The USSR

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
kiryan
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Postby kiryan » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:36 pm

It never fails to make me laugh when someone talks about giving money to charity as a way of reducing your taxes lol. I'm sure there are some price points where you may actually save money by giving away money, but in general your basically giving away $2 to save $1, yet somehow people are excited because their tax rate went down 1%. Charity write offs are for the super rich and those that are defrauding the system. Getting a $5,000 write off for a car that wouldn't sell for $500 bucks ect.

I don't think I'd want to live in the world that Ashiwi describes where people can't get basic access to care and are dieing on the streets. If I could be the sole decider on what social services to provide, I think I'd have to provide some, probably more than I would like. Simple fact that is if you don't take care of the dregs in society, they disrupt it through crime / revolution. So you can either kill them, or pay them enough to make their miserable existences bearable. History frowns on killing them *shrug*.

On the other hand, I certainly don't want to live somewhere where people who work hard and develop difficult skills make the same money that people who don't work hard get. I essentially volunteer my time and bust my ass to learn new systems and skills as to keep up with technology and make my skills more valuable. If all you have to do is mop the floor 40 hours a week and make the same I do, then I'd rather mop floors. Time is time and I'd rather not be mentally exhausted at the end of the day. I'd like to take my union breaks, sit around and jaw for a couple hours at work ect... Maybe I'm different from other folks, I really don't give a shit what I do at work, take out the trash, mow the grass, whatever. I'm there to earn money for the most part. I suppose theres limits, I'd rather not be a fluffer.
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:40 pm

Kifle wrote:As for altruism. There is none. The idea of altruism is inherently flawed.


As a teacher, I spend 25% of my time helping kids in and out of class get out of personal ruts, and trying to motivate them to do better, feel proud of their work, be examples to others, etc, etc. I get no reward for doing this, half the time I don't get thanked for helping. I don't expect to. Sometimes I even get attitude back for encouraging or disapproving of certain traits and criticizing them. More often than not it is a headache with many of the students. I still keep, and will keep, doing it, because in the end I may help these kids become men who will be examples to others, and help them get away from some of their personal problems. My job is to teach them my subject, the rest I do because it is for their good or it is the right thing to do.

Please...
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Postby Sarvis » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:43 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:As a teacher, I spend 25% of my time helping kids in and out of class get out of personal ruts, and trying to motivate them to do better, feel proud of their work, be examples to others, etc, etc. I get no reward for doing this, half the time I don't get thanked for helping.


Thank you.
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Postby Sarvis » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:55 pm

kiryan wrote:On the other hand, I certainly don't want to live somewhere where people who work hard and develop difficult skills make the same money that people who don't work hard get.


No one does, and frankly this is a bit of a straw man conservatives like to throw around. Sure, we have a progressive tax rate... but if you make more money you are making more money and that's all there is to it.
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Postby Kifle » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:21 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:As for altruism. There is none. The idea of altruism is inherently flawed.


As a teacher, I spend 25% of my time helping kids in and out of class get out of personal ruts, and trying to motivate them to do better, feel proud of their work, be examples to others, etc, etc. I get no reward for doing this, half the time I don't get thanked for helping. I don't expect to. Sometimes I even get attitude back for encouraging or disapproving of certain traits and criticizing them. More often than not it is a headache with many of the students. I still keep, and will keep, doing it, because in the end I may help these kids become men who will be examples to others, and help them get away from some of their personal problems. My job is to teach them my subject, the rest I do because it is for their good or it is the right thing to do.

Please...


Altruism is performing some action that helps somebody besides yourself for the sole purpose of helping that other person. This is flawed. I didn't say doing shit for other people was inexistant. Think of it this way. You do these things for other kids because you get benefit from it. You feel better. You're avoiding guilt. You WANT to help these kids, for some personal reason; therefore, you do it. This is egoism behind the mask of altruism. In everything that you do, there is a personal reason behind it -- no action is EVER for the purpose of another human being without some form of personal gain. Those that say they do things for the sake of others are kidding themselves.
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Postby Corth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:57 am

Sarvis,

They're only option is private treatment because its impossible to get a government dentist. Maybe if they're taxes were lower, they could get private treatment!

Look at the article again. 45% of British dentists will refuse to treat patients under the socialized system! Apparently the government is not paying dentists enough so they left the system. Damned free market! We should force them to treat patients for not enough money! Socialism.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:10 am

Corth wrote:Sarvis,

They're only option is private treatment because its impossible to get a government dentist. Maybe if they're taxes were lower, they could get private treatment!


Oh sure, I'm sure if taxes were just a bit lower they'd have thousands of dollars just lying around for dental work. Just like I have $1300 lying around for that root canal... no, wait... I'll be financing that with more debt. Whee! Gotta love an economy run mostly on debt!

Look at the article again. 45% of British dentists will refuse to treat patients under the socialized system! Apparently the government is not paying dentists enough so they left the system. Damned free market! We should force them to treat patients for not enough money! Socialism.


Yet most would prefer the NHS dentists if they were available, and don't think there is better service in the private system. I thought the free market made everything better?

Of course, you're ignoring everything I actually <i>said</i> while reiterating your own points. Got nothing to say about the government meeting with dentists themselves to fix the plan?
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Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:17 am

Kifle wrote:Altruism is performing some action that helps somebody besides yourself for the sole purpose of helping that other person. This is flawed. I didn't say doing shit for other people was inexistant. Think of it this way. You do these things for other kids because you get benefit from it. You feel better. You're avoiding guilt. You WANT to help these kids, for some personal reason; therefore, you do it. This is egoism behind the mask of altruism. In everything that you do, there is a personal reason behind it -- no action is EVER for the purpose of another human being without some form of personal gain. Those that say they do things for the sake of others are kidding themselves.


