Nils wrote: Kurieuo wrote:
- Third, it remains to be seen how you are not transcending the natural order when you label behaviour, which is otherwise quite natural in terms of any other animal species, as not "good" or not "honourable" when it comes to human species.
I am sorry, I am not certain about what you mean. Please give an example.
I have noticed that you think that C. S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity is of interest. I have now started to read the first chapters again. (The Doodle Youtubes are amusing but I prefer reading the book. It's easier to follow the arguments in a book).
One important point is in chapter three (page 19 in my edition) where he tries to prove that a position like mine is false:
"Now, of course, it is perfectly true that safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other. It is one of the most important truths in the world. But as an explanation of why we feel as we do about Right and Wrong it just misses the point. If we ask: "Why ought I to be unselfish?" and you reply "Because it is good for society," we may then ask, "Why should I care what's good for society except when it happens to pay me personally?" and then you will have to say, "Because you ought to be unselfish"—which simply brings us back to where we started."
But there are better answers then the final "Because you ought to be unselfish":
 - You will probably feel better if you are not selfish because evolution has made us such.
 - If you are acting selfish other persons may notice that and dislike you.
 - In cases where you need help other persons may refuse helping you or your near.
- You may miss the opportunity to be able to say that you contributed to a better society, which in the long run is very nice to you.
I've numbered your points above.
 You will feel better not being selfish because evolution has made us such? To be an adequate answer requires there being some hidden accepted premise I think that could
make this a satisfactory answer. That is, saying "evolution has made us such" suggests that there is an end goal trying to be acheived by evolutionary processes. There is a telos
that evolution is directing all life towards, which results in intelligent, moral beings like us.
This then raises the question as to whether the reason the evolutionary process made us such is due to some reason higher than the natural evolutionary processes themselves. Are evolutionary process, for example, obeying a higher purpose established in the natural laws? Or, did we just happen to strike it lucky that we were "blessed" (or "cursed" depending upon how you look on it) with a moral conscience that can make us feel guilty when we are selfish and try to just look after #1 in life?
If the process all happened by chance and we are the result of such, then it also seems out of place that evolution, which is kind of inherently selfish with respect to survival of genes and particular species, suddenly "decides" to impose something called morality upon us which makes us feel responsible to others, even to the point of giving up our very lives. There seems a better fit with other explanations, such as a super-intelligent being who has particular values and desires the creatures He created to choose to be good and loving. This super being installs certain "bumper bars" if you will, to encourage us to live according to its own values. And so natural laws are setup accordingly, and we have a moral conscience pre-programmed into us such that we will feel guilt, a sense of responsibility to others, understand concepts like fairness and justice and the like. This seems like a more fulfilling and satisfactory explanation to me.
The fact of the matter is also that we can become desensatised to what is right and wrong. Should we not shake it if such simply happened due to chance? We could equally live in a harsh cruel dog-eat-dog world where the survival of the fittest truly reigns supreme. You know, I think I'd feel good if I sold my house and gave away everything I own, but then such would be stupid because it'd mean I'm now out on the street and unable to support myself. It seems to me not being selfish isn't to be found in unintellent natural processes, but is rather something which transcends natural order. And then, if I'm only unselfish to the point that it doesn't pain me, then such seems kind of superficial really.
In any case, I see this answer of yours fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally.
" If you are doing something "unselfish" because you wish to feel good, then you are ultimately doing it for selfish reasons.
 If I'm acting selfish others may not like me. Seriously? I know many selfish people, in fact, it seems to be the most selfish people who rise to be very wealthy and gain a whole lot of fame. Nonetheless, again I think this fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally.
 Again, because we know so many people have a moral conscience, we can actually prey upon such. There is still help available to me if I'm a complete **** to others, I just need to claim depression or put on some tears perhaps, look pathetic so others take pity. We can manipulate other people and very selfish people are often experts at this. There are ways people can connive to get what they want from others. Nonetheless, the reason you present once again fulfills, "except when it happens to pay me personally.
 I might be able to contribute to a better society if I'm selfish and able to gain much wealth and power. In addition, I can at the same time enjoy life more fully if I'm living life my way, have a mansion, having boat parties on a million dollar boat and the like? People would love me for such things, like they love others who do such. You seem to think being selfish and bettering society is exclusive to each other, but I don't see how. Nonetheless, on this last point of yours it still fulfills Lewis' "except when it happens to pay me personally.
Nils wrote:So there is no circularity.
Indeed, to the contrary, it still seems there is circularity.
Given all your reasons for being "unselfish" are ultimately built upon there being some sort of personal gain ("selfish" reason), then they fail to be reasons for why we should be unselfish. Indeed it seems CS Lewis stands correct, there is no reason for us to be unselfish than that we ought to be unselfish. But why ought we? The reason for such seems to supercede our physical lives.
I here refer you to true unselfishness found in Jesus' own teachings, such levels go beyond how many understand the golden rule, which can be summed up as, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you
." Note, the golden rule actually seems built upon selfishness IF
the reason you are doing to others is because you want something in return.
None of your examples could explain TRUE
unselfishness, the type found in Christ's teachings which involves loving others to the point of sacrificing your life for them, or loving your enemies even if they hate and will continue persecuting you:
- "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13)"
- "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:43-48)
I sometimes wonder why people are so repulsed by Christ's teachings. Maybe it's more a matter of people liking Christ, but not liking Christians they know or liking how many Christian appear to be dumb and stupid. BUT, I wonder how much of that is really just unjustified stigmas and labels, particularly since much of modern thought and science is built upon the shoulders of bright individuals who were Christian.