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Metal => Interzone => Topic started by: sidereal on June 06, 2011, 12:24:57 AM

Title: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 06, 2011, 12:24:57 AM
When the significance of evolutionary biology is applied to the realm of values, or meaninig, we reach the conclusion that all our judgements of what is good, bad, better, worse, should, shouldn't etc have an origin which can be explained entirely in terms of reproductive fitness rather than truth. Rationality can come into play in determining what course of action is 'better' or 'worse' , via elucidating and clarifying the language/issues/arguments, but at some point in the chain of reasoning you fall back on a value which itself has no rational basis (i.e. which is a moral intuition). For instance, this sheds new light on why so many people are opposed to abortion. It obviously provided a fitness advantage to feel (beyond doubt, indignantly) that killing young is EVIL. Also, the idea that we SHOULD reduce the population no doubt falls back on the moral intuition that it is good to have biodiversity or to provide a safe environment for our offspring.

How, then, do we say some vales are higher than others? Any basis for detemining this will itself be just arbitrary... reflecting the reproductive interests of our hominid-all-to-hominid ancestors at an arbitrary point in evolution (pleistocene). For instance If you derive some sort of 'meaning' from looking up at the stars at night, the specific value you dervie from this experience will be simply an arbitrary evolutionary accident. If you feel hopeless from the fact that your intutions of value (your sources of motivation, in fact) are merely evolutionary accidents, then this too is simply an arbitrary evolutionary accident. A person's love for their ancestors is likewise a sub-personal evolutionary accident.

The contradiction: ANUS advocates breaking out of the human-all-too-human perspective of emotion and embracing holism, or a rational, more objective, perspective of existence. But this is impossible. You always come back to emotion (value) which evolved millions of years ago when advocating a course of action or a philosophy. thoughts?

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-biology/#EvoBioDebMor
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: JewishPhysics on June 06, 2011, 10:21:10 AM
I find your use of the term "accident" to be both weighted and erroneous.  Evolutionary events are neither "accidents" nor arbitrary.

Quote
ANUS advocates breaking out of the human-all-too-human perspective of emotion and embracing holism, or a rational, more objective, perspective of existence. But this is impossible. You always come back to emotion (value) which evolved millions of years ago when advocating a course of action or a philosophy. thoughts?
If rationality has been naturally selected, it only makes sense to use it.  There is no fundamental reason why rationality must lead us to specific intuitions we have evolved.  First of all, these intuitions vary among populations and individuals.  Second, they may be vestigial or their extended implications actually unfit.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Conservationist on June 10, 2011, 09:27:02 AM
The contradiction: ANUS advocates breaking out of the human-all-too-human perspective of emotion and embracing holism, or a rational, more objective, perspective of existence. But this is impossible. You always come back to emotion (value) which evolved millions of years ago when advocating a course of action or a philosophy. thoughts?

Why do you always come back to emotion? Further, if emotion is a product of evolution is it not logical, and then like our other logical faculties, useful if properly disciplined?

I like the HBD-focus of that article. It's a great find.

I find your use of the term "accident" to be both weighted and erroneous.  Evolutionary events are neither "accidents" nor arbitrary.

Evolutionary events are not arbitrary, but not deliberate either. What they are is logical, or causal/consequential. The best god is a sleeping god.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Veritas on June 10, 2011, 10:16:54 AM
With no values, what basis do you have for your logic?

That would be like a rational game-player with no pay-off table. WAT DO??
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: istaros on June 10, 2011, 08:16:30 PM
The contradiction: ANUS advocates breaking out of the human-all-too-human perspective of emotion and embracing holism, or a rational, more objective, perspective of existence. But this is impossible.
So what? Impossible goals are the best ones. Ever-ascending path!
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Conservationist on June 10, 2011, 10:32:08 PM
With no values, what basis do you have for your logic?

Logic itself.

I don't need inherent values; the task is obvious. But the solutions differ from person to person.

Except that all of those who have undergone a certain mental task find themselves in roughly the same place.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Eleison on June 11, 2011, 02:16:01 AM
With no values, what basis do you have for your logic?

Logic itself.

I don't need inherent values; the task is obvious. But the solutions differ from person to person.

Except that all of those who have undergone a certain mental task find themselves in roughly the same place.