Egoism is inherantly flawed as a moral theory because it is incapable of handling conflicts of interest, as well as being incredibly arbitrary to the point where you cannot divine logical conclusions from it.

Furthermore, while you say that the purpose behind the actions of a human being always has some form of personal gain - that personal gain may not be the primary reason the action was undertaken. And indeed, the benefit of that action may not even be primarily for the individual in question.

Arguably, it is even possible for an individual to select an action from which it derives absolutely no benefit due to a lack of information or a misperception.

Finally, a conscious individual can commit an action that does not benefit themselves. While not necessarily altruistic, it is possible to make a decision that results in no personal gain consciously and knowingly.

I wouldn't put much faith in Egoism as a perfect model of consciousness, Kifle.
Last edited by teflor the ranger on Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:23 am

teflor the ranger wrote:as well as being incredibly arbitrary to the point where you cannot divine logical conclusions from it.


So it's the philosophical equivalent of you?
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Postby teflor the ranger » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:25 am

Sarvis wrote:
teflor the ranger wrote:as well as being incredibly arbitrary to the point where you cannot divine logical conclusions from it.


So it's the philisophical equivalent of you?


Possibly when read by people like you, yes. But it always has a lot to do with perception and the capacity to comprehend things presented. You might not be capable of divining logical conclusions from what I write, but there are plenty of people that have that capability.
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Postby Corth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:34 am

Sarvis,

How exactly is the government to 'meet with the dentists themselves to fix the plan'?

The government, unlike the free market, has no way of determining what the value of anything should be. They may decide to give the dentists 100 pounds per hour, and every dentist will be clamoring for government patients because they'll be getting paid more than they otherwise would in a free market. Great use of government resources there!

Or on the other hand, maybe the government decides to pay 50 pounds per hour, and shit, thats not enough to keep pay for a dental hygenist and pay off student loans, etc., so 45% of the dentists snub the socialized program and people have to crazy glue crowns to their teeth.

Point is, whatever answer the government comes up with will be wrong, because the government doesn't know. Only the market can determine what something is worth. Anything else is the government redistributing other people's money willy nilly. Socialism - morally corrupt.

----------------

Now if it were a free market system, I can assure you that there would be an efficient ratio of dentists to patients and an efficient pricing of the services. If there were not enough dentists, they would get to charge more, and then more people would enter the field and prices would come down. What has likely happened in England is that years of arbitrarily low payments to dentists in the socialized system have created a situation where there are simply not enough dentists. The smart dentists can now take advantage of that situation by snubbing the socialized system and going private.. and charging higher fees than they otherwise would if the system was private to begin with. Now british people with money are forced to cough it up or otherwise use crazy glue. Socialism - morally corrupt.

The situation will resolve itself in one of two ways. 1) More people might start becoming dentists because they see how much money the private dentists are making. The free market reasserts itself and equilibrium is again reached. Or, 2) The government realizes the only way to save its morally corrupt socialist dental system is to outlaw the private practice of dentistry.. thus compelling individuals to work for whatever the government decides to give them. Socialism - morally corrupt.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:59 am

Corth wrote:Now if it were a free market system, I can assure you that there would be an efficient ratio of dentists to patients and an efficient pricing of the services.


Yep, that explains the nursing shortage! As well as the price of medical care being so high that people simply go to the emergency room and never pay, as well as the price of dentistry being so high that people can't afford to go if they don't have insurance.

Yep, that free market's doing a bang up job of ensuring a proper price point for people to have access to important medical care. It does exactly what Lathander says and wants: Rations it away from the poor so that the rich can excel.

Pardon me if I don't think that's a good thing.



Socialism - morally corrupt.


Me, I consider letting people die to easily cured diseases be morally corrupt.

The free market sets a "value" on something, but that value is not gauranteed to be fair nor accesible to everyone who needs it. On what moral basis can you deny people needed healthcare because they don't have enough money?

Socialism is no more morally corrupt than your vaunted greed.
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Postby Corth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:36 am

Hey, you have a nursing shortage... so nurses are high in demand. How do you recruit a nurse at the hospital you run? You pay more. Soon enough more people start becoming nurses so they can make the good $$$. Look, no more shortage!

Thats how the free market takes care of things. It ensures the optimal allocation of society's resources. That is something that government will never get right.

----------------

Among other things, the cost of medical care in this country is influenced to a great extent on the cost of malpractice insurance. Trust me, if docs didn't have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in insurance, they're prices would be a lot more competitve. Most docs would be happy to work for $150 an hour if they didn't have to pay out for that crap. Goddamned trial lawyers! :)

-----------------

When you say people are dying of 'easily curable' diseases, I assume you mean that people are dying of diseases that would not cost much to succesfully treat. I do not buy that argument. Thats low hanging fruit. There is plenty of recourse for people with 'easily curable' diseases from charity and government if in fact it would not cost much to treat that disease. Hey, all of us die.. but I don't see many people in the US denied care for infections that a simple course of antibiotics would fix. Maybe they end up dying from less 'easily curable' diseases, but not stuff like that.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Corth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:49 am

Good article on how tort reform in Texas resulted in huge increase of doctors licensed within the state. Hey, more doctors competing is good for the uninsured consumer!

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/us/05 ... ref=slogin
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Birile » Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:02 pm

Corth wrote:45% of British dentists will refuse to treat patients under the socialized system! Apparently the government is not paying dentists enough so they left the system. Damned free market! We should force them to treat patients for not enough money! Socialism.


