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Does mutual dependency rationally entail reciprocal obligations consistent with self-interest?

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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15 May 2019 07:01
 

(Thanks go to Jan_CAN for asking “Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required?,” and to ASD for arguing they shouldn’t have to be.)

Consider that at any given time, society is composed of roughly four generations: the young, a younger middle age, an older middle age, and the elderly.  Each generation has its own cultural sensibilities, and each either plays, will play, or has played an essential role in the functioning of society.  The young, for instance, are replacement workers for those who leave the work force (being too old to be productive); they will be the workforce.  The elderly were the workforce, prior to being too old.  The middle generations are the work force and make everything run.  Not only logically are these generations mutually dependent in a functioning society; existentially they are as well.  Take any one of these stages of generation out of society and it will either fall apart presently, or it will cease to function soon enough.  As such, the interlocking of generations represents a de facto description of how any given society works.

This mutual dependency, I suggest, rationally entails reciprocal obligations generations have to one another, regardless of questions of relatedness (child, parent, grandparent, great grandparent).  These are social relations I’m talking about, not genetic.  As mutual beneficiaries of each other’s function, the well-being of each should be the other’s concern, and vice versa, for diminishing the well-being of any one diminishes or extinguishes the functioning of the whole society.  If one’s goal is to maintain the efficiency, productive potential, and otherwise well-being of society as such, “rationality” defined as properly adjusting means to ends entails each generation looking out for the well-being of the other, as well as its own.  In other words, it is in each generation’s self-interest to cooperate toward this maintenance.  Minimally this cooperation entails non-conflict; maximally coordination and cooperation requires sacrifices, benefits, and cost.  Once these rational obligations are in place, the question becomes: how does one balance these mutually interlocking interests?  I am suggesting that regardless of how this is done, in order to achieve this balance each generation is obliged to act with the well-being of the other in mind.  Such obligations insure that coordination of the interests of each generation with the interests of the others becomes the principal moral issue.

This question of reciprocal obligations rationally entailed in mutual dependency goes to the question of problems like school shootings and climate change.  Do the current generations who can do something about either have a moral obligation to do it, one based in the mutual dependency of generations?  Before answering, however, remember: this mutual dependency is a fact, as is the rational superiority of coordinating self-interest with group interest (the prevalence of social insects in the biomass and the dominance of the human species proves this).  Given these two factors, how is not entailing moral obligations preferable?  On what grounds would one argue for a less effective social-moral ordering than reciprocal obligations?  To all the selfish knaves out there who would base moral obligation on not compromising self-interest, why base action on a philosophy proven by economics, game theory, and evolutionary biology to be stable in the short term but necessarily suboptimal in the long?  And since mutually dependent generations are the long game, on what grounds should we argue that a necessarily sub-optimal ordering is the way to go?  The way I see it, the burden of proof is on the selfish knaves to demonstrate why this arrangement of reciprocal obligations shouldn’t exist, not on the other-regarding saints why it should.

Discuss!

 
burt
 
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burt
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15 May 2019 08:16
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 15 May 2019 07:01 AM

(Thanks go to Jan_CAN for asking “Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required?,” and to ASD for arguing they shouldn’t have to be.)

Consider that at any given time, society is composed of roughly four generations: the young, a younger middle age, an older middle age, and the elderly.  Each generation has its own cultural sensibilities, and each either plays, will play, or has played an essential role in the functioning of society.  The young, for instance, are replacement workers for those who leave the work force (being too old to be productive); they will be the workforce.  The elderly were the workforce, prior to being too old.  The middle generations are the work force and make everything run.  Not only logically are these generations mutually dependent in a functioning society; existentially they are as well.  Take any one of these stages of generation out of society and it will either fall apart presently, or it will cease to function soon enough.  As such, the interlocking of generations represents a de facto description of how any given society works.

This mutual dependency, I suggest, rationally entails reciprocal obligations generations have to one another, regardless of questions of relatedness (child, parent, grandparent, great grandparent).  These are social relations I’m talking about, not genetic.  As mutual beneficiaries of each other’s function, the well-being of each should be the other’s concern, and vice versa, for diminishing the well-being of any one diminishes or extinguishes the functioning of the whole society.  If one’s goal is to maintain the efficiency, productive potential, and otherwise well-being of society as such, “rationality” defined as properly adjusting means to ends entails each generation looking out for the well-being of the other, as well as its own.  In other words, it is in each generation’s self-interest to cooperate toward this maintenance.  Minimally this cooperation entails non-conflict; maximally coordination and cooperation requires sacrifices, benefits, and cost.  Once these rational obligations are in place, the question becomes: how does one balance these mutually interlocking interests?  I am suggesting that regardless of how this is done, in order to achieve this balance each generation is obliged to act with the well-being of the other in mind.  Such obligations insure that coordination of the interests of each generation with the interests of the others becomes the principal moral issue.

