RE: computer pain

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 15:57:18 +1100

Peter Jones writes:

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

When I say I believe an empirical fact, I mean that if you go out and have a look
and a poke, you will see that the empirical fact is so; and if you don't, tell me and
I'll change my belief. Ethical beliefs are not like that because they are ultimately
dependent on values. You can say you don't like someone's values, you can say that
his values are contrary to evolution or whatever, but you can't say he is wrong
about his values in the way he might be wrong about an empirical fact, because the
only empirical claim he is making is about how he thinks and feels.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Dec 23 2006 - 23:57:35 PST

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