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Author Topic:   A morality discussion (Neutralmind, Crashfrog, and Chiroptera only)
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 41 (400804)
05-16-2007 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Neutralmind
05-16-2007 6:22 PM


I have no idea where this fails

An argument of the form:

If A, then B
therefore B

is invalid until you first accept, or defend, A as a premise. If B is contingent on A then B is not true until A is true. If A is unknown, it can't be used to conclude B.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Neutralmind, posted 05-16-2007 6:22 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 17 of 41 (402918)
05-30-2007 5:49 PM


Back again
Well, it's been a while. I hope you still have the patience to continue you with me on this thread. I'll be bumping it up on random times because I have other things to do also, I'm sure you understand.

Anyway, before continuing with other questions about morality I'd to talk about a related matter. Empathy.
What is empathy? Is it just a trait with which we can "put ourselves in another's position and so imagine to feel how they feel".

And before you even agreeing on the definition I continue on that to ask, what's the use of empathy? Now I'm not talking about the obvious use for it in terms of civlizations or populations. Also, I don't want to be talking about it's evolutionary aspects at all.
But moreover what's the benefit of having empathy, for me?

I can see that on some certain situations it's helpful for me to feel empathy for others as to keep my friendship intact with people. But how and why do I feel empathy for total strangers which will never have much effect on me? Sure, I wouldn't want to have my home and family destroyed in a war but I didn't, so why should I care?

I'm sorry if this has been confusing but I think I can sum it all up in one line.

It's something I feel naturally but why should I?


Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by crashfrog, posted 05-30-2007 7:50 PM Neutralmind has responded
 Message 19 by Chiroptera, posted 05-30-2007 8:03 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 41 (402938)
05-30-2007 7:50 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Neutralmind
05-30-2007 5:49 PM


Re: Back again
But moreover what's the benefit of having empathy, for me?

That other people will continue to have it for you?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Neutralmind, posted 05-30-2007 5:49 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by Neutralmind, posted 05-30-2007 8:37 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6397
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 19 of 41 (402940)
05-30-2007 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Neutralmind
05-30-2007 5:49 PM


Questions that have no answers.
Now I'm not talking about the obvious use for it in terms of civlizations or populations. Also, I don't want to be talking about it's evolutionary aspects at all.

Okay. I think that the sociological and evolutionary aspects of empathy are obvious, so I guess there is no need to go into detail here, as long as you understand that there might be an explanation for empathy in terms of evolutionary advantage and/or social stability.

-

But moreover what's the benefit of having empathy, for me?

Well, there is, as crashfrog has pointed out, the benefits resulting in reciprocity. But this may be close to the evolutionary/sociological explanations that you already understand and don't want to discuss. In that case, I would say there aren't any others.

-

It's something I feel naturally but why should I?

Well, you just do. Why worry about why you should?

Edited by Chiroptera, : changed subtitle


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Neutralmind, posted 05-30-2007 5:49 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 20 of 41 (402949)
05-30-2007 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by crashfrog
05-30-2007 7:50 PM


Re: Back again
That other people will continue to have it for you?

Maybe it's just me but I don't really need empathy from others. Very rarely anyway.
Chiroptera
Well, you just do. Why worry about why you should?

Because I waste time doing it and feel bad for a while. Would be much better for me if I could just ignore it and do something that helps me.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by crashfrog, posted 05-30-2007 7:50 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Chiroptera, posted 05-30-2007 10:39 PM Neutralmind has responded

    
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6397
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 21 of 41 (402962)
05-30-2007 10:39 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Neutralmind
05-30-2007 8:37 PM


Re: Back again
Maybe it's just me but I don't really need empathy from others. Very rarely anyway.

Well, you say that, and maybe it's true, but you would be surprised at how much of the kindness and consideration of others around stem from their feelings of empathy. I'm willing to bet you would not find a world without empathy to be a very pleasant place to live. As a student I found myself among a group of people who were seriously impaired in their ability to empathize, and I hated it.

-

Would be much better for me if I could just ignore it and do something that helps me.

