• I like sushi
    1.6k
    It literally makes no sense. It’s a contrary statement.

    Effectively you just asked ‘If X has no value what value does X have?’ ... you don’t need us to answer that. You’ve already decided.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Yes, I would agree life is important but I would still base it on the merits of that life. The import of a life correlates directly with the important things dine with that life.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Sorry you lost me here. What statement is contrary?
    Im not saying life has no value, Im saying life has no value on its own. I dont think we should worry about preserving life in the case of a person who just goes around hurting and killing, we would only need to do that if we believed life had some sort of special, intrinsic value that we should preserve despite the hurting and killing. Some folks think we should lock that person up and expend time, energy and resources because life should always be preserved when possible.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    You just repeated my point. You’ve already decided. I cannot talk you around if you’ve denied the possibility of some murderous individual as having value.
  • Echarmion
    979
    To me if you are framing it as about people having intrinsic value then you are talking about the merits/demerits of that life, where as Im curious about what value life is supposed to have absent those specific things that are encompassed by personhood.DingoJones

    So, to clarify, would your question apply to something like a synthetic mind? An uploaded brain or similar? That is are we talking about something specifically biological?

    If you say making this about personhood is making this about merits/demerits, do you consider personhood itself a merit?

    The basic idea of the golden rule is pretty useful, yes.DingoJones

    So, for something like the golden rule to function, you need to define who is and isn't a subject under the rule. And that is going to be a form of intrinsic value, since the golden rule won't function if you can arbitrarily exclude subjects based on what you consider merits / demerits.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Well the murderous individual could have value if they offset the murders with saving lives or something I suppose, but I was meaning to make a point about a case where there is no offset. I used a relentlessly murdering and hurting person as an obvious example of that but you are right, its not always going to be the case that a murderous person has no value. What about the cases where it actually is the case they have no value (to people/society in general)? Do you think that life has something above and beyond the contents of that life?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    291
    Yes, I would agree life is important but I would still base it on the merits of that life. The import of a life correlates directly with the important things dine with that life.DingoJones

    But who decides what is important? Who get's to determine what is valuable. The killer and murderer will think his life has value… You seem to be implying some objective standard.

    Anyway, I think I agree, I think life is not inherently valuable. That is probably a leftover from religious ages. Though usually people will think their life is valuable, and usually any type of value-system will recognise the value of peoples lifes, because it is at least recognised that people value their own lifes.

    But I do think life can have 'negative' value sometimes, to the person itself, and to other people too. In a lot of Western countries euthanasia is legal, precisly because it is recognised that it can happen that a life is not worth living anymore.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Interesting, didnt think of AI. Maybe people who think life has intrinsic value have something purely biological in mind as part of that intrinsic worth but to me if we are talking about personhood I dont see how we could exclude AI provided the AI has personhood (however you want to define personhood).
    In order to answer your question about personhood being of intrinsic value, I would need to know exactly what you mean by personhood. If personhood has intrinsic value then personhood would have to be intrinsic to life in order for it to make life itself intrinsically valuable. I dont think thats the case, as I wouldnt say a plant or bacteria have personhood...but you might have something else in mind concerning what counts as personhood.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    I dont mean to make reference to an objective standard, whatever people/society decides has value is fine.
    I think we agree, and I agree with your reference to religion as well. It seems pretty obvious that religious thinking places an inherent value to life because of the immortal soul, salvation and all that.
  • I like sushi
    1.6k
    What about the cases where it actually is the case they have no value (to people/society in general)? Do you think that life has something above and beyond the contents of that life?DingoJones

    Now you’re saying, ‘What if X has no value, can X have value?’ Adding ‘What’ doesn’t change the underlying stance you’ve taken. Just stop. Move on to someone else. I’ve also answered the second bizarre extension of the question too. It depends on who is making the value judgement.

    Do I value my life over some random murderer or rapist? Of course. Is there a circumstance where I wouldn’t? Anything is possible, yet I’d say it’s unlikely.

    Why not ask about a mother in labor? Is her life more precious than her child’s?

    The question is about a judgement on the value of ‘life’ - any life in general. I value life in general. I also make judgements about individual lives. Don’t conflate the two questions and pretend they are one and the same.

    If a terminally ill child was going to die tomorrow would you still feed the child or think, ‘What’s the value in that?’ If Charles Manson was going to die tomorrow would you still feed him or think, ‘What’d the value in that?’. I understand that most people’s initial reactions would different between the two, but I do think that if we cannot see past the wrongs of our fellows (and understand their capacity as reflective of our capacity) then we’re probably lacking something.

    Anyway, thanks for pressing. It turns out I did have something more to say :) just goes to show that persistence does sometimes pay off :D Thanks again
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Ok, moving onto someone else then, as per your request.
  • TheMadFool
    4.1k
    Well Antinatalism is about an individuals value assessment and I am trying to frame this at a societal level.
    Also, I do not agree that Antinatalism is correct or even coherent.
    DingoJones

    Rationality is universal in scope. Are antinatlists just quirky, sad people or do their arguments make sense?

