In The Last of Us, Joel Had It Right


Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
The problem Shamus is that I think your a bit too optimistic, reality doesn't work that way, and while a work of fantasy this game is trying to be realistic in it's portrayal and how things would tend to work out. This wasn't meant to be a happy story where by doing the right thing everything turns out okay in the end. In reality that's not how things work.

To use your own "World War II" example, when you drop the BS from it, you know who the biggest bastards in the war were right? It wasn't the Nazis, it was us. Reality is that the biggest bastard wins, in a war he gets to write the history books talking about how great and righteous he was. The winners have "war heroes" they are just like the "war criminals" of the other side, except they get to be heroes because their side won. Case in point, you hear about the horrors of The Blitz and how many bombs Germany dropped on London and such. On the other hand one allied hero was Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, known as "The Butcher" to the germans. It was his job during the war to do the same thing to them and eradicate the German civilian population, something he did VERY well, he even killed our own people when the Germans tried to use POWs as factory and farm workers as human shields. You hear all about what Nazis did to poor civilians, and how they invaded homes and murdered women and children. We did the same thing, even more ruthlessly, during the final days of the war where we literally eradicated civilians building to building (many fighting to protect their homes) as we moved through the cities to dig the Nazi elite out of their bunkers. The Nazis killed british kids who loved their country, The Allies wiped out The Hitler Youth. Nazi scientists did all kinds of insane experiments, not only did ours likely do as much or worse since we were closing the tech gap, but we also gave a lot of those guys exceptions and hired them. Ever wonder why we didn't have endless gueriella warfare against Nazi extremists? That's because while we said the war was over we proceeded to hunt down and kill anyone we even suspected as being affiliated with them to wipe out the entire ideology as much as possible. For decades we had people all over the world hunting them down, Israel being particularly persistent and even now it seems to find 80 and 90 year old dudes to "punish" for the crime of say having peeled potatoes in a prison camp when they were 15 or whatever. Basically we engaged in ideaological genocide and continue it to this day..... This is all dirty, and depressing, but it is reality, that's what real wars take and anything worthwhile comes with a cost.

Allowing naïve idealists to set policy means we have consistently managed to lose almost every major military conflict we've been involved in. We defeated the most dangerous empire the world every produced by the skin of our teeth and now we can't even handle a bunch of dirt poor religious fanatics because it would be wrong to fight them effectively. We load our bombs with concrete and drop rocks to protect civilians, they send people into press offices in Paris to gun people down with imputiny... go go optimistic morality.

At any rate, yeah, to win a major war civilians need to be massacred to end it by destroying the ideas they hold, otherwise it's endless. In other events, sometimes you need to kill a few, including innocents, to save a lot. The ends do justify the means... always. Unlike books, comics, and televised morality lessons the writer isn't on our side. Nobody is going to stick to their guns, and undergo a mau'dib type transformation and undo all the bad things that happened when their morality pays off like a bad anime. Love and the power of friendship are great and worthy things but have no mystical intrinsic properties that allow you to ignore the unpleasant aspect of the world.

In "The Last Of Us" the bottom line is those scientists were ruthless as effective scientists oftentimes are, but they were also right, the storyline makes this clear and it's spelled out. Ellie was defined well enough where she would be willing to die, but even if she wasn't, killing her would STILL be the right thing to do.

The entire point of the game was to be anti-thetical to the usual leftward leaning stuff. In your typical story there would be a way to save Ellie and the world, the bastard scientists would be wrong because anything this terrible has to be wrong, but this is more like real life... by doing what your typical hero would do in most stories he becomes the villain he started as. In most stories he'd cry "no, no one will be sacrificed" kill the bastards and then some magical plot macguffin would make everything okay... but that doesn't happen, just like it wouldn't in real life.

To again use World War II as an example, you find a bunch of kids between the ages of 10-13 running around with knives and radios trying to get into your supplies. In a sappy story you could simply subdue them and with the power of love and understanding they would reject their "brainwashing" and go on to lead normal lives. In reality it doesn't work like this, the Hitler Youth are not only hard core fanatics but are also defending their homeland, which you are destroying, along with their dreams of empire. Spare these kids and they will grow up hating and resenting you and your country and spread their poison to others. Just like child soldiers everywhere else you kill them like anyone else, if anything they can be worse than the adults. You might not want to put a gun to the back of a sobbing 10 year old with a sack over his head and pull the trigger... but in a real war, like that one? It's the greater good. Doing things like that is why the war ended and we haven't spend decades battling an endless Nazi 'resistance' groups like the Hitler Youth and various civilian "organizations" like the Volkssturm (defensive citizen militia basically) which would form the back bone and keep the idealogy alive.

