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The Amoral Khellus posted 06 Apr 2006, 06:04 by Primal, Peralogue

Hey all, what's up? I just found this site, and read some interesting disccusions. Anyway, I wanted to discuss, in particular, a series of events through the three books concerning a subtle and gradual change in Khellus, a growing in his moral "vestigial" nature. First, however, I'd like to make a comment about the Dunyain. We all know Khellus [i:19w7qrds]was[/i:19w7qrds] Dunyain, a group of people who believe that the world is orderly and holds no mysteries, and that everything happens according to the dictates of logic. This is what Khellus means by the "axiomatic" thought of the Dunyain--that everything has its place, that all events and actions transpire through sanity and understanding. This is why when faced with the unknown, Khellus says Moenghus will desire to seal off the world ("kill everyone"), because it goes against what the Dunyain is. We have different perspectives about what happened in that meeting between the two (Cu Roi's explanation is very compelling; you can find it here http://forum.three-seas.com/viewtopic.php?t=973 ) Back to what I wanted to discuss: I think that as Khellus is exposed to more and more experiences of the dynamicity of the world, he is slowly developing into a more moral person. He came from the Dunyain, who apply no concept of right or wrong in their reasoning intellect. Most of Khellus's decisions have been based on pure reasoning. But, Khellus is not as unmoving or unaffected as he appears. In the first book, when Cnaiur first came upon Serwe and took her captive and raped her, Khellus watched (and I don't remember the exact quotes; I gave the first two books of the prince of nothing away) and it seemed to him ...everything seemed to fade out to blackness as "the stars and the sky stood still while the ground beneath swirled in a circular motion". Of course, Khellus, being new to emotions, didn't realize he was witnessing a "wrongness" though he somewhat responded to it in that manner. He wondered about this "vision" In the second book, Khellus, upon returning from a battle, goes to kill Cnaiur. This is when he realizes he can't read or predict Cnaiur's behavior who is raving mad. As he holds Cnaiur by the neck, and studies Cnaiur, something overcomes him, and he decides to stay his hand. Again, he wonders to himself "what is this? Pity?" In the third book, more relevant to emotional development than moral development, Khellus is confronted by an Inchoroi in Esmenet form. They talk about the difference between love and worship. As Khellus explains the truth that Esmenet "worships" him and actually "loves" Acchamian Drusas, he feels something in his heart. He asks himself, "what is this? Pain?" He doesn't realize yet that he is susceptible to human sentiment, and in this case it's that the love of a woman doesn't really belong to him; he is excluded from it, and hence the pain. What do you all think? Is this what's happening? Any developments you see happening that no one has pointed out yet? [/url] view post


posted 06 Apr 2006, 07:04 by Curethan, Didact

I agree. And I find it interesting that it is these emotions that provide impetus. I mean, it's all very well to be Dunyain and strive to create a "self moving soul" ... but what the hell would one do? The process of selection and conditioning seems devoted to removing all emotional responses and focusing on logic and intellect but what the heck does someone with no emotion want? Nothing, as emotions are born of the physical body's innate needs (hunger, a mate, mastery over the environment etc) I would speculate that the Dunyain's ultimate descendant would abandon it's body and achieve assescion to the outside, rendering it's mastery over the physical world an empty and trivial thing. But then, I'm kinda in love with irony. Kellhus is aware of the fundamental shift in his character and I think it is pivotal in the overall story arc. view post


posted 06 Apr 2006, 19:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

The only problem I have with saying that Kelhus becomes more moral is this... is he really? Kelhus may no longer be Dunyain, and really see himself as something more, but his true motivations remain unknown to us, even his own POV's (which are becoming fewer and fewer out of necessity) are relatively murky here. Primarily we see Kelhus through the lens of others, which is to see we see him as he wants to be seen to the Inrithi. In my opinion Kelhus will never be a truly moral character, or a good guy. It just isn't his style :) I would posit that his motivations still remain largely selfish and that much of what he preaches is for the "unwashed masses" so to speak. Certainly he has changed, and the framework of the world that he uses has changed from that of the Dunyain, but I'm personally not prepared to make any assertions as to how much more moral they are. view post


