IV Revision Journal, Part 1
I began writing Individual Valuism in early 2005. As it started out, I was just bored in Geology class one day and began scribbling some ideas about fairness and morality. Specifically, I remember analyzing the Golden Rule. It’s been considered a good rule to live by in many places and times in human history, but I’ve always thought it had some problems. These concerns have lasted to the current revision of my treatise:
From the main text, November 2006:
Throughout most human civilizations, there have been ethical teachings about reciprocity. Many of them rely on some variation of the rule “treat others as you would like to be treated.” While this is a good rule in many situations, it is also full of problems. Who counts as others? Other humans? Why not animals? What if there is a large difference in the way you and the other person want to be treated? What if there is a large difference in the way you and the other person deserve to be treated? Should a person refuse the notion of retribution and give aid to those that continually try to destroy him?
At the time, I was mostly focused on the rule’s assumption of who deserves moral consideration. The Golden Rule states that you should treat all humans like you would yourself. It could be interpreted to some animals too, but obviously not all of them. After all, you don’t think it’s moral to feed ants and mosquitoes, even though you like being fed. I thought a better rule would be worded like “Treat others with the same consideration that you would care if they showed you.” (I called this the “RoentgeniumRule,” in keeping with the Copper-Silver-Gold naming.) I thought it better explained why one could open doors for his neighbors but swat insects with impunity. Eventually, that line of thinking was replaced with more developed views of value, among other ideas. As time went on, I wrote more and more, which helped develop my ideas, so I added some things and revised some others. Around June 2006, I finally had my work completed, proofread, and harmonious like I wanted it. Then I started writing articles to continue to develop and apply my philosophy. After several months, I’ve gained newer thoughts and perspectives, and will once again start to revise and add to my largest work. I am now making the following changes to the text I put online in June 2006:
Value section: My first aim is to streamline and clarify the meanings and relationships among terms such as value, goodness, morality, desire, rightness, positive, etc. It’s pretty confusing the way I have it now and I’ll have to completely rewrite the first half of the paper to make it satisfactory. The first step is to de-emphasize the concept of value as a measure of worth in favor of immediately focusing on the concept of good as what is desirable and positive to a person. I had to be careful in defining healthiness as the seemingly-obvious value. It is counterproductive and confusing to use the phrase “good health” as something that can be objectively defined in the middle of an evaluation of what goodness is (and prior to saying it’s not objective.) Also in this section, I decided that the bulleted list was unnecessary and to remove the “some explanations have merit and some do not, so there must be a correct explanation” part.
Fact and Individual Value section: I tried to clear up my view of the sensual basis for values. I don’t want to leave the door open for someone to say, “Oh, you think that goodness is whatever someone feels like?” No, sensations only form the basis for our ability to understand goodness. Out of that framework, the way something is found to be good or bad is extremely complicated.
Ethics section: I condensed and merged the first two paragraphs. The first paragraph had sentences that were deleted because they didn’t fit with the rewritten value section. In the second paragraph, I deleted most of the “good for” discussion. It’s mostly unnecessary and due to one reader’s confusion, I realized that I had failed to put that “good for” implies that one is the beneficiary of an action under another value system. I had been making assumptions that eating, entertainment, etc. is just “supposed to” be good for a person. Value assumptions are hard to kill and can affect everyone, even me.