does that mean hurricanes and cancer would have to be rational agents for those people to be right? If not, what evidence do you have that you say is immoral/evil is immoral/evil but that what they say is immoral/evil is not?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am in short I do not know what it would mean to morally judge that which cannot act freely. To do so would be to hold responsible that which cannot possess responsibility.
Can you explain what you mean by "act freely"? In other words, can you provide a precise definition for "acting freely", and then also explain how you are able to determine whether something or someone can possess the quality of being able to do that?
When you said that you considered your editor’s advice but decided against it you were acting freely. You considered one course of action which you might have taken, but decided in favor of a different course of action. You chose one thing rather than the other.

To engage in argument on this forum presupposes that one’s interlocutor is rational and free. When one points out that their interlocutor has committed a logical fallacy they are implicitly telling him that he has made a logical mistake and that he should correct course. If I thought that you did not care at all about committing logical fallacies and contradicting yourself then I would depart from this conversation immediately. That is, if I believed that someone was not capable of altering their behavior once they perceived that they are acting irrationally, I would not engage them philosophically.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThat said, I still haven’t received your definition of what you mean by ‘moral’. Mine is found in LEp1.
It's perhaps ironic, but your definition of 'morality' would still have me be one who does not believe 'morality' exists, since I firmly disagree that humans are rational agents.
First, see LEr2.

Second, this is not ironic but intended. LEp1 is meant to highlight our point of disagreement, not to clinch my argument. Even once we replace “rational agents” with “human beings” I still don’t expect you to perceive that you yourself make moral judgments. Presumably I would still have work to do.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIt's tough for me to define words I generally don't use (e.g. 'should' or 'ought') and the labels associated with things I don't believe exist. It's like asking me to define unicorn, define fairy, and explain how unicorns differ from fairies. You could ask me, "can there be such a thing as a fairy unicorn, or is fairy-ness and unicorn-ness mutually exclusive? I can firmly say I don't believe unicorns or fairies exist, even though I would probably not be able to give you satisfactory answers to such questions. While I cannot answer those questions myself, at least not well, I am very eager to ask them of the one who claims to believe fairies and unicorns actually exist.
See LEr3.

If you don’t know what a unicorn is then you have no business asserting that it doesn’t exist. The only reason we can claim that unicorns don’t exist is because we know what the word ‘unicorn’ signifies. It signifies a horse with one horn protruding from its forehead.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmWith that said, I did my best to define how I typically interpret the word 'evil' (a.k.a. 'immorality') in my topic: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Presumably, "morality" would just be the opposite of "immorality"/"evil". So a definition of "immorality" is by extension a definition of "morality".

If someone tells me what they mean by a certain phrase or word, I do my best to interpret what say and write accordingly. So if someone explicitly tells me they use the word "bad" to mean "something they like", I will interpret them saying, "Damn, the car is bad!" to be a compliment. I mention that because you've wisely and thoughtfully gone out of your way to provide definitions for some of the terms you use.

However, if I met some random stranger on the street, and he used the phrase "moral statements", going by my understanding of English and how most people, if I was asked to provide a definition for "moral statement" as I understand (i.e. how that random presumably average guy uses it), how's this:

"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.

?

Thus, examples would include...
No, I don’t think that is a very good definition of the colloquial understanding of morality. In fact it seems more like the definition of a pejorative, since “superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality” is on par with stupidity. So the shorter and clearer definition would be, “ ‘Moral statements’ are statements that are stupid.” Similarly, I might ask a Democrat to define a Republican, and they might say, “A person who believes nonsensical things.” Or more bluntly, “A stupid person.” These ‘definitions’ are more partisan rhetoric than philosophical definitions.

If your definition were reasonably accurate then we would say that a person who points a wand at a rock and says “levioso!” is uttering a moral statement, for they are making a superstitious prescription against unchangeable reality. Or a person who talks to their car when it won’t start, giving it encouragement, is uttering a moral statement. But since no one would call these things moral statements, the definition must be mistaken.


Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You seem to be converting an imperative into a conditional. “If you want to get paid, then you should/must file these papers.”
Not exactly. For four reasons:

1. I'm not saying there is some single formula for converting a 4-word sentence in the grammatical imperative mood (e.g. "do not kiss me!" or "put down your gun!") into a more clear elaborate sentence with less equivocal and ambiguous meaning. Similarly, in analogy, it's not always clear how to convert a sentence in the passive voice (e.g. "our first kiss will always be remembered") into the more active voice (e.g. "I will always remember our first kiss." versus "you will always remember our first kiss" versus "the boat owners who caught us kissing on their boat will always remember our first kiss"). The "imperative mood" and the "passive voice" both tend to be ambiguous and equivocal and especially context dependent, all of which leads a lot more for projection and misunderstanding.
A general criticism I have of your analyses of imperative statements is that they have not been on point. You focus on meaning rather than the point at issue. When I say that imperatives are moral statements you respond by saying, “But sometimes ‘don’t kiss me’ can actually mean ‘kiss me’!” But it doesn’t matter. “Don’t kiss me,” and, “Kiss me,” are both moral statements, prescribing behavior. For your rejoinder to stick the new meaning would need to be non-moral.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm2. It's not clear what you mean by "imperative" in the above sentence. Are you simply talking about sentences that happen to be written in the "imperative mood" grammatically? In analogy, passiveness in general is very different than the so-called "passive voice" in grammar. The sentence "You will be killed if you disobey me" is in passive voice grammatically but is quite aggressive and not passive at all. In contrast, the sentence "I will do anything you tell me to do" is grammatically in the active voice, rather than the passive voice, but is very passive.
Generally speaking I wish to talk about realities, not mere words. I spoke of the imperative mood because it is a good way to get at the underlying reality of imperative statements, and also moral statements, but this will of course remain a superficial analysis of we concern ourselves only with grammar. An imperative is a reality which the imperative mood strongly correlates to, but not every imperative need be in the imperative mood. For example, my friend has a dog that was trained in Russian. So my friend knows the Russian commands that the dog responds to, but he has no understanding of the Russian language. To him they are just sounds he makes in order to command the dog. Still, these sounds are imperatives.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm3. I don't understand the use of "should/must" together with slash, since they are near opposites. This is because "must" is typically correlated with what "did happen" or "will happen", while "should" is correlated with the opposite (i.e. what "did not happen" or "will not happen"). In other words, I would think you typically need to either use "should not"/"must" or "should"/"must not"; they still aren't synonyms but they are closer that way.
Do the two sentences in question have an opposite meaning? I don’t think so:

1. “If you want to get paid, then you should file these papers.”
2. “If you want to get paid, then you must file these papers.”

The meaning is basically the same.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThe employer’s directive is still moral a la LEp1. This is because it involves a moral judgment. What moral judgment, you ask? The moral judgment that, “Given what I pay her, she should accede to my request.”
No, sorry, that is not at all what I mean when I say such things.

I do not believe that "Given what I pay her, she should accede to my request."

I do believe that "Given what I pay her, I will fire her if she doesn't accede to my request."

I have fired people in the past. I do not believe those people did anything they "should" not have done; in other words, I do not believe those people are "immoral" or "evil", neither as you use the terms nor as the average person does.
You ignored my explanation of my claim, which was rather important. The reason the manager told her to file papers instead of hand-copying every book in the Brooklyn library is because he thinks, “Given what I pay her, she should accede to this request.” If you wish to disagree then you must explain why the manager issued a reasonable request rather than an unreasonable request. (It is because, in his estimation, the reasonable request will result in a better behavior-outcome.)
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmWhen you say, "don't pee on me," you are telling someone that they should not pee on you. It seems obvious and commonsensical that this is true, does it not?
No, it does not. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be the case to me, since "should not have" is so heavily correlated with "did" and "should not do" is so heavily correlated with "doing", as illustrated by the kissing example:
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Oh? So if you were peeing on someone and they said, “Don’t pee on me,” you would continue peeing on them since their words are so heavily correlated with their opposite? And if you were arrested you would tell the officer that when they said, “Don’t pee on me,” what they really meant was, “Pee on me”?
No, as I said, it's the opposite.

"Don't kiss me" is correlated with one not consenting to be kissed or not wanting to be kissed, and thus is correlated with no kissing happening.

"We shouldn't kiss" is correlated with one wanting to be kissed.
Sorry, I wrote a second post addressing this issue. I forgot to mention you in the post so you would be notified. Here is the link if you are interested:

viewtopic.php?p=436550#p436550
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIncidentally, I wouldn't personally pee on anyone, even if they came right out and said, "I consent to being peed on, please pee on me." Given the choice, I prefer to be alone when I pee, and don't like being watched. Similarly, I don't should on people even when they explicitly ask me to should on them. Perhaps because I have such big smart modest brain, I've frequently been asked by people questions like "X happened; what should I do?" or "I want to become Y; what should I do?"

I have different ways of dodging the question or getting them to rephrase, if I even respond at all. In any case, I don't should on them even when they ask for it, since there are no "shoulds" or "oughts" in my philosophy.
This may be a good example since rephrasing the question won’t change its underlying moral character. If someone asks advice and you make them rephrase before you respond, they are still asking you for advice, no matter how much you rephrase the wording. And you are still giving advice, no matter the wording. This is very much related to Anscombe’s point about intention. Rewording a request for advice doesn’t make it not a request for advice.

Heck man, if someone on the road asks for directions and you provide them then you have already engaged someone to influence their behavior a la LEp1. Similarly if someone asks you to give advice and you refuse to do so, refrain from doing so, or ask them to rephrase, you have already engaged in a moral act! Asking someone to rephrase a request is to issue a behavior-modification-utterance. This sort of thing is why I said that the human world is brimming with morality. Every time you interact with someone for 20 seconds there will be dozens of moral acts occurring.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amWhen I say I disbelieve in "moral" superstitions and that there are no 'shoulds' and 'no oughts' (and no 'try') in my philosophy, I am not talking about any and all statements that attempt to influence a human's behavior.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am But then what are you talking about when you say those things? You keep saying, “I am not saying X. I do not say Y. I would never say Z.” My question is always the same: What are you saying?
I don''t fully understand your question. What am I saying when?

In analogy, I'm not religious, so generally I don't sincerely use the word "sinful". If you ask me what I mean by the word "sinful", it's a loaded question that I cannot answer because I don't even use the word.

In fact, it's really not an analogy because since I don't believe in such superstitions, in my head they all become interchangeable.

If you start talking about or asking what the difference between 'sinfulness' and 'immorality', to me it would be like you talking about or asking about the different species of unicorns, or how to tell unicorns apart from fairies, and whether two categories would overlap on a Venn Diagram.
Okay, fair enough. You don’t tend to use those words in everyday life, and thus have no need to define them.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmWhat is your definition of "sinfulness"? What is your definition of "evil"? Those aren't rhetorical questions. I think it will help me understand you, even if it's comparing how you define those words versus "immorality" and by extension "morality".
I think Augustine provides good starting points. His definition of sin is something like, “A thought, word, or deed contrary to the divine law.” His definition of evil is, “A privation of the good.” Astro Cat wrote a thread where she argued that the privation theory of evil is false, and in my response to her you would be able to see the shape of my view. These are complicated tangents, though, and I am not trying to convince you that God exists or anything like that.