This question of reciprocal obligations rationally entailed in mutual dependency goes to the question of problems like school shootings and climate change.  Do the current generations who can do something about either have a moral obligation to do it, one based in the mutual dependency of generations?  Before answering, however, remember: this mutual dependency is a fact, as is the rational superiority of coordinating self-interest with group interest (the prevalence of social insects in the biomass and the dominance of the human species proves this).  Given these two factors, how is not entailing moral obligations preferable?  On what grounds would one argue for a less effective social-moral ordering than reciprocal obligations?  To all the selfish knaves out there who would base moral obligation on not compromising self-interest, why base action on a philosophy proven by economics, game theory, and evolutionary biology to be stable in the short term but necessarily suboptimal in the long?  And since mutually dependent generations are the long game, on what grounds should we argue that a necessarily sub-optimal ordering is the way to go?  The way I see it, the burden of proof is on the selfish knaves to demonstrate why this arrangement of reciprocal obligations shouldn’t exist, not on the other-regarding saints why it should.

Discuss!

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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15 May 2019 08:29
 
burt - 15 May 2019 08:16 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 15 May 2019 07:01 AM

(Thanks go to Jan_CAN for asking “Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required?,” and to ASD for arguing they shouldn’t have to be.)

Consider that at any given time, society is composed of roughly four generations: the young, a younger middle age, an older middle age, and the elderly.  Each generation has its own cultural sensibilities, and each either plays, will play, or has played an essential role in the functioning of society.  The young, for instance, are replacement workers for those who leave the work force (being too old to be productive); they will be the workforce.  The elderly were the workforce, prior to being too old.  The middle generations are the work force and make everything run.  Not only logically are these generations mutually dependent in a functioning society; existentially they are as well.  Take any one of these stages of generation out of society and it will either fall apart presently, or it will cease to function soon enough.  As such, the interlocking of generations represents a de facto description of how any given society works.

This mutual dependency, I suggest, rationally entails reciprocal obligations generations have to one another, regardless of questions of relatedness (child, parent, grandparent, great grandparent).  These are social relations I’m talking about, not genetic.  As mutual beneficiaries of each other’s function, the well-being of each should be the other’s concern, and vice versa, for diminishing the well-being of any one diminishes or extinguishes the functioning of the whole society.  If one’s goal is to maintain the efficiency, productive potential, and otherwise well-being of society as such, “rationality” defined as properly adjusting means to ends entails each generation looking out for the well-being of the other, as well as its own.  In other words, it is in each generation’s self-interest to cooperate toward this maintenance.  Minimally this cooperation entails non-conflict; maximally coordination and cooperation requires sacrifices, benefits, and cost.  Once these rational obligations are in place, the question becomes: how does one balance these mutually interlocking interests?  I am suggesting that regardless of how this is done, in order to achieve this balance each generation is obliged to act with the well-being of the other in mind.  Such obligations insure that coordination of the interests of each generation with the interests of the others becomes the principal moral issue.

This question of reciprocal obligations rationally entailed in mutual dependency goes to the question of problems like school shootings and climate change.  Do the current generations who can do something about either have a moral obligation to do it, one based in the mutual dependency of generations?  Before answering, however, remember: this mutual dependency is a fact, as is the rational superiority of coordinating self-interest with group interest (the prevalence of social insects in the biomass and the dominance of the human species proves this).  Given these two factors, how is not entailing moral obligations preferable?  On what grounds would one argue for a less effective social-moral ordering than reciprocal obligations?  To all the selfish knaves out there who would base moral obligation on not compromising self-interest, why base action on a philosophy proven by economics, game theory, and evolutionary biology to be stable in the short term but necessarily suboptimal in the long?  And since mutually dependent generations are the long game, on what grounds should we argue that a necessarily sub-optimal ordering is the way to go?  The way I see it, the burden of proof is on the selfish knaves to demonstrate why this arrangement of reciprocal obligations shouldn’t exist, not on the other-regarding saints why it should.

Discuss!

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?

Free babysitting…

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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15 May 2019 08:36
 
burt - 15 May 2019 08:16 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 15 May 2019 07:01 AM

(Thanks go to Jan_CAN for asking “Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required?,” and to ASD for arguing they shouldn’t have to be.)

Consider that at any given time, society is composed of roughly four generations: the young, a younger middle age, an older middle age, and the elderly.  Each generation has its own cultural sensibilities, and each either plays, will play, or has played an essential role in the functioning of society.  The young, for instance, are replacement workers for those who leave the work force (being too old to be productive); they will be the workforce.  The elderly were the workforce, prior to being too old.  The middle generations are the work force and make everything run.  Not only logically are these generations mutually dependent in a functioning society; existentially they are as well.  Take any one of these stages of generation out of society and it will either fall apart presently, or it will cease to function soon enough.  As such, the interlocking of generations represents a de facto description of how any given society works.