Okay, now the question has changed. Before, you were asking why you should feel empathy. Now you are asking how to turn it off.

I don't know. It never occurred to me to wonder how to not empathize with others. Personally, I feel that the ability to empathize is one of the things that make us human. If you didn't feel empathy for others, you wouldn't be human any more. At least that's my opinion.

-

Forgive me, because this is none of my business, but this thread (and its predecessor) is giving me the feeling that you are going through some emotional difficulties right now. If you are, then may I make a suggestion? I notice that you are Finnish, and I think that Finland has a very nice European system of health care available. Have you thought about speaking with a professional who is trained to help you deal with whatever it is you are experiencing?

Sorry, I might be reading too much into your posts, and it's no one's business anyway. You can ignore this whole portion of this post if you want.

-

Anyway, I'm just a tad unsure about what your questions about morality and empathy really are. I don't really feel that I understand what you are trying to find out, so I apologize if the answers that I'm giving aren't helping much.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Neutralmind, posted 05-30-2007 8:37 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 6:44 AM Chiroptera has responded

  
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 22 of 41 (402975)
05-31-2007 6:44 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Chiroptera
05-30-2007 10:39 PM


Re: Back again
It's that I feel I've lived a lot of my life helping others. And what have I gained in it? Nothing, at least that's how I see it. So, in the future, why should I help anyone else to get by when it helps me in no way?

Why not just ignore others most of the time and help only when it's convenient or there's something for me to gain? (Life threatening situations aside of course) That's what everyone else is doing and they don't seem to be carrying any "emotional baggage". So I'd say they're having life a lot easier not caring about others so much.

And no, I'm not having or going through emotional problems at this time. I'm just figuring out how I should teach myself to react to certain situations in the future to make my life easier.

Edited by Neutralmind, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Chiroptera, posted 05-30-2007 10:39 PM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by crashfrog, posted 05-31-2007 10:18 AM Neutralmind has responded
 Message 24 by Chiroptera, posted 05-31-2007 11:51 AM Neutralmind has responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 41 (402995)
05-31-2007 10:18 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Neutralmind
05-31-2007 6:44 AM


Re: Back again
So, in the future, why should I help anyone else to get by when it helps me in no way?

Because it does help you. You curry good favor with others. You create a reputation of kindness.

From reiterative game theory - and just frickin' sense - we know that people tend to follow the "reverse Golden rule": do unto others as they just did unto you. People are helpful to you because you've been helpful to them. If you cease to act with empathy towards others, people are going to cease to act with empathy towards you.

And I don't understand why you think that's meaningless. If you're saying that you've never, ever benefited from another person's empathy, I'd say you're either not thinking hard enough or just plain dishonest. People don't treat the unsympathetic well. They have a strong evolutionary reason not to.

That's what everyone else is doing and they don't seem to be carrying any "emotional baggage".

You're just being ridiculous. That's not at all how most people are.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 6:44 AM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 8:37 PM crashfrog has responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6397
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 24 of 41 (403012)
05-31-2007 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Neutralmind
05-31-2007 6:44 AM


Why not just ignore others most of the time and help only when it's convenient or there's something for me to gain?

I don't know. Why don't you do that?

Personally, I think you'll find a life like that to be less emotionally satisfying, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that is the best way for you to live your life, and that is the way you'll find happiness.

-

And no, I'm not having or going through emotional problems at this time.

Okay. Sorry I brought it up, then.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 6:44 AM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 8:53 PM Chiroptera has responded

  
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 25 of 41 (403108)
05-31-2007 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by crashfrog
05-31-2007 10:18 AM


Re: Back again
You're just being ridiculous. That's not at all how most people are.

So you're saying most people will help others even when it's very unconvenient, and there's nothing to gain for themselves?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by crashfrog, posted 05-31-2007 10:18 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by crashfrog, posted 05-31-2007 9:15 PM Neutralmind has responded

    
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 26 of 41 (403115)
05-31-2007 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Chiroptera
05-31-2007 11:51 AM


I don't know. Why don't you do that?