In short, the world blows chips. I don't like "The Last Of Us" because I personally like happy endings, I play video games, read books, and other things to get away from reality. On the other hand I do not ever confuse fantasy with it's intrinsic morality and happy endings with reality, as much as I'm sure we all wish idealistic fantasy could be real. In the real world no karmic payoff or super hero is going to step in at the last second. If the world is a story it seems like the guy writing it isn't producing a work of optimistic fantasy. Most worthwhile achievements also come from bastards, I mean Von Braun and Mengela were bastards, but they were not bad scientists. One got us to the moon, and the other saved far more lives with his research in the long term than he took doing it, he's still arguably saving lives today... that burns and is as wrong as all hell... but welcome to planet earth.


Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
Casual Shinji said:
Zombie Badger said:
Anyone with even the vaguest scientific or medical knowledge would know the most basic part of microbiology, that you take a small sample of a disease and culture it outside the body before experimenting on it. At worst you would have needed a tiny scraping of the growth sprouting from Ellie's brain, at best you could just stick a needle in her spine and drain some cerebralspinal fluid, which would have contained spores. Also, if you kill Ellie and can't keep it alive outside the body you've lost everything.
Disregarding the fact that they obviously ran tests to indicate the state of the growth in her brain and that it makes here immune, they obviously would take their time if they had it as well as a properly supplied facility in a well protected environment, but they don't. Their organisation is bleeding to death rapidly.

It's never supposed to be taken at face value when Marlene says that if they extract the growth they can reverse engineer a vaccine. They most likely can't, it's wishful thinking. Even if by some miracle they could, how would they be able to manufacture enough even for their own men, let alone distribute it across the country? For all you know the Fireflies would start fighting among themselves about who would and who wouldn't get the cure.

The Fireflies see themselves as fighters for a just cause, but that doesn't make them any less of a lost cause themselves, just like everyone else.
The thing is that The Fireflies are presented as being the experts, and the structure of the game is one where they don't exactly give a full scientific breakdown as to why things work the way they do here. Presumably given the value they place on Ellie and the time and trouble they are going through means that the most educated people left in the world believe what they are saying. Us trying to project knowledge we have in the real world into a realistic fantasy world (which is still fantasy as one of it's components) is rather weak. The plot makes it clear The Fireflies do indeed know what they are talking about when dealing with this zombie fungus plague. I mean sure they could create more fantasy-science to explain in detail why what we're calling basic logic isn't relevant, or spell out other events to explain why they have such knowledge, but it would have likely interfered with the flow of the game. As a general rule when it comes to fantasy I don't freak out when the way the scientists are acting might be questionable compared to real life, the only reason why this is being questioned is idealists not liking the way this turned out. If the game had ended with the final fight being broken up as some scientist comes into the operating room at the end, soaking wet from his bath, screaming "Eureka, I've solved the problem" letting him save Ellie and cure the plague, a lot of the people complaining about this wouldn't be complaining when that would be even harder to digest.


That said, due to not wanting to write a third post I figured I'd cover this last bit here:

For those who have actually taken ethics (which does not teach you right from wrong, but analyzes ethical systems) there isn't really a moral or ethical dilemma present here as saving Ellie within the intent of the game is wrong
either way. But then again the game itself makes it clear doing this was wrong.

You have two basic types of moral-ethical systems... Absolutist systems, and Utilitarian systems. Utilitarian systems take the form of where whatever the majority of people want, or what benefits the majority of people, is right. Utilitarian systems are your basic "the ends justify the means" systems. What's right or wrong depends on what effect it has and on how many people. Absolutist systems are ones where some things are just considered inherently right or wrong regardless of what hey might be effecting. Religiously based systems tend towards absolutist ones. When it comes to being Utilitarian the attitude on murder might be "killing is wrong unless it's in defense of yourself, your family, or your people" when it comes to being Absolutist it's pretty much simply "killing is wrong" which means you don't kill even in self defense.

This is a very basic version. At the end of the day most people wind up being entirely immoral and unethical because few people believe in any particular code of conduct or real right and wrong. To most right and wrong is simply based on personal benefit. This is arguably why it comes down to societies to create and enforce a code of morality greater than individual need through laws. Thus most people wind up adhering to a code of behavior due to threat of punishment more than it being self imposed... and from here on out my college instructors would jump on the "gogo Criminal Justice" bandwagon since that was what all my personal classes were part of a curriculum for... and it gets further and further off topic.

At any rate the bottom line here is at the end of "The Last Of Us" what our hero is doing neither benefits the majority, or is it the will of the majority of the people present, thus it cannot be called Utilitarian. He has no inherent opposition to killing as an absolutist as he is willing to kill towards the goal.

