• schopenhauer1
    10k
    With this fundamental, perhaps we can build something. If is is the case that existence is what is “good”, we can logically conclude a few points.

    1. If existence is good, then more existence is better.
    2. Any existence which lowers overall existence is evil.
    Philosophim

    Mainlander, and the Gnostics would dispute this metaphysical claim.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Mainlander, and the Gnostics would dispute this metaphysical claim.schopenhauer1

    What would they present to dispute this? I'm not interested in someone's general non-related claims as I'm sure you can understand. Where in the logic and build up would they disagree?
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    I apologize, I must have misunderstood you then.Bob Ross

    Not a worry Bob! Again, it may have been that I wasn't clear in my writing as well.

    What is the difference between ‘existence’ and ‘material’: I thought the latter was a sub-type of the former. Same with expressed vs. existence.Bob Ross

    That's very fair, and honestly where I thought the questioning would go first. The material existence is an atomic existence which is the combination of all possible expressions it can manifest when met with another material existence. An expression is the manifestation of a material existence in a unique way based on its situation and difference with another state. This state could be itself (Perhaps a singular existence has a bit of a warp or vibration to it over time) or what we can actually observe, its relation to another material existence.

    This is still counter-intuitive: it is entirely possible that the maximal expressed and material existences is entities which are not alive.Bob Ross

    True. Sometimes the calculation works out like that. To see if its unintuitive, why don't you create an example that you're thinking of try to calculate it out. The problem is you're trying to intuit some complex math. You can't. Its well documented that we suck at it as human beings. What I've found is that after calculating a situation, it often is surprising against what I initially thought the outcome would be.

    For example, it is entirely possible that when forced to choose between saving a robot and a baby, you will have to save the robot (because the material and expressed existences is higher in the former over the latter).Bob Ross

    While I am still loath to discuss this aspect of higher intelligence yet as I fear it will just keep you from getting to the base level first, I also want to keep the conversation engaging. But really, remove ALL ideas of intelligence and especially human morality now, because you have to learn the base calculations first. When we get to intelligence and humanity, then feel free to give feedback if something is unintuitive. But for now, I'll answer this one in a way where you can see yes, sometimes saving the robot would be better.

    Humanity is facing a crisis that cannot be solved with human minds alone. In 51 years, humanity will be wiped out if it isn't solved. So they created a robot that has spent the last 50 years calculating a solution to their problem. It has done it! With this it will save humanity. Unfortunately the building its in is on fire, and wouldn't you know it, someone left their baby there too. You have just enough time to save either the robot or the baby. The moral choice is clear. By saving the robot, you save humanity. By saving the baby, you doom humanity. Saving the robot results in more overall existence.

    But lets leave that example there. Do not include society, sacrifice, etc. because we aren't there yet! Pretend you don't know we're going to humanity yet, just like a person learning addition does not know calculus is on the horizon. Or a person who doesn't understand that the 8 binary logic gates we have can be combined into a computer. Lose your intuitions about the advanced use of basic things. Lets just focus on logic and see where it takes us.

    Likewise, so far you seem to be saying we can just make up a time frame to use for their comparisons, but then it becomes utterly arbitrary.Bob Ross

    Again, you're getting ahead. What I'm doing is showing you how to do the math. We can set up any time frame we want to compare. What we haven't covered yet is, "What time frame should we use as intelligent creatures when trying to solve a moral dilemma?" The current point I'm trying to get across is this is how we can measure morality in a limited scope when life does not exist. Do you disagree with this as a function of measurement?

    Likewise, if you consider potential expressed and material existences, then this also has weird consequences; e.g., a hurricane may end up, if it runs its full course, producing much more expressed and material existences than a newborn baby--but obviously everyone is going to say that we should stop hurricanes and preserve the rights of babies. Yours would choose to preserver the hurricane over the baby (if in conflict).Bob Ross

    People are notoriously bad with complex math and long term thinking. They also think that what we want or feel we should do is often times right. Morality is not about our feelings or what we intuit. If morality is objective, and it can be shown as such, it would be about the objective results. We can simplify this even without doing calculations.

    1. Assume we have an objective morality, and it is a fact that a particular hurricane is worth more than a babies' life.
    2. We're put in a situation in which we can't just save the child, but the child must die.
    3.We have a magic gun that can stop the hurricane in its tracks. But doing so will cause horrible things to happen.
    4. I want to save the baby despite all of this.

    Does my want make it moral to save the baby? Of course not.

    Objectively, it would be wrong to end the hurricane to save the baby. This isn't unintuitive either. We send people all the time to die in wars to preserve entire countries. Men will shield women and children from danger. The idea of sacrificing for something greater than yourself is a universal theme in all of humanity across cultures.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    That's very fair, and honestly where I thought the questioning would go first. The material existence is an atomic existence which is the combination of all possible expressions it can manifest when met with another material existence. An expression is the manifestation of a material existence in a unique way based on its situation and difference with another state. This state could be itself (Perhaps a singular existence has a bit of a warp or vibration to it over time) or what we can actually observe, its relation to another material existence.

    So, let me make sure I am understanding: ‘material existence’ is really just ‘fundamental entities’. As an entity could exist ‘materially’ (in your sense of the term) but not materially (in the standard sense of being tangible), correct? E.g., a wave could exist ‘materially’.

    My point in bringing it up was that you seem to imply that existence was a separate category altogether from material existence, but I think, if I am understanding correctly, it is just a broader type: a generic type.

    To see if its unintuitive, why don't you create an example that you're thinking of try to calculate it out. The problem is you're trying to intuit some complex math. You can't. Its well documented that we suck at it as human beings

    I think you are trying to inadvertently drown me in calculations, when it is perfectly reasonable to infer the calculations generally from the example. Philosophim, no one can count the exact atoms in a mountain vs. a baby.

    But really, remove ALL ideas of intelligence and especially human morality now, because you have to learn the base calculations first.

    I am using these examples to demonstrate the consequences of taking on an atom-to-atom comparison, or potential for potential, etc.

    It loses it’s moral meaningfulness and potency if we are talking about a mountain vs. a rock.

    However, I am more than happy to drop the analogies for now.

    But for now, I'll answer this one in a way where you can see yes, sometimes saving the robot would be better.

    The only thing I will say about this is that you are admitting the theory is counter-intuitive. This doesn’t mean it is wrong, just that virtually no one is going to agree that you should save a robot over a (human) baby. People generally hold life to be more sacred than non-life. Anyways, I digress.

    Humanity is facing a crisis that cannot be solved with human minds alone. In 51 years, humanity will be wiped out if it isn't solved. So they created a robot that has spent the last 50 years calculating a solution to their problem. It has done it! With this it will save humanity. Unfortunately the building its in is on fire, and wouldn't you know it, someone left their baby there too. You have just enough time to save either the robot or the baby. The moral choice is clear. By saving the robot, you save humanity. By saving the baby, you doom humanity. Saving the robot results in more overall existence.

    Philosophim, you’ve twisted the example in your favor! (: I was talking about all else being equal. If we are factoring in, like you said, (1) the quantity of material existences, (2) the quantity of expressive existences, and (3) the total net potential for both; then a highly complex robot (like terminator) is factually morally better, and thusly preserved over, a 2 month-old (human) baby. No extra factors: all else being equal.

    Do you disagree with this as a function of measurement?

    I believe you stated before that we use whatever time frame we want: I disagree with that. If you aren’t saying that, then what time frame, in your calculations (for whatever it is you are contemplating), are you using? You can’t seem to give a definite answer to that. This is not contingent on analyzing the moral worth of life.

    1. Assume we have an objective morality, and it is a fact that a particular hurricane is worth more than a babies' life.
    2. We're put in a situation in which we can't just save the child, but the child must die.
    3.We have a magic gun that can stop the hurricane in its tracks. But doing so will cause horrible things to happen.
    4. I want to save the baby despite all of this.

    Does my want make it moral to save the baby? Of course not.

    Correct. My point is you just bit a bullet. No one is going to agree with you that we should preserve a hurricane over saving someone’s life; let alone that we should preserve a hurricane at all. You are just biting the bullet and saying, “well, if it is a moral fact that I ought preserve a hurricane [that will destroy even just one person along with much, much non-life], then I ought to do it”.

    it would be wrong to end the hurricane to save the baby. This isn't unintuitive either. We send people all the time to die in wars to preserve entire countries

    The difference is that hurricanes are always bad, and there is no reasonably foreseeable consequence that would make keeping a hurricane good. Likewise, stopping a hurricane to save 2 people seems good, and preserving the hurricane that will kill those 2 people seems bad. You are saying that in the case that the hurricane has significantly more material and expressive existence, as well as more potential for both, than the two people; then, all else being, equal, the hurricane should be preserved.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    So, let me make sure I am understanding: ‘material existence’ is really just ‘fundamental entities’. As an entity could exist ‘materially’ (in your sense of the term) but not materially (in the standard sense of being tangible), correct? E.g., a wave could exist ‘materially’.Bob Ross

    Yes, its fundamental entities. A wave isn't a fundamental entity however because its composed of fundamental entities. Its a combined identity, or the combination of the expressions of the fundamental entities grouped together.

    My point in bringing it up was that you seem to imply that existence was a separate category altogether from material existence, but I think, if I am understanding correctly, it is just a broader type: a generic type.Bob Ross

    Correct. I'm classifying types of existence, but generically, its all existence.

    I think you are trying to inadvertently drown me in calculations, when it is perfectly reasonable to infer the calculations generally from the example. Philosophim, no one can count the exact atoms in a mountain vs. a baby.Bob Ross

    Ha ha, no drowning intended. Remember, we're not on mountains or babies yet. I just want to make sure you understand the patterns at the base level before we move on. One thing that may help is I'm noting that an objective morality would exist without human beings. So we're examining what that morality would be like first without life.
    Philosophim, you’ve twisted the example in your favor! (: I was talking about all else being equal. If we are factoring in, like you said, (1) the quantity of material existences, (2) the quantity of expressive existences, and (3) the total net potential for both; then a highly complex robot (like terminator) is factually morally better, and thusly preserved over, a 2 month-old (human) baby. No extra factors: all else being equal.Bob Ross

    It loses it’s moral meaningfulness and potency if we are talking about a mountain vs. a rock.Bob Ross

    It loses moral meaningfulness to us, yes. We're humans, we care about human things. We'll get there, but first we have to look at the idea of a morality where we are irrelevant. Its boring, but a necessary foundation before we move onto the things we personally care about.

    The only thing I will say about this is that you are admitting the theory is counter-intuitive. This doesn’t mean it is wrong, just that virtually no one is going to agree that you should save a robot over a (human) baby. People generally hold life to be more sacred than non-life.Bob Ross

    Some people do, not all people Bob. Some people will sacrifice their lives for works of art for example. An objective morality is also free of our biases and desires. Like anything objective, its going to run counter to our personal beliefs. The test of a good objective measure is whether its logically consistent, and also has a good reason why it may run counter to our desires. Once again, we'll get there.

    If its truly equal, then its a coin flip choice. If its not equal, then we take the situation with a higher expressed and potential existence. You're not really making it equal here. You're taking a clearly superior existence producing robot vs a baby. I'm making a very clear example so the concept is understood. Its just math. If the calculations demonstrate that both sides are equal, then it doesn't matter what you choose. Try to either demonstrate a situation in which the robot is clearly the superior existence, yet picking it would be clearly evil, or a situation in which there is calculate equality and it would be clearly evil to pick the robot. I think this would give credence to your argument. Without that, its really just something that makes you uncomfortable.

    Do you disagree with this as a function of measurement?

    I believe you stated before that we use whatever time frame we want: I disagree with that. If you aren’t saying that, then what time frame, in your calculations (for whatever it is you are contemplating), are you using? You can’t seem to give a definite answer to that. This is not contingent on analyzing the moral worth of life.
    Bob Ross

    See this is the level we should currently be at in this conversation! Carefully looking at the base in which we're building something from. Let me clarify what I'm talking about here. We're talking at the abstract level.

    I'm just noting how the math functions work. In algebra for example we can add or subtract as much as we want from both sides of the equation and X stays the same.

    x = 1
    x-1 = 1=1

    The point I'm making is that when setting up a moral calculation, you can objectively set whatever time you want.

    existence * 1 second
    existence * 1 minute

    That's all. I'm asking you whether taking the total existence and multiplying it by time is a good measure of calculating existence over that course of time. We're not talking about, "Should we evaluate the existence of a person in terms of seconds, minutes, or hours in Y particular situation?" Just noting whether the basic building blocks of what we're doing here have any logical issues or concerns at a functional level.

    Correct. My point is you just bit a bullet. No one is going to agree with you that we should preserve a hurricane over saving someone’s life; let alone that we should preserve a hurricane at all.Bob Ross

    I don't think we should speak for everyone. This argument is the same given to Copernicus when he said the Earth revolved around the Sun. "But look, I can look into the sky and clearly see it revolving around us!" Objectivity does not care what others personally think. The thing is, its about an objective calculation, not a feeling. Meaning that only IF it was found this particular hurricane was objectively more moral than a baby, would it be more moral to preserve the hurricane. Don't let the thought experiments forget that part. Just because we can imagine an outcome it does not mean its an applicable outcome.

