JCC If you don't believe in free will, you are bad and should feel bad

Discussion in 'Community' started by ophelia, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    I wanted to make a Matthew Broderick dilemma post but I decided against it.
  2. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Interesting question! I'd say that you are an observer of your own actions, so the question of "nobody watching" doesn't really come up. However, when you bring up "objective moral standards" many people are going to think of a religious belief system, in which there is an unseen supernatural entity (or entities) observing your actions at all times, judging whether they are good or not.

    So either way, yes, you are capable of good when you're alone.

    I didn't get it until I Googled "Phil Collins" and "lake." I'm a little slow on the uptake. :p
    Last edited by ophelia, Jan 23, 2014
  3. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Maybe everyone was just visualising Chapaquiddick.
  4. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    You are capable of subjective good while alone, certainly - because you are a rational agent and can form judgments of your own behaviour. What I was really more musing over was whether it's conceptually possible to hold to an objective good - one said to exist outside your own behaviour and that of another person - when there is no external observer to judge it. While alone, a moral standard you hold to collapses back into subjective good; the only person available to judge your behaviour is yourself at that point.

    I appreciate I might well be disappearing up my own ass at this point ;)
    Last edited by Saintheart, Jan 23, 2014
  5. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Ah, gotcha. Well, there's the religious option I posted above, and there's the universalizability option. That's where something is considered an objective good if it would make the world a better place if everyone did it. If everyone stopped to save drowning people, then the world would be a better and safer place, although I don't really know how you'd to get enough drowning people to go around. So I guess you could put "saving drowning people" in the universal good column, even if no one is watching. Including the drowning guy. He had his hands over his eyes or something.
    Saintheart likes this.
  6. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Here's another thought bubble: would the drowning person be doing a moral good by throwing himself into the water, if it is agreed objectively that to save a drowning person is a moral good? Is an act that contributes to or causes a moral good itself moral?
  7. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    I think will should be freed.
  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Indeed; poor old Mr Shakespeare is pretty tired of being locked up ... wait, what were we talking about?
  9. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6

    Hmm. Well, if everybody threw themselves into a lake to drown, then we'd have 7.5 billion drowned people. No, not a good idea. I'm going to say that one is not a moral good.

    @Vivec: [IMG]
    Saintheart likes this.
  10. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    No, we're nowhere near up our asses yet. We have to go deeper.

    Ergo: what's "alone," anyway? We seem to be throwing around the ordinary language conception of the term, wherein there's a kind of spacial isolation being experienced by the individual - but that's a purely relative metric. And furthermore, there's no guarantee that any position in which you are currently experiencing this relative distance metric is never going to be occupied by another conscious observer again. So I think it would be extraordinarily difficult, if not axiomatically impossible, to really be completely alone and be the sole judge of any possible action you could take.

    But ignoring that for a moment, let's say, like, Bill is out in the middle of the desert, there's no other high functioning intellect around for hundreds of miles, and whatever Bill does is going to get covered up by erosion with enough time. I'd wager now that Bill is as alone as possible, or at least alone enough. The more I think about Bill, the more I think he might be wholly removed from moral systems. Sure, he might do something to himself that he'll regret in some fashion, or be pleased about, or whatever. But Bill is totally isolated from all contact - literally anything he does to himself cannot impact anyone else by assumption of Bill's position. And we've removed the possibility of any external body judging Bill. Can Bill do evil? I don't know.

    I dislike Bill and I'm glad I'm pretty sure he's a meaningless hypothetical construction. :p

    Edit: Also you should check out Immanuel Kant, as you may or may not dig the Categorical Imperative.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 23, 2014
    GrandAdmiralJello and Saintheart like this.
  11. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Did you know that if William Shakespeare was alive today, he'd be clawing at his coffin lid screaming for help?
    timmoishere and Saintheart like this.
  12. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    You've tagged some random guy

    http://boards.theforce.net/members/vivec.1148364/
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9

    I found he was a real pissant who was very rarely stable, myself.
    V-2 likes this.
  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Yes, but then, Socrates himself was permanently pissed.
    V-2 likes this.
  15. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    And let's not start about Rene Descartes.
  16. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Plato was kind of an ass too.
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Yeah, but they say he could stick it away.
  18. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7

    as long as someone appreciated it :)
  19. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Saint, your post deserves more than a terse mobile response but suffice it to say that yes, the notion of good -- to me -- carries with it some sort of shared value system. Whether that requires a sort of civil society is perhaps debatable, but I do think a shared system is necessary.

    Generally when I mean a person of good character, I mean in the Aristotlean sense. I'm sure that's no surprise. Thus, while an act can be courageous or not depending on the situation, the good person is one who behaves correctly with respect to the situation and the bad person is one who does not. Thus the virtue of courage has its associated vices and whether a thing is one or the other does depend on the situation.

    Virtue ethics is a little old school compared to some of the other fancy-smancy schools of thought that puts everything in question (like the term alone, lol) but I think it can still be pretty robust, if requiring common sense concessions sometimes. I feel that virtue ethics is macro as opposed to micro.

    But I'm just making stuff up so it's likely I have no idea what I'm talking about.


    Misa ab iPhono meo est.
    Saintheart likes this.
  20. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    "Terse Mobile Response"

    Three paragraphs long.
  21. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    If it had a pulse, he was there.
  22. Jetedonne Pur-Pureus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2013
    star 4
    Ok, first off, the choices to the OP's question, and the results herein are kept just between all of us, right? 'Cause if word spread beyond the hundred or so people that post in these forums, I might not be able to show my face in public. That said, if we are being honest, I have highlighted my views, and am leaving my name off of the following content so as to remain anonymous.

    1) These conclusions are flawed. I myself am both a determinist and deeply moral. Plus believing in free will makes you a vindictive ****head.

    2) The conclusions are valid. Believing in free will obviously makes you a morally superior person. And don't call me a vindictive ****head!

    3) Believing in free will might make you nicer, but it's more important to acknowledge the truth of determinism than to be a nice guy.

    4) Believing in free will clearly has practical benefits for society, so it's a good idea to believe in it.

    5) I believe in free will and enjoy being a vindictive ****head.

    6) I am a determinist and enjoy your extra Fire sauce. Ha ha ha ha.

    7) I am @Quixotic-Sith and Compatibilism blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    8) I am an attention whore and need to be unique. I think something else.
  23. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    @I Are The Internets - We were referencing this.

    I just think it's important to carefully lay out the precise meaning of terms being utilized in any philosophical question, or you risk debating impossible non-issues - linguistic phantoms, if you will. I'm not quite as jackboot about it as, say, Wittgenstein circa Tractatus, but the fact that one can even call into question the precise meaning of an assumption should raise red flags, IMO.
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 24, 2014
    Saintheart likes this.
  24. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
  25. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9

    You are bad and should feel bad for this post.