If Gandhi was to be given the choice to reduce his empathy slightly, in exchange for a reward, and he did so, every new exchange like that is more likely to be agreed to. This idea was mentioned on this site somewhere.
It is the same with cultural indoctrination into hierarchical social structures. The more we become used to concentrated power, the less we are able to notice and assess other options. Cultural norms inform and restrain rational thought. Bias is involuntary. Now we see existential threat from the "normal" operation of our structure, we have trouble doing anything about it, because all alternatives have been caused to be widely believed to be wrong. Breaking out of that cognitive trap involves assessing some uncomfortable ideas...
-If it is likely that continuing this socioeconomic structure makes human extinction probable, this century, what actions are acceptable as "resistance"?
Utilitarianism would indicate that massive casualties in pursuit of revolutionary change are preferable to total casualties from inaction. Both positions are only hypotheses. Empiricism splits each as more, or less probable. Extinction does seem increasingly likely as our system unfolds over time, so hardship from revolt in increasingly; the rational option.
...not that this fictional revolt is likely to occur, just pointing out it may well be entirely moral to wage violent revolt in pursuit of a new and more rational system conducive to continuing human survival. Just a thought experiment. Perhaps well-used guillotines in town squares are preferable to apathetic acquiescence to existing power systems.
I don't know. I hate the idea.
It is worth pointing out the moral efficacy of such an idea now that democracy has been absolutely neutered.
re: Pascal's Mugging.
There are thresholds. Would a guy hand over his wallet if he was about to die from starvation, and the wallet contained his only means to prevent this? A quadrillion doesn't matter if he is not alive to see it.
The difference is that the best information we have, indicates that no available "officially sanctioned" structural change is better than radical change, if the goal is the survival of the human species. Inequality (capitalism) killed democracy, because wealth is power. WE cannot vote using a democracy we do not have to get democracy back. We cannot vote to prevent an oligarchic class continuing to promote consumption and the poisoning of our world. Strong cultural bias, plus power, is genocidally dangerous. What ought people who see the systemic, structural, existential threat do, if all legal avenues for change are shut off?
re: game theory choice.
Yes. We are all in a situation where we must decide if one socio-economic paradigm is worth fighting for over another. Historically wars are fought by the poor, for, the rich. The dominant preserve their hierarchical privilege through various means of convincing the subjugated that it is they who are under threat.
This would not matter nearly so much if we did not have evidence that our species' projected timeline is shrinking. There is a large body of evidence that humanity may wipe ourselves out in several different ways before the end of this century. This circumstance is systemically unacceptable. If we could all continue indefinitely, being brutal and torturous, over consuming, wasting, propagandising the lessers, and toxifying this blue marble... that would be less bad, than doing so knowing the likely result is near term extinction.
We know there is an existential threat from inaction. This means inaction is morally deficient.
There are high odds that the economic incentives and stratification (including sub-cultural influences on values - Lord Acton's letters from 1880s: "Power corrupts" etc), will override the ability of the powerful to rationally guide humanity out of the trap we have built for ourselves.
The wealthy are now sociologically obsolete, and the ideologies they use to rationalise their positions, are also the ones which prevent conservation and environmental preservation, peace, egalitarianism, positive health outcomes, and rational planning for our collective future. Self interest often opposes any notion of global planning to shield against shared threats.
Sorry for the ramble. I'm doing my best, and hopefully learning to do better.
re: self evident.
If no one is left alive to question, then there are no more questions from us. Tree-falling in the woods. Does it fall is no-one notices? Yes. Do we care? On what foundation do we judge this new lack of tree?
We "know" so little, or at least know our knowledge is imperfect, so we also know that we would form more coherent/accurate/cogent value judgements if we had more information which was accurate. Our present judgements on moral value are likely to change with a greater understanding of reality.
If, right now, we don't value human existence as much as we ought to, we can only discover how correct that judgement is, with more data/information.
We don't know what we are wrong about, and what we are wrong about informs our value judgement.
If a person is a misanthropist, the pursuit of accurate knowledge is the pursuit of proving one's own bias irrational.
That process is valuable. In order to validate the "choices" we make now, someone needs to be able to learn from them, and validate them, or not. Continued human existence, is a core of moral philosophy. Morality cannot exist in a void. Morality exists because we do.
Questioning is intrinsically definitive of human value, because without it, our existence is without experience. The difference between experience and reality, is the unknown.
This is more about "Prima facie", as a legal and rational term. On face value, we weigh evidence, intending to look anew. We must consciously discard existing assumptions, in order to consciously re-asses the topic of free will.
We accept that:
-in utero nutrients and stress for the mother can affect behaviour later.
-A horridly abusive childhood influences behaviour later.
-A hot day can alter a person's cognitive ability.
-Low blood sugar can affect emotional intensity and cognitive ability.
...There are so many circumstantial factors which influence our thinking, involuntarily, that they must be considered overwhelming.
Competing with all of that evidence for why people behave the way they do (sociology, psychology, neurology, etc) is the experience of "being" oneself. An agent of one's own story.
The narrative we create for ourselves, about why we do what we do, presently seems to come after the biological and circumstantial reaction to influences on us. From this position (so far an empirical one) we can surmise that our own personal narrative is more of a post-reaction rationalisation, and not actually something which could be called "free" or "agency" or "independence".