Personally, I think you'll find a life like that to be less emotionally satisfying, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that is the best way for you to live your life, and that is the way you'll find happiness.


Why should I (or you) not find it emotionally satisfying to live more selfishly? The obvious point why I'm not living like that is because I listen to my ability of empathy. But really, why should I? What's the gain?
It's an ability, not a motive to do something (to cite CS from another thread).

Sure, it's great ability to have sometimes but why not ignore it when it's not helping my survival chances? That's the purpose it evolved to right?

What's the gain to me for helping out some random people I know I will never get help back from?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Chiroptera, posted 05-31-2007 11:51 AM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by Chiroptera, posted 05-31-2007 9:35 PM Neutralmind has responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 41 (403128)
05-31-2007 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Neutralmind
05-31-2007 8:37 PM


Re: Back again
So you're saying most people will help others even when it's very unconvenient, and there's nothing to gain for themselves?

They do it all the time here in the Midwest USA. Maybe it's a culture thing? I was led to believe that the Finns are a very generous people.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 8:37 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Neutralmind, posted 06-01-2007 8:39 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6397
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 28 of 41 (403131)
05-31-2007 9:35 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Neutralmind
05-31-2007 8:53 PM


reply to crashfrog:
So you're saying most people will help others even when it's very unconvenient, and there's nothing to gain for themselves?

Well, I can't speak for most people, but I do this. So do most of the people that I know personally.

-

Why should I (or you) not find it emotionally satisfying to live more selfishly?

No reason. As for me, it's part of who I am, I guess. Maybe you're different.

-

The obvious point why I'm not living like that is because I listen to my ability of empathy. But really, why should I?

No reason.

-

Sure, it's great ability to have sometimes but why not ignore it when it's not helping my survival chances? That's the purpose it evolved to right?

Not necessarily your own survival. If the whole tribe has the genetic disposition for altruistic behavior (of which empathy might be part), then the sacrifices of the individuals will help the entire tribe live better, survive, and produce another generation with the disposition for altruism.

-

What's the gain to me for helping out some random people I know I will never get help back from?

For me, it's just knowing that I've helped someone is it's own reward. If you don't feel the same way, then I guess that there is no gain for you.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Neutralmind, posted 05-31-2007 8:53 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Neutralmind, posted 06-01-2007 9:01 PM Chiroptera has responded

  
Neutralmind
Member (Idle past 3740 days)
Posts: 183
From: Finland
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 29 of 41 (403315)
06-01-2007 8:39 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by crashfrog
05-31-2007 9:15 PM


Re: Back again
They do it all the time here in the Midwest USA. Maybe it's a culture thing? I was led to believe that the Finns are a very generous people.

Okay, say your asking directions. You start asking people who walk by you in a crowded area, to ask where things are. How many out of ten will stop?

Or say, you've just got out of work, the work day has ended. You ask a fellow worker, who is just a guy/girl who you work with but never really hang out with. You ask him/her if he could help you to move some heavy stuff in at your new apartment. Will he say yes or come up with some lame excuse?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by crashfrog, posted 05-31-2007 9:15 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Chiroptera, posted 06-01-2007 8:43 PM Neutralmind has responded

    
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6397
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 30 of 41 (403316)
06-01-2007 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Neutralmind
06-01-2007 8:39 PM


Re: Back again
Oh, this one is easy:

Or say, you've just got out of work, the work day has ended. You ask a fellow worker, who is just a guy/girl who you work with but never really hang out with. You ask him/her if he could help you to move some heavy stuff in at your new apartment. Will he say yes or come up with some lame excuse?

I was walking home for work one afternoon. True story, by the way. As I was passing by a house, some kid, who was in the process of moving, stopped me and asked me to help move his sofa and his bed out of his apartment into the truck he had rented. I did. He offered me $20, but I refused.


Actually, if their god makes better pancakes, I'm totally switching sides. -- Charley the Australopithecine
This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Neutralmind, posted 06-01-2007 8:39 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Neutralmind, posted 06-01-2007 9:04 PM Chiroptera has not yet responded

  
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