Re: new to list

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 22:20:13 MDT

From: "Mark Walker" <>
> I wonder what you might say about, e.g.,
> 1. The 20-60 million Soviet citizens that Stalin had eliminated in the
> Gulag. I know you want to resist saying that what he did was morally wrong,
> so what do you say? What Stalin did was, what? Gauche?

How about sick and wrong and stupid and ugly.

> 2. Do you see any _significant_ difference between treating people as means
> and ends? Obviously there is no moral difference as far as your concerned.
> Is this a distinction without a difference for you?

Defining distinctions and differences doesn't help people very much. Producing
food to feed the hungry, curing the ill, educating and training those in need,
that's _significant_.

> 3. Why do you think that you and your ilk should revise our language to
> attempt to expunge moral claims?

Because mass murderers have too often used moral claims to justify their

> I would have thought that you would prefer
> to use moral language to attempt to manipulate others--to get them to
> acquiesce to your preferences--given that so many others believe in the
> "myth" of moral claims. Wouldn't it be more _effective_ for you to pretend
> that it is immoral for others to interfere with your liberty to pursue your
> own version of the good, even though you are privy to the truth that moral
> discourse is a sham? Why not keep the moral language and use it as a mask to
> hide your will to power?

Because that would constitute pathological dishonesty, an unhealthy condition
requiring no moralism to correct.

> Moi? I am a skeptic--at least I think I am. Error theorists like Mackie,
> seem to me, presuppose way too much knowledge of Being. I am inclined to
> think that there may be more things in heaven and earth than our dreamed of
> in our human, all too human, philosophy.

You got that right. Philosophy is as useless as moralism.

> If one is a skeptic like me then it
> is appropriate to reason as follows: If there are moral facts or properties,

First start by being skeptical about "moral facts or properties."

> and we reason and act if there are such, then we will be better off.

A very dubious conclusion.

> If
> there are no moral facts or properties, and we reason and act if there are
> such, then we will be better off. Why? Because to think there might be moral
> truths is comforting, and it will tend to make everyone behave better. (As
> the old saw goes: if morals do not exist, then everything is permitted).

A better old saw: You can do anything you can back up.

> (Note: my argument is NOT that we would be better off to believe in morals
> even if we _know_ there are not). Cheers, Mark.

That's good, because belief is for children.

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

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