posted 07 Apr 2006, 01:04 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

I agree EE. I have a hard time believing that kellhus is developing morality. I'd say it was less of a morality and more of a madness (like mohengus said). At one point, when he's preaching, he thinks of the Inrithi as smelly apes. He goes into some detail about how he could smell them. I think that if kellhus had any morals (as defined by our society) he wouldn't still be manipulating the Inrithi. Then again, it really comes down to what morals really are. For all I know kellhus could be functioning on his own set of "morals." He may have decided, already, what's "right" and "good." view post


posted 07 Apr 2006, 02:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

Yes, well it depends on how you judge morals, after all once can argue that morality is flexible in the fact that what is "good" and what is "bad" is different for different people from different backgrounds. I think the Dunyain as a society don't really have morals, because morals is just one more construct of humanity that ultimately has no meaning, and is an impediment to Mission. Kelhus is "more", or at least that is what he says to Moenghus upon their meeting but ultimately it is hard to fathom why he opposes the Consult. I certainly don't think he is doing it for the "good of humanity" so to speak. Without knowing his motivations it is impossible to say whether he is doing "good" or "bad". His actions and methods are definitly still far removed from what we would call moral acts. Again, how much of what he preaches does he believe? I think some of it he does, and that it is insights he has gleamed and rationalized out with intellect (although he could very well be wrong). but there is alot that is definitly just done so he can continue to manipulate. Ultimately he may very well remain directly opposed to the Consult, and do everything possible to defeat them in the coming Second Apocalypse. He could be the saviour of humanity and still be amoral :) view post


posted 07 Apr 2006, 05:04 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

[quote="Entropic_existence"] ultimately it is hard to fathom why he opposes the Consult. I certainly don't think he is doing it for the "good of humanity" so to speak. Without knowing his motivations it is impossible to say whether he is doing "good" or "bad"./quote] Is it possible that the consult's plan threatens his existance? lol, to "seal off" the Outside, doesn't the consult need to kill off all humans? Doesn't Kellhus fall into that particular group? or am i misunderstanding the concept of sealing off the outside? Anyway, I think Kellhus does believe most of what he preaches, of course, that's only judging from how kellhus conducted himself infront of mohengus. view post


posted 07 Apr 2006, 13:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

[quote="Edge of Certainty":x4h1h6fh] Is it possible that the consult's plan threatens his existance? lol, to "seal off" the Outside, doesn't the consult need to kill off all humans? Doesn't Kellhus fall into that particular group? or am i misunderstanding the concept of sealing off the outside? Anyway, I think Kellhus does believe most of what he preaches, of course, that's only judging from how kellhus conducted himself infront of mohengus.[/quote:x4h1h6fh] Well obviously there plan is to kill of the majority not all (there are two Inchoroi, Non-men Erratics, and Humans in the Consult and they all have souls) to produce some sort of mass effect. That is what we think anyway. I can't see opposition to this to be his only motivation, maybe not even the primary one. As for believing what he preaches, afraid we'll have to disagree, I don't think he believes the majority of it but that is merely my opinion really. What he talked about with Moenghus is actually a pretty small fraction of what he actually preaches. I would say most of his ideas concerning the Outside, the Consult, etc that comes up with Moenghus yea, he believes those. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 01:05 by vercint, Peralogue