    The difference is that hurricanes are always bad, and there is no reasonably foreseeable consequence that would make keeping a hurricane good.Bob Ross

    Then you are not thinking in terms of the theory, but your own opinion. If the hurricane is always calculated as being bad, then yes, its always bad. If the hurricane is calculated at being good, then it is good. Our opinions are irrelevant.

    You are saying that in the case that the hurricane has significantly more material and expressive existence, as well as more potential for both, than the two people; then, all else being, equal, the hurricane should be preserved.Bob Ross

    Yes. But again, you have no calculations which is why you are resistant to it. You're still working in terms of a human centric benefit model, not an objective moral model. Yes, we're definitely part of morality, but we alone are not the only moral things in this universe that demand all else be sacrificed for us. At least, not by my estimates. Are we incredibly moral? VERY. But you won't understand that if you don't understand and agree to the base level of what we're doing first.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    See this is the level we should currently be at in this conversation! Carefully looking at the base in which we're building something from. Let me clarify what I'm talking about here. We're talking at the abstract level.

    I'm just noting how the math functions work. In algebra for example we can add or subtract as much as we want from both sides of the equation and X stays the same.

    x = 1
    x-1 = 1=1

    The point I'm making is that when setting up a moral calculation, you can objectively set whatever time you want.

    existence * 1 second
    existence * 1 minute

    That's all. I'm asking you whether taking the total existence and multiplying it by time is a good measure of calculating existence over that course of time

    My question is about the next step after this. You are just noting that time factors into potential expressive and material existences, which is just basically a tautology (as potential implies time).

    I am asking, when making the calculations, what time interval is used and why?


    For now, that is all I have; as the rest of your response is about things you asked me not to indulge in yet (;
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    For now, that is all I have; as the rest of your response is about things you asked me not to indulge in yet (;Bob Ross

    Fair enough! I know you want to get to these, I just know I can't until you understand the base theory first.

    What you're talking about is calculations with the intent to find the most existence possible. So lets cover that.

    A consequence of realizing that existence is calculated over time, is that optimally we want the most existence possible over time. The longer the time continues at X level, the better the long term existence.

    As we noted earlier, expressions of existence can add more complexity per material, expressions, and potential existence to a particular time point. We'll use seconds to remove some of the abstraction. I'll go back to the comparison between chemical reactions vs stable matter. Chemical reactions are highly concentrated interactions of existence between two entities. Its a system of funneling different molecules into a new identity. The problem of course is that chemical reactions burn out eventually.

    Lets take baking soda and vinegar. We mix the two and the volatile reaction happens for 10 seconds. So for those ten seconds we have a spike in existence relative to the baking soda and vinegar independent of one another, and then back to the status quo of nothing happening. Ideally, we would like to keep a chemical reaction going as long as possible. If we could get one or a series of chemical reactions that would constantly renew themselves, we could keep the heightened existence going as long as possible. We call this process homeostasis. This is the advent of life.

    Life is a series of chemical reactions that do not passively burn out, but actively seek to keep it going. Even though an individual life might die, it reproduces, finding another way to keep the chemical process going. Thus life, a highly concentrated form of existence, can exhibit a constant rate of existence instead of a one and done chemical reaction.

    So then how long do we calculate. Where possible we look for calculations of existence that are constant and sustained. We might have an example of a beautiful explosion that creates 10 million existence in one second, but if we can get a chemical reaction that creates 10 existence a second, after 1 million seconds we have more overall profit.

    To calculate every single one individually would take too much time, and is unneeded for our general purposes. So we can set a general hierarchy of what is important in calculating morality.

    1. Constant and consistent rates of morality are the most valuable. Anytime there is no foreseeable limit to its end, this will always be a more valuable existence than a 'spike' of existence. Thus I could murder someone for a quick spike of existence, but then we would lose the constant rate of that person's life. This is almost always a net negative.

    2. Spikes of existence that don't negatively impact steady and constant sets of existence. Explained above with the murderer. But if I want to go have a party with friends, the existence spikes up and is a good thing.

    So, anytime a negative or positive spike of existence is considered, we must compare it to the steady existence rates like life or things which support life. If for example you wonder if you should smoke, you might get a short bump in happiness and activity for a while, but die to cancer early down the road. This would be a net negative and immoral to do.

    I examine life before intelligent life next to demonstrate how apparent negatives can be positive in extending a homeostasis in the overall life environment. An environment of only sheep would eat all the grass as their population exploded, end all food, and kill all sheep years down the road. Predators prevent this, and extend the homeostasis of life 'indefinitely'.

    So,, this is enough again for now. What do you think about what I've written here. Don't think about humans yet! :) Does what I'm saying make sense from what we've built in a world without humans so far?
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    A consequence of realizing that existence is calculated over time, is that optimally we want the most existence possible over time. The longer the time continues at X level, the better the long term existence.

    Then, is it true that the time interval that should be used is the longest foreseeable future?

    Constant and consistent rates of morality are the most valuable. Anytime there is no foreseeable limit to its end, this will always be a more valuable existence than a 'spike' of existence. Thus I could murder someone for a quick spike of existence, but then we would lose the constant rate of that person's life. This is almost always a net negative.

    It seems like you are saying that the best action to take is the one that maximizes material and expressive existences in the longest foreseeable future, is that right?

    Spikes of existence that don't negatively impact steady and constant sets of existence. Explained above with the murderer. But if I want to go have a party with friends, the existence spikes up and is a good thing.

    I don’t understand this one. So if I go in my garage and do a whole bunch of useless nonsense but technically it produces expressive existences and I don’t harm anyone doing it, then that is better than if I had done one productive thing that produced less expressive existences?

    What do you think about what I've written here. Don't think about humans yet! :) Does what I'm saying make sense from what we've built in a world without humans so far?

    Assuming my responses here are accurate (to what you are conveying), then, yes, I think I understand and still think this is going to lead to all sorts of counter-intuitive conclusions; but I am waiting until we get to your analysis of a reality with life in it first (;

    It sounds like you are holding straight up act-consequentialism, but I could be wrong.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    It seems like you are saying that the best action to take is the one that maximizes material and expressive existences in the longest foreseeable future, is that right?Bob Ross

    Correct.

    Spikes of existence that don't negatively impact steady and constant sets of existence. Explained above with the murderer. But if I want to go have a party with friends, the existence spikes up and is a good thing.

    I don’t understand this one. So if I go in my garage and do a whole bunch of useless nonsense but technically it produces expressive existences and I don’t harm anyone doing it, then that is better than if I had done one productive thing that produced less expressive existences?
    Bob Ross

    Ah, you've made an unknowing contradiction here. That which is productive is something that is useful and good. If you go into the garage and produce something with overall less existence, then it is not as good as if you could have produced something with overall more existence. That which produces more positive existence is more productive than that which does not.

    Assuming my responses here are accurate (to what you are conveying), then, yes, I think I understand and still think this is going to lead to all sorts of counter-intuitive conclusions; but I am waiting until we get to your analysis of a reality with life in it first (;Bob Ross

    Thank you Bob, you truly are a great thinker and once again I am delighted to have someone of your caliber to speak with! I know its a lot to ask and yet you patiently have awaited these points.

    It sounds like you are holding straight up act-consequentialism, but I could be wrong.Bob Ross

    I don't believe it is. For one, act-consequentialism is about maximizing human good, whereas this is about maximizing existence. Lets call it existentialism. :) If we can evaluate two different outcomes and note that outcome B is more moral than outcome A, and with equal effort we could choose either A or B, it would be more more to choose B. But what is we calculate B is more moral, but we simply didn't have all of the information that A was more moral. In such a case it was still more moral to choose B with the information we had. But on to building up to humanity now.

    So why is humanity special. Its not. Humanity is part of the entire totality of existence in the universe. There are two things though that make humanity special and more of a condensed higher existence than the rest of the universe.

    1. Expansive Intelligent
    2. They are a social species.

    Intelligence can be defined in many ways. At its most basic, intelligence is the speed at which neurons process to obtain conclusions. The 'expanse' of an intelligent being is that which it is able to process. We could have an intelligent ant that processes responses much faster than other ants, but its expanse is limited to chemical processing for signals and basic survival. Most life has a much more limited expanse than humanity. Many creatures simply react to outside stimulus with the goal of preserving their existence, and nothing more. No long term planning, or contemplation beyond self-existence.

    What's interesting about an expanse is that there is something which to our knowledge, does not form in normal chemical reactions or flat matter, consciousness. Consciousness is like its own world, an ability not only to exist, but to recognize to some extent its own existence. As consciousness expands, it can envision a world ahead of its actions, and attempt to make the world its own actions. As we have noted in the prior patterns, anytime a brand new identity of existence is formed, it factorially explodes in its ability to potentially interact with other existences. Consciousness is essentially a simulation of material reality, and at a bare minimum, doubles the potential existence of the reality it will interact with in its lifetime.

    Humanity is special in that it has the most expansive intelligence of all creatures that we know of. It can consider and enact its interactions with the universe far beyond any other living thing. It can access chemical and physical structures of the universe that other living things can only dream of. It can potentially comprehend its moral place in the universe, and act on it. It can finally get away from pure reactions and random chance, and shape the universe into a much more existent place that what a less expansive being can do.

    But it doesn't stop there. Even an absolute genius is limited in what they can do as a singular person. This is where the social aspect of humanity explodes even further. Just like the pattern of a multi-celled vs single celled creature, the potential and expressed existence compounds once again. This should be self-evident at this point, so unless this needs to be proved, I will leave this for now to move onto how we can construct morality to optimize humanity within the totality of existence.

    As we can see, humanity as a species can be extremely moral as long as it follows some basic patterns.

    1. It must be indefinitely self-sustaining. So no using up all the resources so everything dies or bombing everything to destruction for some short term gains.

    2. It must not unnecessarily destroy other self-sustaining things, or lives. Unnecessary destruction would be destruction that does not involve reasoned self-preservation. Killing a bug because its in your house spreading disease and its impossible to catch is not the same as being outside and killing a benign bug for the delight of hearing it pop.

    The moral precepts of humanity must balance the two points that make humanity special. The individuals potential and expressed existence vs societies potential and expressed existence.

    Per the individual, they should follow the same basic pattern that is repeated in moral existence. Self-sustain, do no unnecessary decreasing of existence, and work to expand one's own expression and potential existence where possible.

    Notice that expanding one's potential and expressed existence should not come at the expense of self-sustainment. If someone were to take a drug that could heighten their emotions and senses for a few hours, but took years off of their overall life, this would be immoral. If one sacrificed their overall health and well being to accomplish something for themselves alone, this would also be immoral (assuming no affect on society here)

    This is a moral guidance for the individual. This can come into conflict with the moral guidance for a society, which is where some of the debate over moral laws comes into play. A society as well must follow the same guidance as everything else. Self-sustainment, and not unnecessarily destroying other lives. Thus a good society should seek to preserve and assist the individuals within it with their moral guides as well. Prolonging a healthy life that encourages individuals to reach their highest expressed and potential existence as possible.

    With this general approach and our understanding of an existential morality, we can now examine moral laws in society and understand the reasoning behind them, as well as more carefully evaluate if they are optimal.

    First, lets examine vices, or the seven deadly sins that are largely agreed as immoral across cultures.

    Gluttony - An excessive consumption of food or resources. This one is self-explanatory. Gluttony in the individual results in a destruction of one's health, impacting both self-sustainment and potential expression. In a society gluttony can burn through limited resources leaving other individuals to be mal-nourished or die.

    Prostitution or fornication - With our knowledge of sexual diseases, as well as a history of humanity that had limited resources and little to no birth control, this makes sense. Creating a child without a stable family is less optimal than creating a child with one. Children take immense effort and resources to raise to their potential, and having a child out of wedlock can result in either the mother or the child suffering excessively and ultimately dying.

    As humanity has advanced in birth control and has the ability to handle such cases, fornication and prostitution are less of a moral challenge. If one can have sexual intercourse without risk of disease or accidental birth, and it does not impact one's ability to one day have a stable family and children, little wrong can be seen in this. Again though, if such actions produced abuse, neglect, unstable families, and unwanted children, this would still be considered a sin.

    Greed - Not much different from gluttony. I'll add that wanting excessive resources for yourself costs time and energy that does not result in more production and use of those resources, just hoarding. If you have spare resources that are completely unneeded, it would be better to give those to other people who need them.

    Envy - Envy is sadness at another person's moral success. It is self-evident why this is a sin.

    Wrath - Excessive anger and the destruction of things for one's own pleasure. This is different from anger, which is a natural emotion that can be channeled for a productive outcome. Wrath is about destruction for destruction's sake. It does not care about the end result beyond its own satisfaction. This destroys community in society, and violates the core precepts of existential morality.

    Sloth - When a person does nothing with their existence beyond basic self-sustaining. Self-evident.

    Vanity - An excessive value of one's self-worth over others. As there is a moral instinct that higher existence is more valuable than lower existence if there comes a time where only one can exist, vanity is a lie to oneself that one is more valuable than they are. This ignores the reality of one's moral decisions and will result in an overall loss of existence.

    Pride or Hubris - An excessive value of one's own self-worth. I believe the difference between this and vanity is vanity is specifically comparing oneself to others, while pride only involves the self.