The more psychological/subjective definition of evil would be, “That which is undesirable.” For Aquinas immorality is tied up with irrationality.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.
This is helpful to know, although it is basically what I was assuming you held. In my opinion “superstitious” is more pejorative than descriptive, and “unchangeable reality” is an interpretation via your idiosyncratic philosophy, not something that is generally held by language-users. At the core of your definition, though, is something similar to LEp1 and LEp2, “Moral statements are statements that make prescriptions.” That core seems to be fairly accurate.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amFor instance, the statement, "I will pay you $20 to do the laundry" is a statement that influences my kids' behavior, and I use it and other statements like it often.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am But why isn’t this a moral statement?
For me in general, I don't consider a "moral statement" because I don't believe that my kids are "immoral" or would be "immoral" if and when they say no, meaning if and when they refuse to do the laundry.
But let’s use the definition you just provided. Are you attempting to change an unchangeable reality? You have changed reality with your statement. You have created a new reality where your child has an opportunity to earn $20. You have “prescribed” (this is too strong) that your child will confront this opportunity and make a decision. You are implicitly saying, “You should decide whether you want to do the laundry for $20.”

Note that moral relativists such as yourself usually isolate a single moral proposition, deny that they are affirming that proposition, and conclude that they are not engaging in morality. Yet it seems to me that even when they are avoiding the singled-out proposition, they are still affirming other moral propositions. You are still asking your child to give an answer to your offer, even if you “don’t believe your kids are ‘immoral’ if they say no.” Every time you ask someone a question you are attempting to influence their behavior (by implicitly imploring them to provide an answer to your question).
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am According to LEp1 it is a moral statement since it involves the moral judgment that the child will act in a certain way given the incentive.
I disagree because I don't believe the child is a rational agent.

Technically, I don't believe any humans are rational agents.

Presumably, you think some or all humans are rational agents. Do you think newborn babies rational agents? Toddlers? 5-year-olds?

What about dolphins? What about octopuses? What about elephants? What about apes and monkeys?
See LEr2.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amAnd if you utter such a thing with no expectation about any behavior of any kind whatsoever, then one would have to wonder why you even propositioned the child in the first place.
But, of course, in practice, as a silly irrational human myself, I engage in such nonsense about as much as any other human. Among a million other correct answers, I might say that I offer to pay my kids to do laundry because I'm shamelessly lazy and want the laundry to get done but would rather keep sitting and pay them then do it myself.

It's no more superstition-dependent (or "morality"-dependent) than if I lived alone as the only human on Earth and watered a plant. Watering the plant affects its behavior. As you use the terms, if the plant doesn't grow despite me watering it, does that mean the plant is "immoral"?

As you use the terms, if I lived alone as the only human on planet Earth, is my choosing to water the plant a matter "morality" since attempting to influence the plant's behavior?
As I use the terms the plant is not a rational agent or a human being.

Thinking of Jonah 4:6-11, suppose you were Jonah except you were watering the plant for shade. On my view this is a moral act vis-a-vis oneself. “I desire shade, therefore I ought to water this plant.” Similarly, “I desire clean laundry, therefore I ought to pay this kid $20.”

(NB: I am getting super tired, but I am going to finish the response since I won’t have another chance until Saturday… Quality may diminish. :eek:)
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am If you offer a child $20 to do the laundry, then you believe you should do so.
That's just false.

I do offer my child $20 to do the laundry,

I do not believe I should offer my child to the laundry.
But then you do things which you do not believe you should do, which is strange to say the least. Your Eckhartian “acting without a why” angle is fine, but in these transactional cases it seems to fall flat. Again, I am not using ‘should’ in any sort of rarefied sense. You decided to offer because you are lazy and wanted the laundry to get done. There’s still a ‘should’ in there.

The lazy fellow is sitting on his couch, eating potato chips. He knows the laundry needs doing, but he has no desire to do it. He sees a $20 bill sitting on the table and thinks to himself, “Hey! I should see if the kid will do the laundry for $20!” Thinking thusly, he calls the child to make the offer.

This is exactly what happens when lazy people pay their kid to do the laundry. The mental gymnastics routine to try to erase that ‘should’ from the equation is awkward and unrealistic to say the least. Thinking through the solution to a problem always involves ‘shoulds’. E.g. “I should set out a bucket to collect the water that is dripping from the ceiling.”
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am We don’t generally do things that we don’t think we should do.
I'm not sure what you mean by "we", but I don't think I 'should' do anything (or 'should not' do anything).

In any case, if "should do" just meant the same thing as "will do" or such, we presumably would and definitely could just use "will do", or "did do", "am doing".
Except we also plan what we will do in the future, which is where ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ come in. The father plans that the laundry might get done while he remains lazy.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIf you simply rephrase what you are saying without 'should' and 'ought' by rephrasing as what you (or someone) actually did or did not do, or will or will not, or is doing or not doing, then please do because I will then understand you much much much much better. :)
Like the example about giving advice, rephrasing won’t change the moral nature of the thing. If we plan to act in the future, or if we act for ends, then normative realities are being partaken in.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am If you walk across the street then you believe that you should walk across the street. If you clip your fingernails then you believe that you should clip your fingernails.
This is definitely not true of me since I do believe I 'should' do anything.

Anecdotally, it's also the exact opposite of the way shoulders (by which I mean people who do commonly use the word 'should') use the word should.

In my anecdotal experience, not only does "should do" not correlate so strictly with "do" but rather the opposite; it is correlated with not doing.

When someone says, "we should not kiss", they are more likely kiss than not in my experience.

When someone says, "I should be studying," they almost certainly aren't studying.

When someone says, "I shouldn't have done that," it almost they did.

The tense doesn't matter much.

If they meant "I was" or "I will", they would typically say "I was" or "I will". The very reason they say "I shouldn't kiss" instead of "I won't kiss" is because they will kiss.
Rephrasing it as “I will” won’t circumvent your difficulty unless every single thing you ‘will do’ has no rationale or why.

“I will wash the car tomorrow.”
“Are you washing it because it’s dirty?”
“No, I am washing it for no reason at all.”
“That’s good, because if you were washing it because it is dirty then your ‘will’ would imply an ‘ought’. Unfortunately for you, nobody washes cars for no reason at all.”
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am
  • LEp1: A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of rational agents.
  • LEp2: Thoughts, utterances, and actions can involve moral judgments.
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am Do you think the statement, "I do not consent to having my butt touched by you" is a "moral statement"?
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I have given a definition, and according to that definition it is a moral statement. It is a statement which involves a moral judgment (see LEp2 and LEp1).
Even if I put aside the fact that I don't think humans are rational agents, I still don't see how me expressing my lack of consent regarding have my butt touched is a "judgment about the behavior of rational agents".

Of course, my book and I both talk a lot about transcending judgementalism and such, so maybe it's the word judgement that's throwing me off. Can you explain to me what you mean by the word "judgement"?
I would want to say that a judgment is the affirmation of a conclusion in the mind (which could then also be vocalized).
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmAs you use the terms, what would a non-moral judgement be like? Can you give me an example of some non-moral judgements people make?
  • “2+2=4”
  • ”This sunset is beautiful”
  • ”This tree branch is not strong enough to bear the rope swing”
  • ”This car’s tail light is burned out”
  • ”Socrates is mortal”
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmAs you use the terms, am I understanding correctly when I say that you believe there is absolutely no such thing as a non-moral judgement about a rational agent?
This can get a bit tricky, but generally speaking, LEp1 talks about the behavior of agents. Elsewhere in our conversation I have intentionally spoken about their acts. So moral judgments are judgments about what agents do. So I might say, “Arline got hit by a tree.” That’s a judgment about an agent which is non-moral because being hit is being acted upon, not acting. It is a passion, not an action.

The tricky part popped out a little bit when you gave the example where you treat your kid the same way you treat a plant. I am way too tired to tackle such a thing right now, but generally speaking the appraisal of a moral act must take into account the subject’s knowledge, will, and intention (where intention is not limited to only what the subject stipulates it is).
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIf so, I think as you use the terms, I also disbelieve in what you call "judgement".

Based on the above, as I understand your definitions of the terms involved, I loosely suspect that I equally disbelief in "non-moral judgemental" and "moral judgements".

When I say I don't believe in what most people call "morality", I think the way to more clearly say that, in your more defined (and very reasonable) lingo, would be that I don't believe in what you call "judgement" at all. To me, if I am understanding how you use the word correctly (which is far from a given), "judgement" itself is just superstitious nonsense.
I don’t know why you could conclude that “judgement” is superstitious nonsense even before I have said what I mean by it, but hopefully now you have some idea. Another example of a judgment is, “Judgement itself is just superstitious nonsense.”
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThe relevant premise in the consent interpretation is, “They should not act contrary to my consent.”
I am not sure where you are getting that from, and (I mean this politely) it seems like a total non-sequitur to me.

When I say, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," I do not mean and it does not entail that me saying/believing, "You should act contrary to my consent."
...I assume that was a typo?
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmRather, my meaning with the sentence, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," is purely descriptive non-prescriptive; I am saying something that is almost entirely if not entirely about me. It's not a commentary/judgement or such about how I feel regarding a would-be consent-disregarding butt-toucher who might touch the butts without consent.
Consent is never entirely about you. It is always about an interaction between two people. People who say, “I do not consent to having my butt touched,” imply that their butt should not be touched (because they believe one should not act contrary to their consent). People do not use the word consent in such a way without intending to set a limit on interaction.

This is really common sense. So much of what I have been saying is just common sense. You do realize how contrary to common sense your view is? That you are engaging in a great deal of mental gymnastics in order to accommodate your philosophical premises? You’ve gotta meet me halfway here...
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am I don't really use the word 'moral', at least not sincerely, hence why I put it in quotes.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Then perhaps I am right that it is nothing more than a pejorative in your usage?
Politely, it seems to me that's a loaded question, in that it's loaded with the phrase "in your usage" meaning "in [my] usage". There is no in my usage.

I don't judge things as 'immoral' or 'moral', or really use those words at all.

But really the distinction you make between what you call "moral" versus "not moral" is mostly if not entirely moot, in regard to where your philosophy mine differ.

In other words, the difference between what you would call "moral judgements" versus "judgmental that are non-moral" is moot.

I don't believe in what you call "judgement". It's the 'judgementalism' itself that I don't do.

It's thus moot whether that judgementalism happens to be about rational agents ("moral" as you use the term) versus not about rational agents ("not moral" as you sue the term).
To call someone’s utterance or belief superstition is a judgment. You seem to be comfortable with making that judgment.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am ...Nevertheless, when one makes a moral judgment they judge some action or behavior to be good or bad. When it is judged to be good we use words like “praiseworthy,” “moral,” “good,” etc. When it is judged to be bad we use words like “blameworthy,” “immoral,” “bad,” etc.
Indeed, agreed. :)

The same can be said if you remove the word 'moral' from the above, and I likewise agree.
No, I don’t think so. Non-moral judgments are very often about what is true or false. Some would take the view that all non-moral judgments are about the true and the false.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIn other words, I would likewise agree if you said the following:
nobody wrote:When one makes a judgment they judge some action or behavior to be good or bad. When it is judged to be good we use words like “praiseworthy,” “good,” etc. When it is judged to be bad we use words like “blameworthy,” “bad,” etc.
I agree with the above too. ;) :)

By removing the word "moral", it then applies equally to rational agents as well as non-rational agents, and presumably to even non-agents.
Well, while I think we do use the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to refer to things other than the acts of rational agents, I don’t think we use ‘praiseworthy’ and ‘blameworthy’ in that way. Thus generally people would call a hurricane bad but not blameworthy (except in some sort of metaphorical sense).
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Now my purpose in this discussion is to convince you that you very often issue moral statements and make moral judgments.
I certainly do make many descriptive statements (but not "judgements") about humans, and animals, and plants, and things like hurricanes, and superorganisms like ant colonies, and suborganisms like hearts, lungs, and individual human cells, and the inhuman microbiome in each human that they cannot live without.

