Re: R: Science and human morality

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2002 20:59:59 +0200

At 11:24 -0700 5/07/2002, Brent Meeker wrote:
>On 05-Jul-02, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Biggie (in the FOR list):
>>> In some cultures, the pschologists, being in sync with
>>> conservative religous and political forces, would
>>> probably turn her in to the authorities if she
>>> "violated" their "psychologically sound" moral agenda,
>>> right? No, to the extent psychology is constued as a
>>> hard science is the extent to which human liberties
>>> are at peril, in my view.
>> I will not insist because what I want to say is admittedly
>> subtil especially for those not familiarised with Godel,
>> Lob or other incompleteness theorems. But I really believe
>> the contrary. For exemple the Lobian "psychology of
>> machine" I work with, which belongs to Hard Science (it is
>> a purely mathematical theory, even embedable in
>> arithmetic) is not only non normative at all, but is even
>> vaccinated against *ANY* normative approach in psychology.
>> In some sense the first theorems of that psychology say
>> that any certitude in psychology, and any normative use of
>> that psychology is inconsistent.
>How do you mean that, Bruno. Simply that certitude is
>impossible (something most people realize anyway)

Let us hope!

>or that
>"good" and "bad" lose their meaning?

"good" and "bad" does not loose their meaning.
It means that nobody can really define good or bad, and
attempt to normatively impose a notion of "good" leads to "bad"!
And that means something. It is not so original and it goes
toward an appreciation of the democratic regime where average
of moderate and cautious ideas counterbalance "easy" (generally
demagogical) ideas social solutions.
Notion like good or bad are somehow infinite notion.
We don't need such definition to appreciate the good, but
to keep appreciating the good it is perhaps usefull to realise
the infinite caracter of that good/bad distinction.

>Remember that the comp
>> hypothesis can be shown essentially (sorry for the word!)
>> hypothetical. If you meet a surgeon proposing you an
>> artificial brain/body, and telling you that science has
>> found our correct level of description, machine's
>> psychology suggest you better run away!
>Are you saying that there is no correct level or that it is
>unknowable or that it is unknowable with certainity?

1) There is correct level (= comp hypothesis!)
2) We can believe in some level but never know it with certainty,
even after an apparently succesful digital transplant.

So computationalist practice is a matter of ... personal faith.
By which I mean nobody can force you to such a practice, at least
no honest computationalist can do so. No modest (lobian) machine
can do so!

>Descartes was
>> *only* 99% correct, we cannot expect any certainty, beyond
>> actual feeling, from a psychological point of view. The
>> human liberties are at peril with vague psychological
>> theories especially when they are accompagnied by
>> "idolatry for the master" like it happens with most school
>> of therapeutic psychology. (Especially some Lacanian and
>> freudian school). We will fear tomorow exact (machine)
>> psychology: not because it leads to normative axiomatics,
>> but because we will slowly but surely understand how
>> *very* large is machine potential free will.
>What do you mean by free will in this context?

Let us say growing autonomy. When machines will organise congress
about "human free will", and "what does really mean "user friendly"?"

I don't know, Brent, by machine I was not excluding us and "free
will" was used in the traditional---ununderstandable---way :)

Received on Fri Jul 05 2002 - 11:57:07 PDT

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