Logical operations can only be carried out on existing data, logic cannot extract any knowledge or truth from itself.  This was, more or less, the failing of Kant's critiques.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: sidereal on June 14, 2011, 12:48:14 AM
I find your use of the term "accident" to be both weighted and erroneous.  Evolutionary events are neither "accidents" nor arbitrary.

Let me explain. The intuitions (i.e. pangs of feeling) which give rise to our moral code or ethics (our values) can be fully explained in terms of practical reproductive success as opposed to accuracy or 'truth'. This is uncontroversial, i assume. In this way they are arbitrary, i.e., arbitrary compared with common sense/lay views on the matter which view values (like 'murder is wrong') as being rooted in rationality and being immutable truths, existing in some platonic realm somewhere.

Quote
ANUS advocates breaking out of the human-all-too-human perspective of emotion and embracing holism, or a rational, more objective, perspective of existence. But this is impossible. You always come back to emotion (value) which evolved millions of years ago when advocating a course of action or a philosophy. thoughts?
If rationality has been naturally selected, it only makes sense to use it.  There is no fundamental reason why rationality must lead us to specific intuitions we have evolved.  First of all, these intuitions vary among populations and individuals.  Second, they may be vestigial or their extended implications actually unfit.

"There is no reason why rationality MUST lead us to specific intuitions we have evolved". Rationality can ONLY lead to specific (moral) intuitions we have evolved... for where else do (moral) intuitions come from? That was my exact point initially (probably poorly clarified). Rationality can make you change what you value from one moment to the next (by changing your mind, clarifying issues, drawing attention to different details) but what we can potentially value is confined within an evolutionary landscape in the same way water flowing down a stream is confined to certain paths in the rock below. There is some basic variation in the route different water drops can take, but the possibilities are not endless. We use rationality, at most, to instrumentally 'activate' different cognitive modules which are hardwired by evolution and which ground the expression of particular values. Rationality doesn't create values from nothing (i.e. from 'truth' or 'objectivity' or something 'higher'). We need to be clear about this (if you disagree that's fine but we should be clear what we're disagreeing about).

From a cognitive/evolution psychology point of view, Nihilism, I suspect, aims to change values by activating different cognitive modules. It uses rationality (i.e. your linguistic based, analytic cognition you employ when reading an article on the site here) as a tool in order to deactivate or downgrade the output of certain cognitive modules which have evolved to produce intuitions in response to input related to social cooperation (equality, fairness, reciprocity) and suffering to other cognitive modules which have evolved to produce intuitions in response to aesthetic and 'structural' input. This is to say, it downgrades the importance of anthropomorphic Morality and upgrades the important of 'Holism'. This identification of the cognitive modules involved is crude and it would be interesting to scope through the cognitive and evolutionary psychology for a better account.

Come back to the idea that all values are 'arbitrary' in the sense I described above, i.e., a product of practical reproductive success and nothing 'higher'. In a similar way the idea that there is a solid object (in the form of a table) in front of you is arbitrary in that it is an intuitive belief which is the product of practical reproductive success and not truth (the table is mostly empty space, after all, as a physicist will tell you). Valuing holism over Morality is not strictly speaking a product of a rational evaluation of the factors involved as it is a product simply of what cognitive modules are more active in grounding one's total evaluative worldview. Rationality might be the tool to switch values, but not because rationality indicates that those values are more 'correct'. All values are 'incorrect' in the nihilist sense. All this is basically a response to the solipsistic idea that is potentially open to abuse around here, that holism is a result of higher intelligence.

Even if the cognitive story is massively simplified, the basic point that many intelligent people care about human rights, suffering, and equality makes my point more sound, I think. In fact if you look at the intelligensia in the cafes of most cities and halls of most universities these people will be very interested in Morality as defined in opposition to holism.

A lesser focus on rationality (as an end) and the associated diatribes on IQ, and a greater focus on triggering the cognitive modules linked with holism would be successful on the above picture. You cannot create pangs of intuitions (the affective basis for value) out of thin air, you can only put people into situations in which these pangs are likely to occur. Classical and Metal music are obviously important for this, as they are very structural and architectural, and it's no surprise they are closely incorporated with the nihilist philosophy here at ANUS.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: JewishPhysics on June 14, 2011, 06:37:13 AM
"There is no reason why rationality MUST lead us to specific intuitions we have evolved". Rationality can ONLY lead to specific (moral) intuitions we have evolved... for where else do (moral) intuitions come from?
I meant we can rationally establish a moral framework independent of our intuitions.  Whether or not we can accept it properly or condition ourselves to believe it is another question.  To that end, you may very well be right.