To have a real ethical dilemma or moral quandary you need to have a situation presented to an adherent of such a system where acting according to the beliefs brings the intent of having the system into question, OR where multiple principles contradict each other. Say a codified absolutist system that both instructs someone to prioritize the needs of the many, and to put family first. In such a case a person being made to decide whether he saves his wife or child or a bus load of people none of whom are related to him. He could argue both courses of action would be correct, but without any other guidelines which would become more correct?

The Protagonist of "The Last Of Us" is entirely immoral by definition, and any way you slice it at the end he's acting based on his own personal desires, not for anything greater than that. In many respects he's pretty much the "textbook" example of your average human being and why societies need laws, and a punkhammer to enforce them and keep guys like him operating within the guidelines of society. To him right and wrong will largely be contrived around what he wants at the moment, this does not mean he has to be a sociopath or totally incapable of empathy, but will lack higher principles and do what they want, including generosity, simply as it suits their whim.


Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
Olas said:

I hope to god you don't actually apply this view of morality to your decisions in the real world. Really, please tell me this is all a big joke. I said I try not to judge people, but it's hard not to judge someone who condones genocide.
Well, Genocide is neither right nor wrong in of itself it all comes down to the reasons for it. To try and put this another way from the poster your responding to, look at the "Alien" franchise. The Xenomorphs are a life form deadly to humans that represent an incredible threat to pretty much anything that isn't a Xenomorph. In that film franchise the bad guys are idiots who keep trying to preserve and experiment on these things because "hey, there must be something worthwhile about these things that we can exploit", instead of just killing the bloody things off, they always preserve one, or jeopardize people trying to capture them, they inevitably get away, and everyone is screwed. Granted most people tend not to think of this as "Genocide" but yeah, that is pretty much the central theme of "Alien", that sometimes something is just so bad that it needs to be wiped out entirely.

The same could be said for say wiping out infectious diseases, and similar things. I mean if we ever do totally eliminate the Ebola virus for example that would be genocide.

In a more controversial sense you of course have all the arguments about the UN's extension of it's definition of genocide to include the extermination of a culture or idealogy, which is responsible for a lot of our problems now, namely because it scares people. The only modern example of it being done successfully that I can think of is the Nazis. Guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris eradicated huge amounts of the civilian population, and we did a pretty good job of hunting down everyone including children that we could find that subscribed to the culture. Even after the war we spent decades hunting these guys down, and even now Israel continues to hunt little old men who had at most tertiary involvement to anything. Today liberals argue against eradicating cultures, but at the same time nobody seems to actually be unhappy that we ended the war and didn't have to face decades of gueriella warfare against Nazi
resistance fighters striking throughout the world and trying to bring down the forces that defeated them. We eradicated so many of them, especially civilians who just believed in the principles, that there just wasn't anyone to keep it alive and wage a shadow war, and we just kept hunting the survivors so they had to remain in hiding, unable to even try and organize anything. This kind of thing is part of "total war" and as well intentioned as the current guidelines are, we haven't exactly won any signifigent wars under those guidelines. The US and it's allies went from barely beating the most powerful military empire ever assembled to getting our butts chased around for over a decade by an endless conga line of Islamic fighters... not something I'm going to debate, I'm simply putting it up for thought, as it's a different type of genocide and not totally based in fantasy.

Perhaps I misunderstood the point (it was chopped up) but the idea seems to more or less be that there is no real point in preserving something that represents nothing but a threat to you. Why preserve something just so it can try and kill you if you have the option? Especially when there are no benefits at all in keeping it around?

In the scope of "The Last Of Us" from a certain perspective you have humanity fighting to stay alive, and really from the human perspective not much isn't worth that. If one wants to follow the whole liberal definition of genocide to it's extreme though, it would be wrong to wipe out the fungus zombies since they are also alive...

In my personal case while I suppose some could call me genocidal, my basic attitude is that if something or someone wants me and mine dead or destroyed, I have no objection to killing or destroying it or them first, and if he only way to viably remove a threat is total destruction, that is what you try and do.... in short I think the corporation in Alien is wrong, and would fully support nuking the Xenomorphs from orbit just to be sure... :)


New member
Nov 26, 2014
the last of us is not the most important game of the generation. bioshock deconstructed the very nature of linear FPS and then deconstructed itself in bioshock infinite. stuff like thomas was alone and the walking dead proved that good stories and characters could sell a game without fancy graphics. spec ops the line willingly attempted to kill off propaganda games forever. portal was recognized by multiple critics as flawless. how are we supposed to evolve gaming as an art form when stuff like the last of us uses unlikeable characters, played out settings, meainingless stories and generic gameplay (as well as a 101 on how to butcher RPG elements) and is hailed as the second coming of christ. it's like calling independence day the most important movie ever


Dec 24, 2011
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Ever further down the rabbit hole...