I would say that Kellhus is actually moral, because he has become human. Unlike his father, the world [i:3fxenx96]has [/i:3fxenx96] changed him to the extent that he has discovered a goal beyond the Dunyain ideology. He changed the purpose of the Holy War to suit him, but the war also changed him. He is moved by humanity when he hangs on the circumfix with Serwe and cries, or when he confronts the Inchoroi as Esmi and realises he feels pain... he realises that being human is greater than the sterilty of the Dunyain; that is why Moenghus calls him mad, and why he says that he is 'more' than Dunyain -- he has all their abilities and knowledge, but his goal is no longer the Absolute. In deciding to save mankind from the Consult, Kellhus has defected from a fundamental principle of the Dunyain. They believe that everything -- absolutely everything -- is relative save the Logos; there are no morals, no right or wrong, nothing save the Shortest Path to the Absolute. Any act to attain that is possible, and its merits are determined only by practicality. Kellhus has identified something as being [i:3fxenx96]wrong[/i:3fxenx96]; the Consult. In opposinig them, he doing something which is [i:3fxenx96]right[/i:3fxenx96]. Any act in order to defeat the Consult is still possible, but his goal is to achieve something which is unequivocally good. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 04:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

[quote="vercint":1wlqircy]I would say that Kellhus is actually moral, because he has become human. Unlike his father, the world [i:1wlqircy]has [/i:1wlqircy] changed him to the extent that he has discovered a goal beyond the Dunyain ideology. He changed the purpose of the Holy War to suit him, but the war also changed him. He is moved by humanity when he hangs on the circumfix with Serwe and cries, or when he confronts the Inchoroi as Esmi and realises he feels pain... he realises that being human is greater than the sterilty of the Dunyain; that is why Moenghus calls him mad, and why he says that he is 'more' than Dunyain -- he has all their abilities and knowledge, but his goal is no longer the Absolute. In deciding to save mankind from the Consult, Kellhus has defected from a fundamental principle of the Dunyain. They believe that everything -- absolutely everything -- is relative save the Logos; there are no morals, no right or wrong, nothing save the Shortest Path to the Absolute. Any act to attain that is possible, and its merits are determined only by practicality. Kellhus has identified something as being [i:1wlqircy]wrong[/i:1wlqircy]; the Consult. In opposinig them, he doing something which is [i:1wlqircy]right[/i:1wlqircy]. Any act in order to defeat the Consult is still possible, but his goal is to achieve something which is unequivocally good.[/quote:1wlqircy] You're assuming of course that all of the claims he makes to other people are in fact his true motivations. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 05:05 by Curethan, Didact

I would like someone to point out an example of Kellhus initiating a lie. Then I'll be inclined to disbelieve Vercint's POV, which I currently happen to agree with. view post


posted 01 May 2006, 06:05 by vercint, Peralogue

As Curethan says, Kellhus seldom lies; he manipulates the truth. Apart from that though, both the scene with Serwe and the one with the false Esmi are from Kellhus' POV. Presumably he doesn't lie to himself. I agree his conversation with Moenghus is not strightforward, but the last thing he says to his father is that he is more. Since he intends for him to die there is no need to lie, and anyway it seems that his last words to Moenghus should be significant. Perhaps Kellhus is lying to himself when he claims to be 'more'... rather like Conphas when he insists to himself that he is a god. Towards the end it is not entirely clear what moves Kellhus; once he grasps the Thousandfold Thought reaching his father is no longer the objective, it is part of the Shortest Path to something else... It seems to me that defeating the Consult is his new goal... or rather he realises that this was the goal all along. The Thousandfold Thought of his father created the Holy War so that Kellhus could take it over not simply in order to reach Moenghus, but so that he could become Aspect-Emperor. What Moenghus didn't realise was that the Holy War took over a part of Kellhus as well, rendering the two of them incompatible. view post


