Brent Meeker wrote:


Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Jef Allbright writes:

<snip>

Further, from this theory of metaethics we can derive
a practical >>> system of social decision-making based
on (1) increasing fine-grained knowledge of shared values,
and (2) application of increasingly effective principles,
selected with regard to models of probable outcomes in
a Rawlsian mode of broad rather than narrow self-interest.

This is really quite a good proposal for building better
societies, and one that I would go along with, but meta-ethical problems arise if someone simply rejects that shared values
are important (eg. believes that the values of the strong
outweigh those of the weak),

Historically this problem has been dealt with by those who think shared values are important ganging up on those who don't.
and ethical
problems arise when it is time to decide what exactly these
shared values are and how they should best be promoted.

Aye, there's the rub.

Because any decision-making is done within a limited context, but the
consequences arise within a necessarily larger (future) context, we can
never be sure of the exact consequences of our decisions.  Therefore, we
should strive for decision-making that is increasingly
*right-in-principle*, given our best knowledge of the situation at the
time. Higher-quality principles can be recognized by their greater scope
of applicability and subtlety (more powerful but relatively fewer
side-effects).

With Sthathis' elucidation of the Natural Fallacy in a separate post,
and Brent's comments here (more down-to-earth and easily readable, less
abstract than my own would have been) I have very little to add.

- Jef

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