This mutual dependency, I suggest, rationally entails reciprocal obligations generations have to one another, regardless of questions of relatedness (child, parent, grandparent, great grandparent).  These are social relations I’m talking about, not genetic.  As mutual beneficiaries of each other’s function, the well-being of each should be the other’s concern, and vice versa, for diminishing the well-being of any one diminishes or extinguishes the functioning of the whole society.  If one’s goal is to maintain the efficiency, productive potential, and otherwise well-being of society as such, “rationality” defined as properly adjusting means to ends entails each generation looking out for the well-being of the other, as well as its own.  In other words, it is in each generation’s self-interest to cooperate toward this maintenance.  Minimally this cooperation entails non-conflict; maximally coordination and cooperation requires sacrifices, benefits, and cost.  Once these rational obligations are in place, the question becomes: how does one balance these mutually interlocking interests?  I am suggesting that regardless of how this is done, in order to achieve this balance each generation is obliged to act with the well-being of the other in mind.  Such obligations insure that coordination of the interests of each generation with the interests of the others becomes the principal moral issue.

This question of reciprocal obligations rationally entailed in mutual dependency goes to the question of problems like school shootings and climate change.  Do the current generations who can do something about either have a moral obligation to do it, one based in the mutual dependency of generations?  Before answering, however, remember: this mutual dependency is a fact, as is the rational superiority of coordinating self-interest with group interest (the prevalence of social insects in the biomass and the dominance of the human species proves this).  Given these two factors, how is not entailing moral obligations preferable?  On what grounds would one argue for a less effective social-moral ordering than reciprocal obligations?  To all the selfish knaves out there who would base moral obligation on not compromising self-interest, why base action on a philosophy proven by economics, game theory, and evolutionary biology to be stable in the short term but necessarily suboptimal in the long?  And since mutually dependent generations are the long game, on what grounds should we argue that a necessarily sub-optimal ordering is the way to go?  The way I see it, the burden of proof is on the selfish knaves to demonstrate why this arrangement of reciprocal obligations shouldn’t exist, not on the other-regarding saints why it should.

Discuss!

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?

Vade retro satana!

That they are no longer able to work in the capacities that demand youth doesn’t mean that the elderly (the retired) cannot work in any capacity, or that their function ceases.  They offer wisdom, experience, and guidance to the younger generations.  Children cherish their grandparents as much as grandparents cherish their grandchildren.  They belong, rightly, to a cycle of life we all value.  They can also, if they wish, serve as educators, either formally or informally—a necessary social function.  Or as politicians, and so forth.

But note: the argument does not depend on serving a valid function in order to earn one’s keep; it depends on mutual dependency.  The elderly depend on the generations before them just as the young depend on the generations after.  In so far as everyone gets old, it is in their own self-interest to insure that existence doesn’t terminate in old age.  The argument I have in mind doesn’t depend on the elderly earning their keep but rather on their place in relations of mutual dependency for existence.

[ Edited: 15 May 2019 08:50 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Jan_CAN
 
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15 May 2019 08:54
 
burt - 15 May 2019 08:16 AM

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?

Haha, a Devil’s advocate of a certain age himself, eh?

Seniors may no longer be part of the paid workforce, but they also do much of the volunteer work that is needed.  Also, not restricted to a work schedule, they often are able to provide family support.  And when they’re very old and sick, how they are cared for is an indication of the humanity of their society.

And for my part, as I get closer to this stage in life, I plan to be very wise and impart that wisdom shrewdly with an expectation of being listened to reverently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJGMTybZKzw


[And as Anal said above, before I was quick enough to post this, we ‘older’ people being somewhat slower.]

[ Edited: 15 May 2019 08:59 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
burt
 
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burt
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15 May 2019 09:20
 
Jan_CAN - 15 May 2019 08:54 AM
burt - 15 May 2019 08:16 AM

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?


And for my part, as I get closer to this stage in life, I plan to be very wise and impart that wisdom shrewdly with an expectation of being listened to reverently.

Oh my, I see a curmudgeon in the making here.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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15 May 2019 09:50
 
burt - 15 May 2019 09:20 AM
Jan_CAN - 15 May 2019 08:54 AM
burt - 15 May 2019 08:16 AM

Just to play Devil’s advocate, what function do the elderly serve. Why not just shoot them (or at least set them out on an ice floe to die) when they cease to be productive?


And for my part, as I get closer to this stage in life, I plan to be very wise and impart that wisdom shrewdly with an expectation of being listened to reverently.

