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Nihilism's nihilism

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Maxcady10001
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Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 14th, 2018, 7:19 pm

There are several claims to nihilism that I am aware of, those being moral nihilism, religious nihilism and life's nihilism. Perhaps I don't understand the positions, but I don't see how any of them are possible.

Moral nihilism, generally thought of as the absence of meaning to moral claims, claims of a right and wrong way to behave, or good and bad behavior. Claims to Moral nihilism ignore the meaning inherent in every action or perception, and the truth claims made on these perceptions. Saying "I see a yellow bird," relays a meaning of the perception, as well as memory and causality, but causality seems to be inherent in meaning because the meaning of something is an explanation for something, which is a general definition of cause. But to speak of a yellow bird, is to also make a truth claim, which I believe is also what we would call moral, moral being right and wrong. Whenever there is a perception there is the meaning that comes with it,(Is there an argument for perception without meaning? Imagining there could be perception without meaning , why would anyone's eyes move or follow an object?) this meaning would be what is true, and because it is true or a truth claim it would be moral. I am saying the interpretation of meaning into an action or perception is moral, because it is a truth claim, and all truth claims are moral, not only by definition, but by any religious or philosophical standards.

Moral nihilism is also claimed as a denial of rules stated in a particular religion, or all religions, which is to say the rules are false, but is a false judgement absent meaning? I would say no. What is the meaning of "all birds are actually cats?" Or, 1+1=1,000? Both of these have meaning, and are truth claims, so they must be moral.

There is also religious nihilism, Christianity and Buddhism, or any religion with a claim to some eternal state. They are called nihilistic for their desire of "nothing." "Nothing" being eternal life, eternal happiness, permanent quietude, no suffering. But to desire these things is to desire what is not known, or "nothing", and to desire "nothing", is just not to desire. I see this viewpoint as just pessimistic. Summarized as "I hate all of the temporal aspects of life, therefore I hate life, life also being temporal."

I also mentioned life's nihilism, that life is meaningless. However, I would copy the meaning Nietzsche assigns life, that of always becoming more. Seemingly superficial, but it is a pattern that all life follows. This is not just reproducing, if the meaning of life was procreation, why are there stds? Of course someone will say so diseases or viruses can procreate, but the reproduction angle misses competition and suffering. If the purpose of life is reproduction, as much life as possible, why is there conflict, or conflict over who gets to reproduce? Also survival misses the point of life as well, as a rock is much more capable of survival than a person. Is nihilism possible? There could be some mistake I made (most likely case).

Maxcady10001
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 16th, 2018, 1:33 am

I believe I need to speak more on morality being the making of truth claims.
The general definition of morality as right or wrong, good or bad behavior is itself a claim to truth. If there is a right way to behave, such behavior would be, in a sense, an answer. To what question? How to behave. And, how we behave is based on the meaning of our perceptions, meaning attained through past perceptions. The interpretation of meaning into our perceptipn is the answer to the question how to behave, so I call it moral. Is this a ridiculous position to hold? Although, I believe it does make wrong behavior impossible.

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Burning ghost
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Burning ghost » June 17th, 2018, 12:29 am

You asked for comments so ...

I don’t see anything specific you’ve targetted here. Seems too general and I am not convinced “morality” is part of empirical evidence. It is not “morally” wrong for me to say a yellow bird is blue, but it could be considered a purposeful lie to achieve some evil ends .... still, not very clear why what you say matters.

Nihilism, broadly speaking, is about a lack of purpose and/or meaning. There are different shades of “nihilism” just as there are different shades of idealism or any other -ism.

It could be worth setting out the different uses of these terms more concisely and then present what you think about them in relation to ethics? Idk?
AKA badgerjelly

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Hereandnow
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Hereandnow » June 17th, 2018, 1:41 am

Your observation is touched on the issue that challenges moral nihilism at its core: for if it is posited that there are moral absolutes, that all possible maxims for morally proper actions are assailable in some way or another, and that no truly foundational ethics is possible, what is it that stands behind ethics that is authoritative abstract purely? Some argue what remains is pragmatics only: being ethical works, that is it’s justification. But this begs the question as to why pragmatics should rule our thinking, especially when it is a socially principled ethics in question and merely one grounded in self interest. In other words, who cares what has utility if it can't defended that what it is the utility is for. Pragmatics is, after alll, in the service of value only. So the question then turns on value, as all questions do.
Questions about value require ethics to be understood in concrete terms and one must look clearly at experience. It is not the posited good and bad in an argument merely, rather it is the phenomenon embedded by n actuality. Apply a lighted match to your finger: that is what ethics is really about. Witness it and it is clear that it is the presence as such that reveals the moral absolute nihilism is intent on rejecting.
I am with Kierkegaard on this: nihilists argue like they have forgotten we actually exist.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Hereandnow » June 17th, 2018, 3:02 am

Sent from my phone with errors unchecked I’m afraid.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Hereandnow » June 17th, 2018, 3:05 am

A lot of weird errors. Try the read through your pls. Alas.

