Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is Self Sacrafice Ethical?


I am having a good discussion with Rob Yerginson on my boards, Doxa Forums. His position is something like obejctivism, but he disavows the extremes of Ayn Rand. I think he does advocate a self oriented perspective as the basis of value and rejects self sacrifice. I feel that self sacrafice (when it's reasonable does some good--not just a martyr complex) is the highest expression of ethical behavior. I think what's lost in our society today is a understanding of the spirit as the basis of value and that self sacrifice has become a dirty word--we live in an extremely self obsessed age.

That’s too bad. Somehow man in his effort to identify and pursue value has duped himself into believing that the very thing that gives rise to the notion of value needs to be devalued itself. Such a travesty. It’s like a disease that has infected our minds, causing us to view good as evil and evil as good.

I'm not doing that. What enables us to value is not just our own selfishness, that's not a very stable value. What enables valuing is the transcendent nature of truth. The society we live in has gone totally material and has totally forgotten and turned against all spiritual things. Value is a spiritual thing.

If you reduce it all to the material valuations of the individual then those can controlled by 1DM. (one dimensional-man).

The good news is that logic still works. Even in our severely confused state we can go back to the source of our confusion and expose the error. The trick is to get to the root, which means that we have to be willing to “test all things.” When we discover an arbitrary presupposition without base, we root it up. So, allow me to lay it out again:

You can't do logic without accepting the transcendent nature of truth.It's basically the concept of non contradiction. so you can't have logic without truth.

Rob:1. It is fundamental to our nature to prefer to live and thrive.

we can also direct our thriving to the group rather than the individual. We are able to give ourselves to higher things and care about others. This is the one thing upon which I agree with Mill; there is a distinction between higher pleasure and the swinish pleasure. Swinish values rooted in me ME! MY wants becuase they are ME! the higher values in "what I care about which goes beyond me."

Rob2. If we are to obtain living and thriving there are actions that we ought to take.

we may have to sacrifice lour own living and thriving for a greater good.

Rob3. While there are many values worth pursuing, we must avoid pursuing lesser values at the expense of greater values.

swinish values are lesser. the value system that puts me first above the higher values is lesser.
(not to say that Rob--who is a fine fellow-- is "swinish.")

Rob4. So long as our existence is required in order to coherently discuss those things that are of value to us, our existence is at the bottom of our value chain, whether we grasp that fact or not.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say. IF you are saying you have to secure your own good in order to support things you care about; true but there are also times when you have to give up your own good for those things.

Rob5. Since moral actions are those actions that we ought to take, then this hierarchical order of values and actions is what gives rise to objective morality (morality that is actual, that is rooted in reality, in our nature, and the natural order rather than an arbitrary morality based on whim, tradition, and the dictates of others).

I still don't accept the concept of objective morality, nevertheless, you are getting something out of place, unless I'm not following you accurately. You are doing a bait and switch you stick the necessity of our own participation into the works then make a value higher than the values we would participate to preserve. that's like he corporation becoming an entity that works for it's own survive and thus abandoning the reason for which it was founded.

Rob6. This is the correct morality for us all whether you and I happen to agree or not.

No offense that's a ridiculous thing to say. That's like truth by stipulation. I"m right whether you know it or not. then what's the point of discussion?

Now, these statements are either true of false. If you are going to accuse me of “destroying ethical thinking” you are going to have to offer some support for your claim by demonstrating the error rather than referring me to some "deontological" rabbit hole. Given these six points, where is the error?

I've already apologized for putting it on such a personal basis. we don't have to keep dragging that into it. we aer not saving the world from each other we are just exchanging views.

I think in the comments I've made I've demonstrated what is feel is the problem with each of your statements.


Anonymous said...

I have not gone back to the topic on your forum. I am going by how I understood it back then and from your blog post.

But it really seems quite subjective to me.

I could not understand how having a "higher principle" and following it, or trying to follow it, with each person being of equal value, would not be a more objective system.

This word "objective" made more sense to me in how I understood it being used, was if the word is being used as "objective" goals for oneself. Objective, like, "what is your objective". The argument did appear to be using "goals" as a part of existence. But, placing value in your own individual goals, living and thriving, would seem subjective to me.

Placing highest value to one's own living and thriving seems too subjective to me (not that I am against the subjective).

If living and thriving is the value for me, and this is being grounded in the nature of existence, then why not accept that it is also the value for you and everyone else? Certainly, since such an ethics is being discussed with others that value is seen as universal?

Which then, if one were to be more objective, I think it would then mean placing others value for living and thriving on equal footing. Universalizing would then bring up the need for principles beyond simple self interest. You would recognize others have the same value as yourself.
(selfishness is defined as being concerned with self without regard for others or something along those lines).

Each individual simply holding their own individual living and thriving as highest value seems quite subjective.

If you hold others as being of equal value, and so value others, sacrificing oneself from following higher priniciples, would show more of an objective ethical system in my opinion.

Grounding value in one's own personal living and thriving, and goals, is what is subjective.

Again, I have not been back to the forum but these are my thoughts from how I am understanding things and what I thought about. Hopefully, I made this post understandable, not sure how much.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

I think his use of the term "objective" is referring to Rands use. I never really understood what was so objective about her deal either.