posted 05 May 2006, 12:05 by Peter, Auditor

I'm going to have to be brief here cos I need to be somewhere soon. Two main points. Firstly, why is the Logos inimical to morality, isn't it possible for there to be a way in which reason and the shortest path coincide (and in fact I would argue define) what is right. So, the Dunyain have the aim of throwing off the shackles of the darkness that comes before. Death ends such a goal and hence to follow the goal they must defeat the No-God (more ocmplex arguments can be formed). Secondly, I really think this idea that Kellhus is becoming emotional is NOT necessarily equivalent to his becoming moral. If he begins to feel pity and pain for no good reason then surely these are valueless. He feels pain at Esmi's not loving him (if he does)... how does this make him moral? It is also too easy, too simplistic, the cold hard logic defeated by human emotion. Far too much the final scenes of the least unteresting and most formulaic of Hollywood films and surely not worthy of a series as complex and clever as Bakker's. We'll have to see what Kellhus will become in the AE to decide whether he is 'becoming' good or not I think and maybe not even then. view post


posted 06 May 2006, 03:05 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Rereading the Thousand Fold Thought there are some interesting tidbits that suggest that Kellhus is indeed moral. There are several instances when he is thinking of Esmenet and it is clearly with deep affection. There is also his discussion of the Consult and the Inchorai with his father when Kellhus speaks of their "sins and crimes". His father is puzzled with his use of these terms and, as always with Dunyain, one has to assume a deliberate choice of spoken words. Although one is reluctant to draw conclusions about a Dunyain's behavior, Kellhus seems to regard a number of people with affection, even as necessity commands that he ruthlessly manipulate them. view post


posted 06 May 2006, 09:05 by Peter, Auditor

I am not convinced that Kellhus is moral, or developping morality. Just because Kellhus feels some emotions (and how we interpret these emotions is another question) does not imply that he is moral. Hoss loved his children, Hitler was kind to his dog. [quote:34u5spzr] There is also his discussion of the Consult and the Inchorai with his father when Kellhus speaks of their "sins and crimes". His father is puzzled with his use of these terms and, as always with Dunyain, one has to assume a deliberate choice of spoken words[/quote:34u5spzr] Quite apart from the notion that Kellhus might be trying to place his father off balance, just because Kellhus thinks that others have committed sins does not mean that he himself has become moral. Many people are more than willing to recognise the sins of others and Kellhus could still consider himself above and beyond mere herd morality. This is more speculation than fact, but all I am trying to show is that this evidence could easily be interpreted in many different ways. [quote:34u5spzr]Although one is reluctant to draw conclusions about a Dunyain's behavior, Kellhus seems to regard a number of people with affection, even as necessity commands that he ruthlessly manipulate them.[/quote:34u5spzr] Either he has begun to view people as people, in which case his continued manipulation is akin to a burglar recognising his victim's right to property and still stealing it, or the affection he has developed is similar to the affection people have for dumb animals. If the former, Kellhus is no longer amoral (I admit), but he is immoral, and if the latter then he continues to be amoral. Of course my analysis of immorality is based upon a specific conception of it, so you may be able to argue that Kellhus is moral on some different account of morality (if he thinks such manipulation is necessary to some greater good etc. and that this is moral). view post


posted 07 May 2006, 10:05 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Under utilitarian ethics, just about anything is justified if it prevents the horrors of a Second Apocalypse. Kellhus is rarely expressive about his thoughts and is an expert manipulator so judging him by his actions is also difficult. We are left with attempting to draw conclusions with a scarcity of evidence. 1) He does care about the emotional well being of Esmanet and Akka. He could, of course, have long terms manipulative goals in mind, but his actions at the end of the book when both of them have become replacable and Akka an enemy seem to suggest otherwise. Why let Akka leave his thrown room alive after his attempt to take Esmanet? He's allowing a dangerous enemy who knows too much about him to live. His statement about Akka kneeling the next time they met is the bare minimum he can make and not loose face. Esmanet would be distrought by his death, but even carrying his child, she is replacable on a purely practical level. It seems emotional concerns are dominant. 2) The words he chooses with his father are not ones likely to appeal to a Dunyain. "Sin" is not a concept they embrace. Even living in the World for decades and being exposed to the limits of Dunyain lore (the Consult, Sorcery, Outside, etcetera) his father has clearly not adjusted his world view, merely integrated the information into his familiar patterns. Moenghus is nearly as tied to his past a world born man. Kellhus, on the other hand, has adapted to the truths he has discovered in the world. His father knows the Apocalypse, sorcery, the Outside, and so forth and still doesn't believe his son may have recieved communication from the Mog-Pheru despite having made sendings of his own. Kellhus would not have used words like "sin" to get cooperation from a Dunyain unless his experience in the World had convinced him of importance of moral values. Kellhus predicts that his father will follow the Consults path and explicitly rejects it for himself. If he was a concienceless manipulator, he would embrace that path himself. Instead he opposes it. view post


