MORALITY vs NIHILISM: Stefan Molyneux vs James Theodore Stillwell III

The following video is brought to you courtesy of the Stefan Molyneux YouTube Channel. Click the video below to watch it now.

Stefan Molyneux strives to rescue James Theodore Stillwell III – author of “Power Nihilism” from his rejection of morality…

Audio: https://soundcloud.com/stefan-molyneux/morality-vs-nihilism-stefan-molyneux-vs-james-theodore-stillwell-iii

“Power Nihilism” book: https://amzn.to/33Y4RIO

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Quotes:

There are no moral or immoral behaviors, only positive and negative attitudes (or erroneous beliefs) about behaviors.

The world is a battlefield, lacking inherent good or evil, wrongness or righteousness, and devoid of (inherent) intrinsic value or worth.

No moral or political falsehood shall be truth to me.

When a person states that “abortion is immoral” what are they trying to communicate?
Is this a statement about the qualitative third person event, or medical procedure known as “abortion”? If we were to examine every atom and molecule that would constitute said event would we ever arrive at some mysterious substance called wrongness? I think not.

…all moral value judgements are merely subjective opinions about what “ought” or “ought not” to be. There is no objective morality, nor “moral high ground.” What one ought do is contingent upon one’s subjective goals, desires, wants, and feelings.

They (secular moralists [i.e. Sam Harris) simply define “the well-being of conscious creatures” as the good and moral, then accuse anyone who does not hold to their sacrosanct definition and baseless herd morality as “excusing themselves from the discussion on ethics.”

Or as Arthur Schopenhauer put it:
Every ought simply has no sense and meaning except in relation to threatened punishment or promised reward …Thus every ought is necessarily conditioned through punishment or reward, hence, to put it in Kant’s terms, essentially and inevitably hypothetical and never, as he maintains categorical … Therefore an absolute ought is simply a contradictio in adjecto.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant split imperatives into two types: hypothetical and categorical. Hypothetical imperatives (aka rational oughts) instruct what actions to perform in order to achieve a particular goal. Example: “If you want to lose weight, you ought to diet and exercise.”

In his book The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris defines “morally good” as “the well-being of conscious creatures” but this is merely his definition and his opinion, and it raises the question “Moral according to whom?”

Hume’s Guillotine, also called the is-ought problem, and “Hume’s law” is a recognition that one cannot logically derive prescriptions (what ought to be) from what is (description).

Harris contends that science can answer such questions as “what should I believe, and why should I believe it?” But science can only deal with description not prescription. Clearly, he is mistaken.

Another botched secular attempt to objectify morality is Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism.” Rand defined “value” as “the fact of goal-directed action” where “goal-directed action” means “that which one acts to obtain or keep” (208). Her successor Peikoff claims such an understanding entails that values are always relative to agents and to their aims.

However, her assertion is laughably absurd. The “fact that a living entity is” may perhaps determine its natural inclination and abilities, or what it will do, but not what it ought to do.

She argued that “choosing life as your standard of value is a pre-moral choice” and that it “cannot be judged as right or wrong; but once chosen, it is the role of morality to help man to live the best life possible” and thus left the “ought” to “choice” and not to “is.” Therefore Objectivism has failed to solve the is-ought problem as according to Rand moral prescription (ought) is contingent upon an amoral choice (an if clause) and not upon descriptive facts (is).

Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux

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