• 180 Proof
    Life is food playing with its food?


    Can anyone defend the assertion of this intrinsic value life is supposed to have?DingoJones

    It seems to me that whatever can value - evaluate - a living thing other than itself, does so in terms of itself, and thereby tangentially extends its own self in relation to another life; and whether or not this relating - evaluating - is mutual, it is, or becomes, intrinsic to both lives. The capacity to value - select, interpret, relate to - and, thereby, to be valued for (e.g.) following fighting feeding fucking etc seems intrinsic to life itself (if, by life, what is meant is, in part, 'ecology-bound agent-systems maintained and self-replicated via metabolising, while being metabolized by, other ecology-bound agent-systems'). I know, I know, over-general and simplistic ... as all intuitions are; more gestalty word salad than not, but maybe, DJ (et al), you get the gist?

    Why is my position, that the value comes from some kind of merit rather than from the life itself, the wrong one? — DingoJones

    Not wrong, just that the distinction (i.e. in-itself vs for-itself (pace Sartre)) is one that makes no difference vis-à-vis life since, as (my?) intuition suggests, living is evaluating (vide Nietzsche). "Merit" is, after all, merely an evaluation of an evaluation that's fallible, and often misplaced, and merely a cognitive artifact of an absurdly overdeveloped specimen that's wholly unrepresentative of the whole of life on earth. From amoeba to gut bacteria, flatworms to silverback gorillas ... the very existence of the living seems to consist in evaluating their ecology for, at least, affordances to furthering survival.

    A metaphysical, or even existential, question; however, not, as the OP posits, an ethical concern yet (i.e. at this preliminary stage of analysis).


    "When we speak of values, we speak under the inspiration, and through the optics, of life. Life itself urges us to determine values. Life itself values through us when we determine values." ~F.N.

    My only real problem with the death penalty is the risk of a false conviction.DingoJones

    Yes, the is risk unacceptably high (and not an effective deterrant). e.g. Term of art is irreversible error in the U.S. Besides, doesn't the executioner have to devalue (i.e. deny) his own intrinsic value which he shares in relation (no matter how tenuous) with the condemned every step taken towards the moment of execution? Might he too irreparably lose (i.e. amputate) some intrinsic value at the moment he irreversibly takes his other's life?
  • DingoJones

    Sorry, Im not sure how to respond to most of that. Any chance you could tighten it up a bit? Its hard to tell where any of what you said relates to what yiu quoted. Im not trying to be a dick, even you mentioned word salad.
  • 180 Proof

    Hint: Read just the bolded.

    (Not trying to be a dick either. Besides, you don't have to respond ...)
  • DingoJones
    The capacity to value - select, interpret, relate to - and, thereby, to be valued for (e.g.) following fighting feeding fucking etc seems intrinsic to life itself180 Proof

    I would say those things are intrinsic to experience, not life, after all you can be alive and not conscious, or alive but braindead.
    Also, I had tried to draw a distinction between individual value and collective value. Most people value their own experiences or life, but some people have no value (or such little value we can easily live without them, like serial killers) to the rest of us. Its the latter Im curious about, in such contexts as people on death row or life support. I often hear people defending preserving life in those circumstances by saying things like “all life is sacred/worth preserving” or by otherwise attributing some intrinsic value separate from the actual merits of that life (again, in the case of a serial killer where their life brings only vast suffering to others).
  • Congau

    I’d say: Life has no intrinsic value and its value is not based on merit either.

    “Value” always means that something is appreciated by something else or by itself. It is wanted by something or someone. (Money is valuable because we want it.) The object that has value needs a subject, therefore nothing can have intrinsic value.

    The life of an evil person is at least appreciated by himself. (The object has an appreciating subject even though they happen to be identical. It’s not the same as intrinsic value.) Therefore, his life has some value and if there’s no other compelling reason to kill him, it would be wrong to kill him.

    Any organism, any human or animal life, and even plant life has the potential of being valued/appreciated. But not only that, an artificial organism, a machine that is, or even a thing has the potential of being valued. That simply means that we shouldn’t destroy anything if we have no particular reason to do it. Everything is somehow valuable.

    Now of course there would be hierarchy of things depending on how strong a capacity they have for being appreciated, and there’s good reason to believe that a human being usually has a stronger capacity for that than an animal or a worm or a cup. Therefore, human life is usually very valuable, but not always. A person in a coma who will never wake up, has no value.
  • DingoJones

    I had included a caveat, the subject is society at large. So your points about the “self subject” or “someone subject” dont really address the question.
    Also, you end up broadening the scope to include the value we place on anything at all. Of course you are welcome to do that but it negates my question, its moot at that point isnt it?
    Also, your last sentence contradicts at least some of what you said. By your own standards that person in a coma can have value to someone else, could it not? It cannot also be true that the coma person has no value.
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