Does anyone talk about a will for others to see themselves? I'm being a little ambiguous, I'm sure, but am trying to give up on phrases like "good" and "evil" as well as the will to punish (merely out of boredom, I guess), and was thinking how I'd like others to be.

Wouldn't it be pretty if everyone saw themselves as they really are, if there is such a thing? So that this man is not a likeable rogue, he is vicious cheat incapable of love, and another is not really benevolent, as he is just easily led and a self infatuated hypocrtite.

Is there a name or philosophical topic about this kind of widsom in or from satire, especially how it can make us happy or sad?

Is there a wisdom or way of thinking that helps others to judge themselves fairly?

2 Answers 2





Loosely speaking, the answer to your question is that all ethical philosophers are engaged in this. By explaining how their ethics work, they give the reader the opportunity to engage in self-reflection based on this philosophy, and attempt to provide perspective on how one can engage in this self-reflection. That is literally the entire field of moral philosophy.

On the other hand, no moral philosophers I'm aware of focus on how to convince other people to adapt a particular system of ethics and apply that to themselves. That is because that is not a question of moral philosophy, that is a question about of rhetoric, psychology, or marketing.

On the gripping hand, all types of clinical therapy attempt to answer this question. It is the purpose of therapy to help other people understand themselves and live better lives as a result.

So all branches of moral philosophy are concerned with what is good, and are concerned with how people can understand themselves ethically, but the task of helping people to do so is a different job entirely.

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    @halp I will be honest here: these comments worry me a little. It seems like you must really be going through something, and I really hope you are okay.
    – philosodad
    Commented Jan 7 at 22:20
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    your empethy is appreciated. i will likely get sectioned or get the truth, soon enough, gl
    – user70707
    Commented Jan 7 at 22:27
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    @halp good luck to you as well.
    – philosodad
    Commented Jan 7 at 22:41

The Ethics of Spinoza precisely attacks the prejudice of people looking at others instead of oneself when considering ethics.

The works of Spinoza as a whole critique an erroneous summation of ethics as about being good or evil to each other. Rather Spinoza's Ethics are about oneself living a good life and being free from passions, meaning only determined by ones own causes and not enslaved by passions and external causes. The key point in the book is that rather than people being "evil" or "good", there are free people (free of passions) and enslaved people (because of their passions). Ethics is a guide to free oneself from passions not a guide on how to be good to others.

Here is an Online version of the ethics.

These are some useful parts of the book to understand my argument:

  1. Spinoza presents the world as totally deterministic. With this proposition he implicitly denies humans free will:

Ethics Part I. PROP. XXXVI. There is no cause from whose nature some effect does not follow.

From here it follows that there is one we could say perfect way in which the univrse and everything can flow.

  1. Spinoza argues there is an inherent force inside everything that is always pushing to endure:

Ethics Part III. PROP. VII. The endeavour, wherewith everything endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the actual essence of the thing in question.

  1. The ethics defines pleasure and pain as variability of this endeavour to persist in oneself:

Ethics Part III PROP. XI. Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind.

  1. This part basically says that it is reasonable and ethic to love and care what others love and care:

Ethics Part III PROP. XXVIII. We endeavour to bring about whatsoever we conceive to conduce to pleasure; but we endeavour to remove or destroy whatsoever we conceive to be truly repugnant thereto, or to conduce to pain. [...] PROP. XXIX. We shall also endeavour to do whatsoever we conceive men6 to regard with pleasure, and contrariwise we shall shrink from doing that which we conceive men to shrink from.

From all this (and basically from the whole Ethics book) it follows that if we all individually focus on becoming free from our passions we will eventually love what men love and help in the endeavour of man and the whole of nature to persist in itself.

It is unreasonable to believe that judging others is the way to a more ethical life since by judging we are engaging in what Spinoza calls a passion: we use our judgment of external cuases as guide to owns action. This, according to the whole of Spinoza´s argument, is totally the opposite of living a free ethical life.

  • "Spinoza attempts to show that moral concepts, such as the concepts of good and evil, virtue, and perfection, have a basis in human psychology" i have no idea what you're gegtting at. please add quotes from relevant scholarship, if you are going to answer again
    – user70707
    Commented Jan 7 at 16:06
  • this is an interesting chat-gpt output, but i'm not sure how you reach your conclusion that we should not judge others nor help them to judge themselves?
    – user70707
    Commented Jan 7 at 20:50
  • This is not a chat-gpt output. If you wrote that comment snarkily I would appreciate that you refrain from doing so again and save the trouble of being reported for community guidelines violation. Commented Jan 7 at 21:01
  • fine. why do you think that all judgments of others are passionate? and what about assisting others in judging themselves? please take more care to answer the question at hand
    – user70707
    Commented Jan 7 at 21:02
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    @halp it seems pretty obvious that this is by definition, that Spinoza isn't arguing that judgements of others are "passionate" by your definition of passionate, he is arguing that to judge others is to engage in a passion as he defines passion. That said, I think the answer could be improved with more attention to what Spinoza means by "passion".
    – philosodad
    Commented Jan 7 at 21:28

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