Quote
From a cognitive/evolution psychology point of view, Nihilism, I suspect, aims to change values by activating different cognitive modules.

...

 a greater focus on triggering the cognitive modules linked with holism would be successful on the above picture. You cannot create pangs of intuitions (the affective basis for value) out of thin air, you can only put people into situations in which these pangs are likely to occur.
You could easily use hypothetical situations to induce pangs of intuition in a constructive way.  That's what people do all the time, and it's generally a part of rational discourse.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: scourge on June 14, 2011, 02:26:51 PM
Logical operations can only be carried out on existing data, logic cannot extract any knowledge or truth from itself.  This was, more or less, the failing of Kant's critiques.

Maybe failure, maybe practical necessity. More about this for any lurkers:

Quote
If we continue to give reasons for reasons, from Z to Y, to X, to W, to V, to U, this is called the Regress of Reasons. Aristotle's second point, then, was just that the regress of reasons cannot be an infinite regress. If there is no end to our reasons for reasons, then nothing would ever be proven. We would just get tired of giving reasons, with nothing established any more securely than when we started. If there is to be no infinite regress, Aristotle realized, there must be propositions that do not need, for whatever reason, to be proven. Such propositions he called the first principles (archai, principia) of demonstration.

http://www.friesian.com/foundatn.htm
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Chains on June 14, 2011, 11:56:02 PM
"There is no reason why rationality MUST lead us to specific intuitions we have evolved". Rationality can ONLY lead to specific (moral) intuitions we have evolved... for where else do (moral) intuitions come from?
I meant we can rationally establish a moral framework independent of our intuitions.  Whether or not we can accept it properly or condition ourselves to believe it is another question.  To that end, you may very well be right.


You can, but not without first deciding on what your first principles are, as Scourge pointed out. These cannot be deduced and in that sense, morality is arbitrary. This is, in fact, the essence of nihilism to me: scour all morality you know, pick your favorite set of first principles,  and reason out an appropriate morality from there.

I'm not conviced that there are only finitely many moral values to have, and I'm not quite sure why you think they can be set into (discrete) modules rather than evaluating them on some continuous scale. Of course, you can define someone's morality for the most part by saying he's, Holistic, Humanist, Liberal, or Neutral Good, but I think there are a lot of details that are left out this way
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Veritas on June 15, 2011, 01:47:18 AM
Morality exists as an Idea independently of anything we judge as moral. Nihilism points out that any associations we form between things are in a sense arbitrary, and could be rearranged as we wished. Only the Will escapes the Philosopher's Hammer; all Represented associations are to be put under its rule. This includes morality, this includes logic, this includes knowledge, this includes beauty. When we give up the Will in favour of a Representation, we deny our innermost Being, we deny Life itself.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Conservationist on June 15, 2011, 11:34:26 AM
When the significance of evolutionary biology is applied to the realm of values, or meaninig, we reach the conclusion that all our judgements of what is good, bad, better, worse, should, shouldn't etc have an origin which can be explained entirely in terms of reproductive fitness rather than truth. Rationality can come into play in determining what course of action is 'better' or 'worse' , via elucidating and clarifying the language/issues/arguments, but at some point in the chain of reasoning you fall back on a value which itself has no rational basis (i.e. which is a moral intuition).

That's the essence of nihilism right there.

Enlightenment-rationalism-Christianity-humanism-progressivism-liberalism disagrees, of course. They think inherent value exists and that we can find it with Science.

However, Science doesn't tell us what to do... just what will happen if we do certain things.

We have to choose what to do ourselves.

And we will be judged by that.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 15, 2011, 11:34:11 PM
When the significance of evolutionary biology is applied to the realm of values, or meaninig, we reach the conclusion that all our judgements of what is good, bad, better, worse, should, shouldn't etc have an origin which can be explained entirely in terms of reproductive fitness rather than truth. Rationality can come into play in determining what course of action is 'better' or 'worse' , via elucidating and clarifying the language/issues/arguments, but at some point in the chain of reasoning you fall back on a value which itself has no rational basis (i.e. which is a moral intuition).