Olas said:
Why does person X say it's good to kill people? Unless he can come up with an incredibly good justification I'd say he's clearly in the wrong. Most people don't want to die, they consider death bad, so forcing them to die is doing something bad to them. Hence immoral.
Would you agree that forcing children to go to school, if they dislike school and consider it bad, is a bad thing?
No, of course not. In that case the child is making a short term value judgement over the long term one of benefitting from having an education. The child is better off going to school, but he's too short sighted to see it yet. The people who will die in The Last of Us however will receive no additional benefit at all.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
What about not proselytizing, even if your lack of proselytizing means (according to some) people spend the rest of eternity in hell, because people don't like to be lectured on the street and consider it bad?

What about not teaching people about proper nutrition and exercise because it makes them feel insecure and they consider feeling insecure bad?
Are you just trying to find ways poke holes in my logic now? I never claimed I had the answer to every moral quandary that's ever been conceived, just like how science hasn't cured every disease and mathematics hasn't resolved every unsolved problem. I could address these things you've brought up but I don't see how it would show the objectivity of moral reasoning.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
What if someone doesn't consider being murdered bad, and you murder them? Have you done a bad thing?
I'll address this, because I think it's somewhat important.

If someone wants to die, chances are they are suffering from some sort of mental illness, which by definition distorts thinking. Over 90% of suicides are performed by people diagnosed with disorders. These people often can't comprehend the possible good in the future and can only comprehend their momentary suffering. I myself suffer from depression and anxiety, and I know how your entire view of the world can be different, and it feels like there is no reason to go on living. However it's something that can be treated, and when you regain your mental clarity you realize how wrong you were, and are glad to be alive.

So if the person doesn't consider being murdered bad because he's depressed, he's somewhat like the child not wanting to go to school, he's making an incorrect value judgment because his mindset is too short and narrow.

If he's okay with dying for some other reason, he may have a valid justification. Maybe he has an incurable disease that will make the rest of his life hell. Maybe his death is necessary for some greater good. There can be situations where his death can be beneficial, in which case his murder would be morally justified. But the life of a person is not something that can be judged lightly, when you kill someone you destroy all they are and all they'll ever be, which is an enourmous cost.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
One can have a judgement of anything, man made or not. In addition, human constructs, like grammar, can exist and function without value judgements. The two ideas are completely unrelated.
So a comma is something universal? We would find a comparable structure in another's species language on another planet? Or were you saying the mere concept of grammar is universal? Because I'm not arguing that notions of morality don't exist.

I am arguing that they are like notions of the dragon.
No, I'm not arguing that commas are universal, if anything the opposite. I SPECIFICALLY brought up grammar because it's entirely a HUMAN construct, as I state in the very quote you're responding to. I'm arguing that commas function objectively, to show you that things both natural and man-made can function objectively.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Look at computer code. It's a clear construct of man. It only exists as data, or information, and yet it behaves rationally. Would you say the very code that constructs this website doesn't exist? Would you argue that C++ is "whimsical and subjective"
No more subjective than a windmill, which, once created, affects the living world. Morality affects nothing; only our notion of morality controls us.

Some people are controlled by notions of god. Doesn't mean god exists.
Yes, but logic exists, a morality based on logic is a morality based on something real. The existence of a god has never been necessary for morality, and sometimes can be a great hindrance on morality.

Morality starts when we ask the question "what actions are good? What actions are bad?". It's not a simple or easy question, but it's a question that we can and have approached with reason and intelligence. Sometimes people dislike actions for emotional or instinctual reasons, but that line of thinking has never held up under scrutiny.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
To make an analogy, baseball may have different objectives than soccer, but within each sport there is an objective strategy that optimally achieves that goal. The values of a person or a society are like the goal of the sport, and the morality is like the strategy to achieve it. People may have different views on the best strategy, but that doesn't mean that all strategy is subjective and "whimsical".
This analogy doesn't quite work, but for reasons I'm not sure of. The fact that there are other sports and the fact that there are opposing strategies to impede your own... Something about this analogy seems off to me, too many unaccounted variable, so I can't really comment on it.
You don't like it? Okay, how about a doctor? A doctor receives many patients, each with different problems, different needs that need to be met. But for each need there is a proper, or at least best, procedure for addressing it and minimizing harm. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made, sometimes a limb needs to be amputated to save the whole body, or sometimes it's only the temporary agony of a needle (school) that can vaccinate from a disease.