    Alright, this is enough to cover for now! Let me know what you think Bob.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Ah, you've made an unknowing contradiction here. That which is productive is something that is useful and good. If you go into the garage and produce something with overall less existence, then it is not as good as if you could have produced something with overall more existence. That which produces more positive existence is more productive than that which does not

    By “productive” I just mean the standard colloquial definition of (roughly) “having the quality or power of producing, especially in abundance”: I do not mean “something that is good or useful”.

    With that in mind, I don’t think you answered the question: the hypothetical was positing that I am doing something in my garage, let’s say a hobby (like making model airplanes or something), that I am hyper-productive at (i.e., producing in abundance the goal which is here whatever my hobby is) but my productivity towards this hobby, even if it is greater, is not as important (morally) to working, for example, finding a cure to cancer.

    The hypothetical here, to carve it out even more precisely (to avoid confusion), is that working in my garage making model airplanes has more moral worth than me working on a cure for cancer, under your view, IF my productivity in the former is greater than the latter. No?

    And, I should mention, this is all else being equal: it is not a valid response to enlarge the context. I am asking if I am right in this inference, about your ethical theory, in this specific scenario.

    Thank you Bob, you truly are a great thinker and once again I am delighted to have someone of your caliber to speak with! I know its a lot to ask and yet you patiently have awaited these points.

    Same to you, my friend! I always enjoy our conversations, and I commend your creative thinking. It truly is a rare skill and gift in this world (:

    I don't believe it is. For one, act-consequentialism is about maximizing human good, whereas this is about maximizing existence. Lets call it existentialism. :)

    Not that semantics matters, but ‘act-consequentialism’ is not the view that one should maximize human good (as that’s a form of utilitarianism) but, rather, the analysis of what is right or wrong in relation to which act has foreseeable consequences which maximizes the desired goal. Even ifyou don’t agree with the semantics, I just want to stress this is how I was using the terms; so hopefully that clarifies a bit. Now, in explicating that, I realized that you probably will have a quibble with morality being act-centric; so I refurbish my claim to your position seeming to be a form of consequentialism—i.e., that one ought to determine what is right or wrong in relation to the foreseeable consequences that will maximize the desired goal. In your case, you have your own unique consequentialist view which has no title beyond that [other than “existentialism”, as you called (: ], and only one factor is required to get to your view (from consequentialism): that the goal one is maximizing is identifiable existences. It is like a existential-consequentialism (;

    Again, I am not trying to stress the semantics but, rather, just convey where my head is at.

    My point with bringing it up at all before was that consequentialism is highly controversial and most would agree one is biting a lot of bullets subscribing to it—and I say that not to stick you with a label that never came out of your mouth, but just that you seem to be advocating for it (in the sense of what I defined above). I will refrain from going into further detail, but will be happy to if you would like.

    I think the main issue I see with your view, at its core, is that it is about creating more identifiable entities in reality and not producing better conditions for life. I am not saying it is internally incoherent for doing so, but I simply stress that it does not lead to what it seems you want it to—i.e., that humans are predominantly more valuable than other animals and non-life.

    For example, let’s take your view of “wrath”:

    Excessive anger and the destruction of things for one's own pleasure. This is different from anger, which is a natural emotion that can be channeled for a productive outcome. Wrath is about destruction for destruction's sake. It does not care about the end result beyond its own satisfaction. This destroys community in society, and violates the core precepts of existential morality.

    Although I understand you have defined in a way such that wrath is never done for a higher purpose, it seems that the everyday sense of the term is perfectly compatible with and not necessarily in contradiction to your ethics: destruction creates more identifiable entities (more “existences” as you call it) than if what was destroyed was left in order. I don’t see how you can say someone is doing evil, if by evil we just mean hindering or reducing identifiable entities, by smashing up their house. We could appeal to a broader context and say that their destruction of their house hinders society; but then we must recognize that all else being equal it would be morally permissible (if not obligatory) on your view and that we could posit the same dilemma for society itself: the destruction of society could arguably produce more identifiable entities.

    This segues into another worry I have, which is that it is not clear what kinds of identifiable entities you are wanting to consider morally worthy of obtaining: is it any?

    Another worry is that it might to plausible that society burned to the ground has the same amount of identifiable entities as it in perfect health: there’s always an infinite amount of ways we can parcel up what exists. So what exactly counts here? You say material and expressive existences, but the more I think about it the more hazy those conceptions really are (to me). If by material existence you mean fundamental entities, then we don’t know of any. Atoms aren’t fundamental, and neither are quarks; and, even if they were, counting those should be roughly equal in a destroyed society vs. one in perfect health. If we then shift the focus to expressive existences (and its potential) as essentially the only factor that matters for this calculation, then if we just mean interacts with material existences—i.e,. those fundamental building blocks which we know not of—then this seems impossible to know as well. If, on the other hand, we extend our definitions to be more colloquial, by just claiming material is whatever is the most fundamental within the context (the most primitive building block in the context) and expressive as the interactions between those materials, then I am not seeing how a healthy society has more expressions of existence than a destroyed one. Remember, we are talking about all interactions, in this case, between the fundamental building blocks. Let’s take your example of atoms: are the atoms interacting more, or the things composed of them, in the particular arrangement of a healthy society in contrast to a destroyed one? This all seems very nebulous.

    Now, I have no problem agreeing with you that humans should be prioritized over other animals because they are more complex (viz., more intelligent, rational, socially cooperative, conscious, self-conscious, etc.) but it is not because I have been able to calculate that a human has greater of a expressive existence, in terms of its chemical interactions and what not, than an elephant. As a clear example of what I mean, imagine an organism which had superior neural networks, and consequently processing power, than a human but wasn’t capable of having a mind—i.e.., a super-computer made out of organic material like what we are comprised of, but no mind. It very well may be the case that this super-computer non-subject is capable of much more expressive existence than a human being—e.g., perhaps for every 10 years of a human’s activities (of expressions), the super-computer non-subject organism produces 10x that in sheer neural network power of computations. According to you, this super-computer is morally worth more, all else being equal, to a human being. I disagree. Not saying your view is internally incoherent for that; but, still, I think most people agree with me here.

    Same thing with non-life. Is an adult human more complex, full of more expressive existences, than a hurricane? I am not sure, and I don’t even see, in principle, how you could make that calculation. Unless, perhaps, you introduces types or kinds of existences worth creating over others, as opposed to sheer (generic) expressions.

    Also, just to throw out there a consequentialist dilemma, because it sounds like you are advocating for it (just not under that term): it seems perfectly plausible that, all else being equal, enslaving one percent of the population to force them to be hyper-productive would overall increase total expressive existences which, in turn, would plausibly be moral good under your view. Just food for thought.

    I will stop there for now.

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • Philosophim
    2.2k

    Great points Bob, this is where we can get into the discussion in earnest.

    The hypothetical here, to carve it out even more precisely (to avoid confusion), is that working in my garage making model airplanes has more moral worth than me working on a cure for cancer, under your view, IF my productivity in the former is greater than the latter. No?Bob Ross

    Yes, an excellent question. One thing to remember is that the human being themself is not removed from morality, they are part of it. Meaning we have to consider the long term self-sustainment of the person as well. Not everyone is able or willing to work on curing cancer. Further its questionable how much such a person could do in their garage at this point. Modeling planes may be the happiness and relaxation they need to perform well at their job at work.

    A hydrogen atom is a hydrogen atom. A helium atom is a helium atom. Let them each be what they are. That is what creates more existence. Yes, its better to have the potential for the two to join together at times, but we still need free hydrogen and helium atoms as well for optimal existence. They are valuable on their own as well as together. The point is a person should consider what they are, and be the best version of that self they can be which does not destroy themselves in the process.

    Now, if you're asking a hypothetical in which there exists a person who both loves model air planes and doing cancer research equally, the answer is different. Perhaps doing either refreshes them and sustains them equally. Further, the person has the capability to actually contribute to the cure. It does seem on the surface then that doing the cancer research would be better. It all depends on the context.

    Considering such contexts are difficult to assess, we can go by the guidance that we should allow people the easiest way forward to contribute the most they can to society in a way that is also self-fulfilling. I think few would disagree with that.

    Same to you, my friend! I always enjoy our conversations, and I commend your creative thinking. It truly is a rare skill and gift in this world (:Bob Ross

    I appreciate it! To my earlier point, I had the option of playing a video game or answering your point. I chose this instead. Both give me happiness and I think doing this is a little better. :)

    Not that semantics matters, but ‘act-consequentialism’ is not the view that one should maximize human good (as that’s a form of utilitarianism) but, rather, the analysis of what is right or wrong in relation to which act has foreseeable consequences which maximizes the desired goal.Bob Ross

    I would say this is fair. It is a direct mathematical comparison to demonstrate what set of existence is greater. Since it is math, the difference is that it is not the opinion of an individual as to what must be done, but something that can be questioned and tested. Moral guidelines are estimates and can change based on context, and anyone could demand more than an estimate if they thought this was inadequate.

    I think the main issue I see with your view, at its core, is that it is about creating more identifiable entities in reality and not producing better conditions for lifeBob Ross

    I think that's because you believe that these things are in competition with one another, when in reality they are not. Creating more identifiable entities in reality while producing better conditions for life is what is optimum. Many traditional views of morality are often very binary and seem to demand sacrifice. As if suffering for something greater is admirable. When this is correct is only in circumstances in which we have no other choice, or a zero sum situation. The most moral case is to ensure we create great things without suffering or personal sacrifice where possible.

    To your point on destruction: destruction, like construction, can temporarily bring a heightened set of existence. Sometimes destruction produces something greater over time than if there was never destruction at all. Just like an atom has the potential to become a molecule, a molecule still has the potential to become atoms again. While we may not personally want the molecule to ever break down, the potential for it to do so is a part of overall existence.

    The question then becomes, "When is destruction good?" As noted before, its all about preserving the homeostasis of overall existence. The reason why predators are moral is because they limit the overall destruction of herbivores multiplying too much and destroying all plant life. Sometimes old dead wood must be burned away in a forest to ensure a massive fire doesn't start and burn the whole thing down. Cancer in the body must be destroyed for the body to live. When we destroy something lesser to ensure the continuation of something greater, we have moral destruction. I view the continuation of existence like a sin wave on a graph more than a straight line. It ebbs and flows but hopefully continues to trend upward over time.

    So what exactly counts here? You say material and expressive existences, but the more I think about it the more hazy those conceptions really are (to me). If by material existence you mean fundamental entities, then we don’t know of any. Atoms aren’t fundamental, and neither are quarks; and, even if they were, counting those should be roughly equal in a destroyed society vs. one in perfect health.Bob Ross

    Material existence is fundamental existence. So for example, lets say that it was possible that an 'atom' could be erased from existence and never reformed again. This would be evil, as all further expressions and potential would be eliminated permanently. Fortunately for us, we have not yet discovered the fundamental building blocks of the universe, nor are we able to destroy said blocks. Even then, if some destruction of fundamental existence were needed prolong the rest of fundamental existence, it would be a necessary sacrifice.

    So for our purposes, it is not material existence that we are concerned about, but expressions of, and potential expressions of existence. The patterns for lower expressions existence apply to us as well. Create as many stable and long term expressions of existence over time as possible.

    Now you mention a scenario in which it may be possible that destroying a society would be the right thing to do. The key here is we have to realize that claims of what should be done are contextual to the situation. Yes, we have an overall stable set of mathematical conclusions that work, but that must be applied to the specific situation. So if you imagine a good and stable society being destroyed as moral, you must show that something far greater will appear in its place, making up for all the destruction and lives lost.

    One example we can probably give is the destruction of Nazi Germany. If a society strongly violates its moral obligation to individuals, and itself seeks to destroy other societies for short term gain, then it is an evil society. Societies which seek to empower its citizens potential, as well as empower other countries who do not seek to destroy each other creates a much better long term set of existence then something like Nazi Germany.

    That being said, it doesn't mean that a good society should naturally intend to destroy an evil society either. A much better alternative would be reformation, or change from within. Destruction of a society does not necessitate that something positive will be built in its place. Only when a destructive society threatens to destroy others without intent, and actual reality of improving the world should it be taken down.

    This segues into another worry I have, which is that it is not clear what kinds of identifiable entities you are wanting to consider morally worthy of obtaining: is it any?Bob Ross

    No, because it is contextual to the situation. We follow particular guidelines, and then would ask someone to clearly demonstrate through math why they believe an action meets or violates the guidelines when there is resistance or questions. For example, the death penalty. In general ending a life is a tall order. The existence which must be made up for it needs to equal the remaining potential of that person's remaining life. Is there a way to restrict the evil they can do instead? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    The more resources and power a society has, the more it can expend on restrictions and reformation instead of elimination. Societies with low power and resources often cannot afford prisons or lengthy amounts of time on such endeavors, and may need to simply eliminate threats for their survival. Thus we can see how the death penalty makes more sense 500 years ago in a small village where famine is a real threat, whereas in a wealthy and powerful society like America it seems less reasonable.

    If, on the other hand, we extend our definitions to be more colloquial, by just claiming material is whatever is the most fundamental within the context (the most primitive building block in the context) and expressive as the interactions between those materials, then I am not seeing how a healthy society has more expressions of existence than a destroyed one.Bob Ross

    People expressing a society are like atoms expressing as molecules. Its the same pattern repeated again and again. Its not that there couldn't be a situation in which a destroyed society is somehow better than it existing (like Nazi Germany), but in general its better for there to be molecules that exist than just atoms as our calculations showed. Taken without any consideration of the quality of the society, as long as the society is not actively reducing overall existence, it allows for more interactions than not having any at all.

