Saturday, April 9, 2011

Friday [chat]

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hot Sauce Committee pt. 2.... part... two?

I'd ask Mikey just edit it into his own post.. but.. wanted to get it up on the blog pretty quickly, so...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MonHun Nikki Poka Poka Ailu Mura: SO CUUUUTE!

Monster Hunter and Animal Crossing had a baby. And its turnips are huuuuge!

Glen Beck Show Dropped!

But saddly will still be on other fox shows.
Down with Beck

Read Today's

You need to read today's

Because it is mostly, entirely, correct.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beastie Boys - Make Some Noise

The Beasties role back with a great new single.

Flugelhorn Feline > Keyboard Cat

Just when you thought nothing could be better than Keyboard Cat, we are gifted The Flugelhorn Feline!

Thing I kinda want, but could NEVER justify-

From the press release : IDW Publishing is thrilled to announce the expansion of the company’s acclaimed Artist’s Edition series with WALTER SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION. Launching in July, this oversized, hardcover collection will present Thor 337-340, Simonson’s first classic story arc, which introduced Beta Ray Bill, and Thor 360-362, Simonson’s choice for the second arc in the book. WALTER SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION will be the first in a series of Artist’s Editions featuring legendary creators and comics from Marvel.

WALTER SIMONSON’S THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION ($100, hardcover, black and white, 176 pages, 12” x 17”) will be available in stores in July 2011. ISBN 978-1-61377-038-2.

.. 100 dollars.. for.. 7 reprinted issues. Wrong, I know. But.. it's 100 dollars for Space Horse Jesus as he was meant to be seen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ethics is Dumb.

Back in January of 2008, Caleb made a post about a conversation he had with his sister-in-law regarding rightness and wrongness. I stated in the comments to that post that "ethics is dumb" without providing an argument because, well, I did not know what the argument was. I knew that ethics was dumb, but I did not know why. After thinking about it for over three years, I think I have a tenuous grasp on what might be an approximation of the start to the argument. Here's the beginning of my problem: I do not know what it means to say that something is unethical.

Let me qualify that: I know how to talk about ethics. Yet while I know what words to use, when to use the words, and how to arrange the words in such a way as to articulate an argument to which I can affix the name of a particular philosopher, I do not know what the words are about, to what the words refer. Presumably, we want to say that ethics has to do with morality, and morality has to do with right and wrong, good and bad. But those are the words the meanings of which I do not know. What the fuck is good? What is goodness?

Recently, in a class, the professor asked about the ethical questions one could raise of particular bits of software that allow a person to gain access to an otherwise restricted wireless network. My initial response to his ethical concerns was to discuss the legality of the software. When another student pointed out to me that ethics and legality were two different things, I realized I was confused.

Legality makes sense insofar as legality is the result of a system of punishments. If X is illegal, and a person is caught doing X, then that person will be punished. So, we can restructure the statement "It is illegal to steal" as "one who steals, and is caught, will be punished via the legal system." The term legality, the notion of legality, can be explained via terminology that is not simply a restatement of legality. We can discuss legality in terms of punishment.

But we cannot do the same thing for ethics or morality. To say that "x is unethical" is not to say "one who does x, and is caught, will be punished." Ethics and morality do not entail punishment in the same sense as legality. So, the rightness or wrongness, goodness or badness, of ethical or moral claims cannot be explained via an appeal to punishment. What, then, do these terms mean?

Here is the way A.J. Ayer tries to explain ethical and moral statements:

The presence of an ethical symbol in a proposition adds nothing to its factual content. Thus if I say to someone, "You acted wrongly in stealing that money," I am not stating anything more than if I had simply said, "You stole that money." In adding that this action is wrong I am not making any further statement about it. I am simply evincing my moral disapproval of it. It is as if I had said, "You stole that money," in a peculiar tone of horror, or written it with the addition of some special exclamation marks. … If now I generalise my previous statement and say, "Stealing money is wrong," I produce a sentence that has no factual meaning—that is, expresses no proposition that can be either true or false. … I am merely expressing certain moral sentiments.

If Player A says, "you acted wrongly" what they are actually saying is "I disapprove of how you acted." or "How you acted makes me sad." This is not a statement about reality or the act, but rather is a statement of how one feels about the act. At the moment, it seems to be the case that Ayer is correct. Or, I cannot think of a reason for which he would be wrong.

I have a similar feeling with regard to G.E. Moore:
It may be true that all things which are good are also something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light. And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were actually defining good; that these properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and entirely the same with goodness.

When one tries to define "goodness" they redefine it with a term that is equivalent to "goodness". Good is good. Or, we point to a thing and say, "that is good." But in our pointing, we are not indicating some empirical trait of the thing. Instead, we are simply proclaiming that we affix to the thing the label "good". But what can that label mean other than "it makes me happy"?

When I think of my own use of these terms, I can admit that I am simply making emotional proclamations. If I say that an ex was "wrong" to break up with me, what I am saying is that "It makes me sad that she broke up with me." Or, I can appeal to a notion of an ideal world. So, "she was wrong to break up with me" means "in an ideal world, she would not have broken up with me." But what is "ideal world" doing there? Why, it's simply, "the world that would make me the most happy", and we're back at the initial problem.

I've been thinking about this for over three years, and I can't think of a way to get ethics and morality, rightness and wrongness, goodness and badness, to mean anything other than happiness and sadness. Or, well, I can think of ways to get out of emotivism, but all of those arguments are fucking moronic. For example, we could be moral realists and argue that "good" and "bad" are qualities of things that exist out in the world, that if we look hard enough we could find "good" in a couch. But, come the fuck on; that is retarded. Or we could say that ethics and morality have to do with "God's law". But then we've made an ontological claim (God exists) and we've collapsed morality and ethics into legality.

If anyone has any ideas for how to get ethics to be sensible and keen, then I'm entirely willing to listen. But as far as I can tell, after thinking about this shit for a while, these are the only three ways to understand ethics:

1) Goodness : Badness :: Happiness : Sadness
2) Good is behind that couch.
3) Ethics is just another legal system.

One is retarded. Two is super-retarded. And three just dissolves the issue.

If you're wondering why this bugs me, it's not only because I like to argue. The problem is that I cannot think of a reason for which I need to act ethically. I can understand why I follow the law: I do not want to be punished. But with respect to ethics and morality...why the fuck would I be ethical or moral? If X is unethical, but in doing X I am in no way harmed and, in fact, benefit, then why not do X?

If X behooves me, then I probably ought to do X.
If X harms me, then I probably oughtn't do X.

However, that's not ethics or morality; that's just the basic operative norm utilized by any properly functioning sentient being. And for the life of me I cannot think of a reason for which shoving ethics into that structure in any way benefits me, or anyone else. That is, of course, unless in getting someone else to internalize a system of ethics I am able to manipulate and exploit them.

But, I mean, that's just me being an asshole.