I support this message from our resident Libertarian.

(You weren't being sarcastic, were you? I hope not...)
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Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:05 pm

nursing shortage is a great example. nursing was an under respected career for many many years. Now its suddenly one of the top education programs because the wages exploded.

another parallel from the medical industry is doctors, general practice vs specialists. General practice folks are largely dependent on the government for payment (through medicare medicaid). Insurance companies leveraged the governments set prices in these areas to win concessions for their plans as well. Net effect, Doctors can make tons more money as a specialist so we have a huge shortage of primary care physicians.

The government has indirectly caused a shortage in doctors by effectively regulating the compensation for basic services. In some European companies primary care physicians make almost the same as specialists and there is not as big of a shortage.

Also consider the effect of government regulation via licensing. Licensing creates lag in the labor pool by preventing people from taking up the career. It does enforace a certain minimum standard of knowledge and ability, but its just another way that government regulation causes issues with free market concepts. We pay more for a lot of things because of license requirements. Nearly every profession has licensing requirements that actually prevent you from working in the field even if you are competent. Most of these license requirements require some sort of effective apprenticeship.

All in the interests of public safety right? Consumers can't decide whether their house is livable, its got to be built by licensed architects after having environmental studies done, after being reviewed by certified city planners after being inspected by trained professionals all on the government payroll.

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Postby kiryan » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:16 pm

oh and heres another treat for you courtesy of the fed (who created the housing crisis if you ask me). You are now much poorer than you were 7 years ago unless you already owned real estate.

If you don't think you are, consider how affordable houses are. I don't know the #s but house prices drastically outpaced income growth meaning the average person can buy MUCH less house than they could 7 years ago. Would you rather borrow a little bit of money at a high interest rate or a lot of money at a lower rate for the same monthly? I'd rather borrow a little at a high rate because rates could come down. and that imo is the big problem with the price run up of the last decade. Americans have borrowed a ton of money at a low interest rate. It can only get worse for them.

Now consider that the government is doing everything they can to reduce the impact of the subprime mess (which is actually really an asset inflation bubble in real estate, not a subprime anything) which essentially results in the propping up artificially inflated house prices by encouraging debtors to stay in their loans. More people would bail out into bankruptcy or simple foreclosure if they felt their house wasn't worth it which I think is the right thing for most people. The fundamentals for the price run up aren't based on anything other than interest rates were low.

Its absolutely insane. Courtesy in a large part to the Fed under Alan Greenspan for chopping interest rates to insane lows to prevent recession at all costs. the alternative was job losses, crashing stock prices, and general hardship for many of the poorer less skilled americans.
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Postby Corth » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:25 pm

Kiryan makes a lot of good points.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:26 pm

kiryan wrote:oh and heres another treat for you courtesy of the fed (who created the housing crisis if you ask me). You are now much poorer than you were 7 years ago unless you already owned real estate.


Sorry, you are 100% wrong about that. My ability to buy a house is unchanged, really... but at least now I have a savings and a steady income. WAY wealthier than I was 7 years ago... or even 2 years ago.
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Postby Kifle » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:45 pm

Corth wrote:Kiryan makes a lot of good points.


No doubt, but they are also subjective points. The liscensing for example. We see the effects of liscensing, but we don't see the effects of non-liscensing. The arguments against are largely slippery slope and hypothetical. Without liscensing, as he pointed out, would lower the cost of the services because average joe could now become a doctor, but I don't want average joe in the ER while I bring in my 5yr old in with a 104 fever and watch him bumble around because he forgot to study and they still gave him his degree. Liscensing is, to me, like the final exam you take at the end of school. If you don't pass your finals, you don't graduate. I don't think it's a bad thing to make sure people know their jobs in situations where they could kill somebody (doctors), send an innocent to jail (lawyer), have a house catch fire (electrician), or have your house collapse on you (architects).

Economically, this goes back to the principle of specialization. By them learning about pharmicuticals, the effects of DC/AC and grounding, foundation support of large structures, and their contry's respective laws, that gives me the opportunity to study other things so that I may specialize as well. With increased specialization comes increased personal value, ability to trade (intermarket) with higher profit margins, and economic growth. Think of it this way. If you had to study every new law, drug you may have to take, plumbing technique, engine diagnosis, and the rest, would you be as good at what you do? Would you lose or gain market value? Kiryan, you pointed out in another thread that if you did not bust your ass keeping up with the technology of your own field, you would be of lesser value and, quite possibly, lose your job down the road? Do you really have the time to gather all of this knowledge to make sure your doctor, mechanic, architect, etc. are doing their jobs so that you don't get hurt by their mistakes?
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Postby Sarvis » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:29 pm

Kifle makes a lot of better points. :P
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:01 am

Kifle wrote:Think of it this way. You do these things for other kids because you get benefit from it. You feel better. You're avoiding guilt. You WANT to help these kids, for some personal reason; therefore, you do it. This is egoism behind the mask of altruism. In everything that you do, there is a personal reason behind it -- no action is EVER for the purpose of another human being without some form of personal gain. Those that say they do things for the sake of others are kidding themselves.


No, Kifle, that's egoism, I agree. The difference is that if I feel happy and good about myself after helping and doing these things, that's even better. The difference is that I don't do them "to get benefit" or to "feel better". Sometimes I don't feel better, nor do I get a benefit. I don't feel guilty about not doing it because it is the parents' job to do and teach these things, not mine. When I do feel better and good that is a bonus, but I don't do them for the purpose of feeling better or expecting something to come from it; that's just Nietzsche (sp?) trash. THAT'S egoism.
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Postby Kifle » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:19 am

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:Think of it this way. You do these things for other kids because you get benefit from it. You feel better. You're avoiding guilt. You WANT to help these kids, for some personal reason; therefore, you do it. This is egoism behind the mask of altruism. In everything that you do, there is a personal reason behind it -- no action is EVER for the purpose of another human being without some form of personal gain. Those that say they do things for the sake of others are kidding themselves.


