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 mating.
> > Is that a good way to behave? How would you explain your view to an
> > intelligent race
> > evolved from praying mantids (I had to look the plural up)?
> They would agree with it. Obviously the male preying mantis thinks it very
> important to reproduce - even a great risk to his life. It's good for the
> female to eat the male just as it it is good for her to eat other insects.
> However, I don't think an intelligent race can evolve without being social -
> certainly nothing like our kind of intelligence. I think social competition
> within the species is the primary driver of natural selection for "higher"
> intellectual functions.
But is head-eating a good thing? A group of male mantids might get together to
an anti-head-eating movement, arguing that it is barbaric and no longer
though it has always been the way and is probably genetically programmed. The
-head-eating majority would probably vehemently disagree. Everyone agrees on
everyone is able to reason, but there are still two conflincting views on what
> >>> 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
> > understand
> > mathematical theorems regardless of whether he appreciated them
> > aesthetically.
> But he wouldn't care whether propositions of mathematics were true or false.
> He even wouldn't care that he held contrary ideas. And in that case he
> couldn't choose this act over that. In other words he'd be completely
> disfunctional. That's why I think emotion, in the general sense of having
> values, is essential to intelligence (even low level intelligence).
It depends on how far you stretch the term "emotion". My body puts great effort
alive even when I am unconscious. You could say that it "wants" to stay alive,
course of action over another in order to achieve this. But this seems quite
different to what
I mean by these terms when I am awake. It doesn't seem such a big deal to turn
off life support
once someone is brain dead even though the intact parts of his physiology are
trying to keep his body functioning.
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