• Hacksaw
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    1 month ago

    Not having empathy isn’t enough to be evil. Just like having empathy isn’t enough to be good. You need ideology.

    For example, the guy who lacks empathy could use basic libertarian or anarchist ideology for why we shouldn’t hurt people using logic instead of empathy.

    Another example would be if you use fascist ideology you can turn empathy into a weapon for evil. The us vs them ideology requires empathy. The idea is that they are going to hurt the people you love just by existing is what dehumanizes them enough for a normal person to attack them.

    • captainlezbian@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      Exactly, I have a loved one who struggles with empathy, but she believes in justice and she has logic and so she winds up with extremely pro social beliefs and behavior. She just can be a bit rough around the edges sometimes when she thinks you’re not making sense

      • Leate_Wonceslace@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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        1 month ago

        If we have a utility function, we are capable of assigning any arbitrary physically possible sequence of local world states to a unique real number. We can then designate a discriminant (if the utility function is capable of producing negative outputs, this would typically be 0). We can designate inputs that give outputs higher than the discriminant as “good” and lower as “evil”.

        This example has flaws, but demonstrates that the terms good and evil can be well-defined in a useful way that reasonably conforms to platonic ideals of the terms.

          • Leate_Wonceslace@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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            1 month ago

            That’s the nature of language.

            Correct.

            That is also NOT the definition

            So your previous statement was that a specific (unstated) way of defining Good and Evil, while paired with our typical modern worldview implied that Good and Evil didn’t exist? I suppose you’re almost certainly correct if that’s the case, but I don’t find that to be a very interesting statement. The only other way I can interpret this is as a claim that there is exactly one definition of Good and Evil, and anyone who uses a different definition is wrong, but that strikes me as an utterly foolish position.

            I wasn’t aware of Hume’s account of definition, but it strikes me as extremely straightforward.

      • Hacksaw
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        1 month ago

        Good and evil is ideology. Matter has no ideology, no good, no evil.

    • Leate_Wonceslace@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      1 month ago

      You need ideology

      No; compassion and naive morality is usually sufficient. A well-developed ethical system is good, and typically out-performs the former, but avoiding being outright evil without outside influence is easy.

      • Hacksaw
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        1 month ago

        I might have a broader definition of ideology than you because morality and ethical systems are ideology. Look how many different moral and ethical systems we have. Just choosing between what exists requires ideology first.

        • chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          Ideology is one of those words that has become almost useless due to how many different (and contradictory) definitions people have for it. If you have to define a word for someone (and they already knew that word beforehand) then the word isn’t conveying enough meaning!

          • Hacksaw
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            1 month ago

            I agree with you, I wish there was a word that only meant “ideas and beliefs not based in objective truth that affect our choices and actions”. It would definitely be useful.

        • Leate_Wonceslace@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          1 month ago

          “Naive” in the context of philosophy means a position or notation that is not deeply thought about or is otherwise not developed. I am comparing well-developed ethics (ideology) with compassion (bare emotional functions that people possess without intervention). Any definition of “ideology” that includes basic cognitive functions is not one that I regard as useful.

          • Hacksaw
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            1 month ago

            I prefer “things which aren’t objectively true that we act as if they are true”. The first line of the Wikipedia article on ideology uses the same definition more beautiful phrased “An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group of persons, especially those held for reasons that are not purely epistemic, in which “practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones””

            A good example of an almost universal ideological belief is that “killing is wrong/bad”. It’s not objectively true, we kill animals, we kill in wars, we euthanize people in medicine. But we act as if it’s true none the less in our day to day lives because no one wants to live in a society where killing is generally acceptable, for obvious reasons.

            That being said, I don’t see anything wrong with what you’re saying in a vacuum. I just feel like as soon as you place a naive person in society they begin to interact with and adopt aspects of various ideologies without “deep thought”, sometimes even subconsciously.

            The beauty culture is a good example of where people will adopt definitions of beauty that are ideological (beautiful people are good, ugly people are bad/dangerous) without conscious effort or deep thought. Then they will act everyday as if they believe in it.

            The people who watch Fox news hold complex ideological beliefs, mostly subconsciously. It becomes apparent when you ask them to explain their beliefs that they didn’t adopt these ideologies based on deep thought, but will fight fiercely to defend them.

            I think that these people’s behaviours are driven by ideology even though they themselves weren’t the one that did the deep thinking.

            Honestly there are good arguments that in complex systems even basic cognitive functions can and will create ideology. An example is birds in a cage with a button that when pressed gives them food. If you disconnect the button then give them food randomly, they’re likely to start creating complex dances and rituals based on what they think was responsible for activating the food dispenser. This in a lot of ways mirrors primitive religious behaviour which are certainly ideology.

            Perhaps you have another word you prefer to use for deeply held beliefs that affect our behavior but are attained through means other than deep thought?

    • efstajas@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      That’s one way to see it. Another is that empathy is all that’s needed for good, but ideology can be used to manipulate people such that their empathy for a certain group is suppressed.

    • Isthisreddit@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      Does us vs them really require empathy? I always saw it as a lack of empathy - the empathy in tribalism seems to end at the tribe

    • Holzkohlen@feddit.de
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      1 month ago

      Great, now I don’t know if I can feel empathy. Better take a 2 min facebook quiz to find out.