What Defines Good? (Philosophy)

What is it that defines good? According to Webster’s dictionary, it is defined as “being positive or desirable in nature “. Is good then a subjective value to be determined by each individual according to what they find desirable? If that were the case it would mean that there is no such thing as good or evil, that man’s life has no meaning, that there is no existence outside of consciousness; that the world is nothing but an accidental playground of pure, unbridled nihilism and that we are the devil’s children with empty, cackling, infinite nothingness as our total sanction and final purpose. While looking to any form of mainstream media at various interludes might depict this to be the case, rationality tells us quite differently; and although my overall faith in the human race is sometimes lacking I highly doubt that such a concept accounts for the inner beliefs of anyone but a psychopath.

If good is not subjective – determined by the consciousness of whomever one is asking – is it then intrinsic? Are certain things simply good in and of themselves, requiring no sanction? The intrinsic theory of values unfortunately is responsible for almost as many horrors as the ridiculous concept of “public interest” (social theory of ethics). The intrinsic theory of values provides the logical base for the idea that since certain things are simply good and certain things are simply bad, it doesn’t matter how they are achieved. For instance: terrorism is bad and safety is good, thus whatever must be done to combat terrorism and guarantee safety must be moral. According to the intrinsic theory of values, the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II was perfectly moral, and according to the intrinsic theory of values it would also be perfectly moral to throw every Muslim on earth in front of a firing squad…or in a gas chamber.

Value cannot be characterized independently of reality nor of consciousness. It must as fact of matter be a seamless integration of both, using total rational consciousness to build its meaning with the building blocks of reality; primary axioms which exist and their logical corollaries. This is objective value. Existence exists, consciousness exists, life exists, and man’s life exists. As such man’s purpose is to live free, to thrive, and above all, to create. Good is what forewords life; evil is what spins life out of control to its demise, the concept of irrationality, the idea that life and its corollaries, including principles of non-aggression and self -ownership, do not matter and are not subject to the laws of existence.

 

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48 Comments

  1. Kelly, are you a moral realist?

  2. Also, self-ownership is a very shaky concept. Ownership implies that something external has control. If that's the case, what is the body owned by? The brain? Which part of the brain? Also, implying that something is "owned" implies that the owner has the possibility to lose what he/she owns. How do you "unown yourself"? I find that a lot of these arguments I have with people who believe in self-ownership result in semantic arguments over what constitutes "ownership". It's not a very good philosophical concept, in my view.

  3. Julia,

    You brang up that question before ,and I answered it. Seems like if answers eat at your premise you ignore them. Thats part of being a troll.

  4. You "unown" yourself by being thrown in jail thats how…get thrown in jail and ask that question …..see if your answer changes

  5. I guess you don't understand simple stuff Julia : Why does one want to get out of jail when they are in jail :because they dont own them selfs!….Don't take a genius to know that..I'm sorry for my inpatients with you Julia.but… your too much……lol

  6. actually thats a "good" question…. GOOD …I think the golden rule is "good" to go by because it produces "good" and it is ..it does both .. it produces "good" and works as a PART OF… ok that my genius contribution

  7. Good is an objective term. There are things that are good as well as things that are evil. These are not open to the individuals interpatation and are never subjective. The Good like the bad were given to us by our "creator"and NO I am not a creationist. Morality did not evolve with time. Things like murder rape and theft have always been bad. Charity, compassion, goodwill have always been good. These ideas however did not come from man because mankind without a moral lawgiver man would only do what is benificial to the individual.

  8. I think "good" came out of what works… and what helps you get along.raping your neighbor …doesn't help you get along..

  9. Julia, the software owns the hardware.

    As with any other property, you could sell, rent, or give away your body.

    Enslave, you actually got something right! And regarding Burke, as well. Twice in one week, even!

    Regardless of whether "the creator" is some deity, or the innate structure of the universe (which, in turn, may or may not be set in motion by some deity), the result is the same, in that an objective system of morality is created for all persons. Such a creation must apply in all situations, and must apply equally to all persons, or there's obviously a flaw in the interpreting, since laws of nature don't have exceptions.

    So far, the only system that has been detected which meets the criteria, is self-ownership.

  10. Wow, Kelly those are some important thoughts. I'd like to hear more, but the link at the bottom goes to the Sgt. Ponce essay.

  11. "Julia, the (1) software owns the hardware.

    As with any other property, you could (2) sell, (3) rent, or (4) give away your body."

    1.) This is a poor analogy and so mired in dualism that I find it hard believe people take it seriously as a philosophical concept. The "software" is an extension of the "hardware" to the point that they're virtually inseparable. Our minds are mere extensions of brain function, and cannot be reduced to some homunculus pulling levers. Ultimately, we're left with the tautological proposition that the body owns the body.

    2.) How can you sell what can't be alienated? There is virtually no way you can divorce you will from your physical person. What you're suggesting leads us to a conclusion that "selling" the self is like selling a car, but remaining in the driver seat.

    3.) See above.

    4.) See above.

  12. *bonks zombie Descartes*

  13. Nothing in this article disproves that good is not a subjective value. You simply wrote that, "rationality tells us differently," and then fail to back the statement with anything.