    As a clear example of what I mean, imagine an organism which had superior neural networks, and consequently processing power, than a human but wasn’t capable of having a mind—i.e.., a super-computer made out of organic material like what we are comprised of, but no mind. It very well may be the case that this super-computer non-subject is capable of much more expressive existence than a human being—e.g., perhaps for every 10 years of a human’s activities (of expressions), the super-computer non-subject organism produces 10x that in sheer neural network power of computations. According to you, this super-computer is morally worth more, all else being equal, to a human being.Bob Ross

    This is correct. Sorry, we as individuals are not the end all be all in the universe. We are a part. An extremely moral part! We don't even need to consider a super computer as we have societies. Plenty of people die to ensure that societies are preserved. Or sometimes your limb gets gangrene and it must be sacrificed to preserve the rest of the body. Again, the ideal is for both of us to exist together. You're still thinking only in terms of zero sum situations. The reality is, a zero sum decision is not the situation we're often in, and we do not often need to be in. The ideal is the existence of both co-existing together.

    Same thing with non-life. Is an adult human more complex, full of more expressive existences, than a hurricane? I am not sure, and I don’t even see, in principle, how you could make that calculation.Bob Ross

    It would be a difficult calculation for sure. I don't have all of the answers Bob, just a beginning set of rules and calculations. If my theory were true, or at least found merit in consideration, I'm quite sure it would become a field of study which we would be researching for centuries. Following the general rules, its difficult to know. Are hurricanes a form of destruction that creates more existence overall than if they never existed? Will that existence be more than whatever existence the individual would create over the remainder of their life? I don't know the answer. I can say that since we cannot calculate the overall resulting existence of a hurricane, nor can we currently stop one if we wanted, its a moot point. I think what is most helpful is discussing things we can calculate, and situations we have control over.

    Alright! This has been fun. Continue to critique where you see it. Feel free at this point to bring in other moral considerations, theories, etc. Perhaps I should introduce the morality of art as it may help to understand how overall existence does not simply apply to humanity alone. Let me know!
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    I think that my contentions with your view can be split into two categories: internal and external.

    My external critiques originate from the fact that I simply hold a different ethical theory and I think most people do as well, of which the conclusions I fear that exist in your theory are incompatible: of course, this is not an internal issue with your theory. As an example, my hobbyist example demonstrates, contrary to your response (as I think you brought up irrelevant points if we are agreeing that all else is equal), that, all else being equal, building model airplanes in one’s garage is morally better than trying to find a cure for cancer IF the former is done more productively than the latter because the former will produce more identifiable entities than the latter in this case.

    As far as internal critiques go, it is straightforward enough that if it is objectively good to create more entities, then one should derive general rules for how to make that happen. However, beyond that, I am having a hard time understanding precisely what is meant. For example, you say the goal is to ‘maximize existence’: the term ‘existence’ here seems very ambiguous. Is it ‘identifiable entities’? Is it just the contextual building blocks? All else being equal, 26 lego blocks in a pile is equal to the amount of lego blocks when they are used to make a lego house (out of them), but the latter has more identifiable parts because there’s more to identify (e.g., the pile is just a pile of blocks, but the house is made of blocks, has walls, perhaps a window, is a house, has a roof, etc.). If you just mean that the best world is one with the most of a building block, then, all else being equal, the pile of lego blocks and the house made out of them are morally equivalent (and, not to mention, how many kinds of building blocks are there?): it is not more virtuous or morally correct for a person to advocate for their to be a lego house instead of just a pile of lego blocks. If you mean, instead, identifiable entities, then the house is better; but, now it is ambiguous what you mean by ‘identifiable’: this concept could easily explode into triviality. I can parcel up the lego blocks, the pile, and the house in an infinite amount of ways. Let’s say you make it contextual: to what? Let’s say your theory let’s people decide: then it is entirely possible that I could think the pile is better than the house and you vice-versa and we are both right.

    Another way of thinking about this problem, is that of a simplified example. Take a piece of paper: now, all else being equal, me tearing it in half creates more identifiable entities in reality (because there are now two pieces of paper instead of one); and, thusly, under your view, is seems as though I am obligated to do this, all else being equal, because the goal is to maximize identifiable entities. As external critiques go, I would say that, even if this is true in your view, it seems utterly implausible that tearing the paper in half has any moral worth itself (all else being equal): it doesn’t seem like an action that has any intrinsic moral weight at all. In terms of internal critiques, all else being equal, people would be obligated to tear pieces of paper into as many pieces as possible unless there are good reasons to believe that doing so will overall decrease identifiable entities—but it seems clear (at least to me) that there are no good reasons to believe it will decrease it and, on the contrary, it seems obvious it will only benefit (in the vast majority of cases) increasing the sheer quantity of identifiable entities in reality.

    I just need, first and foremost, some clarity on what kind of entities in reality you are trying to maximize, or what an ‘entity’ is under your view.

    In terms of the destruction vs. construction, let’s take an example. Imagine a tree in perfect health vs. a tree burnt to the ground: what makes the former have more identifiable entities, all else being equal, than the latter? The molecules and atoms are probably about the same, and identifiable relations (i.e., ‘expressions’) between the parts is roughly equal. So what so you?

    Material existence is fundamental existence. So for example, lets say that it was possible that an 'atom' could be erased from existence and never reformed again. This would be evil, as all further expressions and potential would be eliminated permanently. Fortunately for us, we have not yet discovered the fundamental building blocks of the universe, nor are we able to destroy said blocks. Even then, if some destruction of fundamental existence were needed prolong the rest of fundamental existence, it would be a necessary sacrifice.

    So then you agree with me that material existence is doing no work in your theory (for determining what is good) and thusly can be thrown out?

    You seem to be able to run your calculations and envision a best possible world without knowing in the slightest what a fundamental entity would even be (other than it being fundamental).

    In terms of expressions, what exactly counts? I can identify an infinite amount of relations between entities. Just as an simplified example, imagine there are a spin top on a table. In scenario 1, it is spinning (on the table). In scenario 2, it is standing still (on the table). #1 and #2 have equal quantities of relations between the spin top and its environment (granted that each scenario is done with the same spin top, on the same table, and in the same room): the only difference is that each has one relation the other doesn’t have—making it an equal swap. i.e., the spinning spin top has a relation of spinning, of movement in a spiral rotation, in accordance to various laws; and the idle spin top has a relation of standing still in accordance with the same laws. It seems as though in both scenarios the expressions of entities are equal in quantity, but if this is true then it appears as though everything has equal expressions in any practical sense.

    Same thing with non-life. Is an adult human more complex, full of more expressive existences, than a hurricane? I am not sure, and I don’t even see, in principle, how you could make that calculation. — Bob Ross

    It would be a difficult calculation for sure. I don't have all of the answers Bob,

    As an external critique, I think it should be obvious that a human adult has more moral worth than a hurricane in every reasonably inferred scenario.
    In terms of the examples you responded to that I didn’t address herein, I decided to swap them for more simplified examples that I presented here to avoid derailment and try to express my worries more clearly.

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    All else being equal, 26 lego blocks in a pile is equal to the amount of lego blocks when they are used to make a lego house (out of them), but the latter has more identifiable parts because there’s more to identify (e.g., the pile is just a pile of blocks, but the house is made of blocks, has walls, perhaps a window, is a house, has a roof, etc.). If you just mean that the best world is one with the most of a building block, then, all else being equal, the pile of lego blocks and the house made out of them are morally equivalent (and, not to mention, how many kinds of building blocks are there?): it is not more virtuous or morally correct for a person to advocate for their to be a lego house instead of just a pile of lego blocks. If you mean, instead, identifiable entities, then the house is better; but, now it is ambiguous what you mean by ‘identifiable’: this concept could easily explode into triviality.Bob Ross

    This seems a very North-Whitehead type line. The idea of Actual Entities being foundational to reality even. All of the Lego blocks exist in a nexus with the other blocks, multiply realising multiple other entities extracted from potentiality by the process of 'becoming' - which is, in fact, the process of communion between Actual Entities with either future states (as perishing and rebirthing from moment-to-moment) or other Actual Entities doing the same dynamically. (is as far as I've gotten ... LOL)

    DeepAI:

    North-Whitehead's 'actual entities' refer to the fundamental building blocks of reality according to the philosophical system of Alfred North Whitehead. These actual entities, also known as 'actual occasions,' are understood as the basic units of existence and are seen as the primary components of all things in the universe.

    According to Whitehead, actual entities are not static entities but dynamic processes. They are events that constantly arise, perish, and transform in a never-ending process of becoming. Each actual entity has its own existence and experiences, and it embodies its own unique individuality.

    Actual entities are not separate or isolated from one another but are interconnected through a process called 'prehension.' This process refers to how one actual entity incorporates and relates to other actual entities in its surrounding environment. Every actual entity prehends its past experiences, other entities' past experiences, and possibilities for the future, which influences its subsequent becoming.

    Each actual entity contributes to the overall complexity and richness of the universe, as they interrelate and form higher-level entities called 'societies.' Societies are composite entities that emerge from the interplay and coordination of multiple actual entities.

    In summary, North-Whitehead's 'actual entities' are the basic dynamic events that make up reality, constantly undergoing change and interconnected through processes of prehension.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    As an example, my hobbyist example demonstrates, contrary to your response (as I think you brought up irrelevant points if we are agreeing that all else is equal), that, all else being equal, building model airplanes in one’s garage is morally better than trying to find a cure for cancer IF the former is done more productively than the latter because the former will produce more identifiable entities than the latter in this case.Bob Ross

    The problem here is you are looking at the numbers only, yet including emotional implicit outcomes that would likely not align with the numbers.

    For example, lets use a much more simple and tried argument. Let us say that I present to you a math situation in which if we kill a baby, more existence will be produced then if we let the baby live. This of course horrifies you and you state, "This can't be right, its monsterous!"

    Now I add the details. 20 Jews are hiding under a house that is occupied by Nazi soldiers. If they find the Jews, they'll kill them all including the baby. The baby begins to make noise. If the mother does not muffle the babies noise, the soldiers will find and kill them all. Unfortunately, there's no way to muffle the noise of the child without suffocating and killing the child. Its still a terrible sacrifice and situation, but it now brings context and clarity to the math.

    So with your cancer vs model air plane comparison, its important that you mention the specifics of the outcome, not just a casual observation of the math. If not, our brains will fill in implicit situations that seem immoral, and if calculated out, would not align with the actual outcome of the math. I'll just give you a few examples.

    1. A person has no background in science and wants to research cancer in their garage. They have no connections with other scientists and no plans to reach out to anyone else even if they found cancer. The works is stressful and that stress negatively impacts their life. Or, they could build model planes. The work is relaxing and positively impacts the rest of their life. Its more moral for them to build model planes.

    2. A person could research cancer and save millions of lives with their result. They also build model planes and share it on youtube. Because they did, a certain kid became fascinated by them and spent him time building them. Turns out, if the kid hadn't seen that youtube channel, he would have gotten into politics, started WWIII, and ended the human race. Its more moral for the person to build model airplanes.

    My challenge to you, which is what we need to really test the idea, is to think of examples in which we have a case where building model airplanes is factually more moral, but is so against our intuitions that it would be anathema to almost all decently moral minded people.

    Another way of thinking about this problem, is that of a simplified example. Take a piece of paper: now, all else being equal, me tearing it in half creates more identifiable entities in reality (because there are now two pieces of paper instead of one); and, thusly, under your view, is seems as though I am obligated to do this, all else being equal, because the goal is to maximize identifiable entities.Bob Ross

    No, the goal is to maximize expressed and potential existence. We need to go back to the atoms example again. Everything starts there, as that's the pattern that continues onwards. I feel like I've already said about all I can on the subject without new feedback, so I'll reference where to read again. All of your criticisms apply to the basics, so again, that's where we must go.

    Page 4 ctrl-F for "1. Existence as 'the parts'."
    Page 3 ctrl-F for "Lets say that the atoms of our universe are hydrogen."
    And of course you can reread the math portion of the OP again if needed.

    The point that should be gleaned from all of this is that the build up or tear down is good only if it results in more potential and expressed existence. A conglomeration of paper molecules together or separate offers no innate value on its own. The value of the paper, is that it is a construct of people as a tool. Destroy the tool, and it is no longer useful as that tool, thus destroying its potential existence as a tool into something else.

    If I needed confetti, it would be better to tear the paper into chunks. If I needed to print a document, it would be better for me to keep it whole. If I destroy all of my paper for confetti, I will be unable to print a document when I need it. And if there's not cause for the confetti, it most certainly would have been a waste.

    Perhaps a better example would be a concrete tool like a wrench. If I so desired I could break my wrench. Cut it up into base chunks of metal. But at that point it loses its intended function to me as a person, the ability to tighten or loosen nuts on a screw. Now my potential existence goes down unless I use the metal parts for something else. What is the outcome of the destruction? Does it generate new existences and potentials around it, or does it just diminish what can be done?