posted 08 May 2006, 13:05 by Peter, Auditor

[quote:5a0trdb8]Under utilitarian ethics, just about anything is justified if it prevents the horrors of a Second Apocalypse[/quote:5a0trdb8] Which is precisely why utilitarianism is so distasteful. Second Apocalypse minus one death is permissible in certain circumstances. If Kellhus is going to embrace any system of ethics without us realising he is being 'moral' then a thoroughgoing utilitarianism is the one for him. To a certain extent this might fit Kellhus' methods of acting. The utilitarian perceives people as causal nexuses for the creation of utility, whilst Dunyain thinking has the conditioned treat themselves and others as causal nexuses for finding the shortest path. But, can we really think that Kellhus has become a utilitarian? I find the notion questionable. Why should he care about utility? What ever reason one finds for it seems to be a retreat to the Darkness that Comes Before. There is generalised benevolence (why is this good?), Mills intersubjectivism (define visibility in terms of what is visible, so why not desribility in terms of what people desire, i.e. pleasure, but then why is desire the same as visible?)... hmmm run out of reasons to be a Utilitarian apart from moral intuition (which surely the rational Kellhus will nto simply "discover"). [quote:5a0trdb8]He does care about the emotional well being of Esmanet and Akka. He could, of course, have long terms manipulative goals in mind, but his actions at the end of the book when both of them have become replacable and Akka an enemy seem to suggest otherwise[/quote:5a0trdb8] In the past we have seen how long term goals dominate what Kellhus does, why not here? It seems that you are arguing from the premise that Kellhus has developed emotions which cause him to act less rationally to the conclusion that Kellhus has developed emotions which mean that he is no longer amoral. Perhaps I am being unfair, I think your argument can be taken in non-circular ways, but there does seem to be the threat of begging the question. [quote:5a0trdb8]Why let Akka leave his thrown room alive after his attempt to take Esmanet?[/quote:5a0trdb8] If we take this to mean that Akka attempted to take something Kellhus valued and cared about (i.e. Esmenet), then you are positing emotions in Kellhus to prove that he has emotions. I will assume you don't mean this If you are suggesting that Akka attempted to do something against Kellhus' rational interests and that he is being irrational in not killing Akka, hence that he suffers from emotions then you admit that it is in Kellhus' rational interests to keep Esmenet close to him. So here from you argument, we must suppose Kellhus deems it rational to keep Esmenet and there is no need to explain his actions with regards to her in terms of emotions. The question now is whether it is possible to explain Kellhus' actions with regards to Akka more readily in terms of emotion or rationality. You state the argument that it is emotion by trying to show it to be irrational on Kellhus's part, so [quote:5a0trdb8]He's allowing a dangerous enemy who knows too much about him to live. His statement about Akka kneeling the next time they met is the bare minimum he can make and not loose face.[/quote:5a0trdb8] Akka is indeed a dangerous enemy, so was Cnaiur. I contest that when he let Caniur live he did so because he knew he still needed Cnaiur. That, at least, is my recollection from the The Darkness that Comes Before, given that Kellhus still needed to learn about the Three Seas area and about Warfare from an acknowledged master. So, what about Akka, why let him live? Well I obviously can't prove that there are rational reasons to do so, we haven't had Kellhus' point of view on this. What I can do is try to show firstly that Akka is not a threat and secondly suggest why his being at large might even be helpful Firstly, Akka is not a direct threat to Kellhus, he simply cannot compete with Kellhus' sorcerous excellence. Secondly, Akka cannot present a threat in terms of Kellhus' dominance over the Three Seas, he has not the resources. Thirdly, with the information Akka has on