Re: "Morality?" - Composite Reply

Gary Lloyd (
Fri, 10 Oct 1997 23:12:01 -0400 (EDT)

At 05:27 PM 10/10/97 -0400, Delmar England wrote:
>>>>Are instinctive ends subjective or objective?
>>>What I would call instinctive ends are reserved for unreasoning animals and
>>>infants until they reach the mental maturity to calculate in the abstract.
>>Are you saying that instincts no longer exist when one reaches mental
>I believe we need to define the term, instinct, to clarify the question. As
>stressed in previous posts, to define is to differentiate. So, by reference
>to what and how do we differentiate instinct from non instinct? If instinct
>is a natural condition, whatever the instinct is is not subject to dismissal
>or alternation by personal preference. One often hears such things as "He
>has good instincts for the game." Or, "He instinctively applied the brake."
>These things are all developed reflexes, not instincts.


>Infant animals, including the human kind, by instinct seek to gain
>nourishment necessary for survival. Dogs, cats, etc. are directed by this
>instinct all of their lives. I.E., survival instinct. A human individual on
>the other hand is volitional and at some point in the maturing transition
>has the option to choose(within capacity) to survive or choose not survive.
>Although each individual is made up of characteristics, both common and
>individualistic, including the urges you speak of, with the onset of the
>ability to think in the abstract and make choices, there is no instinctive
>directive to determine course of action.

The fact that we are volitional doesn't mean that we no longer have instincts.

>>Somehow, instincts just don't quite fit into the definition of "subjective."
>Granted, this is an arguable point. For sake of brevity, I didn't go into a
>full explanation of complete differentiation. I don't like the premise,
>"automatic values" as it sidesteps choice and subjective and you observe.
>What we really have in human infants and other animals are REACTIVE
>entities. Since the value is attributed by mind, although instinctively, the
>source puts it in the subjective realm. That it is automatic, not subject to
>choice, puts it in the objective realm. What we have is not a contradiction,
>but an evolving transition of one type of animal into another and a
>description of each stage as pertains to valuing.

What we have is a bridge across the is/ought gap. Like any bridge, it is
based at both ends. It is both is and ought. It is both subjective and
objective. It impels, but does not compel.

I simply do not like the
>term valuing in the first stage, but have no single term to represent the
>actual differentiation. We also have a situation of valuing as in the case
>of a dog with survival instinct, but chooses one type of food over another.
>There are separate terms needed to make a shortly worded differentiations.
>Right now I can't find them in the language system and have not tried to
>create such terms since this situation is not often discussed. In any event,
>considering the non explanatory generality of my statement, your objection
>is well warrented. However, when we leave the transition stage and deal with
>human adults, the mental action of subjective valuing is quite clear.

Our values do not appear out of nothingness. They are rooted in instincts,
and adapted by volition.

>>They exist apart from how we feel about them. To be sure, we can control our
>>instinctive urges, but we still have them.
>These urges you speak of are as you acknowledge at the command of individual
>volition as to whether one does or does not act upon them. If we define
>instinct as not subject to volition, as was done above, the urges in
>question are not in the realm of instinct. This is further evidenced by the
>fact that certain beliefs and valutions can psychologically negate all the
>survival urges.

If, as you acknowledge, our instinctive urges exist, though we choose to not
be directed by them, why would we define them as not subject to volition.

>>They seem more like a personal
>>*is* which our mind perceives as an *ought*.
>It is a personal *is*. However, the perception of *ought* is rooted in the
>"impersonal" as it presupposes a course of action and behavior set up and
>sanctioned by something other than self. In formal religion, it is called
>"God." Apart from formal religion, it may be called anything, or nothing at
>all - except the feeling of "ought." The core question is whether the
>feeling of "ought" is based on fact or fallacy. In addition to the fact that
>"ought" is inconsistent with "is", my long term study of the situation
>leaves me with the conclusion that the feeling of "ought" is ALWAYS based on
>false beliefs. There is sometimes much difficulty in identifying these false
>beliefs because they often exist in the subconscious without conscious
>awareness of their nature or their effect on thinking and values. Since very
>few ever study the principles of mind to understand what they believe and
>why they believe it, these subconscious directive beliefs usually go
>undetected throughout a lifetime.

Does not the mind perceive instinctive urges as personal oughts? From the
concept of personal ought derived from personal is, comes individual,
internally derived objective morality. Objective morality then, must be
individual, not universal. And it does not come from a superior being. Since
we are volitional, it is our servant, not our master.
It performs an important advisory function.

>>>Mr. Crocker wrote:
>>>>>And be clear what I mean here: I do not wish to test an action; the
>>>>>results of an action /are/ easily testable against the outcome I
>>>>>desire. I wish to test an hypothesis about which outcome I should
>>>>>desire, independent of any action to achieve it.
>As I see it, what Mr. Crocker is saying here is that he does not contest the
>fact that means may be tested (proven as suited or unsuited) in respect of
>some end he chooses. The challenge is to prove the end itself is a valid or
>invalid *should* choice. It can't be done because there is no objective
>*should*. The theory of objective ought is in direct contradiction of the
>objective fact of individual volition. Do you notice that Mr. Crocker's
>statements sets means as subject to proof or disproof? To prove Mr.
>Crocker's choice of ends as right or wrong, isn't it necessary to regard Mr.
>Crocker's choice of ends as means to some other end not his own? Even the
>words themselves throw out an "ought" as objective. To wit. Objective
>reality IS. To say "ought" is objective is to say objective reality IS and
>IS NOT. It just won't fly.

