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shlunka
Post  Post subject: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:32 pm

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MODNOTE: This thread was split from the White Male Mortality discussion here.
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Rory wrote:
I can relate, on a personal level, to Zakaria's point about expectations. It used to upset and frustrate me when my efforts were not rewarded justly. Now I just see it as an aspect of the world that most people endure. I think most people learn to develop a happiness that is independent of circumstance. There's no sense in killing yourself just because others don't appreciate you.

The final statement isn't true if you base your worth on utilitarian worth. I.E, if I'm not producing happiness or some other tangible benefit to others, then I have no reason to be around. Developing a happiness that is independent of circumstance can also be dangerous (in some scenarios). For me, it makes the presence of other's opinions to be irrelevant, and causes emotional dissonance.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:21 pm
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You're then essentially saying that you have no worth beyond your capacity to serve others. I.e. you are a resource to be used and that is your justification for existing. You can, of course, hold that opinion if you wish to. However, I think that that perspective is dangerous. My own sense of self-worth is intrinsic and exists without reference to others. Of course, I like to help others when I can, but that does not define my entire self-worth.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:01 am
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He seems to be putting forth a conditional... If you determine worth in utilitarian terms, then you're worthless if not helping others in some way.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:43 pm
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Well, yes. The argument, then, is whether or not it is wise to live your life strictly in accordance with utilitarian principles. I am of the opinion that it is not.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:50 pm
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As a thought experiment, imagine that you were born into this world (or found yourself placed somehow in this world) and that there were no other humans on the planet. Does that mean that your existence is worth nothing?

More importantly, does it make rainbows and waterfalls any less beautiful? Really, I think people who get knotted up in their own perceived lack of self-worth are a tad narcissistic. Why should it matter if you don't save the world? The point is, there is a world, and we are immensely priveleged to have the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time to observe it.

Honestly, most people's lives and contributions to the wider world are not exceptional. That does not make those people worthless.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:07 pm
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Rory wrote:
Honestly, most people's lives and contributions to the wider world are not exceptional. That does not make those people worthless.


I'm going to play devil's advocate here and point out that worth and worthlessness are moot points on the grand scale of things. Your entire existence is meaningless in the vastness of time and the universe. This being the case, every life that was ever lived is completely worthless. We will all end up dead with no one left to remember us or our perceived accomplishments.

What I'm getting at here is that self worth is a meaningless concept developed by people to apply meaning to something otherwise meaningless, with my point being that there are an infinite number of ways for you to determine your worth, so no single way is inherently correct or wrong. Everyone is full to the gills with worth and completely worthless at the same time.

How you choose to define your self worth is arbitrary and can change as you need it to, so whenever you are feeling worthless remember that with a different perspective you are full of worth.

PS - Sorry if this post feels disjointed, I was interrupted several times while writing it so I lost my train of thought each time.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:53 pm
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Self worth is self-defined. Worth is less an act of discovery and more an act of authorship. There is no inherent worth in anything "out there" in the way being suggested.

Now, if this tangent continues, I will likely split the thread into its own as it has nothing to do with the strange finding of increased mortality among uneducated middle-aged white males that is strangely local to the US and not seen in other countries.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:46 pm
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Yes, it might be a good idea to slpit the thread.

There is an objective aspect to self-worth. On making that self-asessment, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin will either be released and bind their respective receptors, or not. The neuronal networks will fire in very distinctive and specific patterns which, if you had the technological means to do so, would be visible. These are physical entities as real as the desk at which I write.

Of course, questions of self-worth become superfluous when humanity is no longer around. But, then, many other fields become superfluous at that point, too. What's the use in Medicine when humanity does not exist? Does that mean to say that Medicine, as a field, is pointless today? If not, then neither can it be argued that the question of self-worth is pointless today.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:03 pm
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Rory wrote:
Yes, it might be a good idea to slpit the thread.

done

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:10 pm
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Rory wrote:
There is an objective aspect to self-worth. On making that self-asessment, endorphins, dopamine and serotonin will either be released and bind their respective receptors, or not. The neuronal networks will fire in very distinctive and specific patterns which, if you had the technological means to do so, would be visible. These are physical entities as real as the desk at which I write.
(snip)
If not, then neither can it be argued that the question of self-worth is pointless today.

While the chemicals and neurological response can be measured, the concept of worth cannot (not beyond a subjective self-report, that is). It's entirely arbitrary outside of a unlit arias model, and even changes from person to person and over time within the same person.

I wouldn't go so far as to call it pointless because it does tend to drive downstream affects, but it is itself rather numinous and even ephemeral.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Utilitarianism & Worth  |  Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:52 am
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The concept of self-worth falls within the remit of Psychology, perhaps also Philosophy and Neurobiology, so it can be studied. The importance of the subject is reflected in the topic of the original thread.

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