X-Message-Number: 32125
From: David Stodolsky <>
Subject: Re:  #32116 - #32120
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 19:29:30 +0100
References: <>

On 1 Nov 2009, at 11:00 AM, CryoNet wrote:

>  What I say is not "amateur social science" but
> rigorous philosophy and logic.

Philosophy and logic alone are not useful in understanding behavior. I  
am not aware of anyone in these fields who would claim that they are.  
Philosophers sometime produce theories of ethical behavior, but these  
are always tested against data of the type seen in psychology,  
biology, etc. Behavioral psychology is extremely complex compared to  
physics, chemistry, etc. and progress is not made even in the physical  
sciences thru logic alone, but thru experiment, analysis of data, etc.

> There is never any conscious self sacrifice, only the sacrifice of  
> one want
> in favor of another. You may sacrifice your life for someone or  
> something
> you  hold dear, but if the choice is a conscious one that simply  
> means that,
> at that  time and place, you calculate more pain or less  
> satisfaction in
> making the  superficially "selfish" choice.

This is a tautology.

>>> In YOUNIVERSE I have demonstrated, at least to my own satisfaction,
>>> that self interest (properly understood) is not only the only
>>> conscious
>>> motivation of everyone, but the only possible motivation, no
>>> exceptions.
> I almost agree with you.  The real party of (self) interest is genes,
> and they can only induce behavior that is statistically likely to
> further their interest.  If you want to understand odd human behavior
> such as suicide bombings then this is where you need to start.

More pop evolutionary psychology. Terror management theory does a fine  
job in explaining this type of behavior, without recourse to genes,  
etc. As a simpler explanation (a strictly behavioral theory) it takes  
precedence. If you want to claim an evolutionary explanation of  
behavior, then you must show that terror management theory doesn't do  
the job.

> Re
> conscious motivation, I think the current accepted view is that for
> the most part humans are not aware of the source of their motivations.

There is now plenty of neuropsychological data that supports this. The  
conscious part of the brain is a rationalizer, that justifies a  
decision already made, not a rational decision maker.

>> Self-sacrifice is observable in most organisms, at least from worms  
>> to
>> humans, evolutionarily speaking. There is good evidence for multi-
>> level evolution, which means there is also a group "survival
>> instinct". This is characterized as hardiness, a psychological
>> variable (see Maddi, et al.):
> The problem with group selection logically is that the the selection
> feedback.

"Unto others" and other books show that this is false, even on  
strictly logical terms.


David Stodolsky
  Skype: davidstodolsky

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