That's the essence of nihilism right there.

Enlightenment-rationalism-Christianity-humanism-progressivism-liberalism disagrees, of course. They think inherent value exists and that we can find it with Science.

However, Science doesn't tell us what to do... just what will happen if we do certain things.

We have to choose what to do ourselves.

And we will be judged by that.

What is the function of 'active' nihilism? On the one hand it tells people that holding up values for other people to follow is a logical fallacy. But on the other it tries to influence people's values (what is its function, otherwise?). Obviously it doesn't try to influence people's values BY maintaining that Holism is inherent as a value set. It tries to influence people's values by pointing out the truth that all values are meaningless - if they don't personally drive or compel you as a individual, pick another set because there is no other REASON to hold them.

But how do you get from this, to the situation in which people are starting to value 'nature' more? Nihilism maintains that, for some reason, the intelligent folk will start to revere nature after going through the above realisation. But 'Science doesn't tell us what to do... just what will happen if we do certain things'. It is perfectly consisent with this that an intelligent person will see what will happen if we pollute a river, say, but won't give a shit.

But...an intelligent person is MORE LIKELY to perceive the consequences of changes in large scale, future orientated (i.e. abstract) variables. These perceptions will co-opt innate moral intutions which have evolved, intutions that a person who could not perceive abstract consequences would thus not experience.

The mechanics of Nihilism:

- No value set 'needs' to be followed. So people who are exposed to this realisation will be more likely to adopt a value set which personally drives them as individuals with a particular moral-cognitive 'topology'.
- More intelligent people are those people who can perceive causes and their effects in the abstract.
THUS:
They will be more likely to be personally driven by 'big-picture' concerns (holism)

This is as much of a discussion with myself than other people as I revisit nihilism but it might be useful for a dialectic.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 16, 2011, 12:20:55 AM
Question for anyone: Does the realisation that every single one of your values is a product of evolution and not something personal or under your direction make them less compelling? You are simply playing a part. When you strive for happiness your striving for what your genes have liked in the past, nothing more.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and fatalism
Post by: Conservationist on June 17, 2011, 03:30:28 PM
With no values, what basis do you have for your logic?

Logic itself.

I don't need inherent values; the task is obvious. But the solutions differ from person to person.

Except that all of those who have undergone a certain mental task find themselves in roughly the same place.

Logical operations can only be carried out on existing data, logic cannot extract any knowledge or truth from itself.  This was, more or less, the failing of Kant's critiques.

You're not answering his question:

Quote
With no values, what basis do you have for your logic?

With no values, why choose logic?

Answer: it's logical to do so.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 19, 2011, 10:38:07 PM
It's not logical to value logic, if that's what your saying. That just doesn't flow.

If you agree that no values are objective, then no particular value is more logical than another, including valuing logic itself. You will be doing more logic by adopting logic as a value, but the initial choice to value logic is not a product of performing any logical mental operation.

Isn't the inherent lack of objective values the basis for nihilism? Then you can't go ahead and say adopting some value is more 'logical' than adopting another, even if that value is logic itself! What you value is a personal 'choice' (sometimes i even doubt this, you value what your genes and upbrining 'value'), there is no benchmark above and beyond your own 'will to power' with which to vindicate your choice. Objectively speaking, you are alone and you adopt a value set based on 'emotion' rather than any sort of 'rightness' or 'wrongness', including logical rightness and wrongness.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Conservationist on June 20, 2011, 01:20:54 AM
It's not logical to value logic, if that's what your saying.

Sure it is. The world is logical. Ergo, logic has utility.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 20, 2011, 02:00:08 AM
It's not logical to value logic, if that's what your saying.

Sure it is. The world is logical. Ergo, logic has utility.

Hang on. Back up a bit.

So the world is logical. Check. We've gone to the moon by relying on the stability, and lawfulness of nature.
Logic has utility. Check. Perceiving cause/effect lets you get shit done, and satisfy preferences etc.
Utility is to be valued. Wrong. According to what objective measure?

You cannot construct an argument which points to the inherent rationality of valuing logic. If you happen to think that some values are more logical than others, then you think some values are objectively better then others. I don't want to 'attack you' as such but this is not nihilism but dogmatism. It's dishonest.