No, Kifle, that's egoism, I agree. The difference is that if I feel happy and good about myself after helping and doing these things, that's even better. The difference is that I don't do them "to get benefit" or to "feel better". Sometimes I don't feel better, nor do I get a benefit. I don't feel guilty about not doing it because it is the parents' job to do and teach these things, not mine. When I do feel better and good that is a bonus, but I don't do them for the purpose of feeling better or expecting something to come from it; that's just Nietzsche (sp?) trash. THAT'S egoism.


Actually, the attack on egoism happend well before Nietzche, but I guess he did champion it for a time before post-modernism took hold. Anyway, altruism is a paradoxical ethical system. In pure logical terms, it doesn't work. Your behavior is a construct of many different variables; however, the most notable one is "who am I and who do I want to be." It seems to me you do these kind acts because that is the person you want to be. Notice how there is a "want" there. Now that want didn't come from nowhere. It came from years of parental, friend, societal influence. Those wants have been so ingrained into you over the years, they are automatic, sub-functions of your brain now. I mean, you don't sit and think for 30 seconds about whether saying "fuck" is ethical or not... you already know. Just like helping somebody change a tire. Is it ethical to help or not? That decision is made in the deep recesses of your brain before you start the sentance in your head. This entire system of personal ethics is as much a part of you as your skin and teeth are. So, knowing how you want to be, how is functioning in lines with these wants not doing something out of personal desire?

Now, if you apply this to the theory of working within the confines of a pleasure/pain system that many theorize us humans do, not being who you desire to be or who you think others desire you to be, can cause pain. From feelings of guilt and sadness to psychosematic physical pain. And this is not to say that these feelings of guilt and sadness are not beyond the surface. Just because you don't outright feel them, does not mean they are not there. So, for you, working with children, helping people, etc. produce pleasure (even if you are outwardly mad, you are not conflicted internally which is seen as more important to physical and psychological wellbeing). Doing the opposite would cause pain -- to some extent.

The short point being: Is it possible to do something you don't "want" to do? Not until people can remotely control your body... The desire must be there for action to occur. The desire has to come from somewhere internal.

Now, I understand there are arguments for altruism out there, but they all ignore the paradox. Not one challenges it in any sort of plausable manner. I think it is truely against human nature and all its mechanisms to do something purely for anothers' gain while sacrificing of yourself.
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Postby Ashiwi » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:49 am

Egoism is one of the lamest philosophies because it brings progress to an absolute halt. So everybody does something because they get something out of it. Can you say "duh?" There's not a single thing you can do in this world that you're not going to get something out of it just by the sheer act of doing it. Not really any point in arguing that, since it's a given. If you're going to debate egoism you end up getting stuck in a circular argument asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself...

Egoism is an excuse for not bettering yourself. When you run out of other excuses, you can always blame it on your "inability to couch selfish motives in a thin veneer of do-goodism." Oh, and feel good about yourself when you stick up for those principles.
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Postby Kifle » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:32 am

Ashiwi wrote:Egoism is one of the lamest philosophies because it brings progress to an absolute halt. So everybody does something because they get something out of it. Can you say "duh?" There's not a single thing you can do in this world that you're not going to get something out of it just by the sheer act of doing it. Not really any point in arguing that, since it's a given. If you're going to debate egoism you end up getting stuck in a circular argument asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself why you're asking yourself...

Egoism is an excuse for not bettering yourself. When you run out of other excuses, you can always blame it on your "inability to couch selfish motives in a thin veneer of do-goodism." Oh, and feel good about yourself when you stick up for those principles.


You may find it lame, but isn't philosophy supposed to be the study of knowledge -- in this case the study of the knowledge of behavior and motive? If it is a given that people do what they do for some personal benefit, why would you argue a philosophy stating that? You're basically saying, "Well, of course that's how it is... now I'm going to show you why it's not or why we shouldn't say that's how it is."

And nowhere in the philosophy of egoism does it state that you can't better yourself -- not even implicitly. I didn't say it was wrong to do good deeds or want to do them -- neither does egoism. All it is saying is there is a root to good deeds that lies in personal desire. What is so wrong about wanting to be a good person and going out and doing what you feel it takes to be that person? Nothing. It has a flavor of benevolence; however, it's a philosophy that doesn't attempt to boost humanity above where it lies in reality. Altruism, on the other hand, does. It is arrogant and pompus.

I think it is wrong for people to go around spouting that they do good things with no benefit to themselves. They place themselves on a moral pedestal that has no foundation in rational thought. That is not human, and people are not angels -- not even sometimes. They are just "good" people -- no more; no less.
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:50 pm

Kifle wrote:it's a philosophy that doesn't attempt to boost humanity above where it lies in reality. Altruism, on the other hand, does. It is arrogant and pompus.


Egoism is what is arrogant and pompus Kifle, not altruism. And I'll take something that tries to boost humanity into something better and higher than something that does not. I think you're focusing on the person who consciously must be recognized or feel recognized for what he/she did. Anonymous actions of good speak volumes over the public displays. And like Ashiwi said, egoism just an excuse in the end. It gives you an excuse to say that you cannot control how you act, because it has been ingrained over years and years...blah blah. What you're missing in your argument or philosophy is the ability of each person to choose, to act, or not to.
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Postby kiryan » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:33 pm

Sarvis wrote:
kiryan wrote:oh and heres another treat for you courtesy of the fed (who created the housing crisis if you ask me). You are now much poorer than you were 7 years ago unless you already owned real estate.


