From: Stuart Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Feb 03 2009 - 04:04:41 MST
>> > Ethical, desirable, good: that which increases your
>> Lutility according to a function inherited from your parents.
>> The utility function has many other aspects to it, far
>> beyond parental inheritance.
> What aspect of your utility/ethics did you decide for yourself, not influenced by your DNA or your childhood upbringing?
Economics, scientific methods, and a whole lot of books shaped my
thinking in different directions to what my DNA and childhood
upbringing were pointing. Of course these ideas were "influenced" by
those other factors, but in such a weak way as to be nearly
> How do you distinguish what is "right" from what you believe is right?
I think your question is meaningless. What do you mean by "right"? You
seem to be claiming there exists some universal standard of "right"
that is independent of whether anyone believes in it; fine then, what
is it? Have you ever been in a situation where you said "most people
believe that guy did the right thing; I also believed that, and still
believe it now; however, it was actually the "wrong" thing to do"?
Put more succinctly, you are asking me how I distinguish between
something that exists (what I believe is right) from something that
doesn't (this strange "right"). The distinction is simple: one exists,
the other doesn't.
Now, if you're asking how do my conceptions of right change over time
and my interactations with the world, and whether some concepts are
more suited to the real world than others, then that is a fascinating
question, worthy of (several) discussions of its own.
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