Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Indeed, you might be able to show that 'the purpose of the ethical principles can be shown to be "group success"', although I'm sure that someone will be able to think of exceptions. This is an explanation of why societies have certain ethical principles, and perhaps a method for arriving at new ethical principles. However, why should "group success" be a desirable goal?
I think each form of emergent complex order which is capable of becoming intelligent and forming goals in general contexts
problably would have by default an ethical principle promoting the continued existence of the most complex (high-level)
emergent system in its vicinity of which it perceives itself to be a part, and which it perceives to be beneficial to its own survival.
I can say this because forms of emergent complex order that included SAS's that didn't have this ethic would not survive long
compared to other emergent complex orders whose SAS's did have this ethic. So we would certainly expect, by natural
selection, to see more ETHICAL-SAS-containing emergent complex ordered systems than UNETHICAL-SAS-containing
emergent complex ordered systems, over time or over different trials of life in different places in the universe.
What if I said that I took sadistic pleasure in the suffering of others, and that I wanted to see the group fail rather than succeed, because I did not like the idea of people being more successful than I was? In your scientific study of ethics, you would have to add a footnote to the effect that some deviant elements in society do not follow the usual principles. You may go on to explore why this is, what could be done to avoid it, etc. But you would not be able to say that my deviant views were "wrong" and claim this as scientific statement. "Deviant" is a description of fact, but "wrong" is a value.
See above natural-selection explanation. Groups that have "correct" definitions of "wrong" will survive at the expense of those
groups that do not, given enough time or examples for the statistics to sort out.
It is like saying "I like chocolate": you could explain this in terms of the physiological effects of glucose, caffeine, theobromine etc., but the truth or falsehood of the statement "I like chocolate" is independent of such considerations.No it's not independent of that, at least not by causality.
I would put it:
1. Chocolate has fat, sugar, salt, all objects of human physiological craving due to our bodies' need for these substances,
specially in early stages of our evolution where we were poorer hunters and farmers than now.
2. Our brains and minds typically compute that we "like" those things that our body craves. "Like" is the concept
in the minds conceptual space that, with the way we work, maps to, among other things "have physical bodily craving for."
3. Therefore the truth of "I like Chocolate" is extremely likely to be caused directly by the truth of
"my body craves fat,sugar, and salt, for evolutionary self-preservation against starvation reasons." and the
conjunction of all three of those "craveables" in one substance seems to drive an almost universal and strong "liking"
of chocolate by almost every human.