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| | |-+  Can a person's worth to society be quantified?
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Author Topic: Can a person's worth to society be quantified?  (Read 1907 times)
HagridOfTheDeep
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« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2012, 05:09:56 pm »
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I believe there are quantifiers that can suggest a person might be an "outstanding citizen." On the other hand, there are just as many qualities of good citizenship that might not be so easily measured. It's a toss-up.

Still, a person's volunteerism or public service could end up accurately reflecting his or her "worth" to society.
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Rooney
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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2012, 04:57:47 pm »
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The answer is "yes." A man's worth in life can be quantified through actuary sciences and mathematics. A man can be viewed as productive if they are fertile, of a certain age, produce a certain amount of goods, have a decent IQ, weigh the right amount as compared to their height and station in life and have a decent net worth. If they do not smoke, drink, use drugs, eat fast food or have promiscuous sex this is all the better. Now the man has a likelihood of living longer, being healthier and producing only as many offspring as he can with ONE mate. Yes, a man's worth to society can be quantified through math and actuary science. 

The question must now be asked: "Is this a good thing?" The answer to this question is "no." Mankind is far more than a statistic. Statistics can be quantified and their worth easily determined. A human being is not a statistic nor a scientifically quantified formula. A human being is life. Life is far more difficult to quantify. A child born with a severe mental disability may live to be 40-years old and never utter a sentence. That child will never earn a cent, create anything and certainly will never produce offspring. Thus, under actuary science, that child is useless to the world. That child, under the cold rule of statistics, must be destroyed for it will never produce. Marching in lockstep with "a person's worth" so many our worthless. With the worthless destroyed society can now flourish.

That is not a society at all, in any real sense. It is merely a world where human beings are so many numbers. While a child born with a severe mental disability may never hold a minimum wage job they can bring joy to the hearts and souls of those who care for him or her. Does this not add to the worth of the child? Is the human being merely an economic creature which lives only to satisfy material wants? No, the human creature is so much more than that. The human creature has needs of the soul (whether they exist in a religious sense or not is hardly important) and by "soul" I mean social needs. Many "worthless" creatures lead human beings to meet social needs. Think of the simple domesticated dog. It plays no vital role in the lives of men. However, such dogs fulfill companionship needs and, thus, social needs of men and women.

"Can a person's worth to society be quantified?" The answer is yes. "Should a person's worth to society be quantified?" The answer is no.   
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shua
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« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2012, 11:14:42 pm »
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Of course it can--anything can be quantified
I think hyper-rationalism like this is misguided.  Some things aren't quantitative, and to try to make you are asking for distortion and neglect of something important.    A person's worth to society is a fuzzy concept outside of a particular tradition about it.  You can limit your definition of worth to things that can be quantified, and limit your definition of society to some discrete, static entity in a transactional relation to an individual.  But that just answers the question with a tautology. The only thing you are measuring then is the extent of your own model.

Did you read the rest of my post?
I did, but I it seemed like a good jumping off point since that was the crucial presupposition not only of your post but of several others as well.  Your post indicates that our problem in quantifying something is solely one of epistemology (the limits of our knowledge).  I view the problem as more fundamental and ontological - that even with perfect knowledge some things wouldn't be subject to that analysis.

I admit that "hyper-rationalism" probably doesn't capture the nuance of your view.  Perhaps "comprehensive rational realism"  or something like that would be more precise.

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