• Jake Tarragon
    342
    Let's face it, the Good Samaritan was "good" because he was able to help some guy struggling in the gutter on the other side of the road. How else could he be "good"? I guess he could love God or whatever and we could call it "good", but pious strikes me as a more appropriate term in that case. Certainly "loving God" (and similar) by itself is a load of meaningless tosh.
  • PeterPants
    82
    I donno... ive never bought into this idea that you need bad to understand good, or that good is meaningless without bad.. to me its like saying that you cant understand or enjoy something sweet unless you have never tasted something sour.

    Surely the mechanisms in our brains that elicit positive feedback (pleasure etc) do not require the function of negative feedback (pain, dissatisfaction etc) right?
  • noAxioms
    753
    Let's face it, the Good Samaritan was "good" because he was able to help some guy struggling in the gutter on the other side of the road. How else could he be "good"?Jake Tarragon
    By being distinct from all the other passers-by that did nothing. If anybody would have helped, it would just be what people do, and not notably 'good'.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    But the opposite isn't true, that misfortune and malfunction requires goodness - or put another way, suffering exists whether goodness is applied to it or not.
  • PeterPants
    82


    You seem to almost be forgetting that the OP was saying that the person struggling in the gutter, is the bad, the one suffering. They were saying that the good action the Good Samaritan did, could not exist without the bad life the gutter-man had.

    But, it does not matter, because your point stands anyway, you can always just compliment a happy person, adding goodness to an already good situation.

    People have been imagining 'Heaven' for aaaages, what exactly were they imagining if not a place where good exists without evil? how was the 'garden of Eden' supposed to function if not in this very way?
    I mention this because the argument that good cant exist without evil is normally used by theists to defend their worldview against the 'problem of evil'.
  • Sir2u
    1.8k
    Let's face it, the Good Samaritan was "good" because he was able to help some guy struggling in the gutter on the other side of the road.

    No, because he was good, he stopped to help. He would still have been good even if there was no one in the gutter.
  • PeterPants
    82


    Thats a damn good point, regardless of whether the good Samaritan ever DID anything good, the fact that when presented with that situation he would have done good, means he is good anyway.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    Micah puts it this way: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God?
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    you can always just compliment a happy person, adding goodness to an already good situation.PeterPants

    That is a fair point, and I must accept that this discussion title is badly worded. I started this discussion because on another topic I had started about "utopia", the issue of whether "utopia" should be based on maximizing "goodness" or "happiness" arose (and all too quickly faded). My claim was that goodness is not a suitable target to directly aim for because it requires misfortune to come to the fore to show itself.

    I would like to modify my claim about goodness as follows : "goodness requires the concept of well being to have meaning". Well being can refer to physical well being or psychological well being. In essence, I am saying that hedonism trumps goodness as a concept to strive for. There is no goodness that exists outside a context of well being, except some sort of arbitrarily imposed goodness from a religious source.
  • PeterPants
    82


    Absolutely, wellbeing is clearly the basis of morality, a desire to see wellbeing increase is morality itself.
    and of course wellbeing has to have meaning if it is to matter.
    but if it didnt... then it wouldent matter, be definition :P

    i agree entirely, wellbeing is literally all that could possibly matter, heres my line i like to give in this area;

    'in order for something to matter, it has to matter TOO some sentient being'

    i think this is basically a truism. and of ultimate importance to understand.


    as far as how to build a utopia, the answer is simple, it just leaves all the details unanswered. But still, one must recognize the goal before working towards it.

    Maximizing well-being, being defined as anything that could possibly matter to everyone, is the goal. So all things must be considered, sustainability, fulfillment, satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, joy, pain, pleasure, intellectual stimulation, gratification etc.
    its an endlessly complex task :P what fun.
  • PeterPants
    82
    There is no goodness that exists outside a context of well being, except some sort of arbitrarily imposed goodness from a religious source.Jake Tarragon

    Which could only possibly 'matter' insofar as it effected the lives of sentient beings, and thus is part of wellbeing anyway.
  • Noble Dust
    3.3k
    goodness requires the concept of well being to have meaning". Well being can refer to physical well being or psychological well being. In essence, I am saying that hedonism trumps goodness as a concept to strive for.Jake Tarragon



    Well-being and hedonism are not the same thing. So, Jake, are you saying that well-being trumps goodness, or that sensual pleasures trump goodness, or something else?

    There is no goodness that exists outside a context of well being,Jake Tarragon

    What is "a context of well being"?

    except some sort of arbitrarily imposed goodness from a religious source.Jake Tarragon

    Is religion not a "context of well-being"? If it's not, then how so?

    and of ultimate importance to understand.PeterPants

    why?

    Maximizing well-being, being defined as anything that could possibly matter to everyone, is the goal. So all things must be considered, sustainability, fulfillment, satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, joy, pain, pleasure, intellectual stimulation, gratificationPeterPants

    ,pedophelia, rape, arson, political corruption, sexual fantasy, bigotry, sexism, racism, ahhhh...what fun...
  • PeterPants
    82
    'in order for something to matter, it has to matter TOO some sentient being'

    i think this is basically a truism. and of ultimate importance to understand.
    PeterPants



    why?Noble Dust

    Because its handy to understand what matters, if you want to effect it. I think most people do, positively thankfully.
    Basically, you cant intentionally do anything of importance, if you don't know what matters. however simple the fact may be.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.5k
    How would we label some behavior or idea as "good" if bad behaviors or bad ideas didn't exist? Would "good" still be a viable term if there never was anything bad? It seems to me that if there were no bad things, then "good" would simply be the norm, or the way things are.
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    Maximizing well-being, being defined as anything that could possibly matter to everyone, is the goal.PeterPants

    I think you are effectively saying freedom of choice trumps everything .. in which case I agree (with all the typical caveats).Freedom trumps happiness trumps goodness.

    Well-being and hedonism are not the same thing. So, Jake, are you saying that well-being trumps goodness, or that sensual pleasures trump goodness, or something else?Noble Dust

    Hmmm ... "well being" is a slippery customer if you ask me. A bit of a weasel word(s) . Conscientious farmers and paternalistic institutions profess to have the "well being" of their charges at heart and look what happens to lambs... I guess it's a phrase that has considerable leeway - the paternalist will use it to seem magnanimous and caring, and his target will envisage an optimistic interpretation... "hey he's concerned about my well being ,,, great he wants me to enjoy myself!". I myself tend to be deceitful when I use the phrase .. but in the opposite direction to the paternalist. I really mean well being to mean happiness. But in any case, it's freedom of choice that must trump all in any utopianish scheme of things.

    Is religion not a "context of well-being"? If it's not, then how so?Noble Dust
    It might contribute to an individual believer's well being. But it might not. And it could just as easily damage many citizens in general. {late edit to add:} The main reason for discounting religious ideas is because the ideas are at least partly arbitrary - but believing in a religion can promote well being, of course. So freedom to be religious is important to well being. Incorporating a specific religious idea of "goodness" is unlikely to be (except those general ideas such as kindness that happen to be part of a religion).
  • Jake Tarragon
    342
    It seems to me that if there were no bad things, then "good" would simply be the norm, or the way things are.Harry Hindu

    As a thought experiment, imagine the world was populated entirely by Mother Theresa stereotypes... In what way would the situation be "good"?
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