RE: Ethical basics

From: Jerry Mitchell (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 20:31:09 MST

> Jerry Mitchell wrote:
> >
> > Where have I shown that I didn't respect your right to be
> altruistic?
> Comparing all altruists to Hitler(?!) is a good start.

Granted, breaking the Hitler rule is generally counterproductive, but I
really was trying to show that he honestly believed the individual should be
subordinate to the greater number of people (in his case, the nation/state).
I might go so far as to say the single greatest cause of non-natural death
in the last century can be attributed directly to governments that hold the
tenant that the individual must subjugate his/her rights to the "need of the

> > Where did I demand anything, including that you believe as I do?
> > I simply asked why.
> Well... you asked why, then mentioned Hitler, which I took to
> mean that
> the first question was rhetorical. But it remains a valid
> question, of
> course.
> My personal reason for altruism is twofold. First, if there is an
> objective meaning to life, then it presumably applies
> symmetrically to all
> humans, or rather applies symmetrically to all sentient life
> with a given
> architecture.

I wouldn't try and tell everyone that I have discovered their reason for
existing. I'll leave it up to them to decide that.

> If there's not an objective meaning to life, then things get more
> complicated. In this case, my adaptations for reasoning
> about morality
> wish me to interpret my desires using the semantics of
> objectivity, such
> that if fun is meaningful when I choose to have it, it is equally
> meaningful when another human chooses to have the same amount
> of fun in
> the same way. Or to put it another way, my adaptations for reasoning
> about morality drive me to interpret my desires as meaningful
> because of a
> universal predicate that designates desire fulfillment as meaningful,
> including other people's desires.
> In *either* case, my life has neither greater nor lesser
> intrinsic value
> than the lives of the other six billion inhabitants of Earth.

There's no such thing as intrinsic value, there's only value "to whom" and
"for what".

Jerry Mitchell

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:37 MDT