And sometimes doctors will disagree on the best procedure, but that doesn't mean it's subjective what treatments work best.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
The concept of 6:44pm has no natural basis, it's purely a man-made construct that only has meaning to humans who understand our system of keeping time. Does that mean it's not objective? Does that mean we can argue whether it's really 6:44pm or not? No. Because humans can create truths that work independent of personal perspective. To a clock it's 6:44pm regardless of what you or anyone else has to say about it.
Is it objectively the year 2015?
It is objectively 2015 years from the start of the Julian calendar yes. Calendars are man made constructs, they exist only in concept. Yet they measure an absolute truth, the passage of time (Einstein's general relativity notwithstanding).

You claimed that because morality is a concept made by people, it cannot be objective in nature, but there's no justification for why one leads to the other, and so many instances of things where it doesn't.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
???? What does this have to do with anything?

The concept of dragons exists. Dragons don't physically exist, if that's what you're trying to get at, but why should that matter?
It is the only thing that matters, because it is the only thing I am arguing.
Well, you're not making it clear how this is relevant to your main thesis.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
What about the spirit? It, by our imagining, is not a physical thing either. But just because we have a notion of the soul (nonsensical as it is) doesn't mean the soul objectively exists.
It seems you're purposely choosing things rooted in mythology.

I would say that a "soul" as traditionally viewed by religious tradition, is still more than a concept, even if it is supposed to be intangible in nature.

To try and make this more clear:

A soul still exists (or doesn't exist) as a thing, something there can be many of, or few of.

Morality exists as an idea, or concept.

The CONCEPT of both dragons and souls does exist, objectively, and that concept can make a tangible difference in the world. And, more importantly, both concepts have indisputable attributes. You can't draw a picture of a bear with a fish body and say it's a dragon. Or... you can, but you would be wrong.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
I often find the concepts of "real" and "fictional" to be very unhelpful in this type of discussion, and in general.
In the least hostile way this can possibly be communicated; I don't care what you find "helpful".
Why? You don't want me to be able to explain my reasoning in a clear and unconfusing manner that avoids the pitfalls of vague semantics?

"real" can have multiple meanings. You are exploiting one of them to try and make a case against another. To say morality is not real like a dragon, is to misuse the word. Democracy I guess is not real either, if real merely means an object with physical properties. But democracy has properties, as does morality.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Someone said that what Joel did was "objectively" bad. If they can't back that up by showing morality to be "real" in a way defined other than through personal subjective value judgements (no matter how many people hold them), than the statement is untrue.
When you lose a game, you objectively lost the game, even if the rules were defined by people. Not all concepts that people define with words are personal, subjective, value judgements. I don't know how to make you see this, you don't seem to want to see it.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
For example, Smaug the dragon only exists as an idea in our heads, and as an image in a movie, but there are indisputable characteristics that define him. He has two wings, two eyes, breathes fire, etc. He's not a subjective entity. Our opinion of him may be subjective, but not he himself.
And there are indisputable things that define each morality (or it become functionally useless). Rules regarding theft, murder and rape are typically incorporated. Our opinion of morality might be subjective, but morality isn't.

But it's the opinion of morality that determines whether Joel did something right or wrong, and if the opinion of morality is subjective, than my point stands.
No, your opinion of what Joel did does not affect whether it was right or wrong. Your opinion of the fact that your team lost the Superbowl doesn't change the fact that they did. Your opinion of whether I found that cartoon show offensive doesn't change whether I found it offensive. Your opinion of an objective truth doesn't alter the objective truth, or make the truth subjective.

Your subjective opinion of it is still just your subjective opinion.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Fine, if you're going to be stubborn I'll take this further down the rabbit hole.

What about i^2 = -1

i is imaginary, by definition. This is no rock equivalent. Yet we use it in calculations that allow planes to fly. It's a construct that humans discovered/created that has no physical or natural basis yet works objectively.
And you would compare this to morality, which has lifted no planes nor saved any lives?
Morality is the foundation onto which laws are made. I would say it has done way more for the world than airplanes.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Mathematics might involve figures we invented (ie, that are subjective), but these figures clearly represent aspects of the physical world or they could not affect it in some way.
No they don't, they don't clearly, or unclearly represent aspects of the physical world. Some of them could be said to, what we call applied mathematics, but pure mathematics leaves behind any notion of a real physical basis and works completely on abstract ideas.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
The same is not true of morality. People do not refrain from murder or theft because they are bad. They refrain from murder or theft because they believe they are bad.
People believe that I^2 = -1, they believe it because they rationally deducted that it does, in the same way that people rationally deduct that murder and theft are violations of a person's valued property, making it immoral.