Maxcady10001
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 17th, 2018, 5:25 am

"It requires scarce any induction to conclude from hence, that the idea which we form of any finite quality is not infinitely divisible, but that by proper distinctions and separations we may run up this idea to inferior ones, which will be perfectly simple and indivisible. In rejecting the infinite capacity of the mind we suppose it may arrive at an end in the division of its ideas..." - Hume
He says the same about impressions or perceptions in his treatise of human nature, the section on ideas pf space and time.

Why is morality evident empirically? When rules are set, they presuppose observance. Rules set for behavior presuppose observing behavior. But, why would we assume rules are set at all? I would say (and some might say this is stupid or obvious) because we set them. The rules for our behavior are decided by the meaning interpreted from our perceptions and memory of our perceptions.

I mentioned causality in the first post, because these rules assume past meanings are still valid. Ex: If I take a step in a certain way my foot will fall on the ground.

But, if the interpretation of meaning into an action is what we call morality, since this is what decides our rules for behavior, is this just moral subjectivism? No, because perceptions are absolutes, or indivisible, or unchanging. One perception is never the same as the other. What about remembering old perceptions? These are only new perceptions altered by memory and the imagination.

So considering each perception as indivisible or absolute, this cannot be moral subjectivism. And if perception is absolute, so is the meaning of the perception and the rules that decide behavior. It would not be possible to posit perception without meaning, consequently without rules.

That's my answer for why morality is empirically evident. I have to think a lot more about lying and evil, but so long as there is meaning in perception moral nihilism is impossible. As to why any of this matters, philosophy is like an art, and the philosophers like children holding up work to their parents. Parents being society. Why else would anyone write down their philosophy? Socrates is probably the only exception, as almost every other known philosopher has written down their work and presented it to society. Even all of the society bashing philosophers did it. Becker called society a "vehicle for earthly heroism." Heroism, being a reflex against death in the accumulation of symbols (titles, medals, money, etc). So I would say an attempt at philosophy matters because symbols are important.

Hereandnow
The way I've phrased this there are moral absolutes (assuming I read Hume correctly, may not be the case). The question of what the utility is for, why a morality, can be substituted for a goal of life, as morality is a set of rules for behavior. So why behave this way? I will quote more Becker " the organism works actively against its own fragility by seeking to expand and perpetuate itself in living experience. It moves toward more life." That is from the Denial of Death.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Hereandnow » June 17th, 2018, 6:27 am

It then Maxcady10001, why should we at all do what some people empirical science determined to be what it is that motivates or compels organisms like us? If you think like this you simply end up with some incongruent instinctual fatalism. Remember, there are many things we are hard wired for and, say, flying isn’t one of them. We fly in planes despite this. What “organisms like us do” is something we take or leave as we chose. It is in the chioosing that moral thinking begins.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Hereandnow » June 17th, 2018, 6:29 am

My phone has been drinking and errors ensued.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Dachshund » June 18th, 2018, 3:33 am

Maxcady10001 wrote:
June 16th, 2018, 1:33 am
The general definition of morality as right or wrong, good or bad behavior is itself a claim to truth. If there is a right way to behave, such behavior would be, in a sense, an answer. To what question? How to behave. And, how we behave is based on the meaning of our perceptions, meaning attained through past perceptions. The interpretation of meaning into our perceptipn is the answer to the question how to behave, so I call it moral. Is this a ridiculous position to hold? Although, I believe it does make wrong behavior impossible.
Do you mean the interpretation of RATIONAL meaning into our perceptions is (quote) "the answer to the question how to behave, so I call it moral"?

If so, how does your theory of human morality account for the fact that the degree rationality possessed by healthy populations of human beings demonstrates continuous variation. That is, the capacity one has to think rationally can be determined by various kinds of standardised psychological/neuropsychological tests that provide a quantitative measure of a person's level of global "Executive Functioning"; also, various standardised intelligence test instruments are now available that enable psychologists to provide a reasonably accurate quantitative measure how much "g-factor" ( "general intelligence"/"fluid intelligence" factor) a person possesses, or how high their IQ score (which also provides a measure of general intelligence) happens to be. The higher an individual's IQ or "g-factor" score or level of unified "Executing Functioning", the higher is that individual's innate capacity for rational cognition.