    In terms of the destruction vs. construction, let’s take an example. Imagine a tree in perfect health vs. a tree burnt to the ground: what makes the former have more identifiable entities, all else being equal, than the latter? The molecules and atoms are probably about the same, and identifiable relations (i.e., ‘expressions’) between the parts is roughly equal. So what so you?Bob Ross

    Again, you're speaking far too generally without the context. Does the ash on the ground grow trees that could not grow before? Did the tree warm humans? Was there something gained from the tree being burnt?

    If it is in isolation from any other consideration, that a tree merely burned to the ground vs it would be alive, the expressed existences aren't even close. A guideline as I've mentioned is that life, per molecule, is a much more condensed set of existence over time than non-life. So alone, it is not the case that the dead and burnt tree has the same overall existence of its continued life and possible reproduction.

    If you don't know why, think of all the chemical interactions in even just one cell of the tree. Think of its continued interactions with the soil and air that it breaths. Much more is going on per atom per second than ash on the ground and carbon in the air.

    Same thing with non-life. Is an adult human more complex, full of more expressive existences, than a hurricane? I am not sure, and I don’t even see, in principle, how you could make that calculation. — Bob Ross

    It would be a difficult calculation for sure. I don't have all of the answers Bob,

    As an external critique, I think it should be obvious that a human adult has more moral worth than a hurricane in every reasonably inferred scenario.
    Bob Ross

    When talking about calculations, we must demonstrate why it is so. Per culture and the survival of the human race, it definitely behooves us to believe that.

    Finally, AmadeusD's point is a good similarity to compare explain what I'm stating. Feel free to drill in further.

    Alright Bob, I hope that answers some of the questions, I expect many more. My apologies if I'm a little slow in responding, my other 'first cause' thread has been very busy lately so more of my time has been spent answering multiple queries.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    With respect to your responses to my hypotheticals, all I can say (without reiterating myself) is that you have misunderstood the nature of them and, most importantly, their purpose. The reason one posits a hypothetical in which there are certain stipulations and all else is equal is to test the consistency and claims of the theory (or beliefs that a person has). It is not valid to sidestep the hypothetical by mentioning it is impractical, improbable, or to introduce new variables—and, I would argue, this is all you did in your entire response.

    I think, so far, it stands that:

    As an example, my hobbyist example demonstrates, contrary to your response (as I think you brought up irrelevant points if we are agreeing that all else is equal), that, all else being equal, building model airplanes in one’s garage is morally better than trying to find a cure for cancer IF the former is done more productively than the latter because the former will produce more identifiable entities than the latter in this case.

    Your response completely ignored ‘all else being equal’, and also mentioned or alluded to the probability and practicality of the hypothetical: all of which is irrelevant.

    In terms of the paper example, I don’t see how this doesn’t increase expressions of ‘existence’. Remember, you even agreed that material ‘existence’ is irrelevant: we don’t know what fundamentally exists. Likewise, if you are claiming that “more existence is better”, then it plainly follows that two pieces of paper is better than one all else being equal. I don’t see anyway around this under your view.

    With respect to the ash and tree hypothetical, I was talking about whether or not, all else being equal, a burned down tree is better or worse than a healthy, growing tree under your view; and what justification you have for it. So let me address the part where you addressed this:

    If it is in isolation from any other consideration, that a tree merely burned to the ground vs it would be alive, the expressed existences aren't even close. A guideline as I've mentioned is that life, per molecule, is a much more condensed set of existence over time than non-life. So alone, it is not the case that the dead and burnt tree has the same overall existence of its continued life and possible reproduction.

    Again, material existence doesn’t matter; and expressions of existence are just identifiable entities and their relations. So I don’t see how there are more relations and identifiable entities in a healthy tree when compared to the ashes of a burned down tree. I am not saying you are wrong, I just don’t see it:

    If you don't know why, think of all the chemical interactions in even just one cell of the tree. Think of its continued interactions with the soil and air that it breaths. Much more is going on per atom per second than ash on the ground and carbon in the air.

    But in net total they have similar amounts of identifiable entities and relations thereof. What I am trying to express to you, in an nutshell, is that there are an infinite amount of identifiable entities and relations thereof; so they are effectively equal.

    If, on the contrary, you are prioritizing the evaluation of or just evaluating relations produced from movement, then I see your point.

    My apologies if I'm a little slow in responding, my other 'first cause' thread has been very busy lately so more of my time has been spent answering multiple queries.

    Absolutely no worries!

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    It is not valid to sidestep the hypothetical by mentioning it is impractical, improbable, or to introduce new variables—and, I would argue, this is all you did in your entire response.Bob Ross

    My intention was not to side step your hypothetical. It was to note in this instance, especially because you are still learning the theory, it would be much more practical to give clear context and examples of this "all being equal" to clearly indicate what you mean.

    As an example, my hobbyist example demonstrates, contrary to your response (as I think you brought up irrelevant points if we are agreeing that all else is equal), that, all else being equal, building model airplanes in one’s garage is morally better than trying to find a cure for cancer IF the former is done more productively than the latter because the former will produce more identifiable entities than the latter in this case.

    Your response completely ignored ‘all else being equal’, and also mentioned or alluded to the probability and practicality of the hypothetical: all of which is irrelevant.
    Bob Ross

    But Bob, you stated that the one was done more productively than the later, so its not equal. My point is the example is too vague. What do you mean by "all else being equal" when you then also say one is more productive than the other? We have to be a little more detailed because the issue with you is you're imagining half a scenario. Don't just say something is equal, show what that looks like so we have a full intellectual and emotional picture as well.

    In terms of the paper example, I don’t see how this doesn’t increase expressions of ‘existence’. Remember, you even agreed that material ‘existence’ is irrelevant: we don’t know what fundamentally exists.Bob Ross

    Did you not understand my confetti example vs paper as a tool example?

    Likewise, if you are claiming that “more existence is better”, then it plainly follows that two pieces of paper is better than one all else being equal.Bob Ross

    Again, what does this mean Bob? I need clearer examples of what you're noting is equal here.

    Again, material existence doesn’t matter; and expressions of existence are just identifiable entities and their relations. So I don’t see how there are more relations and identifiable entities in a healthy tree when compared to the ashes of a burned down tree. I am not saying you are wrong, I just don’t see it:Bob Ross

    Perhaps we skipped over life too quickly then. Please refer back up section 4 with a ctrl-f to "Alright, if there doesn't seem to be much wrong with the basics prima facia, then I think its time to go to the next step, life." and "To understand life, we first need to understand chemical reactions." The result that you should get from that is that life is, atom for atom, more overall existence than non-life. Perhaps we need to calculate more specifics, and if needed I will.

    But in net total they have similar amounts of identifiable entities and relations thereof. What I am trying to express to you, in an nutshell, is that there are an infinite amount of identifiable entities and relations thereof; so they are effectively equal.Bob Ross

    No, they are not infinite. In each case we have a finite amount of matter that makes up that tree as well as time. Ash nor the tree will exist forever.

    If, on the contrary, you are prioritizing the evaluation of or just evaluating relations produced from movement, then I see your point.Bob Ross

    Yes, that is one thing you can evaluate.

    Either I have not been thorough enough on the patterns of the building blocks leading up to this point, or you misunderstood or forgot the conclusion already established. One thing is for sure, the points and ideas are scattered all over the responses at this point and there's no one place for us to re-reference.
    Maybe I need to do a rewrite to consolidate points as the ideas are pretty scattered now throughout the discussion and a more meaningful conglomeration might do better. Of course, such a large bit of writing is a lot of time to write, so we can keep going here as long as you're finding the topic interesting and aren't too lost Bob. If you're feeling like you're just not seeing at all what I'm pointing at despite my attempts at communication, maybe its time I do that.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    But Bob, you stated that the one was done more productively than the later, so its not equal. My point is the example is too vague. What do you mean by "all else being equal" when you then also say one is more productive than the other?

    When someone posits a hypothetical with “all else being equal”, they do not mean that the variables at play are equal: they mean that there is a specified set of variables, or conditions, within the hypothetical and everything else that could be said of the hypothetical comparison should be considered equal.

    That the one is more productive than the other is a variable within the hypothetical comparison, and it is exactly what is needed to demonstrate my point. Me saying ‘everything else being equal’ just means that anything I didn’t bring up about the two (being compared) should be considered equal: so one cannot bring up other, new variables I did not mention (which could impact the hypothetical).

    Did you not understand my confetti example vs paper as a tool example?
    If I needed confetti, it would be better to tear the paper into chunks. If I needed to print a document, it would be better for me to keep it whole. If I destroy all of my paper for confetti, I will be unable to print a document when I need it. And if there's not cause for the confetti, it most certainly would have been a waste.

    It completely missed the point, and sidestepped the issue. You are importing a new variable, namely shifting the focus on the utility of cutting vs. not cutting the paper and, thusly, claiming that cutting the paper itself has no moral weight. However, under your view, which clearly claims in the OP, as well as in your responses (since then), that “more existence is better”: that entails that, all else being equal, cutting a piece of paper in half is better than leaving as one piece.

    Likewise, if you are claiming that “more existence is better”, then it plainly follows that two pieces of paper is better than one all else being equal. — Bob Ross

    Again, what does this mean Bob? I need clearer examples of what you're noting is equal here.

    P1: More existence is better than less.
    P2: Cutting a piece of paper in half, all else being equal, creates more existence than leaving it in one piece.
    C: TF, cutting a piece of paper in half, all else being equal, is better than leaving it in one piece.

    I don’t know how I could make it clearer than that (to be completely honest). It is not a valid response to introduce a new variable to P2 because I am stipulated all other (implicit) variables are equal.

    No, they are not infinite. In each case we have a finite amount of matter that makes up that tree as well as time. Ash nor the tree will exist forever.

    I can get on board with that, but I am just noting that this is the case if you are talking about ‘identifiable existences’ when you speak of expressive existences—it becomes nominal.

    I see, though, how, in terms of concrete existences (as opposed to identifiable existences), something that is alive will have more relations between its parts.
    Either I have not been thorough enough on the patterns of the building blocks leading up to this point, or you misunderstood or forgot the conclusion already established.

    It is probably just me, but I think your view as evolved since your OP and some of your terms have not been clarified adequately. Here’s some questions that can help me understand better:

    1. Is ‘material existence’ denoting fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities in reality? Or perhaps something else?
    2. Is ‘expressive existence’ denoting the relations between fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities in reality?
    3. Is more generic, fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities better when you say “more existence is better”?

    Bob
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    I had to think about this one a while, as part of this conversation with you is learning what needs to be said and what is irrelevant in a discussion about this.

    When someone posits a hypothetical with “all else being equal”, they do not mean that the variables at play are equal: they mean that there is a specified set of variables, or conditions, within the hypothetical and everything else that could be said of the hypothetical comparison should be considered equal.Bob Ross

    If we both have a clear grasp of the exact argument, of course. But this isn't a conversation where both of us have a clear picture of what the other is saying. It would be very easy for you to claim there are equal variables, but the situation you're imagining doesn't actually have equal variables. And on my side, I'm not sure what you mean by 'equal variables'. The example I gave are demonstrations of how to approach it for clarity.

    That the one is more productive than the other is a variable within the hypothetical comparison, and it is exactly what is needed to demonstrate my point.Bob Ross

    What does "more productive" mean? Give me an example please. Demonstrate the variables that are equal, then the variable that demonstrates more existence than the other. That can be discussed clearly. Remember, we're discussing and I've noted before that this was more exploratory then me saying, "I've got this figured out" I'm not as keen at trying to prove anything at this point, but exploring and seeing ways to approach the idea that lay it out clearly. Lets get very clear examples so there's little ambiguity. THEN lets work on proving or not proving things.

    Did you not understand my confetti example vs paper as a tool example?

    It completely missed the point, and sidestepped the issue.Bob Ross

    It definitely wasn't intended to. I'm just trying to figure out what you're thinking about with this comparison. Are you including the purpose of a piece of paper? Are you including the fact that this is a conscious agent? If you aren't, then why include people and tools like paper? If you want to eliminate variables, pick situations and objects that don't have those variables in them first.

    When you include a human, you include all of the variables that they bring. And I think listening to your examples for a while now has me realizing how best we can both dissect the theory. You have to think bottom up. You cannot think top down. You need to build up to complicated examples because it just causes confusion and a misunderstanding of how everything builds up otherwise. I've been doing this by noting the basics were needed prior to getting to these complicated situations, and now I can articulate why. Its bottom up. You have to start smaller and get larger.

    One pattern I see that I need to point out is the pattern of exploding complexity. when we upgrade to chemical reactions, then life, then people, then society. One point that might help you is you can think of each as a factorial explosion in math. An atom is 1X1. Multiple atoms are 2X1. A molecule is 3X2X1. By the time we get to something like life, molecular existence is such an irrelevant factor compared to factor results at the conscious level. When you're talking about a human decision being something like 20X19X18...including atoms as a consideration is insignificant.

    This is why I think your examples are confusing to me. You're up in a 20 level factor asking me about a level 2 factor. If you want to discuss level two factors, lets focus the discussion on level 2 factors. In general, we can discuss the factor and one factor higher and lower as a relevant scope to a moral discussion. For now, everything higher or lower than that would be too far out of significance, and I think too complicated to really have a good grasp over. So for example, if you're talking about a human, we can talk one lower which are just basic living things, and one higher which is a society. When talking about a society, we can talk one lower about humans, and one higher about multiple societies. I think this will make things more clear.