I refuse to believe that you, as you seem to be the public face for ANUS on these forums, maintain that value is essentially objective (because some are more 'logical' than others). You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't preach that belief in inherent values is simply anthropomorphism, on the the one hand, so that people come to realize that the belief that all human life is sacred and or that we're all equal etc is just a projection of their own minds, and on other hand preach the inherent value of 'logic', which you are doing, I would assert, by saying that valuing logic is itself logical. Yes, logic exists, but the value 'logic is good' or 'living more logically and less emotionally is good' (or something like that), does not.

Have the strength to acknowledge that your values are arbitrary, due to the subjective nature of 'value'. Then you can get on with trying to effect change rather than preaching to people that your values reflect 'the only way to live'. You will value 'logic' only if you are a certain sort of organism with a certain perspective and will to power, not because being logical is objectively the right way to live. Come on.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Cargést on June 20, 2011, 02:17:14 AM
"Logic", as far as I understand it, is an English word for both an observed set of pretty basic real principles and a primary system (which influences all other computational systems) based on these observed principles.  Also, as far as I understand it, the second (more common usage of the term) "logic" is not a perfect system, as it is axiomatic (as all system must be to be complete, see Godel's Badass Theorem).
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: sidereal on June 20, 2011, 02:21:25 AM
"Logic", as far as I understand it, is an English word for both an observed set of pretty basic real principles and a primary system (which influences all other computational systems) based on these observed principles.  Also, as far as I understand it, the second (more common usage of the term) "logic" is not a perfect system, as it is axiomatic (as all system must be to be complete, see Godel's Badass Theorem).

Logic just tries to give you the best way (in so far as preserving truth) to reason from a set of premises to a conclusion. It does not tell you which premises to adopt, in the first place, which is where conservationist is going wrong. That is simply a product of your organism.

Quote
..instead of trying to "prove" meaning, we pick what appeals to us -- and acknowledge that who we are biologically determines what we seek....In rejecting anthropomorphic pathetic fallacies such as inherent "meaning," nihilism allows us to toss out anthropomorphism. The idea of an absolute morality, or any value to human life, is discarded." (http://www.anus.com/zine/articles/prozak/belief_in_nothing/)
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: diesel on June 22, 2011, 11:36:22 AM
This is making me sad, and it's supposed to according to evolution. Damn is it ever a trap.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: wood on June 22, 2011, 04:04:26 PM
Seems like the premise should be the world we are presented with, and the observable, repeatable way it functions.  Reality I guess, as it's termed here.  Now we can apply logic in route to a conclusion, essentially determining ideal reproductive success in congruence with reality.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Conservationist on June 22, 2011, 08:54:51 PM
Utility is to be valued. Wrong. According to what objective measure?

Survival. Read more Jack London.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Galvanized on June 22, 2011, 09:56:06 PM
Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Chains on June 22, 2011, 10:56:27 PM
Seems like the premise should be the world we are presented with, and the observable, repeatable way it functions.  Reality I guess, as it's termed here.  Now we can apply logic in route to a conclusion, essentially determining ideal reproductive success in congruence with reality.

Reality is not enough of a premise to determine what one should value in life. "People are alive" is not enough to reason your way to "all killing is bad", you would need an additional "I believe all life is valuable" to have logic get you there.

Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?

No, it's an objective measure of reality, which is seperate from what one values.

Utility is to be valued. Wrong. According to what objective measure?

Survival. Read more Jack London.

Survival is binary. There are a myriad of options to choose as values, plenty of which will lead to survival. Why would you choose to invest time and energy in art if all that mattersis not dying?
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Veritas on June 22, 2011, 10:57:04 PM
Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?

Well, we would need to look very closely about what there being no values implies, and what it means to make a value judgment.

(possible answer) From the perspective of the Subject, there are two aspects of the world - the Subject itself, and that which lies outside of the Subject, with the interface between the two being the Subject's Representation of Objects (broadly speaking). I think the "no objective value" means that we can't point to something outside of the Subject, and say that this is where value lies - however there may well be something like value contained in the Subject. This is a similar idea I believe to that of "Maya" - there is an ultimate reality, but that which we think to be ultimate reality is not ultimate reality, and anything we think is it isn't really it because we are so tied into it that we are unable to separate it out, though we can somewhat infer that it exists based on our present conceptualisations.

