• frank
    3.1k
    I think that's closer to how a real wolf pack works (what you described).
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    It is a delusion in the sense that it need not be the case that there are “ought” statements. Other animals don’t seem to have them, and if the universe is completely deterministic, then saying how things ought to be is a form of delusion. It is denying how things must be.Noah Te Stroete

    There are "ought" statements, that's pretty evident. Animals don't have statements because they don't have language -- they don't speak. As for the universe being deterministic, even if it is completely deterministic, it does not mean that "ought" statements have no value. (I have no idea what it means for "ought" statements to be a delusion.)
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    (I have no idea what it means for "ought" statements to be a delusion.)Magnus Anderson

    The OP was saying (as far as I can tell) that the world IS a certain way. “Ought” statements are a wishing of how people want it to be. At least some kinds of “ought” statements are therefore delusional.
  • csalisbury
    1.9k
    I am not sure what you're trying to say. I am not trying to criticize morality. I am simply saying that:

    1) saying that one ought to do something or that things ought to be in some way is not necessarily a sign of resentment

    2) morality is not a delusion

    That's it.
    Magnus Anderson

    So in the case of the powerful man killing the person who might expose him, my gut reaction is 'no he really shouldn't kill them.' What is that should? It's there. It's different than the other shoulds and oughts you mentioned (which are 'hypothetical', in Kantian terms.) It's not that he shouldn't kill them because [x].It's just like, man, he shouldn't kill them (categorical, in Kantian terms.) Two things : You ought not do that because... And : you shouldn't do that, period. They both exist, and if you follow any hypothetical ought (you ought to do this because...) for enough steps, it will always bottom out in a categorical one.

    So I was saying salving hunger is one type of ought, decrying injustice another.
  • st0ic
    3
    I think determinism and free will are matters of identification. If I believe I'm moving my finger, I'm identifying with whatever it is that moves everything. To be a determinist is to objectify everything (including myself).frank

    Gotcha gotcha. Does a sort of compliance with our actions, say pre-determined ones, come with this identification? I think some compatibilists argue that my freely going along with wherever the universe pushes me denotes a sort of freedom, albeit not the sort that we traditionally attribute to ourselves.

    I’m also curious as to what you mean by objectify. As in, reduces our inner experience to tiny little atoms being pushed forward in the same way they are with apples or tractors? I think that we can objectify everything, but still hold that those objects give way to emergent phenomena, such as you and I identifying with our vessel and being along for the ride.
  • Possibility
    494
    You ought to eat something within a period of month if you don't want to die. That's an ought. Again, hardly disputable. What's strange is the claim that every ought -- which means this one as well -- is a sign of resentment. That's clearly NOT the case.Magnus Anderson

    No - that’s still a choice. When you declare it as an ‘ought’ you assume that dying is both immanent and not an acceptable choice. You resent or reject it. That’s okay - I’m not the one saying what anyone ‘ought’ to do.

    But being hungry for a month isn’t the same as “I am hungry - I ought to eat.” When you equate an experience of hunger with impending death, and view death as unacceptable, then you are heading into moral territory - you resent/reject reality. The reality is that hunger is a normal experience of living, and that death comes to everyone.

    Just because most people don’t want to die, does not eliminate death from our reality. When we accept this reality then there is no ‘ought’, there is no morality - there is simply a capacity to choose.
  • Possibility
    494
    I ought to do X, thus avoidning Y, where Y is some negative consequence or condition is the main argument I'm hearing.This seems to have an air of escapism to me. Equating an ought statement to resenting the present state of things and wishing for some other arrangement of them accounts for only situations where there is something to be avoided, but how about when something may be pursued? I ought to do X to attain Y is not a statement of resentment, it is a goal. Take for instance charity. "I ought to give to charity because doing so makes me feel good." I exchange X for Y, money for positive emotional experience.Pathogen

    Let’s start by breaking down this statement:

    1. I ought to do what makes me feel good.
    2. Giving to charity makes me feel good.
    3. Therefore, I ought to give to charity.

    The reality we reject here is twofold. Firstly, that we are free to do something that doesn’t make us feel good, for a different, perhaps more important reason. Secondly, that we can stop ourselves, for whatever reason, from doing what makes us feel good. We are not compelled to always and only do what makes us feel good, whenever the opportunity arises.

    It is rejecting this reality that creates the ‘ought’, an illusion of no acceptable choice but to give to charity.

    If only I always and only did what makes me feel good, then I would always give to charity.”
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    The OP was saying (as far as I can tell) that the world IS a certain way. “Ought” statements are a wishing of how people want it to be. At least some kinds of “ought” statements are therefore delusional.Noah Te Stroete

    Right. So what he's saying is that unrealistic expectations (i.e. expecting things to be the way they cannot be) are delusional. I agree with that. However, the language he's using to express such a simple, tautological, thing is rather convoluted, don't you agree?
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    So in the case of the powerful man killing the person who might expose him, my gut reaction is 'no he really shouldn't kill them.' What is that should? It's there. It's different than the other shoulds and oughts you mentioned (which are 'hypothetical', in Kantian terms.) It's not that he shouldn't kill them because [x].It's just like, man, he shouldn't kill them (categorical, in Kantian terms.) Two things : You ought not do that because... And : you shouldn't do that, period.csalisbury

    If you want people to be alive and happy, you ought not to kill them or otherwise cause them suffering. In Kantian terms, that's still a hypothetical imperative, don't you think?

