• Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    When we look at examples of evil, we always see a privation of some perfection -- of good health, of justice, of compassion, of rights, etc. So, while you may use words as you wish, I prefer to analyze examples to understand what terms mean.Dfpolis

    A "privation of some perfection" is, again, poetry. If, for instance, you were to take pleasure in the pain of someone you did not cause, no one and no thing is literally being deprived. One might say that an ideal is being lessened, but this has no meaning outside of a poetic sense. And while I like poetry, it is metaphor. Having established the metaphor as metaphor, one cannot also treat it as literal.

    Cancer in and of itself is a mindless and inevitable consequence of terrestrial biology. It was not created with purpose, does not proceed with purpose, and knows nothing of harm. It is only with respect to someone it impacts that it takes on the quality of evil and only in a poetic sense. It is our arrogance and bias that says we do not deserve it, should not have it, are being deprived. 'It is unfair because it effects *me*.'

    As I say, I don't object to the poetry, but it mustn't be then treated as a literal example of evil. If one wishes to speak of harm or privation in a literal sense, whether by evil or by accident, those words are already accurate. I find it intensely egomaniacal to believe that anything that harms one is evil, like a teenager throwing a tantrum because they do not get what they want, when they want, and hang the consequences. (You might infer correctly that I am blessed with two such teenagers :D )
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    A "privation of some perfection" is, again, poetry. If, for instance, you were to take pleasure in the pain of someone you did not cause, no one and no thing is literally being deprived.Kenosha Kid

    No, it is neither "poetry" nor a metaphor. It is a literal claim. If you took pleasure in harm to others, you would lack the disposition to empathize proper to a social animal, which humans are. So, you would be a defective human being.

    Cancer in and of itself is a mindless and inevitable consequence of terrestrial biology. It was not created with purpose, does not proceed with purpose, and knows nothing of harm. It is only with respect to someone it impacts that it takes on the quality of evil and only in a poetic sense.Kenosha Kid

    No thing is evil in abstraction, for existence is a perfection, and so intrinsically good; however, cancer does not exist in abstraction, but only in organisms. In an organism it interferes with physiological processes, depriving the organism of its health. This privation is not poetic, but literal.

    It is our arrogance and bias that says we do not deserve it, should not have it, are being deprived. 'It is unfair because it effects *me*.'Kenosha Kid

    I am not saying cancer is a physical evil because people don't like it or have an adverse psychological reaction to it, but because it deprives their bodies of their proper function.

    I find it intensely egomaniacal to believe that anything that harms one is evil, like a teenager throwing a tantrum because they do not get what they want, when they want, and hang the consequences.Kenosha Kid

    If I confined the application of the term "evil" to things that harmed only myself, I might be ego-driven. Clearly, I am not doing that. I'm saying that any privation, anything not properly formed, any lack of proper perfection, is an instance of evil -- not necessarily moral evil, but ontological evil.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    If you took pleasure in harm to others, you would lack the disposition to empathize proper to a social animal, which humans are. So, you would be a defective human being.Dfpolis

    That is perfectly reasonable as a description of cause. I behave this because I lack, e.g. empathy. The act itself is not its own cause.

    because it deprives their bodies of their proper function.Dfpolis

    Again, this is not a description of the thing, but of the impact of the thing on the sufferer. Also, were we to die of nothing else, we would die of cancer due to the small carcinogenic properties of the very oxygen essential to our life. Death is not evil unless life is; it is built into life. Cancer is a fact. Death is a fact. Describing such things as evils is precisely the adolescent temper tantrum I mentioned, nothing more than an inability to accept facts that don't happen to suit us. There is little that is more subjective.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    The act itself is not its own cause.Kenosha Kid

    I never implied that it was.

    Again, this is not a description of the thing, but of the impact of the thing on the sufferer.Kenosha Kid

    So? The evil is still a privation -- the lack of a perfection in a human being.

    were we to die of nothing else, we would die of cancer due to the small carcinogenic properties of the very oxygen essential to our life.Kenosha Kid

    I did not say that it was evil because it might kill us, but because it interferes with our physiology.

    Describing such things as evils is precisely the adolescent temper tantrum I mentioned,Kenosha Kid

    I am not having an emotional outburst, but presenting a reasoned analysis. So, please refrain from demeaning mischaracterizations.

    nothing more than an inability to accept facts that don't happen to suit us.Kenosha Kid

    This is also incorrect. I, and most other people, accept the fact that bad things happen. I do not wish to continue if you are going to engage in further ad hominem attacks.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    This all just comes down to whatever we believe ought to be the case ought to be the case - a truism. The halfhearted proper-functionalism with which you attempt to justify this position doesn't actually do any work, because as you yourself admit, what constitutes proper function is itself a normative stance, so this is just like trying to pull yourself out of the swamp by pulling on your own hair.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    This is also incorrect. I, and most other people, accept the fact that bad things happen. I do not wish to continue if you are going to engage in further ad hominem attacks.Dfpolis

    I wasn't describing your discourse but the general railing against death of mankind.

