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I wonder if the same mechanisms could be invovled in conspiracy theorists. Their way of thinking seems very similar. I also suspect a reinforcement mechanism: it becomes more and more difficult for the subject to deny his own beliefs, as it would require abandonning large parts of his present (and coherent) belief system, leaving him with almost nothing left.

This could explain why patients are reluctant to accept alternative versions afterwards (such as "you have a brain damage").

What do you mean by "randomly feels like it"? Maybe he wants some fresh air or something... Then it's a personal motivation, and my answer is (d) not relevant to ethic. The discussion in this article was not, I think, about casual goals like climbing a mountain, but about the goals in your life, the important things to do (maybe I should use the term "finalities" instead). It was a matter of ethic.

If Bob believes that climbing this mountain is good or important while he admits that his only motivation is "randomly feeling like it", then I call his belief absurd.

Maybe I misunderstood a bit your point. I understood:

  • "I thought I wanted to work for a great cause but it turned out I only wanted to be the kind of person who work for a great cause"

Now I understand:

  • "I really wanted to work for a great cause, but it turned out all my actions were directed toward giving the impression, in the short-term, that I was"

In other words, you were talking about shortsightedness when I thought it was delusion?

Ok. I would replace "Being grateful for an action" by "recognizing that an action is important/beneficial". Pursuing a pure gratitude-free goal would mean: pursuing a goal that nobody think is beneficial or important to do (except you, because you do it), and supposedly nobody ever will. My claim is that such action is absurd from an ethical (universalist) perspective.

At T1, B is "subjectively true" (I believe that B). However it's not an established truth. From the point of view of the whole society, the result needs replication: what if I was deceiving everyone? At T2, B is controversial. At T3, B is false.

Now is the status of B changing over time? That's a good question. I would say that the status of B is contextual. B was true at T1 to the extent of the actions I had performed at that time. It was "weakly true" because I had not checked every flaws in my instruments. It became false in the context of T3. Similarly, one could say that Newtonian physics is true in the context of slow speeds and weak energies.

I don't think so. Let me precise that my thoughts are to be understood from an ethical perspective: by "goal" I mean something that deserves to be done, in other words, "something good". I start from the assumption that having a goal supposes thinking that it's somehow something good (=something I should do), which is kind of tautologic.

Now I am only suggesting that a goal that does not deserve any gratitude can't be "good" from an ethical point of view.

Moreover, I am not proclaming I am purely seeking gratitude in all my actions.

Let me justify my position.

Gratitude-free actions are absurd from an ethical point of view, because we do not have access to any transcendant and absolute notion of "good". Consequently, we have no way to tell if an action is good if noone is grateful for it.

If you perform a gratitude-free action, either it's only good for you: then you're selfish, and that's far from the universal aim of ethics. Either you you believe in a transcendant notion of "good", together with a divine gratitude, which is a religious position.

Seeking gratitude has nothing to do with selfishness., on the contrary. Something usually deserve gratitude if it benefits others. My position is very altruistic.

My view is very altruistic on the contrary : seeking gratitude is seeking to perform actions that benefits others or the whole society. Game theoretic considerations would justify being selfish, which does not deserve gratitude at all.

In my view, going from subjective truth to universal (inter-subjective) truth requires agreement between different people, that is, convincing others (or being convinced). I hold a belief because it is reliable for me. If it is reliable for others as well, then they'll probably agree with me. I will convince them.

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