From The Recycle Bin

Posted in Desirism, Recycle Bin on  | 8 minutes | 3 Comments →

So I have all these snippets of comments and posts that never made the cut for one reason or another, and instead of just delete them, I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate them into the blog. Thus, TWIM’s new Recycle Bin category.

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How Would I Present Desirism?

Posted in Desirism, Ethics, Morality, Philosophy on  | 6 minutes | 27 Comments →

When considering a redesign for some client’s website, I often ask, “How would I have coded this thing?” A while back, I got to thinking about desirism in the same way.

This is no offense to Alonzo, but in my honest opinion, he presents desirism ambiguously, from key tenets right down to the original name, desire utilitarianism. I may be way off here, but I get the feeling Alonzo doesn’t want the heavy burden that typically falls to those making moral claims, and that this may influence him to equivocate on select terms. Most discouraging is that regarding conventional definitions, he claims “moral terms are being used in substantially the same way that moral terms had been used.”

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The New Moral Crusaders?

Posted in Common Sense Atheism, Desirism, Morality, Philosophy, Responses on  | 6 minutes | 8 Comments →

Episode 14 of Luke and Alonzo’s oddly named Morality in the Real World is up, and despite its length, I don’t think it said much. Sure, it’s important and commendable to distinguish between the facts of reality vs. the words we use, but they could have accomplished that in a few short sentences. In the positive, the student is starting to surpass–or at least show genuine skepticism towards–the teacher. I find that very encouraging. Though one could argue that it has simply transferred to Yudkowsky, Luke’s infatuation with Alonzo Fyfe seems to be waning. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the episode, I suggest doing so, else my post might not make as much sense as it could.

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Desirism, Doughnuts & Red Curbs

Posted in Desirism, Ethics, Morality on  | 4 minutes | 12 Comments →

In discussions of morality, attempts to define good can get downright maddening once one applies themselves duly to the task. Yet, it seems so simple. We all know what good means, right? The problem is, my “good” might actually be your “bad,” so how might we deal with that?

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Surviving Philosophy: Objective & Subjective

Posted in Philosophy on  | 7 minutes | 22 Comments →

Have you ever been in one of those conversations where somebody defines the word God so loosely that it becomes near-meaningless? If so, how did that make you feel?

Here’s the thing about philosophy: it’s great for sharpening one’s wit. It’s excellent for exploring the history of human questioning. It’s useful in that it can lend itself to both personal enrichment as well as social edification. However, as a means of uncovering truth, philosophy has disadvantages. Severe disadvantages.

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Desires Cannot Fulfill Or Thwart Other Desires

Posted in Desirism, Ethics, Morality, Philosophy on  | 5 minutes | 2 Comments →

In his post Living Without A Moral Code, part 3, Luke Muehlhauser writes,

Now, it seems straightforward that my carnivorous desires are immoral. Surely my desire to eat meat tends to thwart more and stronger desires than it fulfills. It certainly thwarts the desires of the animals I eat, both by way of their death and by way of their horrifying lives packed into factory farms.

That is incorrect. Desires cannot fulfill or thwart other desires.

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Is Desirism An Objective Moral Theory?

Posted in Common Sense Atheism, Desirism, Ethics, Morality, Philosophy, Syllogisms on  | 3 minutes | 18 Comments →

Luke Muehlhauser claims that desirism is an objective moral theory. I think it’s quite easy to demonstrate that this is an incoherent claim. Recall that Luke defines “objective moral value” thus:

…usually, the phrase “OBJECTIVE moral value” means something like “moral value grounded in something beyond the attitudes of a person or persons.” Right? If what you’re calling “moral value” is just based off somebody’s personal attitudes, that’s called SUBJECTIVE morality. [source]

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Response To Morality In The Real World, Episode 9

Posted in Common Sense Atheism, Desirism, Morality on  | 10 minutes | No Comments →

Though no previous objections seem to have been resolved, CSA’s ongoing Morality in the Real World podcast took a turn for the better in Episode 9, where Luke and Alonzo ponder the quantification of desires. For what it’s worth, Alonzo has written on willingness to pay before.

Early in my foray into desirism, I decided that an empirical schema for measuring desires was absolutely necessary in order for the theory to have any practical, real-world import. How else can we check against intuition? If desirism is indeed an empirical, objective theory as its defenders assert, then why not cut all the moralspeak and crunch some numbers? I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I believe my method – while certainly rudimentary and in need of further work – is a far better tool for quantifying desires than the overly simplified analysis Luke and Alonzo used in Episode 9.

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Open Response To Alonzo Fyfe

Posted in Common Sense Atheism, Desirism on  | 12 minutes | No Comments →

In Luke’s post Morally Permissible Slavery, Alonzo Fyfe of Atheist Ethicist has implied moral defects in my character, here. The backstory: commenter antiplastic said this to Luke Muehlhauser, who replied not by addressing antiplastic’s objection, but by attempting to cast doubt on the sincerity of both antiplastic and myself to understand the theory. IOW, Luke chose to make it personal instead of keeping it professional. Then, Alonzo chimed in, lambasting antiplastic with what were in my opinion uncalled-for accusations about antiplastic’s character. Then, of course, when I came to antiplastic’s defense, Alonzo turned him judgment towards me.

My response follows, written to Alonzo.

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Atoms, Morality, Desirism & Language

Posted in Common Sense Atheism, Desirism, Ethics, Morality, Philosophy, Science on  | 11 minutes | 33 Comments →

That desirism is “not a moral theory” is a common objection, one that its founder Alonzo Fyfe handles in a systematic way. Today, I will try to explain why I’m skeptical of Alonzo’s response to this objection. I suppose it would be best to dive right in with some actual examples of the objection:

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