Kellhus (how much is it really, I suggest not much of use or deep meaning actually) who could he turn to? The people of the Three Seas will not listen to a Wizard, not when they have a Shaman who is by far more convincing and more powerful, nor will he turn to the Consult, Seswatha would not allow it. Akka is simply not a threat to Kellhus. What reasons do we have for thinking that it might be useful to Kellhus to let Akka go. Firstly, if Kellhus is a manipulator (as we have evidence that he has been, and so good reason to think he will continue to be, unlike really with the emotion), then even as a Shaman he needs to give a show of 'humanity' to keep people following him. Consider Christ on the cross, if he had not doubted, if he had known he was not going to die (fully) then he would have made a much less impressive saviour. It was his weakness that makes him human, and so with Kellhus (only Kellhus has good reason to fake a weakness he may not have). Secondly, Akka may not pose a threat to Kellhus, but that doesn't mean he won't try and there is nothing like bringing people into line with threats both external AND internal. The war with the Consult is coming and there is a Wizard causing trouble (but not much) at home. It would mean more excuse for social control over people. Finally there may be reasons which are hidden from us (I am certain we lose Kellhus' perspective precisely because there are things we cannot know about his plans). This last point is I fully admit the weakest, I bring it in only as a possibility... In a more general evaluation I suggest that the evidence so far lies more with Kellhus as manipulator than Kellhus as moral manipulator. Moreover, if you are arguing that Kellhus is moral because he has emotions which undermine his rational thinking (letting Akka go when it is dangerous to him) and Kellhus is a utilitarian there seems to be a tension, for the moral thing to do if Akka is a threat to defeating the Second Apocalypse is simply to kill him. There is no equivalent tension in thinking him a rational manipulator and not a utilitartian. [quote:5a0trdb8]The words he chooses with his father are not ones likely to appeal to a Dunyain. "Sin" is not a concept they embrace. Even living in the World for decades and being exposed to the limits of Dunyain lore (the Consult, Sorcery, Outside, etcetera) his father has clearly not adjusted his world view, merely integrated the information into his familiar patterns. Moenghus is nearly as tied to his past a world born man. Kellhus, on the other hand, has adapted to the truths he has discovered in the world.[/quote:5a0trdb8] [quote:5a0trdb8]Kellhus would not have used words like "sin" to get cooperation from a Dunyain unless his experience in the World had convinced him of importance of moral values. [/quote:5a0trdb8] I agree, Moenghus is not as adjusted as Kellhus to the world. Kellhus has a better grasp of how to use these variables than Moenghus, presumably because he wasn't blinded, but all this shows is that Kellhus can use these terms to confuse Moenghus and defeat him on his own conditioned ground. I don't think Kellhus was trying to convince Moenghus, I think he already knew it wouldn't work. Moenghus needed to be defeated. I have no doubt that Moenghus and the Dunyain would/will join the Consult once they fully understand the implications and that Kellhus will not, but I don't see this as proof of Kellhus' being moral, rather that Kellhus has perceived certain things which the others have not and perhaps could not. [quote:5a0trdb8]If he was a concienceless manipulator, he would embrace that path himself. Instead he opposes it.[/quote:5a0trdb8] I don't think things are that simple. A concienceless manipulator can have many reasons for action, it doesn't reduce down to just two options A and B and it doesn't reduce down to just two reasons for action, moral and non-moral. Of course, as a Kantian, even if all the above is wrong I can still say that Kellhus is immoral insofar as he refuses to treat people as ends-in-themselves. Ahem, sorry, long post. :oops: I have finals to study for... This counts as studying right? view post