If any of those things are "rational agents", then I make statements about "rational agents".

But I don't think humans are "rational agents".
This goes again to LEr2, but to answer the deeper point, moral judgments are judgments about the behavior or acts of [human beings]. It isn’t just any old judgment about them. “Sally has thick hair” is a judgment about Sally, but not a moral judgment.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmOh, it is not limited to books. We were talking about your book so I mentioned books, but anyone who publishes something believes that others ought to consume it.
I disagree. I do not think that everyone who posts on the Philosophy Forums believes that it would be immoral for others to not read what they post.

Likewise, I don't think it would be immoral for you to not read my book.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I do not believe that a user on the Philosophy Forums believes that everyone should read their post. But they do believe that their interlocutor should read it, especially when the interlocutor has consented to a dialogue.
What about when someone posts an OP (i.e. a new topic)?
The ‘ought’ persists in a softer and more diffuse way. The words which followed were meant to signify this, “But when someone publishes something there is also a general expectation that it was worth publishing and that it is therefore worth reading and that it therefore ought to be read. That softer sense is something like the fisherman…”

(By “publishes” I was including those who publish an OP)
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThat softer sense is something like the fisherman who baits his hook with an appetizing bait (for the fish!) and waits in anticipation and expectation for the fish to bite. This is not moral since the fish is not a rational agent, but when he baits the hook he is thinking that the fish ought to be attracted to it. If he didn’t think that he wouldn’t drop the line in the water.
Perhaps we've spent many interesting and thought-provoking words to get this simple way of saying it:

I look at people like you look at fish.

When I see humans doing their human things, to me it's like looking at pretty fish in a fish tank doing their fishy things.

When I throw the bait of $20 to get my kids to take the bait and do my laundry for me, I look at it like you look at fisherman dropping a line in the water.


(All that is, of course, under the assumption I am correctly understanding how you look at fish and fisherman and such.)
Okay, well this is good progress. This presents an opportunity for a legitimate branch in our conversation (as opposed to what I have viewed as tangents). Given your philosophy I would want to say that you apply ‘oughts’ to humans, even when viewing them as fish, but I rather see your point...

Honestly, I would have to think through this more since there are a few different ways we could go from this point and I don’t trust my tired mind to determine which will likely be the most fruitful.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Who decides what we can and cannot control?
I am not sure what you mean by "decides". Do you mind providing a definition for that word?

In any case, are you sure it's a who not a what that does it? Are you sure it's done at all? Who decides that Mars is further away from the Sun than Earth?
Well, you say that we should not try to control what we cannot control (or else you say that you do not control what you cannot control). I am asking how we are to know what we can control and what we cannot control.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Is your book worth reading? Should people read books that are worth reading?
In regard to the first question, define "worth reading". I think it would have saved you some time and probably still would. Also, considering how interesting this discussion has been without you having it read it, it is hard to even predict how incredibly deep, interesting, thought-provoking, and revelatory a discussion would be with you after you had already read it, meaning you had already read my best answers to the questions you've asked me and will ask me. So not only does it save you the time of asking me those questions, but you get much better and clearly answer reading the book I spent over 5 years working on had edited and critiqued by professional editors before publishing and such. Additionally, after the first edition became a bestseller on Amazon, I made a few small improvements based on the feedback before releasing the current edition which is the 2nd edition. I don't know if any of the relates to what you would call it being "worth reading" though.
It sounds like you’re trying to make a case for why I ought to read your book (which is the same as why it is worth reading). :P
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIn regard to the second question, I do not believe people 'should' read anything. Or not read anything for that matter.

I certainly think that someone who says "I should read your book" won't, and I certainly think that someone who said "I should have read your book" didn't, and that someone who says "I should be reading your book" isn't. So, for those reasons, I guess I hope you believe you "shouldn't" read it, so that you will. :)
You’ve surely convinced me that I shouldn’t read your book. :D

Does it come in an audio book? I have never written a book (unless you count this post!).
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am To “value assertiveness” is to believe that you (Scott) ought to be assertive rather than non-assertive, is it not?
I don't think so. A lion might value two delicious dead fresh antelopes over one dead fresh deer (or vice versa). My son's pet eel might value warm living food over freeze-dried dead food.

I believe myself to have spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and the inner peace comes with that. It seems to me that for me to believe there is some kind of superstitious law or such that tells me what I 'ought' to be doing is incompatible with my spiritual freedom. It also seems to me to be utterly incompatible with having inner peace. An addict is in a way slave, sure, and also the addict presumably lacks what I call inner peace. A judgemental 'moralizer' (whatever that means) might be like a slave living under some kind of perceived superstitious 'moral law' (whatever that means), under which to not do what one "ought" to do (whatever that means) according to that 'moral law' (whatever means). Regardless of the exact definition of the terms, it seems to me such a person would be both lacking what I call spiritual freedom (a.k.a self-discipline) and lacking what I call inner peace (a.k.a. "true happiness).
And it is better to have spiritual freedom than not to have spiritual freedom, no? It is better to have self-discipline than not to have self-discipline? It is better to have inner peace than not to have inner peace? It is better to have true happiness than not to have true happiness? I’m not sure how you could avoid such affirmations, though I am sure you will try. ;)

I think your principles and ideas have merit, but it seems that you take them too far and push them to an extreme. One of my favorite things about Catholic thought is that it is able to hold together all sorts of tensions without falling into extremes. In your case it strikes me as extreme to reject all ‘oughts’, or to reject any ability to change things, etc. It puts too much stock in one or two premises or principles, neglecting others, and I think this is why it bucks so much against common sense.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 amTechnically, that's not even something I said. It's a title I gave to a thread.
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Propositions asserted in the titles of your threads are not things you have said?
In and of themselves alone? Not really.

Imagine the people who chose the title for the movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven".

But it's really a minor point.

I've just never happened to actually say to a person specifically, "Don't should on me."

I've always never happened to actually say "Don't pee on me" or "don't touch my butt", the former because it hasn't come up and the latter because I'm actually happy to have my butt touched.

None of them are things I would under any array of reasonable circumstances, like if someone had peanut butter all over their hands and tried to touch my butt while I was wearing a brand new pair of jeans.
Okay, haha.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I keep pointing out that you are swimming in moral statements according to my definition in LEp1. You keep asserting that you are not making moral statements, but you won’t tell me what you mean by ‘moral’ and you don’t seem to accept LEp1.
For the sake of clarity, when talking with you, I am happy to do my best from this point forward to avoid using the word "moral" in any other way besides the way you have defined in LEp1.
Okay, great.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmI don't believe humans are rational agents, so I don't think any statements or judgements by humans about humans are "moral" (as you use the term) because I don't think humans are rational agents.
Hopefully LEr2 addresses this.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You said:
Scott wrote: February 27th, 2023, 4:24 pm
Leontiskos wrote:To be clear, are you claiming that you wish to never say or do anything that would influence another person to act in one way rather than another?
No, I am not saying that.

[...]

Just as there a crucial difference between the coercion and persuasion in politics, there is a difference between imposition and voluntary free-spirited cooperation, and by extension between aggression and assertiveness, or between dishonesty manipulation and honest communication, or between requesting or encouraging or influence someone to do X versus believing it would be immoral for them to do X. While political the key difference is centered around literal violence (and by extension the dichotomy of consent), spiritually the key difference is centered around the dichotomy of control, namely in terms of accepting what one cannot control.
I interpret this to mean that you are willing to influence others via persuasion, voluntary free-spirited cooperation, assertiveness, honest communication. You are unwilling to influence others via coercion, imposition, aggression, dishonest manipulation, and violence. Or more bluntly, you think the former are good and the latter are bad.

[Color added.]
I agree with your first two sentences, but not the last one.

I wouldn't necessarily say I disagree with the last one, because, in being blunt, it's a bit unclear and ambiguous.

What I can is that I don't think I engage in the kind of 'judgement' you reference in LEp1, not towards rational agents nor other agents nor anything or anyone.
This seems important. If you are willing to influence humans through persuasion but not through coercion then you are very much acting morally, in my opinion. I know you like lists, so let’s just list some of the moral judgments involved:
  • ”It is better to influence through persuasion than through coercion.”
  • ”It is better to influence through honest communication than through dishonest manipulation.”
  • (etc.)
  • The act of persuading involves trying to convince someone that something is true or else that some course of action should be taken. Thus you are attempting to influence behavior. Further, you are involved in the moral judgment that they ought to be convinced of something or that they ought to take some course of action.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Further, you think that we ought to accept what we cannot control, and that we ought not attempt to control what we cannot control.
I do not think that.

I do think we 'ought' to do anything.
So you would not say that this proposition is true? “It is better to accept what we cannot control than to attempt to control what we cannot control”? Would you say that it’s not true and it’s not false?
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am All of these are moral beliefs and propositions via LEp1 and LEp2. Attempting to influence another’s behavior through persuasion is a moral act.
No, it's not, because--spiritually speaking--I look at look at humans more like you look at fish, or trees, or even the weather.
Yes, but the difficulty here is that the manner in which you persuade a human being is qualitatively different from the manner in which you persuade a fish. You might construct an intricate mathematical proof to convince someone that Godel’s Completeness Theorem is sound, but you would never do that for a fish. A fish is your rational inferior. A human being is your rational equal. Some human beings are your rational superiors. The act of rational persuasion—argument, syllogistic, dialogue, debate—is an act that takes place between two people who are relative equals. You don’t argue with a fish; he is not your equal. This is why coercion is thought to be evil when it comes to humans, but not when it comes to rocks. Coercion treats an equal as unequal. It is irrational. Persuasion is the manner in which an equal ought to be engaged, for it respects their autonomy and relative equality.

Given that you treat humans and fish so differently, it is likely the case that they are different. That difference is commonly referred to as rationality.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIf I am understanding you correctly, you seem to think humans, including very young human kids, are rational agents, but non-human animals are not. Is that right?
Yes.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmIronically, of the three categories of viewpoints above, I'd bet yours and mine combined are still in the minority. In other words, in my anecdotal experience, the middle one seems to be the belief most people hold, even though both you and I disagree with it.
Yes, that’s probably right. But on my view there are hints and shadows of truth in the middle view.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am You did this because you believe that you ought not contradict yourself, no?
No. I do not believe I 'ought' to not contradict myself. I do not believe I 'ought' to do anything.

Since humans are so irrational, and I am human, I actually contradict myself often.
The question is whether you try to avoid contradicting yourself or not.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Why do you keep using quotes around “ought”?
Generally, I don't use the term. So when you ask me, "Scott, do you believe you ought to do X", I will reply that "No, I do not believe 'ought' to do X". I quote the word because I'm quoting you. I wouldn't use it otherwise. I also believe that helps avoid the misunderstanding there are other 'oughts' I do believe in.

If I randomly said (without quotes or such), "I don't we ought to eat cookies," it could unwittingly give the false impression that there is ome other alternative that I do think we "ought" to do. By quoting the word, I hope it helps avoid that misunderstanding. I don't think we "ought" to eat cookies, and I don't think we "ought" to not eat cookies, and I don't think anyone or anything "ought" to do anything.
According to Merriam-Webster, ‘scare quotes’ are “quotation marks used to express especially skepticism or derision concerning the use of the enclosed word or phrase.” Isn’t that what you are doing?
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Are you going to tell me that when you send your close friend a text message you have no expectation that he will read it?
That depends what you mean by "expectation".

In my book, I briefly mention "expectation" in the chapter, "(Type 2) Temporal Enabling or Codependency (Abusive or Toxic
Pseudo-Love)".

