Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Bruno Marchal writes:
>> Le 13-déc.-06, à 02:01, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
>>> OK, but the point is that the basic definition of "bad" is arbitrary.
>> Perhaps, but honestly I am not sure. In acomp, we can define a (very 
>> platonist) notion of "bad". The simpler and stronger one is just the 
>> falsity "f". Then Bf, BBf, BBBf, BBBBf, BBBBBf, etc. gives a sequence 
>> of less and less badness, which translated in the Z (material) 
>> hypostases gives the Df, DDf, DDDf, DDDDf, DDDDDf ... which are better 
>> candidates for that notion of badness.
>> (recall that G does not prove Bf -> f, and that G* proves DBf (the 
>> astonishing godelian consistency of being inconsistent).
>> (note also that G* *does* prove Bf -> f).

In logic "true" and "false" are just markers of a value to be preserved in 
inference.  They are models of values that people assign to propositions.  So 
it is perfectly sensible to ask of people why do you value true sentences above 
false ones.  And there is an obvious evolutionary answer.  But it is also 
obvious that preferring "true" to "false" is not going to be universal; 
sometimes people want to hear and to believe falsehoods.

>>> 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.
>> I disagree. Mainly for the reason alluded above. Please note I 
>> understand that there is no purely logical contradiction (f) in 
>> asserting that "torture" is good, but the purely logical operates at 
>> the third person level, in which there is no "pain" at all. Once you 
>> take incompleteness into account this should be much less evident, and 
>> much more fuzzy. There is nothing illogical with an altimeter (in a 
>> plane) giving a wrong information (like the plane is at altitude = 
>> 1000, instead of the correct 500), but you can understand this can lead 
>> to a catastrophe. Any BB...Bf can be seen as a promise for a 
>> catastrophe.
> But there is no true/false in saying that torture is bad, unless there is 
> another 
> hidden assumption such as "causing gratuitous suffering is bad", in which 
> case 
> the question becomes, why is causing gratuitous suffering bad? Ultimately you 
> get to "it just is, so there!" It is the same in aesthetics: ultimately, you 
> have to 
> assert that you think this looks better than that because that's just what 
> you 
> think. 
>>> 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.
>> Honestly I doubt it. Of course some people can believe that torture can 
>> be good for their own life, in case torture can prevent the enemy to 
>> drop some bomb. Of course some people are cynical and can, like Sade, 
>> defend torture with the (wrong imo) idea that nature "defends" the 
>> right of those who have the powers and thus that they have the right to 
>> follow their sexual perverse compulsion, but this could mean that they 
>> are inconsistent (they have some BBB...Bf as implicit belief). Then 
>> from the divine (starred G*) pov, they are (globally) inconsistent 
>> (although cannot know it).
> What would you say to the Romans who attended events at the Colliseum, 
> and thought there was nothing wrong at all with feeding people to wild 
> animals? 
> What would you say to an alien species which had reached a high level of 
> technological development by routinely killing the less intelligent portion 
> of the 
> population in order to control their numbers and improve the gene pool? What 
> would you say to a citizen of Nazi Germany 70 years down the track if Hitler 
> had 
> succeeded in conquering Europe and every schoolchild had grown up learning 
> what a great man he was? You could try to persuade them that your values were 
> better and nobler, but you couldn't persuade them that your values are more 
> rational or more consistent with the facts, because they aren't. 

Note that you could make an argument and the argument would appeal to their  
basic values.  You would try to show that the Nazi policy or ideas were in 
conflict with some other values that they held more strongly.  For example you 
might try to convince them that the Jews were just fellow human beings and not 
some lesser species and that a policy that purged Jews and homosexuals and 
gypsies might turn against them too.  Or you might even appeal to genetic 
diversity as ecologists do in arguing for saving other species.  You can't 
persuade them that your values are better and nobler, but you might persuade 
them that their values are incoherent and yours are more consistent with their 
most important values.

Brent Meeker

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