Le 20-déc.-06, à 19:06, Brent Meeker a écrit :
Bruno Marchal wrote:
Le 19-déc.-06, à 21:32, Brent Meeker a écrit :
Not at all. It becomes bad when he refers or "justify" his act in the
*name* of any "unnameable virtue".
Bruno Marchal wrote:
I know it seems a little bit paradoxical, but then it is my
to take seriously the interview of the lobian machine, which is
"famous" for its many paradoxical thoughts.
It is certainly not a reductio against comp, given that we are not
arriving at a genuine contradiction. It just happens that
as unnameable as truth.
Now, concerning this paradox, it seems to me intuitively
comprehensible. If someone saves me from some horrible pain, then
is (arguably) good; but if he does that in the *name* of "good", I
understand that this naming depreciates its action. Even if
I am still benefiting from that situation, the naming could make me
uneasy, and who knows what will be done under that or any name.
A little uneasiness about what someone might do in the future is
hardly enough to transform a good act into a bad one. It seems you
are saying that if the good samaritan claimed to have performed his
kind act *for any reason whatsoever* it would become a bad act.
That sounds like a reductio to me.
It's not clear what "bad" refers to in the above. It seems as though
you are asserting an absolute standard of "bad" while claiming there
can be no absolute standard of "good".
Not really. Someone acting in the name of "truth", "good" etc. are
"bad". But someone acting in the name of "bad" are bad too. Note that I
am considering an ideal situation, and I am lifting provable relations
between ideal machines and the notion of truth by appeal to the
platonist relastionship between "truth" and "good" (and "beauty", ...).
None of those sentences should be taken literally or what I am saying
would be self-defeating. Moral things have to be understood by oneself
or taught by examples ... Perhaps this is a place to invoke the "second
person" point of view, which refers to intimate relations between a
little number of individuals who can communicate and share first person
point of view (but here too normative suggestions can destroy couples
and families) in a non public way, and thus can say more without
falling in the trap of making things normative.
My personal judgment of good or bad would not be so clear cut. If
someone does me an act of kindness I consider that good. If he refers
it to some "unameable virtue", e.g. he says he did it in the name of
God or Capitalism, then I may consider it a little less good - but not
Locally. Of course I agree. Now with ideal machines there is a sense to
say that even good things when made in the name of "goods" (or worse:
imposed in the name of "good") could lead to the bad, for those
machines, in the long run. I do think that western "religion" have
repeated that "error", and this would explain why it is difficult to
come back to the questioning which was at the roots of those
As animals, humans, like wolves, have developed efficient, but
"lobian-ethically-wrong" recipe of life, of the kind "the boss is
My approach of "moral" here is before all theoretical. The funny
godel-lobian "paradox" here is that lobian morality is quasi
self-defeating. Summed up and simplified, it like if the wise lobian
machine told us "Here is a good suggestion: never listen to any "good"
It is hard to define those unnanmeable virtue except that "true" is
already one of those and "good", "just" etc. are obvious derivative
of "true". But I must say that I am talking about some ideal case,
and I can imagine context where nuance should be added. You can, for
example, give a vaccine to a child. The child is unhappy about that
because the vaccine has some distasteful taste or because he is
afraid of needles, and you can make short your justification by
saying "it is for your own good". Here you don't act in the name of
good, you just sum up a long explanation based on the idea that a
disease is not good for your child. Well even here the complete
explanation is better in the case the child has no idea of any
relationship between the vaccine and the disease.
But even the most complete possible explanation must end at some point
with something that is explicitly or implicitly good.
I totally agree with you. I think the basic biological rule has been
that if Animal A eats Animal B, in *general* this is good for A and bad
for B. At the level of species this is probably already false (most
animals with predators needs their predators in the long run for reason
of ecological equilibrium and/or "natural eugenism"). We would not be
here in case drinking water would have been very painful.
But I think we agree that this good, in the explanation, must be
something the child accepts as a personal good.
For human-goodness, sure. The question "are human good" is not a
question human can really asked. It is something a Platonist can hope
for, although strictly speaking we can just hope to be lesser bad.
Believing in the good, without naming or institutionalizing it, can be
inspiring and can make us optimistic and help us going toward it. Many
suffering in Europa (still today) can be related to the cynical and
fatalist view of many people, making them incapable to thrust
themselves (even economically). This could work as self-prophecy.
Even if it is presented as good for society, the child may accept that
because of feelings of empathy for others.
OK. Note that such an "empathy" is hard wired in our biological
constitution. Many mammals seems to have it at some degree. Some form
of autism are described by pathological loss of that empathy. Perhaps
Stathis could say more.
Note that with comp we could try a definition of good and bad parents
(!) and even of extremely bad parents. It is simple (if not trivial):
the two extremes of bad parents are those who either always say "yes"
to their children, or always say "no" to their children. Good parents
gives the right amount of balance of yes or no. Extremely bad parents
gives also a right amount, but purposefully in the wrong way (this is
fortunately rare and belongs to perversity or harassment kind of
behavior: children suffer a lot and generally get mad in those case).
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