I would say that the true measure of value is simply what the Will wills, which of course is only how I see it as current and is not truly an objective measure of value. From the Nietzschean perspective, that is good which increases Power, that is bad which decreases it, where Power is roughly the Will being able to make itself known. From this perspective, to attribute value to a concept in one's Representation is to deny the Will, and so our aim is to help remove these shackles of rule-based morality so that one can become better in touch with their True morality. This thread has suggested reducing morality back to what we innately, as biological organisms, feel to be valuable, but this is only an intermediate step. The idea is to get closer and closer to what we feel innately to be valuable beyond anything else.

No objective value, means that true value cannot be inferred through objects, however by the processes of our Will we may attempt to get closer and closer to what value truly is.

Nihilism is the name given to such a process. Parallelism and the like are the current answers we have obtained as to the furthest point in our understanding, but like science, this is not to be interpreted as truth but merely our best approximation of it. By the time it has been accepted as 'truth' we will have moved on to something else.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Galvanized on June 22, 2011, 11:11:07 PM
Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?

No, it's an objective measure of reality, which is seperate from what one values.


In other words, you're attempting to make an objective measurement of value.

Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?

Well, we would need to look very closely about what there being no values implies, and what it means to make a value judgment.

(possible answer) From the perspective of the Subject, there are two aspects of the world - the Subject itself, and that which lies outside of the Subject, with the interface between the two being the Subject's Representation of Objects (broadly speaking). I think the "no objective value" means that we can't point to something outside of the Subject, and say that this is where value lies - however there may well be something like value contained in the Subject. This is a similar idea I believe to that of "Maya" - there is an ultimate reality, but that which we think to be ultimate reality is not ultimate reality, and anything we think is it isn't really it because we are so tied into it that we are unable to separate it out, though we can somewhat infer that it exists based on our present conceptualisations.

I would say that the true measure of value is simply what the Will wills, which of course is only how I see it as current and is not truly an objective measure of value. From the Nietzschean perspective, that is good which increases Power, that is bad which decreases it, where Power is roughly the Will being able to make itself known. From this perspective, to attribute value to a concept in one's Representation is to deny the Will, and so our aim is to help remove these shackles of rule-based morality so that one can become better in touch with their True morality. This thread has suggested reducing morality back to what we innately, as biological organisms, feel to be valuable, but this is only an intermediate step. The idea is to get closer and closer to what we feel innately to be valuable beyond anything else.

No objective value, means that true value cannot be inferred through objects, however by the processes of our Will we may attempt to get closer and closer to what value truly is.

Nihilism is the name given to such a process. Parallelism and the like are the current answers we have obtained as to the furthest point in our understanding, but like science, this is not to be interpreted as truth but merely our best approximation of it. By the time it has been accepted as 'truth' we will have moved on to something else.

If you have an idea of the true measure of value, why even bother noting its subjectivity? If you're going to act on it, then for all intents and purposes your measurement of value is an objective reality for you, and will be for those that are affected by your actions; in light of this, your noting the subjectivity of your measure of value seems like a courtesy, and a hollow one at that. Also, your last paragraph interests me. Essentially you are a dog chasing after cars?
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Veritas on June 22, 2011, 11:21:05 PM
If you have an idea of the true measure of value, why even bother noting its subjectivity? If you're going to act on it, then for all intents and purposes your measurement of value is an objective reality for you, and will be for those that are affected by your actions; in light of this, your noting the subjectivity of your measure of value seems like a courtesy, and a hollow one at that. Also, your last paragraph interests me. Essentially you are a dog chasing after cars?

Because noting its Subjectivity allows me to better conceive of what it is, IMHO. Objective reality is that which the Subject is placed in. If value precedes this, then it is not itself objective reality. The affect that it has on others is its logical effect. Yes, this is objective, but it has nothing to do with value unless you Subjectively judge it to.

Is there any alternative to being a "dog chasing after cars"? We constantly strive for perfection, not so that we may reach it, but because the striving itself is of value. IMHO.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Galvanized on June 22, 2011, 11:33:20 PM
Objective reality is that which the Subject is placed in.

If you mean that you do not denote a duality between the object and subject, I'm in. It makes a lot more sense then attempting to place subject in a vacuum that has no relation to reality, which I've heard some Enlightenment kooks attempt to do.

Is there any alternative to being a "dog chasing after cars"? We constantly strive for perfection, not so that we may reach it, but because the striving itself is of value. IMHO.

