Re: Modern Physical theory as a basis for Ethical and Existential Nihilism

From: Eric Hawthorne <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 02:17:38 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> Take these two statements:
> (a) Dulce et decorum est/ Pro patria mori (Wilfred Owen)
> (b) He died in the trenches during WW I from chlorine gas poisoning
> The former conveys feelings, values, wishes, while the latter conveys
> facts. The former is not true or false in the same way as the latter
> statement is. This has always seemed obvious to me and it has been
> stated in one form or another by philosophers of an empiricist bent
> since David Hume. Does anyone subscribing to this list really disagree
> that (a) and (b) are different at some fundamental level?

Well since I don't really read Latin, this will be a little tough.
Luckily this website does read latin.

So I'll assume that the second one is something like "It's good to die
for one's country."

So what is this saying? It may simply be explaining that "countries
would do better if people were willing
to die for them." If one were to do some kind of game-theory model of
geopolitical evolution,
one might conclude that this is factually true.

What does the first one say? "flattery is pleasing?" or "sweetness is a

I'm sure that given enough time, one could show that both of these have
a basis in evolution and specifically
the evolution of successful cooperative social behaviour.

Moral truths are complex truths. That doesn't make them less true. Just
harder to explain.

Received on Thu Jan 29 2004 - 05:22:04 PST

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