    How am I supposed to be convinced to your way of thinking if you fail to provide any reasoning or evidence? Am I just supposed to take your word that good is an objective value?

    This article feels like a completed math problem with no work shown. Sure, you got an answer, but it's hard to tell if it's the right one or one just simply pulled out of nowhere.

  14. @MaineShark: Do you ever plan on purchasing a pregnant woman? Because, bravo, you've just created a moral justification for slavery!

    "Oh look, my property just gave birth to more property. I have tons of slaves now. Yay for voluntaryism!"

  15. "This article feels like a completed math problem with no work shown."

    Welcome to rationalism. There's a reason that shit was thrown into the philosophical graveyard when the 18th century came about.

    I get the feeling that a lot of the people spewing, "I'm a logician, hear me roar!" and who try to revive these rationalist methods really don't understand how logic "works". For one thing, logic is ever-changing. These people seem to think that everything that's known in logic today has been known since the time of Aristotle. Totally false. New stuff is being discovered all the time in logic while old stuff is being thrown out. It's akin to mathematics, physics, or any other natural science.

    Sorry, I study philosophy actually and felt the need to point all of this shit out.

  16. "This is a poor analogy and so mired in dualism that I find it hard believe people take it seriously as a philosophical concept. The “software” is an extension of the “hardware” to the point that they’re virtually inseparable. Our minds are mere extensions of brain function, and cannot be reduced to some homunculus pulling levers. Ultimately, we’re left with the tautological proposition that the body owns the body"

    No, they are very much separable. I can easily take out some ram ( or a kidney) out of my linux machine and place it into my windows machine (or somebody else) as long as it is compatable with the motherboard. Name any body part and the same is true, with the exception of the brain. But then again, you can't put an Intel CPU in an AMD board, or run a 64 bit operating system on a 32 bit machine.

    "How can you sell what can’t be alienated? There is virtually no way you can divorce you will from your physical person. What you’re suggesting leads us to a conclusion that “selling” the self is like selling a car, but remaining in the driver seat."

    It's pretty easy to divorce my will from my physical person. All it requires is a bullet to the head, or time. I don't really see how this is making any point in your favor.

  17. "Enslave, you actually got something right! And regarding Burke, as well. Twice in one week, even!"

    @Maine;

    You couldnt even begin to fathom the reasons why I am right, as appearent in your way of thinking. Your endorsement is not necessary.

    @David;

    Of course acts such as rape, murder and theft would be benificial to a person or persons who fear no attonement or consequence. Not all but a good part of society act morally in a subjective fashion because of their fear of accountability and punishment. There are those who are "good" anyway but to say there would be no personal gain from acts of crime is non-sensical.

    The hypothetical situation would be if I didnt believe in objective morality maybe I would just rob you for your money, now I have it. See? Very benificial to me. I wouldnt do such a thing regardless but many would.

  18. "Do you ever plan on purchasing a pregnant woman? Because, bravo, you’ve just created a moral justification for slavery!"

    That is of course assuming that you consider the fetus to be a part of the pregnant woman, and not a separate entity.

    If the fetus is a separate entity, (regardless of whether it deserves the rights of a person) Then you do not in fact own it.

  19. If my property can give birth to something that isn't my property, then it was never my property to begin with.

  20. blah, blah, blah,

    blah, blah, blah,

    blah, blah, blah,

    i r a fill-oss-i-fer,

    yass-suh!

    blah, blah, blah…

  21. Julia,

    Ownership is not about just control, but specifically the *right* to control, alter, protect, and transfer possession. If a person controls something, it does not necessarily mean they own it.

    The self-ownership is the basis of the concept of property rights. If you don't own yourself, it is impossible that you can own anything outside of yourself.

    Also, no "part of your brain" can own something.

  22. And now maybe you can help me with a concept I find pretty shaky. That is altruism. How can one do anything outside of one's self interest unless they are being forced?

  23. Actually, if you *do* own yourself, that makes it impossible for you to own anything outside of yourself. Property can't own other property. Self-ownership is a contradiction of terms.

  24. Matthew Richards,

    Does self control not exist? How can one act without the right to one's self?

  25. Self-control exists. Bodily autonomy and self-sovereignty exist. But "self-ownership" implies that people are property. It's an oxymoron.

  26. Why does one want to get out of jail when they are in jail? :because they dont own them selfs!

  27. Matthew Richards,

    The statement "property cannot own property" does not trump the fact that I have a right to my body, my life, and all other things that make up my self. Whatever my "self" is, I definitely have the sole right to control, alter, and protect it.

    Again, ownership is about who has the *right* to something.

  28. Stick to your usual troll comments, david…

    You're a fucking idiot…

    People want to get out of jail because they want to be out of jail…

    Who "owns theirselfs" is irrelevant…

    …as irrelevant as who own them self…

    Why does one want to get IN JAIL in the first place?

    HOW DOES one get in jail?

    Do the put-in-jail people think THEY own the person they put in jail?

    Inside your head, david, is a prison.

    Inside that prison is your brain.

