RE: ethics, joyous growth, etc.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Feb 02 2004 - 15:35:57 MST

> If we try to base an
> ethical theory on having "positive qualia" we immediately run into trouble
> because we will soon have the technical capability to directly create any
> level of bliss we might choose,

This is why I stated that "maximize positive experience" is not a good
principle, but "increase positive experience AND increate growth" is a
better one, because making everyone maximally blissed-out all the time is
not going to be conducive to growth...

> While qualia are certainly an important part of the subjective context of
> today's more evolved biological organisms, I don't think qualia played any
> role in primitive organisms, unless one distorts the meaning of
> "qualia" in
> a kind of philosophically panpsychic way that would violate the intuitive
> way people mean it "because they know their own qualia better
> than they know
> anything else". Looking ahead to more advanced organisms, I think it will
> be considered an out-moded concept, although perhaps optional.
> It's just a
> good trick that works at this phase of evolution.
> In my opinion, Qualia is one of those subtle concepts that evaporates (mu)
> when viewed in a larger context, and is not needed as a fundamental
> principle of this broad ethical system but it does play a role at
> the useful
> context level of dealing with humans and other animals that have
> subjective
> experience.

Hmmm.... I don't agree. Following Charles Peirce, I see qualia as First,
as a fundamental category of the universe.

"Humanly experienced qualia" are a special case of this general phenomenon.

Perhaps "increasing positive experience" is to First as "growth of patterns,
structures and processes" is to Third?

-- Ben G

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