The universe doesn't follow moral law the way it follows physical laws, but that doesn't mean the moral law doesn't exist and isn't built on a bed of reason.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Until intelligent organisms come into existence to formulate it.
We also formulated opinions on the smell of roses or the taste of sushi.
And what, that means everything we formulate must therefore be a subjective opinion? Like mathematics? Like logic? Is that the point you were trying to make there?
Kaulen Fuhs said:
That's not utilitarian, or moral, it's self-interest. Ignoring the needs of others in favor of the needs of yourself is not moral. Moral isn't "whatever I want" or else we could say that all unintelligent living creatures are moral because they all just do what they want. Raping someone is moral, murdering someone is moral, as long as it's what you want it's moral. In fact it would be immoral to donate money to a charity because it's not what you want.
All morality is based on what someone wants. The number is irrelevant. It is only want.
If that's the case, which is nonsense but I'll entertain you here, that's still an objective view of morality. If morality is giving a person what they want, it would be objectively wrong to not give them what they want.

You see? A person's values may be subjective, but the FACT that they hold those values is an objective truth, and the morals (in this case your warped ones) that exist to serve those values must be objective as well.

Of course morality, as it is understood by philosophy, is not about what actions are best for a single individual, but what is best overall, and therefore must encompass all people the action affects. But even your egotistic morality is objective.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
The only argument you seem to have is that the word "moral" can be redefined to mean something else.

My argument is that what is moral can be anything. The definition of "morality" is not in question; what is moral is very much in question.
I don't see how there's a difference. I understand what you're talking about, but you're trying to differentiate two notions that boil down to the same thing. What "is moral" is intrinsically based on what we define morality as, and people have defined it as actions that are overall good. Not good for oneself, but good in general. And since the only secular basis for anything being "good" is what people value, morality must be based on providing people what they value.

On this basis any action can be objectively labelled moral or immoral based on whether it provided people with what they value.[/quote]

That something could even truly be moral is in question.
Lol, only if the very existence of value is in question. In which case how do you explain economics?
Kaulen Fuhs said:
In this case, whatever Joel wants. I can redefine an acorn to be a "moral" and then go outside to collect morals off the ground. And by that standard any concept humans have worked out can be relabeled to mean something else. But that's just pure semantics. There's no philosophy there.
Sure you could. But that wouldn't have anything to do with what we're talking about.
It's just me going off on a dumb tangent, like your dragon thing.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Ughhhhh no... it doesn't....

Sorry, I'm just getting frustrated because I feel like I've been trying to explain this same point over and over.
You don't think the feeling is mutual?
I couldn't say. All I know is I'm repeating the same idea to you and you keep deflecting with the same misunderstandings.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Okay, here's an example:

Boy A likes apples.

Boy B likes bananas.

Both boys only value the one fruit.

One could say that stealing an apple is immoral if it's done to boy A, but not boy B. So is that moral subjective? No. The statement "If the boy likes X, it is immoral to take X" works regardless of the boy or fruit in the equation. The input values may differ, but the methodology of determining what is right and wrong is the same.
The statement might "work", but that doesn't make it true.
Really? It seems pretty true to me. You seem to be reaching for some impossible view of morality that transcends beyond mere human values, but to what I can't understand. Some people have argued morality comes from god, but that's only explaining away morality. Even a god should have to justify where his morals come from for them to be worth following. I'm not going to do something simply because someone with more power says I should. I need to know why I should.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
That the values determining what makes a movie one I'll like are pretty consistent doesn't mean the movie I like is objectively "good". It might be objectively well made. It might have an objective message or purpose. But there is no such thing as an objective "good"
Again, we're back to values, as if the subjectivity of values was ever in dispute. Here, I'll explain again with this analogy. Your liking of the movie is subjective, but the fact that you like it is objectively true. Nobody could hold a different opinion about whether or not you like it. So it is objectively a good thing to let you watch it. Therefore forcing you to not watch it would be objectively bad. Thus objective morality.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Different values, same morality. Some people may pray in a church, others in a synagogue, but the fact that people should be free to worship in their venue of choice is true regardless.
You say this. I argue that "should" statements only have truth value in an if-then computation.

If you want to get thinner, you should eat better or exercise more. If you want someone to like you, you should treat them well. If you want the human race to survive, you should cut this girl's brain out and make a cure.