    So, lets just address the cutting of the paper issue, which is essentially molecular separation, and for now, keep it in the molecular factor. This is good question, because I haven't done this before. :)

    P1: More existence is better than less.
    P2: Cutting a piece of paper in half, all else being equal, creates more existence than leaving it in one piece.
    C: TF, cutting a piece of paper in half, all else being equal, is better than leaving it in one piece.
    Bob Ross

    Again, lets return to something simple. Lets start with molecules of paper. We have a situation in which right now 1 molecule alone, 2 molecules are together, and 3 are together. When they are together, there is a different type of expressed existence than merely "touching". We'll call it a bond. Let's calculate the total existence as it is now.

    6 molecules + 1 bond in the two molecule and (assuming linear bonds for simplicity) 2 bonds on the 3 joined molecule. So 9 expressions total.

    All molecules in this setting can bump into each other, and their interactions will be they can bond, not bond, or unbond. In both cases we have six molecules, and all molecules have the same potential interaction with each other molecule. So currently we have three bonds total. The bonds can potentially stay or go, and this will change no matter how many of the same molecules we introduce.

    Lets 'cut' one of the bonds. So now we have two individual molecules, and two molecule bonds. Now we have 2 instead of 3 bonds. So 8 expressions total, but the potential existence is still the same in this basic setup. So while the current set up as is is not quite as good as the three bonds, the potential is the same. Of course, this is VERY simple. In this isolated example its better to keep the molecules together, but in general its not that big of a percentage change as long as the potential stays the same.

    It is probably just me, but I think your view as evolved since your OP and some of your terms have not been clarified adequately.Bob Ross

    Oh, absolutely. This has been a great way to bounce nascent ideas around in my head, giving them much better form. Already I can tell the whole thing needs a rewrite if its going to be clear to people. Continue to ask any clarifications if you see ambiguities please.

    1. Is ‘material existence’ denoting fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities in reality? Or perhaps something else?Bob Ross

    Fundamental.

    2. Is ‘expressive existence’ denoting the relations between fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities in reality?Bob Ross

    Expressive existence starts as the response that happens when a fundamental comes into contact with another fundamental existence. If two fundamentals express in such a way as to create a new identity between the two; two atoms become a molecule for example, that is a new expressed existence that will respond differently than the expressed existence of the two atoms in their singular state.

    3. Is more generic, fundamental, identifiable, or concrete entities better when you say “more existence is better”?Bob Ross

    This is something I hope you'll drill into more. I'll review again the criteria for existence, and now that you see how things work a little bit better, maybe you'll have more questions or another viewpoint on it.

    The totality if existence comprises three identifiable parts.

    1. The foundation. This is the base thing in itself.
    2. The expression. This is how the foundation exhibits itself within reality at any one snapshot of time.
    3. The potential. This is the combination of what types of expression are possible within the next shapshot of time.
  • Brendan Golledge
    82
    It is not subjective because it is necessary to avoid a contradiction in the question of morality, and necessary for morality to exist.

    This is a metaethical claim, and what justification or argument do you have for it? Avoiding contradictions, as a normative judgment, is not necessarily a judgment that expresses something objective.
    Bob Ross

    If noncontradiction is not an objective stance, then there is no logic. "Objective" as I understand it means that it's something that everyone can look at and agree on. If noncontradiction is not an objective preference, then no argument can convince, and we are all wasting our words.

    Your distinction between normative and metaethical confused me. Do you have the idea that there ought to be a basis for morality outside of morality? We have the experience that values are arbitrarily asserted, so this doesn't really work. Because of the is-ought dilemma, it is impossible to make moral conclusions without assuming moral premises. If you are looking for a basis for morality outside of moral assumptions (such as that we do not like contradictions), then your search is futile. In my phenomenological metaphysics, I treat sensory experience, reason, and values as all being independently properly basic. This is because we cannot prove the validity of our sensory experience without reference to our sensory experience, we cannot prove that reason is reasonable without reason, and we cannot prove that anything is valuable without first assuming that something is valuable.
  • Brendan Golledge
    82
    I'm skipping over the middle pages btw, because it's too much to read.

    I think there is some confusion about moral subjectivity/relativity/objectivity.

    The question can only have 3 answers: there are no true moralities (nihilism), there is one true morality (objective morality), or there are many true moralities (subjective/relative morality).

    If you are treating morals as being "real" in a similar sense to how we believe our sensory experience is real (like that there really is something that one ought to be doing), then the only true answers are that there are either 0 or 1 morality. If we believe in reason (noncontradiction), then we cannot believe that there are two distinct moral systems that are equally valid that have different prescriptions. There is either only one true morality, or there is no morality.

    I think in practice, many people claim to believe in relative morals because they want to have their cake and eat it too. If there is a contradiction in a logical system (such as evidently exists in the simultaneous reality of contradictory moral systems), then anything can be proven to be true. This means that such a person can be filled with righteous indignation when somebody does something that they don't like, and likewise feel righteous when they themselves do the exact same thing.

    When you say that you are a moral relativist, if you mean that you observe that different people appear to have different moral opinions, then this is a sensory observation rather than a moral stance.
  • Brendan Golledge
    82
    I had a very similar idea about existence itself being good, but from a totally different argument. I like the original post, because it does seem to objectively prove (if we treat a "reason" as being "something", and assume noncontradiction) that morality cannot exist if there is no existence. My proof just shows that it's possible to believe that existence is good without contradiction.

    I started the proof with the a thought experiment: What would the moral value of the Earth be if all life on it died? It seemed to me that the obvious answer would be that it would have about the same value as Mars, whatever it's value is. But it does not seem to me that Mars is evil.

    If we assume that existence is good, then bad can only be the loss of existence (such as how murder is bad because it takes away the life of a man, which is good). In this case, God can't take anything from us which he didn't give us first. We cannot be killed until we have first lived. We cannot lose our health until we had it first. If pain signals the loss of health (which it usually does, since this seems to be its purpose), then we cannot feel pain unless we have first had health. From this line of thought, it makes eternal torture seem like a strange idea, because if you felt pain continually without losing all your health and dying, then it means that that pain is meaningless. I suppose if God did create a place where we could be tortured indefinitely without dying, that would be a very strange and bad thing.

    Anyway, if a person can accept that nothing is not evil, and his bad circumstances are not worse than a meteor destroying all life on Earth, then it must follow that his circumstances are on the net good. What appears to be very bad is actually just the change from good to less good.

    In Genesis, it said that every time God created something, he said it was, "good." So, I think people have been wrestling with this idea for a very long time.

    I typically think of values as being arbitrarily asserted, so, it is more natural for me to make the claim, "It is possible to claim that existence is net good without contradiction," than to prove, like you appear to have done, that existence must be good if morality exists at all.

    I have 2 more similar arguments: It appears that only living beings have the experience of "good" and "bad" (this observation is so fundamental, you might actually define life as being those things which have preferences). So, if we want our values to have an affect on the material world, then we must limit our morality to the actions of living beings. It could have an effect, for instance, if I teach my daughter not to steal. It will have no effect whatever if I said the same thing to a rock.

    The second argument comes from evolution/game theory. It seems to be necessarily true that those moralities which are good at propagating themselves will become more common, and those that are less good will not propagate themselves. I like to call this "God's morality", because assuming that God made the world the way he likes, then God likes moral beings to try to propagate themselves and their morality. This is the morality that WILL BE.

    Technically speaking, the is-ought dilemma still holds, so that these observations are only objectively moral if we assume that we want our morality to have an effect on the material world, and if we like for our morality to not be self-defeating.

    The second argument leads me to the idea that morality is enlightened self-interest. I am composed of several parts, including a body, mind, and "heart". I am also a cell within a social body, and I am incapable of propagating myself into the distant future by myself. So, it makes sense that I ought to take care of each of my parts: take care of my bodily health, educate my mind, try to find (or assert) the good, try to do good to my social unit, etc. This train of thought leads roughly to the standard morality that most people would recognize.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k


    Thank you for posting Brenden, I will try to address your points the best I can.

    I typically think of values as being arbitrarily asserted, so, it is more natural for me to make the claim, "It is possible to claim that existence is net good without contradiction," than to prove, like you appear to have done, that existence must be good if morality exists at all.Brendan Golledge

    Those two statements don't appear to be that far off. If existence is good, it must exist without contradiction. A contradictory existence is an existence which eliminates itself.

    I have 2 more similar arguments: It appears that only living beings have the experience of "good" and "bad" (this observation is so fundamental, you might actually define life as being those things which have preferences).Brendan Golledge

    The middle part that you skipped covers this. I'll summarize it here. What we find is the math results in a hierarchy of existence pound for pound. First there is non-living matter. Than chemical reactions. Then self-sustaining chemical reactions (life), then intelligent life, then societies of intelligent lives. So while we will generally do more good in helping people, we should be conscious about the actions we do to unintelligent life as well. They matter as well.

    The hierarchy also reveals one more thing. Its more existence for all levels to be able to co-exist in harmony then one of those hierarchies to simply destroy the lesser. If there comes a case in which there is an either or, one man or a society, one goat or a man, we choose the hire level of existence to save. But optimally we remove the either or. Both living is optimal.

    The second argument comes from evolution/game theory. It seems to be necessarily true that those moralities which are good at propagating themselves will become more common, and those that are less good will not propagate themselves. I like to call this "God's morality", because assuming that God made the world the way he likes, then God likes moral beings to try to propagate themselves and their morality. This is the morality that WILL BE.Brendan Golledge

    Interesting take! I would simply add those that propagate themselves without unnecessarily destroying everything around it. I give an example later on that sheep, if left unchecked, would eat all the the grass killing all the plants. This would then make all the sheep starve and die. But wolves check sheep to ensure they don't grow out of control. We achieve environmental homeostasis, which is the highest possible level of existence over time.

    The second argument leads me to the idea that morality is enlightened self-interest. I am composed of several parts, including a body, mind, and "heart". I am also a cell within a social body, and I am incapable of propagating myself into the distant future by myself. So, it makes sense that I ought to take care of each of my parts: take care of my bodily health, educate my mind, try to find (or assert) the good, try to do good to my social unit, etc. This train of thought leads roughly to the standard morality that most people would recognize.Brendan Golledge

    The comprehension of morality would be enlightenment. Not only for our self-interest, but for the interest of every thing that exists.

    I appreciate your comments! Let me know if you have questions.
  • Brendan Golledge
    82
    I think I got the basic idea. I've never seen anybody else say stuff like this before. You would think that this stuff would be fundamental to our way of being, but most people don't care.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    I had to think about this one a while, as part of this conversation with you is learning what needs to be said and what is irrelevant in a discussion about this.

    No worries: I can relate to having an idea and finding that it is harder to convey to the audience (or a specific audience or individual) than (originally) expected.

    Also, I apologize for my belated response: I have been busy and am trying to catch up on my responses.

    Our dispute right now is just about the nature of hypotheticals, and I think we can find common ground here. A hypothetical is meant to posit a scenario, of which may or may not be actually possible, in which certain variables are specified and everything else is considered equal. This enables one to get a clearly understanding of what a position or claim actually entails without derailment.

    For example, let’s say I claim that “anyone who commits a crime should be executed by fire squad”. You could validly ask “what if the person was convicted of petty theft, like stealing an apple?”. This is a hypothetical whereof all other variables are considered equal, so it is not valid for me to answer with (something like) “it would be if the person later uses that apple to choke someone to death”. This was not what the hypothetical was asking about, because all else is equal. If I really think (which I don’t, by the way) that “anyone who commits a crime should be executed by fire squad”, then a person who commits the crime of petty theft should be executed by fire squad: plain and simple. It is beneficial to contemplate these sort of hypotheticals because quite often people assert a principle, position, etc. and do not think through all the consequences of it (if they were to be consistent). This happens to all of us: we simply miss certain implications of what we say, and the more hypotheticals we contemplate the more refined and solid our position is.

    This is what I am doing with your view: I am positing hypotheticals and seeing if the conclusions are what you actually intend them to be.

    What does "more productive" mean? Give me an example please. Demonstrate the variables that are equal, then the variable that demonstrates more existence than the other.

    Productivity is being used in the sense of ‘having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance’; and the hypothetical is that IF a person is being more productive at creating model airplanes than finding a cure to cancer AND they can only do one or the other AND one is analyzing what is good in terms of the production of concrete entities in reality (such that more is better), then that person should (in a moral sense) choose to create model airplanes over finding a cure for cancer.

    It definitely wasn't intended to. I'm just trying to figure out what you're thinking about with this comparison. Are you including the purpose of a piece of paper?

    All I am including is what I included. IF ‘more existence is better’ THEN it is better to have two pieces of paper rather than one. That’s it. In isolation, is two pieces of paper better than one in your view? I think it plainly follows from your position; but perhaps I am misunderstanding.

    You cannot think top down. You need to build up to complicated examples because it just causes confusion and a misunderstanding of how everything builds up otherwise.

    I honestly can’t think of a simpler example than whether or not two pieces of paper is better than one, all else being equal. It cannot get simpler than that.