    I don't know how far you'll agree with me but a common thread that runs through all human aspirations and objectives is a state of Awakening. Parents teach their children the way the world actually is and how to cope. Religions advertise a higher state of consciousness and philosophy tries to sell sagacious wisdom. This enlightened state of mind is the ultimate goal of every human. Yes, they differ from each other but all involve a waking up as if to say we're all in some kind of deep slumber.

    Note that all I've said above are claims only about humans - all but a few awakened ones are in deep sleep. Can we not take one step further and say that among the multitude of life-forms only humans have the capacity to appreciate life and with that realization make an effort towards improving and sustaining all life on the planet? We can take this route and even claim that the universe itself has awakened in us.

    Does this make life sacred or have intrinsic value?
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    I wouldnt say so, no. That is only one type of life you are talking about, there is other life that doesn't have that appreciation as you yourself stated and therefore life itself cannot have this intrinsic value.
  • BrianW
    880
    Is life sacred? In what way? I think it depends on the mode of appreciation (perspective).
    Does life have intrinsic value? Aren't all or any values it could have intrinsic? Again, this depends on perspective (language/expression).

    Personally, I think life is more complex and vast than the average understanding of humans. Most of the time, we (humans) like to think life begins with our appreciation of it. But what about before humans were on earth? We still had animal and plant life, right? Do they constitute life? Why? How?

    While biology is a reasonable way to define certain aspects of life, it is still too deficient to designate what life is in its entirety. Organic, inorganic, living, non-living, etc, are just attempts at defining certain aspects of activity and interaction within life. And what about nature (with its ecosystems, genetic developments, creative expressions, intelligent operations, etc)? Another fact we don't often acknowledge is that we are a part of nature, we belong to it. And yet, human appreciation, while important to us, is not the only priority to nature. Nature has its own operation and appreciation (satisfaction, balance, interactive associations, etc) of itself and which is far superior to anything we could define. In fact, human understanding could be expressed as a replica of nature's appreciation. Though insufficient, it is ever progressing.

    (A metaphysical approach to a subject such as life is inevitable since the fundamental premise of our knowledge of life entails considerations beyond mere experience of or contact with 'things', primarily because our perspective and language are limited with respect to the activities beyond what we designate as our selves. Therefore, it is inevitable that, in some ways, we must express ourselves symbolically/colloquially.)

    Reality is life. Often, we express life as a perspective/part of reality.

    What value does life need other than being life? Isn't life the fundamental of all meaning, significance, value, merits and demerits?

    What I mean is that life is itself self-defining because it isn't defined by anything other than itself. Life gives meaning to its components not vice-versa. Merits, demerits, value and the lack thereof are all subjective to life.

    To assign value to life is to imply it is subjective. Subjective to what? Subjective how? Merits and demerits are with respect to certain relations in life. And yet, with or without those relations, life can still unfold.

    For example, plates and spoons cannot be said to be intrinsic to nutrition. Primarily because we can receive nutrition even without them. However, for most people, they (plates and spoons) are given a role in the larger process of nutrition but they don't confer any value, nutrition being a value in itself.
    It's the same with life - human values and appreciation have their role in life but they don't define it. Life is value in itself.

    Imo, life is the epitome of meaning. It (through us) confers values, merits and demerits. The reverse doesn't work.
  • Echarmion
    979


    Well, I consider personhood to have intrinsic value. For the purposes of this thread, I'd stick with a standard concept of personhood, so humans have it, and maybe some other animals.

    Whether or not that personhood is based on biological life or some other substrate is irrelevant in my opinion. So in that sense, I wouldn't say that life itself has intrinsic value.
  • Coben
    1k
    I guess my only sense in which I would think that life is important is if they had a chance of coming back. In this case we have something that is quasi-alive. Only kept going via artificial support. Which is fine if it might come back to being full life again.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Ok, so how does that inform your views? If life has no intrinsic value, what are your thoughts about suicide, or imprisoning the Mansons or Hitlers of the world rather than just killing them?
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    What about in the case of life in prison, do you think we should spend the resources to lock the worst of us up in a cage untill they die of natural causes?
  • Coben
    1k
    What about in the case of life in prison, do you think we should spend the resources to lock the worst of us up in a cage untill they die of natural causes?DingoJones

    That's an extremely different example from what you said below...

    It was more the context of something like someone braindead but kept alive by medical technology.DingoJones

    I don't think that's the same context at all. I can see making a solid argument in favor of considering life in prison no real life, but you just expanded the context.

    Who decides for the person in prison?
    Who decides what is a high enough quality of life?

