RE: ethical theories

From: Philip Sutton (
Date: Mon Feb 02 2004 - 17:03:57 MST

My working hypothessis is that:

- the universe-at-large doesn't have any intrinsic ethical structure
    or purpose

- entities-able-to-philosophise have to provide/adopt their own
    ethical systems and sense of purpose

- I think that it is likely to be common that
    entities-able-to-philosophise will at a minimum hope to be satisfied
    with their experience of today and will be want to able to look
    forward to tomorrow and the unfolding future

- That once there is more than one entity-able-to-philosophise then
    social dynamics are introduced and cooperation/collaboration and
    sharing/coevolution of ethical systems start to make sense

With the emergence of humans and then the impending emergence of
AGIs this move to develop and coevolve ethical systems has become
possible and desirable.

The alternative to a shared/cooperative/coevolved system is a
philosophy of defending the in-group and exploiting or destroying the
out-group. I think that self-interest and bitter experience have taught
many people that this sort of ethic offers less for now and in the future
to each in-group - so a good ethical system is one that fosters
continuity and continued evolution of each in-group in the context of
mutual tolerance and co-existence between all the in-groups. My guess
is that in time AGIs will find the same thing.

Anything more than this and we are starting to tell entities-able-to-
philosophise what they should aspire to - ie. we are trying to intrude
(unnecessarily?) on their subjective life.

With the emergence of social dynamics entities-able-to-philosophise
may find that it is satisfying to share/merge many features of their
ethical systems as a way of enabling the smooth working-together of
larger groups of entities. That is one choice. But there are likely to be
other entities that see greater merit in pursuing their own directions in
small groups or even in a solitary way.

So in a universe with many entities-able-to-philosophise my guess is
that they will evolve towards a 'universal' base ethic of tolerance and
co-exisistence but beyond that ethical systems will evolve in many
different directions - the universe is after all a big place/long duration.

Cheers, Philip

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