Brent Meeker wrote:
> 1Z wrote:
> >
> > Brent Meeker wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> > Only individuals can add numbers up, that doesn't make maths
> > subjective.
>
> That depends on how you mean "subjective".  Math is objective in the sense 
> that everybody agrees on it.  But it's subjective in the sense that it 
> depends on minds (subjects).

Everything objective is subjective in that sense. Ethics is no worse
of than anything else.

> Good and evil are not even objective in the sense of universal agreement,

Wrong-headed people can reject any objective truth. Ethics is no worse
of than anything else.

> except possibly in the self-referential form such as, "My suffering is bad."  
> So I think concepts of good and evil need to be built on the more fundamental 
> personal vales.



> >
> >>  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.
> >
> > Kant's is explicitly  more than that.
>
> Sure.  I was just correcting the common misquote.



> >
> >>  But individuals differ and so ethical rules always have exceptions in 
> >> practice.
> >
> > All that means is that you can't have rules along the lines
> > of "don't tie anyone up and spank them" since some people
> > enjoy it. It doesn't stop you having more abstract rules. Like
> > Kant's.
>
> But the problem is justifying the rules.

And much ink has been spilt defending them.

> For example there is a rule here that it is wrong to drive your car more than 
> 70mph. It's a rule balancing risk of accident against time spent traveling.  
> Yet more than 80% of the people break this rule.  Their personal balance of 
> risk and time is different.



> >
> >>  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.
> >
> > "X is bad" doesn't mean you shouldn't do it under any
> > circumstances.
>
> But then what does it mean?

You shouldn't do it unless you are avoiding something worse.

> Brent Meeker
> So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it
> enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a
> mind to do.
>       --- Benjamin Franklin, Autobiographical Writings 1791


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