Brent Meeker writes (quoting SP):

> > There are several differences between the axioms of ethics and aesthetics 
> > on 
> > the one hand and those of logic, mathematics and science on the other. One 
> > is 
> > that you can bet that any sentient species would arrive at exactly the same 
> > rules 
> > of arithmetic and chemistry, but might have completely bizarre, or at least 
> > very 
> > different, notions of ethics and aesthetics. 
> If this hypothetical species arose by evolution in competition with other 
> species, then I think they would necessarily share basic values with us:  
> They would have language and a desire to be accepted within a tribe.  So they 
> would generally value truth in statements - though not absolutely.  They 
> would consider it good to reproduce and they would consider their death and 
> the death of any relatives as bad, particularly before they had reproduced.  
> Although Hume said you can't get "ought" from "is", Darwinian evolution 
> implies that certain "oughts" will be almost universal.

I don't know about that. The female praying mantis eats the male's head after 
Is that a good way to behave? How would you explain your view to an intelligent 
evolved from praying mantids (I had to look the plural up)?

> >Another is that matters of ethics and 
> > aesthetics are not really third person communicable: an alien species may 
> > have 
> > notions about these that can only be understood by someone with their 
> > psychology. 
> > This is because ethics and aesthetics at a fundamental level involve 
> > emotion, whereas 
> > science and logic do not. 
> I don't think there are completely emotion free thoughts, nor can there be, 
> in an intelligent being.  The force of logic is a kind of feeling.  People 
> feel discomfort if they realize they are holding two contrary propositions.  
> Any artificial intelligence would need artificial aesthetics.  A 
> mathematician who showed no judgement about which theorems to prove, and so 
> proved things like 287+1=288, would be considered an idiot.  Mathematicians 
> are famous for their aesthetic valuation of proofs.

Yes, but with ethical statements the emotion is essential to its truth value. 
Star Trek's Mr. 
Spock (if he truly did lack all emotions) could honestly say he does not know 
why it is bad to 
cause suffering, or why Bach's music is beautiful. But he would be able to 
mathematical theorems regardless of whether he appreciated them aesthetically.

Stathis Papaioannou
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