    I never implied that it was.Dfpolis

    Actually you did, but if you agree that a cause of a thing is not the thing itself, then you agree yours was an irrelevant point since the claim is that a thing like cancer is objectively evil in itself.

    So? The evil is still a privation -- the lack of a perfection in a human being.Dfpolis

    But again this is meaningless poetics. It isn't based on fact. If we are designed to rely on carcinogenic substances to live, thus assuring eventual deterioration of health, then there is no meaningful perfection of human life that is deprived by this deterioration. That's not evil, it's just irrational, immature, arrogant, egotistical railing against our own nature's. Again, not crediting you with this feature: it seems to be a constant.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    if you agree that a cause of a thing is not the thing itself, then you agree yours was an irrelevant point since the claim is that a thing like cancer is objectively evil in itself.Kenosha Kid

    This makes no sense. Cancer is a physical evil because it, itself, is a privation of health.

    If we are designed to rely on carcinogenic substances to live, thus assuring eventual deterioration of health, then there is no meaningful perfection of human life that is deprived by this deterioration.Kenosha Kid

    First, we're not designed to live on carcinogens. If we were, they wouldn't harm us. Second, the very fact that you call it a "deterioration," means that it is a lesser state. i.e. one in which some perfection is no longer present.

    That's not evil,Kenosha Kid

    It is not a moral, but a physical evil.

    it's just irrational, immature, arrogant, egotistical railing against our own nature's.Kenosha Kid

    It is neither immature nor ranting to call things by their proper names. You are confusing accurate reporting with an emotional reaction.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    I substantially agree with what you said, because I think that humans can grasp teleology, and so what "should" be. We may have some differences as to detail, perhaps on foundationalism, and perhaps not.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    The halfhearted proper-functionalism with which you attempt to justify this position doesn't actually do any work, because as you yourself admit, what constitutes proper function is itself a normative stance, so this is just like trying to pull yourself out of the swamp by pulling on your own hair.SophistiCat

    Not quite. We can understand, scientifically, the purposes of many things, aka teleology. We know that if you have a defective heart, your blood will not circulation will be in adequate. It is on this basis, that we decide on norms for heart function. There is no circularity here, just openness to reality
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    Cancer is a physical evil because it, itself, is a privation of health.Dfpolis

    This makes no sense. Something cannot have a property in and of itself if that property depends on other properties of other things. If the ball is objectively red, it is so independent of the state of any observer. To say it is red because people with red-green colour blindness see it as such is not a statement of its objective properties.

    First, we're not designed to live on carcinogens. If we were, they wouldn't harm us.Dfpolis

    We are designed to breathe molecular oxygen which is a mild carcinogen.

    Second, the very fact that you call it a "deterioration," means that it is a lesser state. i.e. one in which some perfection is no longer present.Dfpolis

    That can't seriously be your argument. So if I say "There is no God," do you then think there must be a God in order for him to not exist? Fun! I was describing the absence of a deterioration, not a presence.

    It is neither immature nor ranting to call things by their proper names.Dfpolis

    Correct. But not pertinent here.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    A masochist would have people cause him pain. Following the Golden Rule, would he have to conclude that he should cause other people pain ?MMusings

    The earlier formulations are prohibitive, not compulsions. Yes, Jesus would have a masochist hurt others, but you could not reach that conclusion from the others except Jainism.

    I didn't appreciate til now what a mental midget Jesus was. Everyone managed to get it right for centuries and he still fluffed it.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    Cancer is a physical evil because it, itself, is a privation of health. — Dfpolis

    This makes no sense. Something cannot have a property in and of itself if that property depends on other properties of other things. If the ball is objectively red, it is so independent of the state of any observer. To say it is red because people with red-green colour blindness see it as such is not a statement of its objective properties.
    Kenosha Kid

    Good and evil are relational. It is the relation between what is and what is adequate that makes things good or bad. There is nothing bad about cancer cells growing in a petri dish, only cancer cells interfering with health are a physical evil.

    We are designed to breathe molecular oxygen which is a mild carcinogen.Kenosha Kid

    I am surprised to find that you think we are designed at all.

    We are not designed to live forever, we are designed to be born, flourish for a while, and die. In the course of dying, our health will decline, and that is a physical, but not a moral, evil. So, what point are you making?

