Friday, October 23, 2015

Value—Nihilism: A response to a Christer

Daniel's Christian theism assumes the existence of intrinsic value. That is something is put forth as "a good in itself". In my experience what the Theist means by the terms "Intrinsic Value" and "Intrinsic Goodness" is that 1 a thing is valuable or good independent of whether valuers (minds) value it; 2 It is worth choosing regardless of the consequences for doing so.

The Theist/moral realist wants to say that a particular thing is intrinsically good, end of story, no questions asked, so no one gets to ask "but what about x makes it an intrinsic good or value?" or "what is its utility?".
My response to this claim is that this is not only just a brute assertion but a meaningless one at that. This is like WLC's Moral argument all over again.
Why is God good? "Well he just is!".

It is just a tautology! There may in fact be things that are desired for their own sake about which one may not desire to ask probing questions, however this does not mean that these valued things are intrinsically valuable, it just means they are valued by valuers.

Now even if everything was valued or desired for the sake of happiness or the sake of spreading ones genes this would not make happiness or gene spreading "intrinsically good and or valuable". Yes! pain is painful and pleasure is pleasurable but from this fact no objective values and duties can be derived. It is still all contingent upon the subjective "if I want to avoid pain or if I want to experience pleasure". The proposition that x is intrinsically good begs many questions and offers no explanation. Claims to intrinsic goodness and values are not meaningful and have no explanatory power whatsoever.

In response to this video