There's a tired old argument that keeps recurring over and over again whenever sane people encounter egotistical numbfucks (henceforth 'egotists'). The egotists like to claim that altruism doesn't exist blah blah blah, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Evidence both definitional and empirical (see Amartya Sen on Identity). And of course sane people counter the egotists but then go on to pontificate about the fact that you can't derive Ought statements from Is statements.
To me this is very sad because those otherwise sane people are obvious mental incompetents who haven't the slightest idea what Ought statements are in the first place. And their "arguments" involve a lot of trivial examples (ignoring the fact you can't prove a universal statement from examples, let alone trivial examples) and quoting other mental incompetents who happen to be famous among their clique. And when you pontificate at length about a subject whose basic concepts you neither understand nor comprehend, well that's just sad.
So what are Ought statements? Fuck statements, what are OUGHTs in the first place? Oughts are second generation desires. Or meta-desires. Oughts are what you want to want. You want ice cream, right? But does that mean you OUGHT to have ice cream? No, it doesn't. After all, maybe you're fat and you really wish you didn't want ice cream. Oughts are the universal wants. Things you want to be the case in all places, at all times, in all timelines and all possible realities.
That's why Ought statements can never be derived from Is statements. Not because some mentally incompetent overhyped philosopher said so two centuries ago. Nor because you can come up with a handful of examples of its not working. No, simply from the fact that Ought statements can only be derived from GREATER THAN the sum total of reality. And Is statements encompass only a reality. Pretty fucking simple, innit? But then again, what 'ought' means seems pretty simple once you actually know it.
In fact, let's deviate first into IS. As everyone who's ever studied meta-mathematics knows, there's no such thing as a universal mathematical system. There's no such thing as universal mathematical statements. Truth and falsity depends entirely on the system you're working in. EXISTENCE depends on the system you're working in. To say that something exists means that an object having its characteristics can be found in such and such a system. Existence doesn't say something about "objects" the way other predicates do, it says something about objects in a specific system. That's why it's a meta-predicate.
Now, the system can be Mathematical System 1, or Mathematical System 2, or any of an infinite number of others. And Physical Reality is merely 'the mathematical system which we live in and experience subjectively'. This is why math succeeds in describing physical reality. Because physical reality is just math. The great "mystery" that has boggled famous but mentally incompetent philosophers for 2000 years is neatly resolved.
And with that deviation out of the way, let's get back to Wants. What are wants exactly? It seems like such a terribly obvious question. And it is, once you actually know the answer.
First of all, wants are not "preferences". Preferences are relations between two things. Wants are not relations between things. They aren't binary, they're unary.
Second of all, wants are not real numbers. They don't add together and they don't multiply. 10,000 oranges don't have the value of 1 orange. 10,000 trinkets you want don't have the value of the life of a friend. Your relationship with a friend doesn't have the value of their life.
Funny thing though, both economics (who think wants are preferences) and utilitarians (who think they're real numbers) use "utility" and "utility function" to describe wants. And it's not just because they're retards stuck on a term that was in favour two centuries ago. No, it's because these two groups share between them a core of fanatical anti-reality egotistical right-wing fucks.
If you want to have some laughs, attend a few lectures on economics. Physical reality as it actually is never enters into their tiny little heads. Only mathematical reality and reality as it is imagined by other economists. You'll never hear an economist ask "does this concept actually describe anything at all in physical reality"? Take Ricardo's theorem of comparative advantage, which shows taht free trade is always advantageous in a situation where labour and financial investments can't move geographic and political boundaries. Does this describe anything in the post-1980s world? No, it does not.
For that matter, the equations of standard economics all come from obsolete thermodynamical equations. You know, ones that didn't work. And that were supposed to describe heat anyways, not money. They were just transferred wholesale, and economists are all too mentally incompetent and brainwashed to check whether they're true. Or even to care.
Okay, I never said they were happy laughs. They're more the kind where you have to laugh because otherwise you'd cry.