I can and do certainly make predictions about the future, including how I predict others will behave, and how different behaviors by me now will predictably result in different behaviors by others in the future (including future Scott, who in the lingo of my book is a completely different person). How else would I (or a good AI) even play the game chess?

When confident predictions go wrong, they are revealed as miscalculations. I make those all the time. Since humans aren't rational agents, and since Scott is human, Scott makes a lot of miscalculations.
Okay.
Scott wrote: February 28th, 2023, 5:52 am
Leontiskos wrote: February 28th, 2023, 1:57 am Or if someone makes a promise to you, then they ought to fulfill it. If your brother promised to be the best man at your wedding then you would surely form the judgment that he ought to attend the wedding, no?
No. I don't think someone is "immoral" or "evil" or such because they break a promise.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Ah, but I never asked you about immorality or evil.
My apologies. To use your words to answer your question, I do not think people "ought" to keep their promises.

I might at human breaking a promise much like I'd look at dog pooping on the floor while its owner (maybe me?) is away at work. To look at such a thing, and say it "ought" not have happened to me is like pointing at kitchen and saying, "there it is! There's invisible ghost." I see the kitchen, I see the stove, but I don't see this ghost of which you speak and of which you ask about.

Humans break promises. Dogs poop.

It's ironic that those who 'expect' otherwise would often 'blame' the pooping dog or promise-breaking human for the disappointment that inevitably seems to follow from such 'expectation'.

Can one have impossible 'expectations' and what I call inner peace, or must one choose between the two? I suppose it depends how one defines 'expectation'.
Do promises exist? Do plans about the future exist? Do intentions about what one will do tomorrow exist?
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Presumably you sometimes struggle with this idea of control. Presumably you sometimes wrestle with movements within yourself to not-accept something which you cannot control. And what causes you to try to hold to your philosophy? It is the belief that your philosophy is the right way, the better way, the good way, the path that you ought to walk, etc.
I don't try, and I don't really know what it would mean for my philosophy to be "the right way", "the better way", "the good way", etc.
And I don’t believe you. Luckily, you will push away any hint of a belief that I ought to believe you. :)
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Feelings can have a moral character as well, particularly anger. When you get angry it is because you believe, among other things, that something is not right.
That's your belief, and you are entitled to it, but I don't share it. Politely and respectfully, it seems like superstitious nonsense to me.

As I see it, anger is just a subset of fear, which is namely when an animal's Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is triggered, colloquially called the fight or flight response.

It's like hunger. When a lion sees a delicious antelope walk by, it can trigger hunger. When an antelope sees a hungry lion, it can trigger an SNS response.

Someone can look in the same kitchen I'm looking and see ghosts. But I don't see them. I see what I am describing above.
I can see why you might think that anger comes from fear. Yet since your philosophy must reject fear as much as it rejects anger, my point stands intact.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Usually when I talk to moral relativists like yourself
I don't consider myself a "moral relativist". As you use the terms, it's particularly because I don't consider humans (or other animals) to be rational agents.

I don't think what you call "moral" is relative. Rather, I think it doesn't exist.

That might make me a "moral nihilist" as you would use the terms, but someone earlier in this thread referred to me as "spiritual anarchist" and I like that term. Nihilism in regard to what you call "morality" and by extension what would be "moral law" or "moral rules", while presumably accurate, seems bland to me; I like the cooler idea of being a "spiritual anarchist" in regard to those "moral" laws and "moral" rules as well what you call non-moral judgements (i.e. those that happen to be about irrational agents, or even non-agents). 8)

I don't really care if the judged thing is a rational agent or not, because it's the judgement itself that I don't share.
I would call you a moral relativist or a moral skeptic.
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmThank you,
Scott
Thanks Scott
-Leontiskos
Wrestling with Philosophy since 456 BC

Socrates: He's like that, Hippias, not refined. He's garbage, he cares about nothing but the truth.
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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, again, Leontiskos,

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am You’re welcome! :)

I should let you know that my time is getting short. I plan to again reply to you once this weekend, but after that it will probably be Eastertime before I will have enough free time for a reply (around April 9). If we haven’t concluded our conversation by this weekend I will ping you around Easter to see if you’d like to continue. If not, no problem. I realize that a hiatus can undermine a conversation.
No rush ever to reply to any my post, and I am sure I'd be willing and happy to pick up at anytime. Thank you again for intriguing conversation.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 ammy suggestion is that, for the sake of our conversation, the “rational agent” of LEp1 can be replaced by “human being.” I hope you believe in human beings? My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings. “Rational agent” is simply a more philosophically precise way to talk about the genus into which human beings fall, but if you don’t like that term it won’t affect my point.
Since I don't think human beings are rational agents and you do, I think swapping out "rational agents" with "human beings" would lead to confusion and equivocation; you would think we were talking about rational agents and I would think we were non-rational agents. So I suggest we use something that we both agree is not a rational agent. From your earlier posts, I think dogs fall into that category. So how about we go with dogs?

Thus, when you write, "My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings," that would be re-phrased to "My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of dogs."

Scott wrote:"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 amIn my opinion “superstitious” is more pejorative than descriptive
For definitions and for what you might call hard-nose philosophy, I think what matters is the denotation not the connotation. However, if you can give me a word or phrase that you consider denotatively synonymous with "superstitious" but lacking the pejorative connotations that you associate with it, I can almost certainly rephrase my definition and future replies to match.

However, for simplicity, we can just forget my attempt a definition, and instead use the modified version of yours but about dogs:


A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of agents (e.g. dogs).


Would that work?

Generally speaking, my philosophy regarding judgementalism about dogs and their decisions and behavior is the same as in regard to judgementalism about humans.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am And it is better to have spiritual freedom than not to have spiritual freedom, no? It is better to have self-discipline than not to have self-discipline? It is better to have inner peace than not to have inner peace? It is better to have true happiness than not to have true happiness?
Can you define 'better'?

I believe it's true to say that any given human or animal (e.g. the human Scott or a dog named Doggy) has preferences.

As a human I have preferences, I can express those preferences via words (e.g. "Tonight, I would prefer a glass of whiskey rather than wine, but tomorrow I would prefer the opposite."). I can also act on those preferences, such as by pouring myself a glass of whiskey instead of wine tonight and doing vice versa the next night.

Needless to say, the same goes for non-human animals. I could put down two bowls for a dog, one with water and one with food, and give the dog a choice which the dog will make based on his preferences.

As a human, and as one who practices the principle of fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot control, I think it is irrational to apply preference concepts to non-choices. I explain that in more detail in my topic, Concepts of preference only make sense when it comes to your choices (i.e. what's in your control).

To me, as I use the terms, preferences are extremely different than impotent judgements, particularly insofar as the latter involve resentment of what one cannot change nor control and/or superstitious prescriptions against uncontrollable/unchangeable reality/truths.

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am I don’t know why you could conclude that “judgement” is superstitious nonsense even before I have said what I mean by it, but hopefully now you have some idea.
Fair enough. Can you provide precise definition of "judgment" as you use the term?

Can you also define "judgmental" and "judgementalism"?

Normally, I consider all three words to just be merely grammatically different forms of the other, but you maybe have a different view. In playful analogy, someone who believes fairies actually exist would often be able to provide a complex taxonomy of all the different types of fairies and how to tell them part and such. As someone who doesn't believe they exist, I cannot do that.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am [If you could sue them] I might actually believe you when you say that trees are rational agents.
I don't think trees are rational agents. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am I can see why you might think that anger comes from fear. Yet since your philosophy must reject fear as much as it rejects anger, my point stands intact.
My philosophy does not reject fear. Likewise, my philosophy does not reject other human feelings like pain, sadness, discomfort, hunger, sexual lust, etc.

Dogs can and do feel fear. Humans, like Scott, can and do feel fear.

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Are you attempting to change an unchangeable reality?
No. As I use the terms, it is by definition impossible to change an unchangeable reality. In other words, ipso facto, it is impossible to change an unchangeable aspect of reality.

Insofar as we assume I have true choice, I would probably say I help 'create' the future, or something like that. In other words, insofar as I have choice, I help choose what the future will be. Insofar as I have true choice, I control what some certain aspects of reality in the future will be. I accept what I cannot control, and do exactly what I want with what I can.

If you want to refer to that same idea as "changing" the future, that's fine. I don't usually look at it that way, but I think it's a moot difference for the topic at hand.

I'm assuming we agree that you cannot change the past, though, correct?


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Thinking of Jonah 4:6-11, suppose you were Jonah except you were watering the plant for shade. On my view this is a moral act vis-a-vis oneself. “I desire shade, therefore I ought to water this plant.”
So you think this thing you call "morality" would still exist even in a universe with one human being?

What about a universe and/or planet with no human beings?

What if animals like dogs and cats and mice were here, but no humans?

As you use the terms, would morality still exist then? Would there be immoral dogs versus morally good dogs even though there no humans at all?

I think I just look at humans doing human things like you might look a puppy dog chasing after its own tail, or a lion chasing down an antelope.

Do you think morality existed before humans evolved? When dinosaurs were roaming the Earth, did morality exist? Were there immoral dinosaurs?


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am When I say that imperatives are moral statements you respond by saying, “But sometimes ‘don’t kiss me’ can actually mean ‘kiss me’!”
No, I didn't say that.

I agree that "don't" means "don't".

What I said is that "should" usually means in part, "did not", "is not" or "will not"; And "should not" means in part "did do", "is doing', or "will do".

So "shouldn't kiss" usually means (in part) "do kiss" or "does kiss".

In contrast, "don't kiss me" means "don't kiss me",

"Should be studying" usually means (in part) "isn't studying".

In contrast, "am not studying" means one actually is not studying.

"Is not" means "is not".

It's the "should not" that means (in part) "is".

And it's the "should" that means (in part) "is not".


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am The more psychological/subjective definition of evil would be, “That which is undesirable.”
Interesting. Then, noting that the words 'desire' and 'want' are presumably synonyms, I would point to these writings of mine:

I have inner peace because I shamelessly know I do only what I want to do, and I don't ever do what I don't want to do.

We see what we want to see, meaning what we choose to see.

Perception is almost entirely a matter of projection.

Feel free to not read them. I think the titles alone will summarize my views on those matters, and the topics can just act the individual reasons to support those particular conclusions.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am But then you do things which you do not believe you should do, which is strange to say the least. Your Eckhartian “acting without a why” angle is fine,

[Emphasis added.]
I absolutely agree with the first part, and in fact I'd make it stronger by saying: I only do things which I do not believe I "should" do. Everything I do is something I do not believe I "should" do.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am “Arline got hit by a tree.” That’s a judgment about an agent which is non-moral because being hit is being acted upon, not acting. It is a passion, not an action.
Interesting. What if Arline gets struck by a case of sleepwalking and commits a homicide while sleepwalking?

(There are at least 70+ cases of such a thing happening, many of which have made it to court.)


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThe relevant premise in the consent interpretation is, “They should not act contrary to my consent.”
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmI am not sure where you are getting that from, and (I mean this politely) it seems like a total non-sequitur to me.

When I say, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," I do not mean and it does not entail that me saying/believing, "You should act contrary to my consent."
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am ...I assume that was a typo?
I am often blind to my own typos no matter how much I proofread my reading, and I'm not sure.

In any case, to clarify please consider the following three statements:

1. I, Scott, do not consent to being forced-fed tuna fish.

2. You 'should' act contrary to my consent.

3. You 'should' not act contrary to my consent.



I do believe #1. I do not believe #2 or #3.

#1 is a descriptive statement about what actually is (and/or what actually was and what actually will be).