posted 11 May 2006, 05:05 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Utilitarian ethics are highly useful, your disdain for them is not withstanding. Using them exclusively does lead to some distasteful decisions, which is one of the reasons to employ multiple ethical systems. Regardless of this, it is a natural system for someone trained by the Dunyain, who do charming things to their failures involving hooks and wires, to adopt. I wasn't speaking of emotional attachment to Esmanet in the throne room. Akka just tried to steal the Warrior-Prophet's (and Aspect-Emperor's) wife in full view of some of the most powerful people in the nation. Kellhus can't be seen to tolerate that. Killing Akka on the spot would have been the best answer. It ends a threat, saves face, and prevents the truth about Kellhus's abilities from spreading. Instead Kellhus lets him live with only a warning to save face. This is the bare minimum a man in his position can do and far from the optimal decision. He should Akka. All the practical consideration demand Akka's death. He doesn't and instead lets him off with a warning.. view post


posted 12 May 2006, 13:05 by Peter, Auditor

[quote:1dopss9j]Utilitarian ethics are highly useful, your disdain for them is not withstanding. Using them exclusively does lead to some distasteful decisions, which is one of the reasons to employ multiple ethical systems.[/quote:1dopss9j] My disdain for utilitarianism stems from my belief that it is a self-defeating theory. Act-utilitarianism in any world bar one full of other act-utilitarians will either lead to a state of perpetual war or withdraw so far from issuing actual moral advice that it will only be able to say "Do what is best" and rules-utilitarianism if consistently applied hardly seems utilitarian and if not consistently applied descends into act-utilitarianism. So, on my understanding of utilitarianism, the two main theories are self-defeating [i:1dopss9j]and[/i:1dopss9j] lead to distasteful decisions. There are two reasons for rejecting it as a theory. To reject utilitarianism as a theory is not to say that we need to reject the notion of happiness as good, or that happiness is in some sense valuable. Aristotlian Virtue theory invokes a thick concept of happiness without needing to be at all utilitarian. Kantian ethics counts the promotion of the happiness of others as one of our prime ethical duties. We can account for happiness without needing to invoke utilitarianism [i:1dopss9j]at all[/i:1dopss9j]. There is nothing we need to take from utilitarianism that we cannot consistently derive from other theories and much of what utilitarianism does provide is at loggerheads with our moral intuitions. In relation to the idea that the best morality is one which invokes mulitple theories of ethics, I have to say I find the idea strange to say the least. The only way I can see this working is if you mean other consequentialist theories can invoke some of the principles of utilitarianism, but not all. So a theory might place a consequentialist value on happiness and then disvalue on injustice, torture etc. thereby getting rid of the problems the utilitarian faced. This would make sense of the idea of having 'multiple ethical systems' if we read it as meaning 'multiple sources of value' which come together to make one ethical system. If, on the other hand you mean actual ethical systems be added together I find this less reasonable. A duty-based theory of ethics is inconsistent with a consequentialist system, not only in the actions it claims are right, but also in the structure of moral thinking. Duty-based theories rely upon analyses of the individual's internal moral motivation, their perception of their duties etc., consequentialism relies upon external features of actions etc. The final thing I can understand you as meaning is that different theories of ethics express different sets of values all of which are important and what is needed is some general theory which can incorporate all of these values. If this is the case, well I would suggest as above that most valuable things in utilitarianism can be taken up in other theories (and for their own reasons, not in any way related to utilitarianism), and to the extent that they are not this is because they are inconsistent with the central values of the other theory. [quote:1dopss9j]Regardless of this, it is a natural system for someone trained by the Dunyain, who do charming things to their failures involving hooks and wires, to adopt. [/quote:1dopss9j] Very briefly, I would argue that given the Dunyain emphasis on autonomy and freeing oneself from the darkness that comes before, the natural system of ethics for them would be one in which reason itself set the goals of action. Utilitarianism comes from outside the agent (when agent is understood as the mere rational being) and so is inimicable to the Dunyain. [quote:1dopss9j]I wasn't speaking of emotional attachment to Esmanet in the throne room. Akka just tried to steal the Warrior-Prophet's (and Aspect-Emperor's) wife in full view of some of the most powerful people in the nation. Kellhus can't be seen to tolerate that. Killing Akka on the spot would have been the best answer. It ends a threat, saves face, and prevents the truth about Kellhus's abilities from spreading. Instead Kellhus lets him live with only a warning to save face. This is the bare minimum a man in his position can do and far from the optimal decision. He should Akka. All the practical consideration demand Akka's death. He doesn't and instead lets him off with a warning..[/quote:1dopss9j] Ok, so reason demands that Kellhus kill Akka on your interpretation and the fact that Kellhus does not shows that Kellhus is in the grip of emotion. I simply deny that it is the most rational thing for Kellhus to kill Akka. I have given reasons already as to why it might be rational to keep him around, but you are right, I failed to account for the fact that this was in front of the great names etc. I think the question is, who has lost face here from the perspective of the great names (not us, the readers). We know that Kellhus has the whole room wrapped round his little finger and only Akka can see this. When Akka leaves therefore, we know that he is trying to escape his leash, we know that walking away from Esmenet is a sign of an inner determination and this is a noble thing to do. We see Akka as something of a hero. The great names see a lovelorn man ask the Aspect-Emporer's own wife to leave with him ("what a silly thing to do, she obviously 'loves' Kellhus and has all she could ever wish for with him"), then when she denies him he leaves, utterly shamed. To me the perception of humiliation belongs only to Akka, not to Kellhus, who actually appears magnanamous and more regal. There is no driving need to save face and kill Akka, Kellhus won the battle in front of the great names and as I argued above, there may well be reasons for keeping him alive. We don't need to invoke morality to explain Kellhus' decision, and given how Kellhus was, we can predict that he will continue to be unconcerned with emotion, looking only towards his goal (whatever that is, I don't claim to know). view post