What WANTs Are
Okay, so if Wants aren't preferences and they aren't reals, then what are they? One candidate is hyperreals. Hyperreals have the useful property that a billion times an infinity is more or less equal to that infinity. Multiplyig an infinity by any finite amount will never get you the next greater infinity. Establishing a reliable supply of donated blood will always be a higher moral priority than killing the vampire, no matter how much blood he drinks, so long as he doesn't endanger anyone's life. No matter how many (finite) number of people he inconveniences.
Hyper-reals also have the nice property that two infinities of the same order CAN BE compared against each other ... and the comparisons will give different answers at different times. Saving 2 people's life has more priority than saving 1 person's life, unless those 2 are retarded. It's all nicely fuzzy and actually does depend on the otherwise irrelevant finite multiplication factor.
Whatever wants are, I like to call them 'values'. It's not quite correct since people have the notion that values are high-falutin' things that exclude earthy desires like chocolate and ice cream. But all the other technical words (utility, preferences) have reserved (wrong) meanings. And 'desires' is wrong too since what I mean by values (or by wants for that matter) includes satisfied desires. By value I include things you don't actually want right now. Values include things whoese heh "value" is 0; or even negative value for things you hate or are repelled from. As opposed to things that have a value of NIL; things that just never cross your mind.
If you can think of a better candidate term than 'value' for the concept, something that doesn't give the wrong flavour, I'll adopt it immediately.
Deriving Oughts From Is, part 2
So what does it mean for something to be an Ought? It means it's a kind of Want. It's something you Want To Want. And what does it mean to be a Want? It means that some concept or idea has got a little hyperreal number tagged to it. That's the difference between an Is and an Ought concept or idea, the latter has a meta-tag attached to it and the former just has nothing.
So it's pretty obvious why you can't derive Oughts from Ises. Because those meta-tags don't exist as part of the thing (concept, idea, object, whatever). It's your mind (or your brain for you mindless types) that attaches tags to things. The tags spread almost like viruses from one concept to any nearby concepts. Or your mind can just tag things by inspecting the tags of any concepts logically related to the concept you're examining. If you can do logic anyways.
The point here though is that those tags don't exist in physical reality. Ice cream cartons don't come with little tags attached to them that say "Richard wants me THIS much". Those tags are created by the mind and exist solely in the mind.
And yeah, the mind is a product of the brain and the brain is embedded in physical reality. That's called meta-circularity. The fact that inside of physical reality is a brain that has a(n incomplete) model of all of physical reality. But meta-circularity is a strange beast and that's why all sane people pretend it doesn't exist unless they're actually talking ABOUT meta-circularity.
Consciousness (both multileveled and unileveled) is an artifact of meta-circularity. The fact that Oughts and consciousness are both meta-circular is not a coincidence. They're actually different aspects of the same phenomenon. It's why people attaining multileveled consciousness develop higher level values (values that govern their values) even though the proper definition of multileveling (creating an independent conception of oneself) makes no reference to values.
But even when talking about consciousness, it's always helpful to shove the meta-circularity to the side. Acknowledge it then dismiss it. Pretend it isn't there and treat the meta-hierarchy linearly. Pretend the mind exists outside of reality. Pretend that Ought statements can't be found in Is statements about your mind or your brain.
Because they're strange loops, and people who like to draw strange loops together like knotted rope are retarded morons. They're twits who like to Shock and Awe people rather than explain anything. Comprehension of strange loops can only come from cutting and unrolling them. Just take the strange loop, duplicate it a few times, cut each loop in different places and unroll them all. That's the key to comprehending how they work.
So that's all there is to it. Anyone who says Ought statements are Is statements is just trying to fuck with you by drawing your attention to a true but utterly unimportant fact. Yes, there's a strange loop (a meta-circularity) in there. So what? That's not the important bit. The important bit is the relation between Is->Want->Ought, not Ought-(Is). The important bit is that Oughts are those Wants which you Want To Want.
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