Re: Property and life
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 11:40:39 -0700

To recap our exchange, Samael posts:
>[Dick writes:]
>>Samael writes:
>>>I don't have a right to live. I have a very strong 'wish' to live.

>>What if I have a very strong wish to terminate your life? Is my wish not
>>valid as yours? Can I rightfully implement my wish? If not, why not?

>I have repeatedly stated that I don't believe in objective morals. So in
>the above statement 'valid' and rightfully' do not make syntactic sense.
>There is no 'right', 'wrong', 'valid', 'invalid', 'good', 'evil' except
>within moral systems.


There's no "right" or "wrong" way to construct a bridge, say? We can achieve our purposes in any arbitrary fashion?

A logical deduction is neither valid nor invalid?

Eating (or the alternative, starving) is neither good nor evil?

On what criteria, then, do you base any decision at all, if there's no right or wrong, no judgment of validity, no good or evil?

>Please define ethics in some sort of objective way. Show me the
>logical, non-emotional basis for ethics.

I believe Mike Lorrey has proposed a satisfactory approach to an objective standard.

>So, I like Flu shots. Becasuwe I recognise their long term value. Liking
>something is not necessarily an instaneous thing. You can like the
>of something.

Liking the outcome of something is not the same as liking the something.

I asked:
>Why should anyone else care what you like? Why are you entitled to
>something just because you like it?

Samael responds:
>i'm not _entitled_ to anything. I have no rights, except as a social
>construct agreed between two or more people. Rights are an _invention_.
>You can't point to one, or hold one up or stick a needle into it. It's a
>theoretical creation of the human minds.

There are any number of things we can't point to, hold up or stick a needle into. Love, cooperation, life, the mind, to name an important handful. Are all these just theoretical creations of our minds?

>I keep pointing out that I don't believe these things exist and then you
>me where they are.

>I feel like I'm stuck with a bad copy of Eliza:

>Me: I don't believe in morals

>You: That's a rather immoral thing to say.


:-) Point taken, but that's not quite what I've been trying to do. I've given what I consider grounds for believing in objective ethics.

>Sorry, if I'm causing offence, but I'm still waiting for one example for a
>purely logical basis for morals or ethics that does not depend on what
>I or anyone else thinks or feels.

No offense taken. Again I'll point out that I've proposed the evolutive point of view as a starting point for developing an objectively verifiable ethical code. While incomplete in itself, I think that, when combined with game-theoretical considerations, it may make possible an approach with considerable persuasive power for most reasonable people, at least in broad outline.

More on this when I have time to get my thoughts together.