In contrast, as I can best interpret their meaning (if anything utter nonsense), #2 and #3 would be superstitiously prescriptive judgementalism.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Well, you say that we should not try to control what we cannot control (or else you say that you do not control what you cannot control). I am asking how we are to know what we can control and what we cannot control.
I do not say or think that we "should" not try to control what we cannot control.

Since humans are irrational, many humans very often try to control what they cannot control, even if at many levels they know they cannot control it. Humans often in engage in denial and self-deceit.

Thus, it is a guaranteed fact that humans engage in that behavior. For me to have in my head and heart a judgmental prescription that they don't do what I know they will do would be me failing to accept what I cannot control.

In this case, the thing I cannot control is the truth of the fact that other humans will engage in that behavior.

As to how one can know what they can control versus not control, or what can be changed versus not changed, my answer for simplicity here would be that the answer is the same as the way we can know anything. How do you know the population of Spain? How do you know if Big Foot exists? How do you know if the moon landing was faked?

Ultimately, to answer such a question fully would be to resolve a whole branch of philosophy: epistemology. But, loosely, for me, I'd say we can use empirical evidence and logical reasoning. We can use other conceptual tools such as Occam's Razor.

In any case, knowledge is not necessarily needed. We can work under mere beliefs. For instance, I don't know for sure that I cannot change the past, but I work under the confident belief that I cannot change the past, so in practice the past being the way it is is one unchangeable aspect of reality (i.e. something I can neither control nor change).

Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Does it come in an audio book?
It's not an audiobook yet, but it's going to be soon, roughly maybe in two months.


Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Do promises exist? Do plans about the future exist? Do intentions about what one will do tomorrow exist?
I would say so, at least as much as solid tables and solid chairs and the so.


Thank you again for the thought-provoking discussion!

Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Stoppelmann »

Scott wrote: February 21st, 2023, 1:50 am To reiterate some points:

I do not believe we 'should' or 'ought' to use defensive force.

I have used defensive force in the past, and if the opportunity unfortunately presents itself again, I will use it again.

The above two sentences do not contradict. If you think you do, then (with no hard feelings) I strongly believe you are misunderstanding at least one of them drastically.
The way I use the words, I express less expectations or obligations, particularly in the context of moral or ethical reasoning, and more in a grammatical context. However, saying to a young person "you should be honest" implies a normative standard that we expect people to live up to, and can help guide behaviour towards that standard. There are ways around using that word, and it may be more helpful to frame expectations in terms of goals or values, rather than as absolute imperatives, but sometimes it is necessary to use the most straightforward language.

The problem we have is that you say that you have no moral and ethical reasoning. That is why for you, the use of "should" or "ought" is problematic. You see these words as prescriptive and judgmental, implying that there is only one right way to do things. If you only see the use of these words as creating a sense of guilt or shame, but that would only be true if the expectations are unrealistic or when the person is already struggling with self-esteem or mental health issues.

I asked AI the following question:
“Are the two sentences contradictory?
I do not believe we 'should' or 'ought' to use defensive force.
I have used defensive force in the past, and if the opportunity unfortunately presents itself again, I will use it again.”

The answer from AI was:
“Yes, the two sentences appear to be contradictory. The first sentence suggests that the speaker does not believe it is appropriate to use defensive force, while the second sentence implies that the speaker has used it in the past and is willing to use it again in the future.
It's possible that the speaker is trying to convey a nuanced perspective on the use of defensive force, but the phrasing of the two sentences together creates a conflicting message.”
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Leontiskos »

Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm Hi, again, Leontiskos,
Hello, Scott,
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am You’re welcome! :)

I should let you know that my time is getting short. I plan to again reply to you once this weekend, but after that it will probably be Eastertime before I will have enough free time for a reply (around April 9). If we haven’t concluded our conversation by this weekend I will ping you around Easter to see if you’d like to continue. If not, no problem. I realize that a hiatus can undermine a conversation.
No rush ever to reply to any my post, and I am sure I'd be willing and happy to pick up at anytime. Thank you again for intriguing conversation.
Alright, sounds good.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 ammy suggestion is that, for the sake of our conversation, the “rational agent” of LEp1 can be replaced by “human being.” I hope you believe in human beings? My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings. “Rational agent” is simply a more philosophically precise way to talk about the genus into which human beings fall, but if you don’t like that term it won’t affect my point.
Since I don't think human beings are rational agents and you do, I think swapping out "rational agents" with "human beings" would lead to confusion and equivocation; you would think we were talking about rational agents and I would think we were non-rational agents.
Let me try to address this idea that I left hanging:
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 amThat softer sense is something like the fisherman who baits his hook with an appetizing bait (for the fish!) and waits in anticipation and expectation for the fish to bite. This is not moral since the fish is not a rational agent, but when he baits the hook he is thinking that the fish ought to be attracted to it. If he didn’t think that he wouldn’t drop the line in the water.
Perhaps we've spent many interesting and thought-provoking words to get this simple way of saying it:

I look at people like you look at fish.

When I see humans doing their human things, to me it's like looking at pretty fish in a fish tank doing their fishy things.

When I throw the bait of $20 to get my kids to take the bait and do my laundry for me, I look at it like you look at fisherman dropping a line in the water.


(All that is, of course, under the assumption I am correctly understanding how you look at fish and fisherman and such.)
Okay, well this is good progress. This presents an opportunity for a legitimate branch in our conversation (as opposed to what I have viewed as tangents). Given your philosophy I would want to say that you apply ‘oughts’ to humans, even when viewing them as fish, but I rather see your point...

Honestly, I would have to think through this more since there are a few different ways we could go from this point and I don’t trust my tired mind to determine which will likely be the most fruitful.
This is the argument that you seem to be making:
  1. Fish are not rational agents. {Leontiskos’ premise, accepted for the sake of argument}
  2. If one treats a human being the same way they would treat a fish, then they are not treating the human being as a rational agent. {From 1}
  3. Scott treats human beings the same way he treats fish. {Premise}
  4. Therefore, Scott does not treat human beings as rational agents. {From 2 & 3}
  5. Therefore, Scott does not engage in moral judgments via LEp1.

I suppose my answer is threefold. First I would dispute (3). I argued against (3) in my last post when I pointed out that you try to persuade, via argument, human beings but not fish or rocks. You are averse to coercing human beings but you are not averse to coercing rocks, etc. The reason you treat them differently is because they are different sorts of things, namely one is rational and the other two are not. The same would apply to your other means of influencing behavior, such as honesty/dishonesty, cooperation/violence, etc.

Second, when we interact with something, even if it is a fish, we are usually issuing ‘oughts’ to ourselves, and these ‘oughts’ are moral judgments according to LEp1. Let’s stick with fishing. Here are some of the ‘oughts’ involved in the simple act of fishing:
  • ”I want to catch fish, therefore I ought to go fishing.”
  • ”I want to go fishing, therefore I ought to put my boat in the water.”
  • ”I want to catch fish, therefore I ought to bait my hook and drop my line into the water.”
  • ”I want to bring this fish into the boat, therefore I ought to reel him in.”
  • ”I want this fish to stay fresh, therefore I ought to put him in the live well.”
So when someone interacts with a fish they are also interacting with themselves via their reason, and these acts of reasoning entail ‘oughts’. Some people think this sort of ‘ought’ is a non-moral ‘ought’, but according to my view and LEp1 it is a moral ‘ought’, and it is also something which you profess to reject because of your philosophy, and therefore it is relevant here.

Third, there are also the simple acts of prediction, expectation, and adjusting one’s behavior accordingly. This is an act vis-a-vis the fish, but it is not a moral act. For example, “I am using worms because I want to catch bass, and bass like worms.” Here my focus is not on the implied ‘ought’, but rather on the idea that reality is predictable to some extent, and the future is predictable to some extent, and therefore it is possible to change reality by interacting with these predictable realities. The fisherman, for instance, wishes to change the fish’s location, from the lake to his refrigerator. It seems to me that this obvious fact, albeit unrelated to morality, is another strong argument against your philosophy.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmSo I suggest we use something that we both agree is not a rational agent. From your earlier posts, I think dogs fall into that category. So how about we go with dogs?

Thus, when you write, "My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of human beings," that would be re-phrased to "My purpose in this thread is to show you that you make judgments about the behavior of dogs."
I don't see how this would help us much, although answers (2) and (3) above should cover dogs as well.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Scott wrote:"Moral statements" are statements that make superstitious prescriptions against unchangeable reality.
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 amIn my opinion “superstitious” is more pejorative than descriptive
For definitions and for what you might call hard-nose philosophy, I think what matters is the denotation not the connotation. However, if you can give me a word or phrase that you consider denotatively synonymous with "superstitious" but lacking the pejorative connotations that you associate with it, I can almost certainly rephrase my definition and future replies to match.
If you don't think 'superstitious' is a pejorative word, then you should go ahead and provide a definition of that word so we know what you are talking about.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmHowever, for simplicity, we can just forget my attempt a definition, and instead use the modified version of yours but about dogs:

A judgment is a moral judgment if and only if it is a judgment about the behavior of agents (e.g. dogs).

Would that work?
Like I said, this relates to answers (2) and (3) to your argument, but not (1).
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmGenerally speaking, my philosophy regarding judgementalism about dogs and their decisions and behavior is the same as in regard to judgementalism about humans.
The problem is that most everyone rejects judgmentalism with respect to dogs, because dogs are not rational or moral agents. Putting a dog on the stand in a court of law would be similar to putting that hurricane on the stand.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am And it is better to have spiritual freedom than not to have spiritual freedom, no? It is better to have self-discipline than not to have self-discipline? It is better to have inner peace than not to have inner peace? It is better to have true happiness than not to have true happiness?
Can you define 'better'?

I believe it's true to say that any given human or animal (e.g. the human Scott or a dog named Doggy) has preferences.

As a human I have preferences, I can express those preferences via words (e.g. "Tonight, I would prefer a glass of whiskey rather than wine, but tomorrow I would prefer the opposite."). I can also act on those preferences, such as by pouring myself a glass of whiskey instead of wine tonight and doing vice versa the next night.

Needless to say, the same goes for non-human animals. I could put down two bowls for a dog, one with water and one with food, and give the dog a choice which the dog will make based on his preferences.

As a human, and as one who practices the principle of fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot control, I think it is irrational to apply preference concepts to non-choices. I explain that in more detail in my topic, Concepts of preference only make sense when it comes to your choices (i.e. what's in your control).

To me, as I use the terms, preferences are extremely different than impotent judgements, particularly insofar as the latter involve resentment of what one cannot change nor control and/or superstitious prescriptions against uncontrollable/unchangeable reality/truths.
But why are you talking about impotent judgments? You seem to be falling into those pejoratives again. Nobody promotes impotent judgments, superstition, moralizing, etc. I think you are superstitious and you think I am superstitious, but there is no use flinging those pejorative terms around and pretending that we have made an argument.

I agree with you when you say that concepts of preferences only make sense when it comes to choices, and I think humans make choices but dogs do not. Dogs just follow their instincts. They don't make proper choices. And so when I attribute to you the judgments that "It is better to have spiritual freedom than not to have spiritual freedom," I am implying that you have made a choice in favor of the one.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am I don’t know why you could conclude that “judgement” is superstitious nonsense even before I have said what I mean by it, but hopefully now you have some idea.
Fair enough. Can you provide precise definition of "judgment" as you use the term?
I already did that in my last post, and in the same place I explained why the deductions you have drawn with respect to that term are mistaken on my definition, and I also gave a number of non-moral examples of judgments, which you asked for. Here is the definition again:
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 amI would want to say that a judgment is the affirmation of a conclusion in the mind (which could then also be vocalized).
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmCan you also define "judgmental" and "judgementalism"?
This would be similar to what I said about "moralizing":
Leontiskos wrote: February 26th, 2023, 8:53 pmLet me offer something else to give you more access to my view. I don't generally use the pejorative "moralizing," but insofar as I see it as a viable verb it would not for me merely connote imperative actions, language, or intentions. One who issues a moral statement or an imperative statement is not necessarily moralizing. It rather depends on the manner in which one is issuing such statements. "Don't have an abortion," is an imperative (and therefore moral) statement, but whether the speaker is moralizing depends on the circumstances.
We could say that as moralizing involves excessive recourse to moral statements, so judgmentalism involves excessive recourse to (moral) judgments. "Judgmentalism" really is talking about moral judgments, since it refers to the actions of other people.