Keeping Akka alive and other thoughts. posted 08 Aug 2006, 04:08 by Sedulo, Candidate

I really enjoy this thread! I do not think that Kelhus is moral. I think he has learned what men think of as moral and includes these things in his manipulation. I think he is manipulating his own father when he meets with him. perhaps he has felt something but it doesn't seem as though he has integrated them into his personality (or the logos, I can't really say if Kelhus has a personality!) more that he has noted them and included them as data. In the earlier books some chapters had heading quotes from Achamian that suggest to me that he lives through the whole thing. Sorry I do not own all of the books at the moment, but I remember thinking of this when I read them. In TTT, there is a point where Achamian feels that he is becoming Seswatha. Is it possible that Kelhus has seen this path and therefore will not kill Achamian? Benjuka? Akka as Seswatha has an important function later perhaps. I think it is terrific to have a major character like Kelhus (even though I am not really fond of him) that removes they typical good/evil guy status. I mean if everyone he has enthralled in the book found out what Kelhus was doing they would likely kill him. I am no philosophy major, but where does compassion fit into morality? Does one need to apprehend anything good or bad to have compassion? view post


posted 14 Feb 2007, 02:02 by RazorSmile, Candidate

Near as I can tell, Kellhus is a black hole englobed in TV screens - everything and everyone eventually falls toward his false image. He's like the Blight from [i:3eivmxrr]Fire Upon The Deep[/i:3eivmxrr] - an all-consuming domination machine that turns entire populations into the fractal fingers of one overWhelming hand. All he's done by apprehending the Gnosis and learning of Souls and the Outside is expand his worldview. Will he become more "moral" - as in, become a "good" person - by our standards? Unlikely in the extreme. view post


posted 14 Feb 2007, 14:02 by Curethan, Didact

Well - determinism leaves no room for morality really. If your trying to break free of a deterministic reality, sooner or later your going to have to deal with it though. o.0 view post


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