On 27 November 2013 11:34, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 11/26/2013 1:20 PM, LizR wrote:
>  On 27 November 2013 07:22, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>  Suppose you work for yourself instead of society.  Or as George Carlin
>> put it, "If I'm here for other people, what are those other people here
>> for?"
>  "What has posterity ever done for me?"
>  This is an evolutionary choice between being a loner or a herd animal.
> Some predators tend to be loners, a lot of prey tend to be herd animals.
> Humans appear to be prey - we generally do a poor job of surviving long
> term without the protection of society.
> Wolves and orcas are 'herd' animals too.

You did notice that I said "some" predators, right? Some prey animals are
loners, too. My point was that humans work better in groups, and that they
individually would find it hard to surivive in the wild. That still seems
valid to me. Humans are social animals, and the reason they are is that
this helps them survive against predators (if you'll excuse me speaking
teleologically rather than spelling out the evolutionarily correct version).

> Much as I like George Carlin, he wouldn't last long without the help of
> "all those other people" he's being dismissive of (or was he being ironic,
> to make a point?
> I take his point to be that people need to have some intrinsic purpose and
> values.  To just help other people assumes those other people are going
> supply the purposes and values, so altrusim can't be a fundamental value.
> I don't think many people "just" help others. I assume most people who
want to help others do so either because some nurturing instinct has been
"subverted", or at least redirected, or because they recognise that humans
are more likely to survive as a society than as a group of loners (the
latter would be called an "ideological" reason I think).

That is, I assume it's down to one form or another of enlightened self
interest, rather than "pure altruism" (with the exception of a few saints,

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