For example, when Aquinas explains what we today refer to as the prohibition against "judgmentalism," he says:

"In these words our Lord forbids rash judgment which is about the inward intention, or other uncertain things..." (link).
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Are you attempting to change an unchangeable reality?
No. As I use the terms, it is by definition impossible to change an unchangeable reality. In other words, ipso facto, it is impossible to change an unchangeable aspect of reality.

Insofar as we assume I have true choice, I would probably say I help 'create' the future, or something like that. In other words, insofar as I have choice, I help choose what the future will be. Insofar as I have true choice, I control what some certain aspects of reality in the future will be. I accept what I cannot control, and do exactly what I want with what I can.

If you want to refer to that same idea as "changing" the future, that's fine. I don't usually look at it that way, but I think it's a moot difference for the topic at hand.

I'm assuming we agree that you cannot change the past, though, correct?
Yes, I agree with this, but I have given multiple arguments to the effect that if the future can be "changed" then the past remains contingent. The past is not strictly necessary since the future, which can be "changed," flows into the past, and hence the past might have been different. This is what people are talking about when they talk about regrets.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Thinking of Jonah 4:6-11, suppose you were Jonah except you were watering the plant for shade. On my view this is a moral act vis-a-vis oneself. “I desire shade, therefore I ought to water this plant.”
So you think this thing you call "morality" would still exist even in a universe with one human being?
Yes.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmWhat about a universe and/or planet with no human beings?
No.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmWhat if animals like dogs and cats and mice were here, but no humans?
No.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmAs you use the terms, would morality still exist then? Would there be immoral dogs versus morally good dogs even though there no humans at all?
No, as dogs are not rational agents.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmI think I just look at humans doing human things like you might look a puppy dog chasing after its own tail, or a lion chasing down an antelope.
In my last post I gave an argument regarding persuasion and coercion to show that you treat humans and fish quite differently, but you ignored that argument. Here it is again:
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am All of these are moral beliefs and propositions via LEp1 and LEp2. Attempting to influence another’s behavior through persuasion is a moral act.
No, it's not, because--spiritually speaking--I look at look at humans more like you look at fish, or trees, or even the weather.
Yes, but the difficulty here is that the manner in which you persuade a human being is qualitatively different from the manner in which you persuade a fish. You might construct an intricate mathematical proof to convince someone that Godel’s Completeness Theorem is sound, but you would never do that for a fish. A fish is your rational inferior. A human being is your rational equal. Some human beings are your rational superiors. The act of rational persuasion—argument, syllogistic, dialogue, debate—is an act that takes place between two people who are relative equals. You don’t argue with a fish; he is not your equal. This is why coercion is thought to be evil when it comes to humans, but not when it comes to rocks. Coercion treats an equal as unequal. It is irrational. Persuasion is the manner in which an equal ought to be engaged, for it respects their autonomy and relative equality.

Given that you treat humans and fish so differently, it is likely the case that they are different. That difference is commonly referred to as rationality.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am When I say that imperatives are moral statements you respond by saying, “But sometimes ‘don’t kiss me’ can actually mean ‘kiss me’!”
No, I didn't say that.

I agree that "don't" means "don't".
Okay, it was "We shouldn't kiss" that you spoke about earlier, rather than, "Don't kiss me."
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am The more psychological/subjective definition of evil would be, “That which is undesirable.”
Interesting. Then, noting that the words 'desire' and 'want' are presumably synonyms, I would point to these writings of mine:

I have inner peace because I shamelessly know I do only what I want to do, and I don't ever do what I don't want to do.

We see what we want to see, meaning what we choose to see.

Perception is almost entirely a matter of projection.

Feel free to not read them. I think the titles alone will summarize my views on those matters, and the topics can just act the individual reasons to support those particular conclusions.
Yes, your philosophy precludes akrasia.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am But then you do things which you do not believe you should do, which is strange to say the least. Your Eckhartian “acting without a why” angle is fine,

[Emphasis added.]
I absolutely agree with the first part, and in fact I'd make it stronger by saying: I only do things which I do not believe I "should" do. Everything I do is something I do not believe I "should" do.
I agree, but you should affirm this without recourse to the scare quotes. Else, if "should" is a word that you don't understand, just like "moral" is a word you don't understand, then see LEr3 (link).
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am “Arline got hit by a tree.” That’s a judgment about an agent which is non-moral because being hit is being acted upon, not acting. It is a passion, not an action.
Interesting. What if Arline gets struck by a case of sleepwalking and commits a homicide while sleepwalking?

(There are at least 70+ cases of such a thing happening, many of which have made it to court.)
The courts rightly interpret such an event as mitigating agency and therefore responsibility, much like an "insanity defense."
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pmWhen I say, "I do not consent to having my butt touched," I do not mean and it does not entail that me saying/believing, "You should act contrary to my consent."
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am ...I assume that was a typo?
I am often blind to my own typos no matter how much I proofread my reading, and I'm not sure.

In any case, to clarify please consider the following three statements:

1. I, Scott, do not consent to being forced-fed tuna fish.

2. You 'should' act contrary to my consent.

3. You 'should' not act contrary to my consent.



I do believe #1. I do not believe #2 or #3.

#1 is a descriptive statement about what actually is (and/or what actually was and what actually will be).

In contrast, as I can best interpret their meaning (if anything utter nonsense), #2 and #3 would be superstitiously prescriptive judgementalism.
Then you hold both of these simultaneously, which is a soft contradiction. Suppose Joe is about to force-feed you tuna fish:

1. "Joe, I do not consent to being force-fed tuna fish."
2. "Joe, I do not believe you should heed my consent."
2a. "Joe, I do not believe you should abstain from acting contrary to my consent."
2b. "Joe, I do not believe that you should not force-feed me tuna fish."

(2a and 2b are effectively equivalent to 2)

And all of this makes me think you don't actually understand what 'should' means, or what 'consent' means. No one tells Joe that they do not consent to being force-fed tuna fish if they have no opinion on whether he should or should not force-feed them tuna fish.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Well, you say that we should not try to control what we cannot control (or else you say that you do not control what you cannot control). I am asking how we are to know what we can control and what we cannot control.
I do not say or think that we "should" not try to control what we cannot control.

Since humans are irrational, many humans very often try to control what they cannot control, even if at many levels they know they cannot control it. Humans often in engage in denial and self-deceit.

Thus, it is a guaranteed fact that humans engage in that behavior. For me to have in my head and heart a judgmental prescription that they don't do what I know they will do would be me failing to accept what I cannot control.

In this case, the thing I cannot control is the truth of the fact that other humans will engage in that behavior.
Okay.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmAs to how one can know what they can control versus not control, or what can be changed versus not changed, my answer for simplicity here would be that the answer is the same as the way we can know anything. How do you know the population of Spain? How do you know if Big Foot exists? How do you know if the moon landing was faked?

Ultimately, to answer such a question fully would be to resolve a whole branch of philosophy: epistemology. But, loosely, for me, I'd say we can use empirical evidence and logical reasoning. We can use other conceptual tools such as Occam's Razor.

In any case, knowledge is not necessarily needed. We can work under mere beliefs. For instance, I don't know for sure that I cannot change the past, but I work under the confident belief that I cannot change the past, so in practice the past being the way it is is one unchangeable aspect of reality (i.e. something I can neither control nor change).
But then it seems to me that you ought rather to speak about, "Trying to control what one believes they cannot control," instead of, "Trying to control what cannot be controlled." Because surely, as with the population of Spain, your opinion is not fact. This is perhaps why your claim is so perplexing: because it seems to imply that you have certain epistemological knowledge of what can and cannot be changed, and thus are able to talk about what "cannot be controlled" (full stop). I of course agree that we should not try to control what we do not believe can be controlled. I think most everyone would agree with that. What I disagree with is whether some particular reality can be controlled. For example, I fault someone for falling into logical fallacies because I believe they are capable of controlling themselves to avoid such things, whereas you apparently believe they cannot do so (because you say that if you tried to control such a thing you would be trying to control the uncontrollable).
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Does it come in an audio book?
It's not an audiobook yet, but it's going to be soon, roughly maybe in two months.
Okay, good to know. :)
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Do promises exist? Do plans about the future exist? Do intentions about what one will do tomorrow exist?
I would say so, at least as much as solid tables and solid chairs and the so.
Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmThank you again for the thought-provoking discussion!
You're welcome, and thank you for the discussion and your patience.

Take care,
-Leontiskos
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Leontiskos »

Scott, I should add an addendum. The first part of that post, where I summarized your argument and offered three replies, was written before I read your response. I had meant to clean up the third reply after consulting some of your threads, to show why I think it sticks, but I ran out of time. If you think the third reply is based on a misunderstanding feel free to disregard it. Here it is again:
Leontiskos wrote: March 4th, 2023, 5:26 pm Third, there are also the simple acts of prediction, expectation, and adjusting one’s behavior accordingly. This is an act vis-a-vis the fish, but it is not a moral act. For example, “I am using worms because I want to catch bass, and bass like worms.” Here my focus is not on the implied ‘ought’, but rather on the idea that reality is predictable to some extent, and the future is predictable to some extent, and therefore it is possible to change reality by interacting with these predictable realities. The fisherman, for instance, wishes to change the fish’s location, from the lake to his refrigerator. It seems to me that this obvious fact, albeit unrelated to morality, is another strong argument against your philosophy.
In short, the reason I think it sticks is because we very often use words like ‘ought’ when we talk about future actions which are uncertain. So for instance, if my friend sends me a wedding invite to his wedding in Timbuktu next year, I may have a desire to attend while at the same time not knowing what the future holds. I might tell him, “I will try to attend your wedding next year,” or, “I hope to attend your wedding.” I might deliberate with myself, “I ought to attend his wedding - he is a close friend,” or, “I should attend that wedding, although it may be difficult to arrange air fare.”

Thus to reject words like, “try,” “should,” “ought”, etc., seems to entail rejecting things related to planning for the future, such as promises, future-oriented intentions, plans, etc.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Leontiskos »

Stoppelmann wrote: March 3rd, 2023, 1:20 am The problem we have is that you say that you have no moral and ethical reasoning. That is why for you, the use of "should" or "ought" is problematic. You see these words as prescriptive and judgmental, implying that there is only one right way to do things. If you only see the use of these words as creating a sense of guilt or shame, but that would only be true if the expectations are unrealistic or when the person is already struggling with self-esteem or mental health issues.
Yes, I think this is right.

Also, rationally affirmed desires imply ‘oughts’, whether or not those ‘oughts’ are spoken out loud. “I desire to be honest,” entails the judgment that I ought to be honest. “I desire to not contradict myself,” entails the judgment that I ought not contradict myself. “I desire spiritual freedom,” entails the judgment that I ought to pursue spiritual freedom, etc. The same goes for rationally affirmed desires relating to other people, whether they are the above desires or others, such as, “I desire that my friend read the text message I have sent him.”