Sorry, you are 100% wrong about that. My ability to buy a house is unchanged, really... but at least now I have a savings and a steady income. WAY wealthier than I was 7 years ago... or even 2 years ago.


can I get one of those pedantic nitpicking thingies?
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Postby Sarvis » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:42 pm

There's a reason your grade school english teacher tried to teach you not to use "you" when writing. :P
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Postby Corth » Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:38 pm

kiryan wrote:
Sarvis wrote:
kiryan wrote:oh and heres another treat for you courtesy of the fed (who created the housing crisis if you ask me). You are now much poorer than you were 7 years ago unless you already owned real estate.


Sorry, you are 100% wrong about that. My ability to buy a house is unchanged, really... but at least now I have a savings and a steady income. WAY wealthier than I was 7 years ago... or even 2 years ago.


can I get one of those pedantic nitpicking thingies?


My pleasure!

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Postby Kifle » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:15 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:it's a philosophy that doesn't attempt to boost humanity above where it lies in reality. Altruism, on the other hand, does. It is arrogant and pompus.


Egoism is what is arrogant and pompus Kifle, not altruism. And I'll take something that tries to boost humanity into something better and higher than something that does not. I think you're focusing on the person who consciously must be recognized or feel recognized for what he/she did. Anonymous actions of good speak volumes over the public displays. And like Ashiwi said, egoism just an excuse in the end. It gives you an excuse to say that you cannot control how you act, because it has been ingrained over years and years...blah blah. What you're missing in your argument or philosophy is the ability of each person to choose, to act, or not to.


You're obviously either not grasping the concept of egoism and altruism, or you're disregarding 90% of what I wrote.

Egoism - belief that every action has some personal gain. Did I say 100% personal gain? Did I say a 1:1 ratio in gain/give? Did I say you get what you give? No. Not even in the slightest. This might have been my problem with poor examples so I'll try again.

Person A gives Bum B a dollar. Person A loses a dollar he worked for in doing a good deed for Bum B. Why did person A give the dollar? Did person A gain anything from giving the dollar to person B? He gave the dollar to Bum B because he felt it was the right or kind thing to do. He might have given it to the bum because he had too much money in his wallet. He might have given it to the bum because he has an aversion to the one dollar bill. He may have given it to the bum because he hates george washington. I could go on... In all of the actions, and any action you can conjure up, there is a reason behind the action of giving the bum the dollar. There are no exceptions. Now we get to what person A got by giving the bum the dollar. He could have gotten personal satisfaction for fulfilling his obligation to the poor which averts guilt he may place on himself. He may have gotten a smile from the bum which brightens his day. He may have walked away from the situation feeling happy because he did something his ethics says is "good." His wallet is no longer as full. He no longer has to stare at george washington. Again, the list goes on. This person got something for doing something "good." When people act outside of their ethics they feel guilt. Kind acts are an aversion of this guilt. Did I say that by not giving the bum the dollar, person A would go shoot himself because of the guilt? No. Could person A get 1 unit of guilt which would only cause him to bat an eye? Sure. Could he get half a unit? Sure. You see what I'm saying. There is always something gained, either directly or indirectly.

Altruism - the belief that people do things without personal gain for the benefit of others. Name one time you've EVER done something without personal gain. When you teach, why do you do it? Do you teach so that children have the opportunity to do something with their lives? Is that a good thing? Is that decision based on your personal ethics? If it is, then you gain pleasure in being the person you want to be. If you hated children, why would you teach? If you wanted the next generation to fail, why would you teach? Most often, those people don't teach. For the ones that still do, what are they getting out of it? Summers off of work, a paycheck, community status, retirement benefits. Regardless, each person is getting something out of giving. It is what drives that person to do anything.

Men are not angels. You are not altruistic. No matter what you do in life, there is always gain to be made by you in some form or another. Do you sometimes get less gain in relation to what you gave? Of course. But that is also not altruism because there is still gain. Altruism is a belief system of ethics created by people that felt guilty for recieving from their "good" deeds. Maybe you don't like the idea that you recieve... don't feel guilty about being human.

Anyway, like I said before. This argument has gone on for centuries. Neither of us are going to see it the other way because we obviously have strong opinions on the matter. If you want to believe you are some glorious martyr, above human nature, be my guest. Maybe that's what you need to do those good deeds. I, on the other hand, am very comfortable knowing that my ethics are founded on personal gain... it doesn't change the fact that I brighten many lives by what I do.
Last edited by Kifle on Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Corth » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:44 pm

This thread is starting to remind me about what a mistake it was to major in philosophy.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Kifle » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:22 am

Corth wrote:This thread is starting to remind me about what a mistake it was to major in philosophy.


You did? You could have told me that a two years ago and saved me a life of no market value...
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Postby Corth » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:56 am

Well you can always lose your soul at law school afterwards with the rest of the non-commital liberal arts majors. :)
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth



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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:33 am

Kifle wrote:I, on the other hand, am very comfortable knowing that my ethics are founded on personal gain...


And you don't think there is a difference between knowing that you are doing something (good) for personal gain versus not thinking about yourself when you are going to do it?
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Postby Ashiwi » Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:42 am

Sorry, not flying. Breaking down a person's charitable nature into egoism and altruism is too extreme. It's blacks and whites and there are no shades of grey, when life is one big grey parade. If you're going to base a person's actions of charity on whether or not they got something out of it, you might as well base it on whether or not they were breathing oxygen at the time. Action and reaction is a basic driving force of evolution and life, and egoism and altruism are on two completely separate levels, like the difference between shelter and companionship in Maslow's hierarchy. The two co-exist. The only human beings who exist without the instinct for self are 100% life support meat sculpture.