    In the context of the brain dead patient, we are presuming that there is no one experiencing anything. That, to me, is a qualitative difference. IOW if we compost that body other life can flourish. We can easily think life is sacred and turn off that person's life support, without even the loss of complicated advanced life being lost.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Oh I misunderstood, I thought you didnt think life was sacred or intrinsically valuable.
    I just wondered how you would answer other examples of lifes sanctity given your views on the braindead one. Didnt mean to imply they were the same thing, that was a tangent on my part.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    I don't think that anything has intrinsic value, of course, but I do value all human life, as well as most other animal life (although I'm not against eating meat, even). I'm not in favor of the death penalty. I don't care for the way we run our prison systems, either. I don't think we're justified in locking people up the way we do. I agree that we need to separate some people from mainstream society, but I think we should do so in a way that doesn't at all resemble prisons. It should simply be a physical separation--put those folks on an island or something. Or send them to Australia. ;-)
  • Echarmion
    979
    Ok, so how does that inform your views? If life has no intrinsic value, what are your thoughts about suicide, or imprisoning the Mansons or Hitlers of the world rather than just killing them?DingoJones

    I think personhood has intrinsic value, so I am going to respect the life of people as a basic requirement for that. I think suicide is not a moral issue in and of itself, though it's problematic if you have a partner or children who depend on you. As to the issue of a death penalty, I think there are plenty of reasons not to have it - it's hugely costly to do properly, misjudgements are irreversible, it causes psychological harm to the people administering it and, perhaps most importantly, I consider being on death row a form of torture. That more or less leaves lifelong imprisonment as the harshest available sentence.
  • Pualwatson
    1
    I personally believe life has no meaning or value. Yes it is nice to be needed or have “value” in society but quite pointless if that “value” is not what brings you the most joy. Furthermore, I feel that society and media has shaped what we value, maybe not in the best way. I think realizing how pointless life is the key to living a pointless life that only focuses on selfish joy.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Do you think that people on death row would choose death over death row? If not, then doesnt that pretty clearly show which is the worse punishment? Why would people routinely choose the more torturous option? (Death row, according to you)
    Anyway, so you don’t think life has intrinsic value but because you think personhood has intrinsic value then human life has intrinsic value because personhood is intrinsic to human life? (Excepting cases like being braindead where personhood has gone away)
    Is that right?
  • Echarmion
    979
    Do you think that people on death row would choose death over death row? If not, then doesnt that pretty clearly show which is the worse punishment? Why would people routinely choose the more torturous option? (Death row, according to you)DingoJones

    That's not really how the human psyche works. People can be extremely miserable and still also afraid to die. I don't think there is a good justification for inflicting that extra pain.

    Anyway, so you don’t think life has intrinsic value but because you think personhood has intrinsic value then human life has intrinsic value because personhood is intrinsic to human life? (Excepting cases like being braindead where personhood has gone away)
    Is that right?
    DingoJones

    Well the value of life wouldn't be strictly speaking intrinsic. But the distinction is fairly minute in most practical circumstances, unless we go beyond biological life.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k
    Well the value of life wouldn't be strictly speaking intrinsic. But the distinction is fairly minute in most practical circumstances, unless we go beyond biological life.Echarmion

    Ok, I understand. Thanks.

    That's not really how the human psyche works. People can be extremely miserable and still also afraid to die. I don't think there is a good justification for inflicting that extra pain.Echarmion

    Im asking about choosing between death and death row. You implied that death row was the worse punishment, did I misunderstand what you meant?
  • Echarmion
    979
    Im asking about choosing between death and death row. You implied that death row was the worse punishment, did I misunderstand what you meant?DingoJones

    The idea is that, as a punishment, death is absolute, so doing torture + death would just be adding gratuitous cruelty. It is, however, not possible to administer the death penalty without added cruelty, and that's one reason I consider it generally immoral.

    That's leaving out the question under what circumstances it might be permissible to enact an absolute punishment.
  • Coben
    1k
    No worries. I thought it was a large jump and now I got where you're coming from.
  • TheMadFool
    4.1k
    I wouldnt say so, no. That is only one type of life you are talking about, there is other life that doesn't have that appreciation as you yourself stated and therefore life itself cannot have this intrinsic value.DingoJones

    It's quite interesting that humans are considered virtuoso tool makers. We started off with simple stone axes and now we have lasers and rockets. We seem to have "progressed" even beyond that - aiming beyond life itself to something purportedly greater. Quite naturally life transforms itself into an instrument/tool to achieve that greater-beyond. "I'm alive" becomes "I live for <greater-beyond>".


    When viewed like above life appears to have instrumental value rather than intrinsic value - serving only as a means of achieving the greater-beyond. Buddhists consider life, especially human life, in this way - as the best opportunity to achieve nirvana.

    What may be relevant to the discussion is unlike a person using a hammer, where there's a distinction between the user and the tool, no such separation exists when life uses life to achieve the greater-beyond.
  • DingoJones
    1.3k


    Ah, I suppose that is another conversation altogether. We most likely disagree quite a bit. My only real problem with the death penalty is the risk of a false conviction.
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