Re: The ASSA leads to a unique utilitarism

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 09:23:49 +1000

I think that beauty is effectively a channel from our
unconscious. When we think that something is beautiful (or conversely
ugly), some unconscious processing has taken place according to some
criterion and presented to the conscious mind on a scale of ugly to
beautiful representing how desirable that thing is for the task at

Beauty often goes together with simplicity, or with symmetry, as these
are very useful concepts evolutionary (finding a genetically superior
mate - see literature on the effect of parasites; finding effective
theories of the world - simpler is indeed better for various reasons).


On Tue, Oct 02, 2007 at 09:00:46AM -0000, wrote:
> Make sure you get the spelling right ;) - Utilitarianism
> The trouble with Utilitarianism is that it's only concerned with one
> aspect of values - relations between rational agents. Further,
> although it's a good approach for practical calculation , it fails to
> deal with the explanatory abstraction underlying values. The actual
> abstraction that Utiliarianism is concerned with is 'Liberty' (or
> Volition), and a theory of morality at the deepest level deals
> directly with Volition, not Utility. Utility is a secondary concept
> and Utilitarianism a derivative calculational tool.
> Volition per se is not the final basis for value by the way. Beauty
> is. You heard it here first. Aesthetics is the deepest level of
> value theory and the theory of Liberty (Volition) is merely a sub-set
> of this.
> In defense of Beauty as the ultimate basis of value, I present to you:
> Natasha Vita More :)
> ---
> "When I think about the decline of the values America was built upon,
> stemming from The Bill of Rights and the world of Thomas Paine, I
> long for the underlying essence of beauty. (When one thinks of Naomi
> Wolf, it is almost impossible not to think about her writings on
> beauty (thus the connection)) You might say, "What the hell does
> beauty have to do with human behavior, tryanny and politics?!"
> Beauty, according to Le Corbusier, stemming from Pythagoras, is
> mathematical in symmetry and proportion. Beauty, according to
> Benjamin Franklin, is found in simple yet carefully orchestrated
> musical tunes. According to Thomas Jefferson "The beauty of the
> second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take
> it." According to Simone Weil, "Justice, truth, and beauty are
> sisters and comrades."
> "Beauty, throughout history, generally has been associated with that
> which is good. Likewise, the polar opposite of beauty is generally
> considered to be ugly and is often associated with evil. ... This
> contrast is epitomized by classic stories such as Sleeping Beauty.
> Likewise, beauty according to Goethe, from his 1809 Elective
> Affinities, is 'everywhere a welcome guest'. Moreover, human beauty
> "acts with far greater force on both inner and outer senses, so that
> he who beholds it is exempt from evil and feels in harmony with
> himself and with the world."(Wakjawa 2007)
> "An Occasional Letter On The Female Sex" (Thomas Paine, August 1775)
> reflects on bondage and suffering at the cost of beauty." But isn't
> beauty a deeply valued sense of life that begets the desire for
> freedom to express and experience? Paine was a "[c]hampion of the
> chaos of change and the beauty of unrestrained libertarianism"
> (Rushton 2006) The London Chronicle reprinted Ben Franklin's Causes
> of the American Discontents before 1768 (1774). Paine was distressed
> and wanted to revolt against what he thought was a completely corrupt
> state. He thought of America as a land were the lovers of freedom
> were uniting against the tyranny. And that tyranny was an illness, a
> sickness in human behavior. An unwelcome guest."
> Ref:
> Of course it's all in my top-level domain model of reality here:
> Just code that design and consult it for the answers to all
> questions ;)
> Look at the Platonic classes in the center - first Virtue , then
> Morality (concerned with Volition) and finally Beauty at the deepest
> level of abstraction. It's beauty that's at the core of it all, not
> Volition.
A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052         
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Received on Tue Oct 02 2007 - 20:55:25 PDT

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