Re: computer pain

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 15:05:29 -0800

1Z wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> Jef Allbright writes:
>> > peterdjones wrote:
>> >
>> > > Moral and natural laws.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > An investigation of natural laws, and, in parallel, a defence
>> > > of ethical objectivism.The objectivity, to at least some
>> > > extent, of science will be assumed; the sceptic may differ,
>> > > but there is no convincing some people).
>> >
>> > <snip>
>> >
>> > > As ethical objectivism is a work-in-progress
>> > > there are many variants, and a considerable literature
>> > > discussing which is the correct one.
>> >
>> > I agree with the thrust of this post and I think there are a few key
>> > concepts which can further clarify thinking on this subject:
>> >
>> > (1) Although moral assessment is inherently subjective--being relative
>> > to internal values--all rational agents share some values in common due
>> > to sharing a common evolutionary heritage or even more fundamentally,
>> > being subject to the same physical laws of the universe.
>> That may be so, but we don't exactly have a lot of intelligent species
>> to make
>> the comparison. It is not difficult to imagine species with different
>> evolutionary
>> heritages which would have different ethics to our own, certainly in
>> the details
>> and probably in many of the core values.
> It isn't difficult to imagine humans with different mores to our own,
> particularly since the actual exist... the point
> is not that they might believe certain things to be ethical;
> the point is , what *is* actually ethical.

If you try to change their ethics, you can only do it by appealing to their values. Their values are objective in the sense that they can be discovered. And some ethical systems will promote those values better or more broadly than others. But I don't see any basis for judging the values themselves as good or bad. You could weigh them according to how likely they are to propagate themselves - like Dawkins' evolution of memes, but I don't think that's what you mean.

> There is a difference between mores and morality
> just as their is between belief and truth.

If everyone believes the Earth is flat one can sail around it and show that belief is false. If everyone believes miscegenation is immoral, how could that morality be shown to be wrong? Not by marrying a person of a different race.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Fri Dec 22 2006 - 18:05:54 PST

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