You kind of defeat your own idea when you carry out this process to its ultimate conclusion though, which I feel is eternal recurrence. Life as a means towards life is not a prodigious generation of new means, it has a consistent means, and that is life. Otherwise I think you run into the Heraclitus vs. Parmenides paradox, which is a problem of epistemology, really, as is this entire debate at its heart.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Veritas on June 22, 2011, 11:57:27 PM
Objective reality is that which the Subject is placed in.

If you mean that you do not denote a duality between the object and subject, I'm in. It makes a lot more sense then attempting to place subject in a vacuum that has no relation to reality, which I've heard some Enlightenment kooks attempt to do.

As I see it, everything we experience must come from somewhere, e.g. sensations, perceptions of objects, experience of thought - and this somewhere must be something outside of the Subject, whether it corresponds to "reality" as think of it or not e.g. when we hallucinate, we might say that these hallucinations are not reality, but they nonetheless are coming from somewhere, i.e. from our brain. The difference in this case is how the object we are perceiving relates to other objects and other subjects. So yes, I say that the subject is connected to something outside of the subject, and that we denote this by objects, which forms the basis of inter-subjective reality. You might be able to explain things in terms of subject alone, I'm not sure, but you would probably end up with something that may as well be denoted by subject and object.

So yes, I assume agree here.

Quote
Is there any alternative to being a "dog chasing after cars"? We constantly strive for perfection, not so that we may reach it, but because the striving itself is of value. IMHO.

You kind of defeat your own idea when you carry out this process to its ultimate conclusion though, which I feel is eternal recurrence. Life as a means towards life is not a prodigious generation of new means, it has a consistent means, and that is life. Otherwise I think you run into the Heraclitus vs. Parmenides paradox, which is a problem of epistemology, really, as is this entire debate at its heart.

Is there any alternative to this? or how would you conceive of things otherwise? We are at any moment presented with a particular representation of the world, and we then make a choice, whatever this implies, through our Will, and then this has some kind of effect, whatever that implies. The two important questions are: what is the best way to conceive of this Representation (descriptive)? and how should we then direct our Will given this Representation (normative)?

I believe the purpose here is to answer the second question by saying: do not bind the Will to any object of the Representation. I believe this to be Nietzsche's view, I believe it also to be the Buddhist notion of non-attachment, I even believe it to be the Christian notion of placing no gods before the True God.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Galvanized on June 23, 2011, 12:05:15 AM
How do we formulate a basis for action other than through representation? I'm playing devil's advocate now, and I'm also trying to see if you can help me refine my skills at asking questions.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Veritas on June 23, 2011, 12:30:57 AM
How do we formulate a basis for action other than through representation? I'm playing devil's advocate now, and I'm also trying to see if you can help me refine my skills at asking questions.

We cannot act outside of representation, because an action implies a relation to objects. However, the Acting agent must have some basis for choice of Action that goes beyond objects, and that basis is the Subject itself, or at least something that goes beyond object. We can't represent what this is precisely because to do so we are only using objects, but nonetheless it is there.

If you want, you can ignore the aspect of the subject, and simply suppose that at any time the value we place on objects is imperfect, and recognise that we can change this. The question is then how we choose what we change this to, what the basis for this is. I say this comes from the Subject itself, though to you this may not be correct, which is fine. The important thing to note is, in my opinion, that we are free to change the values we attach to objects, and I believe once we remove the unnecessary aspects of our values that we will move closer to what it is truly of value.

I need to refine my skills at answering questions of course, but I think that at a certain point the other person must already agree. We should therefore try and collectively build a consensus as to what it is we do agree with, with regards to how we conceive of the world, and how we believe we should act within it.
Title: Re: Evolution, value, and 'intelligence'
Post by: Conservationist on June 24, 2011, 10:45:27 AM
Isn't the claim that there is no objective measure of value an objective measurement of value?

No, it's an objective measurement however, which promptly casts doubt on the statement itself.

Language can be illogical: "This sentence is not true." -- if logically consistent, not correspondent to reality; if logically inconsistent, correspondent to reality.

Why would you choose to invest time and energy in art if all that mattersis not dying?

Part of not dying means feeling a connection to life beyond the immediate. Maslow's pyramid rears its ugly head; when you have food, shelter and defense, you don't just stop there and vegetate for the rest of your life.