Nothing in the premises of these statements is a given.
Except if they happen to be true. Of course they're situational. Morality is situational. You haven't said or proven anything I disagree with.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Morality is the distinction between actions that are good and bad. Something is good if it has positive value, and bad if it has negative value.
You don't determine positive value. Neither do I. Neither does anyone.
Ummm... wut? Yes I do. I determine what has positive value to me, and you determine what has positive value to you. If nobody determines positive value, how does it exist?
Oh, for... Obviously, individual positive value exists. You really couldn't glean what I was trying to say?

Nobody determines positive value for anyone other than themselves.

Is that perfectly clear?
Yep, but you said "you don't determine positive value. Neither do I. Neither does anyone". You never specified for whom that value existed for. Don't criticize me for not understanding you when being unclear. I know the idea of discounting personal value sounds crazy, but a lot of what you've said has sounded crazy to me, so that didn't seem that implausible.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
I value things, you value things, and although I may not value the same things as you, I can recognize that you value those things and not deprive you of them. An action that leads to more positive value for people has positive value. This is the only sensical basis for morality.
That other moralities exist (that disagree with your's) shows this is not nearly as clear-cut as you'd like it to be. Kant, for example, would take issue with your moral outlook.
I already explained why Kant and his deontological outlook was bullshit. There have been a few different major competing moral theories over the course of human history, but only those based in utilitarianism, such as prioritarianism, ultimately make sense. Anyway, if morality was as subjective as you propose there wouldn't be a handful of theories there would be billions.

Of course one fealty with moral theories is that unlike scientific theories they cannot be tested out. The reason why something is moral is explained in the theory behind it itself. You might say this indicates that the morality is subjective, but the same is true of abstract logic and mathematics, or any field not intrinsically tied to the real world. Mathematical "proofs" are not empirical.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
No, I didn't say morality is the distinction between good and bad. I said morality is the distinction between actions that are good and bad.
Now who's getting semantically hung-up?
There's a very important difference between saying it's the distinction between mere good and bad, and actions that are good and bad.

Good and bad are values, an action is a response to a value. You might like icecream. That's a value. Choosing to take your icecream. That's an action. Your enjoyment of the icecream is subjective, but taking the icecream is objectively wrong if you do.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
A good action has to consider the values of the person or people it is being made for. What is good and bad may vary from person to person, but choosing to do what each person considers good is always good.
Did Ellie consider what was happening her to be good? Did Joel consider it good?
I'm not sure I follow what you're getting at.

Kaulen Fuhs said:

We're not talking about what specifically is good, we're talking about the CONCEPT of good. Earlier you asked me to prove why causing despair to lots of people is inherently bad. It doesn't matter specifically WHAT causes the despair, the fact that you are doing something which causes people despair is what matters here, and I'm saying that causing despair is the DEFINITION of immoral.
So it was "immoral" to make me go to math class?
No, because any short term despair is outweighed by the larger good of getting an education. This isn't hard.

It would be immoral to deprive you of an education and give you a huge disadvantage in finding a good job later in life.

It could reasonably be considered immoral though to force you to study something you didn't like, if it also had zero potential benefit to you. There were definitely some subjects in my school that fit this criteria.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Many religions have many examples of immorality that cause no one despair. Why should their assessment mean less than yours?
Because it's based on nothing. hoo-haa. Even if their deity is real, the morality he proposes needs to be rational. Why not eat ham? What reason is there for that judgement?

It's rational to say we should do something if it'll get us to a reward in heaven, so I can respect that part of, even if it relies on an axiom that there's essentially no proof of. But to say something is good or bad merely because a deity said so makes no sense. Deja Vu by the way.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Fine, I guess I should have been more specific in my language, you can't rationally argue why oranges taste more good than apples. And don't try to turn this into a game just to annoy me, you know what I'm saying.
I really don't. I apologize if that frustrates you, but it's the truth.

For example, sweet tastes better than not sweet. The consistency of apples is more pleasant than the consistency or oranges.
Therefore apples taste better than oranges.

That neither of these judgements are objectively true, and that they don't result in an objective truth,
But they do result in an objective truth, that the speaker prefers apples, thus apples create more value if given to them.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
has no effect on the fact that they are rational arguments for the superiority of apples.
It's not a rational argument for the superiority of apples, it's a rational argument for the superiority of giving you an apple rather than an orange.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
If you're getting stuck on the fact that they are only these things for me... well, then you're seeing why I take issue with so-called "objective morality".
I'm not stuck on it, it's something I've been considering since the beginning. I've tried to explain countless times why it doesn't matter if these things are only true for you.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
Here's where you're confused.

I never claimed more people are worth more to me.
I meant the general you, in this case, but if I argue that more people are worth more than less people, I am arguing that they are worth more to me. There is no case where this is not so. All value has a valuer.
Well in this case their are millions of valuers. And pretending like those valuers don't exist, and that they're values don't exist, just as much as your own, is ignoring reality.

