I was apparently inadvertently banned in Shades's purge of non-Canadian/USA IP addresses, over the last several days, but as this state of affairs has been rectified, I wanted to respond the Stak's argument regarding theodicy in a thread started in the Terrestrial room some days ago.
First, congrats to Droops for making up a new word (definitionally). Second, Droops is correct that what he describes is a gospel perspective:
I don't think I actually made it up. I've been using it for many years and I'm fairly sure I saw it in some book, somewhere, at some time. No way to prove that, though.
I have to say that I’m impressed with Droop’s use of the phrase “ontological categories”, now if he has any idea what that really is cannot be answered by me, but I’ll assume he knows how such terminology works.
I'm using that term to mean, for my purposes here, a category of being in the sense of a fundamental environmental mediating condition of existence itself. Good and evil would be a central aspect of these ontological conditions, as would free will (agency) and sentience (in some form, but at higher levels, a clear, developed self consciousness/awareness)
To Droops, good and evil are ‘core ontological categories of existence’ which I take to mean existence(hereafter: M) is a primary ontological category, and good(hereafter: G) and evil(hereafter: E) are secondary categories.
I'm not sure I would be comfortable with construing them as secondary. If existence is primary, and good and evil exist, and if existence (in the sense of the LDS understanding of the "plan of salvation" relative to human existence) is inextricably linked with the existence of good and evil such that existence qua existence takes much of its central meaning (teleology) from the relation between existence and good and evil, then good and evil are not secondary to existence but co-eternal and coextensive with it as fundamental ontological categories.
Existence then, while primary, if it enters into no relation with the comparison and contrast of good with evil, becomes a primary ontological category without teleology, and hence becomes meaningless. The existence of good and evil then, could be understood as a major catalyzing force that generates the dynamic interplay of free will with a complex moral environment.
Good and evil are probably better understood as core inherent aspects of being, not secondary, but necessary elements of it. Existence then, is a primary ontological category, and good and evil are primary ontological conditions within that category, or phenomenal superstructure.
To me, these categories are modally robust (e.g.. not subjective, like the ontology used in biology to divide kingdoms and such, nor prone to change) and so it follows that M, G, and E are natural classes (I hope Droops isn’t a good Lockean, because this flies in the face of Locke), with G and E being natural subclasses of M.
Again, I'm not sure if "subclass" is what I have in mind. Good and evil are primary ontological realities, but not in the way the conscious self is a primary ontological phenomena in itself. "Good" and "evil" are primary ontological realities because there is self aware, sentient intelligence in existence having the property of both free will and the intellectual capacity to enter into various kinds of relations, though the use of that will, with with other intelligent, self aware beings. The kinds of relations entered into; the motives, means, ends, and desires relative to those relations, emerge into the realm of moral, ethical relations, or immoral, unethical relations according to the motives, desires, and meaning of those relations to the participants.
The concepts "good" and "evil" define the perimeters and conditions of the integrity of those relations, and good and evil are actually manifested, in application, through the actual conduct of those relations. Hence, good and evil are not secondary features, or subclasses of existence, but inherent features of existence that condition it in fundamental and primary ways. They are not secondary, but primary mediating principles that coexist with existence as a necessary and interpenetrating aspect of existence.
Sadly, Droops doesn’t explicitly explain how G and E are linked by necessity, but I understand the sentence, “If one exists, the other must, by definition, also exist as the basis upon which the other is conceived” to mean that E is the absence of G and vice versa, that is to say, when you posit the existence of G, you also posit it’s negation, not good
I think it adequate, at the outset, to link good and evil in a necessary sense by showing that the one cannot exist as a concept without the existence of the other. The necessary relation is the relation of complete conceptual dependence of the one upon the other for either to have meaning.
If Good, then not Good, on the surface, (P1) looks like a contradiction, but you should understand it just to mean that if something Good is taking place at location X, then something not Good is taking place at location Y. In Droopy‘s post, you need the not be Good to be able to understand the Good.
1. To know good or evil, one would have to experience either internally, within conscious awareness, as both are; one would have to make himself either one of them, at any given time, and experience their effects as motives, desires, intentions, and willed action. If one conceptual structure is missing, the other becomes conceptually inert. Our motives, desires, intentions, and actions may remain the same, but would have no moral bias, having no conceptual frame of reference by which to ascertain the actual ontological/ethical nature of our relations to others as self aware, relating beings.