We know that human intelligence as defined/measured by the "g"- factor or performance on an IQ test varies continuously, demonstrating a roughly normal (Gaussian) distribution; likewise, quantitative measures of both individual Executive Functions and unified (global) Executive Functioning are found to be more or less normally distributed in human populations.

The point is that measures of IQ, "g-factor" and Executive Functions/Functioning all provide valid measures of the capacity for rational cognition, and the later i.e. the capacity to RATIONALISE - to ascribe rational meanings to our current perceptions in the context of our past, "remembered", perceptions and thereafter behave in a rational manner - varies between individual human beings.

Moreover, some individuals with mental health problems, e.g., psychiatric disorders, like ADHD,say, have impairments in the functioning of their "Working Memory" which ultimately results in them being unable to behave in as rational a manner as a person who does not have this condition. Likewise, persons with an Intellectual Deficit Disorder like Down's Syndrome are unable to think as rationally as a person who does not have this disorder. The bottom line is that if we consider a typical moral behaviour like, for instance, "promise keeping"; both an adult person with ADHD and/or an adult with Down Syndrome will find it more difficult to keep promises than an average healthy adult who does not have any diagnosed problems with their mental health.

So, in sum, if what you understand by the "interpretation of meaning into perceptions (in the context of past remembered perceptions) connotes - as I say - the interpretation of" RATIONAL meaning", then your theory of morality is, of course, fatally flawed in a number of ways.

Regards

Dachshund

Maxcady10001
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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 18th, 2018, 4:14 am

I didn't at all think about disabled people in comimg up with this, but it seems fairly obvious that a person with a disability is not going to be held to the same standard of behavior as someone without.

But, I don't know about an inability to interpret meaning as your post would suggest. Whatever meaning they interpret into a perception is only not correct according to you. If I see pancakes and you see a brick wall there is nothing to be done about this. I will keep walking and you will stop, we would behave based on the meaning interpreted.

Notice I tried not to mention other people in this post and tried to speak strictly about the perception, introducing the word rational adds another standard besides morality. But if someone is unable to interpret meaning into their perception, they are likely dead or in a coma. Considering myself absent a vocabulary, my head would still move back and forth as people walked by, or I would mobe out of the way if a person ran towards me, this is still interpreting meaning. With every perception there is information, there is meaning.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 18th, 2018, 4:22 am

Sorry, I contradicted myself in that post, a person with a disability, by what i've said so far will decide their own srandard of behavior, that is, they will interpret their own meaning into their perception.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 18th, 2018, 4:46 am

How does this theory account for variation in cognitive ability? It does not. So long as your perceptions are your own, you decide the rules for your behavior. It is obvious that the rules for behavior, or morality, comes from the meaning of perceptions. This being the case, variation in cognitive ability becomes only a factor in the meaning it gives your perceptions. Ex: Some people may at times act violently due to a mental illness.
Also by what I've said everyone would have a different set of rules, different experiences and memory.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Maxcady10001 » June 18th, 2018, 5:00 am

Sorry for the weird posts. It is 5 a.m where I am.

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Re: Nihilism's nihilism

Post by Dachshund » June 18th, 2018, 6:16 am

Hereandnow wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 1:41 am
I am with Kierkegaard on this: nihilists argue like they have forgotten we actually exist.
My understanding of Kierkegaard is that he understood human life was utterly meaningless; meaningless in the sense that the correct answer to the question: "What is the meaning of life"? is that there isn't one and we cannot ever make one either. For Kierkegaard it was IMPOSSIBLE to find a satisfactory answer to the question of the meaning of life.

The fact that no form of science, philosophy, society or religion, etc; can, it would seem, ever successfully endow life with meaning gaves rise to Albert Camus' problem of the "absurd". Camus' asks is it possible for human beings to to endure their lives, once they know that they are entirely meaningless; can our lives still be worth living, he wonders, once we realise that the universe we inhabit is, in fact, forever absurd? Seeking an answer to this question is basically what motivated Camus'entire philosophical output.

With respect to Kierkegaard, having realised that human life was absurd ( absolutely meaningless) Camus would say that the former panicked; that he could not face up to the problem of absurdity and so he "copped out", fleeing in terror toward a supernatural God. Ditto, the French existentialists of Camus own era, ( like Sartre, for ex) albeit in a secularised manner. Trying to justify this life by pointing to another one was just another way, Camus would have said, that human beings try to deny the meaninglessness of life, (no matter how you phrase it.)

Regards

Dachshund

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