• 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 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).
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.