1Z wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> Bruno Marchal writes:
>>> Le 12-déc.-06, à 11:16, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
>>>> Bruno Marchal writes (quoting Tom Caylor):
>>>>>> In my view, your motivation is not large enough.  I am also motivated
>>>>>> by a problem: the problem of evil.  I don't think the real problem of
>>>>>> evil is solved or even really addressed with comp.  This is because
>>>>>> comp cannot define evil correctly.  I will try to explain this more.
>>>>> I agree that the problem of evil (and thus the equivalent problem of
>>>>> Good) is interesting. Of course it is not well addressed by the two
>>>>> current theories of everything: Loop gravity and String theory. With
>>>>> that respect the comp hyp can at least shed some light on it, and of
>>>>> course those "light" are of the platonic-plotinus type where the
>>>>> notion
>>>>> of goodness necessitates the notion of truth to begin with. I say more
>>>>> below.
>>>> Surely you have to aknowledge that there is a fundamental difference
>>>> between matters of fact and matters of value.
>>> Yes. Sure. And although I think that science is a value by itself, I am
>>> not sure any scientific proposition can be used in judging those value.
>>> But then, I also believe that this last sentence can be proved in comp
>>> theories.
>>>> Science can tell us how to
>>>> make a nuclear bomb and the effects a nuclear explosion will have on
>>>> people
>>>> and the environment, but whether it is "good" or "bad" to use such a
>>>> weapon
>>>> is not an empirical question at all.
>>> Hmmm..... This is not entirely true. We can test pain killer on people,
>>> and we can see in scientific publication statements like "the drugs X
>>> seem to provide help to patient suffering from disease Y".
>>> Then it can be said that dropping a nuclear bomb on a city is bad for
>>> such or such reason, and that it can be "good" in preventing bigger use
>>> of nuclear weapon, etc. Again, we don't have too define good and bad
>>> for reasoning about it once we agree on some primitive proposition
>>> (that being rich and healthy is better than being poor and sick for
>>> example).
>> OK, but the point is that the basic definition of "bad" is arbitrary.
> That isn't "just true"
>>  It might seem
>> that there would be some consensus, for example that torturing innocent 
>> people
>> is an example of "bad", but it is possible to assert without fear of logical 
>> or
>> empirical contradiction that torturing innocent people is good.
> People don't want to be tortured. Isn't that empirical proof?
>> There are people
>> in the world who do in fact think there is nothing wrong with torture and 
>> although
>> they are not very nice peopel, they are not as a result of having such a 
>> belief deluded.
> I think they are. Can you prove they are not?
>>> Recall that even the (although very familiar) notion of natural numbers
>>> or integers cannot be defined unambiguously in science. Science asks us
>>> only to be clear on primitive principles so that we can share some
>>> reasoning on those undefinable entities.
>> But there is a big difference between Pythagoras saying 17 is prime and 
>> Pythagoras
>> saying that eating beans is bad. You can't say that "prime" and "bad" are 
>> equivalent
>> in that they both need to be axiomatically defined.
> Badness can be axiomatically defined (treating people as means rather
> than ends,
> acting on a maxim you would not wish to be universal law, not
> doing as you would be done by, causaing unnecessary suffering).

But such a definition doesn't make it so.

I think discussions of good and evil go astray because they implicitly assume 
there is some objective good and evil.  In fact all values are personal, only 
individuals experience suffering and joy.  Rules such as Kant's (which by the 
way says you shouldn't treat people *only* as ends) are attempts to derive 
social, ethical rules that provide for the realization of individual values.  
But individuals differ and so ethical rules always have exceptions in practice. 
 Everybody can agree that *their* suffering is bad; but that doesn't show that 
making other people suffer is bad - it is necessary for society to be able to 
punish people.

Brent Meeker

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