Le 17-déc.-06, à 03:26, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

>>>> Democratic system are
>>>> more
>>>> efficient to explore the political landscape and thus more efficient
>>>> in
>>>> probability to satisfy "soul's natural attraction" toward the 
>>>> "good".
>>> The soul's natural attraction towards the good might be compared to
>>> the body's
>>> natural attraction to keep dry.
>> OK.
>>> You might predict that every society would use
>>> umbrellas of some sort.
>> OK.
>>> If a society did not use umbrellas, that would be surprising.
>> OK.
>>> If they did not use them because they did not believe that rain is 
>>> wet
>>> or because
>>> they believed that God in his mercy would make the raindrops miss
>>> them, then they
>>> would be *wrong*.
>> OK.
>>> If they did not use them because they didn't want to despite the
>>> discomfort that getting wet causes them then they would be strange 
>>> and
>>> foolish, but
>>> they would not be *wrong*.
>> OK.
>>> There is a fundamental difference.
>> ?    OK.   (I don't see the point).
> The analogous statements are:
> a1. umbrellas keep you dry
> a2. feeding the poor reduces their suffering
> We can agree on the definition of the words and on the facts asserted. 
> If
> there is disagreement on the definition, for example if you were 
> thinking of
> a teapot when you heard the term "umbrella", then it would be a simple 
> matter
> to show a picture of an umbrella and a teapot and resolve the 
> misunderstanding.
> If there is a disagreement on whether umbrellas do in fact keep you 
> dry, or
> whether feeding starving people reduces their suffering, then we could 
> go out
> into the rain with and without an umbrella or interview a starving 
> person before
> and after he has been fed, and reach agreement that way.
> In contrast, consider:
> b1. we should use umbrellas when going out in the rain
> b2. we should feed the poor if they are hungry
> We might expect that most people would agree with these statements. 
> However,
> if there is disagreement, there is no way to resolve it. I could say 
> that I don't care
> if I get wet, despite the discomfort, and I don't care if the poor 
> starve, despite the
> fact that this will cause them suffering. I could even say that I do 
> care about these
> things, but as part of my personal ethical system I don't believe it 
> is good to use
> umbrellas or feed the poor.

That last point is an interesting point, but to be sure it is even more 
going in the direction that there is no normative theory of good/bad. 
So if we are diverging on something it is perhaps that you believe 
there is a normative theory of truth ?
All we can say is

c1. IF you want keep yourself dry and if it is raining here and now 
then using an umbrella can help you with such or such probability.
c2. If you want make that precise poor person less hungry (here and 
now) then by giving him food you will get success with such or such 

All right ?  (if not elaborate because it would mean I am missing 

> Moreover, I don't have to justify it in terms of other
> ethical principles or commandments from God:

With (a)comp, you have to NOT justify it in terms of God. With comp 
(and God = +/- Plotinus'one) we could justify that any *action* made in 
the name of God is bad, even saving the planet from some attack by 
horrible monster ...
Witrh comp (and the "ideal" case of self-referentially correct machine) 
it is just impossible for a machine to do something good and at the 
same time telling she is doing something good ... (similar paradoxes 
are illustrate in taoist and buddhist tales).

> what I feel is what I feel, and that's
> all there is to it.


> You can try to persuade me that I should feel differently,

That would be like a dentist asking his patient not to suffer ...

> but you
> can't do this by persuading me that I am wrong in my facts, my 
> reasoning, or that
> we are defining terms differently.

OK. If you agree with c1 and c2. (I have added c1 and c2 because the 
"should" can be use in the moral way, and then I agree with you; but it 
can be used in the conditional sense, in which case nuance must be 
added). I mean you cannot both
1) believe that umbrellas keep you dry, 2) pretend you want to keep 
yourself dry
and then go out without umbrellas (assuming all the default 
assumptions, for example, don't give a counterexample like "the problem 
is that my umbrella" is 42 km high .... that would make things out of 



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