RE: computer pain

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 19:16:41 +1100

Bruno Marchal writes (quoting Brent Meeker):
> >> Bruno:
> >> Because ethics and aesthetics modalities are of an higher order than
> >> arithmetic which can be considered as deeper and/or simpler.
> >> Classical arithmetical truth obeys classical logic which is the most
> >> efficient for describing platonia. Good and bad is related with the
> >> infinite self mirroring of an infinity of universal machines: it is
> >> infinitely more tricky, and in particular neither classical ethics nor
> >> aesthetics should be expected to follow classical logic.
> >
> > That seems unnecessarily complicated. Good and bad at the personal
> > "Whahooh!" and "Ouch!" are easily explained as consequences of
> > evolution and natural selection.
> Here is perhaps a deep disagreement (which could explain others). I can
> understand that the 3-personal "OUCH" can easily be explained as a
> consequences of evolution and natural selection, for example by saying
> that the "OUCH" uttered by an animal could attract the attention of its
> fellows on the presence of a danger, so natural selection can ....
> But, and here is the crux of the mind body problem, if such an
> explanation explains completely the non personal "Whahooh/Ouch" then it
> does not explain at all the first personal "OUCH". Worst: it makes such
> a personal feeling completely useless ... And then it makes the very
> notion of Good and Bad pure non sense.
> Of course platonists, who have grasped the complete reversal (like the
> neoplatonist Plotinus, etc.), have no problem here given that "natural
> evolution" occur "logically" well after the platonis true/false,
> Good/bad, etc. distinction. The personal feeling related to "ouch" is
> "logically prior" too).
Evolution explains why we have good and bad, but it doesn't explain why
good and bad feel as they do, or why we *should* care about good and
bad beyond following some imperative of evolution. For example, the Nazis
argued that eliminating inferior specimens from the gene pool would ultimately
produce a superior species. Aside from their irrational inclusion of certain
groups as inferior, they were right: we could breed superior humans following
Nazi eugenic programs, and perhaps on other worlds evolution has made such
programs a natural part of life, regarded by everyone as "good". Yet most of
us would regard them as bad, regardless of their practical benefits.
Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Dec 19 2006 - 03:16:58 PST

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