Oh my, I see a curmudgeon in the making here.

Yes, although still in what I’d call middle-age, I’ve starting working on my senior curmudgeonly tendencies.  ;-)

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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15 May 2019 09:52
 

In regards to the interesting OP, I agree that “the well-being of each should be the other’s concern, and vice versa, for diminishing the well-being of any one diminishes or extinguishes the functioning of the whole society”.

It should be interesting to hear what others have to say and it might be pertinent to know which of the ‘roughly four generations’ they fall into if they wish to divulge.

[ Edited: 15 May 2019 10:43 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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15 May 2019 19:21
 

As an almost elderly, if I get to the point where I am a burden on society and/or my family, just shoot me.  There is no justification for keeping the old and infirm alive when they have nothing to contribute and no quality of life.  It’s a total waste.

 
burt
 
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15 May 2019 21:05
 
EN - 15 May 2019 07:21 PM

As an almost elderly, if I get to the point where I am a burden on society and/or my family, just shoot me.  There is no justification for keeping the old and infirm alive when they have nothing to contribute and no quality of life.  It’s a total waste.

Here’s the scary part. Several of the major biotech companies are working on extreme life extension, and the .001% are looking forward to having this available while the rest of humanity is dumbed down to become techo-peasants in the service of the new Olympian gods.

 
icehorse
 
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18 May 2019 10:29
 
EN - 15 May 2019 07:21 PM

As an almost elderly, if I get to the point where I am a burden on society and/or my family, just shoot me.  There is no justification for keeping the old and infirm alive when they have nothing to contribute and no quality of life.  It’s a total waste.

Is this idea something like “extreme utilitarianism”? Does this mean you think retiring and social security are bad ideas?

 
 
Jefe
 
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18 May 2019 11:02
 
burt - 15 May 2019 09:05 PM
EN - 15 May 2019 07:21 PM

As an almost elderly, if I get to the point where I am a burden on society and/or my family, just shoot me.  There is no justification for keeping the old and infirm alive when they have nothing to contribute and no quality of life.  It’s a total waste.

Here’s the scary part. Several of the major biotech companies are working on extreme life extension, and the .001% are looking forward to having this available while the rest of humanity is dumbed down to become techo-peasants in the service of the new Olympian gods.

Sounds about right.

 
 
EN
 
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21 May 2019 07:36
 
icehorse - 18 May 2019 10:29 AM
EN - 15 May 2019 07:21 PM

As an almost elderly, if I get to the point where I am a burden on society and/or my family, just shoot me.  There is no justification for keeping the old and infirm alive when they have nothing to contribute and no quality of life.  It’s a total waste.

Is this idea something like “extreme utilitarianism”? Does this mean you think retiring and social security are bad ideas?

No, I’m talking about too old to do anything, even hold babies. I’m enjoying SS right now.  Keep it coming.  I’m talking about lying in a bed hooked up to shit.  Just do away with me.

 
burt
 
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21 May 2019 07:44
 

Am reading a book that relates to this theme, Becoming Human by Michael Tomasello. The book summarizes years of research on human and ape development in the context of the question of why humans are able to cooperate together in large groups and how human ontogeny makes this possible.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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21 May 2019 16:40
 
burt - 21 May 2019 07:44 AM

Am reading a book that relates to this theme, Becoming Human by Michael Tomasello. The book summarizes years of research on human and ape development in the context of the question of why humans are able to cooperate together in large groups and how human ontogeny makes this possible.

I have that book, and it’s on my short list for reading.

Do share when you get done!

 

 
burt
 
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21 May 2019 19:20
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 21 May 2019 04:40 PM
burt - 21 May 2019 07:44 AM

Am reading a book that relates to this theme, Becoming Human by Michael Tomasello. The book summarizes years of research on human and ape development in the context of the question of why humans are able to cooperate together in large groups and how human ontogeny makes this possible.

I have that book, and it’s on my short list for reading.

Do share when you get done!

This is a quote, relating to “how to talk to Trump supporters and rednecks.” He’s been discussing two aspects of fairness, the first being equity in sharing which even very young children get into, so long as they have not actually possessed the things first (in other words, they will share found stuff but not their own stuff as much). The other side he calls “procedural fairness,” which shows up when resources are to be divided by some established procedure which may be seen as fair or unfair. If the procedure is seen as fair, a child will accept a lesser share than another. If not fair, they will protest and try to change the rules.

“The most natural interpretation is that children’s attitudes and evaluations in such situations are not driven by the resources themselves. The determinative issue is that they do not want to get less than others because this shows them disrespect—they are being treated as less than equal—whereas they do not mind getting less than others if they feel that they have been treated with respect, as equal to others. The issue is not the resources themselves; the issue is being treated as one deserves to be treated: with equal respect.”

 
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