Philosophical apples and oranges.
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Postby Kifle » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:12 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:I, on the other hand, am very comfortable knowing that my ethics are founded on personal gain...


And you don't think there is a difference between knowing that you are doing something (good) for personal gain versus not thinking about yourself when you are going to do it?


Yes, the difference is that the person that doesn't realize they are gaining from giving is delusional and has a false sense of benevolence. Egoism doesn't ask that you think about whether you are gaining something or not. You always know, at the very least, in the back of your mind. As I said before, you make these decisions based on an ethical framework you've built over years and years of life experience and teachings from various sources. This framework allows for quick decision making with out much surface cognition. I'm not saying that every time, or any time, a person does something good they are thinking "what am I getting from this." I'm saying that, most of the time in the back of their mind, they have weighed the opportunity costs of giving something of themselves, be it money, time, friendship, etc. and have accepted that what they get, be it self-satisfaction, money, aversion of guilt based on going against ones ethics and personal vision of theirselves, etc. is worth what they give.
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Postby Kifle » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:19 pm

Ashiwi wrote:Sorry, not flying. Breaking down a person's charitable nature into egoism and altruism is too extreme. It's blacks and whites and there are no shades of grey, when life is one big grey parade. If you're going to base a person's actions of charity on whether or not they got something out of it, you might as well base it on whether or not they were breathing oxygen at the time. Action and reaction is a basic driving force of evolution and life, and egoism and altruism are on two completely separate levels, like the difference between shelter and companionship in Maslow's hierarchy. The two co-exist. The only human beings who exist without the instinct for self are 100% life support meat sculpture.

Philosophical apples and oranges.


Altruism and egoism can not co-exist. Egoism, inherently, does not allow for altruism to exist. Egoism encompasses all action while altruism encompasses only sacrificial actions. Egoism is a grey area. There are varying degrees of personal gain, as I have mentioned. It isn't always black and white as you're saying it is. Notice I say that you are saying it is, not that my description of egoism is. And I'm really not including the main argument against altruism either because I don't really feel it's necessary to disprove it. All action can be traced back to a personal desire -- every one.

Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.
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Postby Birile » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:48 pm

In the popular words of the Beatles, can we get "Back to the USSR"?
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Postby Ashiwi » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:40 am

[quote=Kifle]Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.[/quote]

Did you miss the point where I said it's not black and white, and human beings are incapable of doing anything without getting something out of it? "Egoism" is as much a part of human thought processes as eating when you're hungry, or even defecating when that food's ready to leave your bowel. Another term for "egoism" is "evolution." The two concepts aren't on the same level.

There were single celled organisms that only pursued satisfaction of self, but then single cells began to merge into colonies and developed a higher awareness, a communal self. The sense of self is one of the most basic drives in nature. Communal awareness and motivation is a little more of an advanced concept.[/i]
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Postby Sarvis » Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:07 am

Kifle wrote:Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.


I was out for a walk the other day and saw an empty M&M's wrapper. I picked it up and threw it in a nearby garbage can.

Does that count?
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Postby Kifle » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:12 pm

Sarvis wrote:
Kifle wrote:Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.


I was out for a walk the other day and saw an empty M&M's wrapper. I picked it up and threw it in a nearby garbage can.

Does that count?


Sure, but since you're environmentally consciencious, I would say that you benefit from it because you want a cleaner earth. It is part of your ethics to not litter. Yeah, you wont pick up every piece of trash, but I'm sure you get some form of satisfaction when you do use your time doing so.
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Postby Kifle » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:17 pm

Ashiwi wrote:
Kifle wrote:Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.


Did you miss the point where I said it's not black and white, and human beings are incapable of doing anything without getting something out of it? "Egoism" is as much a part of human thought processes as eating when you're hungry, or even defecating when that food's ready to leave your bowel. Another term for "egoism" is "evolution." The two concepts aren't on the same level.

There were single celled organisms that only pursued satisfaction of self, but then single cells began to merge into colonies and developed a higher awareness, a communal self. The sense of self is one of the most basic drives in nature. Communal awareness and motivation is a little more of an advanced concept.[/i]


Ok, so I'm starting to wonder, wtf are you arguing about? You're basically saying, as I'm saying, that altruism is an impossible ethical standard and that all there is is egoism and egotism. Also, egoism and evolution are not synomomous terms -- even in the slightest. You could say egoism is a constant within evolution or that evolution can be defined in terms of egoism, but they don't mean the same thing at all.

P.S.

Put quotations around my name in the first isntance of "qoute=kifle".
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:19 pm

Kifle wrote:
Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:I, on the other hand, am very comfortable knowing that my ethics are founded on personal gain...


And you don't think there is a difference between knowing that you are doing something (good) for personal gain versus not thinking about yourself when you are going to do it?


Yes, the difference is that the person that doesn't realize they are gaining from giving is delusional and has a false sense of benevolence. Egoism doesn't ask that you think about whether you are gaining something or not. You always know, at the very least, in the back of your mind.


I've understood everything you have said Kifle, perfectly. I just think you either don't want to acknowledge or don't understand how someone can decide to do a good action without first thinking of themselves. The first instinct that drives a truly altruistic action is trying to do good towards the other person. In most true cases that is subconscious, that is not something the person thinks about. That is not delusional, at all. I'll agree, at some point after the initial choice to help or whatnot, the thought of feeling good or likewise might at some level pass the person's mind, but it was not there at a conscious level to begin with. Likewise, there are many good actions that DO have the thought of personal gain behind them, I completely agree. But it's at that point that altruism becomes benevolent egoism, not before.
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Postby Birile » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:25 pm

Kifle wrote:
Sarvis wrote:
Kifle wrote:Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.