    One pattern I see that I need to point out is the pattern of exploding complexity. when we upgrade to chemical reactions, then life, then people, then society. One point that might help you is you can think of each as a factorial explosion in math. An atom is 1X1. Multiple atoms are 2X1. A molecule is 3X2X1. By the time we get to something like life, molecular existence is such an irrelevant factor compared to factor results at the conscious level. When you're talking about a human decision being something like 20X19X18...including atoms as a consideration is insignificant.

    This just entails that it is impossible to actually calculate what is better or worse in any practical sense; but I digress.

    So, lets just address the cutting of the paper issue, which is essentially molecular separation, and for now, keep it in the molecular factor. This is good question, because I haven't done this before.

    It is not molecular separation: it is one piece of paper vs. two. If you insist in that we must analyze it in terms of molecules, then I will insist that we must analyze it in the smallest possible ‘particle’, which is a ‘fundamental entity’ (i.e., material existence), and then we cannot calculate it at all because (1) we have no such knowledge of any and (2), even if we did, it is not at all apparent how one calculates an atom-to-atom like comparison (let alone reach the conclusions you have made, such as life holding precedent to non-life).

    Again, lets return to something simple. Lets start with molecules of paper. We have a situation in which right now 1 molecule alone, 2 molecules are together, and 3 are together. When they are together, there is a different type of expressed existence than merely "touching". We'll call it a bond. Let's calculate the total existence as it is now.

    6 molecules + 1 bond in the two molecule and (assuming linear bonds for simplicity) 2 bonds on the 3 joined molecule. So 9 expressions total.

    Nope. You have to do it with atoms, then. Actually, quarks. Actually, ? (because we have no such knowledge of fundamental entities).

    If you insist that this must be analyzed in terms of molecules, then why not atoms? If not atoms, why not just the count of pieces of paper? This is arbitrary and impractical.

    Same with the expressions: why expressions between molecules? Why not atoms? Why not <?>? Why not just pieces of paper? Arbitrary.

    If two fundamentals express in such a way as to create a new identity between the two; two atoms become a molecule for example, that is a new expressed existence that will respond differently than the expressed existence of the two atoms in their singular state.

    Everything that we know of is expressed existence then, correct?

    1. The foundation. This is the base thing in itself.

    This is impossible for us to know.

    2. The expression. This is how the foundation exhibits itself within reality at any one snapshot of time.

    This is all of known reality, and always will be.

    3. The potential. This is the combination of what types of expression are possible within the next shapshot of time.

    How are you anchoring this part of the calculation though? Is it the very next snapshot, the foreseeable farthest snapshot, the total net, etc.?

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    If noncontradiction is not an objective stance, then there is no logic.

    What is under contention in my quote was not the existence of logic, or its objectivity; but, rather, whether or not it is factual (objectively true) that “one should abide by logic”. This was the key assumption in their argument.

    Your distinction between normative and metaethical confused me.

    Normativity and morality are fundamentally about what one ought to do; metaethics about the nature of normativity and morality (e.g., what is the nature of ‘oughtness’, ‘goodness’, etc.; are moral judgments cognitive?; are moral judgments expressing something objective?).

    That “one ought to abide by logic” is a normative judgment, which may or may not be expressing something objective even if it turns out to be true.

    By objectivity, I mean that which exists mind-independently. Something is not objective simply because subjects unanimously agree upon it.

    A moral realist theory would by one which posits that there are states-of-affairs or arrangements of entities in reality that exist mind-independently which inform us of what is morally good or bad.
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    I had to think about this one a while, as part of this conversation with you is learning what needs to be said and what is irrelevant in a discussion about this.

    No worries: I can relate to having an idea and finding that it is harder to convey to the audience (or a specific audience or individual) than (originally) expected.
    Bob Ross

    Yes, this idea is in its exploratory phase, so these discussions are very helpful to see if there is any merit to the ideas here.

    Also, I apologize for my belated response: I have been busy and am trying to catch up on my responses.Bob Ross

    Not a worry! Time is of no consideration to the argument. This is a hobby for us after all.

    Productivity is being used in the sense of ‘having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance’; and the hypothetical is that IF a person is being more productive at creating model airplanes than finding a cure to cancer AND they can only do one or the other AND one is analyzing what is good in terms of the production of concrete entities in reality (such that more is better), then that person should (in a moral sense) choose to create model airplanes over finding a cure for cancer.Bob Ross

    That's fine then, yes. But as I've noted, make sure you make explicit the other outcomes as well. For example, if the person works on cancer and saves billions of lives, but is more productive working on model planes and saves no lives, this is not all else being equal.

    All I am including is what I included. IF ‘more existence is better’ THEN it is better to have two pieces of paper rather than one. That’s it. In isolation, is two pieces of paper better than one in your view?Bob Ross

    Not necessarily. Its because we're tearing a piece of paper into two, not creating two equal sizes of paper.

    You cannot think top down. You need to build up to complicated examples because it just causes confusion and a misunderstanding of how everything builds up otherwise.

    I honestly can’t think of a simpler example than whether or not two pieces of paper is better than one, all else being equal. It cannot get simpler than that.
    Bob Ross

    Paper is made up of matter. So when tearing the paper in two, you are tearing its matter in half.

    One pattern I see that I need to point out is the pattern of exploding complexity. when we upgrade to chemical reactions, then life, then people, then society. One point that might help you is you can think of each as a factorial explosion in math. An atom is 1X1. Multiple atoms are 2X1. A molecule is 3X2X1. By the time we get to something like life, molecular existence is such an irrelevant factor compared to factor results at the conscious level. When you're talking about a human decision being something like 20X19X18...including atoms as a consideration is insignificant.

    This just entails that it is impossible to actually calculate what is better or worse in any practical sense; but I digress.
    Bob Ross

    I have not made this explicit enough. Working out the math from an atomic level all the way up to humanity is outside of my purview. I do not have the time, interest, or mathematical skill to calculate things to precision. But I do have enough skill to calculate things to general patterns of observation.

    One of the key patterns is existential homeostasis, or the preservation of higher levels of existence over long term. This is why life in general is far more valuable than non-living chemical reactions. Homeostasis explodes past a limited quantity or event. And when we're up to the level of life, each moment of life is such a highly concentrated form of existence that when comparing something as simple as tearing a piece of paper in half, how it affects that life is going to generally be far more existentially impactful then whatever relatively minute existential difference results from tearing the paper in half.

    Back to the cancer/plane example, or tearing a piece of paper, when you set up a situation in which we're talking about being 'productive' in general what we should be looking for is significant relative existential results. The new existence if a torn piece of paper is irrelevant compared to what tearing that piece of paper does in a human's life. Productivity in what one does is insignificant to the results that it has on that human's life and society. If a human's actions produce no less than 10,000,000 existence as long as they continue to live, we're much more concerned about the impact changing 1 existence elsewhere is going to have on that 10,000,000 result.

    I think this is a good time to go into my views on the morality of art. I've often wondered why I've felt that art is generally good. The reason is that art bring an object which normally would only be of a minor existential consideration in its own hierarchy of existence, and elevates it to impact the hierarchy of intelligent life.

    Take mount Rushmore for example. Before it was just a mountain. While now yes, it is not as mountainous as before, this is easily surpassed by the impact it has on human and societal thought. People gather from all over the world to see it and ponder it. Art has the ability to elevate human thought and emotion to higher levels, as well as convey messages that can impact a person's future decisions. This is why the base material of matter is mostly inconsequential compared to what it does to a person and society.

    It is not molecular separation: it is one piece of paper vs. two. If you insist in that we must analyze it in terms of molecules, then I will insist that we must analyze it in the smallest possible ‘particle’, which is a ‘fundamental entity’ (i.e., material existence),Bob Ross

    Recall I noted that when thinking about existential value, generally we want to only go one factor up or down as any higher makes the base example a relatively insignificant digit, and any any lower is also relatively insignificant. In some cases, yes, it may be significant. But we do not have the math available to use to find those exceptions, so we must talk in general for now. So we could generally discuss multiple sheets of the same volume of paper up, a single sheet, or the components of a single sheet.

    I used molecules because when you tear a sheet of paper in half, you're separating the molecules from being grouped together. You have to talk about this, because you're not creating two equal sizes of paper. You're taking one piece of paper, which is a conglomeration of molecules, and separating some. So the point is relevant.

    Everything that we know of is expressed existence then, correct?

    1. The foundation. This is the base thing in itself.

    This is impossible for us to know.
    Bob Ross

    Correct, but it is not impossible to represent abstractly. This is why I started with "atoms". It represents the abstract fundamental. What we do know is that things combine together to create new identities. That pattern is repeated both up and down complexity. We're assuming that fundamental existence works like this, as there's really no other known alternative at this point. The "atoms" simply give focus and more relatability than complete abstraction.

    2. The expression. This is how the foundation exhibits itself within reality at any one snapshot of time.

    This is all of known reality, and always will be.
    Bob Ross

    Yes, but just like a hydrogen atom has a particular and limited number of ways of expressing itself, so does a fundamental. I don't believe you or I would say that any fundamental essence of existence can express itself without limitation, including being identical to another fundamental. There are limits by the fact that one fundamental of existence is in a different location than another fundamental of existence. And considering regular existence seems to have set patterns of expression and existence as well, we can assume the underlying fundamentals are also limited and pattern themselves too.

    3. The potential. This is the combination of what types of expression are possible within the next shapshot of time.

    How are you anchoring this part of the calculation though? Is it the very next snapshot, the foreseeable farthest snapshot, the total net, etc.?
    Bob Ross

    This is a good question. In abstraction, barring the existence of intelligent life, this would be the next time tick. As we work up the hierarchy, the question of time becomes more relevant to the level of existence we're working with, as well as the level of immediate impact. Will smoking a cigarette one time matter? Likely not. Will smoking a cigarette every day and getting cancer in your 40's matter? Absolutely.

    If in the next second a life will end based on a decision, we need to act now on the general assumption that saving a life is good because we have no time to consider further ramifications. If we have a year to consider the long term ramifications of whether ending that life is good for society, we can take the time to consider if we should do so, as well as the long term affects.

    Here's an example. Lets say that a suicide bomber is going to blow up in a store. One person has a split second to react. If they tackle the man, they can minimize the casualties to themself. There is no further time to think. In this moment the general rule of morality is that they should tackle the man to save everyone else. They do so. They are lauded on the news as a hero. They inspire people to be better. They discourage suicide bombers because they think their plan can easily be stopped by one person. Everything is good.

    But lets say we have a crystal ball. We can predict the future and know everyone there. It turns out that everyone else in that store besides the savior themself are all horrible people who actively cause despair, misery, and bring down society. The savior is an upstanding person who brings goodness to the world wherever they go. Should the person save everyone else? In this case, objectively they should not.

    Morality is contextual. However, calculating it, especially the future, is an exercise in probability, possibility, plausibility, and thus uncertainty. Remember this? :D Once again we're back to knowledge. We should decide to do what is moral based on what we can know with the time and resources we have at the moment. Are we deciding to open up a new factory? Spend some time studying what the effects of pollution on the populace would be over 20 years. Deciding to save some people in a spur of the moment decision? Best to go with the generality that saving more than one life is worth the expense of your own.

    So, for the very simple answer Bob, when making day to day decisions, we should look at the general patterns of morality and act accordingly. Act with others in a way that preserves who they are, and potentially elevates their existence. Act in ways that preserve and elevate society without personal sacrifice where possible. Only sacrifice if there is absolutely no other choice.

    When we have time to objectively study specific situations, and feel the energy and effort spent will be worth the opportunity cost elsewhere, then do so. Studying how the speed limit impacts fatalities over the lifetime of that road? A good use of time. Studying the impact of whether you should tear a piece of paper in half or quarters instead of what you are going to do with those pieces of paper? Not a good use of time. :D

    I hope that answers some of your points and makes things clearer. Let me know Bob! Thank you again for staying with what I am sure is a difficult discussion to understand. There is nothing else like it, and such things are the most difficult subjects to think through.
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Productivity is being used in the sense of ‘having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance’; and the hypothetical is that IF a person is being more productive at creating model airplanes than finding a cure to cancer AND they can only do one or the other AND one is analyzing what is good in terms of the production of concrete entities in reality (such that more is better), then that person should (in a moral sense) choose to create model airplanes over finding a cure for cancer. — Bob Ross

    That's fine then, yes. But as I've noted, make sure you make explicit the other outcomes as well. For example, if the person works on cancer and saves billions of lives, but is more productive working on model planes and saves no lives, this is not all else being equal.

    Good. My only point is that that is incredibly counter-intuitive to predominant ethics: pretty much everyone who studies ethics will agree that trying to find a cure for cancer has more moral worth than working on model airplanes even if one is more productive at the latter than the former.

    If this is a bullet you are willing to bite, then so be it: I am just explicating the bullets you are biting.

    All I am including is what I included. IF ‘more existence is better’ THEN it is better to have two pieces of paper rather than one. That’s it. In isolation, is two pieces of paper better than one in your view? — Bob Ross

    Not necessarily. Its because we're tearing a piece of paper into two, not creating two equal sizes of paper.

    If our unit of measure is ‘a piece’ and ‘more pieces is better than less’, then two pieces of paper are better than two.

    The only way for you to deny this, under your theory, is if you explicate clearly what unit of measure a person should be using to calculate “more existence is better”; and you have still as of yet to clarify it.