Instinct is both is and ought. I'd say it flies pretty well.

>>>You responded:
>>>>You should desire species survival, without which we wouldn't be having this
>>>I see your end desire stipulated and implicitly coupled with the wish that
>>>Mr. Crocker attribute value to the end you name. What is missing is why he
>>>should do so other than to please you.
>>To not be in conflict with what is probably his most basic instinctive
>>value. To please himself.
>If it were an "instinctive value" it would not be subject to choice, would
>it? Wouldn't this mean the value already exists for Mr. Crocker and the
>"should" has no meaning? As for pleasing himself, each of us seeks self
>interest at all times. Aren't you really presuming to decide Mr. Crocker's
>choice for him? Isn't this a contadiction?

I am assuming Mr. Crocker has species survival as an important instinctive
value. This may, or may not, be the case. Just as you are assuming that he
has an instinctive value of self interest. Whence the value of self
interest, if not instinct? Can such a value be based on whim? Is self
interest, as you imply, universal? To what deity do you attribute this

>>>Where is recognition of Mr. Crocker's
>>>choice in the matter? The reality is that Mr. Crocker does have a choice and
>>>to not recognize it, whether it pleases you or not, is not dealing with AS
>>>IS, but denial of AS IS, which is to say, denial of the existent, Mr.
>>His instincts are a part of him, and yet he cannot change them through his
>>choices, only be in compliance or conflict with them. They are AS IS.
>As concluded above, urges are not necessarily instincts as in infants, but
>may derived from underlying beliefs. So, there never is the question or
>circumstance of being in conflict with instincts since they are by nature

Goals are derived from premises. Are premises bootstrapped into existance?

>>>This is literally what every claim of discovered "objective value"
>>>does. In other words, the concept, objective value, is an illusion and
>>>inherently anti individual.
>>Instincts are an AS IS part of the individual.
>See above. To recap. You acknowledge that one can choose to ignore what
>you're calling instincts. Since you can do this by subjective choice,
>doesn't this reveal that what you're calling instincts are not really
>objective, nor an objective mandate?

Does the existance of two influences necessitate that one of them does not

>>>It is my personal preference that the terms, ought and should, be entirely
>>>eliminated from the language. Getting rid of these non scientific terms
>>>would no doubt aid in holding focus upon the reality of a thing or
>>>situation. Having expressed this desire, I remain aware that my end chosen
>>>is not the end desire of most. Consequently, I will continue to deal with
>>>the real by exposing the fact that ought and should have no connection to
>>>objective reality except as personal preference and subjective declarations.
>>Are not instincts part of objective reality?
>Yes, but the question is, what part, and how does this part relate to the
>issue of values? I know of no instincts of anything that supports the idea
>of should or ought. The belief in "ought" as consistent with objective
>reality, but dependent only upon a subjective feeling leaves all that
>believe shouting "ought" at each other without any objective, i.e,, common
>frame of reference to peacefully resolve the difference. Believing the
>"ought" is objective is a psychologial "order" to act upon it. What this
>action is and how it is manifested necessarily varies with each individual.
>One may retreat to a monastery to comtemplate the "spiritual" because he
>feels he "ought" to follow this course to please "God." Another may feel
>he\she "ought" to kill his\her children because they will be better off in
>"heaven". Another may feel he "ought" to devote his life to aiding the ill.
>Still another may feel he "ought" to eliminate racial impurity and promote
>racial superiority because it is "God's will."
>Always is the "ought" tied to something not individual, but felt to exist
>and be superior to idividual. Its a short step from "God's will" to "for the
>good of the country." Then there is "human rights", "values of society", and
>so on expressed or implied as a superior being to which individual is
>subordianted giving rise to the "ought." There are those that consciouly
>reject the idea of an omni god and "God's will." Some go on to reject
>"government" "society" as things of volition and will. Yet, after all this
>remains the feeling of "moral ought." Why? Where does it come from? What
>end does it serve in the promotion?
>Whose end?
>The feeling is a residual from a dominant belief in a superior being and
>subordination of individual. It has no name, no face, no conscious
>It is a haunting specter that emanates from the nearly universal and
>saturate philosophy of anti individual. The formal preaching and teaching,
>and the informal promotion of "divine abstracts", manifested not only in
>words, but the entire socio\economic\political system that blankets the
>earth, makes no concession to individual as the real. Look and listen. Where
>do you see or hear of individual as the absolute real? If I were to tell you
>that in your own mind you don't exist; not as the absolute real, not as the
>uncaused cause so to speak, you would probably think I'm nuts, for you are
>absolutely certain of your individual existence. O.K. Tell me of the source
>of the "moral ought" you feel to exist? Do not tell me of your ends and
>submit proof of means. This is not the issue. I wish to know of the common,
>universal, not individually designated end that must exist to give objective
>and definitive meaning to "ought."Can you do this without expressing or
>implying a "superior being" in the background as the necessary cause of the
>"objective value?"

Personal ought is derived from personal is (instinct), giving us personal
objective morality, which impels, but does not compel, because we are
volitional. All of this, being internal, does not rely on a concept of a
superior being.

When the boot of government is on your neck,
it doesn't matter if it's left or right.