I was out for a walk the other day and saw an empty M&M's wrapper. I picked it up and threw it in a nearby garbage can.

Does that count?


Sure, but since you're environmentally consciencious, I would say that you benefit from it because you want a cleaner earth. It is part of your ethics to not litter. Yeah, you wont pick up every piece of trash, but I'm sure you get some form of satisfaction when you do use your time doing so.


The fact of the matter is, we semantics types can attribute this sort of thing to just about anything, which is one of the reasons why I do not subscribe to the theory that all "good" actions are due to egoism--it's simply too pessimistic an outlook for my taste and completely overlooks that all men are inherently good (first person to crush my rose gets a swift kick in the head).
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Postby Kifle » Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:35 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:
Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:
Kifle wrote:I, on the other hand, am very comfortable knowing that my ethics are founded on personal gain...


And you don't think there is a difference between knowing that you are doing something (good) for personal gain versus not thinking about yourself when you are going to do it?


Yes, the difference is that the person that doesn't realize they are gaining from giving is delusional and has a false sense of benevolence. Egoism doesn't ask that you think about whether you are gaining something or not. You always know, at the very least, in the back of your mind.


I've understood everything you have said Kifle, perfectly. I just think you either don't want to acknowledge or don't understand how someone can decide to do a good action without first thinking of themselves. The first instinct that drives a truly altruistic action is trying to do good towards the other person. In most true cases that is subconscious, that is not something the person thinks about. That is not delusional, at all. I'll agree, at some point after the initial choice to help or whatnot, the thought of feeling good or likewise might at some level pass the person's mind, but it was not there at a conscious level to begin with. Likewise, there are many good actions that DO have the thought of personal gain behind them, I completely agree. But it's at that point that altruism becomes benevolent egoism, not before.


Ok, so I guess my argument isn't enough -- we'll switch to a more obvious flaw of altruism as an ethical theory. Altruism, as defined, is an ethical theory that removes desire from actions that benefit, solely, another person besides yourself. Choice and free will have two synonomous terms that are intrinsic qualities: want and desire. Altruism, inherently, includes choice and free will. Alturism, as a theory, tries to take want and desire out of certain actions; however, as you can see by sheer definition of the terms, it is utterly impossible. After realizing this, you can easily describe benevolent actions in terms of sacrificial egoism, which is altruism without the false sense of martyrdom.

As for your argument, I'm going to quote something you said and ask you two questions.

The first instinct that drives a truly altruistic action is trying to do good towards the other person.


Can you try to do anything without wanting to try?

Where does the want come from?

Now, as much as I love discussing philosophy, this is a duscussion that died out years ago and supporters of altruism as a realistic ethical theory have all but died off. Altruism, as it stands in philosophical debate today, is nothing more than a concept of comparison rather than a real model.
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Postby Kifle » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:48 pm

Birile wrote:
Kifle wrote:
Sarvis wrote:
Kifle wrote:Here's my challenge. Name one charitable action, just one, that you have done where you have recieved no personal gain, and I will be convinced. Be honest.


I was out for a walk the other day and saw an empty M&M's wrapper. I picked it up and threw it in a nearby garbage can.

Does that count?


Sure, but since you're environmentally consciencious, I would say that you benefit from it because you want a cleaner earth. It is part of your ethics to not litter. Yeah, you wont pick up every piece of trash, but I'm sure you get some form of satisfaction when you do use your time doing so.


The fact of the matter is, we semantics types can attribute this sort of thing to just about anything, which is one of the reasons why I do not subscribe to the theory that all "good" actions are due to egoism--it's simply too pessimistic an outlook for my taste and completely overlooks that all men are inherently good (first person to crush my rose gets a swift kick in the head).


Lol, I wont crush your rose :) I see why people don't like the idea of egoism, but, honestly, what is really so bad about knowing you did something good to feel good about yourself or some other such reason? Does knowing that really detract from the action that much? I mean, even as a subscriber to egoism and the belief that men are inherently selfish, I still do "good" things all the time and feel I'm a better person for it. I just think that lying to myself and saying I did it for purely alturistic reasons would be worse than getting something out of a "good" deed. To each his own, I guess.
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:37 pm

Okay, let me try switching my style around also.

Person A sees an old lady trying to cross the street. He knows he will feel good about helping her cross the street, thinks about her thanking him, and other people seeing it, and goes and helps her cross the street.

Person B sees an old lady trying to cross the street. He stops his car, goes out and helps her cross the street, realizes that people are stopping to look at him and then having her thank him when he finishes makes him feel good.

Your argument would be that B knew very well from the start that he would receive praise or feel good. I'm arguing that most people do not think about it from the start. Their original choice to act was a purely altruistic one.
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Postby Kifle » Fri Oct 19, 2007 7:49 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:Okay, let me try switching my style around also.

Person A sees an old lady trying to cross the street. He knows he will feel good about helping her cross the street, thinks about her thanking him, and other people seeing it, and goes and helps her cross the street.

Person B sees an old lady trying to cross the street. He stops his car, goes out and helps her cross the street, realizes that people are stopping to look at him and then having her thank him when he finishes makes him feel good.

Your argument would be that B knew very well from the start that he would receive praise or feel good. I'm arguing that most people do not think about it from the start. Their original choice to act was a purely altruistic one.