    You may not be motivated by survival (your own or that of a collective) but your "oughts" are of the same kind as those of other people.

    They both exist, and if you follow any hypothetical ought (you ought to do this because...) for enough steps, it will always bottom out in a categorical one.csalisbury

    Sounds like something I said elsewhere:

    ↪Baskol1 At the top of every hierarchy of goals there is a goal that is chosen freely in the sense that it is not chosen in order to attain some other goal. The choice of such a goal is certainly regulated by external factors (by the so-called nature) but it is not regulated by internal factors (such as your other goals.)

    So if you don't want to die in a month, you better eat something. And if you want to eat something, you better think of ways to find food. Say you decide you want to buy some rice (I don't like rice but that's what came up first.) So if you want to buy some rice, you better find a shop that sells it. And so on and so forth. That's an example of a hierarchy of goals. At the top of that hierarchy is a goal -- to be alive in a month. You chose that goal independently from any other goal. You don't want to be alive in a month in order to attain some other goal . . . you just want to be alive in a month. It's an arbitrary choice mediated only by external factors.

    No other goal is telling you it's best to be alive in a month. You might as well just choose to not be alive in a month. Most people don't because they can't -- the need to remain alive is too strong.
    Magnus Anderson

    There's a hierarchy of goals and at the top of that hierarchy there is a goal the choice of which is not determined by another goal.

    Goals are not "oughts" and the goal sitting at the top of the hierarchy of goals is not a categorical "ought". "Oughts" are merely statements that tell you what's the best thing to do in order to maximize your chances of attaining certain goal. They can be true (you ought to stop eating junk food if you want to be a good athlete) or false (you ought to be obese if you want to be a marathon runner) but they cannot be categorical -- they are always hypothetical.

    Suppose your master goal is for every living being on the planet to be alive and to be happy. This is a master goal because it is not mediated by any other goal. You don't do it because of some other goal. That's not an ought and certainly not a categorical ought. That's just a goal. Now, you say "Humans ought not to kill each other". That's an ought -- a hypothetical one. You say that because if people kill each other people will suffer and die -- which is something you don't want to happen.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    No - that’s still a choice.Possibility

    Don't focus on the word "want". Focus on the word "ought" and the fact that the sentence is a perfectly legitimate English sentence.

    You ought to eat something within a period of one month if you don't want to die.

    Quite often, people leave out the large chunk of that sentence and simply say "You ought to eat something". This creates an illusion of an ought statement that has nothing to do with one's wants.

    An ought statement is merely a statement of what is the best thing to do in order to maximize the chances of attaining certain goal. That's the definition of an ought statement. Given such a definition, an ought statement that has nothing to do with goals is a logical contradiction.

    But being hungry for a month isn’t the same as “I am hungry - I ought to eat.” When you equate an experience of hunger with impending death, and view death as unacceptable, then you are heading into moral territory - you resent/reject reality. The reality is that hunger is a normal experience of living, and that death comes to everyone.

    Just because most people don’t want to die, does not eliminate death from our reality. When we accept this reality then there is no ‘ought’, there is no morality - there is simply a capacity to choose.

    There will be ought statements, and yes, there will be morality, even if you accept -- and most people do accept -- that death is a part of our reality. Most people know they will die and most people know there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening. Nonetheless, oughts and morality exist. Naturally, since the two aren't connected.
  • frank
    3.1k
    I’m also curious as to what you mean by objectify. As in, reduces our inner experience to tiny little atoms being pushed forward in the same way they are with apples or tractorsst0ic

    Exactly.

    think that we can objectify everything, but still hold that those objects give way to emergent phenomena, such as you and I identifying with our vessel and being along for thest0ic

    That's determinism, which is only conceivable in contrast to belief in volition. They're two sides of one coin.
  • frank
    3.1k
    I ought to do X to attain Y isPathogen

    That's really an if-then statement.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Ought statements, for the most part, are about resentment. The ought statement says: "That shouldn't have happened." It's a rejection of part of the universe in favor of other parts, or more bizarrely, in favor of a world that doesn't and couldn't exist. Looked at this way, morality, for the most part, is delusion.frank

    Couldn't an ought statement be about something people usually do? "One ought not run up to strangers and punch them" for example. There are exceptions, but by and large, that world exists.
  • S
    11.3k
    I don't agree with a single word you just said.
  • frank
    3.1k
    I don't agree with a single word you just said.S

    Well. There you go.
  • S
    11.3k
    Well. There you go.frank

    Okay, I'll elaborate. It comes across more as philosophy-sounding artistic literature, than an attempt to state the truth in a clear manner with accompanying explanations for each point.

    For every single sentence, I'm left thinking, "Why should I accept that?", "In what way?", "How so?", "What does that even mean?", "How come I can think of counterexamples?".

    Was this one of those pieces of writing where you think to yourself, "Yeah, that sounds good... kind of Nietzschean...", but in actual fact is full of holes? Kind of like a fortress which looks sturdy from a distance, but on closer inspection is found to be made of cardboard.

    Harsh, but true.
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