2. "Location" is not important here, only conceptualization. The idea that both good and evil are inextricably and dynamically linked contraries that cannot by logically or conceptually separated without destroying the conceptual viability of both, is only manifested as bad at location x
and good at location y
because the concepts are united as a dynamic whole.
(P2) ~G -> E
If not Good then Evil. Recall that Droopy made it explicit that Good and Evil are linked by definition
Which is to say that there is no moral neutrality in the cosmos save in trivial affairs.
(P3) E -> ~E
If something Evil happens at X, something not Evil happens at Y
This is not what I"m saying. The existence of evil or good at one point does not require the existence of good at another. "Good" only requires its definition to be logically and conceptually grounded in the definition of the other. Whether x
individuals choose either at any given point isn't relevant to my analysis.
All This seems appropriate for Droops, how often have we heard the trite and quite false idea expressed in terms like, “You wouldn’t know joy unless you knew misery”.
But this is all logically self evident, which is one reason I have classed this and other ontological complimentary contraries as fundamental to existence.
But what if you had a proposition like this?
(P5) Darth J sat on the chair.
(P5) seems to defy classification as either good or evil (more precisely; G v E),
Indeed, its an utter triviality, from a moral perspective.
but by Droops’ own espoused ontology, (P5) must fit into some natural subclass of M. In the question of G or E, it seems we must posit a third subclass of M to deal with things like (P5), let us call it N (for neutral)
You're argument thus far is not at all clear as to where you have derived your claim that my ontology attaches moral weight to trivial human activities or thought processes. The question is one of theodicy, and central to this, from an LDS perspective, is establishing the intrinsic and necessary existence of good and evil as fundamental mediating and conditioning aspects of existence qua existence. This sets up the problem of evil in the mortal spehre (probationary state, in LDS theology) and grounds it in a background of cosmic necessity quite distinct from the traditional Hellenistic/neo-Platonic influenced Christianity of post apostolic Christian history. It is also a direct contrast to the secular/humanist view.
If one wishes, one can look to the other thread for the remaining symbolized deductive arguments, but I've edited them here for brevity and because the entire approach is an attempt to show that, by my own argument, neutral/trivial events must have moral weight. The problem with this is that my argument neither presupposes such a problem, nor does it require that evil or good must occur at a specific place and time as if to conjure its opposite in another. What I have said is that when human motives, desire, will, and behavior are of a certain kind, moral weight appears and is active, at that point, because good and evil already exist as an inherent aspect of our ontological environment.
So long as we are sentient, self aware beings possessed of free will, certain kinds of motive, desire, and behavior will be morally weighted. Neutral acts (whether I have a tunafish sandwich for lunch or a baloney sandwich) are not, and I fail to see where in my aregument for the conceptual dependence of good upon evil Stak sees a logical implication that it should.
Droopy’s ontology and attempted LDS themed theodicy will inevitably lead to the contradiction that a neutral act is both good and evil, or if N is not allowed for some reason, then (P1) through (P4) is at best, an unconvincing tautology and at worst, a vicious circle.
Truly neutral actions were never an aspect of my argument here. My only concern has been with the conceptual relation of good to evil, and the impossibility of removing one concept from consciousness without removing the logical and conceptual basis for the comprehension of the other.
The concept of moral neutrality would require both the concepts of good and evil (morality and immorality) for the concept of moral neutrality to exist, and hence, if my eating of a tunafish sandwich for lunch instead of a baloney sandwich is morally neutral, then:
1. It implies the existence of good and evil as core conceptual frames of reference.
2. Is outside the realm of good and evil, i.e., is not both good and evil, but neither.
The problem with Stak's argument here is his logically unclear placing of someone sitting in a chair as having to be necessarily placed, according to my ontology, within some subclass of M. He then arbitrarily picks the categories of good and evil as his chosen subclasses. But why not another? Is not one possible subclass of existence "sitting in a chair to relax and read a good book" or "laying on the couch and staring at the ceiling"? These would seem just as legitimate subclasses of existences as any other, however not bearing the property of moral valuation.