See, this is where I feel you aren't understanding what I'm writing. It isn't the "awareness" that I'm saying is driving these people to do these things. Most often, these actions which are considered altruistic have been calculated behind the scenes. The calculations are done instantaniously (virtually) and the person makes the decision.

Ethically, I'm guessing you don't think it's good to punch people in the face for looking at you funny. Where did you get this from? As a child, some people do punch others for looking at them funny. Some of these children learn that this is probably not very ethical so they change their behavrior over the years. Initially, they have to think, "don't hit him." Later, it is instinctualy and they don't even think about hitting the person in the first place; however, the decision is made by calculating the situation and fitting it into their ethical framework -- the decision is still there and it only seems like it is not.

Applying this to your example. Person B, growing up, has been taught that helping old ladies across the street is a "good" thing to do. As a child, they see the old lady, maybe think about it, maybe help her across the street. The decision for each child that does this is different, but we'll say this one's motivation is to be a good person because their parents want them to be a good person -- or their teachers... the motivation doesn't really matter, but we all know it is there. Also, this boy doesn't help every old lady he sees that may need help crossing the street.

Later in life this child has grown up. He now sees the old lady crossing the street in the same way, but it is instinctual. He no longer has to ask the ethical question "what is the right thing to do." He knows "helping the old lady is a good thing;" however, he doesn't stop to help every old lady cross the street. Why? Because in the deep resesses of his brain he is calculating the situation. Sometimes he'll see a lady while he's in his car on the way to work. He may think, consciously, "shit, if I help her, I'll be late to work. I wish I could have helped her." He may think, "Hrm, if I got out of my car at this light, I'd back up traffic." These situations, the opportunity cost of helping the lady is too high. He knows this instinctually most of the time... sometimes it is a conscious effort. Nevertheless, lets apply this to the instinctual level.

Person B sees the old lady and walks over to help her across the street. He gains benefit afterwards and doesn't think about it before the decision... consciously; however, we now know that this man is working within his personal ethical framework. The decision about whether helping or not is already known -- it is good. The opportunity costs (calculating the situation, risk/reward, etc.) is done in the background, like most of our decisions (should I push the door with one hand to open it, or two... which exerts more energy... will the time of opening the door with one hand exert more energy than pushing it for a shorter amount of time with two... these types of decisions).

See, now this man, within his framework knows helping the lady is good, not helping is neutral, and not wanting to help is bad. He is inclined not to "not want to help" because it is outside of his framework. This leaves only not helping or helping. Not helping, knowing helping is good, leads to some generation of guilt -- no matter how small. In these cases, people usually think to themselves, "I didn't have the time" "It wasn't necessary" etc etc. This helps alleviate the guilt -- excuses for not doing what you know is right. I seriously could go on and on. The key thing to this is knowing ethical decisions are usually made based on a preconcieved notion of right and wrong which resides inside of a framework built over years of experiences. You really only make conscious decisions when the situation is grey like "should I kill the man with the gun pointed at me or let the situation play out so I don't have to take a life."

For an easy analogy would be sex. Generally, men are attracted to woman who have physical features which show signs of being fertile or able to bare children -- larger breasts, hips, etc... This is natural instinct. Ethics are unnatural instincts. They operate in the same way, but the difference is that ethics are a learned instinct... just like riding a bike, playing guitar, eating with a fork, and whistlling.
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Adriorn Darkcloak
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Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:02 pm

Kifle wrote:For an easy analogy would be sex. Generally, men are attracted to woman who have physical features which show signs of being fertile or able to bare children -- larger breasts, hips, etc... This is natural instinct. Ethics are unnatural instincts. They operate in the same way, but the difference is that ethics are a learned instinct... just like riding a bike, playing guitar, eating with a fork, and whistlling.


So after years of my parents showing me that helping other people is a good thing, it becomes a subconscious instinct. I know I should help people in certain situations, and sometimes I might not choose to. Take into consideration that after awhile of riding bike, I'm not conscious of what I'm doing to make the bike stay balanced, I am semi-conscious of what it takes for it to move, and I'm conscious of the traffic, the trees, pretty things, etc.

Altruism, even if it is learned behavior, is still a matter of choice. And what I've been arguing for the last two posts, is that, just like your bike example, it is a subconscious process. If I see the old lady, I know I should help her (although I might choose not to, like you said). But when I choose to go help her, I'm not thinking about my personal gain. Egoism is thinking about my personal gain that very moment consciously.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:01 am

I'm just stating that you cannot compare egoism and altruism. Egoism is an ingrained biological drive, and altruism is a higher concept. I don't really believe any action can be "purely" altruistic, because everything a human being does is driven by desire or need, but that's tainting a concept of philosophy by biological mechanism. In order to be able to measure the capacity of altruism in a psyche you would have to be able to remove the physical drive for self, which is impossible, therefore you have to take into account the egoism inherent within the species and consider the measure of altruism within an individual outside of the community standard of drive for self.

Okay, and maybe egoism isn't evolution, per se, but it is one of the main drives of evolution... the drive for self, the drive for survival, the drive to fulfill the basic needs, wants and desires. Getting something out of everything you do. Efficiency of existence. Egoism is the mechanism and evolution is the effect.

The concepts of Egoism and Altruism are as different as concepts of the Id and the Superego. That's why Egoism is such a crap philosophy. It doesn't even realize it's a base drive and only merits a place in a philosophy book for a comparison of the ways in which the spirit overcomes the fundamentals of necessity in order to move to a higher dimension of being.

Oh, and P.S.

Synonymous, instance and quote are spelled... Oh, but I'm sure you get it. :wink:
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