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Value of lives ?


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I'm guessing by the nature of the question and the reply by the OP that by intrinsic they mean fundamental? To answer this I'm not sure there is, and how there could be unless it was assigned, which implies a higher or conscious power that governs all life on Earth ( and possibly the universe should there be any). 

If you are religious you may argue that God assigns value and we humans (at least in some cultures) sit at the top of the pecking order. You may argue that the universe assigns value by producing rare and complex structures, by which the more complex and the rarer the complexity the higher the value. 

This doesn't mean that protection or survival of such is priority, we are examples of how this fails regularly - wars, environmental abuse, pointless destruction/killing, etc... 

So other than assignment by personal value, I don't see how one could encompass all into a fundamental set that was consistent across all life. As Zaptos has stated a few times, values are dynamic and personal.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

A rock, does not value anything. It is not alive. The organisms that live on the rock, will engage in behaviors that suggest on some level that they value something. Food/energy, dark or light, heat etc.

As far as we can tell, our valuing behaviors are the only ones that delve more into the abstract, away from the physical ones like basic biological needs, family or social group, procreation. Some may argue that all of our abstract values are utilities for the sake of attaining those physical resources. I'm not really going to take a side on that debate in this comment. Just lay out the different views. 

For life; the only universal (imo) is that life values its own existence. The shrimp values itself more than it values the squid. In some sense, you could argue that this means value is everywhere, you can try to quantify it, but you'll only be marginally accurate from the perspective of your existence as a human. Which some other human will eventually disagree with. Hence the marginal accuracy. 

If you want to go more meta and reflect on if there is any value to life's valuing behaviors, knock yourself out. That's a weird rabbit hole to go down though, take it from me.

Now when I say life values it's existence or engages in valuing behaviors, I mean that in a very neutral sense. Valuing behaviors cover positive and negative value estimations. It values along a spectrum of different good and bad meta-ethical schools of thought. If you think life is terrible or is great, either way you're still engaging in valuing behaviors. Valuing behaviors only means the act of giving a value to something, positive or negative. 

Edited by MSC
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3 hours ago, MigL said:

The concept of 'value' has no meaning unless you specify to whom.

There is no such thing as 'intrinsic value'.

This is the more succinct way of saying what I said! 😆 

We can settle for emergent value at least. 

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On 2/18/2022 at 12:54 PM, dimreepr said:

for whom the the bell tolls

You can be damn sure that's a human, not a horse or a cow. We light candles and ring bells only for those who have souls and that's an exclusively human property. (more restrictions may apply) Except that some humans don't think heaven would be worthwhile without their canine or feline companions, which is going to complicate the admissions procedure at the Pearly Gate.


Edited by Peterkin
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9 hours ago, Peterkin said:

We light candles and ring bells only for those who have souls and that's an exclusively human property.

3 questions:

1. How do you know it is exclusively a human property? To have a soul I mean, obviously we are the only ones lighting candles... on this planet at least. 

2. How do you know that even we have a soul?

3. What is a soul?

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2 hours ago, MSC said:

How do you know it is exclusively a human property?

Genesis, St. Paul and the Venerable Descartes tell me so. 

2 hours ago, MSC said:

How do you know that even we have a soul?

I don't believe we have, but if I did, I would hold with the First Nations who believed that all Earthly things, including the wind, the land and the river have souls. 

2 hours ago, MSC said:

What is a soul?

The animating spirit; life force; a share in the universe.

PS - 4. It was a throw-away line, not a debate point.

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  • 5 weeks later...

My religious state of mind helps me a lot in such quastions. Everything is valuable, everything is connected. All the humanity is a kind of siingle organism where everybody affects everybody. As well as nature. And we're also inextricably connected to our planet, though nature seems to be self-contained)
But that's an ideal idea.

In my real life, to my regret, I have preferences based on my imperfection. I'd prefer my cat to an unknown bird on my balcony and allow my pet to eat it. I'd prefer cats to dogs. I'd prefer shrimp to sardine))) and actually sardine will be more happy cause I'll eat the shrimp)))

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