    Don't you want to get your brian out of prison, david??????

  29. @Couch Serf: others have addressed your points, but I'll add…

    1) If you're going to take a fully-deterministic view of things, then there's no point in having a discussion of morality, because defining people as nothing but machines means morality is irrelevant. If some electrochemical processes fully determine who I am and what I will do, then "right" and "wrong" are meaningless, because I have no choice. If you admit that I have choices, then you admit the presence of some sort of software.

    2, 3, 4) So, the car comes with a built-in driver. Did you have a point?

    @Michael Richards: no, owning one thing does not mean you automatically own other things. If I shine a flashlight at my car to get the keys in the lock on a dark night, and some of the light is reflected upon your house, I can't chase you down for stealing my photons. I voluntarily chose to shine the light in a public place, such that the photons, by the inherent nature of photons, shone upon other things.

    Even if we regress it back to the simplest situation, where my wife and I have children, we don't automatically own them. We created new persons, which we knew we did not have any ability to own; it is the nature of persons that they own themselves, just as it is the nature of photons to travel according to certain rules. Your argument based upon false premises (eg, that the product of property is automatically also the property of the owner of the producing property), so it fails.

    Regarding your later assertion that self-ownership implies that nothing else can be owned, you have the same issue at play. Your premise that "[p]roperty can’t own other property" is not demonstrated to be true and, more importantly, is not applicable. If I own my body, then it is like any other tool I own. Using it to obtain more property is no more impossible than using a hammer to build other property, or a truck to transport property that was sold or given to me.

  30. I have the key to my brain prison. THEY have the keys to the brick and steel prison

  31. Even if I dont have the keys to my brain prison……………no one else is wielding in control over it… Like they are with a brick and steel prison

  32. "How can one do anything outside of one’s self interest unless they are being forced?"

    *double facepalm*

    I take it you didn't read the Aljazeera article that's been circulating facebook about people being naturally good.

  33. But seriously Ali, my god. I hate to get all vulgar, but what you said is fucking STOOPID. Go talk to an actual psychologist and they will tell you that psychological egoism is absolute bullshit. Humans don't act according to self-interest. Humans act on *emotion* first with logic coming after.

  34. Sorry, Julia, haven't seen that Al Jazeera article…

    I've been too busy gagging and retching over the Ayn Rand link Kelly posted…

    Don't tell me – lemme guess –

    Kelly wrote this piece for her Philosophy 101 class…

    Here's one for you, Kelly:

    What defines *DEFINITIONS*???

  35. Julia,

    You are the wrong on

    Ali is the right one.

    Also you were impolite while being wrong julia.

  36. Seriously, Kelly, this piece is such a mish-mash, practically anybody can just jump in anywhere, and say pretty much anything about it…

    "…that man's life has no meaning…"?????…..

    When I read that lame, old, "life has no meaning without______(fill in the blank),

    …..I knew you were lost intellectually…

    Kelly, the best way to describe this piece is:

    "*MENTAL*MASTURBATION*…

    …it might feel good to YOU, but ultimately, it is NON-PRODUCTIVE…

    Unless you consider anything on FreeKeene "productive"…HAH!…

    Good job coming up with crap to hide the truth under, tho…

  37. and it isn't worth it to explain to you why your wrong julia….like that guy in the video said…..i dont have the time to argue to you that the sky is blue

  38. Julia,

    It's hard to take your ideas seriously when you react that way. You refuse to argue your own ideas and defer to some vague intellectual authority in a pathetic attempt to reflect superiority. I find your ideas (something like anarcho-syndicalism) interesting, but I guess I'll have to find someone who has the same beliefs who can argue their point without calling me "STOOPID" (which isn't a word, and if you mean "stupid" I'm definitely not). Good luck reaching hearts and minds….

  39. Also, maybe Julia acts first on emotion and then logic, but that doesn't disprove that self-interest is what is driving you to act. People make choices to minimize pain or to meet something that isn't being satisfied. It's all self interest. You can give to charity because it helps your reputation, it makes you feel good, or because you hate it when you see hungry people on your way to work. Whatever the reason, one acts to benefit oneself. And I happen to think it's a beautiful thing.

  40. So the whore is a philosopher now.

  41. peter lauck,

    Did you ever here of being a "gentleman" ?

    Look it up and try it : you make men look bad

  42. Actually, I have a good friend who used to be a whore, and several individuals have independently referred to her as being one of the best philosophers they've ever spoken to.

  43. Kelly is making me come…
    Kelly is making me come…
    I’m coming, Kelly…
    I’m coming, Kelly…
    I’m coming just for YOU!

  44. “This is objective value. Existence exists, consciousness exists, life exists, and man’s life exists. As such man’s purpose is to live free, to thrive, and above all, to create.”

    How did you come to this assertion? Yes, existence exists(whatever it may be).. Yes, consciousness exists(whatever it may be), Yes, life exists(whatever it may be).. So how does any of those facts immediately mean that man has purpose and that his purpose is to live free(whatever freedom means)?

  45. Good is goodness measurement. We use meter to measure distance and second to measure time. Any individual mind uses “good” to measure goodness of anything.

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