andrewclunn wrote:I obviously did a very poor job of explaining that. Let me attempt again.
Disagreements aside, I appreciate your patience and willingness to expound.
Objectivism sees morality as filling a role roughly akin to instinct in animals.
*having read the whole paragraph already but wanting to reply to this bit in particular: *
But humans have instinct, and morality (as something likely produced by features of our brains) is merely another set of instincts. Hence why people report "just knowing" something is wrong, and why children under two (who haven't developed these specific features yet) behave as sociopaths. That's a key difference between our perspectives, it seems:
EDIT: Let me try that again.
You appear to consider morality to be a capacity humans have which is unlike instinct and (by implication) unique to humans. I consider it to be a form of instinct relating to social interaction.
Essentially morality is a heuristic of pre-calculated truths because we are not always capable (either by our own ability, time restrictions or other variables) of recalculating all the variables all the time.
That doesn't appear to be how morality actually works. It seems to trigger emotional impulses, follow certain patterns, and is subject to individual and group variations. A bit like any other biological trait.
If you'll forgive me for saying so, I don't think you've described morality accurately at all. It doesn't look like a bunch of pre-calculated truths; it looks like some basic situational heuristics that trip emotional cues, thereby influencing behavior. It's not about "truth" so much as behavior. I mean, there's a logic to it (mostly surrounding social cohesion and maximizing the benefits of group existence, while guiding individual interests therein), but it's not necessarily easy to express in terms of ethical statements. Describeable, but difficult to actually intercept and analyze.
Essentially Objectivism views philosophy as a strategy for life. A danger with many philosophies is that while they provide many good lessons, because they are abstract simplifications of reality, they sometimes lead their followers toward undesirable consequences. Objectivism attempts to avoid this by merely providing the most basic outline of morality (Objectivism sets up far fewer rules and guidelines than most other philosophies) and then encourages rational thought on the part of the Objectivist to then determine morality based on the principles that Objectivism has pre-calculated.
Why not nihilism? You can still strategize, and behave according to your innate moral impulses (or lack thereof). It doesn't waste time with metaphysical or ontological cruft, and it seems like you get about the same results (behaving in a way that reflects your personal motivations).
EDITED TO ADD: Also, lest I sound like I am condemning Objectivism for a resemblance to nihilism, let me hasten to add that I self-identify as nihilist and consider it the most sensible way of parsing the facts available to me, given the other philosophical approaches I've tried in the past (and found wanting).
Also, how is Objectivism *not* an abstract simplification of reality.
There are a few assumptions that underly Objectivism though. One obvious one is that 'supernatural' forces should play no part in ones understanding of the universe or the decisions one makes.
It seems like your view of morality comes problematically close to something supernatural, from over here. You're taking what appears to be a facet of human psychology and then projecting it onto reality in general, even if in a loose and permissive way.
But another one (one that is implicit and not outright stated) is that the morality is design specifically for humans. An Objectivist ant (supposing such a thing could exist) would not last very long, as the pre-calculated principles of Objectivism are in no way beneficial to the life of the ant. Therefore, fundamental changes in the way that human beings think, feel or experience the world around them could invalidate Objectivism.
Mm. I see.
And it would appear that we disagree on the nature of how "human beings think, feel or experience the world around them". Different perceptions, different bodies of knowledge, different starting worldviews.
I still don't agree, but I at least understand *why* I don't agree. I could go further into that, but I'm not sure if you'd be interested.
Was that more clear, or should I just quit this particular segway before I dig myself into a hole of obscurity?
Mm, your segue makes sense to me (so long as you don't believe that anyone who understood your argument would perforce have to accept it and agree). It seems, however, that we disagree about what morality *is*, how human beings work, and some points of ontology that make it impossible to simply reconcile our two viewpoints. Still, it was informative and enjoyable to discuss it.