    I have not made this explicit enough. Working out the math from an atomic level all the way up to humanity is outside of my purview. I do not have the time, interest, or mathematical skill to calculate things to precision

    My point was not that you need to calculate every minute detail: it was that, in principle, it is impossible for you to; and, thusly, your theory is useless if you insist on demanding these calculations to determine what is right or wrong.

    There’s two ways to raise this objection to your theory. The first, which relates to the quote above, is: if the unit of measure is something incredibly small, then one cannot calculate what is right or wrong in practical life—and to provide ‘general patterns’ requires you, by your own criteria, to make these incredibly large calculations with these incredibly small units.

    The second is: if the unit of measure is ‘material existence’ (which is whatever fundamental entities exist) and one cannot have knowledge of ‘material existences’ (which by your own concession in your conversation is true) and one needs to use those units to calculate what is right/wrong, then it is impossible for them to calculate what is right/wrong—full stop. This simply follows from your own concessions.

    With respect to your elaboration, which included more examples, my point here is that if the two formulations of my objection are correct (as explicated above), then it is not clear at all how you are calculating these general patterns.

    I would like to stop there so that I can get you to address these points first, as the rest depends on your answers.

    Bob
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Good. My only point is that that is incredibly counter-intuitive to predominant ethics: pretty much everyone who studies ethics will agree that trying to find a cure for cancer has more moral worth than working on model airplanes even if one is more productive at the latter than the former.Bob Ross

    Right, if you don't explicitly list out the examples I mentioned. As I've mentioned, morality is contextual. Without context you can create all sorts of unintuitive points. That's not using the theory, and not a knock against it. List out a contextual example like I did, and show that its unintuitive by its conclusion if you want to show something meaningful. I listed a few for you, and they are intuitive to ethics to me. Are they not to you? If not, let me know. :)

    If our unit of measure is ‘a piece’ and ‘more pieces is better than less’, then two pieces of paper are better than two.

    The only way for you to deny this, under your theory, is if you explicate clearly what unit of measure a person should be using to calculate “more existence is better”; and you have still as of yet to clarify it.
    Bob Ross

    Have I not listed the three unit types, fundamental, expression, and potential? I've also given quite a few examples of how to calculate them. I broke down the paper model for you as well. You haven't commented on it, so I assumed that meant it made sense.

    "A piece" is not an accurate description of the existence. A piece is a generic summary which can vary in size and shape. Paper is an identity we give to a organized set of molecules that we use as a tool. Since we are removing the tool aspect, its just a conglomeration of molecules. So when you say we are taking a particular piece of paper, that's a set of existence. When we tear it, we are separating the molecules that bind it together.

    My point was not that you need to calculate every minute detail: it was that, in principle, it is impossible for you to; and, thusly, your theory is useless if you insist on demanding these calculations to determine what is right or wrong.Bob Ross

    I have already done a few calculations through several examples. Feel free to point out where these examples are wrong. I assumed because you haven't addressed them so far, that they were acceptable. Lets go back there then as its a fundamental of the theory.

    The second is: if the unit of measure is ‘material existence’ (which is whatever fundamental entities exist) and one cannot have knowledge of ‘material existences’ (which by your own concession in your conversation is true) and one needs to use those units to calculate what is right/wrong, then it is impossible for them to calculate what is right/wrong—full stop.Bob Ross

    First, the use of 'atoms' was as an Aristotelian abstract to demonstrate how it works. We don't need to know the exact form of a fundamental when math in this case, is a fundamental discrete identity. From there we build up complex models of expression and measure that. I feel like you completely missed this point from earlier, or have forgotten it.

    Perhaps this entire discussion needs a summary again, as your latter points seem to wholly miss the mark. This is not normally like you, so I feel that the discussion needs a recentering if this is the case. Let me know.if this would be helpful! Oh, and if you have become disinterested in the conversation, that's perfectly fine as well. This does not reflect poorly on your points or you in anyway if this is the case. Sometimes we're just not interested in continuing a discussion, and I do not want you to feel obligated to do so if this is the case. :)
  • Bob Ross
    1.2k


    Perhaps this entire discussion needs a summary again, as your latter points seem to wholly miss the mark. This is not normally like you, so I feel that the discussion needs a recentering if this is the case.

    I apologize: I may be misunderstanding, misremembering, or both. Likewise, I can assure you I am not disinterested in the topic: I just think our heads at different places right now.

    To hone in on the conversation, I will focus on the unit of measure being used to make these calculations, and see if you can steer me on the right course.

    If our unit of measure is ‘a piece’ and ‘more pieces is better than less’, then two pieces of paper are better than two.

    The only way for you to deny this, under your theory, is if you explicate clearly what unit of measure a person should be using to calculate “more existence is better”; and you have still as of yet to clarify it. — Bob Ross

    Have I not listed the three unit types, fundamental, expression, and potential?

    Ok. So if your units of measurement are fundamental, expression, and potential entities; then we are back to my original worries.

    Firstly, we have no knowledge of fundamental entities; and stipulating something which is clearly not a fundamental entity, such as an atom, can help clarify what you would do to make moral calculations ideally but does not clarify how you are making the calculation in actuality.

    It is akin to if you were to give an elaboration speech on how to walk from point A to point B while also admitting that no one could ever possible walk at all: ok, I get how ideally one could walk from A to B, but, since no one can nor will ever be able to walk, isn’t this all useless in practical life?

    If you rely on factoring in fundamental entities in the formula to make moral calculations and we can never know anything about them, then you can’t make moral calculations. I understand that you think you have made general patterns, but these cannot be defended properly unless you overcome this objection.

    To be honest, my understanding so far is that you are not using, in actuality (as opposed to ideally), fundamentaly entities to arrive at these general patterns because, by you own admission, you can’t. So, then, you are only using expression and potential entities—and, consequently, fundamental entities are useless for moral calculation in actuality.

    Am I missing something?

    Let’s assume I am on the right track (which I bet you will not think so (; ): your moral calculations are using only expression and potential entities as factors. Ok, let’s start with expression entities: you seem to use molecules to represent this type, but how are you determining which expression entity to factor into the moral calculation? You seem to just arbitrarily pick one for the sake of example.

    Let’s take the paper example to illustrate the problem: a piece of paper and a molecule are both expression entities. By your own admission, anything comprised of, that originates out of, fundamental entities is an expression entity; so, by your own lights, the piece of paper is an expression entity, comprised of a bunch of smaller expression entities—namely molecules. You seem to arbitrarily favor the molecule over the paper itself; but the paper is an expression of molecules, among probably other expression entities, thusly making it also an expression entity. The fact of the matter is that reality as we will ever know it is comprised of what you call expression entities, and it is a pattern of composition—i.e., any given expression entity appears to be comprised of smaller expression entities. So, you must clarify and justify which expression entities are valid factors for making moral calculations; otherwise, it is just arbitrary (from my point of view).

    "A piece" is not an accurate description of the existence. A piece is a generic summary which can vary in size and shape.

    Hopefully it is clear that, as you have defined it, a piece of paper is an expression entity: it is comprised of, something that arises out of, fundamental entities: it is an expression of fundamental entities. A molecule is also just like it in that sense: the paper arises out of, is an emergent property of, the molecules.

    Even if you have a quibble with comparing a piece of paper and a molecule in this manner, then please swap it for an atom vs. a molecule (which are both also expression entities, one of which is comprised of the other) and you will see that, by-at-large, my critiques still stand. You keep arbitrarily picking one, as far as I can tell.

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Bob
  • Philosophim
    2.2k
    Firstly, we have no knowledge of fundamental entities; and stipulating something which is clearly not a fundamental entity, such as an atom, can help clarify what you would do to make moral calculations ideally but does not clarify how you are making the calculation in actuality.Bob Ross

    First, it is unnecessary to know specifically what a fundamental entity is, only that it is. Second, we know that fundamental entities must combine to make something more. Numbers are merely representatives of entities. Third, the existence of fundamentals is mostly as a concept to contrast with expression. To understand that molecules may form and break apart but atoms may remain.

    We're more concerned with establishing a pattern of basic math in existence then ascertaining what any one particular fundamental is. This is a math of estimation and generality, not scientific precision. The idea is to see if a math of generality and estimation can result in overall patterns that are helpful, fit within our intuitions about morality while adding greater understanding. If it doesn't, then there should be a good reason why. As well, since this is exploratory and the first foray into this, I don't have all the answers. The question is whether the brain storming and propositions have something to them worth exploring, or are they completely off base? So it is good that you're coming up with examples, but understand that from my viewpoint, some have been incomplete.

    To be honest, my understanding so far is that you are not using, in actuality (as opposed to ideally), fundamentaly entities to arrive at these general patterns because, by you own admission, you can’t. So, then, you are only using expression and potential entities—and, consequently, fundamental entities are useless for moral calculation in actuality.Bob Ross

    Fundamental entities are used for the initial understanding of the patterns and staging. What is staging? Its what I'm calling the reasonable scope of identities for a general calculation of existence. I touched on this last time to warrant its own word. Staging is the idea of setting up a scope of what is morally being calculated to simplify the situation for general moral inquiry.

    Recall last time I noted that when smaller entities combine into a new type of identity, that typically results in a far greater amount of existence then if they stay the same entities and just move around. This is a new factor of existence, and to keep the scope manageable for our general purposes, we examine at maximum one stage higher and lower than our origin. We do this, because this should work for general purposes. Exceptions will of course happen, but we don't have the time, skill, or patience to calculate for 2 factors down. Its something to do once the basic theory is established, but too much to ask for now.

    To be honest, my understanding so far is that you are not using, in actuality (as opposed to ideally), fundamentaly entities to arrive at these general patterns because, by you own admission, you can’t. So, then, you are only using expression and potential entities—and, consequently, fundamental entities are useless for moral calculation in actuality.Bob Ross

    They're a starting point, and an important part of the overall theory. Destroying expressions does not destroy the fundamental underneath it (so we assume). So destruction of expressions doesn't necessarily destroy the fundamental existence, and all of its potentials at that time. Whereas the destruction of a fundamental is one of the largest destructions of existence as this destroys all of its future expressions and potential. Generally the destruction of an identity does not destroy the key foundations of that identity, so such destruction is more palatable.

    Ok, let’s start with expression entities: you seem to use molecules to represent this type, but how are you determining which expression entity to factor into the moral calculation? You seem to just arbitrarily pick one for the sake of example.Bob Ross

    I do. This is me figuring things out Bob. I'm glad we're finally at the point we can have this discussion as I've wanted to bounce it off of someone else who understands the basics of what's going on here. The goal was to find some way of measuring existence. The key for me is "What is an identity"? And I think its having attributes that have unique results when interacting with another existence.

    Implicit in my notion of identities is grouping. Every atom, even of the same element is different from another atom in some very small way. But I can't very well be looking over the minute individual make up, where each proton and neutron is located as well as the exact place of each electron in orbit can I? And for general discussion and physics, we don't. Hydrogen atoms in a general sense work a particular way. This is a change of staging. There is a limit down that we go in each stating to make calculations when we're talking about atoms in particular.

    So the same approach is brought here with measurements of existence. What then is a fundamental stage change for an existence? When the combination of two or more items results in something that is different than what their parts alone would express. The easiest example of this is atoms combining into molecules. Hydrogen and oxygen atoms are a gas at room temperature. Combined they become a liquid that is necessary for almost all life.

    This becomes a new foundation, though not a material foundation, but a foundational identity. Now that I've worked through it, perhaps it needs to be pointed out with some name. So: Material foundation, expressions, material foundation combinations into new identities, and these new identities follow the pattern of material foundation by being foundational identities.

    A new foundational identity (the name for now) is a new staging of existence in which an entirely new set of expressions has come out of the combination of other expressions. Can there be degrees? Yes. Two molecules of the same type combining together doesn't really generate that many extra potential expressions as a bond then becoming an entirely new substance.

    Let’s take the paper example to illustrate the problem: a piece of paper and a molecule are both expression entities. By your own admission, anything comprised of, that originates out of, fundamental entities is an expression entity; so, by your own lights, the piece of paper is an expression entity, comprised of a bunch of smaller expression entities—namely molecules. You seem to arbitrarily favor the molecule over the paper itself; but the paper is an expression of molecules, among probably other expression entities, thusly making it also an expression entity.Bob Ross

    I'm not really favoring the molecules over the paper. Paper is the result of several molecules of the same type grouping into a bond. The overall foundational identity change is very small, as in considering only this scope, the behavior is very similar to the molecules that make it up. Its not enough to make an appreciable staging step. Now, if you introduce the human element into it, it enters into the human staging section only within regards to how humans use the paper. But the molecular size of the paper is irrelevant compared to the staging of what that human will do with that piece of paper. Per my previous example, if they need confetti, cut it. If they need to make functional paper airplanes, don't.

    Hopefully it is clear that, as you have defined it, a piece of paper is an expression entity: it is comprised of, something that arises out of, fundamental entities: it is an expression of fundamental entities. A molecule is also just like it in that sense: the paper arises out of, is an emergent property of, the molecules.Bob Ross

    I hope this clears up the thought process a bit, explaining why a grouping of molecules isn't quite the foundational identity shift as a combination of molecules that react and produce an entirely different foundational identity with its own unique expressions that cannot be formed by the underlying molecules when alone.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
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.