The myth and religion of "rights" - the new opiate of the secular masses

Djinn

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Dec 2007
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The moral imperative here is towards humanity, in whatever form it manifests. There is humanity in your hypothetical situation -- that which resides in himself. So, the categorical imperative applies.
So what sort of society-free act would qualify as objectively good or evil?
 
Dec 2015
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Seems appropriate that the OP would quote him
Nietzsche was appalled by Wagner's white supremacism, and he is an interesting philosopher who deserves more credit than he gets, thanks largely to his sister who cast Nietzsche in a horrible light:

Daniel Blue [an author] regards the photo as ‘unflattering’ — though it’s nowhere near as unflattering as the picture Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche painted of her brother after his death in 1900. Rabidly anti-Semitic (in later years she would support Hitler), Elisabeth rewrote and restructured Nietzsche’s unpublished manuscripts so as to make this anti-racist internationalist read like a Nazi before the fact. Blue doesn’t mention that, but he does cite some of Elisabeth’s other misrepresentations and believes that most of Nietzsche’s biographers have erred through their unthinking acceptance of Elisabeth’s ‘statements and stories as uncontroversial facts’. Hence The Making of Friedrich Nietzsche, a volume which ‘aspires to be the biography that Nietzsche himself might have composed if he had possessed the inclination and the time’.

but a better author wrote of Nietzsche:

Kaufmann [the better author] went back to the original texts to show how, far from being a proto-dictator, Nietzsche (who once called himself the ‘last anti-political German’) was in fact a proto-existentialist — a rationalist moralist who believed that the only thing worth conquering was the self.


One must be careful while reading Nietzsche:

Unlike many of his philosophical predecessors, Nietzsche did not argue for a specific weltanschauung, or worldview, even though his writings may suggest one. He distrusted any thinker who proposed a comprehensive system for interpreting the world, and he often wrote in a manner that allowed for multiple interpretations.


My favorite aphorism of Nietzsche's is this:

106. AT THE WATERFALL

In looking at a waterfall we imagine that there is freedom of will and fancy in the countless turnings, twistings, and breakings of the waves; but everything is compulsory, every movement can be mathematically calculated. So it is also with human actions; one would have to be able to calculate every single action beforehand if one were all knowing; equally so all progress of knowledge, every error, all malice. So it is also with human actions; one would have to be able to calculate every single action beforehand if one were all knowing; equally so all progress of knowledge, every error, all malice. The one who acts certainly labours under the illusion of voluntariness; if the world's wheel were to stand still for a moment and an all knowing, calculating reason were there to make use of this pause, it could foretell the future of every creature to the remotest times, and mark out every track upon which that wheel would continue to roll. The delusion of the acting agent about himself, the supposition of a free will, belongs to this mechanism which still remains to be calculated.

So does free will exist?

Not if "an all knowing, calculating reason were there...."

 
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Jan 2007
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Your answer leveraged "Tarzan," who existed as a part of a society - a clear violation of the boundaries set in my hypothetical example.
A society is composed of humans, not apes. Insisting otherwise contradicts the definiton.

But even if someone lives without the company of men or beasts, the ci still applies. Surviving on his own is enough moral imperative. It is an act consistent with universal law and it treats the humanity within himself as an end in itself.

Does that answer your question within the boundaries of your hypothetical example?
 

Djinn

Council Hall
Dec 2007
53,308
40,888
Pennsylvania, USA
A society is composed of humans, not apes. Insisting otherwise contradicts the definiton.

But even if someone lives without the company of men or beasts, the ci still applies. Surviving on his own is enough moral imperative. It is an act consistent with universal law and it treats the humanity within himself as an end in itself.

Does that answer your question within the boundaries of your hypothetical example?
A society consist of you, and those individuals with whom you act, and react. Their species is irrelevant to the equation. Surviving is a self-serving imperative; benefiting no one other than yourself. I find it hard to believe that it qualifies as an act of "good." If it was, then it's possible for a mere amoeba to adhere to the dichotomy of "good" and "evil."
 
Apr 2018
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As per the sciences and their associated empirical evidence, the existence of any "rights" is every bit as much a myth and superstition as the existence of ghosts, goblins, flying spaghetti monsters and what not.

Americans no longer content with opiating themselves with religion, have instead taken to opiating themselves with rights, freedoms, and other selfish whims - believing that their archaic Constitution will save them from their crass materialism and self-created miseries.

In reality, a man or a woman have no "rights" whatsoever beyond what what is in the collective interest of the race. Whether a feminist believing she has any "rights" beyond what is in survival incentive, or an atheist believing that his imaginary friend the Flying Spaghetti monster is anything more than a substitute for Jesus, somehow capable of saving him from his obesity and other crass addictions.

Their only "right" is what Nietzsche referred to as their "will to power" - their biological imperative and incentive to evolve or die with the hand of evolution's might. Both science and religion have proven evolutionary useful utilities in advancing the species - and if evolution has happened to select a religion as its instrument for administering its might - the mythical notion that an atheist or a secular has any "rights" whatsoever is as quaint as the notion of faith in an imaginary friend.

If evolution elects to use religion as its social instrument for eliminate a worthless atheist, just as it might use science to eliminate a worthless religion - neither or has any rights whatsoever, they're simply on the receiving end of evolution's agency, and of their own defectiveness.
Rights exist. I have the right to do anything I'm strong and intelligent enough to enforce. Of course, many actions have consequences. I have no right to avoid said consequences.
 
Jan 2007
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A society consist of you, and those individuals with whom you act, and react. Their species is irrelevant to the equation.
1. the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.

The social structure of animal groups is not a society, by definition.

Surviving is a self-serving imperative; benefiting no one other than yourself.
That is just because your hypothetical situation made it that way. After all, the only 'humanity' here is that which resides in himself. I have seen people argue for the right to die so, surviving against insurmountable odds is not necessarily self-serving.

I find it hard to believe that it qualifies as an act of "good."
Of course it is. The thing about the categorical imperative is that it more often than not, coincides with a hypothetical (subjective) imperative. The difference becomes clear when the categorical imperative opposes the hypothetical imperative. For instance, someone contemplating suicide. The hypothetical imperative here is to die (for this or that reason) which stands opposed to the categorical imperative to continue living.

If it was, then it's possible for a mere amoeba to adhere to the dichotomy of "good" and "evil."
Actually, no. The categorical imperative applies to rational agents capable of willful action. In fact, any moral standard requires these.

That means, the agent can rationally discern good and evil and is capable of acting one way or the other. Amoeba is incapable of acting 'in another way' much less to act according to a rational principle.