The fact that spoken ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ often have some interesting implications—such as the implication that one is resisting the ‘should’—does not bear on the underlying reality of normativity, which can exist independently of such implications. Yet even the implications are not problematic, as I noted <here>. Besides, if one accepts future planning in the form of intentions, promises, plans, etc., then they must also accept ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’, and ‘tries’. Searle’s famous paper on the is-ought problem is perspicacious on this question of promises.
Stoppelmann wrote: March 3rd, 2023, 1:20 am I asked AI the following question:
“Are the two sentences contradictory?…
I think the heart of this is that one cannot simultaneously use scare quotes and purport to be saying something meaningful vis-a-vis the quoted term. Similarly, one cannot be wielding a term pejoratively and simultaneously purport to convey a meaningful criticism that goes beyond likes and dislikes. Cf. GEr3.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, Leontiskos,

Thank you for your replies! :)


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am If you don't think 'superstitious' is a pejorative word, then you should go ahead and provide a definition of that word so we know what you are talking about.
How about the following as a definition superstition:

Something that is supernatural, paranormal, or literally magical; in other words, something that lacks empirical evidence and would typically be shaved off by a strict full use of Occam's razor

?


I use it similarly to the word religious, but much broader.

I respect religious people and their diverse very different religions and diverse very different religious beliefs. Likewise, I respect people who have other non-religious supernatural/paranormal beliefs, of which there are many different ones. I am a man who appreciates diversity: I am happy to look up each day and see different clouds and different weather.

I have good friends who believe mermaids are real. I have good friends who believe alien abductions are real. I have good friends who believe in astrology. I would never intentionally use a pejorative against them and their beliefs.

I have good friends who believe humans and humans alone have magical souls, starting from conception, such that a human embryo in a petri dish has a soul and a dolphin does not. I would never intentionally use a pejorative against them and their beliefs.

Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pm As a human I have preferences, I can express those preferences via words (e.g. "Tonight, I would prefer a glass of whiskey rather than wine, but tomorrow I would prefer the opposite."). I can also act on those preferences, such as by pouring myself a glass of whiskey instead of wine tonight and doing vice versa the next night.

Needless to say, the same goes for non-human animals. I could put down two bowls for a dog, one with water and one with food, and give the dog a choice which the dog will make based on his preferences.
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am I think humans make choices but dogs do not.
I think the above point of disagreement is perhaps the key one for us.

The word 'choice' (and by extension words like 'willpower', 'self-discipline', 'self-control', 'souls', 'spirits', 'free will', etc.) can be equivocal, so let me say it like this:

If humans make choices, then I believe dogs also make choices.

If dogs cannot make choices, then I believe humans also cannot make choices.


As I see it, I look at humans and humans doing human things like you look at dogs doing dog things. I look at humans interacting with each other and the world around them the way you look at dogs interacting with each other and the world around them.

The way you don't see what you call "morality" when you look at dogs interacting is the way I don't see what you call "morality" when I look at humans interacting.

The way you don't engage in judgementalism when you look at dogs doing things and interacting with each other is the way I don't engage in judgementalism when I look at humans doing things and interacting with each other.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am
Scott wrote: March 1st, 2023, 7:58 pm
Leontiskos wrote: March 1st, 2023, 1:23 am Attempting to influence another’s behavior through persuasion is a moral act.
No, it's not, because--spiritually speaking--I look at look at humans more like you look at fish, or trees, or even the weather.
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Yes, but the difficulty here is that the manner in which you persuade a human being is qualitatively different from the manner in which you persuade a fish. You might construct an intricate mathematical proof to convince someone that Godel’s Completeness Theorem is sound, but you would never do that for a fish. A fish is your rational inferior.
A Spanish-speaking 3-year-old human child is also my rational inferior (because of its age not its different language), and likewise I wouldn't typically reason with that child or throw mathematical proofs at him or her.

I would not "construct an intricate mathematical proof to convince someone that Godel’s Completeness Theorem is sound" for most humans. My perception of their intelligence and/or "rationality" is one factor, but the commonality of language or lack thereof is another, of countless.

There is a lot I would do in regard to a fluent English speaker than someone who is not fluent in English. An English-speaker and a Spanish-only-speaker are different, and as relevant to my preferences and the circumstances, I would treat them differently according to those differences. Likewise, a dog will treat a cat and a dog differently based on the perceived differences.

If super-intelligent aliens came to Earth, I would treat them differently than humans but it wouldn't be based solely on my perception of their rationality.

Bottlenose dolphins speak two different languages depending on what species of dolphin they are speaking to. While I am not bilingual, many dolphins are. They behave differently and speak differently towards different dolphins, namely based on which language they believe that other dolphin will most likely understand or not. The dolphin might not bother to attempt to communicate to you or I at all, at least not with either of the two spoken languages it knows. That is, of course, insofar as it perceives that you and I are unable to understand its language. It might look at communicating to us as being as futile as you or I look ate communicating to a fish or elephant.


Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am A human being is your rational equal. Some human beings are your rational superiors.
Correct me if I'm misunderstanding, but the above two sentences seems to blatantly contradict.

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am The act of rational persuasion—argument, syllogistic, dialogue, debate—is an act that takes place between two people who are relative equals. You don’t argue with a fish; he is not your equal.
Sure, I agree. Nonetheless, there are two key points to also keep in mind:

1. The relative near-equality in rationality of the interlocutor is only one criteria. There are plenty of people/things that are just as rational if not more rational than I am, but with whom I would not bother communicating in English for a variety of other reasons.

2. There are many humans who I would not bother using rational persuasion (including verbal/written argument, syllogistic, dialogue, debate etc.) precisely because I don't believe they are rational enough to understand it. For example, the average 3-year-old human child is less intelligent and rational than some animals, as shown by countless scientific experiments. The same may go for an adult human who is very drunk, or who isn't currently drunk but who has been rendered practically nonverbal and borderline brain-dead from decades of severe alcohol abuse--or some kind of freak accident causing severe brain damage.

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am Given that you treat humans and fish so differently, it is likely the case that they are different.
Humans and fish are different. Cats and dogs are different. Dogs and fish are different. Laundry and dishes are different. A dog will treat a cat and a mouse differently. I will treat laundry and dishes differently. The bowl with food and the bowl with water are different. The dog will treat the two bowls differently.

Some animals are more intelligent than some humans. Some animals are more rational than some humans.

I will treat a very rational human differently than I will treat a very irrational human.

I will treat a more intelligent animal such as a dog or dolphin differently than I would treat a less intelligent one like a goldfish.

Rationality and intelligence are one set of factors, but there are many. For example, I would attempt to communicate with or reason with a dog more than I would a cat, even if I might think the cat is more rational and more intelligent.

Generally, I don't engage in judgementalism, regardless, at all.

Surely, you too treat different animals differently based on how intelligent and/or rational you think they are, as well as how you think you can communicate with them. But does that mean you are more judgmental towards dogs than fish? From what you have said, I believe the answer is no. You do not engage in any judgementalism towards dogs or fish at all despite dogs being much more intelligent and rational than goldfish. I am the same way; I just don't make the special exception you do for humans and humans alone. In a way, it's actually very small disagreement we have; it's this thing that you seem to think makes humans and humans alone so special and uniquely worthy of judgement.

Without judgmentalism towards either at all, I might treat two very different humans differently for the same reason you might treat two very different dogs differently.

Without judgementalism towards either at all, you and I would both treat goldfish and dogs and monkeys differently, in part based on our estimation of their species's typical intelligence and rationality among many other factors and differences.

We agree on everything, it seems, as long as we simply pretend humans do not exist.

I just don't share the special exception you make for humans and humans alone.


Scott wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 4:17 pmGenerally speaking, my philosophy regarding judgementalism about dogs and their decisions and behavior is the same as in regard to judgementalism about humans.
Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am The problem is that most everyone rejects judgmentalism with respect to dogs, because dogs are not rational or moral agents.
I agree that most people are much more judgmental about humans than non-human animals, let alone things like trees and hurricanes.

I think that also explains why it is so easy to mis-project such judgementalism into my actions, my explicit statements, or my beliefs. It's easy to make the mistake of thinking I think like most people do. It's easy for one to read between the lines of what I say to (incorrectly) see me as also saying things I do not believe but that most people do believe. So to understand me accurately one would need to take especial care to focus on what I explicitly say and its denotative meaning, rather than reading between the lines or such.

In that way, if one assumes that I am like most people, then one will have tendencies to misunderstand my statements and motivations, such as by reading a judgmental tone into my written words that isn't there, or reading between the lines of what I explicitly say to be saying judgmental 'oughts' or such. Me choosing between drinking coffee or tea is like a dog choosing between drinking water or eating food; I imply no oughts by it.

It's also why I go out of my way sometimes to explicitly deny such possible misinterpretations, such as by explicitly stating very early on in the OP that there are absolutely no 'oughts' in my philosophy at all, and that I would not and cannot say what a "government should do" (whatever that means).

Whatever special category you think all humans are in and no animals are in is a special category I don't believe exists, or at least its a category I don't think humans are in.

Leontiskos wrote: March 2nd, 2023, 3:27 am But why are you talking about impotent judgments? [...] Nobody promotes impotent judgments, superstition, moralizing, etc.
Anecdotally, most of the time that I hear people use terms like 'ought' or 'should' it is quite clearly about things they do not control and that they know they do not control. In fact, in my anecdotal experience, they usually use the terms in the past tense to refer to things that already happened but "should not have happened" (whatever that means as they use the terms). I much more often hear, "I should not have drank that," then "I should not drink that". When I do hear the latter, it's usually followed by the person drinking it, whatever it is.

I have talked to many people who believe hurricanes are "evil" (as they use the term). In my topic, three questions for people who believe evil actually exists, most people answered the second and third questions in the negative (meaning the things they think are immoral/evil are things they believe are not in their control and cannot be changed by them), and then they gave specific examples, which I would typically ask for. So you can check out that thread to see all the various things different people see as "evil"/"immoral" (as they use the terms) that are out of their own control, and thus towards which they could not possibly make a potent anything.


Leontiskos wrote: March 4th, 2023, 5:26 pm Third, there are also the simple acts of prediction, expectation, and adjusting one’s behavior accordingly. This is an act vis-a-vis the fish, but it is not a moral act. For example, “I am using worms because I want to catch bass, and bass like worms.” Here my focus is not on the implied ‘ought’, but rather on the idea that reality is predictable to some extent, and the future is predictable to some extent, and therefore it is possible to change reality by interacting with these predictable realities. The fisherman, for instance, wishes to change the fish’s location, from the lake to his refrigerator. It seems to me that this obvious fact, albeit unrelated to morality, is another strong argument against your philosophy.
It is a wise to ask about such things.

I addressed the subject of prediction and expectation in my topic, Letting go of expectation | How clinging to the superstitions of expectation and blame disrupts your inner peace.

As to the primary disagreement in general (e.g. whether animals like dogs can make predictions and choices etc.), many mind-body dualists would disagree with me about the following, as would many people who believe humans and humans alone have a 'soul' or such (whatever that means to them), as would many people who believe in any kind of superstition that separates humans from all the other animals in a binary black-and-white way:

I don't believe humans and humans alone have some kind of special magic-like power to exercise free choice and determine the future more than non-human animals, or even necessarily more than a computer robot for that matter.

I'm not saying you do; I am just saying I don't.

I'm not sure why you think humans can make choices but dogs cannot. I am happy and eager to learn more about it.



Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Belindi »

Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted. As in, if government doesn't make any rules that services need to be available to all, would that make the inequalities and injustices better or worse? People are kinda **** and I imagine there would be groups of people deprived entirely of essential services. For example, if there are only a handful of doctors in a state qualified to treat a rare medical condition and all of them refuse to serve people who are left handed, lefties would be SOL.
What a great question! :)

First, I want to say that the majority of my philosophy and the best aspects of my philosophy, in my opinion, are not political. My beautiful glorious non-political overall philosophy is centered around a deep value for spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and a transcendence of flesh and of fear of death. My first tattoo was a stoic meditation, "Memento Mori", which is Latin for "remember you will die". I put that stoic meditation on my left arm where I see it every day.

Political philosophy mostly only interests me to the extent that it acts as an analogue for my spiritual philosophy of spiritual freedom. For instance, self-government can act as an analogue of self-discipline, and self-employment can act as an analogue of both of self-government and self-discipline.

Primarily, the authorities and enslavements I seek to firmly, stubbornly, and defiantly reject are much more than merely petty political ones. I suspect generally only those people who are way too attached to the material world of the flesh could care very much about the topical human politics of a sliver of time on a tiny planet in an endless sky.

One reason all of that is important to note is because it speaks to this point: I don't believe in "shoulds" or "oughts" or other moralizing. So if hypothetically I'm asked "what should the government do" or "what ought my neighbor do", I cannot answer. There are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy, only cans and cannots; and then from ‘can’ there is only do and do not. In my philosophy, there is no ought, no should, and no try. I can tell you what I will or would do, and only time and happenstance will tell if my answer is honest and true.

With all that said, I agree that humans are **** (and arrogant, selfish, cowardly, short-sighted, addiction-prone, and self-righteous). Man is not fit to govern man. No human on this planet is fit to wield the power of non-defensive violence, especially not of the state-sponsored variety.

The idea of the benevolent dictator is an impossible naive pipe dream, in my opinion. The idea of a mob of people acting as a multi-person benevolent dictator is even worse and more absurdly impossible. It may falsely sound pleasant in random specifics (e.g. "let's use non-defensive violence to end world hunger") but it is easily shown to be an absurd impossibility. Impossible imaginary ends are used to justify foolish means, the foolish means being namely non-defensive violence such as murder and rape.

If anyone's plan to 'save the world' or do charity requires committing rape, murder, or other non-defensive violence, then let me give that person fair warning they need to be ready to fight me to death. I believe not only in the principle of "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," but also I believe equally in the broader principle from which that one is derived: "I strongly dislike what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it."

I don't care how noble the Noble thinks the end goal of their prima nocta is, or how legal of a raping it is, I would still rather die as a William Wallace than live to become a murderer, rapist, or coward--to sacrifice the one thing that is worth anything: self-discipline, self-ownership, and spiritual freedom, three different phrases that all mean the same exact thing to me.

I don’t philosophically agree, but I understand why an act utilitarian would hypothetically commit murder, rape, or slavery as a perceived lesser of two evils, such as by murdering an anti-left-hand doctor's child to coerce the doctor into saving two left-handed children against his will, presumably as a form of utilitarian slave labor. A more traditional philosophical thought experiment is to murder a fat man by pushing the fat man in front of a train to save 5 others.

I would still rather fight a good-hearted act utilitarian to the death to defend the mean doctor from slavery, or to defend the fat man from murder, than violently enslave a doctor myself or violently murder a fat man myself.

But in practice such act utilitarianism never works anyway for many reasons. One is that humans are too selfish and foolish to do utilitarian calculations with any reliability. For example, in real life, those claiming that committing murder, slavery, and rape is for the greater good in a utilitarian sense are simply mistaken, like a child failing his math homework. More often, they are self-serving liars who know they are playing a shell game. In another example, most people’s utilitarian calculations are biased and perverted by their own denial-ridden dishonest fear of death. For instance, any accurate trolley problem needs to have a loop in it very closely because the trolley is going to get us all very soon. You can’t save any human from death ever; we are all going to die very soon. The best you can do is postpone a human's death for a little bit. I've heard many different wise people say, we all die, but we don't all really live.

You show me a self-proclaimed act utilitarian, and I'll show you a lying hypocrite who doesn't donate enough food to starving children and doesn't donate enough organs to dying patients. If one is an organ donor and an honest act utilitarian, then I ask that person, "why don't you slit your organ-donating throat right now?"

So even though I would still oppose rape, murder, slavery and other non-defensive violence even if it was utilitarian, ten times out of ten I will bet that my way (namely peaceful non-violence) happens to be the utilitarian way anyway, at least if we limit ourselves to the practical and truly possible. To illustrate, I definitely believe that, if somehow society suddenly became much less violent (and thus by extension there was much more political localism, self-government, decentralization, and individual freedom), then there would also be less children starving to death every day and less kids being blown to pieces by drone strikes. I don't think so many thousands and thousands of children are starving to death because there is too little state-sponsored violence; I think the opposite is the case. While utopia might not be possible, I believe less violence would lead to much less children starving. For example, I definitely think I myself would personally donate more to useful charities if less of my money was forcefully taken from me to fund the military industrial complex.

But please don't think that me giving those hypothetical examples of the utilitarian benefits of the current violent plutocracy suddenly backing off so that we can enjoy the wonderful fruits of a much more peaceful society are meant to imply shoulds or oughts.

Nope.

Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.

The reality of humans isn't that they are bad at designing diets, but that they are bad at sticking to their own diets, at maintaining honest spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) in the heat of fleshy discomfort and in the face of those or that which would say, "eat the cake; break your diet and eat the cake". But sometimes it's not cake that a voice in your head that is not you says to eat; sometimes it is not a delicious drink of alcohol that a voice in your head that is not you says to drink; sometimes the voice is from an external Nazi, the politics aren't an analogue, and the cake is an innocent person you could violently murder, rape, or enslave. I chose to say no. I choose to disobey, to disobey both the Nazi with a gun to my head and the egoic voices in my own head pretending to be me. If you have ever been on a tough diet, you won't doubt me when I say it may be the latter that it takes more self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to disobey. I've never been addicted to drugs, but I imagine it too may be tougher spirtually than having a literal Nazi put a gun to your head and telling you to either murder one person or watch your whole family die as punishment for your disobedience.

Each person is stuck choosing for themselves. What will you choose?

You have to choose for yourself.

Because unlike political freedom, when it comes to spiritual freedom, slavery is a dishonest illusion built on denial and resentful rejection of reality. You are always 100% in control of your choices. When it comes to your choices, there is no try. There is only do or do not. But many humans resentfully reject that reality, and cling to the comfort of their own imagined slavery, as self-delusional as it may be, thinking ignorance is bliss. The so-called bliss of ignorance and dishonesty may indeed be comfortable, but insofar as it is then I wish to avoid comfort and seek out and embrace discomfort. Kierkegaard wrote, "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom". Kierkegaard didn't mean political freedom, but freedom of spirit.

I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who wrote, "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." Shaw's words help show the analogousness between mere political freedom and grander spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). In a Shaw-like way, we can say that the spiritual freedom that is self-discipline means self-responsibility, and that is why most humans not only dread it but also desperately lie to themselves in anxious dreadful resentful denial of this most obvious truth: Spiritually, you are free whether you like it or not. Whether one likes it or not, the obvious truth is that one's choices are 100% one's own. Nobody can make you a murderer or a rapist; you would have to choose that yourself. Nobody can make you choose to intentionally and knowingly commit non-defensive violence (such as but not limited to murder, slavery, and rape), you would have to choose it for yourself. Whether you like it or not, the choice is 100% yours.

Voltaire wrote, "man is free at the instant he wants to be."

To paraphrase yet more thinkers who are probably wiser than I am, in this case Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Emiliano Zapata, I believe liberty and non-violence are the mother, not the daughter, of order, and regardless I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
If all grown men regularly and frequently attained the moral development like Kohlberg's final stage i.e. 'Universal Principles' , then I fully agree with you. But they don't. Quality education in behaviour and ethics (methods and curriculum en suite) would go a long way towards everyman attaining universal principles, however quality education for all costs tax money.
There is no definitive way out of the morass, and democracy for all its faults is the most effective means to more solid terrain.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, Belindi,

Thank you for your reply! :)

Belindi wrote: March 24th, 2023, 6:20 am If all grown men regularly and frequently attained the moral development like Kohlberg's final stage i.e. 'Universal Principles' , then I fully agree with you.
I don't understand what you are saying. At first glance, it seems like you are saying that, if all men were fit to govern man, then and only then would you agree that man is not fit to govern man. But that seems like nonsense. So I assume I am misunderstanding, or maybe you made a typo or such.

Belindi wrote: March 24th, 2023, 6:20 am Quality education in behaviour and ethics (methods and curriculum en suite) would go a long way towards everyman attaining universal principles,
Belindi wrote: March 24th, 2023, 6:20 am however quality education for all costs tax money.
Ipse dixit.

One could just as easily asset without evidence that feeding all starving children such they don't starve to death requires coercive tax money collected via non-defensively violent threat. The fact that so much taxes and government exist already is evidence of thee exact opposite of what you claim. I talk more about what that is in my The Philosophy of Government Spending.

A violent government war on world hunger (or lack of access to quality education) would be as effective and purposefully expensive as a war on drugs. To call such things ineffective makes the mistake of falsely assuming a big government's is to do anything but make the rich richer and make the powerful more powerful, or at least keep them rich and powerful, and prevent the rest from defending themselves.


Belindi wrote: March 24th, 2023, 6:20 am There is no definitive way out of the morass, and democracy for all its faults is the most effective means to more solid terrain.

[Emphasis added.]
To interpret what you mean by the above sentence fully, I would need to know very clearly what you mean by the word "democracy". If you simply refer to a system of interactions between humans that involves voting, then that is something happily regularly do. 5 friends and I may vote on where to eat a restaurant or which movie to watch. I am often invited to vote in shareholder meetings. I was previously elected by voluntary members to the board of multiple charities. For more on the way interactions involving voting can easily be non-violent and consensual, please see my topic Voting is uncorrelated to consent.

In contrast, if by "democracy" you are referring to the use of non-consensual non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, slavery, etc.), then I oppose it.

I don't support things like the legal state-sponsored execution of gay people just because it happens to happen to in democratic countries.

I don't support things like legal marital rape just because they happen to happen in democratic countries.

That is what happens when man allowed to govern man, meaning when some humans are allowed to use non-consensual non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, slavery, etc.) against other humans, which is most often done allegedly for the the greater good.

In any case, as your use of the words 'means', I have thoroughly explained my position regarding my rejection of seemingly superstitious concepts like 'the-ends-justify-the-means' when used in regard to non-consensual non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, slavery, etc.) in the following topics:


A World Blinded by Sadistic Anger | How the dangerous superstition of justice leads to aggressive violence and misery

Dangerous Moral Busybodies | "A tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

Orwellian Agent-Smithism | How Control Freaks, God Complexes, And Violent Nanny Statism Attack Freedom and Diversity

All the do-gooders are troublemakers: A plague of virtuous people | A perfectly pestiferous mass of a million saints

Groups, Consciousness, and Consent | Common Fallacies


I don't believe in any kind of moral superstition about "ends justifying means" or such. Instead, I choose to peacefully live and let live. In other words, I oppose all non-consensual non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, slavery, etc.) including that committed legally by big governments and including that committed by majorities against minorities.


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Belindi
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Belindi »

Scott wrote during January 2021 :
Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.
The way to enlarge the scope of choice and improve judgement is by way of education mainly child education. I see no reason quality child education can't be done by local authorities.
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Emotional Intelligence At Work
by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
January 2022

Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All

In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All
by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
November 2022

The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity

The Smartest Person in the Room
by Christian Espinosa
December 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021