Re: ESSAY: 'Debunking 'Hippy dippy moral philosophy'

From: Metaqualia (
Date: Thu Jun 17 2004 - 20:27:43 MDT

> If objective morality did not enhance survival (and by corollary
> happiness since organisms want to survive) then it is consistent with
> what I said before and is of no interest to me; if it did enhance
> survival then after 3 billion years of evolutionary pressure it is very
> hard to understand why immorality still exists at all.

Your point seems to be the following:

"Since whatever we mean by objective morality is a (by)product of evolution,
and evolution only cares about survival, then human objective morality is
all a bunch of crap and we should stop talking about it as if it really
mattered or as if there was something really moral about it".

But consider. The human mind can formulate thoughts and create patterns
that, although running on evolved wetware, go beyond the original purpose of
the neural circuitry that supports them. Take condoms for example. Nature
didn't foresee that long term planning would let us hijack reproductive
situations and use them for pleasure. We use what we've been given, and go

In the same way, yes the ability for moral reasoning evolved because we
needed to correctly simulate other agents' behaviors, figure out whether our
actions will piss them off, will make them our friend, and so forth. Nothing
really moral in the mechanism that created the ability to put oneself in
someone else's shoes. But with this ability _and_ a mind capable of abstract
thought _and_ enough self reflection to _really_ put ourselves in
_everyone's_ shoes, here you have humans trying to find a win-win solution
for every sentient in the universe. I am not saying they will succeed; just
you can't dismiss the effort as useless.

Now what the other poster said

> if morality is objective it is in some sense
> a fundamental property written into the
> structure ofthe universe. So it was present

The only way in which I see morality having any connection at all with
physical law is through negative and positive qualia. That is why I am such
a qualia freak; they reconnect good and evil to a physical phenomenon which
although not yet understood is as real as real can get.

> A subjective morality says the ultimate end point to a long chain of
> "Why did you do that?" questions is "because it will make me and others
> happy and it's self evident why you don't need to ask more". Objective
> morality says the ultimate end point is either "because it's just good
> and don't dare ask any more" or "because God wants it that way and I'll
> kill you if you ask any more". Very medieval, as I said before.

Everyone on this list has a different objective morality. The one I propose
does not get to God or to matter-of-fact statements. The ultimate point to a
long chain of whys is not a sentence in the english language.

Imagine people discussing inside a closed dark room, they are arguing about
whether outside it's daytime or nighttime. Every one has a hypothesis but
nobody can agree so they argue and argue, until someone decides to open the
door. At that time, the bright sun shines inside the room, and nobody has
any more doubts. Evidence terminates discussions.

In the same way we are now discussing the arrow of morality, should freedom
be the most important thing or should we extrapolate volitions etc. etc.
My particular theory ends with opening the door. The ultimate point to a
long chain of whys is OUCH and Aahhhhhhhhhh. You feel it?


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