However, because we cannot be certain that free will is not some metaphysical, sans-causation "force" (sorry for lack of a better term) we cannot presently explain, we must accept that free will is not disprovable. Much like God.
We have a weight of empirical evidence which explains influences upon people, and it is opposed by "feelings", culture, religion, and subjective experience. Anecdotal stories promote free will. These are the same as thinking a dream is real at the time, or thinking the room is warm when really you have a fever. This is subjective experience, not empiricism.
We can doubt (Descartes) pretty much anything from an epistemological point of view, but after that, we still have to accept that there is a weight of evidence one way or another. This is our (limited) guide for our rational positions.
The weight of evidence leads us to see that advertising exists because it works. An influence designed to corrupt rational choice, still exists because it is effective.
We are all unaware of two major influences on our actions. One is bias. Irrational bias exists as an influence on us, largely because we are unaware of it. We cannot compensate for a bias of which we are unaware. The other big influence is the cultural indoctrination of ideas we have ceased to question. We do not question foundational cognitive items, if it does not occur to us to do so. We don't know what our assumptions are, until something happens to revel them.
The more likely, evidence based scenario, is that we are far more reactionary, involuntary actors, than not. On top of that, we are more likely to rationalise our own agency post-neurology, post-influence, than to be "free" agents. Then we arrive back at the idea that our own subjective experience of agency and "self" is involuntary.
I hope that helps further the discourse.
I'm sorry I am unfamiliar with Thomas Kuhn's work, I will examine it soon. In the sense that a statement's opposite ought to be true, if the statement is true... I'm not sure how to apply that to personal subjectivity of self and the involuntary narrative we observe ourselves observing. hehe.
So, Democracy does not exist. It isn't real. It is fake. It is a culturally accepted reality, but not an objective reality.
The lower 90% of citizens on the socioeconomic scale, have absolutely no influence over the actual policies which are enacted by the US government. No matter which party is in power, for the last 40+ years.
"Yes Minister" showed us all that the notion of an ideologue in politics is a fallacy.
Whatever values a person has, those values are constantly compromised and neutered, because the way politics "really" works, is more about compromise based on career goals, not some sort of ideological purity.
Self interest kills idealistic goals.
Bureaucracy and the status quo render idealism untenable.
So, relying on politicians to create significant socioeconomic change in society, and the world, must rely on a person doing an impossible job. There is no point electing a different person to do the same job, if the job is actually impossible.
Economic power is political power.
Wealth equates to political power.
Democracy and Capitalism are incompatible concepts.
Princeton proved this in 2014. There is no democracy in the US, and there is no particular reason to think any other Western country is particularly different.
For your consideration:
All questioning; one reasonable definition of human progress and value,
...would end if humans end. The process is what we are, more than anything else. We ask, we find answers, we evolve, we continue (hopefully) with better information than before. We make better decisions, and forge better priorities.
Some people I know are unperturbed by the idea of human extinction, as if the result would be "deserved" because "we" failed to survive.
I have a problem with that, relating to the notion that few humans decide the fate of many. A few of us have massive influence over culture, beliefs, and the actions of the many, and so only a few of us can decide to extinguish all of us. The "blame" for disaster, is not shared equally. It is disproportionately allocated to those with socio-economic power.
Most of us are not blame for the perspectives we have been taught to accept. Most of us are victims of ideological premises which are held involuntarily. One example, is nationalism. Why is one country one never chose to be born into, better than another, who's populace never chose to be born there? We are one species, and we need to continue, to keep asking questions, and thereby fix our mistakes.
The first goal of any moral human is to reduce the likelihood of human extinction.
I hope that clears up the issue.
I would rather obey some different ideological socio-economic-political construct/model, than accept all of humanity ought to die to avoid such a scenario. After all we are speaking of a very few humans in positions of power, making these decisions for everyone, and they seem biased towards maintaining their own privilege as if it is objectively necessary. It is not. Involuntary bias is inherent to hierarchy. It is a product of social apartheid. The alternative would be inclusion of "leadership" within the same social circumstances as the many. ie: inclusion in the communities they rule, rather than separation. Social norms in a given sub-culture, like that of the so called "elite", change circumstantially. The resulting values and attitudes are divergent from what the majority would consider appropriate.
I would propose that the inherent problem with hierarchy, is isolation from the macrocultural values of a population, which leads to a psychosocial bias including derision of those lower on the hierarchy than the rulers, and so the rulers become disconnected from collective rationality. Disconnected via involuntary bias.
This means the ruling "class" make decisions which suit themselves, rather than decisions which are of objective benefit to the continuation of the species.
You have made me feel bad with your "LOL", and I'm unsure if you have said this to make me feel poorly, or to make yourself feel better.
Perhaps some of each?
Thanks for the PK Dick origin. I'm grateful.
I've recently been examining the Sopolsky lectures on behavioural biology (25 part y-tube playlist from Stanford), and have had my view that objective free will is unlikely to exist in any practical way, thoroughly reinforced.
Feeling free, is rather different to being a free self determining agent.
It is remarkably useful to note that what "is", is not necessarily what we think/believe "is" real.
Subjective reality vs objective reality. Never the twain shall meet... but our subjective position on what is real and true, can come closer to the objective foundation on which our minds are built. The journey to attain greater subjective accuracy of our understanding of the [objective] universe... is the pursuit of ... being more correct... and less wrong... and is of great value.