On Sun, Jan 25, 2004 at 01:01:42AM +1100, Stathis Papaioannou wrote: > If I stop with (a) above, I am simply > saying that this is how I feel about suffering, and this feeling is not > contingent on the state of affairs in any actual or possible world [there, I > got it in!].
(a) as stated is ill defined. In order to actually reason with it in practice, you'd have to define what "activity", "cause", "net", "human", and "suffering" mean, but then it's hard to see how one can just have a "feeling" that statement (a), by now highly technical, is true. What about a slightly different variation of (a), where the definition of "human" or "suffering" is given a small tweak? How do you decide which of them reflects your true feelings? The mere presense of many similar but contradictory moral statements might give you a feeling of arbitrariness that causes you to reject all of them. Difficulties like this lead to the desire for a set of basic moral axioms that can be defined precisely and still be seen by everyone as obvious and non-arbitrary. Again, maybe it doesn't exist, but we can't know for sure unless we're much smarter than we actually are.