Unless you want to argue from the angle of solipsism? But I don't think you want to get into that.

That's a VERY different discussion.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
I claimed more people are worth more overall, because each of them has value both to themselves, and the people who know them.
Value is perception. That these people are perceived as more valuable does not make them so. Existence is "objectively" valueless. That we pretend otherwise is irrelevant to my argument.
Lol, what? So are you mr. nihilist again?

These people have value to themselves, there's nothing objective about that. Whether I or you perceive them as valuable is beside the point. They perceive themselves as valuable, and therefore they are. You seem convinced that only one person can create all the value in the universe. That's nonsense.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
My own evaluation here is less than 0.000001% of the total evaluation of these people's lives. This is as true of me as it is Joel, or any single person. The fact that Joel values Ellie more than the millions of other people is not untrue, it is simply of little relevance to the overall morality of the action.
It is of little relevance to them. That's as far as I'll agree.
What? Look, if you're just going to be willfully ignorant of what I'm saying then stop responding. Or at least explain yourself.

If you're incapable of seeing how the lives of millions of people can be of value, then you're a horrible person. It may not be your fault, but you aren't the type of person who could ever be trusted with any real power.

Kaulen Fuhs said:
Not caring about people yourself doesn't make it more okay to kill them.
Nothing makes anything "okay". I value people, so I would want a mass-murderer locked up or executed. That doesn't mean I've convinced myself of the fiction that he is evil or his actions are objectively immoral.
But if you didn't value people, or say... a certain type of people, like Jewish people. It would be perfectly fine to round them up in the millions and systematically execute them, causing untold suffering in the process?

You don't see how that could be evaluated as bad, in any way?

Jesus dude.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
If you disagree, you have a warped, inaccurate, and in my opinion disgusting conception of what "moral" means. You'd probably be a fan of Ayn Rand I guess.
Or you lack perspective.

That I don't see sociopathy as anything more than something I'd prefer people not to be, that I don't construct an alternate universe in which the things I don't like are "evil" or "bad"... this does not make me a sociopath.
I didn't claim you were a sociopath. I am claiming that you are completely amoral though. Amoral, not immoral, lest there be confusion.

You may be capable of empathizing with others, but you don't see their lives as having any value except through your own empathizing. You only consider two sources of value, yours, and the universes if it could exist. The values of other people be damned though.


Kaulen Fuhs said:
So no, I'm most certainly not a fan of a sociopath. I just don't delude myself into believing things that aren't true.
Like that other people want to live.
Kaulen Fuhs said:
That's not a defense, that's a statement of facts, the axiom onto which one builds a defense. And in this statement of facts you listed both people's preferences. But when it comes to Joel's decision you only bother to include HIS preference, and not the preference of every one of those millions of people.
Because absent the voice of the people here on Earth, {more(number)}=/={more(value)}
Um, yes it does. Each of those people creates the value of their lives. They don't need you or anyone else to tell them that their lives are worth living.

Look, I know you said some more, but it's really just more of the same repeated. I hoped I could open your eyes, but I'm ready to give up. I don't want to waste my time explaining this to someone who refuses to accept it. Unless you say something new or compelling in your next post, I'm probably not going to bother responding.

Just know that I think your life has value, and it would continue to have value even if I wasn't here, because you value it.

Uhuru N'Uru

New member
Oct 8, 2014
I'm going to spoil the whole thing here, in case you haven't figured that out yet. This is a good time for this kind of conversation because if you haven't played the game by now, you're probably not going to.
You were doing OK by giving notice of spoilers, but you couldn't leave it there for the reader to decide for themselves whether to read on.

When a game has only been on a single platform (PS3/4 are versions of the same platform), to assume that not even 18/6 months later everyone whose going to, must have already played this. Basically you're saying I've just played it, so I don't care about anyone else.
Maybe it will never be released on another platform, but most gamers only have a single platform, so most gamers haven't had a opportunity to play it at all.
Many of us wait until the games are much cheaper before buying, even when on the correct platform. So next time just stick to saying there will be spoilers, including spoiling the ending and don't judge whether we should have played it by now or not.

If anything makes my point this does:

Grim Fandango
Originalll Released only for Microsoft Windows on 30th October 1998

17 years later Remastered and for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux on 27th January 2015

Fortunately I've avoided all spoilers and to me it will be a Brand New Game, not 17 years old.
The fact it's remastered is just a bonus, all games I play are new to me when I first play them.
The actual release date makes no difference whatsoever to that.