    Second, the very fact that you call it a "deterioration," means that it is a lesser state. i.e. one in which some perfection is no longer present. — Dfpolis

    That can't seriously be your argument. So if I say "There is no God," do you then think there must be a God in order for him to not exist?
    Kenosha Kid

    I can make no sense of your objection. If God did not exist, we would not say His existence "deteriorated." To deteriorate is to become worse. In other words, something was better and has now lost its previous perfection.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    Good and evil are relational. It is the relation between what is and what is adequate that makes things good or bad. There is nothing bad about cancer cells growing in a petri dish, only cancer cells interfering with health are a physical evil.Dfpolis

    Exactly. Ergo there is nothing objectively evil about cancer, only subjectively evil about my cancer or the cancer of a loved one, or my general reduced life expectancy because of the existence of cancer (immature railing against death).

    I am surprised to find that you think we are designed at all.Dfpolis

    In the blind watchmaker sense :)

    In the course of dying, our health will decline, and that is a physical, but not a moral, evil. So, what point are you making?Dfpolis

    That there is nothing 'evil' about it. It's merely a fact of life, without which we'd have nothing to complain about... Or with!

    To deteriorate is to become worse. In other words, something was better and has now lost its previous perfection.Dfpolis

    I was saying that nothing deteriorated.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    That's a lot of words for a basic appeal to popularity.

    This forum would be much improved (and much smaller) if Moderators filtered out ad hominem attacks, and the sort of "name-calling" one doesn't expect among parties sincerely engaged in trying to find the truth...From the Site Guidelines "A respectful and moderate tone is desirable".MMusings

    Was that in reaction to anything specific? If you want to complain about the running of the forum and moderation, there is a Feedback forum, or you can flag specific posts for moderators' attention.
  • Dfpolis
    1.1k
    Exactly. Ergo there is nothing objectively evil about cancer, only subjectively evil about my cancer or the cancer of a loved one, or my general reduced life expectancy because of the existence of cancer (immature railing against death).Kenosha Kid

    No.
    I am surprised to find that you think we are designed at all. — Dfpolis

    In the blind watchmaker sense :)
    Kenosha Kid

    The fact that it is relational does not make it subjectively dependent. Whether or not you like it, cancer cells in people deprive them of good health.

    There is absolutely no basis in reality for Dawkin's view -- a discussion for another time,

    That there is nothing 'evil' about it. It's merely a fact of life, without which we'd have nothing to complain about... Or with!Kenosha Kid

    Evil is not about complaining, it is about objective inadequacy. As we grow old, our bodies become increasingly inadequate to support a healthy life. That is an objective fact, whether or not one is reconciled to it.

    I was saying that nothing deterioratedKenosha Kid

    But you did. Don't pull a Trump and deny what is on the record.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    Not quite. We can understand, scientifically, the purposes of many things, aka teleology. We know that if you have a defective heart, your blood will not circulation will be in adequate. It is on this basis, that we decide on norms for heart function. There is no circularity here, just openness to realityDfpolis

    One can make an argument by way of analogy for a kind of teleology inherent in homeostasis and biological adaptation, but this "teleology" does not possess any normativity on its own, without us attributing it to these features of the natural world.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    The fact that it is relational does not make it subjectively dependent.Dfpolis

    True, but in this case it is. The fact that it frame-dependent does mean that it is not objective.

    There is absolutely no basis in reality for Dawkin's viewDfpolis

    What, evolution?

    Evil is not about complaining, it is about objective inadequacyDfpolis

    This is a straw man and I think you know that.

    As we grow old, our bodies become increasingly inadequate to support a healthy life. That is an objective fact, whether or not one is reconciled to it.Dfpolis

    No disagreement. We grow old, we die. No 'evil' involved.

    But you did. Don't pull a Trump and deny what is on the record.Dfpolis

    Yeah, I confused myself. Nothing is deprived. Point being, there is no perfect human state of health that we can be deprived of by cancer. Perfection is good for poetry and theology, it has no place in reason. We're rotting from the second we slop out.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.5k
    No factual proposition can be validly deduced from a normative proposition.MMusings

    On the contrary, you cannot have a normative proposition with a positive truth value without a fact being implied.

    One ought to help old folk cross roads implies that old folk exist, roads exist, old folk sometimes wish to cross roads, and, with or without assistance, old folk can cross roads, all of which are factual propositions.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    You seem to be using the forum as a personal blog or scratchpad. There are better platforms for this. The point of posting on a forum is conversation. I don't know what your purpose here is, but seeing that you apparently aren't interested in engagement, I am no longer reading your posts. No offense, but if I just wanted to read something, there are thousands of things I would rather read than your musings (indeed, I am reading some interesting papers right now.)
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